1760 - Russian campaign in Brandenburg
The campaign lasted from May to December 1760
State of the Russian Field Army
The units of the Russian Army which had been involved in the campaigns of 1757, 1758 and 1759, had never been at full strength. Furthermore, they had suffered heavy losses in several battles. Many additional losses had been due to the long marches with irregular and often inadequate provisions. After the sanguinary Battle of Kunersdorf (August, 1759), General Saltykov had already requested a reinforcement of 30,000 men to replenish the ranks of his units. Accordingly, on September 18, 1759, the Russian Konferéntsiya (Conference of the Highest Court) had announced new recruitment, where each group of 128 conscripts had to provide 1 men to serve in the army. This measure allowed to enlist approx. 7,000 recruits. However, these recruits could not reach the theatre of operation before the second half of 1760. Additional measures had to be taken to reinforce the army in time for the coming campaign, The Konferéntsiya then decided to reinforce the army with 30,000 men, more precisely:
- 9,000 convalescents and previously enlisted recruits
- 5,000 men from the regiments still stationed in Russia
- 6,000 men taken from the garrison and land militia units
- 3,000 men initially destined the now disbanded Shuvalov's Corps
- 7,000 men of the 12 third bns, which had reached the Vistula in the second half of 1759
By the end of November 1759, the Russian field army numbered only 52,000 men. One year later, when Field Marshal Buturlin took command, it counted 80,000 men. So it seems that the measures taken by the Konferéntsiya had given tangible results.
In the same way that King Frederick of Prussia was openly recruiting in occupied Saxony, Tsarina Elizabeth decided to recruit in occupied East Prussia. However, the governor of Königsberg (present-day Kaliningrad/Kaliningrad Oblast), General von Korff, mentioned that the province was seriously depopulated and thus prevented enlistment of recruits in East Prussia. In St. Petersburg it was also considered advisable that the home provinces should initially make greater sacrifices than East Prussia, which Russia intended to incorporate into the empire within a short time.
By the time the army set off from its quarters in mid-June 1760, each infantry regiments had completed its two field battalions and two grenadier companies to almost the full strength. The third battalions, which had taken post on the Vistula, stayed behind and received recruits from Russia after the departure of the army. They were used to protect the towns of the Lower Vistula and East Prussia, the bases of operation of the army, against Prussian raids from Eastern Pomerania.
The cavalry completed its regiments with men and horses of the "Replacement Squadrons" sent from Russia to the Lower Vistula during the previous year (Masslovski also mentions that 1 sqn of Tobolskiy Dragoons and 1 sqn of Tverskoy Dragoons were used to replenish the ranks of the cavalry). Like the third battalions, these "Replacement Squadrons" remained posted on the Vistula. Finally, the Leib-Cuirassiers joined the army before the opening of the campaign.
Saltykov wanted to keep his Cossack regiments, so important for reconnaissance, in a single corps instead of distributing them among the divisions of his army. The poor discipline of these light troops must also have played a part in his decision. Only the 2,000 Malorussian Cossacks (probably the so-called Companeiskiy Cossacks) were allowed to serve with the field divisions. The Don Cossacks for their part were destined to be used in large units. For the campaign of 1760, 9 Cossacks regiments (including the Chuguev Cossacks served with the Russian army. They totalled 5,000 men.
Saltykov also assigned light guns (probably two 8-pdr unicorns) with mounted crews to each of his hussar and Cossacks regiments. The horse grenadiers and the dragoons were already equipped with similar guns and crews.
The Observation Corps, which had not met the expectation of the Russian generals during the previous campaigns, was disbanded at the beginning of 1760. Its artillery (including the Bombardier Corps and the Secret Howitzer Corps) joined the main army and the entire field artillery was organised in brigades. These brigades were assigned to divisions or independent corps. Furthermore, a special artillery reserve remained at the commander-in-chief's disposal.
As in previous campaigns, groups of 2 or 3 field artillery pieces were allocated to infantry regiments in addition to their 4 regimental pieces. Even in 1760, the field army did not have siege artillery because it would have required a disproportionately large number of horses to allow it to follow the army.
Saltykov still wanted the army to be accompanied by a supply of provisions for one month. However, carts and wagons were still in poor conditions and it was not possible to find enough horses. It was only in late autumn, when 7,000 draft oxen arrived from Ukraine, that the situation somewhat improved. So for most of the campaign, an excessively large train seriously impeded the movements of the Russian field army.
Tottleben's raids in Eastern Pomerania, Neumarkand on the Silesian border
The Russian army reached its winter-quarters on the Vistula only at the beginning of 1760. The headquarters were established in Marienburg (present-day Malbork). The light troops (approx. 4,500 cossacks and hussars) under Major-General Gottlob Curt Heinrich Count Tottleben were charged of the protection of the winter-quarters. These light troops remained on the left bank of the Vistula and established outposts from Oliva (present-day Oliwa) by way of Konitz (present-day Chojnice) and Nakel (present-day Nakło nad Notecią), up to Gnesen (present-day Gniezno). They had no provisions and had to constantly roam Poland, East Pomerania and the eastern borders of Silesia to collect food. Wherever they went, these detachments committed great depredations, plundering and abusing the inhabitants and taking away the horses they found. What could not be carried away was often willfully destroyed. Often, local authorities were forced to issue reports, in which they acknowledged the good discipline maintained by the raiders.
Tottleben found additional reasons to conduct raids, when he learned that the Prussians were making extensive recruiting in Pomerania, the Mark and Silesia, that their fortresses were being resupplied with everything they needed and that magazines were being set up. To disrupt these preparations and to prevent the export of grain from Poland, Tottleben sent three large detachments to Eastern Pomerania, the Neumark and the Silesian border.
The Russian detachment sent to Eastern Pomerania broke through Neustettin (present-day Szczecinek) into the district of Stolp (present-day Slupsk). It roamed the country up to Köslin (present-day Koszalin) and then turned back and marched by way of Schivelbein (present-day Świdwin) and Polzin (present-day Połczyn-Zdrój) to Neustettin.
