1756 - Prussian invasion of Saxony

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The campaign lasted from August to October 1756

Description of Events

Charles S. Grant has published a book on the Saxon Army at Pirna in 1756

In the tenth volume of his series "Refighting History," Charles S. Grant proposes several "What if" scenarios articulated around the resistance of the Saxon Army surrounded at Pirna in 1756, during the invasion of Saxony by Frederick II of Prussia. Although built around event of the Seven Years' War, these scenarios can easily be adapted for other conflicts of the horse and musket period, from Marlborough to Napoleon and arguably up to the American Civil War.

Besides its ten scenarios, this book also presents an introduction to the campaign of 1756 in Saxony and an overview of the Saxon Army during this campaign and during the campaigns in the Western Theatre from 1758 to 1762.

As usual with Charles's books, this 195 pages volume is richly illustrated with maps, uniform plates, and numerous photos taken by Charles while play testing the various scenarios. This book is available from Caliver Books.

This article has been split into five distinct sections:

  1. Context and preparations (January 1 to August 26, 1756) describing the reversal of alliances in Europe and the preparations of Austria and Prussia for the coming conflict
  2. Prussian invasion of Saxony (August 26 to September 9, 1756) describing the advance of the Prussian columns into Saxony and the capture of Dresden
  3. Blockade of the Saxon entrenched camp of Pirna (September 10 to September 27, 1756) describing the Prussian manoeuvres to surround and blockade the Saxon entrenched camp of Pirna and the detachment of a Prussian corps towards the border with Western Bohemia to prevent any relief by the Austrians
  4. Two relief attempts by the Austrian army (September 28 to October 17, 1756) describing Browne's first attempt to advance with the Austrian main army to relieve the Saxon army blockaded in Pirna, his second attempt with a picked force, the crossing of the Elbe by the Saxon army and its surrender at Ebenheit
  5. Manoeuvres to take winter-quarters (October 18 to November 14, 1756) describing the manoeuvres of the Prussian army to retire from the border with Western Bohemia and take its winter-quarters around Dresden

N.B.: during this campaign, another Prussian army based in Silesia under the command of Field-Marshal Schwerin conducted diversionary operations in Eastern Bohemia


This article incorporates texts from the following books, which are now in the public domain:

  • Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761
  • Archenholz, J. W., The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 10-30
  • Carlyle, T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 17 chapters IV, V
  • Donnersmarck, Victor Amadaeus Henckel von, Militaerischer Nachlass, Karl Zabeler, 1858
    • Tagesbuch des Feldzuges von 1756, pp. 18-130
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, pp. 62-104, 142, 150-151, 174-241, 251-260, 286-316
  • Tempelhoff, Fr., History of the Seven Years' War, Vol. I Section 4, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
  • Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 403-408

Other sources

Grossenhain, Geschichte des koeniglische Saechs, Koenigs-Husaren-Regiments No 18, Leipzig, 1901