1757-11-22 - Battle of Breslau

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Battles and Encounters >> 1757-11-22 - Battle of Breslau

Austrian Victory

Prelude to the Battle

When Frederick II was forced to intervene to stop the Franco-Imperial invasion of Saxony, Prince Charles of Lorraine seized the opportunity to proceed to the invasion of Silesia. By November 14, G.d.C. Nádasdy had successfully completed the siege and capture of Schweidnitz (present-day Swidnica). He then made a junction with the Austrian Main Army, under the command of Prince Charles, in front of Breslau (present-day Wroclaw).

Map

Map of the battle of Breslau fought on November 22 1757
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab

The Oder and the Lohe formed an impassable obstacle for all arms. The lower course of the Lohe, from the village of Lohe to its mouth in the Oder, was marshy and passable only by bridges. Pilsnitz (present-day Pilczyce) was the only location where the banks were not marshy but they were steep. The middle of the Prussian positions from Schmiedefeld (present-day Kuzniki) to Gräbschen (present-day Grabiszyn) followed a series of heights some 1,500 to 2,000 m. east of the Lohe. The fortified villages of Schmiedefeld and Maria-Höfchen (present-day Nowy Dwor) formed advanced positions.

Duke of Bevern was entrenched with a Prussian Army on the southern side of Breslau. His right extended to Kosel (present-day Kozanow) and his left to the village of Klein-Mochbern (present-day Muchobor Maly). The river Lohe (present-day Ślęza) and the villages of Pilsnitz, Schmiedefeld and Maria-Höfchen were in his front. From Klein-Mochbern, the Prussian line was drawn en potence and extended to Saint-Nicholas, one of the suburbs of Breslau. An abatis on the right flank reached from Pilsnitz to the Oder. This abatis was defended by the jägers and 6 grenadier bns. Bevern's first line, consisting of 10 rgts were posted between Kosel and Klein-Mochbern. Then, 3 rgts were posted behind parapets and ditches in the villages of Pilsnitz, Schmiedefeld and Maria-Höfchen. Finally, 2 grenadier bns and 5 musketeer bns were posted on the left flank. The second line was formed of 40 cuirassier sqns drawn up between Kosel and Klein-Mochbern. Thus, Bevern had the marshy Lohe in front and the broad Oder to rear, with Breslau and its supply to his left. The whole camp was entrenched. There were four redoubts between Pilsnitz and Schmiedefeld and two between the latter and Maria-Höfchen. Before the village of Schmiedefeld there was a connected line of entrenchments and there was a redoubt between Maria-Höfchen and Klein-Mochbern.

The difficult and fortified terrain on the right wing near Pilsnitz made this sector the strongest of the Prussian positions. An entrenched bridgehead established there closed off the part of the village to be defended. Furthermore, barriers in the forest prevented a penetration into the flank of the position. Redoubts at the Pelz bridge and at the brickworks of Pilsnitz, north and south of the road to Deutsch Lissa (present-day Leśnica), effectively kept the approaches under fire.

The field of fire of the two redoubts south of Schmiedefeld, of the defensive works of Maria-Höfchen and of the Redoubt No. 5 on the road to Gross-Mochbern (present-day Muchobór Wielki) was quite limited. In a later report, Frederick estimated that these redoubt were ill located.

New defensive works had recently been erected to the south-west of Gräbschen and to the south of Gabitz (present-day Gajowicka) in the event of a serious attack against the left wing. However, these works could not replace the carefully prepared, now worthless fortification east of Klein-Mochbern.

If we consider the deployment of the Prussian army by wing rather than by line, the right wing extended from the Oder to Schmiedefeld and consisted of 11½ bns and 12 sqns under Lieutenant-General von Brandes; in the middle, from Schmiedefeld to the south-west of Gräbschen, there were 22 bns and 20 sqns under Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz and Lieutenant-General von Schultze; finally, the left wing consisted of 6 bns and 60 sqns under Lieutenant-General von Zieten.

On the other side (right bank) of the Oder, a detachment of 1 bn along with commandeered infantry, under Colonel von Krockow, occupied the villages of Protsch (present-day Pracze Widawskie), Waida (unidentified location), Hünern (present-day Psary) and Rosenthal (present-day Rozanka) while 10 sqns along with commandeered cavalry were deployed between these villages.

