1760 - French campaign in West Germany – Campaign till the combat of Korbach

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1760 - French campaign in western Germany >> Opening of the campaign till the combat of Korbach

The campaign lasted from May to December 1760. This article describes the second phase of the campaign from April 29 to July 10, 1760.

Introduction

The general situation at the beginning of the year, the last operations before taking winter-quarters and the sporadic operations while in winter-quarters are described in our article 1760 - French campaign in western Germany – Winter operations (January 1 to April 28, 1760).

The Opposing Armies

The Allied Army

The unusually long campaign of 1759 had severely depleted the ranks of the Allied army. Great Britain decided to reinforce its contingent operating in Germany. Initially only 3 dragoon rgts were supposed to leave for Germany. but gradually this force was increased to 10 bns, 15 sqns and 2 artillery coys. These reinforcements added to the 12,255 men already quartered in Germany would bring the British Contingent to 17 bns, 29 sqns and 3 artillery brigades for a total of 23,327 men. However, most of these reinforcements could not reach the army until June and July, and the 3 Guard bns, only at the end of August.

The British also paid for the creation of a "Légion Britannique" of 5 bns, each of 4 infantry coys and 1 dragoon sqn. They were recruited in Göttingen, Einbeck, Lemgo and Soest. At the beginning of June, the légion would already number 2,750 men. Several of them were German and Swiss deserters from the French Army or from the Saxon Contingent.

Duke Ferdinand also established a Pioneer Corps of 3 brigades, each of 50 men. These men were recruited in the mountainous region of Harz. Each brigade also had 3 wagons transporting portable bridges. The pioneers were accompanied by 50 hussars.

The death of Landgrave Wilhelm VIII of Hesse-Kassel on January 31, 1760, initially worried King Frederick and Duke Ferdinand. Even though the new Landgrave Friedrich II was a Prussian general, he was known to be inconstant and had converted to Catholicism, and his alliance seemed doubtful. Accordingly, Ferdinand deliberately distributed Hessian troops into small group for their winter-quarters, so that he could keep them under control in the midst of the other contingents. Furthermore, Great Britain increased its subsidies to the Hessian Contingent and King Frederick promoted the new landgrave in the Prussian Army despite his lack of experience.

Landgrave Friedrich II then began to reorganise his small army on the model of the Prussian Army. He also established the I. Bataillon Garde and 1 sqn of Garde du Corps. After negotiation with Great Britain, the Hessian Contingent operating with the Allied Army was increased by 3,392 men to reach a total of 22.404 men. Each of the 12 Hessian infantry rgts, which previously consisted of 950 men in 10 weak coys, received 200 additional men and was reorganised in 2 bns, each of 4 fusilier coys and 1 grenadier coy. As in the Prussian Army the 2 grenadier coys of each of the 12 regiment were converged to form 6 grenadier bns. A seventh converged grenadier bn was formed with the grenadier coys of the 4 garrison bns. Each coy of cavalry and dragoons received 10 additional men and the Leib-Regiment was renamed Gensdarmes Regiment. The Hussar Corps was increased to 4 sqns of 120 men each and 2 sqns of Mounted Jägers of 195 men each were established.

Hanover increased the number of his light troops: the Luckner Hussars were augmented to 4 sqns; and the Jäger Corps, to 3 brigades (each of 2 mounted coys and 2 foot coys). The Stockhausen Freikorps received 2 mounted coys. Altogether, the Hanoverian Contingent numbered 37,833 men.

The Duke of Brunswick, who had signed a new subsidies contract with Great Britain, added the II./Zastrow Infantry, which had previously been stationed in his duchy, the new grenadier bns, the Carabinier Regiment (3 sqns), the Roth Hussars and a new Jâger Corps to his contingent, which now totalled 9,505 men.

The Prussian Contingent for this campaign comprised only the Freibataillon Trümbach, 3 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and 2 sqns of Malachowski Hussars. Frederick had already recalled the 2 Prussian dragoon rgts, which had served with the Allies in 1759, to his own army.

At the beginning of June, Ferdinand was at the head of an army of 98 bns and 112 sqns for a total of 74,700 men. His artillery, excluding battalion guns, numbered 146 pieces. After the arrival of the British reinforcements on June 20, Ferdinand's Army numbered 80,000 men, excluding the artillery.

The French Army

The French field army was suffering from an increasingly acute shortage of money, which was impeding its operations. The Duc de Broglie had to use all his influence to convince the Court to supply the most necessary funds.

The regiments of the field army slowly received recruits, who had been assembled in Strasbourg and Hanau. Other regiments (including the 6 bns of the Gardes Françaises and Gardes Suisses) arrived from France to relieve the weakest units.

In May, the Duke of Württemberg retired his contingent from the French army and joined the Reichsarmee in Saxony.

By the end of May, the French army comprised 163 bns, 167 sqns and 5 artillery bns with a park of 150 artillery pieces.

Preparations for the campaign

As the good season approached, Ferdinand considered that the French could advance by way of Giessen to Marburg just as easily as along the Fulda and Werra rivers. He decided to assemble his main force in a camp on the Eder near Fritzlar and to wait until the direction of the French offensive would become clear. If the French would launch their offensive by way of Giessen, he planned to stop them on the upper Lahn and Ohm rivers. Meanwhile, a small army under General von Spörcken would cover Westphalia.

On April 29

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand of Brunswick transferred his headquarters from Paderborn to Neuhaus.
  • French

By May 2

  • French
    • Saint-Germain was at Düsseldorf to take command of his army.
  • Allies
    • At this date, the Allied Army was organised in 3 columns:
      1. the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Kassel to defend Hesse
      2. Ferdinand of Brunswick at Paderborn
      3. at Dülmen

The Allies had constituted large magazines at Münster, even transporting part of the magazines from Paderborn to this new location.