The Russian detachment (1 cossack rgt and 50 hussars) sent to the Neumark rode by way of Filehne (present-day Wieleń) and Driesen (present-day Drezdenko).
On January 9, the detachment operating in Neumark reached Landsberg/Warthe (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski) and drove the Neumark Kammer Hussars (1 sqn) out of the place. A group of 500 Cossacks attacked the towns of Tirschtiegel (present-day Trzciel) and Schwiebus (present-day Świebodzin). The detachment then retired by way of Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce), Berlinchen (present-day Barlinek) and Driesen, confiscating gold and horses along the way.
The strongest Russian detachment (3 cossack rgts) was sent by way of Lissa (present-day Leszno) and Fraustadt (present-day Wschowa) towards the Silesian border.
On January 22, part of the largest Russian detachment surprised a Prussian outpost (a detachment of Gersdorff Hussars), which had been sent forward from Breslau (present-day Wroclaw) to Militsch (present-day Milicz).
At the end of January, General Fouqué took position near Löwenberg (present-day Lwówek Śląski) and Lauban (present-day Luban) with his corps.
At the beginning of February, Colonel von Hacke, the Prussian commander in Glogau (present-day Glogow), reported to Frederick that a strong Cossack corps had reached Reisen (present-day Rydzyna), Lissa, Fraustadt and Schmiegel (present-day Śmigiel). They had then spread the rumours that they were followed by a much larger corps. These incursions caused a large part of the rural population of the right bank of the Oder to take refuge on the opposite bank of the river.
On February 2, Reimer, the Prussian resident in Danzig (present-day Gdańsk) sent a report to Frederick, informing him that the Russians planned to send a corps under Lieutenant-General Rumyantsev to assist the Austrians in Saxony. According to Reimer, this corps should leave before the end of the month and Tottleben's incursions were just the initial phase of the operations.
On February 3 at Konitz, General Tottleben issued a proclamation disapproving of the conduct of his light troops, about which he had received numerous complaints, and announcing that Russian units would occupy Stolp, Neustettin and Arnswalde (present-day Choszczno) to protect these towns from depredations. The inhabitants were warned against supplying forage, money and recruits to the Prussian garrisons. At the same time, Russian light troops moved back into Eastern Pomerania.
On February 5 on the Silesian border, a Cossack party plundered Herrnstadt (present-day Wąsosz), while another party tried to take foot on the opposite bank of the Oder near Beuthen (present-day Bytom Odrzański). Another troop, bumped near Zerbau (present-day Serby) into an advanced guard sent from the Fortress of Glogau. Detachments of the Garrison Regiment Alt-Sydow, together with a few Gersdorff Hussars, advanced from Breslau to protect the Bartsch (present-day Barycz River) Line leading to Militsch and Winzig (present-day Wińsko). They were joined by 1 sqn of Werner Hussars sent from Upper Silesia. The 2 first bns of Garrison-Regiment Jung-Sydow were posted in Steinau (present-day Ścinawa) and Grünberg (present-day Zielona Gora). The troops in Grünberg also secured Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie) and the ferry crossing at Beuthen.
On February 7, as Frederick had received numerous reports confirming the presence of Russian light troops on the Silesian border, he instructed General von Fouqué to send a few hussar sqns to the frontier to contain their incursions.
When Frederick received Reimer's report, he dismissed the warning, estimating that the Russians could not be ready to advance before the end of March. Nevertheless, he ordered Fouqué to send hussars across the Oder to reconnoitre and determine in which direction the Russians would march. As soon as their line of advance would be known, the inhabitants of the threatened region should be ordered to retreat with their belongings.
On February 11, concerned by the situation on the border between Poland and Silesia, Frederick ordered Fouqué to send a stronger force towards Glogau to stop the Russians, specifying that, if necessary, Fouqué should accompany this force. Fouqué then sent Lieutenant-Colonel von der Dollen with the IV./Garrison Regiment Lattorff and 40 Malachowski Hussars from Kirschberg (probably present-day Tłustoręby) to the vicinity of Glogau. Soon afterwards, he also sent Major-General von Werner with 3 sqns of Werner Hussars by way of Köben (present-day Chobienia) to secure the passages on the Bartsch River.
By mid-February, Russian light troops were everywhere in Eastern Pomerania. They reconnoitred the vicinity of the Fortress of Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg) and tried to interrupt its supply.
On February 18 in Eastern Pomerania, Russian light troops pillaged Stargard and its mayor was taken as hostage. Everywhere, the Russians raised contribution in forage, gold and horses.
On February 19 on the Silesian border, a party of cossacks and hussars pillaged Carolath (present-day Siedlisko) and attacked the Prussian outposts near Beuthen.
On February 20 on the Silesian border, a party of cossacks and hussars appeared in front of Crossen. Fouqué let Major-General von Ramin march to Grünberg with Thile Infantry and 2 other sqns of Werner Hussars. Ramin was also given command of 2 bns of Garrison-Regiment Jung-Sydow.
Ramin occupied Beuthen, Grünberg and Crossen. Grenadier Battalion Kleist, which was in the process of being rebuilt, went to Steinau. Soon afterwards Freibataillon Lüderitz was sent to Militsch. The Oder now seemed secured from Crossen to Breslau. The Prussian commander in Glogau let ice accumulate on the banks of the Oder River and had all vessels transferred to the left bank.
When the cossacks were informed of the advance of General von Werner, they evacuated Lissa and Fraustadt and retreated northwards by way of Schwiebus and Meseritz (present-day Międzyrzecz). Werner followed them along the right bank of the Oder up to the vicinity of Glogau. He detached Captain von Rosenkranz towards Lissa. This detachment dispersed a party of cossacks between Lissa and Fraustadt. Furthermore, Lieutenant von Krahnert of Gersdorff Hussars advanced from Militsch and attacked another party of cossacks near Adelnau (present-day Odolanów) capturing a wagon of forage.