The Austrian Army was posted on the opposite side of the Lohe, between Strachwitz (present-day Strachowice) and Gross Masselwitz (present-day Maslice Wielki) with a reserve between Goldschmieden (present-day Zlotniki) and Stabelwitz (present-day Stablowice). An infantry flank guard protected the left wing between Gross Masselwitz and Klein Masselwitz (present-day Maślice Małe). The Grenadier Corps was deployed between Strachwitz and Gross-Mochbern. The village of Neukirch (present-day Zerniki) was to their front and was surrounded by strong entrenchments. Nádasdy, who had recently formed a junction with Prince Charles, was deployed on the right wing between Bethlern (present-day Bielany) and Opperau (present-day Oporow). Some light units (hussars and grenzers) even crossed the Lohe upstream and established an advanced post near Krietern (present-day Krzyki).

The Austrian Grenadier Corps was then redeployed further to the right between Gross-Mochbern and Opperau to cover the gap between the main army and Nádasdy's Corps.

The Duke of Bevern spent the night of November 21 to 22 in Klein-Mochbern. Indeed, the attack on Krietern had comforted Bevern in his idea that the Austrians would concentrate their attacks against his left wing.

When Bevern realised that the Austrians were extending their right wing upstream, he ordered Zieten to advance the left wing from its Klein-Mochbern – Saint-Nicholas position to the heights between Krietern and Kleinburg (present-day Borek).

Description of Events

Diversionary attack by Nádasdy

Nádasdy at the head of the troops who had previously besieged Schweidnitz had just been reinforced by 4 cavalry rgts under Prince Esterházy.

According to the battle plan, Nádasdy deployed his corps into three columns. Grenadier coys were at the head of each of these columns.

On November 22 around 6h30, Nádasdy's Corps was ready to pass the Lohe on four bridges and to advance between Krietern and Hartlieb (present-day Partynice).

At daybreak (around 6h45), the Duke of Bevern went to a height between Gräbschen and Gabitz where he met Württemberger deserters who told him that Nádasdy's Corps had received orders to attack and that the main army would cross the Lohe. Bevern did not believe that Prince Charles and Field-Marshall Daun would attack across the Lohe. Accordingly, even though there was already an important gap in the centre near Klein-Mochbern, he sent the brigade of Prince Karl von Bevern to reinforce Zieten's Corps, leaving only 4 bns between Klein-Mochbern and Gräbschen.

At dawn, the columns under General Nádasdy passed the river between Hartlieb and the Kreuz Mill under the protection of a number of batteries of heavy artillery. After the crossing, these units deployed under the fire of the Prussian artillery. The Austrian right was anchored on the village of Oltaschin (present-day Oltaszyn) and the left extended up to Krietern where the artillery of the Reserve was planted.

Around 8:00 a.m., despite the prevailing fog, the Prussians spotted the Austrian troops crossing the Lohe and extending eastwards. The Duke of Bevern gave orders to Zieten to advance to the south of Herdain (present-day Gaj) with 5 bns and 50 dragoon and hussar sqns posted between Gräbschen and Gabitz; and to launch an attack against Nádasdy's Corps.

To fill the gap left in the Prussian line between Gräbschen and Neudorf (unidentified location), Prince Karl von Bevern manned the two entrenchments south of Gabitz with the 2 bns of Lestwitz Infantry and kept Pannewitz Infantry east of these positions. Furthermore, Driesen's Cuirassier Brigade took position between Gräbschen and the entrenchments west of the village.

Nádasdy had ordered an attack in columns against the entrenchments near Gabitz. However, noting the extension of the Prussian positions eastward, he abandoned his initial plan and decided to advance his right wing in two lines between Krietern and Hartlieb under the cover of his light troops. Zieten tried to contain this advance with the quite ineffective fire of his artillery. He considered that a ditch prevented any serious charge with his cavalry and sent only dragoon and hussar parties against the Austrian light troops. These parties drove back a counter-attack by 2 Austrian hussar rgts. Part of the Grenzer light troops fell in disorder and retired. The Prussians captured some 100 prisoners.

Observing the situation, the Duke of Bevern repeated his order to Zieten to attack Nádasdy's Corps. However, Zieten, considering terrain too difficult, did not dare to commit all his cavalry.

Shortly after completion of the march of his two lines, Nádasdy ordered Major-General von Wolffersdorff to attack Kleinburg with 16 grenadier coys and 3 bns.