In May, the promised British reinforcement (6 regular battalions, 2 regiments of Highlanders) were shipped to the Weser instead of, as heretofore, to Emden, and seem to have been despatched with commendable promptitude.

On May 5, the British quartered in the Country of Osnabrück took the field.

On May 12, the last British division made its junction with the Allied main army near Paderborn. Altogether, the new British units sent to the continent consisted of:

On May 14, the Allied army left its quarters and assembled at Paderborn.

By May 15, the Allies were working on the fortifications of Münster and Lippstadt.

Broglie assembled his main army (101 bns, 94 sqns) between Hanau, Frankfurt and Friedberg. Prince Xavier of Saxony (aka Prince de Lusace) was posted in the vicinity of Lohr and Gemünden with 21 bns and 26 sqns to secure Broglie's right flank. Lieutenant-General Comte de Saint-Germain commanded the "Reserve of the Lower Rhine" (35 bns, 38 sqns) which assembled on the Lower Rhine at Düsseldorf, Wesel and Kalkar.

On May 19

  • Allies
    • Major-General von Luckner was posted on the south bank of the Ohm River at Grossseelheim and Kleinseelheim, near Amöneburg with the light troops and 3 grenadier bns for a total of approx. 5,500 men.
    • The Allies constructed ovens in Ziegenhain (present-day Schwalmstadt) and Fritzlar.
    • The main army encamped at Fritzlar
  • French
    • Looking at the dispositions of the Allies, Broglies feared that, if the Allies decided to besiege Giessen, he would not be able to relieve the place in time, because his army was not yet ready to march. Consequently, Saint-Germain was ordered to cross the Rhine at Düsseldorf on May 26 and to send his light troops in the direction of Schwerte on the Ruhr River. Meanwhile, Lieutenant-General Count Guerchy should march from Cologne with 12 bns and 10 sqns and Maréchal de camp Count Chabo should march from Düsseldorf with 9 bns and 12 sqns and both corps should march towards Altenkirchen. By these manoeuvre, Broglie hoped to keep Ferdinand from advancing on Giessen.
    • The parts of Broglie's main army still standing on the Middle Rhine were instructed to retreat to Limburg in forced marches and then join the rest of the army.

On May 20, Ferdinand's Army left its cantonments The main army (67 bns, 78 sqns with an artillery park of 102 pieces for a total of approx. 31,000 men) under Ferdinand marched towards Hessen. in two columns and encamped near Fritzlar, with its headquarters in Wabern.

On May 21

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand reviewed the Allied Army.
    • Detachments covered the concentration of the army.
      • Lieutenant-General von Imhoff was posted near Kirchhain on the Ohm, on the right of Ferdinand's positions with 14 bns and 28 sqns for a total of approx. 13,000 men. It was Ferdinand's intention that, if the French advanced, Imhoff should call in the detachment from Hersfeld to Homberg, a little to the south of Kirchhain on a bend of the Ohm, where there was a position in which he could bar the way to a far superior force.
      • Garrisons occupied the castles of Dillenburg, Marburg and Homberg/Ohm.
      • Lieutenant-General von Gilsa was posted near Hersfeld on the Fulda, with 14 bns and 15 sqns for a total of approx. 8,000 men, including 2,000 light troops.
      • Lieutenant-Colonel von Jeanneret was posted near Alsfeld with the Volontaires de Prusse and the 2 sqns of Malachowski Hussars to protect the line of communications between Spörcken's and Ferdinand's armies.
      • Lieutenant-Colonel von Freytag was posted near Vacha on the Werra River with a brigade of Hanoverian jägers and 1 sqns of Ruesch Hussars to cover the left flank of the positions of the Allies and to observe the movements of the Reichsarmee.
    • The British headquarters of Lord Granby were at Fritzlar, and those of the Hereditary Prince and of the Prince of Holstein at Möllrich (either Obermöllrich or Niedermöllrich). The 1st (Royal) Dragoons, 2nd (The Queen's) Regiment of Dragoon Guards under Mostyn, 11th Ancram Dragoons and 200 men of the 15th Eliot's Light Horse; recently sent from Great Britain, arrived at the British camp.
    • Another sizeable corps (31 bns and 34 sqns with an artillery park of 44 pieces for a total of approx. 23,000 men) under General Spörcken left its quarters at Coesfeld in the Bishopric of Münster and marched towards Dülmen, deploying up to Hamm to observe Saint-Germain's Corps.
  • French
    • Informed of the manoeuvres of the Allies on the Lower Rhine, Saint-Germain advanced one of the 3 corps forming his army towards Kalkar. He also united the 2 remaining corps at Wesel and Düsseldorf.

Meanwhile Broglie concentrated his cantonments towards Hanau and Frankfurt. The French plan called for the main army to to invade Hessen-Kassel while a corps of 20,000 men (also called right reserve) under Prince Xavier would operate on its right flank. Prince Xavier's right reserve consisted of 19 bns, 20 sqns, the Légion Royale, Volontaires du Hainaut, and Volontaires d'Austrasie.

Finally, a corps of about 35,000 men (also called left reserve) under Saint-Germain would would into Westphalia. Saint-Germain's left reserve consisted of 21 French bns (14,385 men), 10 Swiss bns (7,200 men), 2 artillery bns and militia (1,440 men), 30 cavalry sqns and 10 dragoon sqns (a total of 6,080 horse), the Chasseurs de Fischer (1,800 men), Volontaires de Flandre (900 men), and Chasseurs de Cambefort (150 men) for a total of 32,605 men.

At about this time, the Württemberger Contingent (about 9,000 men) quit the French service and marched for Swabia.