On February 22 in Eastern Pomerania, Captain Dekovatch attacked the town of Schwedt with Russian light troops, capturing Margrave Friedrich Wilhelm von Schwedt and his son in law, Lieutenant-General Prince Friedrich Eugen von Württemberg, who was recovering there from wounds suffered at the Battle of Kunersdorf the previous year. They were soon released after a ransom had been paid.
Meanwhile, the governor of Stettin (present-day Szczecin), the Duke of Bevern, had sent 2 sqns of the Pomeranian Provincial Hussars and the 2 free companies (probably the Pomeranian Frei-Grenadier-Corps von Hullesem) under Major von Stülpnagel to cover the region of Stargard against Russian raids.
On February 23, Stülpnagel's detachment intercepted Dekovatch's retiring light troops in the vicinity of Pyritz. It attacked them thrice and followed them. During these skirmishes, the Prussians recaptured the contributions raised by the Russians in Königsberg for the ransom of the Margrave of Schwedt. Stülpnagel then remained near Pyritz and secured the region of Arnswalde where the large Russian detachment returning from the Silesian border had appeared.
On February 24, Frederick, after receiving many complaints about the advance of the Russian light troops into Eastern Pomerania, instructed the Duke of Bevern and Major-General von Stutterheim, who commanded in this province, to arrange joint operations and to send without delay a detachment of infantry and cavalry to Stargard.
At the beginning of March, a cavalry unit consisting of convalescents (45 hussars from Ruesch, Dingelstedt and Malachowski rgts, and 130 Schorlemmer Dragoons) set off from Stettin under Major von Podewils of Schorlemmer Dragoons, along with Grenadier Battalion Köller and Pomeranian Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben, and marched towards Stargard.
At the beginning of March, disagreements arose between Tottleben and Count Fermor, who was assuming command during Saltykov's sojourn at St. Petersburg. The latter reproached Tottleben to send very imperfect and informal reports about the movements of his troops.
In the night of March 11 to 12, Podewils advanced towards Arnswalde with his cavalry and 2 weak sqns of Pomeranian Provincial Hussars.
On March 12 at daybreak, Podewils attacked the Russians posted in Arnswalde and drove them back with heavy losses. He pursued them and drove other detachments out of Tempelburg (present-day Czaplinek) and Neustettin. He then redirected his march towards Köslin by way of Belgard (present-day Białogard) to clear the region from Russian detachments.
In Köslin, Podewils received order to escort Major-General von Wylich from Bütow (present-day Bytów), where this general had negotiated from November 1759 until March 7 exchanges of prisoners with the Russian Major-General Yakovlev, before being recalled by Frederick.
By mid-March on the Silesian border, the Prussians had the following units deployed along the Oder River:
- Thile Infantry (2 bns) and Werner Hussars (2 sqns) in Beuthen and Grünberg
- IV./Garrison Regiment Lattorff in Priedemost (present-day Przedmoście)
- Grenadier Battalion Kleist in Steinau
- Freibataillon Lüderitz in Militsch
- I./Garrison Regiment Jung-Sydow in Grünberg
- II./Garrison Regiment Jung-Sydow in Crossen
- III./Garrison Regiment Mellin (from Schweidnitz) in Jauer (present-day Jawor)
- Werner Hussars (4 sqns) in Rauschwitz near Glogau
- I./Garrison Regiment Itzenplitz and Diericke Fusiliers (2 bns) in Glogau
- I./Garde, Garrison Regiment Alt-Sydow (? bns), Knobloch Infantry (2 bns) and Rebentisch Infantry (2 bns) in Breslau
Frederick sent Major-General von Grabow to Eastern Pomerania with Finck Infantry, which had been reestablished in his garrison of Prenzlau, and the Grenadier Battalion Schwerin that had been rebuilt in Berlin.
On March 25, Grabow reached Stargard and sent the Grenadier Battalion Schwerin to join Podewils' detachment by way of Belgard and Köslin.
On March 27, after renewed reproaches from Fermor, Tottleben brusquely offered his resignation.
On March 28, Podewils, who was marching towards Bütow to escort Wylich on his return, fought a skirmish against a strong party of cossacks near Rummelsburg (present-day Miastko).
On March 29, Podewils reached Reddies (present-day Radusz), only 20 km to the northwest of Bütow. He was joined there by Major-General von Wylich.
On ???, Grenadier Battalion Schwerin joined Podewils's detachment near Zanow (present-day Sianów), east of Köslin.
Tottleben now did everything he could to cut the line of retreat of Podewils' detachment by blocking the crossings on the Grabow River (present-day Grabowa) east of Köslin and taking position on the Gollenberg (present-day Chełmno Słowieńskie) with the main body of his light troops and 10 guns. When he heard of the arrival of additional Prussian units, Tottleben abandoned his project and Podewils escaped by marching along the coast by way of Schlawe (present-day Sławno) and Rügenwalde (present-day Darłowo). For his conduct, Podewils was promoted to lieutenant-general. After reaching Stargard, Grabow deployed in cordon from Pyritz by way of Reetz (present-day Recz) and Nörenberg (present-day Ińsko) up to Freienwalde in Pommern (present-day Chociwel). Grenadier Battalion Köller and the Pomeranian Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben then returned to Stettin.
After his failure to block the retreat of Podewils' detachment, Tottleben remained in the vicinity of Köslin and Belgard. His light troops raided as far as Treptow an der Rega (present-day Trzebiatów), Greifenberg (present-day Gryfice), Polzin, and Neustettin.
At the beginning of April, Tottleben asked Fermor for infantry support and provisions, since it was becoming difficult to obtain food in Eastern Pomerania. Fermor, however, had not approved of Tottleben's far-reaching advance, which in his opinion was fruitless. Nevertheless, Fermor sent an infantry brigade with 12 unicorns under General von Treyden to Konitz to support Tottleben's light troops. Tottleben received orders from Fermor to retire to Rummelsburg and Neustettin.
In April, Frederick sent Lieutenant-General von Forcade with reinforcements (Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff, Hülsen Infantry (2 bns) and Jung-Schenckendorff Infantry (1 bn)) to join Grabow's detachment to better protect East Pomerania and to prevent the Russians from approaching Colberg.