The Prussian Freibataillon Angelelli defended the village for a considerable time. They were at length obliged to yield it. They abandoned a gun in the village. They did not retreat far but drew up behind a ditch where they maintained their ground.

Nádasdy immediately advanced and his right wing was now leaning against Woischwitz (present-day Wojszyce).

After the evacuation of Kleinburg, Prince Karl of Bevern, a brother of the Duke, gave orders to Colonel von Klitzing of Lestwitz Infantry to support Freibataillon Angelelli.

Leaving part one of the four divisions of his first battalion in the entrenchments south of Gabitz. Klitzing advanced and effected a junction with Freibataillon Angelelli. They then drove the Austrian grenadiers out of Kleinburg. Klitzing then set fire to the village and retired in good order. However, the Austrian grenadiers managed to reoccupy the village which was not completely afire.

At 4:00 p.m., on the Prussian left wing, Major-General von Bornstedt was ordered by Zieten to evict the Austrians from Kleinburg with Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff and Grenadier Battalion Kahlden.

Bornstedt attacked Kleinburg at the point of the bayonet and drove the 4 Austrian grenadier coys out of the village, capturing 13 pieces (he was able to bring back only 4 pieces) and several prisoners. He then set the village completely afire. In this attack, the 2 Prussian grenadier bns lost 15 officers and more than 300 men.

Werner Hussars and Zieten Hussars pursued the routing Austrian grenadiers, inflicting them additional losses.

After this rebuttal, Nádasdy, whose regular troops had already been disordered when his Grenzer lights troops had retired at the beginning of the battle, did not dare to attack with his whole forces even though the main army was victorious. However, Zieten believed that such an important force would soon resume offensive. Therefore, both opponents remained face to face in this area without undertaking any action.

Preparation for the attacks of the main Austrian army

Meanwhile, under the cover of the fog, the Austrian Main Army deployed in three columns, each consisting of a first line of infantry supported by a second line of cavalry.

At daybreak, the Reserve Corps of the main army, took post on the right wing south of Gross-Mochbern. Prince Charles established himself near the battery on the road from Gross-Mochbern and Maria-Höfchen.

Around 9h30 a.m., the heavy fog having sufficiently lifted, the first shot fired by the battery on the road from Gross-Mochbern and Maria-Höfchen battery was the signal for all other batteries (about 56 heavy guns) to open against the Prussian entrenchments at Pilsnitz, Schmiedefeld, Maria-Höfchen and Gräbschen to protect the operation of throwing four bridges across the Lohe and to cover the passage of two columns in this area. The Prussian heavy artillery established in the entrenchments immediately replied.

Around 9h30, the Duke of Bevern was with Zieten's Corps on the left wing when he heard the thunder of the artillery duel. Nevertheless, he still believed that this was a diversionary attack and that the main thrust would be done against his left wing. Brandes, Lestwitz and Schultze, who commanded in the centre and on the right wing, had been instructed in case of an attack to let the head of the Austrian columns cross the Lohe before launching a counter-attack.

The Austrian artillery fire was initially quite ineffective against troops protected by entrenchments. Nevertheless, the entrenchments along the Lohe greatly suffered.

By 10h30, most Prussian pieces in the entrenchments of the Lohe had been dismounted and the entrenchments partly destroyed.

The cannonade lasted till well past noon. Under the cover of this massive artillery fire, the Austrians threw seven pontoon-bridges over the Lohe within 45 minutes.

Around 12h30 p.m., with all their dispositions taken, Prince Charles and Field-Marshall Daun ordered the general attack by setting fire to three large pines at Opperau, Gross-Mochbern and Neukirch, the agreed upon signal.

The main Austrian army advanced, the infantry between Gross-Mochbern and Gross-Masselwitz; and the Reserve Corps, south-west of Gross-Mochbern. Some regiments of the second line under FML Count W. Starhemberg pushed forward between the divisions of Andlau and Maquire while the rest of that line took position to the left of the first line, thus forming a single infantry line.

Puebla's infantry marched against the Prussian right flank near Pilsnitz west of Klein-Masselwitz. Kheul Infantry was transferred from Lacy's Brigade to Puebla's while Harrach Infantry was sent from Puebla's Brigade to join the left wing of the main army, taking position near Jung-Wolfenbüttel Infantry.

The Austrian cavalry formed the second line of the main army.