The Chasseurs de Fischer, which were now attached to Saint-Germain's Army, took position on its flank at Erbefeld (probably Elberfeld).

Meanwhile Hesse-Kassel Hussars belonging to Spörcken's Corps had taken position at Dortmund.

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of Broglie's Army on May 23 1760.

Detailed order of battle of the Allied Army at the end of May 1760.

On May 23

  • Allies
    • In the evening, Major-General von Luckner, according to Ferdinand's orders, set out from his camp near Amöneburg with 500 hussars and mounted jägers and 500 grenadiers and foot jägers to intercept French convoys between Giessen and Butzbach.
  • French
    • By that date, all French troops (54 bns and 44 sqns) cantoned on the Lower Rhine had left their cantonments at Kleve, Wesel, Düsseldorf, Moers, Cologne, Gueldern, Roeremonde and Liège.

On May 24

  • Allied raid on Butzbach
    • In the morning; after marching by way of Buseck and Schiffenberg; Luckner reached the high road to Butzbach without meeting any convoy.
    • Luckner then resolved to attack the town itself defended by the Lieutenant-Colonel Comte de Waldner at the head of 400 foot, 100 men from Caraman Dragons and 50 men from Bercheny Hussards.
    • Luckner had just prepared for an attack on Butzbach when a party of 13 French hussars appeared near Lich. Most of them were captured but 2 managed to escape and to give alarm at Butzbach.
    • Waldner sent another party of 17 hussars to confirm the presence of the Allied force. They were pursued by Allied hussars who entered into Butzbach on their trail.
    • Waldner retired through another gate with the garrison and entered into the woods in the direction of Friedberg.
    • The Allied hussars engaged a picquet of Caraman Dragons and captured 1 officer and 20 troopers. They then engaged a picquet of infantry and captured 25 men.
    • Luckner then divided his force into two parties: the mounted jägers entered into the woods while the Brunswick Hussars pursued the retreating French units up to Friedberg, bringing back prisoners and 30 carriages.
    • Luckner then retired, in this action he had lost 2 hussars killed and 5 wounded. He had also destroyed a French magazine.
  • French
    • Broglie immediately sent Maréchal de camp Comte de Vaux with Swiss bns, 1 hussar rgt and 2 dragoon rgts under M. de Vaux from Friedberg towards Butzbach to support Waldner.
    • Broglie personally went to Butzbach. However, the rapid withdrawal of Luckner's detachment clearly showed that it was not supported by a strong force.
    • In the evening, Saint-Germain received Broglie's orders sent on May 19. He informed Broglie that he could not march before June 1. Both argued and this differences of opinion planted the germ for their later quarrel.

In the night of May 24 to 25, Bercheny Hussards harassed Luckner's Corps while it retired.

On May 25

  • Allies
    • Luckner was back to his camp between Kirchhain and Amöneburg with 4 officers and 100 soldiers prisoners.
  • French
    • Major General von Luckner's bold foray had increased Broglie's concerns about Giessen. Accordingly, Broglie sent Saint-Germain new orders, instructing him to remain at Düsseldorf for the moment but to keep ready to cross the Rhine.

On May 26, M. de Guerchy's Corps (12 bns, 10 sqns) marched towards Cologne, closely followed by Chabo's Corps (9 bns, 12 sqns) who marched from Düsseldorf.

On May 27, Broglie stopped Guerchy's Corps at Hachenburg and Siegburg. Similarly, Prince Xavier's Corps was halted at Lohr.

On May 28, Lieutenant-General von Gilsa detached the Hessian Colonel von Wolff with 1,100 foot and 580 horse towards Fulda to raise contributions.

On May 29, a party of Ruesch Black Hussars appeared near Fulda and M. d'Apchon, who occupied Johannisberg, retired.

On May 30, Wolff's detachment engaged a grenadier coy of Dauphin Infanterie, which was still in Fulda, and captured it before retiring towards Schlitz. Wolff's rearguard suffered some casualties.

Around the end of May, French detachments advanced towards Giessen and Marburg. Furthermore, Saint-Germain with the Army of the Lower Rhine was posted at Kaiserwerth on the Rhine. An Allied corps under the command of Spörcken encamped opposite Saint-Germain at Dülmen.

At the beginning of June

  • Allies
    • Ferdinand, fearing an attack against Gila's Corps, reinforced it with the 3 Brunswicker grenadier bns, 4 sqns (2nd North British Dragoons, 10th Mordaunt's Dragoons) and 16 artillery pieces and appointed the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick to command this corps.
  • French
    • Broglie pointed out that the planned campaign in Hesse could hardly begin before mid-July given the lack of green fodder and cattle in this region. He also mentioned that in Hesse the terrain, especially the obstacles represented by the Ohm and Eder rivers, would benefit the defenders and that the Allies had strengthened in an unexpected way. Consequently, he proposed to make the County Marck his base of operations. He pretended that his new plan would surprise the Allies, who had taken dispositions for the defence of Hesse. He also argued that his operations would then be directed into more open terrain and the campaign could begin much earlier. However, War Minister Belle-Isle did not agree with Broglie's proposal. He informed him that, in his opinion, he was too late to make such drastic changes, and to make new arrangements for magazines and provisions. Broglie insisted that he should not be restricted in his decisions. Belle-Isle asked him to, at least, leave 40,000 men on the Main River under the command of Saint-Germain. This demand, even if not explicitly expressed, would have been tantamount to a division of the army, and it persuaded Boglie to abandon his new plan and to carry out the offensive into Hesse.

