1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia – Invasion

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia >> Invasion till the Battle of Prague

The campaign lasted from April to June 1757

Introduction

The general context of the campaign, winter operations and the preparations of Austria and Prussia for the incoming conflict are described in our article Context and preparations (January 1 to April 17, 1757).

Description

After a careful preparation, King Frederick II of Prussia was ready to enter into Bohemia. His armies would converge on Prague from several directions.

Prussian invasion of Bohemia - Movements April Left.jpg
Prussian invasion of Bohemia - Movements April Centre.jpg
Prussian invasion of Bohemia - Movements April Right.jpg
Map of the movements of the Austrian and Prussian corps in April 1757.

The map being quite large, it is presented in three separate sections.
 
Legend

Austrian Corps (in red)

A = Arenberg
B = Browne
Bk = Beck (detached from Serbelloni's Corps)
G = Gersdorf (detached from Serbelloni's Corps)
K = Königsegg
P = Puebla (detached from Serbelloni's Corps)
Py = Pálffy (detached from Serbelloni's Corps)
S = Serbelloni
U = Ursel

Prussian Corps (in blue)

B = Braunschweig-Bevern
K = Der König (King Frederick II)
M = Prince Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau
S = Schwerin
W = Winterfeldt
Wg = Wartenberg

Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab
Courtesy: Tony Flores

Prussian armies enter into Bohemia

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Prussian Army of Silesia (Schwerin) on April 18

On Monday April 18:

  • Prussians
    • Prince Moritz's troops initially left behind in Saxony during his incursion in Bohemia effected a junction with the rest of his corps at Marienberg. Prince Moritz then resumed his advance up to Annaberg.
    • Field-Marshal Schwerin came out of Silesia with a force of 44,000 men (32,000 foot and 12,000 horse). It was the first Prussian column to advance. It marched in four columns (the first and second columns effected their junction at Trautenau (present-day Trutnov) the same day):
      • first column (4 bns, 10 sqns) under Major-General Manteuffel marching from Schmiedeberg by Schatzlar (present-day Žacléř) where it drove back a small Austrian outpost
      • second column (13 bns, 25 sqns) under Lieutenant-General von Winterfeldt (accompanied by Field-Marshal Schwerin), marching from Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Góra) by Liebau (present-day Lubawka) and Goldenöls (present-day Zlatá Olešnice) and having to skirmish with Grenzer light troops while marching through the mountains
      • third column (8 bns, 10 sqns) under Lieutenant-General von Hautcharmoy, marching from Friedland (present-day Mieroszów) towards Starkstadt (present-day Stárkov)
      • fourth column (10 bns, 15 sqns) under Lieutenant-General Fouqué, marching from Tannhausen and Wünschelburg towards Politz/Mettau (present-day Police nad Metují)

On Tuesday April 19:

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army
      • the united first and second columns marched unmolested by Soor (present-day Hajnice) to Königinhof (present-day Dvůr Králové nad Labem) where they encamped on the right bank of the Elbe. However, the train had not followed and had been left behind at Trautenau, protected by the rearguard.
      • the third and fourth columns had to march through difficult roads in the mountains. Fouqué was forced to stop west of Starkstadt to re-assemble his troops. The Prussian left flank was dangerously exposed to an attack from Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové) and Fouqué renounced to take the good road from Starkstadt to Nachod to avoid this danger.
  • Austrians
    • GdC Count Serbelloni, when he heard of the advance of Schwerin's Army, sent 7 bns, 7 grenadier coys and 3 cavalry regiments to Schmirsitz (present-day Smiřice) and posted 3 bns and 3 grenadier coys on the left bank of the Elbe near Königgrätz while his outposts retired in front of the advancing Prussian columns.
    • Most Austrian reinforcements were still on the Iser but some were already on the march.
    • Field-Marshal Browne, as he was returning to Prague in the evening after a new inspection of the frontier in the areas of Königgrätz and Lusatia, was informed of Schwerin entry into Bohemia. These news did not worry him, on the contrary he felt that Frederick was exhausting his troops by constant and useless marches and counter-marches.

On Wednesday April 20:

  • Prussians: the three other Prussian columns began their march towards Prague
    • In Saxony, erection of entrenchments around the suburb of Dresden was completed (work had started in February). Overall, 12 redoubts had been built in the area between Weisseritz and the Elbe, and blockhouses had been erected to protect the bridge across the Elbe.
    • Schwerin's Army had reached Königinhoff on the Elbe. During its advance, a detachment of Winterfeldt's Corps bumped into 200 men of the Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer posted in an advantageous location near Gülden-Else (unidentified location). The Grenzers, even though they were facing a vastly superior force, held their ground for several hours before retiring from their position, losing 4 officers and 31 men in the engagement.
      • 2 bns of Garrison Regiment Mützschefahl were sent from Schweidnitz (present-day Swidnica) to escort Schwerin's delayed train, thus replacing Tresckow Infantry
      • Fouqué being late for the rendez-vous with the rest of Schwerin's Army at Königinhof, Schwerin was forced to wait for his arrival.
    • Bevern's Corps: set off from its quarters around Zittau in Lusatia with 13,000 men (8,000 foot and 5,000 horse) in two columns and marched by Gohlig, Kleinschönau, Reibersdorf (present-day Rybarzowice in Bogatynia) and Oberwittig (present-day Horní Vítkov) to Kratzau (present-day Chrastava) on the road to Reichenberg (present-day Liberec). The bread wagons and the army chest accompanied the left column. The provision train followed escorted by Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers and the troops formerly occupying the outposts (400 foot and 100 hussars). In the evening, Bevern's Corps encamped to the north of Berzdorf (present-day Ostašov) with its right wing anchored on a forest and its left on the Neisse River. During the night, Grenzer light troops harassed Bevern's right wing.
      • Puttkamer Hussars (5 sqns) covered the right flank of the marching columns in the direction of Gabel (present-day Jablonne v Podještědi).
      • A detachment (Grenadier Battalion Kahlden, Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf, 150 dragoons and 150 hussars) under Major-General von Kleist advanced from Zittau to Grottau (present-day Hrádek nad Nisou) which was occupied without any resistance.
      • A detachment (Grenadier Battalion Waldau, Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck and 5 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars) ) under Major-General Schöning marched from Kleinschönau and took position in the neighbourhood of Castle Grafenstein (present-day Grabštejn). The hussars of this detachment engaged 500 commandeered cuirassiers and dragoons under the Colonel Fürst Liechtenstein near Gohlig, driving them back and taking 3 officers and 60 men prisoners. Liechstenstein retired to Kratzau and Wachendorf (unidentified location) where, supported by a weak detachment of infantry, he vainly tried to oppose the advance of Bevern's Corps whose vanguard had been reinforced with 10 dragoon sqns.
      • A garrison of 400 commandeered foot and 30 hussars under Major von Gohr had been left behind to defend Zittau; furthermore Wietersheim Fusiliers previously posted in Torgau reinforced the small garrison of Zittau in the following days.
    • Frederick's Corps was still cantoned in Freiberg, Dippoldiswalde, Gottleuba and Berggiesshübel in Saxony. It had received bread and forage for 10 days. Furthermore, 3,900 wagons had been requisitioned in Saxony.
  • Austrians
    • Maquire's Corps (12 bns and 14 grenadier coys) was posted at Gabel. He intended to march from Gabel on Kratzau to turn Bevern's advancing corps. On that day, he sent Major-General Count Würben forward with 2 bns. This detachment found Kratzau already occupied by the Prussians.
    • Browne, still in Prague, received a message from Hadik informing him of Prussian movements in front of his outposts. Browne still consider these manoeuvres of the Prussians as unimportant.
    • General Königsegg, totally surprised by this unexpected offensive, ceased gathering magazines in the Lusatia and Erzgebirge regions and retired on Prague.
    • Serbelloni abandoned his positions on the left bank of the Elbe and retired towards Königgratz (present-day Hradec Králové). He also sent General Gemmingen to occupy Neustadt (present-day Nové Město nad Metují) and Nachod with 3,700 Grenzers (Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer, Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer and Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer) and 400 Grenz-Hussars.
    • Field-Marshal Daun was in Vienna when he heard of the invasion. He was sent north with reinforcements consisting of 20 infantry regiments, 8 dragoon regiments and artillery. Upon arrival, he was supposed to take command of the Austrian Great Army in Bohemia.

In the night of April 20 to 21, Würben's 2 bns marched by Engelsberg (present-day Andělská Hora) and Christofsgrund (present-day Kryštofovo Údolí) to make a junction with Königsegg's left wing. Meanwhile, Maquire marched on Kratzau with the rest of his corps, leaving only 3 bns (one bn of each of the following rgts: Königsegg Infantry, Andlau Infantry, Batthyányi Infantry) under Major-General O'Kelly on the heights between Ringelshain (present-day Rynoltice) and Grottau to secure the pass leading to Zittau.

On Thursday April 21:

  • Prussians
  • Austrians
    • Königsegg, after his defeat at Reichenberg, retreated to Liebenau (present-day Hodkovice nad Mohelkou), 32 km farther south. He then paused for a few hours in these difficult grounds.
    • Serbelloni's Army: troops previously occupying outposts on the frontier kept arriving in Königgrätz.
    • Maquire's Corps reached Weisskirchen (present-day Bílý Kostel nad Nisou) early in the morning and marched noth-westwards on Kratzau. His Grenzer light troops had already entered into Kratzau and started to plunder the Prussian baggage but they were soon chased away by the fire of some Prussian artillery pieces while I./Münchow Fusiliers took position in front of the town. Meanwhile Prussian hussars thwarted an attempt by some Austrian troops to cross the Neisse between Weisskirchen and Kratzau. After his failed attempt, Maquire marched back to Gabel.

On Friday April 22

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: part of the third and fourth columns joined Schwerin at Miletin.
    • Bevern's Corps: Bevern repatriated his soldiers wounded in the Battle of Reichenberg while his train joined him.
    • Frederick's Corps: Frederick marched in two columns with the infantry of his main body and the 3 sqns of his Garde du Corps. On his way, he was informed of Bevern's victory at Reichenberg. In the evening, Frederick encamped on the heights of Nollendorf (present-day Nakléřov).
    • Bevern's Corps marched to Saskal (present-day Záskalí) in front of Liebenau and encamped there. Bevern's two wings were anchored on woods occupied by units of Karlstädter Grenzers. In the afternoon, Bevern tried to dislodge the Austrians from their positions.
  • Austrians
    • Königsegg concentrated his entire corps at Liebenau.
    • Serbelloni, realising that Schmirsitz would not be attacked, sent back 1,000 men to occupy the town. Lieutenant-Colonel von Gersdorff reconnoitred the Prussian positions with 300 cuirassiers while Major-General Gemmingen secured the Austrian right flank with 3,700 Grenzer light troops and 400 hussars posted at Neustadt and Nachod.

On Saturday April 23

  • Prussians
    • Scherin's Army: Schwerin remained encamped between Miletin and Policzan (present-day Bílé Políčany) waiting for the arrival of his train and taking the occasion to reorganize his army. Major-General von Manteuffel foraged in the direction of Horzitz (present-day Hořice) with a detachment (800 foot, 100 dragoons and 40 hussars) but encountered a superior Austrian force.
    • Frederick's Corps: Frederick marched from Nollendorf at 8:00 a.m. with his main body in two columns. His troops encamped on the heights to the North of Hlinay (present-day Hlinná) while Frederick established his headquarters in Hlinay under the protection of the I./Garde.
      • Ferdinand of Brunswick at the head of the vanguard advanced from Karbitz to Hlinay. On his way, he pushed back Hadik's force (6 bns, 6 grenadier coys, some Grenzer bns, 1 hussar rgt, 200 commandeered German horse and 15 artillery pieces) posted on the heights to the North of Hlinay. Hadik abandoned the left bank of the Biela stream (present-day Bořislavský stream) and destroyed the bridges in the Pass of the Pascopol (present-day Paškapole). Ferdinand followed the Austrians up to Biela (present-day Bílka by Paškapole) and occupied the access to the town on the right bank of the river with his grenadier battalions while his Freikrops and his hussars advanced against Hadik's right flank in the mountains.
      • Major-General von Hülsen was sent forward to Türmitz (present-day Trmice) at the head of 4 bns (Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff, II./Wied Fusiliers, Kannacher Infantry) and 3 sqns (Garde du Corps) to hinder the retreat of the Austrian garrison of Aussig.
      • Colonel von Grumbkow was sent at Teplitz (present-day Teplice) with Grenadier Battalion Grumbkow and 1 sqn of Meinicke Dragoons to bring back a provision of oat still stored there.
      • After the evacuation of Aussig by the Austrians, Zastrow occupied the place but he found very little in the magazines. Indeed, the Austrians had thrown most of their contents into the Elbe. Colonel von Kleist then returned to Tetschen with I./Zastrow Infantry and the two mortars to besiege the castle.
    • Bevern's Corps marched forward, leaving I./Prinz Heinrich in Reichenberg as garrison. Bevern's vanguard, under Major-General von Schöning drove Austrian troops out of Langenbruck (present-day Dlouhý Most) and pursued them up to Saskal. From there a strong Austrian force (approx. 10 infantry rgts and 25 sqns according to Austrian deserters) could be seen on the heights near Liebenau. It was Königsegg's Corps. Bevern deployed his corps on both sides of Saskal but abandoned the idea of attacking these strong Austrian positions. Bevern's Corps then pitched tents and spent the night under arms. In fact, Bevern expected that the rear of the Austrian corps would soon be threatened by Schwerin and he wanted to be ready to pursue them.
    • Prinz Moritz's Corps, marching by Komotau (present-day Chomutov), reached Brüx (present-day Most).
  • Austrians
    • Browne finally realized that he was facing a well prepared invasion of Bohemia. He was astonished to see that Serbelloni had remained idle in Königgrätz when the surrounding country was so suitable to the use of his light troops. Browne immediately left for the camp of Budin (present-day Budyně nad Ohří).
    • Maquire's force made a junction with Königsegg at Liebenau and so did FML Fürst Hohenzollern with 15 sqns. Königsegg was now at the head of 21 bns, 27 grenadier coys and 49 sqns.
    • Drašković managed to escape encirclement near Aussig, retiring along the Elbe up to Lobositz (present-day Lovosice). He deployed part of his Grenzer light troops across the Elbe in the shrubs of the right bank.
    • Serbelloni remained at Königgrätz, awaiting the arrival of further reinforcements.

During the night of April 23 to 24, Hadik retired through the mountains towards Lobositz. A Prussian detachment (3 bns, Freikorps, Fussjägers and 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars) occupied the pass of the Pascopol unopposed.

On Sunday April 24

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army marched towards Gitschin (present-day Jičín). Winterfeldt led the vanguard (5 bns, 20 sqns). The heavy artillery, the provisions train and the baggage each forming a column between the two lines of the main body. Major-General von Treckow led the rearguard (8 bns, 5 sqns).
    • Bevern's Corps remained in its position in front of the Austrians. Lieutenant Zabow of the Wartenberg Hussars with an escort of 40 hussars arrived at Bevern's camp with a letter from Schwerin instructing him to effect a junction with Schwerin's Army near Jungbunzlau (present-day Mladá Boleslav) on the following day.
    • Frederick's Corps remained in Hlinay waiting for its cavalry. Frederick made an unsuccessful attempt against Drašković's positions in the mountains to the north of Lobositz, sending Manstein to Salesl with 4 grenadier bns (Dieringshofen, Kanitz, Jung-Billerbeck, Ramin) and 5 sqns (Szekely Hussars) and Hülsen (reinforced with II./Hülsen) from Türmitz. Hülsen returned to Türmitz while Manstein remained in Salesl (present-day Dolní Zálezly).
    • Prince Moritz's Corps established contact with Frederick's Corps
    • Colonel von Moller set off from Magdeburg with the artillery destined to the siege of Prague which was transported on the Elbe
  • Austrians
    • Browne was able to assemble only 12 infntry rgts and 4 cavalry rgts in his camp of Budin. He immediately recalled Hadik's Corps. When he heard of the estimated force of the Prussians, he guessed that they were seeking a decisive battle as soon as possible.
    • Königsegg took position at Altbunzlau (also known as Brandeis, present-day Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav) and broke the bridges across the Elbe, leaving his Karlstädter Grenzers and his hussars on the right bank of the river. He also covered the magazine at Nimburg (present-day Nymburk) and tried to re-establish communications with Serbelloni who, despite being continuously reinforced, was still lying idle at Königgrätz.
    • Drašković occupied Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice) with 1,000 Grenzer light troops and instructed his troops defending outposts in the neighbourhood of Rumburg (present-day Rumburk) to withdraw.
    • Arenberg's Corps (6 infantry rgts and 2 cavalry rgts) reached Luditz (present-day Žlutice) and from there marched by Podersam (present-day Podbořany) towards Laun (present-day Louny) where he was not expected before April 27.

On Monday April 25

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army marched to Sobotka in four columns. His vanguard counted 7 bns and 15 sqns. Seydlitz Hussars formed the rearguard and the flankguards.
    • Bevern's column was at Turnau (present-day Turnov) on the Iser.
    • Frederick's Corps: Frederick's infantry marched in two columns, protected by a vanguard. The right column marched by the Pascopol and Wellemin (present-day Velemín) to Tschischkowitz (present-day Čížkovice). The left column marched to the east of the first, towards Lobositz and Sullowitz (present-day Sulejovice). The detachments of Hülsen and Manstein joined the left column on the way. Most of Frederick's cavalry and heavy artillery were left behind in the camp of Hlinay. Engulfed between the mountains to their right and the Elbe to their left, Frederick's columns came under the fire of numerous Grenzer detachments hidden in the bushes along the Elbe from Schreckenstein (present-day Burg Střekov) to Salesl. Several baggage wagons, whose horses had been killed, fell into the hands of the Grenzers. Frederick's infantry finally reached Lobositz and encamped with its right wing at Tschischkowitz and its left at Lukawetz (present-day Lukavec u Lovosic). Lobositz was occupied by Frei-Infanterie von Mayr and Tschischkowitz, where Frederick established his headquarters, by I./Garde.
      • From Aussig, Major-General Zastrow covered the left flank with Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen and II./Zastrow Infantry, marching along the Elbe towards Lobositz. During the march Grenzer light troops attacked General Zastrow's detachment who covered Frederick's columns, Zastrow's detachment lost 4 officers (including Zastrow himself) and 103 men dead or wounded. Zastrow's detachment remained in Salesl where Manstein assumed command with orders to secure transportation on the Elbe.
    • Prince Moritz's Corps finally effected a junction with Frederick's troops left behind at Hlinay. Their combined force amounted to 60,000 men (45,000 foot and 15,000 horse).
      • Prinz Ferdinand Infantry was sent to reinforce Kleist, still besieging the Castle of Tetschen. During its march, the second battalion was attacked by a party of Grenzer light troops, losing 40 men.
  • Austrians
    • Königsegg, facing Bevern's Corps and realizing that his rear was threatened by Schwerin coming up from Silesia in the north-east, decided to withdraw towards Jungbunzlau. At 9:00 p.m., his army marched in two columns with the cavalry in vanguard, followed by the regular infantry and the light troops in rearguard.

On Tuesday April 26

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: The main body encamped at Wesela (present-day Veselá, Mnichovo Hradiště) with the Iser to its front while the baggage and provisions remained at Sobotka protected by 2 bns and 200 commandeered foot under Major-General von Kalckreuth. Münchengrätz (present-day Mnichovo Hradiště) was occupied by 2 Prussian bns.
      • Winterfeldt's and Wartenberg's vanguards (7 bns and 45 sqns: the 3 hussar rgts, Blanckensee Dragoons, Geßler Cuirassiers, Prinz von Schönaich Cuirassiers) established communication with Lieutenant-General Prince von Schönaich of Bevern's Corps. Wartenberg passed to the right bank of the Iser at Swijan (present-day Svijany) and advanced on Münchengrätz while Winterfeldt and Schwerin (Blanckensee Dragoons, Geßler Cuirassiers, Prinz von Schönaich Cuirassiers) marched in the same direction, following the left bank. In front of Münchengrätz, Wartenberg encountered Austrian hussars who soon retired on Jungbunzlau after burning the bridge across the Iser. The Prussian hussars pursued them and captured 30 men and 100 baggage wagons. Meanwhile, Schwerin (Blanckensee Dragoons, Geßler Cuirassiers, Prinz von Schönaich Cuirassiers), marching full speed by Bakow (present-day Bakov nad Jizerou) and Kosmanos (present-day Kosmonosy), reached Jungbunzlau just in time to prevent the destruction of the Austrian magazines who contained enough provisions for 40,000 men for three weeks. Königsegg's cavalry appeared on the opposite bank but too late to secure the town.
    • Bevern's Corps passed the Iser at Podol (present-day Podoli, Mnichovo Hradiště). In the evening, its left wing linked with the right wing of Schwerin's Army near Wesela despite Königsegg's vain attempts to prevent this junction.
    • Frederick's Corps: Frederick, letting his infantry rest for the day, reconnoitred the course of the Eger River (present-day Ohře River), sending Frei-Infanterie von Mayr and 100 hussars towards Libochowitz (present-day Libochovice) to make a diversion. His heavy artillery and cavalry, as well as Prince Moritz's Corps finally made a junction with his infantry at Lobositz. In the evening, Frederick's Army (now including Prince Moritz's Corps) set off from its camp at Lobositz and marched in two columns towards Koschtitz (present-day Koštice), leaving its train, baggage and 45 heavy pieces behind at Trebnitz (present-day Třebenice) under the protection of Wied Infantry and 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars. Prince Moritz formed the vanguard with 4 grenadier bns accompanied by 30 heavy pieces and 42 pontoons.
  • Austrians
    • Königsegg reached Münchengrätz too late to prevent its occupation by the Prussians and realised that he could not reach Jungbunzlau before them. He then detached his cavalry forward to secure the town. However, when his cavalry appeared on the opposite bank in front of Jungbunzlau, it saw that the town was already in the hand of the Prussians. It contented itself to save the 100 foot guarding the magazines and to retreat to Neubenatek (Benátky nad Jizerou). In the evening, Königsegg's exhausted infantry finally reached Weisswasser (present-day Bělá pod Bezdězem).
    • Serbelloni moved his camp at Königgrätz from the left to the right bank of the Elbe. He threw 6 bns in the entrenchments behind the Adler. He also posted Major-General von Gemmingen at Königinhof and Major-General Count Nikolaus Esterházy with 2,000 Grenzer light troops and 200 hussars at Schmirsitz.
    • Arenberg's Corps marched from Podersam to Sterkowitz (present-day Strkovice).

In the night of April 26 to 27, the 3 first bns of the Prussian vanguard finally arrived in Jungbunzlau.

On Wednesday April 27

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army then counted 54 bns and 85 sqns. Its camp was moved closer to the Iser while the provision train of the former Bevern's Corps remained near Münchengrätz under the protection of 2 bns.
    • Frederick's Army: At 1:00 a.m., Frederick's cavalry followed the infantry who had set off in the evening to pass the Eger. Night was very dark and some confusion occurred in the marching columns. Prince Moritz's vanguard lost its way, followed by the main body. These delays caused the vanguard to reach Koschtitz in broad daylight. The vanguard immediately started to throw bridges across the 50 m. wide Eger, covered by 3 grenadier bns occupying Patek (present-day part of village of Koštice by Louny) and by its artillery deployed along the left bank of the river. By 8:00 a.m., two bridges were ready and crossing began. The mere appearance of Austrian troops on the commanding heights on the right bank of the Eger would have sufficed to postpone the crossing. However, only a few Austrian hussars could be seen observing the manoeuvre and Prussian hussars were sent to contain them. As these Prussian patrols advanced on Stradonitz (present-day Stradonice, Peruc), they came to contact at Perutz (present-day Peruc) with quartermasters of Arenberg's Corps who were installing a camp there. While his army was passing the Eger, Frederick made a reconnaissance in force in the direction of Budin with 30 sqns (10 sqns of Zieten Hussars, 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars, 10 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons, and 5 sqns Meinicke Dragoons). From the heights to the west of Czernochow (present-day Černochov, Peruc), Frederick saw a large dust cloud in the direction of Charwatetz (present-day Charvatce by LItoměřice), indicating that Browne's Corps was on the move. Frederick would have liked to engage Browne but by this time only the head of his infantry had crossed the Eger at Koschtitz, 7 km away. By noon, Frederick received intelligence that Browne had retired south-eastwards to Welwarn (present-day Velvary) to avoid being cut from Prague. Frederick sent Zieten at the head of 20 sqns (10 sqns of Zieten Hussars, 5 sqns of Szekely Hussars, and 5 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons) to follow the Austrians. He then returned to Stradonitz where he established his headquarters. His army encamped (infantry in two lines and cavalry behind in a third line) with its right wing near Slavetin and its left wing anchored on the Eger. Grenadier Battalion Wangenheim remained at Koschtitz to protect the pontoon bridges.
  • Austrians
    • Arenberg, ignoring how close Frederick's Corps was, marched from Sterkowitz towards Budin. After the encounter with Prussian hussars near Perutz, he realised that he could not continue his march towards Budin. He rather tried to effect a junction with Browne's Army by making a detour south-eastwards. In the evening after a march of 45 km, his exhausted corps finally reached Schlan (present-day Slaný) out of reach of Frederick's Army, leaving behind a large number of stragglers.
    • Königsegg recalled his cavalry from Neubenatek, destroyed all crossings on the Lower Iser and then marched to Altbunzlau. In the evening, he finally reached the Elbe at Brandeis where reinforcements were waiting for him. Only his rearguard under Colonel Loudon, remained on the right bank of the Elbe at Altbunzlau while his hussars roamed the area between Nimburg, Benatek and Melnik. With his reinforcements, Königsegg was now at the head of 26⅓ bns, 32 grenadier coys, 49 sqns, 20 heavy artillery pieces for a total of approx. 20,000 foot and 5,000 horse and hussars. Königsegg then dismantled all bridges across the Elbe between Nimburg to Melnik to the exception of the bridge at Brandeis.

In the night of April 27 to 28, Zieten's exhausted detachment had to halt at Charwatetz. Important Austrian magazines were captured at Charwatetz and Budin.

On Thursday April 28:

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army rested for a day now that its junction with Bevern's Corps had been effected. Lieutenant-General Winterfeldt was at the head of the vanguard consisting of 6 bns (Grenadier Battalion Kahlden, Grenadier Battalion Möllendorf, Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, Grenadier Battalion Waldau, Schwerin Infantry) and 25 sqns (Stechow Dragoons, Seydlitz Hussars, Werner Hussars) took position at Neu-Wirthshaus (nowaday, the village does not exist anymore but it was known in Czech as Nová Hospoda) to the south of Jungbunzlau on the road to Brodetz (present-day Brodce). Major-General Wartemberg (2 bns, 20 sqns) advanced to Dobromitz (probably Dobrovice) to guard the flank of the army. Schwerin was now certain that Königsegg would not attack him. However an attack by Serbelloni still remained possible and Schwerin rearranged his camp with his right wing anchored at Jungbunzlau and the Iser River behind his positions.
    • Frederick's Army: Frederick allowed a day rest to Prince Moritz's Corps who had marched for 7 days and undertaken 2 night marches. He then marched with the rest of his army and took position between Charwatetz and Raczinowes (present-day Račiněves), establishing his headquarters in Charwatetz. Rochow Cuirassiers joined Zieten's vanguard, bringing its total force to 25 sqns. Zieten then advanced up to Welwarn trying to catch up with Browne's rearguard.
  • Austrians
    • Charles de Lorraine, commander-in-chief of the Austrian Army, left Vienna in the morning.
    • Browne marched from Welwarn and took position behind the Zakolaner Stream (present-day Zákolanský stream) were he was joined by Arenberg's Corps. Browne (now at the head of 46 bns, 48 grenadier coys and 71 sqns) then took position on the heights to the north-west of Tursko with his right wing anchored on the Moldau (present-day Vltava River).
    • The Austrian commander of the Castle of Tetschen; who had defended the place for five days with 300 men, 2 guns and 6 Doppelhaken; finally retired upstream along the Elbe.
    • Serbelloni was so preoccupied by his own security that he sent Major-General Gemmingen to Königinhof (present-day Dvůr Králové nad Labem) at the head of the Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer, Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer, Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer and some hussars. Similarly, he sent Major-General Count Esterházy with Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer (2,000 men) and 200 hussars to Smirschitz (present-day Smiřice). All communication with Königsegg's forces was now impossible.

Such was the speed of the advancing Prussian columns that considerable portions of the supplies, gathered in the Austrian magazines fell into their hands. These provisions were so important that they amounted to three months of supplies for the entire Prussian Army.

On Friday April 29:

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army advanced, leaving 3 bns (Münchow Fusiliers, I./Sers Fusiliers) and 80 hussars behind to garrison Jungbunzlau, and encamped between Brodetz and Zamost (present-day Zámostí, Písková Lhota) facing eastwards. His vanguard occupied Altbenatek (present-day Benátky nad Jizerou). Wartenberg remained at Dobromitz. Kalckreuth Fusiliers and 80 hussars remained in Kosmanos to guard the magazines. The bridges across the Iser at Zamost, Brodetz and Benatek were re-established. Furthermore, a pontoon bridge was set up on each side of Brodetz.
    • Frederick's Army: Frederick was forced to give a day rest to his army. He repaired the bridge at Budin. His baggage and his heavy artillery joined his army at Charwatetz. Prince Moritz was sent forward to Hospozin in the direction of Welwarn with his infantry (16 bns). The pontoon bridges at Koschtitz were dismantled and brought back to the army under the escort of Grenadier Battalion Wangenheim. A field hospital was established in Budin and bakeries erected in Lobositz and Charwatezt. The captured Austrian magazines and abundance of corn in the fields around Budin were most welcome for Frederick's Army whose supplies were lagging two days behind. The surrender of the Castle of Tetschen the previous day had also freed navigation on the Elbe allowing for faster transportation of supplies. Frederick received confirmation of the junction of Schwerin's and Bevern's corps at Jungbunzlau.
      • On the same day, Frederick was informed that there were large Austrian magazines in the district of Pilsen. He immediately sent Lieutenant-Colonel von Mayr from Charwatetz with Frei-Infanterie von Mayr, Frei-Infanterie von Kalben and 2 sqns of Szekely Hussars to destroy these magazines to make more difficult the assembly in Western Bohemia of an Austrian force destined to support the Reichsarmee. Mayr's detachment was also instructed to launch an incursion in Franconia, spreading terror in the neighbouring Imperial principalities to impede the assembly of the Reichsarmee.
  • Austrians
    • Charles de Lorraine arrived in Prague in the evening. As he was approaching the city, he saw a great number of inhabitants fleeing with their belongings. Within the walls all was confusion, the train of his army filling the streets and places.
    • Browne's main army remained at Tursko.
    • Königsegg detached Major-General Duke d'Ursel with 6,000 men to cover the magazines at Nimburg and to maintain communication with Serbelloni's Corps. Up and downstream from Brandeis, small detachments guarded the Elbe. At Brandeis, Königsegg kept a force of approx. 12,000 foot and 3,500 horse.

On Saturday April 30

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: Schwerin remained in camp between Brodetz and Zamost to bake bread and receive provisions. However, his vanguard crossed the Iser at Altbenatek, remaining in the area of Neubenatek. Schwerin finally received news about the crossing of the Eger by Frederick's Army and of its march on Welwarn.
    • Frederick's Army marched in four columns towards Welwarn where it encamped with its left wing anchored on the Moldau, Frederick establishing his headquarters in Budschin (present-day Bučina) to the south of Welwarn.
      • Prince Moritz, already posted at Hospozin, acted as vanguard during the advance.
      • Detachments (Zieten with the hussars of the army and Meinicke Dragoons; Major-General von Hülsen with grenadier bns Bülow, Ramin, Jung-Billerbeck, Frei-Infanterie le Noble and the Foot Jägers) occupied Zemech (present-day Zěmechy by Kralupy nad Vltavou), Minkowitz (present-day Mikovice) and Kralup (present-day Kralupy nad Vltavou) to secure the crossing of the Knobisbach (present-day Knovízký stream).
    • The first 28 Prussian barges laden with forage navigated the Elbe and passed the Castle of Tetschen. These supplies were overdue because, during their advance, the Prussian armies had lost 1,500 cavalry horses as well as many artillery horses.
  • Austrians
    • Browne's Army fell back on Tuchomirschitz (probably Tuchoměřice) where Charles de Lorraine joined it and replaced Browne as commander-in-chief as planned. During a war council, only Browne advocated an offensive. However, the Austrian main army counted by then only some 30,000 men while Frederick's forces were estimated to approx. 55,000 men. Furthermore, communications with Prague and with the corps of Königsegg and Serbelloni could be easily cut. Finally, the war council decided to retreat on Prague and to take position on the right bank of the Moldau.
    • Serbelloni, now at the head of 24,200 foot and 9,800 horse was still sitting idle at Königgrätz. According to the instructions received from Prince Charles, Serbelloni finally advanced to Nechanitz (present-day Nechanice) and Neubidschow (present-day Nový Bydžov) with the main body of his army, leaving 6 weak bns (2,300 men) to cover the magazines at Königgrätz and Pardubitz (present-day Pardubice). He also detached FML Count Puebla (1 bn of Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer, 24 grenadier coys, 40 horse) towards Nimburg to cover its magazines. Major-General von Beck, now at the head of the Grenzer light troops formerly led by Gemmingen, advanced on Neubidschow. Meanwhile, Major-General Count Pálffy took position at Chlumez (unidentified location) with 500 hussars; Lieutenant-Colonel von Gersdorff advanced on Königstadtl (present-day Městec Králové).

At the beginning of May, the Austrian FML Duke of Arenberg gave order to the 8 infantry rgts and 3 cavalry rgts posted at Eger (present-day Cheb) to take position on the road between Plan and Eger. Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry (3 bns) and Harsch Infantry (3 bns) were left behind at Eger as garrison.

On Sunday May 1

On Monday May 2

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: Schwerin remained at Sliwno
      • Major-General Wartenberg was sent forward up to Altbunzlau with 800 hussars and 200 grenadiers with instructions to make himself master of the bridge across the Elbe. On the right bank of the Elbe, in an oak forest near Altbunzlau, Wartenberg bumped into a force of some 3,000 Grenzer light troops led by Colonel MacElliot. Wartenberg immediately engaged them and drove them back to the bridge, inflicting them losses of 4 officers and 300 men. A great number of Grenzer light troops, now unable to recross the Elbe, took refuge in the forest, pursued by the Prussian hussars up to the bridge. Nevertheless, the Grenzers, who had previously coated the bridge with pitch, managed to set it afire. The Prussians were unable to extinguish the fire and the bridge burnt. In this action, the Prussians lost 23 men killed and 2 officers and 21 men wounded. They also lost Major-General Wartenberg who was killed in action.
      • Winterfeldt occupied Melnik with two grenadier bns.
      • Schwerin's lines of communication were still covered by Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky in Stranow, Grenadier Battalion Manteuffel in Horka, Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben in Neubenatek (Grenadier Battalion Alt-Billerbeck and I./Alt-Württemberg Fusiliers had rejoined the army).
    • Frederick's Army: Early in the morning, Frederick marched with his reinforced vanguard in the direction of Prague, hoping to catch up with the Austrian rearguard. However, he found only a few hussar and Grenzer detachments who immediately retired on Prague. Frederick then realized that the Austrian main army had already passed the Moldau. Frederick's main body marched by Rufyn (present-day Ruzyně, part of Prague). Its new camp extended from the Weisse Berg (present day Bílá hora) in the direction of Podbaba, encircling Prague “small side”. His right extended behind the Convent of Margareth (present-day monastery of Břevnov, part of Prague) and his left to the Moldau near Podbaba. His cavalry encamped behind the infantry wings at Libotz (present-day Liboc) and Lysolei (present-day Lysolaje). Frederick established his headquarters at Weleslawin (present-day Veleslavín), a small hamlet to north of Prague, which was occupied by the I./Garde.
    • Frei-Infanterie de Angelelli arrived in Pirna to escort the siege park leaving for Prague.
  • Austrians
    • Prince Charles held a council of war. He was of the advice to throw a large garrison into Prague and to then retreat to make a junction with Serbelloni's Corps. However, Browne, the General-Commissary Baron Netolitzki and several other generals advocated to defend Prague. Finally, the council resolved to remain near Prague. The garrison of Prague was reinforced with 13,000 men (18 bns, 18 grenadier coys, 210 commandeered horse) and placed under the command of FML Count Thürheim.
    • Königsegg's Corps arrived at Prague and the Austrian army redeployed facing north with its right wing to the north of Maleschitz and its left on the Ziskaberg.

In the night of May 2 to 3, Schwerin, informed that the Austrian had evacuated the left bank of the Elbe and left a small garrison in the Castle of Brandeis, sent 2 howitzers and 20 pontoons to Altbunzlau. Before daybreak, Lieutenant-General von Fouqué arrived at Altbunzlau with 6 bns (Lestwitz Infantry, Kurssell Fusiliers and Fouqué Fusiliers) and 5 sqns (Katte Dragoons). However, the Austrians had already evacuated the Castle of Brandeis.

Battle of Prague

The Weisse Berg was on the western side of Prague while the Hradschin lied on the slope or shoulder of the Weisse Berg, a good way from the top. The Hradschin had a web of streets rushing down from it till they reached the bridge over the Moldau. From the bridge, the streets became level and spread out to right, left and eastward across the river up to the Ziskaberg. The distance from Ziskaberg top to Weisse Berg top was about 8 km, from the Hradschin to the foot of Ziskaberg (north-west to south-east) it was about 4 km. Prague stood nestled in the lap of mountains and was not in itself a strong place in war. However, the country round it with the Moldau ploughing its passage through the heights was difficult to manoeuvre in. Moldau Valley came straight from the south, crossed Prague and made a big loop of horse-shoe shape. It then proceeded straight northward towards the Elbe. It was narrow everywhere, especially fairly north of Prague.

On Tuesday May 3:

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: Most of Schwerin's forces still remained in his camp of Sliwno, awaiting further developments. Schwerin, who was at Sliwno, received Frederick's orders to pass the Elbe and to make a junction with his own corps.
      • Fouqué suffered delays in the setting of a pontoon bridge at Altbunzlau. However, by evening, a pontoon bridge was finally ready below Brandeis and Fouqué left 2 bns in Brandeis.
      • Winterfeldt, who was posted at Bischitz, suffered delays too in the setting of a bridge at Kosteletz/Elbe (present-day Kostelec nad Labem).
    • Frederick's Army remained in its positions to the west of Prague. Frederick reconnoitred the area.
  • Austrians
    • Prince Charles sent Colonel Fürst Lobkowitz (500 horse, 200 hussars) forward in the direction of Brandeis and Meschitz (present-day Měšice) to observe Schwerin's Corps. Hadik secured the front of the army at Lieben (present-day Libeň) with two hussar rgts.
    • Königsegg's last units joined the Austrian Great Army. Nevertheless, Prince Charles continued to act defensively.

Frederick's first problem was to make his junction with the combined columns of Bevern and Schwerin. This junction could not take place south of Ziskaberg with Austrians positioned on the high grounds. Supplies came by boat on the Elbe up to Leitmeritz which was garrisoned by the Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm von Preußen Fusiliers (another former Saxon regiment forcibly incorporated into Prussian service). From Leitmeritz, supplies were transported by wagon.

Order of Battle
Order of Frederick's Army on May 4:

On Wednesday May 4:

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: Early in the morning, Fouqué passed to the left bank of the Elbe with his troops and those of Wartenberg's detachment. Similarly, Winterfeldt's vanguard passed the Elbe at Kosteletz. The heavy artillery crossed the pontoon bridge at Brandeis immediately after Fouqué's troops. The main body of infantry followed in two columns and passed the bridge simultaneously in two rows to deploy more quickly on the opposite bank. Then the cavalry crossed, followed by infantry escorting the baggage. In the evening, Schwerin's main body encamped with its right wing at Brazdim, where the field-marshal established his headquarters, and its left wing at Brandeis. Kalckreuth Fusiliers escorted the bread-wagons arriving from Jungbunzlau up to the new camp.
      • Winterfeldt bivouacked with Kosteletz/Elbe to his rear.
      • Schwerin sent Lieutenant von Borcke to inform Frederick that his army had now passed the Elbe.
    • Frederick's Army: Preparations were undertaken for a junction with Schwerin. Accordingly a corps of 17,000 foot and 7,000 horse and hussars (20 bns, the Fussjägers, 38 sqns and 50 field pieces) was assembled under the direct command of Frederick to pass the Moldau below Prague while the remaining corps of 25,000 foot and 7,000 horse and hussars (30 bns, 38 sqns) was placed under the command of Field-Marshal Keith and charged to maintain the blockade of Prague from the left bank of the Moldau. Grenadier Battalion Gemmingen was left behind at Welwarn to guard the field bakery (it would later accompany Frederick's Corps to the right bank of the Moldau). Some 95 pontoons were assembled at Lysolei on the Lower Moldau for the planned crossing. In the afternoon, Lieutenant-General Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick and Prince Henri established an infantry camp on the heights between Lysolei and the Moldau. Meanwhile Frederick established his headquarters in Lysolei. Keith was ordered to place a corps of 30 sqns under the command of Prince Moritz von Anhalt who was instructed to throw a bridge of pontoons (he had 35 pontoons) across the Moldau above Prague under the protection of a few grenadier battalions and heavy pieces. After the crossing Prince Moritz would then cut the line of retreat of the Austrians.
  • Austrians
    • Prince Charles sent orders to Serbelloni to march on the Elbe to make a junction with the main army. Prince Charles was convinced that the two Prussian armies would not dare to make their junction between the Elbe and the Moldau in front of the Austrian main army.
      • Colonel Fürst Lobkowitz had a skirmish with Werner Hussars where he lost 3 officers and 95 men taken prisoners.
    • Serbelloni contented himself to send Puebla, who he had reinforced to 9,000 men, to Podiebrad (present-day Podiebrady); and to sent FML Ariosti from Humburg (present-day Humburky) to Zizelitz (present-day Žiželice nad Cidlinou) with 4 bns. Beck remained at Nimburg.
Desertion of the former Saxon regiments
Frederick had been wrong when he considered that the former Saxon regiments forcibly incorporated in his army would serve appropriately. In fact, problems had arisen from the very first days when some units refused to swear allegiance to him.

Contrarily to several armies of the era, the Saxon Army had been composed mainly of Saxons with few foreigners. Accordingly the bonds of its soldiers with Elector Friedrich August II were very strong and a great number seized the first opportunity to desert.

Some desertion caused violence. At Chemnitz, 100 soldiers of the former Garde zu Fuss used their weapons against Prussian soldiers and escaped. While marching from Wittenberg to Görlitz, some 500 soldiers of the new Flemming Fusiliers killed some of their officers and escaped through Guben to Poland.. Of course, deserters enjoyed the support of the Saxon population.

During the march into Bohemia, the Prussians escorted the former Saxon regiments (for example, and escort of 300 Prussian soldiers was considered necessary for a unit of 500 Saxon). At night, these regiments were often placed under heavy guard. Some of them even had to mach without their weapons. Furthermore, these regiments were often left to the rear as garrison in various places.

Despite these measures, Saxon soldiers continued to desert. For example, during their march to Bischofswerda, Sergeant Heissing with 42 dragoons of the former Graf Rutowsky Light Dragoons, now incorporated into the Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons, escaped at night. A detachment was sent to catch these deserters but part of it joined them while other intentionally missfired. Sergeant Heissing arrived safely at Hainsbach (present-day Lipová/CZ) with his dragoons. The following month, another 200 dragoons of the same regiment escaped under the lead of Corporal Eichler. Indeed, due to the absence of Saxon officers in these regiments, deserters were often led by NCOs.

Further desertions took place when the Saxons realized that the promise that they would serve only within Saxony had been broken. Two bns of the former Prinz Friedrich August Infantry (now Loen Fusiliers) refused to march to Berlin and deserted when passing near the Polish border, reaching Blesen (present-day Bledzew/PL) three days later. Their soldiers elected Sergeant Christian August Richter as commander (Richter was later promoted captain). Within a few days, these 2 bns were followed by 5 coys of the former Prinz Xaver Infantry (now Jung-Braunschweig-Bevern Fusiliers) under command of Sergeant Johann Michael Knabe (later promoted captain) who had taken their officers as hostages.

The dreaded Frei-Infanterie von Mayr was among the Prussian regiments used to chase and capture Saxon deserters. Frederick even threatened to confiscate the properties of the families of the deserters.

In the night of May 4 to 5, Lieutenant von Borcke, Schwerin's courrier, was intercepted and captured by Colonel Fürst Lobkowitz. Meanwhile, Frederick was still waiting to know if Schwerin had effectively managed to pass the Elbe.

Map showing the positions of the Austrian and Prussian corps on May 5 1757.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab
Courtesy: Tony Flores


On Thursday May 5

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin's Army: The passage of the baggage across the pontoon bridge at Brandeis was finally completed. Work continued on this bridge. Grenadier Battalion Manteuffel was moved from Horka to Brandeis to secure the bridge while Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky was left behind at Stranow and Zamost. The combined columns of Bevern and Schwerin then waited for the signal indicating that Frederick was actually crossing to their side of the Lower Moldau.
      • Wintereldt's vanguard advanced from Kostelezt/Elbe to Meschitz on the right flank of the advancing main body. Indeed, Schwerin and his commanders were under the impression that the Austrian corps of Serbelloni, concentrated at Kolin, would try to make a junction with the main army near Prague.
    • Frederick's Corps:
      • At 5:00 a.m., Manstein at the head of Grenadier Battalion Wedell, Grenadier Battalion Wrede and the Foot Jägers took position at the foot of the heights located to the west of Bohnitz (present-day Bohnice) on the right bank of the Moldau.
      • At 5:00 a.m., Grenadier Battalion Kanitz and Grenadier Battalion Finck took position above and below Selz (present-day Sedlec, Prague)). Furthermore, two batteries (each of twelve 12-pdr guns) were planted at the foot of the heights to the west of Selz under the protection of Manteuffel Infantry and Itzenplitz Infantry. Under this strong cover, the construction of the pontoon bridge progressed without perturbation, Austrian hussars observing the events from the distance.
      • By 9:00 a.m., the bridge was ready and crossing began. Manstein advanced his detachment to the heights east of Bohnitz to better cover the crossing. He was soon reinforced by I./Prinz Ferdinand Infantry and I./Zastrow Infantry who protected the bridge. The signal (three cannon-shots) was made for Schwerin.
      • At 2:00 p.m., Frederick's 38 sqns left their camp and started to pass the Moldau over the pontoon bridge at Selz. Frederick then remained in this position dangerously close to the Austrian main army with his back to the Moldau for the rest of the day, impatiently awaiting a signal or a message from Schwerin. Finally, he sent Adjutant von Stutterheim to Schwerin with the order to undertake a night march to meet him early the next morning. Before the passage was complete, Seydlitz Hussars sent by Schwerin appeared on the outskirts. In the evening, Frederick's Corps encamped on the hilltops to the North-West of Czimitz (probably Čimický). His heavy artillery, who had met many difficulties on its way, finally reached this camp late during the night. Hussars and Fussjägers secured the approaches of the camp, taking position at the outskirts of the forest near Kobilis (present-day Kobylisy) where enemy hussars and Grenzer light troops had retired.
    • Keith's Corps remained in its camp.
  • Austrians
    • Charles de Lorraine moved his headquarters from Nusle to Maleschitz and encamped his army in two lines between Maleschitz and Wolschan behind the Roketnitzer Stream, his left anchored on Prague, his right between Sterbohol and Hostawitz, his extreme right wing deployed en potence in the direction of Sterbohol. His army consisted of 61 bns, 62 grenadier coys, 132 sqns for a total of 48,500 foot and 12,600 horse and hussars; altogether 61,000 men. Hadik with hussars and Lobkowitz with 700 horse, posted on the heights of Gbell and Prosek, secured the Austrian camp. At 6:00 p.m., Charles ordered the infantry to be ready by daybreak, the cavalry saddled, the baggage ready for departure. He also expected that at least part of Serbelloni's Corps would arrive on the following day.
    • in the evening, Field-Marshal Daun replaced Serbelloni as commander of the Austrian corps posted at Kolin. General-adjutant von Schultz was sent by Charles to Böhmisch-Brod to speed up the march of the first detachment of Daun's army under Puebla. With Frederick at Czimitz and Schwerin at Brandeis, Charles did not expect a battle before May 7.

In the night of May 5 to 6 at 2:00 a.m., Prince Moritz set off from Keith's camp with 4 grenadier bns and fourteen 24-pdr guns, followed by wagons transporting 35 pontoons. The infantry lost its way but finally reached the Moldau.

On Friday May 6

  • Prussians
    • Schwerin was on the march shortly after midnight. He advanced over the Heights of Chaber and made his junction with Frederick as planned around 6:00 a.m. near the village of Prossik (probably Prosek). The Austrians did not try to impede the junction of the two Prussian forces.
    • in the morning, Prince Moritz was joined by General von Kyau (Gens d'Armes, Leib-Carabiniers, Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers, Rochow Cuirassiers, Bayreuth Dragoons and 200 men from Szekely Hussars). Around noon, when the pontoons finally arrived Prince Moritz realised that he would have needed 60 pontoons to throw a bridge on the Moldau (he had only 35).

After the junction of Schwerin's and Frederick's armies, a long and heavily contested struggle ensued, the Battle of Prague, that the Prussians finally won. However, most of the Austrian Great Army, 50,337 men strong (including 5,792 Grenzer light troops), took refuge in the City. Meanwhile, Daun reached Podiebrad where he let his troops take a few hours rest after an exhausting night march. He then planned to advance to Bömisch-Brod but did not march farther than Sadska (present-day Sadská), only 4 hours march from Prague. The advanced elements of his army, under FML Count Puebla, reaching Auwal. Near Bechowitz, they saw the victorious Prussians advancing. When Daun heard of the results of the battle, he retired to Podiebrad.

The very same day (May 6) at 4:00 a.m., Major-General Baron Beck reached Mochov with his body of light troops (4,000 Grenzers and 350 hussars) to cover the right flank of Daun's Army. There, he received intelligence that the town and the castle of Brandeis had only a weak Prussian garrison (II./Manstein Fusiliers, a former Saxon rgt, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Mardefeld with 2 guns and Manteuffel Grenadiers covering the bridge). He immediately decided to attack this town and to destroy its bridge. At 5:00 a.m., Beck appeared in front of Brandeis and unsuccessfully summoned the garrison to surrender. He then launched the I./Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer led by Colonel Brodanovic against the right gate and the II./Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer led by Lieutenant-Colonel Baron Riese along with one battalion of the Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer led by Major Passée against the left gate. During this time, Lieutenant-Colonel Mathesen with the II./Slavonisch-Brooder Grenzer and Lieutenant-Colonel Miljevic with the I./Slavonisch-Gradiskaner Grenzer made themselves master of the town and destroyed the bridge over the Elbe. The Prussian Lieutenant-Colonel Mardefeld was taken prisoners with most of the garrison (374 men of II./Manstein Fusiliers, 4 officers and 252 men of other units including 80 wounded). In this action, Beck also captured 5 colours, 2 guns, 3 ammunition wagons. He also freed 3 officers, and 104 cuirassiers, dragoons and hussars who had been taken prisoners by Schwerin a few days earlier when he had crossed the Elbe. Beck lost lost only 20 men killed and 20 wounded. Only 4 officers and 120 men of Manteuffel Grenadiers under Major von Momma managed to escape. In the evening, Beck returned to Mochov.

Still the same day (May 6), the Prussian siege artillery sent from Magdeburg on the Elbe reached Pirna where it was transferred on smaller boats.

Continuation

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

References

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

  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 205-216
  • Archenholz, J. W.: The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 32-64, 88-89
  • Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 18
  • Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763
    • Vol. 1 Pirna und Lobositz, Berlin, 1901, p. 127
    • Vol. 2 Prag, Berlin, 1901, pp. 4-123, 147, App. 3-4
    • Vol. 3 Kolin, Berlin, 1901, pp. 3, 13,
  • Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
  • Tempelhoff, Fr.: History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I pp. 18-120, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793
  • Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 409-426

Other sources:

Pajol, Charles P. V.: Les Guerres sous Louis XV, vol. IV, Paris, 1891, pp. 40-42

Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009

Skala, Harald: Rückzug des preussischen Heeres nach der Schlacht bei Kolin 1757, der Fall von Gabel und Zittau

Skala, Harald: Österreichische Militärgeschichte

Acknowledgement

Harald Skala for information on the Saxon Army during this period