On April 6, Prince Heinrich assumed command of the Army of the Oder, destined to oppose the Russians. His army would assemble in Sagan (present-day Zagan) on the Silesian border. From this position, he could advance towards Frankfurt/Oder or Pomerania, or he could make a junction with Fouqué's Corps in Upper Silesia. His army consisted of 40 bns and 70 sqns. There was also a small Prussian corps under Stutterheim in Western Pomerania.
On April 12, Frederick granted Prince Heinrich "full power" on the Army of the Oder.
In mid-April, Tottleben retired to Rummelsburg and Neustettin with his light troops. He then resigned his command and went to Marienburg to await the decision of St. Petersburg.
On April 19, Frederick and Prince Heinrich met in Meissen in preparation for the campaign. The troops destined to form the army of Prince Heinrich were mostly stationed in Silesia, with only a few regiments still attached to Frederick's main army.
On April 28, Prince Heinrich set off from Torgau with 7 bns (Grenadier Battalion Schwartz, Grenadier Battalion Bähr, ?Kleist Infantry? and Lindstedt Infantry, I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch), 7 sqns of the Ruesch Hussars and 31 heavy artillery pieces (20 x 12-pdrs, 6 x 10-pdr howitzers, 5 x 7-pdr howitzers), previously attached to Frederick's main army, and marched by way of Herzberg and Cottbus towards Sorau (present-day Żary) and Sagan.
Considering that Forcade's Corps in East Pomerania had not enough cavalry to face the Russian light troops, Frederick decided to gradually send him cavalry units. The 5 sqns of Schmettau Cuirassiers were the first to join this corps.
On May 2, Fermor informed Tottleben that General Yeropkin was now in command of the light troops. In this letter he once more accused Tottleben of having unnecessarily campaigned with the light troops during the winter, without achieving any success. A quarter of the light cavalry had already lost their horses. The Konferéntsiya (Conference of the Highest Court) in St. Petersburg initially approved the appointment of Yeropkin.
Yeropkin retired behind the Küddow River (present-day Gwda), east of Neustettin with the Russian light troops. Lieutenant-General Platen followed the retiring Russians by way of Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie) with Schmettau Cuirassiers and Dingelstedt Hussars. Meanwhile, Forcade advanced with the main body of his corps to Dramburg.
On May 4, Prince Heinrich reached the vicinity of Sorau and Sagan, where he quartered his troops (7 bns, 7 sqns) after having marched from Torgau by way of Herzberg and Cottbus. Prince Heinrich personally rode to Sagan. He planned to take position between Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą) and Landsberg with his army.
On May 14, Platen advanced on Bärwalde (present-day Barwice) with his cavalry, the 2 grenadier bns and the two Pomeranian free coys. The 2,000 Russians posted there retired to Neustettin and soon afterwards evacuated this place as well.
- Prince Heinrich detached Colonel von Thadden with 3 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kleist from Steinau, Diericke Fusiliers from Glogau) and 4 sqns (2 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons, 2 sqns of Werner Hussars) to Friedeberg (present-day Strzelce Krajenskie) to get some news about the operations of the Russians in the Neumark. This detachment occupied Driesen and Woldenberg (present-day Dobiegniew).
- Frederick decided to transfer the Meinicke Dragoons from West Pomerania to join Forcade's Corps.
- Forcade was now at the head of 7½ bns and 22 sqns with 24 heavy artillery pieces. However, most of this force consisted of units which had been captured at Maxen and newly re-established during winter.
On 16 May, Platen retired from Neustettin by way of Bublitz (present-day Bobolice) to chase Russian light troops out of this area. However, the Russians followed him during his retreat. This led to a few skirmishes.
On May 17
- An ukase arrived at the Russian headquarters in Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn), in which Tottleben's behavior was indeed disapproved of as rash, but he was nevertheless reinstated in his command.
- Platen marched from Bublitz towards Belgard. His incursion had no lasting result, Russian light troops had been driven out of East Pomerania for only a few days and soon returned.
- Forcade let Major-General von Grabow take position near Köslin and Belgard with 2 bns (Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff and Grenadier Battalion Schwerin) and 4 sqns (2 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons and 2 sqns of Pomeranian Provincial Hussars. Köslin itself was occupied by 200 men detached from the garrison of Colberg.
- Forcade himself led 5½ bns (2 bns of Hülsen Infantry, 2 bns of Finck Infantry,, 1 bn of Jung-Schenckendorff Infantry and 2 free coys) and 18 sqns (Schmettau Cuirassiers, Vasold-Horn Cuirassiers, 3 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons and 5 sqns of Dingelstedt Hussars) to take quarters in Dramburg, Neuwedell (present-day Drawno), Falkenburg (present-day Złocieniec), Nörenberg, Labes (present-day Łobez) and Schivelbein.
On May 20, Tottleben assumed once more command of the Russian light troops , but also of 6 bns which would soon join him near Neustettin. The complete plundering of Eastern Pomerania, which was his work, undoubtedly caused severe limitations to Prussia, which were to make themselves felt in the next summer. It is thus understandable that the Konferéntsiya had reinstated this active and indefatigable cavalry leader.
Tottleben then decided to advance against the left wing of the Prussian positions.
On May 26, Tottleben appeared in front of Belgard with his light cavalry and 6 artillery pieces. The place was defended by 300 men of the Grenadier Battalion Schwerin with 1 artillery piece, 1 sqn of Meinicke Dragoons and a hussar commando. This garrison was under the command of Captain von Schönfeld. It bravely defended the place and Tottleben abandoned his design.
On May 29 early in the morning, Tottleben attacked Köslin. His artillery bombarded the town where fire broke out. The place was defended by Major von Benckendorff with the Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff, 1 sqn of Meinicke Dragoons and approx. 40 hussars. Benckendorff rejected several summons to surrender.
On May 31, Major von Benckendorff capitulated at Köslin under conditions of free withdrawal, to avoid the total destruction of the town. His bn had suffered heavy casualties during an unsuccessful sortie.
The greater part of the troops sent from Silesia to reinforce Prince Heinrich's army formerly belonged to Schmettau's Corps. During the month of May, these 15 bns (Grenadier Battalion Carlowitz, Grenadier Battalion Busche, Grenadier Battalion Bock, Alt-Stutterheim Infantry, Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers, Jung-Stutterheim Infantry, Ramin Infantry, Queiss Infantry and Zieten Fusiliers) and 15 sqns (Spaen Cuirassiers, Schlabrendorff Cuirassiers and 5 sqns of Dingelstedt Hussars) remained in the vicinity of Lauban and Naumburg/Queiss (present-day Nowogrodziec).
Prelude to the Campaign
|Detailed order of battle of the Russian Army on May 24.|
By the end of May
- The main Russian army had crossed the Vistula and lay in four camps.
- Prince Heinrich was waiting for the Russians. He had managed to concentrate 14 bns (Grenadier Battalion Schwartz, Grenadier Battalion Bähr, Prince Heinrich Fusiliers, Manteuffel Infantry, ?Kleist? Infantry, Lindstedt Infantry, Thile Infantry, II./Garrison Regiment Jung-Sydow, I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch) and 23 sqns (2 sqns of Bredow Cuirassiers, 8 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons, 2 sqns of Jung-Platen Dragoons, 1 sqns of Württemberg Dragoons, 7 sqns of Ruesch Hussars, 3 sqns of Werner Hussars), for a total of 12,500 men in the vicinity of Sagan, where he had established his headquarters. Another corps (a third of his army) was already operating in East Pomerania., spread out up to Colberg in the north, From his positions at Sagan, he could also link with Fouqué's army in the south.
At the news of Tottleben's offensive against his left wing, Forcade concentrated his corps at Schivelbein. He was soon joined by Grabow's detachment at Körlin/Persante (present-day Karlino).
On June 1, Count Fermor arrived at Posen (present-day Poznań).
On June 3, the presence of Forcade's Corps did not prevent Tottleben from capturing Belgard. Tottleben occupied the place with the infantry, which had recently joined him at Neustettin.
Forcade decided to give up the defence of the line of Persante River and to retreat behind the Rega to Regenwalde (present-day Resko), Plathe (present-day Płoty) and Greifenberg. Before retiring, Grabow sent the Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff to reinforce the garrison of Colberg (Landbataillon Schmeling, Landbataillon Kleist, 500 men of Garrison Regiment I Puttkamer).
Immediately after Forcade's withdrawal behind the Rega River, the Russian light troops followed and thoroughly plundered the country between the Persante and Rega rivers. Most of the inhabitants fled. The main body of Tottleben's Corps remained in the vicinity of Körlin, Belgard and Köslin.
Forcade's behaviour aroused the understandable anger of Frederick. This general, at the head of a force of 3,600 foot and 2,400 horse with 24 heavy artillery pieces, had given up the country he was supposed to protect without opposing any serious resistance. However, Forcade's reports about Tottleben's bold advance into Pomerania and the increasing signs that the main Russian forces would soon be leaving had prompted Prince Heinrich to give up his position at Sagan and to begin the planned march towards Cüstrin and Landsberg.
On June 8, General von der Goltz received orders instructing him to march with the troops posted at Lauban and Löwenberg and make a junction with Prince Heinrich's Army.
On June 9, Frederick wrote Prince Heinrich to suggest him to replace Forcade by another general.
As soon as Goltz's Corps set off from Löwenberg, FML Beck was instructed by Field-Marshal Daun to advance with his corps from Zittau to Greiffenberg (present-day Gryfów Śląski), southwest of Löwenberg.
On June 11 Goltz reached Naumburg/Bober (present-day Nowogród Bobrzański) with his corps.
Frederick ordered Prince Heinrich to concentrate his force and to march on the Russians. Prince Heinrich assembled the troops posted at Sagan and Sorau near Sommerfeld (present-day Lubsko).
On June 13, Prince Heinrich set off in two columns from Sommerfeld with his army. He himself advanced by way of Guben and Fürstenberg while Goltz marched by way of Crossen and Ziebingen (present-day Cybinka).
In mid-June, Tottleben resumed his offensive in East Pomerania.
On June 15
- Russian attack on Greifenberg
- Tottleben's Corps appeared before Greifenberg, which was defended by Colonel von Flanss with the Grenadier Battalion Schwerin, 2 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons and 2 sqns of Dingelstedt Hussars.
- As General von Grabow, who was in Plathe, rushed to their aid with 1 bn of Jung-Schenckendorff Infantry, the Cossacks plundered Plathe, which was now devoid of troops.
- Forcade then sent a detachment from Regenwalde which forced the Cossacks to retire from Plathe.
- As soon as Grabow turned back to return to Plathe, Tottleben renewed his attack on Greifenberg. The town was bombarded by his artillery and fire broke out. Without any help in sight, Flanss finally accepted to capitulate under condition of free withdrawal.
- Flanss was already on the road when he was joined by Grabow, who, at 9:00 p.m., had been ordered by Forcade to renew his attempt to relieve Greifenberg.
- Heinrich's and Goltz's columns made a junction at Frankfurt/Oder. Prince Heinrich then sent detached Major-General von der Gablentz with 4 bns (Thile Infantry, I./Garrison Regiment Alt-Sydow, II./Garrison Regiment Jung-Sydow, 7 sqns of the Ruesch Hussars and two 7-pdr howitzers by way of Landsberg towards East Pomerania. On his arrival, Gablentz would replace General von Forcade. Forcade and Gablentz had both been instructed to make a junction near Polzin, east of Schivelbein, on June 25.
On June 16
- Forcade concentrated his entire corps near Plathe. He now had the opportunity to cut Tottleben's line of retreat towards the Vistula by advancing on the right bank of the Rega River, but he did not dare to do it, having received intelligence that the Russians had 10,000 men with 30 artillery pieces in the area.