On June 4, Saint-Germain concentrated his forces at Düsseldorf, Cologne and Andernach while Prince Xavier took position on the left bank of the Saale between Hammelburg and Gemünden. On this date, the French army, about 147,000 men strong, was deployed as follows:

  • Chabo (9 bns, 12 sqns) at Siegburg
  • de Guerchy (15 bns, 3 sqns) at Hachenburg
  • d'Aubigny (3 bns, 6 sqns) at Montabaur
  • Prince Camille (22 bns, 6 sqns) at Limburg
  • Vaux (6 Swiss bns, 4 sqns) at Butzbach and Friedberg
  • Traisnes (8 bns, 12 sqns) at Vilbel (present-day Bad Vilbel) on the Nidda
  • Mailly (2 bns, 28 sqns) at Kastel and Baden
  • Apremont (6 bns) at Höchst
  • Broglie (17 bns, 17 sqns) at Frankfurt and Rödelheim
  • Havré (13 bns, 6 sqns) at Hochstadt
  • Prince Xavier (19 bns, 22 sqns) at Lohr and Schlüchtern
  • Saint-Germain (33 bns, 38 sqns) on the left bank of the Rhine

In June, Great Britain sent 2 more regiments of cavalry (15th Eliot's Light Horse and 7th (Queen's Own) Dragoons to join its contingent operating with the Allied Army, making up a total of close on 10,000 men sent as reinforcement that very year.

On June 7, Broglie sent reinforcements to Prince Xavier in the County of Fulda.

On June 9, the Hereditary Prince arrived at Schlitz.

On June 10

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince, now at the head of 11,500 men, advanced on Fulda. The French had already evacuated the place and 2 Allied sqns entered the town.
    • The Hereditary Prince pursued the retreating French with his hussars up to Schlüchtern, where the French had a large corps.
  • French
    • The French division of M. de Lillebonne was at Steinau; Vogüé à Schlüchtern; Caraman at Obersotzbach, and Rougé at Birstein to protect the Kinzig Valley.

On June 11, the artillery of the Saxon Contingent and Navarre Brigade reached Gelnhausen while 2 French dragoon rgts took position between Gelnhausen and Büdigen and the Volontaires Étrangers (Volontaires d'Austrasie or Volontaires de Clermont-Prince) between Birstein and Wächtersbach. The same day, M. de Lillebonne sent 2 dragoon rgts and 3 bns to Steinau.

On June 12 and 13, Prince Xavier advanced to Aufenau near Salmünster.

On June 13

  • Allies
    • By that date, Ferdinand's main army was still encamped near Fritzlar.
  • French
    • On the right of the Broglie's main army, a large French corps under Prince Xavier was encamped at Aufenau and another under M. de Saint-Pern at Gelnhausen. On the left of the main army, Prince Camille was at Limburg and M. de Guerchy, previously at Hachenburg, had fallen back and made a junction with Prince Camille.

On June 14

  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince retired from his camp near Fulda to Schlitz.
    • On the Lower Rhine, Major von Bülow, who, as part of Spörcken's Army, was posted at Dortmund with part of the Légion Britannique and the Hesse-Kassel Hussars, attacked the Chasseurs de Fischer with his mounted troops near Meiderich, north-east of Ruhrort. He drove them out of their positions, capturing 50 men. Bülow also detached M. de Botlar over the Ruhr, the latter captured another 20 prisoners. In this affair, the Légion Britannique lost only 2 men and Fischer a total of 100 men. Bülow then retired to Essen, where he had left his infantry.
  • French
    • After the departure of the Allies, M. de Caraman immediately occupied Fulda.
    • Prince Xavier's Corps reached Schlüchtern, where it made a junction with Vogué's Corps.

On June 15

French armies make a junction

On June 16

  • French
    • Saint-Germain sent d'Auvet's Division towards the Ruhr.
    • I./Reding Infanterie remained at Mettmann to escort a convoy.
    • The rest of his Army of the Lower Rhine crossed the Rhine and marched in two columns to Kalkum where it encamped.

On June 17

  • French
    • D'Auvet's Division passed the Ruhr and encamped at Essen while the rest of Saint-Germain's Army passed the Ruhr and reached Mülheim.
    • A small division (Touraine brigade and Thianges Dragons, soon joined by Alsace Infanterie) under M. de Leyde reached Düsseldorf, on its way to join Saint-Germain.
  • Allies
    • The Hereditary Prince advanced with his corps on Klein-Lüder, where the Bercheny Hussards were supposedly posted, but on his arrival the prince found that they had retired.
    • The 5th Hodgson's Foot, 11th Bocland's Foot and 33rd Griffin's Foot arrived at the Allied camp at Fritzlar. Ferdinand then reviewed these regiments recently arrived from Great Britain and declared them to be in a most satisfactory condition.

On June 18

  • French
    • D'Auvet reached Wattenscheid and Saint-Germain encamped at Steele.
    • Broglie took his own troops out of their winter-quarters.
  • Allies
    • Lieutenant-Colonel von Jeanneret with the Malachowski Hussars made himself master of an outpost at Hohenfeld, capturing 5 officers and 130 men.

On June 19

  • French
    • D'Auvet's Division and Saint-Germain's Corps made a junction at Bochum and then advanced on Dortmund, forcing Spörcken to fall back to Hamm.
    • Broglie's main army assembled at Friedberg.