Stampach Cuirassiers and Löwenstein Cuirassiers had been sent to Lucchesi and did not take part in the battle. Four other cavalry rgts (Benedikt Daun Dragoons, Herzog Württemberg Dragoons, Serbelloni Cuirassiers, Anhalt-Zerbst Cuirassiers) are not mentioned in any relation of the battle. They have probably been kept in reserve by Prince Charles.

During this infantry attack, the Grenzer light troops and 1,000 regular foot were charged to pass the barriers in the forest of Pilsnitz and to attack the rear of the Prussian right wing.

First Austrian attack at Klein-Mochbern

Main Austrian attacks.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, by the German Grosser Generalstab
 
Courtesy: Tony Flores

Immediately, the Grenadier Corps (35 coys) under Lieutenant-General Sprecher, supported by 12 carabinier and horse grenadier coys under Major-General Prince von Löwenstein, crossed the bridge thrown in front of Gross-Mochbern. The Prussians had scarcely any artillery to oppose to them and the column effected the crossing to Gräbschen and Klein-Mochbern.

The Prussians could oppose the crossing only from the redoubt south-west of Gräbschen, occupied by a detachment of Schultze Infantry.

The Grenadier Corps was immediately followed by the infantry of the first line under Lieutenant-General Andlau. The Reserve Corps under Lieutenant-Generals Wied and Esterhazy also crossed. The position was further reinforced by the infantry of the right wing of the second line under Lieutenant-General Stahrenberg. Meanwhile, the right wing cavalry (18 sqns) under General Lucchesi also crossed the Lohe and deployed in two lines despite the continuous Prussian artillery fire. Thus a total of 35 grenadier coys, 25 bns and 30 sqns advanced upon the Prussian infantry and cavalry which were also moving to contact.

Around 1:00 p.m., while the Austrian troops were crossing the Lohe in two lines, their grenadiers launched an attack. Lieutenant-General von Schultze marched against them with the brigade of Prince Ferdinand of Prussia (the only brigade left under his command, consisting of Prinz von Preußen Infantry and Prinz Ferdinand Infantry). Orderly musketry fire began on both sides. This lasted for about half an hour. The Austrians defended their position with much determination, fearing to be pushed back into the Lohe. They sustained the attack with great courage. The 4 attacking Prussian bns suffered much from their grape-shot and musketry and were thrown into some disorder. Schultze was mortally wounded. Prince Ferdinand of Prussia, upon this, seized hold of a colour, rallied the men, and led them on again to the attack.

During this combat, Colonel Lindstädt, who commanded Schultze Infantry was occupying his assigned position in the entrenchments near Gräbschen. The regiment had not been attacked and finally received orders to advance from Gräbschen, attack the Austrian units filing across the bridge at Klein-Mochbern, and support Prinz von Preußen Infantry and Prinz Ferdinand Infantry.

The major commanding about 100 Prussians defending the redoubt in front of Gräbschen misinterpreted this order and abandoned the redoubt, withdrawing with his men and artillery. Finally, the renewed attack of Prinz von Preußen Infantry and Prinz Ferdinand Infantry was beaten back once more. When the young recruits forming most of Schultze Infantry saw these 2 rgts retiring, they fled back to the village of Gräbschen where Lindstädt finally managed to rally them.

When he saw Prince Ferdinand's Brigade retreating, Lieutenant-General Penavaire personally led Normann's Cuirassier Brigade in an attack against the Austrian grenadiers. The still unshaken grenadiers received the charge with a devastating salvo. The charge failed, Penavaire was mortally wounded and very few cuirassiers reached the line of grenadiers. Lieutenant-General von Kyau vainly charged at the head of the Krockow Cuirassiers and the attack was once more repulsed. The Prussian cavalry was forced to retreat.

Meanwhile, the Austrians had taken possession of the abandoned redoubt and established guns and howitzers in it, with which they enfiladed the whole line. They also chased Schultze Infantry out of Gräbschen and took possession of the village.

The Duke of Bevern, who saw the retreat of his infantry south of Klein-Mochbern from his observation point near Gräbschen, assembled a few sqns and launched a third cavalry charge against the Austrian grenadiers. However, the latter had by then been reinforced by the 8 bns of Andlau's Division and the attack was once more driven back.

After this initial success, Austrian troops advanced towards the entrenchments of Klein-Mochbern. The combat in this area was a close contest with the Prussians repeatedly driven off but sternly coming back to the assault.

By 2:00 p.m., the resistance of the small Prussian force defending the line between Klein-Mochbern and Gräbschen had been broken. As it retreated, it was followed by 3 cavalry rgts of Lucchesi's forces. They took 7 officers and 100 men prisoners and captured two colours.

Prinz Ferdinand Infantry, Prinz von Preußen Infantry and Normann's Cuirassier Brigade later assembled east of the entrenchments of Klein-Mochbern while Schultze Infantry rallied north of Gabitz. The Austrians had broken through Prussian positions and the left flank of Lieutenant-General von Lestwitz near Maria-Höfchen was seriously threatened.

Second Austrian attack from Neukirch

During the combats between Klein-Mochbern and Gräbschen, another Austrian force (Maquire and d'Arberg with 10 bns, and Stampach with 23 sqns) crossed the Lohe near Neukirch to the north-west of Schmiedefeld. In this area, the Prussian artillery could fire on the bridges from the entrenchments. Accordingly, the passage of the Lohe took much more time than in the area of Gross-Mochbern.

Once on the other side of the Lohe, Arberg attacked the redoubts of Schmiedefeld, supported by Lieutenant-General Maquire's infantry corps and by the cavalry corps of Lieutenant-generals Stampach and L. Stahrenberg.. The Manteuffel Grenadiers posted there bravely defended the position until all ammunition was expended.

Lestwitz led his 10 bns on both sides of Schmiedefeld and managed to stop the advance of the Austrians. The II./Asseburg Infantry even drove the Austrians out of the redoubt to the south-west of Schmiedefeld. However, the successes of the Austrians near Klein-Mochbern soon had an effect in the area of Schmiedefeld.

Indeed, Count Wied, who was posted on the left wing with the 13 bns of the Reserve Corps, attacked the strong entrenchments in front of Maria-Höfchen with his infantry deployed in two lines. Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers posted there stood its ground until its commander realised that the Austrians had gained its left flank by capturing Gräbschen and Klein-Mochbern. The Prussian regiment had now no choice but to retire abandoning the village and a nearby redoubt to Wied's Corps.

Now the Reserve Corps advanced past Maria-Höfchen and attacked from two sides the positions of the II./Asseburg Infantry, pushing back the entire Prussian line.

Third Austrian attack against Pilsnitz

Launched when the signal for the general advance was given, the Austrian attack against Pilsnitz on the Prussian right flank met with a stronger resistance. The terrain in this area was very uneven and the banks of the Lohe quite steep. Furthermore, the village of Pilsnitz was protected by redoubts at both ends. This Austrian attack was led by FZM Baron Kheul assisted by Lieutenant-generals Puebla, Clerici, Angern and Haller commanding the infantry left wing. The Austrian infantry (21 bns) was supported by the cavalry of General Serbelloni (28 sqns).

While Wied had attacked in the area of Maria-Höfchen his corps suffered heavy casualties when it crossed the Lohe under the fire of the Prussian infantry and artillery.

The Austrians made three attacks on Pilsnitz and on the entrenchments south of the village. The 7 Prussian grenadier bns and Wietersheim's Brigade stood firm and the Austrians were driven back each time with heavy losses (in the first attack alone, Erzherzog Carl Infantry lost 22 officers and 400 men killed or wounded). Major-General von Kleist was killed during these combats.

While Kheul was attacking Pilsnitz, General Brentano was charged with 1,000 grenzers of the assault on the line of abatis extending in the forest from Kosel to Pilsnitz which were only defended by the Feldjäger zu Fuß and a few picquets of the grenadier bns Unruh-Benckendorff. After an initial success, Brentano was driven back when Grenadier Battalion Ostenreich and Grenadier Battalion Plötz timely came to the support of the defenders. General Brandeis then defended these abatis during the whole day, not allowing the Austrians to gain any ground.

At 5:30 p.m., as it began to grow dark, Kheul launched a fourth assault on Pilsnitz. The Prussians finally abandoned the village of Pilsnitz and its bridge. The Austrians immediately followed up but the Prussian redoubt planted behind the village opened fire. Then, the retiring Prussian infantry formed line at the height of this redoubt and fired at the advancing Austrians. The Prussian Leib-Carabiniers also advanced, planning to charge, but they were stopped by a number of broad ditches. After a fight of about 30 minutes, the Prussian right wing finally gave way, abandoning the redoubt and drawing off its artillery. Darkness was now so complete that the Austrians did not follow the retiring Prussians.

Prussian counter-attack near Klein-Mochbern

By 5:00 p.m., the Duke of Bevern with the assistance of generals Lestwitz, Prince Ferdinand and Ingersleben, had managed to form a line of 14 bns to counter-attack the Austrian Reserve Corps. Furthermore, Kyau joined the attack with Krockow's Cuirassier Brigade but some ditches delayed his intervention.

At 6:00 p.m., these rgts advanced and drove back the Austrians from the villages of Schmiedefeld, Maria-Höfchen and Klein-Mochbern, threatening the flank of Erzherzog Joseph Dragoons and of Erzherzog Karl cavalry (unidentified unit, maybe Herzog Württemberg Dragoons). These Austrian cavalry units opposed a fierce resistance and were soon supported by the counter-attack of 6 grenadier coys upon the entrenchments occupied by the Prussians. Finally, the arrival of reinforcements (Carl Lothringen Infantry under Colonel Vogelsang along with the Lucchesi Cuirassiers forced the Prussians to retire towards the suburbs of Saint-Nicholas, fearing to be cut from their base.

In this counter-attack, Major-General von Ingersleben was mortally wounded. Schmiedefeld and Maria-Höfchen remained in the hands of the Austrians. However, the Prussians managed to keep their encampment on the height of Klein-Gandau against which the exhausted Austrian troops did not make any attempt.

During this counter-attack, Bevern had gone to the post of General Zieten to plan another counter-attack.

Dusk had now fallen and fire gradually ceased on both sides.

To fill the gap north of Klein-Mochbern and to re-establish contact with his left wing, the Duke of Bevern posted Driesen's Cuirassier Brigade east of Maria-Höfchen.

After a fight of some 15 hours over a front of about 11 km, the huge superiority of the Austrian artillery had finally won the day.

The battle ended at 9:00 p.m. with Austrians victorious in four of their attacks. They were masters of the Lohe and of most of the Prussian villages and posts in front of the Prussian centre and right wing. However, the Prussians had managed to hold in the south-east on their left wing under Zieten's command.

The Duke of Bevern was planning a counter-attack during the night. However, as he was riding towards Klein-Gandau, he was informed that his troops had without orders evacuated Klein-Gandau and Pilsnitz. In such a situation, he had to abandon his plan. He then gave orders to retire to the right bank of the Oder, leaving some troops to defend the Fortress of Breslau.

At midnight, Zieten received orders to retire which he did in the greatest silence.

Other actions

Around 8h30 a.m., Major-General Beck crossed to the right bank of the Oder with 4,000 men (including 2,000 commandeered men from the Reserve Corps), advanced by Kolonie Sandberg (present-day Nowa Karczma) and Ransern (maybe Redzin) against the Prussian positions at Oswitz (present-day Osobowice), Leipa (unidentified location) and Protsch to force the Prussian detachments on that side of the Oder to retire towards Breslau. Colonel von Krockow had posted the Prussian commandeered infantry on the Kapellenberg and taken position near Oswitz with the rest of his detachment.

After the crossing, Beck detached 1,000 men (grenzers and line infantry) towards Oswitz. He also detached 1,500 foot and 200 horse against two redoubts on the Weinberg, 200 grenzers and 100 horse on Leipa. Furthermore, he launched a diversionary attack upon Protsch with 2 grenadier coys, 500 grenzers and 50 hussars led by Lieutenant-colonel Riese.

Krockow did not wait to be attacked by such a superior force and immediately retired by Rosenthal towards Breslau.

Now master of the right bank of the Oder in this area, Beck secured Oswitz with 500 grenzers and 2 bns of German infantry under Colonel Lamberg and deployed his 3-pdr guns to fire across the Oder on the Prussian fortified positions at Pilsnitz.

After nightfall, Beck's Corps retired from the right bank of the Oder and rejoined the main Austrian army on the opposite bank.

Outcome

Bevern summoned a council of war that evening where it was decided to retreat. The Prussian army marched in the dark hours through the silent streets of Breslau. It withdrew across the Oder.

In this battle, the Prussians lost 150 officers and approx. 6,200 men. Major-General Friedrich Ludwig von Kleist had been killed in action; generals Kaspar Ernst von Schultze, Peter Ernst von Penavaire and Johann Ludwig von Ingersleben had been mortally wounded. Furthermore, 5 colours (2 from Hagen Infantry, 1 from Kannacher Infantry, 1 from Prinz Ferdinand Infantry and 1 from an unidentified unit), 22 officers, 600 soldiers and 29 artillery pieces had been captured by the Austrians. Furthermore, some 3,800 men deserted the Prussian army.

For their part, the Austrians lost 44 officers and 649 men killed; 235 officers and 4,464 men wounded; 5 officers and 454 men missing; for a total of 284 officers and 5,567 men. Major-General Count Würben had been killed in action; FZM Baron Kheul, FML Marquis de Clerici, Major-General Count von Mayern, Major-General von Gemmingen, Major-General Baron O'Kelly and Major-General Lefèvre were wounded. Furthermore, the Prussian grenadiers had captured 4 artillery pieces in Kleinburg.

While reconnoitring the country, Bevern rode into an Austrian outpost guarded by a party of Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer under Captain Katinčiċ and was made prisoner (intentionally thought many, including Frederick). Bevern was carried to Vienna, but being a near cousin of the late Empress-Mother, was sent home again without ransom. On his return, Frederick ordered him

"To Stettin, I say, your official post in time of peace! Command me the invalid Garrison there; you are fit for nothing better!"

Breslau, the main Silesian city, was now in the hands of the Austrians.

Order of Battle

Austrian Order of Battle

Main Austrian Army

Commander-in-chief: Prince Charles of Lorraine assisted by Field-Marshall Count Leopold Daun

Summary: 56 bns, 67 grenadier coys, 103 sqns, 220 artillery pieces (14 x 12-pdrs guns, 32 x 6-pdrs guns, 14 x 7-pdrs howitzers, 160 x 3-pdrs battalion guns) for a total of 38,276 foot and 8,292 horse (excluding Nádasdy's Corps listed in another section)

First Line Second Line
Right Wing Cavalry
General of cavalry Count Lucchesi assisted by Marquis de Spada Prince Esterházy
Infantry Centre under General Baron Kheul
 
 
Left Wing Cavalry
General of Cavalry Count Serbelloni General of Cavalry Count Stampach
Extreme Left Wing Infantry under Count Puebla
 
 

Reserve Corps

Grenadiers and Carabiniers Corps under Baron Sprecher

  • Prince Löwenstein Brigade
    • Converged Horse Grenadiers (4 coys)
    • Converged Carabiniers (8 coys)
  • Baron Reichlin Brigade
    • Converged Grenadiers (35 coys)

Nádasdy's Corps

Commander-in-chief: Count Nádasdy

Summary: 40 bns, 26 grenadier coys, 38 sqns for a total of 24,205 foot and 4,198 horse (to these figures, we must add 8,729 grenzers and 2,696 hussars)

First Line Second Line
Right Wing Cavalry
 
 
Infantry Centre
 
 
Left Wing Cavalry
Saxon Cavalry Saxon Cavalry

Light Troops

N.B.: about 4,800 light troops were with Jahnus in the Landeshut area (among which Kaiser Franz I Hussars and Kálnoky Hussars)

Prussian Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Duke of Brunswick-Bevern

Summary: 40½ bns, 102 sqns for a total of about 28,000 men

Note: On average, each Prussian squadron counted some 80 men. So the army would have had 19,120 foot, 200 Fussjägers, 8,160 horse and 400 artillerymen.

First Line Flank Guard Second Line
Right Wing
Infantry under Lieutenant-general von Brandes Right Flank Guard under Major-general von Rohr deployed en potence

and from right to left:

Cavalry under Lieutenant-General Baron von Kyau
Infantry Centre
 
  Cavalry under Lieutenant-General von Penavaire
Left Wing under Lieutenant-General von Zieten
 
   

Detachments on the Right Bank of the Oder under Krockow

References

This article incorporates 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. 4 Groß-Jägersdorf und Breslau, Berlin, 1902, pp. 194-207, Anhang 56-58
  • Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18, chapter 8
  • Donnersmarck, Victor Amadaeus Henckel von, Militaerischer Nachlass, Karl Zabeler, 1858, pp. 463-471
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    • "Bataille de Breslau donnée le 22 novembre 1757", Vienna: January 1758
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Other sources

Grosser Gerneralstab, Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen III. 1756-1763, Berlin: 1902