- Forcade decided to abandon his positions along the Rega and to retire to Naugard (present-day Nowogard).
- Upon receiving Prince Heinrich's orders, Forcade detached the Grenadier Battalion Schwerin, the Meinicke Dragoons, 2 sqns of Dingelstedt Hussars and 4 heavy artillery pieces to rejoin Gablentz's Corps. Forcade himself then retired with the rest of his corps by way of Dramburg and Neuwedell towards Driesen. Indeed, Prince Heinrich had also ordered him to take revenge on Totleben before or during his retreat with a surprise attack.
- The Russians chose Posen as place-of-arms.
On June 17
- Gablentz set off from Frankfurt/Oder and marched by way of Cüstrin, Landsberg and Friedeberg to cover East Pomerania while Forcade would try to surprise part of Tottleben's Corps.
- Informed that the Russians had crossed the Vistula and were on the march towards Posen, Prince Heinrich sent Major-General von Werner with I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch and 3 sqns of Werner Hussars towards Driesen to take command of Thadden's detachment. Werner had been instructed to cover the right flank of Gablentz's detachment during its march towards East Pomerania. Werner then advanced from Driesen and took position at Neuwedell with I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch, 2 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons and 3 sqns of Werner Hussars; while Thadden remained at Friedeberg with his 3 bns.
On June 18
- Prince Heinrich marched from Frankfurt/Oder with 12 bns and 8 sqns by way of Cüstrin towards Landsberg.
- Cossacks plundered the magazine in Gollnow (present-day Goleniów), behind the Prussian positions.
From Naugard, Forcade advanced towards Freienwalde. He finally decided to make a junction with Gablentz's Corps at Labes before advancing northwards to turn Tottleben's positions.
On June 22
- General von der Goltz set off from Frankfurt/Oder with 11 bns and 18 sqns and marched towards Drossen (present-day Ośno Lubuskie).
- Colonel von Dinglestedt with 3 sqns of Dingelstedt Hussars, 200 cuirassiers and the Grenadier Battalion Busche took position at Zielenzig (present-day Sulęcin). The Grenadier Battalion Carlowitz remained in Frankfurt/Oder and 2 sqns of Dingelstedt Hussars in Müllrose.
- Gablentz's Corps reached Reetz.
- Tottleben's light troops kept him well informed of the movements of the Prussian corps. However, he had also received orders from Saltykov to move towards the Netze River (present-day Noteć River), he then decided to retire to Neustettin.
On June 24,
- Tottleben's Corps reached Schivelbein and continued its march unmolested. However, its baggage were attacked on the road leading from Regenwalde to Schivelbein by a party of Ruesch Hussars under Lieutenant-Colonel von Lossow, who captured 150 men and many wagons.
- Forcade's and Gablentz's corps made a junction near Labes.
- In the evening, Forcade realised that Tottleben's had escaped his trap.
At the end of June, Tottleben advanced from Neustettin to Märkisch-Friedland (present-day Mirosławiec).
On July 1, Forcade set off from Schivelbein and retired towards Landsberg.
On July 2
- Major-General von Werner advanced from Neuwedell against Tottleben with 4 bns ([37/40 Manteuffel Grenadiers|Grenadier Battalion Kleist]], Diericke Fusiliers, I./Frei-Infanterie Wunsch) and 16 sqns (Bayreuth Dragoons, 5 sqns of Werner Hussars, 1 sqn of Pomeranian Provincial Hussars). However, his well-informed opponents again eluded the attack.
- The bn of Schenckendorff (Alt or Jung-Schenckendorff?) arriving from Stargard reached Landsberg.
Prince Heinrich got settled at Landsberg on the Warthe River (present-day Warta) where he remained for a while. His main army consisted of 30 bns and 46 sqns while another corps (7 bns and 20 sqns) under Major-General von der Gablentz had been detached to protect Pomerania.
On July 12, Prince Heinrich began to cross the Warthe.
On July 14, Prince Heinrich encamped at Gleißen (present-day Glisno) and extended his lines to protect the country from Russian raids.
On July 17, Count Saltykov had completed the concentration his army at Posen. His army consisted of 60,000 regulars and 7,000 Cossacks. Rumours indicated that a separate corps, under Fermor, would join Tottleben's Cossacks and besiege Colberg.
On July 20, Saltykov sent Chernichev with his vanguard to Winkowitz (present-day Więckowice).
By July 26, Prince Heinrich, still at Gleißen, planned to keep the Russians from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and to cover Glogau to prevent a siege of Breslau. Meanwhile, Saltykov had his depots at Siradin (unidentified location) and Kalisch (present-day Kalisz) and considered how to get it carted out in case of an advance of Prince Heinrich’s forces. Saltykov finally decided to besiege Glogau. But St. Petersburg rather ordered to besiege Breslau. Therefore, Saltykov started from Posen in 3 columns with 45,000 men, faster than usual, and marched southwards to Moschin (present-day Mosina). His vanguard under Chernichev remained at Winkowitz. The Russian army then took part in a joint campaign in Silesia with the Austrians.
Siege of Colberg
On August 26, a Russian fleet sailing directly from St. Petersburg arrived in front of Colberg with an army of 8,000 men to lay siege to Colberg by land and see.
On August 27, this fleet was joined by a Swedish squadron.
The Siege of Colberg really lasted from August 26, when bombardment began, to September 8, when a relief force under Major-General Paul von Werner stormed the Russian entrenchments.
Raid on Berlin
In September, Saltykov fell sick and Fermor took command of the Russian army.
On September 11, after endless prevarications about various joint plans of operation, Fermor finally made his mind for the plan proposed by Montalembert, the French ambassador, calling for a concentration at Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and then a rapid advance on Berlin with a strong corps. Accordingly, the Russian army left Herrnstadt and marched to Guhrau (present-day Góra Śląska). A force of 20,000 Russians under Chernichev with Tottleben as second in command was assigned to this task. The Russian plan for the attack on Berlin called for Tottleben's Cossacks Corps, reinforced with 2,000 grenadiers, 2 horse grenadier rgts and all light troops; to march with all speed by Guben (present-day Gubin) and Beeskow. Meanwhile, the Russian vanguard under Chernichev would take position on the Spree to support Tottleben. A third part of the Russian Army would take post at Guben while Rumyantsev would remain in observation at Crossen on the right bank of the Oder.
On September 13, Fermor quitted Guhrau and marched towards Carolath.
On September 19, Fermor reached Carolath. He was now only 43 km from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and 130 km from Berlin.
On September 20, Tottleben with a vanguard of 5,000 men crossed the Oder at Beuthen in Sagan Country and marched directly upon Berlin. This vanguard consisted of:
- Hussar regiments (about 1,000 men)
- Cossacks regiments (about 1,400 men)
- Melgunov's Cavalry Brigade (about 900 men)
- Bakhman's Grenadier Brigade (about 1,800 men)
- Converged Grenadier Battalion of Colonel Maslov (3 coys)
- Converged Grenadier Battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Prince Prozorovski (3 coys)
- Converged Grenadier Battalion of Lieutenant-Colonel Burman (3 coys)
- Converged Grenadier Battalion of Major Patkul (3 coys)
- Artillery under Lieutenant-Colonel Glebov
- 2 x Shuvalov's howitzers
- 2 x 190 mm unicorns
- 5 x 150 mm unicorns
- 2 x 120 mm unicorns
- 4 x 100 mm unicorns
N.B.: the grenadiers forming the converged grenadier battalions came from the 1st Grenadier, 2nd Grenadier, 3rd Grenadier, 4th Grenadier, 2nd Moscowskiy Infantry and Kievskiy Infantry (2 coys from each rgt).
On September 29 in Silesia, when Field-Marshal Daun was informed of Fermor's final decision, he resolved to send Lacy with 15,000 Austrians to march across Lusatia and to make a junction with the Russian army. Once out of sight of Frederick, Lacy whirled, at a furious rate of speed, into the opposite direction. Its real destination being Berlin. It took a while before Frederick realized that Berlin was under attack. Meanwhile, the main Russian army, now some 20,000 men, move towards Frankfurt-an-der-Oder to support the expedition. Berlin had only weak palisades and an effective garrison of 1,200 men (3 weak battalions).
When he heard of the raid on Berlin, Hülsen resolved to abandon Saxony and to march to the relief of the city with his 9,000 men. Similarly, Prince Eugen of Württemberg, who commanded the small Prussian army facing the Swedes, left Templin (74 km north of Berlin) to come to the rescue of the capital.
On Friday October 3, Hülsen left Wittenberg and marched to Coswig (Anhalt). The same day, Tottleben arrived near Berlin and took post at the Halle Gate, on the west side of the city. The same day, Chernichev reached Fürstenwalde, 55 km from Berlin. Tottleben summoned Rochow, requiring instant admittance and a ransom of four million thalers. The queen, royal family, archives, principal ministries and directorium had already left for Magdeburg after the disaster at Kunersdorf in 1759. Besides Rochow, there were, by accident, certain generals in Berlin: Lieutenant-General Seydlitz and two others, recovering from their Kunersdorf hurts. Field-Marshal Lehwaldt was official governor of Berlin. They all took part in the defence of the city gates. Rochow having rejected the summon, bombardment began sporadically at 3:00 p.m., becoming constant at 5:00 p.m.. It continued the same till 3:00 a.m. on October 4.
In the night of October 3 to 4, Prince Eugen of Württemberg arrived with the vanguard of his corps to reinforce the town. The whole corps, counting 5,000 men, was still 64 km from Berlin and was expected the next day.
In the morning of October 4, informed of the arrival of Prince Eugen, Tottleben retired eastward at Köpenick towards Chernichev, leaving only a corps of Cossacks in front of Berlin. In the evening, Lacy, after marching from Silesia at a furious rate, arrived in the environs with an Austrian corps of 15,000 men. The same day, Hülsen marched to Belzig in Brandenburg.
On October 5, Hülsen marched to Beelitz and Prince Eugen encamped in front of the Halle Gate. The same day, the Cossacks who had been left in front of Berlin retired, Chernichev arrived at Köpenick with about 12,000 men and the main Russian army finally reached Frankfurt-an-der-Oder.
Chernichev's Corps consisted of:
- Leontiev's Corps (14 bns)
- Panin's Corps (10 bns)
- Haugreven's Cuirassier Brigade (15 sqns)
- Light cavalry
- Bekendorf's infantry brigade (about 3,000 men)
- 2 unidentified rgts (6 bns)
On October 6, with Chernichev and Lacy approaching Berlin, Prince Eugen retired to the other side of the city and encamped near the Landsberg Gate. Hülsen, who had now reached the vicinity of Berlin, detached 6 bns and all his cavalry to reinforce Prince Eugen.
On October 7 in the morning, Hülsen marched by Saarmund and encamped near the Halle Gate. Chernichev deployed in front of the positions of Prince Eugen and both armies cannonaded each other on the Heights of Lichtenberg, 6 km east of Berlin. The same day, Frederick left Silesia in a hurry to relieve his capital.
On October 8, Hülsen arrived in Berlin. The Prussian forces in the town now totalled 14,000 men. However, the combined forces of Lacy and Chernichev totalled some 35,000 men. The same day, Chernichev, who had received reinforcements (9 bns and 5 sqns), and Prince Eugen drew out their troops and manoeuvred about. A violent thunderstorm slowed down operations. Prince Eugen did not dare to attack the Austro-Russians.
During the night of October 8 to 9, Prince Eugen and Hülsen finally withdrew to Spandau. The Cossacks engaged their rearguard and took several prisoners.
On Thursday October 9 at about 7:00 a.m., Tottleben came circling to the Halle Gate. Berlin capitulated and was delivered up to the Russians. The garrison (3 bns) became prisoners of war. The city had to pay a contribution of 1,5 million crowns and to give 200,000 crowns to the troops as a gratuity. Lacy arrived after the capitulation and strongly disagreed with its terms. His Grenzer light troops bent on housebreaking, street-robbery and insolent violence. Tottleben had to fire upon them a couple of times.
For three days, Lacy was as the evil genius of Berlin while Tottleben and his Russians showed excellent discipline. The Cossacks were kept out beyond the walls.
Saxon and Austrian parties were occupying various palaces at Potsdam, Charlottenburg, Schönhausen and Friedrichsfeld. Some of these parties behaved well while other had a horrible conduct. In Charlottenburg, the Saxon Graf Brühl Chevauxlegers smashed the furnitures, the doors, cut the pictures, maltreated people and overset Polignac's collection of antiques and classicalities. At Potsdam, on the other hand, Prince Esterházy, with perhaps Hungarians among his people, behaved like a very prince.
On Saturday October 11, news arrived in Berlin that Frederick was coming. That same evening, Lacy took the road, with extraordinary velocity to join the Reichsarmee in Torgau Country.
On the morning of Sunday October 12, Chernichev and Tottleben too left Berlin, marching at the rate of 50 km a day. Meanwhile the main Russian army moved off from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder to a safer distance. Frederick was still five marches off. The Russian spoilings during the retreat were horrible.
On October 14, Chernichev made a junction with the main Russian army, which retired towards Drossen.
On October 15, while he still was at Groß Muckrow in Guben Country, Frederick first heard for certain that the Russians had occupied Berlin and had now left the town.
On October 16, Frederick marched to Siegadel between Lieberose and Lübben.
On October 17, Frederick marched to Lübben, 86 km straight south of Berlin, where he rested his army some days.
The Russians took camp about Landsberg and the Warthe Country.
On October 20, Frederick left Lübben and marched to Dahme on his way to Torgau in Saxony. He had previously reinforced Goltz, at Glogau, to 20,000 men to protect Silesia. Frederick's Army then entered into Saxony (for details of its manoeuvres, see 1760 - Austrian campaign in Saxony).
Tottleben and his Cossacks remained in Neumark and Pomerania, even launching raids in Ueckermark across the Oder. His Cossacks appeared near Freienwalde, Schwedt, Eberswalde but also near Prenzlau and Stettin.
The Duke of Bevern was not able to stop Tottleben’s incursions and asked Werner for assistance. Meanwhile, the Russians occupied Greifenhagen (present-day Gryfino) and Stargard.
On November 1, the Cossacks attacked a detachment belonging to Belling’s Army. The same day, Werner arrived from Mecklenburg at Stettin.
On the night of November 1 to 2, hoping to surprise the Moldavskiy Hussars at Greifenhagen, the Duke of Bevern sent two detachments of the garrison of Stettin towards Greifenhagen. One detachment was transported by boats on the Zoll River, while the other marched along the dam. The first detachment arrived too early, but managed to surprise the hussars and to take 8 officers and 200 hussars prisoners. The remaining hussars drove back the second Prussian detachment. The Prussians had been unable to dislodge the Russians from Greifenhagen.
On November 5, Buturlin arrived at Arnswalde to take command of the Russian army, replacing Saltykov, who still had health problem. When he received the news of the Austrian defeat at Torgau, Buturlin considered that it would be impossible to spend winter in the ruined country around Landsberg and resolved to bring back his army in Poland, leaving Chernichev with his “Corps Volant” and Tottleben with his light troops in Eastern Pomerania to cover the retreat of the main army.
On November 6, Werner came to contact with a Russian outpost in front of Vierraden, drove it back and occupied Schwedt. While escaping, some Russians drowned in the Oder River, and 50 were taken prisoners.
Werner remained at Schwedt until November 9, and established pontoon bridges on the Oder.
On November 10, Buturlin left Arnswalde and marched by way of Reetz, Dramburg, Tempelburg, and Stolp to Marienburg where he would arrive on December 11.
On November 15, Werner occupied Stargard, which had been evacuated by the Russians.
On November 20, the corps of Prince Eugen of Württemberg arrived at Schwedt. On the same day, the Plettenberg Dragoons and Werner Hussars arrived at Stargard, they had been sent by the Prince of Württemberg to support Werner’s forces.
On November 26, the Prince of Württemberg went from Schwedt to Mecklenburg, reaching Malchin on December 3. Werner’s Corps was supposed to follow.
Werner marched by way of Naugard, Greifenberg and Körlin/Persante to Köslin, where it arrived on December 2.
On December 3, Major von Owstien with 2 sqns of Werner Hussars and the Bayreuth Dragoons with 2 guns was surprised by a strong Cossack detachment led by Major Popov. Due to heavy rain, the guns were useless and Owstien had sent them back to Quatzow (present-day Kwasowo). His surprised hussars and dragoons broke and fled, and the guns were captured by the Cossacks. Captain von Pfeil and 1 bn of Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch, sent to support Owstien, arrived too late to intervene in the engagement. The Cossacks took 60 Prussians prisoners.
On December 26, Werner left Stargard, as ordered by the Prince of Württemberg.
On December 30, Werner’s Corps arrived at Pasewalk.
A cordon of troops (Frei-Infanterie von Hordt) was deployed along the Peene River against the Swedes.
Only the Plettenberg Dragoons continued their march towards Mecklenburg to collect provisions and recruits.
The Prince of Württemberg took up his winter-quarters at Rostock, his troops around this city and as well as Tessin, Gnoien, Ribnitz and Sülze.
An armistice was concluded with the Swedes which was to last until April 1, 1761.
This article is essentially 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. 26-29, 36-44, 56, 73-82
- Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 537-539
- Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 20
- Jomini, Baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 274, 323, 335-339, 341-342, 367
- Masslowski, Dmitrij F.: Russian army in the 7YW Vol. 3, Moscow, 1891, p. 308
Grossergeneralstab, vol. 14
Kessel, E.: Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, 2007, Paderborn, pp. 74-81
Zveguintzov, L'Armée Russe, 1973
Harald Skala for the translation and integration of info from Kessel’s work