On June 20

  • French
    • In the morning, Bercheny Hussards were attacked by Luckner's White Hussars. The dragoons of the Volontaires du Hainaut were sent to the rescue and together with Bercheny Hussards, they drove back Luckner's White Hussars, taking 50 prisoners.
    • On the Lower Rhine, the main body of Saint-Germain's Army reached Dortmund. From this place it was open to Saint-Germain to advance either northward against Münster or eastward against Lippstadt; but it was tolerably evident that his real design was to join Broglie's main army and to operate against the right flank of Ferdinand's Army.
    • Saint-Germain's Corps marched to Lünen where Saint-Germain established his headquarters.
    • Broglie's main army marched to Hungen.
    • Prince Xavier was still at Schlüchtern and sent forward Bercheny Hussards and the Volontaires du Hainaut to reconnoitre the movements of the Hereditary Prince. He then left his position to move closer to the main body.
  • Allies
    • On the Lower Rhine, the Légion Britannique under Major von Bülow retired from Dortmund to Lünen, behind the Lippe River. General von Spörcken assembled his army in two camps near Dülmen (8 bns, 8 sqns, 16 artillery pieces) and Werne (6 bns, 10 sqns, 6 artillery pieces) and placed 1 bn in Hamm, 1 bn in Werne and 1 bn in Lünen. His light troops were posted near Lünen, Haltern and Velen (to the south-west of Coesfeld)..
    • The 8th King's Foot under Barrington, 24th Cornwallis' Foot and 50th Carr's Foot arrived at the Allied camp at Fritzlar. The grenadiers of the 6 recently arrived bns formed a converged battalion: the Daulhat Grenadiers.

On June 21

  • French
    • Leyde's Division made a junction with Saint-Germain's Army. Meanwhile, the Chasseurs de Fischer had taken position at Brackel, the I./Reding Infanterie at Elberfeld and the Volontaires de Flandre at Schwerte to protect Saint-Germain's lines of communication.
    • Broglie had assembled most of his own army and concentrated between Hungen and Butzbach.
    • Prince Xavier reached Götzenhain.
  • Allies

On the night of June 21 to 22

  • Allies
    • Scheither's Corps arrived at Recklinghausen.
    • At 2:00 a.m., Ferdinand sent Major Bauer's entire Pioneers Corps and Frei Hussars von Bauer from Wabern towards the bridge of Uttershausen where they waited for the arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Watson's Corps.
  • French

On June 22

  • French
    • Broglie marched to Grünberg, a little to the east of Giessen in Hesse, with his right in front of the town, his left towards the church of Wirberg, his grenadiers and chasseurs between Grünberg and Stangenrod, the Grenadiers de France and the Grenadiers Royaux near Nieder-Ohmen, and his cavalry in the neighbourhood of Queckborn.
    • The Brigadier Comte Melfort was detached with 1,200 men to reconnoitre in the direction of Homberg and observed the Allied camp behind Kirchhain near Langenstein.
    • The right reserve under Prince Xavier marched to Merlau near the source of the Ohm, to the north-east of Grünberg
    • Guerchy's Corps advanced by way of Weilburg to Müchholzhausen, to the south-west of Giessen.
    • Chabo's Corps advanced by way of Hachenburg to Mengerskirchen.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand's main army, encamped near Wabern, numbered approx. 35,000 men. Ferdinand also recalled part of Spörcken's Corps to the main army. He estimated the strength of Saint-Germain's Corps to 23,000 men and Broglie's main army to 82,000 men.
    • In the evening, Imhoff informed Ferdinand that Broglie's main army was encamped near Grünberg and asked for instructions.

On the night of June 22 to 23

  • Allies
    • At 1:00 a.m., the “general march” was beaten in Ferdinand's camp and the Highlanders along with 3 grenadier bns (British Daulhat and Maxwell, and Hessian Buttlar) took position on the Heights of Uttershausen.
    • At 1:30 a.m., “Assembly” was beaten and tents were struck.
    • At 2:00 a.m. the march started towards Uttershausen with the 3 grenadier bns and the Highlanders under Lieutenant-Colonel Beckwith leading, followed by the quartermaster-general, the quartermasters and the pontoons. Each battalion marched by platoon. Watson along with the Frei Hussars von Bauer formed the avant-garde at Uttershausen.

On June 23

  • French
    • In the evening, Broglie, leaving the main body at Grünberg, advanced northwards with all his light troops, the Grenadiers de France, 12 bns, the Royal-Carabiniers and his dragoons towards Schweinsberg on the Ohm in very bad weather conditions.
  • Allies
    • The cavalry of the Hereditary Prince surprised and routed the Bercheny Hussards near Zeilbach, taking some prisoners.
    • The Hereditary Prince fell back from Hersfeld with his detachment towards the Ohm and reached Lauterbach.
    • Ferdinand instructed Imhoff that he should make a junction with the corps of the Hereditary Prince near Amöneburg.
    • Ferdinand, who still doubted that the entire French army was on the march, detached Lieutenant-General Waldegrave with only 9 bns towards Frielendorf to support Imhoff.
    • In the evening Imhoff sent the Hanoverian Grenadier Battalion Geyso and a jäger coy to guard the bridge over the Ohm at Homberg. There were already a garrison of 200 men under Captain von Diepenbroick in the Castle of Homberg.
    • In the evening 6 British bns encamped on the Heights of Uttershausen.

On June 24

  • Allies
    • At 2:00 a.m., Ferdinand's main army marched southwards from Uttershausen. Around 9:00 a.m., it reached Frielendorf to join Imhoff, with every intention of making Broglie fight them before he could further advance.
    • Early in the morning, the Hereditary Prince reached Homberg with his corps. On the south-west bank of the Ohm, he could see the vastly superior mass of French troops. The detachment sent by Imhoff to Homberg had already abandoned the bridge and retired into the castle. The Hereditary Prince asked Imhoff to come to his support. Imhoff immediately reported to Ferdinand his intention to move to Homberg as soon as Luckner had joined him with the troops posted near Amömeburg. However, in front of this vastly superior French army, the prince and Imhoff decided to evacuate Homberg and wait for the arrival of Ferdinand's main army. Imhoff's troops remained in their camp near Langenstein, to the north-east of Kirchhain, and the Hereditary Prince joined the left wing at Allendorf, where Waldegrave's troops were already posted. Luckner was able to retire from Amöneburg without being followed by the French.
    • At 4:00 p.m., Ferdinand's Army resumed its advance by way of Neustadt. Ferdinand rode ahead and reached the camp of Langenstein around 5:00 p.m. To his infinite disgust, he learned that Imhoff, contrary to his report that morning, had abandoned the position entrusted to him at Homberg and Amöneburg, and had ordered the whole of the advanced corps back to Kirchhain.
  • French
    • Early in the morning, Broglie took position between Amöneburg and Homberg on the left bank of the Ohm.
    • In the evening, Broglie threw bridges across the Ohm and passed the river at Schweinsberg. The Allied garrison abandoned Homberg, closely followed up by French light troops under M. de Robecq, Royal-Nassau Hussards capturing prisoners and several wagons. The Légion Royale, supported by Du Roy Dragons and La Ferronnaye Dragons, attacked the rearguard and forced it to retire.
    • Broglie encamped in the neighbourhood of Schweinsberg and established his headquarters in this town. Thus, with Imhoff's retreat, the most effective barrier in Hesse was opened to the French who sent forward light troops to take post at Dillenburg and Staufenberg.
    • Guerchy's Corps marched by way of Ebsdorf and made a junction with Broglie's main army.
    • Chabo was ordered to encircle Marburg.

By June 24, the Broglie's Army was deployed as follows:

  • main body (77 bns and 83 sqns) near Schweinsberg
  • Guerchy's Corps (13 bns, 6 sqns) at Weilburg
  • Chabo's Corps (7 bns, 10 sqns) at Hachenburg
  • Prince Xavier at Erbenhausen

On June 25

  • French
    • The rest of Broglie's Army passed the Ohm. After the passage of the Ohm, his army encamped at Schweinsberg and rested.
    • Broglie sent Prince Xavier forward to Kirtorf with the right reserve.
    • Broglie instructed Saint-Germain to advance on Lippstadt and to push his light troops up to the vicinity of Warburg. However, he once more met difficulties with Saint-Germain, who was worried about his lines of communication, which could be threatened by Spörcken's Army, which was still at Dülmen on his left flank with detachments at Haltern and Lünen. This led to inimical correspondence between the two and to fierce complaints from Saint-Germain to the Secretary of War, whom he asked to be relieved from his command.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand expected the French offensive to be continued and initially wanted to offer battle on the heights of Allendorf and Neustadt. However, after careful reconnaissances, he decided not to confront the French in positions where his left flank could be easily threatened.

In the night of June 25 to 26, Ferdinand's Army retreated to Ziegenhain.

On June 26

  • French
    • At dawn, expecting to be attacked, Broglie sent his right wing towards Kirtorf to support Prince Xavier. However, when he learned that the Allies had retired, he sent his light troops to follow them.
  • Allies
    • Early in the morning, Ferdinand's Army encamped north of the Schwalm River, between Treysa and Ziegenhain.
    • The Hereditary Prince covered the left flank at Obergrenzebach.
    • Luckner was posted on the heights to the south-west of Treysa to observe the movements of the French in the vicinity of Neustadt.
    • Imhoff's Corps, posted at Sebbeterode, covered the right flank and the road leading, by way of Fritzlar, to Kassel.
    • Imhoff's Corps made a junction with the troops of the Prince of Anhalt, which had marched from Corbach, by way of Frankenberg.

On June 27

  • French
    • The vanguard, which had followed up the retreating Allied rearguard, encamped at Neustadt for the night.
    • The Saxon Contingent under Prince Xavier reached Willingshausen, east of Neustadt. Broglie then sent M. de Nordmann with light troops to reconnoitre the roads to Kassel.
  • Allies

On June 28

  • French
    • Broglie's main army followed up the retiring Allied Army and marched to Neustadt where Broglie established his headquarters. His lines extended left up to Speckswinkel.
    • A French force blockaded the Castle of Dillenburg.
  • Allies
    • Kielmansegg's Corps marched Jesberg.

Broglie now intended to cut Ferdinand's communication with Lippstadt. Both armies then remained inactive for a few days, though not two hours' march apart, neither daring to attack the other, and each waiting for the other to make the next movement. Meanwhile Spörcken was at Lünen with the Allied Army of Westphalia to observe Saint-Germain's Corps still encamped at Dortmund.

On June 29,

  • French
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand rearranged his positions, placing his right on the Heights of Treysa and his left at Schönborn.
    • Kielmansegg's Corps returned to Nieder-Urf to cover the right flank while the Hereditary Prince, just arriving from Fulda with his corps, did the same on the left flank.
    • General Griffin marched to Waltersbrück with 5 bns (British Carr, Brudenell, Hanoverian Schulenburg, Hessian Gilsa (2 bns)), 3 sqns (Bland) and 4 artillery pieces to establish communication wit Kielmansegg's Corps.

In the night of June 29 to 30, the Allied garrison of Marburg surrendered to M. de Chabo at the head of the Irish brigade. The 380 men of the garrison and their commander, Major Puffendorf became prisoners of war. French forces were sent to lay siege to Dillenburg already blockaded since a few days.

On June 30

  • French
  • French raid on Fritzlar
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Nordmann of the Turpin Hussards, at the head of 1,250 cavalrymen, surprised the town of Fritzlar, where the bakery of the Allies had been installed. Nordmann managed to damage 4 cannon and to capture many prisoners.
    • Major-General Luckner arrived from Treysa with the Luckner Hussars and Hodenberg Cavalry, supported by a detachment of Kielmansegg's Corps under Colonel von Walthausen.
    • Nordmann retired by way of Freienhagen and Sachsenhausen.
    • Luckner followed Nordmann up to Freienhagen and then took position near Braunau, south of Wildungen, where he was later joined by the 3 Hanoverian grenadier bns and the Hessian Jägers.
    • Walthausen's detachment rejoined Kilenmannsegg's Corps.
  • Allies

On July 1

  • French
    • Broglie was at Neustadt.
    • Saint-Germain, who still disagreed with Broglie's plan, asked again to be relieved from his command.
    • In the evening, Nordmann reached Frankenberg.

On July 2, the 88th Campbell's Highlanders along with 300 recruits for the 87th Keith's Highlanders, arriving from Great Britain, joined the Allied army.

On July 3

Broglie detached other smaller detachments towards Haina and Jesberg.

In the night of July 3 to 4, the Allies began building entrenchments on the heights between Wasenberg and Schwalm overlooking Ziegenhain and occupied them with 5 bns.

Combat of Korbach

Map of the surroundings of Korbach.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume 12 by the German Grosser Generalstab

On July 4

  • French
    • Finally obeying Broglie's orders, Saint-Germain force marched in two columns from Dortmund to Menden on the Ruhr, on his way to make a junction with Broglie's main army
    • However, Saint-Germain left a large part of his army under the command of Maréchal de Camp d'Auvet near Hagen to observe the movements of the Allies along the Ruhr River from Arnsberg to Duisburg, and to cover his lines of communication. This corps consisted of 3 infantry brigades (Alsace, Jenner, Lochmann for a total of 11 bns), I./Reding Infanterie, Thianges Dragons (4 sqns) and the Chasseurs de Fischer.
    • Saint-Germain sent the Volontaires de Flandre from Schwerte towards Meschede and Freienohl.
    • Broglie sent instructions to Saint-Germain for a junction of both armies at Corbach on July 10.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand was not sure if Saint-Germain intended to advance on Lippstadt or to effect a junction with Broglie's Army.

On July 5

  • French
    • M. de Poyanne marched from Halsdorf to Frankenberg on the Eder where he made a junction with Nordmann's detachment returning from Fritzlar.
    • Saint-Germain's left reserve marched to Arnsberg and formed on the left bank of the Ruhr.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand sent a large detachment across the Schwalme and the Hereditary Prince was sent to Riebelsdorf on his left.

On July 6

  • French
    • Saint-Germain's left reserve marched to Meschede. The Volontaires de Flandre moved forward to Brilon and La Tour-du-Pin Brigade marched from Arnsberg to Velmede (part of present-day Bestwig).
    • Informed that an Allied detachment had reached Werl and threatening Brilon, Saint-Germain resolved to delay his march for a couple of days and to send the Touraine Brigade back from Freienohl to Arnsberg to rendez-vous with d'Auvet's Corps.
  • Allies
    • Luckner advanced from Braunau on Frankenberg/Eder. He then attacked and drove back M. de Vair. However, Luckner retired when he was informed that Poyanne was marching to Frankenberg to support Closen.
    • Ferdinand instructed Spörcken, who was now posted near Werne while Hardenberg was near Hamm, to follow Saint-Germain while securing Lippstadt. If ever Saint-Germain would take the direction of Hesse, Spörcken would have to rush to the Diemel River.
    • Spörcken sent the Légion Britannique to reconnoitre in the vicinity of Werl.

On July 7

  • French
    • Broglie received a message from Saint-Germain, informing him that he planned to reach Corbach on July 9.
    • Broglie sent Lieutenant-General Comte Rooth towards Halsdorf with 2 infantry brigades and 2 cavalry brigades.
    • French troops now encircled the right flank of the Allied army in a wide arc and began to seriously threaten its lines of communication.
  • Allies
    • Ferdinand vainly waited for an attack on his strongly fortified position near Ziegenhain.
    • Spörcken marched to Hamm. When he was informed that Saint-Germain had left a strong corps near Hagen, he feared that it was destined to an attack on Münster or Lippstadt, each of which being defended by only 3 garrison bns.

In the night of July 7 to 8

  • French
    • At midnight, General Glaubitz left with the Anhalt Brigade and Bercheny Hussards for Amöneburg to cover Marburg and the convoys coming from Giessen.
    • With Saint-Germain's Corps at proximity, Broglie put his plan to pass the Eder at execution. At 2:00 a.m., orders were issued. At 8:00 a.m., the last units quitted Neustadt. The march was carefully veiled. Initially, continuous rain helped to hide it from the Allies.
    • The right flank of Broglie's Army was covered by Prince Xavier's right reserve.
    • Detachments under MM. de Lillebonne, du Blaisel and the Prince de Robecq, under the overall command of M. de Stainville, formed the rearguard.
    • The main army reached Frankenberg/Eder. Prince Xavier stopped at Rauschenberg.

On July 8

  • French
    • Broglie received a new message from Saint-Germain, sent from Meschede, informing him that Saint-Germain had spotted an Allied corps which could threaten his line of communication and had detached a brigade to Arnsberg until d'Auvet could reach this place with the rest of his corps. Saint-Germain also mentioned that, due to this new situation, he could not reach Corbach before July 14 or 15. Broglie immediately answered, giving Saint-Germain the order to reach Corbach on July 9, of July 10 at the latest.
    • Closen detachment (2,400 men) marched to Rhadern being replaced at Sachsenberg by the corps of Poyanne and Roth to guard the defiles and débouchés in the plain of Corbach.
  • Allies
    • Through an intercepted letter, Ferdinand knew of Broglie's plan to make a junction with Saint-Germain's Corps at Corbach. Ferdinand hoped to prevent this junction by a rapid mach towards Corbach.
    • Ferdinand detached the Hereditary Prince with the vanguard and ordered Major-General von Luckner to occupy the heights of Sachsenhausen and Corbach to bar the outlet of the defile through which Broglie's Army must pass into the plain, and so to hinder his junction with Saint-Germain.
    • At 3:00 p.m., Ferdinand quitted Treysa (part of present-day Schwalmstadt) followed by his main army. and marched all night towards Wildungen, On his way, Ferdinand left the Hessian Militia Battalion Wurmb under the command of Colonel Gernreich to occupy Ziegenhain. The French, however, had gained too long a start.
    • On the Lower Rhine, Hardenberg marched to Soest.
    • Spörcken received Ferdinand's orders sent on July 6, and decided to give priority to the defence of Lippstadt.

On July 9

  • Allies
    • In the morning, Ferdinand encamped at Braunau near Wildungen.
    • Kielmansegg's and Griffin's troops, belonging to the vanguard under the Hereditary Prince, reached Sachsenhausen. The prince personally accompanied Luckner's detachment (now including Walthausen), which reached Meineringhausen, pushing some hussars forward to occupy Corbach.
    • In the afternoon, Ferdinand was informed by his patrols of light troops of the march of Broglie's Army on the previous day.
    • In the afternoon, the Allies evacuated Corbach when Closen's detachment approached.
  • French
    • In the morning, Broglie was informed that the Allies had retired northwards during the previous afternoon. He finally ordered his army to pass the Eder at Frankenbergthen and marched to Immighausen where his army encamped.
    • Prince Xavier took position near Frankenberg.
    • Broglie pushed Closen on Sachsenhausen to observe the movements of the Allies and the area of Naumburg.
    • Robeck was sent towards Frankenau and Wildungen.
    • The Maréchal de Camp Glaubitz was detached to Amöneburg with Bentheim Infanterie (3 bns), Royal Bavière Infanterie (3 bns) Bercheny Hussards and 1 converged chasseur bn to cover Marburg and the rearguard arriving from Giessen.
    • Closen advanced towards Sachsenhausen and Naumburg to reconnoitre the country, while other detachments reconnoitred in the directions of Jesberg and Wildungen. Broglie wanted to know more about the whereabouts of Ferdinand's main army.
    • In the afternoon, Closen's detachment reached Corbach. His cavalry came to grip with the Luckner Hussars and soon realised that the Allies had a small camp near Meineringhausen and a larger one east of Sachsenhausen. Broglie ordered to immediately dislodge Luckner and sent an infantry brigade along with the Corps des carabiniers de Monsieur le Comte de Provence to support Closen. However, the French could not mount an attack before nightfall. Closen's detachment took position in the wood to the left of Corbach.
    • Saint-Germain with the Army of the Lower Rhine (33 bns, 38 sqns) continued his advance towards Corbach. Having received formal order from Broglie to quicken pace, Saint-Germain marched with his 2 leading brigades, and reached Giershagen, south of Nieder-Marsberg, with his 2 leading brigades. The largest part of his corps, including his cavalry and artillery, were still lagging far behind.
    • Broglie personally led 6 brigades towards Korbach to support Saint-Germain's attack.

On July 10

  • Allies (before the combat of Corbach)
    • At 2:00 a.m., Ferdinand resumed his march.
  • Combat of Corbach
    • The Hereditary Prince marched from Sachsenhausen towards Corbach.
    • Saint-Germain, though he distressed his troops terribly by the speed of his march, succeeded in passing through the defile from the north.
    • Broglie, hastening up from the south, found Saint-Germain's troops forming in order of battle.
    • On arriving at Korbach, the Hereditary Prince found a French corps under M. de Waldner already formed. Since this corps seemed to consist of only 10,000 foot and 17 sqns, the Hereditary Prince resolved to attack it. However, his attack was repulsed by superior French forces in the combat of Korbach.
  • French (after the combat of Corbach)
    • After their victory, the French encamped on the Heights of Corbach. Saint-Germain was at Canstein on their left and kept posts at Stadtberg (present-day Marsberg on the Diemel river). The light troops were encamped between Saint-Germain and the Broglie's main army at Mühlhausen. The Gardes Françaises and Gardes Suisses, the Grenadiers de France and the Grenadiers Royaux were encamped at Berndorf. M. de Stainville's cavalry corps was at Frankenau.
  • Allies (after the combat of Corbach)
    • The Allies encamped at Sachsenhausen with their left less than 3 km from the French right, separated by an almost impracticable hollow.
    • Spörcken's Corps was encamped at Mengeringhausen and Twiste; with its light troops at Arolsen.

Continuation

The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:

  • French offensive in Hesse (July 11 to September 21, 1760) describing the French offensive in Hesse and the battle of Warburg.
  • Allied offensive on the Lower Rhine (September 22 to October 22, 1760) describing the Allied attempt against Wesel, the French manoeuvres to relieve the fortress, the battle of Clostercamp and the Allied retreat.
  • End of the campaign (October 22 to December 31, 1760) describing the Allied defensive measures, the French maoeuvres and the Allied attempt against Göttingen.

References

This series of articles is a compilation of texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 12 Landeshut und Liegnitz, Berlin, 1913, pp. 21-24, 229-242
  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 521-528, 531-534
  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. II, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 501-519
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 12 Landeshut und Liegnitz, Berlin, 1913, p. 229-243
  • Hotham (probably): The operations of the Allied Amy under the command of his Serene Highness Prince Ferdinand Duke of Brunswic and Luneberg beginning in the year 1757 and ending in the year 1762, London: T. Jefferies, 1764, pp. 137-184
  • Jomini, baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 221-240
  • Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. V, Paris, 1891, pp. 2-114

Acknowledgements

Christian Rogge for the order of march of the Allied Army on June 23 found in the archives of the Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre