1758 - Prussian invasion of Moravia – Preparations and Arrival
The campaign lasted from March to July 1758
Since December 24 1757, Werner’s Prussian detachment occupied Troppau (present-day Opava) while Simbschen’s Austrian detachment had retired to Grätz (present-day Hradec nad Moravicí/CZ) and Fulnek.
- Simbschen was at the head of approx. 3,500 men:
- Werner commanded
- Grenadier Battalion Heyden (1 bn)
- Grenadier Battalion Rath (1 bn) recently arrived from Cosel
- Garrison Regiment X Blanckensee (1 bn) recently arrived from Neisse
- Freibataillon Kalben (1 bn)
- Werner Hussars (8 sqns)
- Warnery Hussars (1 commandeered sqn)
- Schmettau Cuirassiers (3 sqns) recently arrived from Neisse
Werner used his superiority over Simbschen’s forces to extract money and supplies contributions from Moravia.
At the beginning of January 1758
- The main Austrian army went to rest in two groups. The reorganisation of this shattered army immediately began. The main army was posted in north-eastern Bohemia. The protection of the frontier was confided to two corps: Major-General Franz Maximilian Baron Jahnus von Eberstädt commanded a chain of posts extending from Neurode (present-day Nowa Ruda/PL), by Wunschelburg (present-day Radków/PL) and Habelschwert (present-day Bystrzyca Kłodzka/PL) up to Jauernig (present-day Javorník ve Slezsku/CZ); while G.d.C. Buccow was responsible for the troops posted between Braunau (present-day Broumov/CZ) and Aupa (present-day Malá Úpa/CZ). Several strong barricades blocked the mountain roads and passes. The headquarters were in Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové). The second large group, formed by the corps of Loudon, Hadik and most of Marschall’s Corps, had taken up its winter-quarters to the south of the Erzgebirge and Elbsandsteingebirge. FZM von Sincère assumed command of this second army.
- The Province of Moravia was covered by Colonel von Simbschen with a small detachment quartered south of Troppau. Simbschen finally received reinforcements (4 cavalry rgts, the Bavarian Contingent and the Saxon cavalry, to the exception of the Karabiniers who were attached to Sincère’s Corps). Simbschen was then placed under the command of FML de Ville.
- Northern Hungary was covered by Major-General von Gastheim with approx. 4,000 irregulars posted south of the Jablunka Pass.
- In case of a general advance of the Prussians into Bohemia, the Austrian command intended to retreat to Moravia.
In January, the Württemberger Contingent effected a junction with Sincère’s army and took position in the region of Saaz (present day Žatec/CZ). Hadik occupied advanced posts along the frontier between Arbesau (present-day Varvažov/CZ) and Klösterle (present-day Klášterec nad Ohří/CZ), blocking the roads leading from Friedland (present-day Frýdlant/CZ) to Gabel (present-day Jablonné v Podještědí/CZ) and from Zittau to Lusatia. Marschall occupied Prague with 4 infantry rgts and his heavy artillery.
In January, King Frederick II sent Major-General von Schmettau with additional reinforcements (3½ cavalry rgts: Leib-Carabiniers, the rest of Schmettau Cuirassiers, Krockow Dragoons and Stechow Dragoons) for Werner.
On January 12 and 13, Schmettau’s reinforcements arrived at Troppau.
On January 16, Werner and Schmettau, who each commanded independently, made an unsuccessful attempt against Grätz. The failure of the enterprise was partly due to missing unity of command.
On January 20, the main Austrian army in Bohemia included
- 42 infantry rgts which altogether could field only 45 bns, 39 grenadier coys for a total of 35,712 men (at full strength, these units should have counted 64,764 men), including the garrison of Schweidnitz (present-day Swidnica);
- 18 cuirassiers and dragoons rgts which altogether could only field 67 sqns and 18 carabinier or horse grenadiers coys, for a total of 13,473 men (at full strength, these units should have counted 22,118 men). Among these rgts, Anhalt-Zerbst Cuirassiers had 5 sqns; while 11 rgts counted only 4 sqns and 6 rgts, only 3 sqns;
- 4,774 hussars (at full strength, these units should have counted 9,720 men)
At the end of January, Frederick sent Major-General von Saldern to assume command of the corps of Werner and Schmettau at Troppau. Saldern confided command of advanced positions to Werner and established Schmettau’s regiments in the villages north of Troppau.
For the campaign of 1758, Austria planned to put three armies in the field:
- Field-marshal Count Leopold Daun with 64 bns, 45 grenadier coys and 17 cavalry regiments
- Batthyányi with 30 bns, 28 grenadier coys and 48 sqns
- Franz Leopold von Nádasdy with 6 bns, 4 grenadier coys and 24 sqns
For this purpose, Austrian troops operating with the French Army were recalled and the 10,000 Saxons were kept back to protect Austria. Very small garrisons were left in the Netherlands, and Tuscany had to provide the Toscana Infantry Regiment counting 3 battalions. All other regiments were required to join the Austrian main army without delay while orders were issued for raising levies and recruiting.
Austrian light troops (Croats, Bosnians, Italians, Dalmatians and Tyroleans) were also increased to some 76,000 men.
During the winter of 1757-58, Frederick II had completed his army which, at the end of the campaign of 1757, was down to one third its initial strength. He also raised four Frei Bataillon: Hordt, Wunsch, Monjou and du Verger. This winter was particularly rude and both the Austrian and Prussian armies lost many men from sickness.
In mid-February 1758, Frederick was convinced that a formal siege of Schweidnitz was inevitable. Meanwhile, the Austrians were preparing to relieve Schweidnitz. The 7 Prussian cuirassier rgts each contributed a squadron of 100 men placed under Major-General von Lentulus to prevent any such entreprise.
In mid-February, the main Austrian army included 47 infantry rgts which altogether could field only 42 bns, 51 grenadier coys. In fact, 7 rgts could only field ¼ or ½ bn. For example, Johann Pálffy Infantry could only field ¼ bn and no grenadier coy.
On February 17, an Austrian Corps (4 Bavarian bns, 4 Grenzer bns, 4 cavalry rgts, 2 hussar rgts, Graf Renard Uhlanen and Graf Rudnicki Uhlanen for a total of about 4,500 men) under de Ville took position at Troppau.
On February 18, de Ville attacked Troppau. He met with a strong resistance. Around noon he managed to bring his superior artillery into position and began to effectively bombard Troppau. Throughout the day, Schmettau was hold in check by the Austrian and Saxon cavalry; in the evening he let his regiments take quarters in the villages north of Troppau.
Early on February 19, to avoid encirclement, Saldern evacuated Troppau and retired northwards to Katscher (present-day Kietrz/PL). However, Stechow Dragoons were not informed of Saldern’s decision and marched towards Troppau during the morning, believing that the town was still in the hands of the Prussians. Austrian hussars and Polish uhlans attacked the regiment on the march from three sides. In this combat, Stechow Dragoons lost 10 officers, 8 NCOs, 279 dragoons and 301 horses taken prisoners or missing. The Leib-Carabiniers who rode to the relief of Stechow Dragoons were only able to rescue the standards and a few men.
Facing a much larger opponent, Saldern obtained Frederick’s authorisation to take up his winter-quarters in the surrounding of Katscher and Leobschütz (present-day Glubczyce/PL).
After the recapture of Troppau, de Ville was charged to cover the Moravian border. Meanwhile, the three Saxon Chevauxlegers regiments were in winter-quarters at Sternberg (present-day Sternberk). Their interim commander was Major-General von Monro. After the death of Count Nostitz (on January 7 from wounds received at Leuthen), Major-General von Zezschwitz was promoted to lieutenant-general and assumed command of the Saxon cavalry.
Frederick assembled an “Observation Army” in the region of Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Góra) where it would remain until March 19.
|Detail of a map illustrating movements of the Austrians and Prussians in Moravia from April to July 1758|
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen by the German Grosser Generalstab, Vol. 3
Courtesy: Tony Flores
Prelude to the campaign: Siege of Schweidnitz
Since the capture of Schweidnitz in mid-November 1757, the Austrians had started to strengthen the defences of the place. However, due to bad weather and to improper supplies, the works had not yet progressed significantly. Nevertheless, the commandant of the place, FML Count Thürheim, had managed to erect an abatis in the space between the forts and the redoubts.
In mid-December 1757, when he had halted at Schweidnitz during his retreat, Prince Charles de Lorraine had reinforced the garrison to a total of 7,000 men.
At the opening of the campaign of 1758, the Fortress of Schweidnitz, was still in the hands of the Austrians. General Thürheim held the place with a garrison of 8,000 men. The fortress was blockaded since December 1757 by a Prussian force under the command of Lieutenant-General von Fouqué.
By January 1, 1758, Fouqué had surrounded the Fortress of Schweidnitz with 17 bns (in fact 18 bns but two grenadier bns: Carlowitz and Wangenheim, had been temporarily converged in a single one) and 35 sqns. The numerous cavalry was charged to intercept any supply sent to Schweidnitz.
During the first days of January, Fouqué made the water conducts from Bögendorf (present-day Witoszow) to Schweidnitz unusable to deprive the town of any drinking water. He also destroyed the weir at Croischwitz (present-day Świdnica Kraszowice) to interrupt operations of the new mill and to flood the ditch protecting the eastern side of the town which was fed by the Weistritz River. However, Thürheim rejected Fouqué’s summon to surrender the fortress.
On February 21, Fouqué let most of his corps move to Reichenbach (present-day Dzierżoniów) and Frankenstein (present-day Ząbkowice Śląskie) near Schweidnitz, leaving only his 7 cuirassier rgts and his 2 garrison bns to encircle the fortress.
Shortly afterwards, Fouqué received orders from Frederick instructing him to prepare everything for a formal siege which would begin in mid-March.
In March, the Austrian General Sincère assembled his army on the right bank of the Elbe near Leitmeritz (present-day Litoměřice/CZ) and Melnik. Meanwhile, the Württemberger Contingent marched by Bayreuth towards Waiblingen, intending to replenish their heavily depleted ranks (reduced from 4,900 men before the defeat of Leuthen to only 1,900 men) in the Duchy of Württemberg.
On March 9, Daun set out from Vienna to join the Austrian Main Army at Königgratz (present-day Hradec Králové) in Bohemia. This army was still in its winter-quarters, distributed as follows:
- headquarters at Königgrätz
- artillery around Kuttenberg (present-day Kutná Hora) and Kolín
- pontoons in Prague
- main depots: Prague, Eger (present-day Cheb), Aussig (present-day Ústí na Labem), Pilsen (present-day Plzeň), Budweiss (present-day České Budějovice), Deutschbrod (present-day Havlíčkův Brod), Leuthomischl (present-day Litomyšl), Hohenmauth (present-day Vysoké Mýto), Pardubitz (present-day Pardubice), Königgrätz, Nimburg (present-day Nymburk), Brandeiss (present-day Brandýs nad Labem), Kolín, Kuttenberg
- smaller magazines: Czaslau (present-day Čáslav), Saaz, Töpliz (present-day Teplice), Budin (present-day Budyně), Leitmeriz, Niemes (present-day Mimoň), Gabel, Zittau, Jungbunzlau (present-day Mladá Boleslav), and Trautenau (present-day Trutnov)
- military hospitals: Pardubitz, Jesenitz (present-day Jesenice), Neuhauss (present-day Jindřichův Hradec), Wittingau (present-day Třeboň), Prague, Nassavrek (present-day Nasavrky), Boganov (present-day Bojanov), Schimberg (present-day Šimperk), Kamenitz (present-day Kamenice), Malleschau (present-day Malešín), Suchdoll, Kukus (present-day Kuks)
- all regiments were stationed in various cities and villages of the region
On March 13, Daun joined his army at Königgratz. He diligently perfected his new levies and entrenched himself on all points. Daun fully expected another Prussian invasion of Bohemia.
In mid-March, Lieutenant-General Prince of Württemberg replaced Saldern as commander of the small Prussian corps posted at Katscher and Leobschütz.
On March 15, frost being now off, Frederick left Breslau (present-day Wrocław) in Silesia and established his headquarters at Kloster-Grüssau (present-day Krzeszów) in the hills between Landeshut and Friedland (present-day Mieroszów) where he assembled an Observation Corps (43 bns, 53 sqns) to cover the planned siege of Schweidnitz. Major-General von Lentulus remained in the area between Reichenbach and Frankenstein with 20 sqns (Garde du Corps (3 sqns), Gens d'Armes (5 sqns), Seydlitz Cuirassiers (5 sqns) and the 7 sqns supplied by the other cuirassier rgts) to guard the Pass of Silberberg (present-day (present-day Srebrna Gora) . Finally, Fouqué took command of a corps (16 bns, 12 sqns with 16 x 12-pdrs and 8 howitzers) posted near Wartha (present-day Bardo Śląskie) to prevent any attack launched by Austrian light troops from the mountains of the region of Glatz (present-day Kłodzko). Fouqué created a volunteer bns for which each of his infantry bn contributed 15 men.
From these positions, Frederick was threatening Bohemia while preventing any Austrian relief of Schweidnitz. He also caused concerns to the Austrian high command for the protection of Bohemia. Frederick then immediately gave the order to start the siege of Schweidnitz which he entrusted to General Treskow.
On March 16, Frederick left Kloster-Grüssau with 16 bns and 15 sqns to dislodge the Austrian from the region of Glatz. The corps under the command of Treskow at Schweidnitz consisted of 18 bns and 35 sqns. Its artillery depot was at Jauernick (present-day Stary Jaworów) and its ammunition park at Sabischdorf (present-day Zawiszów).
On March 20, Jahnus retired to Mittelwalde (present-day Miedzylesie) and then to Grulich (present-day Králíky) in front of the superior Prussian corps led by Fouqué. However, deep snow made it impossible for Fouqué’s troops to march along the roads. Nevertheless, his hussars managed to capture a large part of Jahnus’ baggage.
At the end of March, the Austrian Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry, then posted at Smirsitz (present-day Smiřice), was ordered to join the corps of Major-General Jahnus at Senftenberg (present-day Žamberk). After the junction, this corps consisted of 2 bns of Alt Wolfenbüttel Infantry, 2 bns of Königsegg Infantry and detachments from Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer, Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer, Karlstädter-Oguliner Grenzer and Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer.
At the end of March, Frederick recalled Fouqué’s Corps to the area of Wünschelburg (present-day Radków) and Neurode to protect prevent any advance of the Austrians on Schweidnitz from Braunau. After Fouqué’s departure, Jahnus did not dare to reoccupy his former positions.
On April 1, Daun’s Army (including the Reserve Corps) had
- 26 infantry rgts which altogether could field only 23 bns and 26 grenadier coys.
- 16 cavalry rgts which altogether could field only 59 sqns and 16 carabinier or horse grenadier coys
For the coming campaign, all Austrian cuirassier and dragoon rgts had 5 field sqns and 1 elite (carabinier or horse grenadier) coy while the remaining sqn of each rgt was transformed in a depot squadron. All hussar rgts received an additional depot squadron.
In April, all surviving regiments of the Saxon cavalry were reunited in Moravia.
From April 1 to April 18 the Siege of Schweidnitz was conducted in due form and the fortress was finally captured. This allowed Frederick to start preparation for his next operation: the invasion of Moravia. Frederick had been waiting for the surrender of Schweidnitz before redirecting his artillery train towards Olmütz (present-day Olomouc) to lay siege to this fortress. Frederick needed to capture this fortress before undertaking any other operations in Moravia.
Meanwhile, Fouqué had been detached from Landeshut to clean Glatz Country from Grenzer light troops and Zieten had been sent into Troppau Country with a similar mission.
On April 6, during the siege of Schweidnitz:
- Fouqué, who a few days earlier had personally advanced with 50 Hussars to Braunau and caused the withdrawal of the Austrian garrison (150 Grenzer light troops and 60 hussars), marched to Braunau with his whole corps and took quarters in the neighbouring villages.
- Major-General von Wedel with a detachment (Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky, Grenadier Battalion Pieverlingk, Freibataillon Le Noble and 3 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars) of the left wing of the Obervation Army advanced from Friedland and drove back Austrian outposts, his hussars following them up to Wernersdorf (present-day Vernéřovice). This movement made possible the junction between Fouqué’s Corps and Frederick’s Army.
- The Austrians now had only Banal-Grenzinfanterieregiment nr. 1 under Colonel von Zedwitz in Prussian territory, near Reinerz (present-day Duszniki-Zdrój).
The Prussian covering army then remained unmolested for the rest of the siege of Schweidnitz.
These two missions were perfectly accomplished. For example, on April 19, a Prussian detachment of 4,000 men drove Colonel Zedtwitz's detachment out of Reinerz after a fierce resistance.
Frederick on the move again
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Frederick’s main army on April 19, 1758
Detailed order of battle of the Austrian Army of Field-Marshal Daun on April 20 1758
On April 19
- The Prussians took possession of Schweidnitz.
- The main army left its cantonments at Landeshut, moved closer to Schweidnitz and cantoned in the neighbourhood of Frankenstein. Frederick thus assembled an army numbering some 40,000 men.
- Lieutenant-General Fouqué's Corps (16 bns, 15 sqns, 24 pieces) marched from the region of Braunau returned to Glatz by Wünschelburg and cantoned at Wallisfurth (present-day Wolany near Szczytna), west of the fortress. He had been instructed to take possession of the siege material which had followed Frederick’s Army to Neisse (present-day Nysa) and to advance as soon as Daun would have evacuated Bohemia to relieve Moravia.
- Lieutenant-General Zieten (12 bns, 10 sqns) moved to Landeshut to cover the mountains against any incursion of the Austrian light troops.
- Lentulus’ 700 commandeered cuirassiers where sent back to their respective regiments.
- Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers, Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers and Driesen Cuirassiers were sent to Saxony.
- Garrison Regiment VI Lattorff was sent back to Neisse.
- Daun moved his headquarters from Königgrätz to Skalitz (present-day Česká Skalice). The right wing was deployed near Skalitz and Roth-Kosteletz (present-day Červený Kostelec); the left wing around Trautenau; and the Reserve Corps in the area of Starkstadt (present-day Stárkov).
- Jahnus’ Corps covered the frontier from Grulich, by Senftenberg to Sattel (present-day Sedloňov).
- Loudon’s Corps secured the frontier in front of Landeshut
- Colonel von Zedwitz took position near Reinerz on the road between Skalitz and Glatz with 2,000 Grenzer light troops.
The Austrians had completely neglected the defence of Moravia. There was only a small corps of some 4,500 men under the command of the Marquis de Ville in the region of Troppau. De Ville could not even depend on a sizable magazine. Meanwhile, the Austrian main army was deployed in the region of Königgrätz to cover all passages leading from Silesia into Bohemia. These passages were protected by numerous redoubts and parapets and covered by light troops.
On April 20
- Frederick’s Army rested.
- To cover his advance, Frederick sent Zieten with an Observation Corps (12 bns, 10 sqns) to Landeshut where the Freibataillon Angelelli, 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß and Seydlitz Hussars were already posted.
- The re-established Alt-Kreytzen Fusiliers marched from Breslau to Landeshut; and 3 grenadier bns (Arnim, Östenreich and Burgsdorff) along with Sers Fusiliers, Kurssell Fusiliers and Bülow Fusiliers where detached from the siege corps near Schweidnitz.
- General Buccow detached light troops (Warasdiner-Sankt Georger Grenzer, Warasdiner-Creutzer Grenzer, Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer and Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer) under the command of Colonel Brentano to attack Frei-Infanterie de Angelelli at Liebau (present-day Lubawka). The expedition succeeded and the Austrians captured 4 officers, 47 men and 5 guns. **Loudon's advance on the Prussian magazines at Gottesberg (present-day Boguszów-Gorce) was stopped by Zieten and Loudon retired to Schönberg (present-day Krásná Hora) in Bohemia.
On April 24
- Frederick personally reconnoitred several locations on the Bohemian border near Glatz as if he intended to attack in this direction, thus reinforcing the belief of the Austrian generals that the next campaign would be another attempt to invade Bohemia.
- Daun concentrated all his attention on the event occurring on the Bohemian border. He took the best possible disposition to stop Frederick's advance in these quarters, building entrenchments.
On April 25
- Frederick entered into Neisse (present-day Nysa) with the vanguard (16 bns and 25 sqns), after marching by Nimptsch (present-day Niemcza) and Münsterberg (present-day Ziębice).
- Field-Marshal Keith cantoned in the neighbourhood with the main body. Meanwhile, roads leading from Neisse to Glatz were repaired, several bridges were thrown over the river and some 1,000 wagons were assembled.
- Daun considered the manoeuvres of the Prussians as diversionary actions and maintained his line of defence on the Bohemian border. Indeed, the rumour soon spread that the Prussians were assembling several thousands carts in the vicinity of Neisse to transport the provisions of the army as well as forage and ammunition to create new magazines at Glatz closer to the Bohemian border.
On April 26
- Keith arrived in the region of Neisse with the main body of Frederick’s Army.
- Loudon made an unsuccessful attempt against the small Prussian garrison of Kloster-Grüssau.
The Prussian army destined to the invasion of Moravia totalled 40 bns and 103 sqns, and included the following corps:
- Fouqué: 16 bns and 15 sqns to escort the siege train and to besiege Olmütz;
- Zieten: 10 bns and 10 sqns positioned at Landeshut to guard the mountains.
On April 27
- Instead of invading Bohemia as Daun expected, Frederick marched south-eastward through Neisse towards Neustadt (present-day Prudnik). Frederick was with the vanguard and first division.
- Freibataillon Le Noble, 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß and 8 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars marched by Friedland across the County of Glatz and effected a junction with Frederick’s vanguard.
- The 2 sqns of Puttkamer Hussars, who had previously been detached, rejoined their regiment in Frederick’s vanguard.
- Keith entered into Neisse with 15 bns while the cavalry encamped at Heidersdorf (present-day Jędrzychów just outside Nysa).
On April 28, Frederick marched to Jägerndorf (present-day Krnov). Keith marched with the rear-guard and second division, to Neustadt.
On April 29
- Frederick reached Troppau, only 71 km from Olmütz, with a strong vanguard. There, he effected a junction with the detachment (5 bns and 25 sqns) under the Prince von Würtemberg which had been posted at Deutsch-Neukirch (present-day Nowa Cerekwia) to cover Upper-Silesia and to observe the movement of de Ville's Corps. Frederick was now at the head of 21 bns, 63 sqns and 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß.
- The town of Troppau was occupied by 400 commandeered men from Garrison Regiment X Blanckensee sent from Neisse and by Grenadier Battalion Kleist.
- Keith marched to Jägerndorf with 28 bns and 40 sqns.
- Frederick was informed that Daun was still in the area of Skalitz with the main Austrian army.
- De Ville’s Corps, now vastly outnumbered by the assembled Prussian Army, slowly retired by Wigstadtl (present-day Vítkov), to the south-east of Bautsch (present-day Budišov nad Budišovkou), and Giebau (present-day Jívová) towards Olmütz demolishing the bridges on the Mohra and March as he withdraw.
- Daun, to obtain a clear picture of Frederick's plan, finally ordered his army to leave its cantonments at Königgrätz. Daun ordered part of his army (18 infantry rgts, 9 grenadier coys, 10 cavalry rgts and their converged carabinier coys) to assemble in the pre-established camp at Skalitz.
- General von Buccow (10 infantry rgts, 2 cavalry rgts, 3 hussar rgts and and 2,000 Grenzer light troops) was posted at Trautenau (present-day Trutnov).
- The Duke of Ahremberg (10 infantry rgts and 4 cavalry rgts forming the Austrian Reserve) was posted at Nachod (present-day Náchod).
- Loudon (2 infantry rgts, Nádasdy Hussars and Banalisten) marched to Lewin (present-day Levín).
- Jahnus (2 infantry rgts, 1 cavalry rgt, Morocz Hussars and Grenzer troops) marched to Grulich by at Senftenberg.
- The concentration of the Austrian army along the road between Skalitz and Glatz clearly indicated that Daun expected the Prussians to advance through the County of Glatz.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Frederick’s main army on April 30, 1758|
On April 30, all Prussian corps maintained their positions. The invading Prussian army consisted of 46 line infantry bns, 2 Freikorps bns, 2 coys of Feldjäger zu Fuß, 43 cuirassier sqns, 30 dragoon sqns, 30 hussar sqns:
- vanguard under Frederick: 17 bns and 33 sqns
- main body under Field-Marshal Keith following at one day march
By the end of April, the Austrians had 45,380 regular infantry in Bohemia, including troops in the main army, the various corps under Harsch, Jahnus, Loudon and Serbelloni and the garrison of Königgrätz.
On May 1,
- Frederick set off from this town with the vanguard (now 22 bns and 58 sqns). Frederick turned southward and advanced rapidly through Ottendorff (present-day Otice) and Köhlersdorf (present-day Uhlirov), crossed the March River (present-day Morava River) and passed the Nickels mountain to finally encamped at Alt-Zeschdorf (present-day Staré Těchanovice). His vanguard under Lieutenant-General von Retzow passed the Mohra (present-day Moravice River) near Alt-Zeschdorf, to the north-east of Bautsch, and reached Deschna (present-day Děstné). Retzow then asked the Austrian Kreis-Capitain of Olmütz, the Baron von Zawisch, for requisitions, which Zawisch did not deliver.
- Grenadier Battalion Kleist and 2 other bns were left behind at Troppau to keep communications opened with Silesia.
- Keith advanced in two columns: the first through Krottendorf (present-day Chařová) and Lichten (present-day Lichnov) up to Bennisch (present-day Horní Benešov), the second through Lobenstein (present-day Úvalno), Groß Herrlitz (present-day Velké Heraltice) and Armenruch (unidentified location) up to Kuntzendorf (present-day Hořejší Kunčice) and Hartau (present-day Moravska Harta) near the March River, the Prussians then quickly re-established bridges across the river. Furthermore, 2 bns and 2 sqns were detached to Heidenpiltsch (present-day Bílčice). The train being unable to follow the army because of the bad state of the roads was left behind under the protection of General Kannacher with 5 bns and 3 sqns. Late at night when the train finally arrived, the artillery was parked at Eckersdorf (present-day Jakartovice) while the bakery went to Brättersdorf (present-day Bratříkovice) and the supply train to Groß Herrlitz.
- Fouqué’s Corps set off from the County of Glatz and marched to Neisse where stores and siege-furniture were being assembled. It should escort the Prussian siege train from Neisse to Olmütz. However, the artillery park had not yet been entirely assembled. Fouqué decided to form this convoy, consisting of thousands of wagons, into 4 distinct sections which would advance one after another at a day march:
- Major-General Schenckendorff with Pannewitz Infantry (2 bns), Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers (2 bns), Herzog von Württemberg Dragoons (1 sqn), Möhring Hussars (1 sqn) and 500 convalescents.
- Lieutenant-General Fouqué with Fouqué Fusiliers (2 bns), Wied Fusiliers (2 bns), Württemberg Dragoons (2 sqns), Möhring Hussars (2 sqns)
- Major-General Prince Franz von Braunschweig with Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers (2 bns) Prinz Ferdinand Infantry (2 bns), Württemberg Dragoons (1 sqn), Möhring Hussars (1 sqn)
- Major-General von Puttkamer with Bornstedt Infantry (2 bns), Markgraf von Brandenburg-Schwedt Fusiliers (2 bns), Württemberg Dragoons (1 sqn), Möhring Hussars (1 sqn). This division was soon joined by 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß, IV./Garrison Regiment VI Lattorff (from Neisse) and 455 convalescents.
- The siege artillery that Fouqué escorted consisted of:
- 15 x 24-pdr guns
- 66 x 12-pdr guns
- 19 x howitzers
- 16 x mortars
- De Ville’s Corps resumed his retreat towards Olmütz
- Daun was informed that Fouqué had retired from Glatz back to Neisse to escort the siege train. Daun was still so convinced that Frederick would attack Bohemia that he did not attach much faith in these news, considering that this was just a stratagem to lure him out of his advantageous positions. In fact, he resolved to pay even more attention to the defence of the Bohemian border which he had entrusted to FML Loudon and GFWM von Jahnus. Even when Daun heard that Frederick had turned southward at Troppau, he first thought that the Prussians would then invade Bohemia from the east.
After the planned departure of Fouqué’s Corps, the protection of the County of Glatz would now be under Zieten’s responsibility. He was posted in the region of Landeshut and Grüssau.
On May 2
- Frederick’s vanguard marched to Domstadl (present-day Domašov nad Bystřicí) by Bautsch.
- Keith crossed the Mohra in two columns at Spachendorf (present-day Leskovec ned Moravici) and Hartau and took cantonments in the neighbourhood of Bärn (present-day Moravský Beroun) where it raised contributions.
- In the region of Olmütz, all priests, monks and nuns were ordered to take refuge in Olmütz, leaving only a few persons at their monasteries. Many nobles and citizens moved out of town in the following days.
- De Ville arrived before the town and encamped under its guns with his 4 cavalry rgts. He detached his 4 Bavarian bns towards the town, the two first bns entering into the town the same day. His Grenzer troops and his 2 hussar rgts took post behind the March River. He also sent his 2 uhlan pulks to Weißkirchen (present-day Hranice on the Bečva River) and Leipnik (present-day Lipník nad Bečvou), to the east of Olmütz.
- Loudon's Corps (5,000 men) started his march from Lewin by Reichenau (present-day Rychnov nad Kněžnou) and Landskron (present-day Lanškroun) towards Hohenstadt (present-day Zábřeh), leaving Jahnus at Senftenberg, Grulich and Grünberg (present-day Zelená Hora) to cover the eastern flank of the main army.
On May 3
- As Frederick expected Daun to oppose his next movements, he encamped his corps at Starnau (present-day Štarnov) with its right resting on this village and its left extending up to Bauniowitz (probably Bohuňovice). Its front was covered by ponds.
- Keith marched to Sternberg (present-day Šternberk) and took up quarters near Sternberg and Mährisch-Neustadt (present day Nové Město na Moravě).
- Kannacher with the train marched to Hof (present-day Dvorce).
- Daun finally left his camp at Skalitz with the main Austrian army and marched by Chotzen (present-day Choceň) towards Leuthomischl (present-day Litomyšl) to protect a fine magazine he had there. Daun, from Skalitz, had but some 130 km to march while Frederick would have to march 240 km to reach Leuthomischl.
- FZM Harsch was left at Trautenau and Nachod with an important corps.
- GFWM von Unruh with 4 infantry regiments was left in the camp near Königgrätz.
- Daun sent orders to Altstadt commanding at Olmütz to take dispositions. Daun also instructed Count von Zinzendorf, commanding at Prerau (present-day Přerov), to supply Olmütz.
- FZM Ernst Dietrich Count Marschall von Burgholzhausen (more commonly known as FZM Count Marschall) took all the necessary emergency measures while the second column of Bavarian troops took refuge into Olmütz where it joined the first column. There were now 1,500 Bavarians in the town. In the evening every house, supplied a man to work on the defences.
- 500 Austrian hussars were sent under Major von Owstien towards Mährisch-Neustadt and another 500 Károly Hussars under Lieutenant-Colonel Seelen towards Littau (present-day Litovel) to reconnoitre the Prussian positions. The hussars forded the March and occupied Littau.
Installation of the Prussian Army around Olmütz
On May 4
- Frederick's Army reached Littau and Mährisch-Neustadt with the vanguard.
- In the morning, Lieutenant-General von Neuwied arrived in front of Littau with Münchow Fusiliers and a few heavy pieces and drove back the Austrian hussars occupying these places. In this engagement, Károly Hussars lost 31 men taken prisoners. The Austrian hussars retired to Prossnitz (present-day Prostějov) where they joined de Ville's Corps.
- Frederick's Corps encamped in the neighbourhood of Olmütz.
- Keith with part of his troops occupied Frederick’s former camp between Starnau and Bielkowitz (unidentified location), leaving the other part to entrench itself between Starnau, Littau and Mährisch Neustadt.
- Frei-Infanterie le Noble and Frei-Infanterie Salenmon occupied Sternberg to cover the bakery and to guard the communications with Troppau and Silesia.
- When he received intelligence that Daun was marching towards Moravia, Zieten left 7 bns and 4 sqns at Landeshut under Major-General von Kurssell; reinforced the garrison of Glatz with 5 bns (Grenadier Battalion Arnim, Sers Fusiliers, Bülow Fusiliers) and 1 hussar sqn; and marched with the remaining 5 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars to make a junction with the main army in Moravia. Zieten also sent 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß to join Fouqué’s Corps at Neisse. As he reached Littau, his guide, Lieutenant-Colonel von Seel, found the bridge destroyed and the village occupied by Austrian hussars.
- In Olmütz most of the inhabitants were commandeered to work in preparation of the Prussian siege, receiving standard wages for their participation.
- De Ville, who had sent part of his corps (Simbschen Infantry (2 bns), Preysach Infantry (1 bn), Warasdiner (2 bns), 1,300 commandeered men from the Bavarian contingent, 200 dragoons and 100 hussars) to reinforce Olmütz, retired to Prossnitz with the rest of his corps (8 cavalry rgts, 1 cuirassier rgt, 2 uhlan pulks and a number of Grenz hussars).
- The Sachsen-Gotha Dragoons were transferred from Jahnus’ Corps to the main Austrian army.
On May 5
- Prussian hussars soon occupied neighbouring villages near Olmütz and burned Trschitz (present-day Tršice) and Trasowitz (unidentified location), losing a few guns and baggage in these fires. Some 500 Prussian hussars advanced to about 1 km of the glacis but they were soon scattered by the workers, who had taken up arms, supported by Austrian hussars. A few Prussian platoons were also seen before the gates of the town where they skirmished with Austrian hussars and dragoons.
- 10 bns from Keith's Corps joined Frederick who learned that de Ville had sent his infantry to Olmütz and had taken position at Wolschan (present-day Olšany u Prostějova) with the Saxon Chevauxlegers regiments and one regiment of hussars. Frederick then detached 20 hussar sqns (Zieten, Werner and a few sqns of Puttkamer Hussars) under the command of Werner to dislodge de Ville from Wolschan and to seize the Austrian magazines in this town.
- Frederick closely followed with 20 dragoon sqns (Czettritz, Normann, Jung-Platen and Krockow) and 8 bns but de Ville had already withdrawn to Prossnitz, leaving only 300 hussars in the village. After driving these hussars out of the village, Frederick let 800 horses at Wolschan. Werner at the head of the Prussian vanguard pursued de Ville and reached Prossnitz where he left 2 dismounted squadrons to attack the bridge. This initiative forced de Ville to retire from Prossnitz to the narrow pass of Prödlitz (present-day Brodek u Prostějova). That night, 20 sqns encamped at Prossnitz and 10 sqns (Krockow Dragoons and Jung-Platen Dragoons) cantoned at Wolschan under the command of the Prince of Württemberg. Frederick then returned to Littau escorted by Zieten Hussars (10 sqns). Frederick with Johann Friedrich von Balbi, his engineer, then reconnoitred the fortifications of Olmütz from a height near Schnobolin (present-day Slavonin).
- In the evening, Frederick was informed that Austrian detachments had been spotted at Müglitz (present-day Mohelnice) and Loschitz (present-day Loštice).
- The commandeered inhabitants of Olmütz, assisted by 300 men of the garrison began to raze the suburbs. Herds of sheep and cattle from the neighbourhood were also brought into the town and parked on the place where the gallows usually stood. During the siege this place would see much speculative transactions by usurers.
- Daun arrived at Leuthomischl with the Austrian main army (50,000 men) and encamped south of this town with his left resting on it and his right at Friedrichshof (present-day Pohodlí), his front covered by the village of Benatek (present-day Benátky) and the stream which runs through it. The grenadiers and carabiniers were deployed in front of Benatek and the reserve on the heights of Ossek (present-day Osik). From these new positions, Daun was covering his magazine in this town and preventing a sudden march of the Prussians on Vienna by Brünn (present-day Brno).
- Loudon arrived at Hohenstadt with his corps, closely followed by General Jahnus.
- General Kalnocki deployed opposite Zieten's Corps.
- General Esterhazy remained at Nachod to cover the Austrian magazines at Königgrätz.
- FZM Count Harsch made a demonstration against Glatz, hoping to fix Fouqué's Corps there, before realising that Fouqué had left the place four days earlier. Harsch had some 8,000 men under his command to cover the frontier at Nachod and Trautenau:
- at Nachod under FZM Harsch: 6 infantry rgts, 2 cavalry rgts and 1 hussar rgt
- at Trautenau under FML Angern: 6 infantry rgts, 2 cavalry rgts and 2 hussar rgts
On May 6
- In case that the Austrian troops previously reported at Müglitz and Loschitz would be the vanguard of the Austrian main army, Frederick drew his corps out of its quarters at Littau. He assembled 21 bns (grenadier bns Retzow, Hacke, Kremzow, Rath, Heyden , Carlowitz, Wedell, Schenckendorff, and Wangenheim; and infantry rgts II. and III. Garde Bataillon, Itzenplitz, Wedell, Alt-Braunschweig, Asseburg and Kannacher) and 23 sqns (Leib-Carabiniers (5 sqns), Schmettau Cuirassiers (5 sqns), Garde du Corps (3 sqns), Seydlitz Cuirassiers (5 sqns), Krockow Cuirassiers (5 sqns)) in the camp of Assmeritz (present-day Nasobůrky) near Littau. The front of the camp, which was anchored on the walls of the town of Littau, extended westwards; his left wing was anchored on the villages of Michlowitz (present-day Myslechovice), Birlitz (present-day Bilsko) and Burkersdorf (present-day Lautschka); the two flanks were covered by batteries of heavy artillery.
- Prussian troops in the area of Prossnitz were placed under the command of Prince Friedrich Eugen von Württemberg who was instructed to occupy Prossnitz with 2 bns (Grenadier Battalion Dieringshofen and the Grenadier Battalion Benckendorff), to send back 6 bns to Assmeritz and to form a camp for his cavalry near Tschechowitz (present-day Čechovice), its front covered by a marshy defile.
- Forcade was sent to Mährisch-Neustadt to cover the right flank of the Prussian line of communication with Silesia by Hof and Sternberg.
- Until then, Prussian patrols had not found any Austrian forces on the highway leading to Bohemia. However, on this day a patrol stumbled on one of Loudon's detachment (700 men) in Loschitz who captured 1 officer and 15 men of this patrol.
- The rest of the Prussian Army, under Margrave Karl, remained in the camp of Starnau.
- The Prussian dragoons posted at Wolschan were recalled to the camp near Prossnitz.
- In the evening, after some delays, Fouqué was finally able to send the first section of his convoy forward from Neisse under Major-General von Schenckendorff with part of the siege train and an escort of escorted 4 bns and 2 sqns. This first section marched by Siebenhuben (unidentified location), Rosswald (unidentified location), Gross Herrlitz and Bärn to Sternberg.
- De Ville's Corps was reinforced with 4 cavalry regiments and 2 uhlans regiments.
- Jahnus' detachment arrived in Schildberg (present-day Štíty).
- General Loudon reached Konitz (present-day Konice) establishing contact with de Ville at Prödlitz.
- An inventory was made of all timber available in Olmütz.
On May 7
- The Prussians set the villages of Bauniowitz and Duban (present-day Dubany, to the south-east of Olšany u Prostějova) near Olmütz afire, committing some excesses.
- Lieutenant-General Forcade assembled 8 bns (grenadier bns Unruh, and Manteuffel and infantry rgts Prinz von Preußen, Manteuffel and Forcade), 20 sqns (Gens d'Armes (5 sqns), Bredow Cuirassiers (5 sqns), Baron von Schönaich Cuirassiers (5 sqns) and Baron von Kyau Cuirassiers (5 sqns)) and 300 hussars (a detachment of Werner Hussars under Major von Owstien) under his command at Mährisch-Neustadt.
- In the area of Starnau, there were 6 bns (grenadier bns Nimschöfsky and Pieverlingk; and infantry rgts Geist and Markgraf Carl), 10 sqns (Bayreuth Dragoons) and 600 hussars (Puttkamer Hussars) under the command of Margrave Karl.
- Fouqué personally led the second section of his convoy from Neisse along the same road followed by the first section.
- An Austrian Corps encamped between Krönau (present-day Křelov) and Horka (present-day Horka nad Moravou) had built bakeries in these villages. It removed these bakeries to a safer location to allow to bake bread for the soldiers.
- Austrian hussars took 40 tons of beer at Groß Wisternitz (present-day Velká Bystřice) and transported it to Olmütz under the eyes of the Prussians.
- Daun sent orders to Harsch to join him near Olmütz with the corps initially left at Trautenau, instructing him to leave only Kálnoky Hussars in Trautenau.
- Loudon's Corps marched to Müglitz, advancing through Hohenstadt. At Müglitz, it was reinforced by Paul Anton Esterházy Hussars.
- 300 foot and 130 hussars belonging to Jahnus' detachment took possession of Schönberg.
On May 8
- Margrave Karl was joined at Starnau by 3 additional bns (Grenadier Battalion Naumeister and Kalckstein Infantry), bringing his force to 9 bns and 10 sqns.
- The Prussians exacted a contribution of 30,000 ducats from the Abbot of the Hradisch Abbey (present-day Klasterni Hradisko) located 2 km north-east of Olmütz.
- Loudon reached Konitz, sending 100 hussars and 150 Grenzers to Ptin (present-day Ptení) and 100 hussars and 200 Grenzers to Namiest (present-day Náměšť na Hané).
- Jahnus' detachment reached Hohenstadt. Jahnus detached 2 bns to Schönberg and small parties to Loschitz, Lexen (present-day Líšnice) and Busow (present-day Bouzov).
- De Ville sent 100 uhlans to Blumenau (present-day Plumlov) to establish communications with Loudon. He also sent 400 horse and 200 hussars to Tobitschau (present-day Tovačov).
- Now Austrian light troops formed an wide arc, from Tobitschau to Schönberg, around Prussian positions, continually harassing Prussian foragers and very effectively screening the manoeuvres of the Austrian main army.
- Pavement were removed from the bridges and the streets of Olmütz. The old towers of the ramparts were inspected and repaired.
By that date, the Prussian army was deployed between Prossnitz and Mährisch-Neustadt (a distance of about 30 km) as follows:
- Frederick (26 bns, 33 sqns, including 2 bns cantoned in Assmeritz to guard the headquarters) in camp near Assmeritz and Littau
- Forcade (8 bns, 20 sqns, 4 hussar sqns) in camp near Mährisch-Neustadt
- Margrave Karl (8 bns, 16 sqns) in camp near Starnau
- Prince von Württemberg (2 bns, 30 sqns) in Prossnitz and in camp near Tschechowitz
- 2 bns in Sternberg
- 1 bn in Troppau
- Grenadier Battalion Naumeister (1 bn) guarding provisions and forage
- Feldjäger zu Fuß (2 coys) in Starnau
In these positions, Frederick daily received siege material from Silesia. However, he was unable to prevent the various Austrian detachments to hinder his reconnaissance and foraging on the road between Troppau and Hof but they could not operate too far away from their main army. They did not distract Frederick from his main objective and he concentrated on supply of material and provisions to sustain the siege. According to his plans, Keith would be charged with the supervision of the siege of Olmütz which would begin as soon as Fouqué would arrive with the artillery train. Meanwhile, Frederick would cover the siege to prevent any attempt of the Austrians to relieve the fortress.
On May 9
- The Prussians set fire to the village of Trschitz.
- Loudon’s Corps marched southwards to Konitz and established communication with de Ville’s Corps near Plumenau.
- Jahnus’ Corps occupied Loudon’s former camp at Müglitz.
- In Olmütz, 500 workers were requisitioned and placed under the command of Ingenieur-Lieutenant von Winter to fill the sunken roads and the ditches.
Frederick expected the Austrian main army to advance to Brünn and decided to move the main force of his covering army, from Littau to Schmirsitz (present-day Smržice).
On May 10
- 400 Prussian horse advanced from Krönau and drove back Austrian outposts on the Tafelberg (present-day Tabulovy Vrch).
- Prussian patrols also reported that the Austrian main army was advancing towards Brünn. This was false, their observations were not very reliable because Daun's Army was very effectively screened by light troops. In fact, it was only a detachment sent to further reinforce the Marquis de Ville, posted at Leuthomischl with 4 cavalry rgts and 2 uhlan pulks. Believing that he was now facing a superior enemy, the Prince von Württemberg retired to Drzowitz (present-day Držovice) behind Prossnitz. Similarly, Frederick resolved to move the main force of his covering army, from Littau to Schmirsitz. Frederick then ordered Lieutenant-General Forcade (6 bns, 5 sqns) to march from the camp of Mährisch-Neustadt to make a junction with his own corps at Prossnitz, and Margrave Karl (7 bns) to march from the camp of Starnau to Mährisch-Neustadt, leaving only the two companies of Feldjäger zu Fuß, Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky and 16 sqns under the command of Major-general Meier in the camp of Starnau.
- Jahnus encamped at Allerheiligen (“Mountain of the Saints”) near Müglitz (present-day Mohelnice) and occupied Lexen, Loschitz and the Castle of Busow;
On May 11
- Frederick left Assmeritz with 19 bns, 28 cavalry sqns, 20 hussar sqns and 40 artillery pieces and marched to Schmirsitz where he encamped on the heights of Studenitz (present-day Studenec) and on the wooded heights of Starzechowitz (present-day Stařechovice), his headquarters being at Schmirsitz on the left flank, guarded by Lattorff Infantry. The infantry formed the first line and the cavalry the second. The front of Frederick's new positions dominated a flat plain only broken by the ponds between Prossnitz and Kosteletz in der Hanna (present-day Kostelec na Hané). The right wing was anchored on the heights of Friedensberg at the foot of which stood the village of Starzechowitz. The hill was covered with woods in which a barricade was built. Furthermore 10 heavy pieces and a few field-pieces were planted atop this hill, their field of fire covering the entire plain up to Kosteletz. The flank was covered by a few battalions. Most of Zieten Hussars were posted near Kosteletz. They were supported by a piquet (1 major and 150 men) which was changed daily. The left wing extended up to the village of Studenitz. The right flank was covered by the corps of the Prince of Württemberg encamped near Prossnitz (2 battalions occupying the town with 15 sqns encamped to their right and 5 sqns to their left). Finally, 100 hussars were posted on the Kaiserwege; and 50 grenadiers, 100 dragoons and 2 guns placed in a chain of outposts along the heights near Stechow (present-day Stichovice). The field bakery of the army was established behind the left wing at Drzowitz, guarded by a detachment (1 captain, 1 lieutenant and 150 men) which was changed daily.
- The Prince of Württemberg sent Krockow Dragoons (5 sqns) and Jung-Platen Dragoons (5 sqns) to Frederick’s camp.
- Field-Marshal Keith (15 bns, 15 sqns and 2 sqns of Zieten Hussars) remained in his strong camp at Assmeritz near Littau but he extended his positions to cover the entire positions previously occupied by Frederick's Corps. Keith's right wing extended through a morass up to Littau which was occupied by 2 bns. The front went through the villages of Haniowitz (present-day Haňovice), Assmeritz and Mühldörfl (present-day Víska), covered by numerous ponds and trenches. The left wing extended across coppices, occupied by infantry, up to the heights of Rumpertsberge, where 10 heavy guns were planted, and to the village of Michlowitz at the foot of these heights. To cover the cavalry outposts, 120 foot occupied the village of Köllein (present-day Cholina) (30 men of this force were detached in the woods in front of the village). In Assmeritz and Haniowitz, 1 officer and 40 men were on guard duty.
- Forcade sent 6 bns and 15 sqns from Mährisch-Neustadt to reinforce Keith at Littau.
- Margrave Karl took command of the post of Mährisch-Neustadt.
- Frederick ordered 7 bns to march from the camp of Starnau to Mährisch-Neustadt, leaving only a small force at Starnau under Major-General von Meier.
- The Grenadier Battalion Naumeister arrived in Sternberg with the convoy transporting the last provisions. The Prussian army now had enough flour to bake bread till mid-June. The battalion then joined General von Meier's detachment at Starnau and was sent to cover the broken bridges of Chomottau (present-day Chomoutov) (2 coys) and Horka (2 coys).
By May 11 till the arrival of Fouqué's Corps, between May 16 and 20, the Prussian Army (48 bns, 103 sqns) was deployed as follows:
- Frederick's Corps (18 bns, 48 sqns) in a camp near Schmirsitz
- Lieutenant-General Prince of Württemberg’s Corps (2 bns, 21 sqns) near Prossnitz and south of it
- Keith's Corps (15 bns, 15 sqns, 200 men of Zieten Hussars and 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß) in the camp of Assmeritz near Littau
- Margrave Karl's Corps (7 bns, 3 sqns) in the camp near Mährisch-Neustadt and Meedel (present-day Medlov)
- Meier's Corps (2 bns, 2 jäger coys, 16 sqns) in and around the camp near Starnau
- 2 Freikorps to cover the bakery in Sternberg
- 1 bn in Troppau
On May 12
- In the morning, a Prussian detachment (600 foot, 800 horse), probably belonging to Meier's Corps, skirmished till noon with Austrian grenzers and hussars.
- Provisions becoming scarce, Lieutenant-General von Seydlitz was sent towards Tobitschau and Kremsier (present-day Kroměříž) with a detachment (Krockow Dragoons (5 sqns), Jung-Platen Dragoons (5 sqns) and 300 men from Zieten Hussars) to collect food.
- To cover Seydlitz’s expedition and to put an end to the constant harassment by the Austrian cavalry, Frederick decided to advance against de Ville’s Corps.
- Fouqué arrived at Giebau (present-day Jívová).
- Jahnus received intelligence that a Prussian convoy with heavy artillery was marching from Troppau to Olmütz.
- Around midnight, the grenzers occupying Castle Hradisch attacked a Prussian redoubt in the village of Chomottau, driving back the defenders, killing a few and taking 13 prisoners.
On May 13
- Frederick marched, at the head of 3 bns and 38 sqns in 2 columns, against de Ville to drive him out of his advantageous position at the end of the defile of Prödlitz. In front of this superior force, de Ville retired, closely followed up by Prussian light troops. Near Drilbitz (maybe Dřevnovice), Prussian hussars clashed with the Herzog Württemberg Dragoons led by GFWM Count von Saint-Ignon. The Austrian dragoons erupted from a sunken road and fell on their opponent driving them back into the morass. Meanwhile another party of Prussian hussars led by Werner was driven back by the Birkenfeld Cuirassiers and Alt-Modena Cuirassiers. In these engagements, the Austrians lost 4 officers and 99 men; the Prussians, 2 officers and 26 men. The Prussian infantry took post at Prödlitz and their cavalry at Trasenitz (unidentified location).
- Frederick personally returned to Schmirsitz, leaving command to the Prince von Württemberg.
- Major-General Lentulus joined Seydlitz’s detachment with Grenadier Battalion Wedell and 300 cuirassiers.
- Jahnus detached Colonel Karl Ludwig Count Lanjus von Wellenburg, commander of the Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer with 1 grenadier coy and 400 men of his own regiment, 1 grenadier coy of Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry under Captain Chevalier Caldwell, 100 men from Slavonisches Grenz-Hussars and 200 men from Morocz Hussars to the the neighbourhood of Bärn to intercept Fouqué's artillery convoy. Lanjus' detachment would operate for four weeks (!) behind Prussian lines, inflicting big damages.
- Loudon sent 300 grenzers under Major Amelunken against Zuckmantel (present-day Zlaté Hory) with the same design.
- De Ville spent the night at Neu Raußnitz (present-day Rousínov), to the south-west of Wischau (present-day Vyškov).
On May 14
- The Prussians were busy making fascines and gabions in the islands near their camps.
- De Ville encamped south of Brünn on the road to Vienna. Frederick’s cavalry followed de Ville’s Corps up to Wischau where it found provisions.
- In Vienna, a conference held in Vienna in the presence of the Emperor and the Empress decided that Daun had, if necessary, to offer a battle to relieve Olmütz.
Daily the situation of the Austrian main army improved: troops had regular training, and new troops continually joined.
On May 15
- Frederick’s cavalry returned to its camp with the provisions captured at Wischau.
- Zieten arrived at the camp of Mährisch-Neustadt with the 5 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars which he had brought with him from Silesia; 3 sqns went to the camp of Mährisch-Neustadt and 2 sqns rejoined Meier’s Corps where they formed a small detachment with 600 men of Puttkamer Hussars. This detachment was posted at Klein-Latein (unidentified location), between Littau and Schmirsitz. Zieten personally went to Frederick’s headquarters. With these reinforcements, Frederick then had 19 bns, 64 sqns and 40 artillery pieces at Schmirsitz.
- Meier then sent 6 sqns to the camp of Schmirsitz, remaining at Starnau with a force of 2 bns, 2 jäger coys and 12 sqns.
- A detachment (foot, horse and hussars) marched on the village of Hreptschein (present-day Řepčín) occupied by 50 grenzers. The latter retired from the village before the attack. However, the Austrian artillery was so efficient that the Prussian detachment had to retire behind the Tafelberg where they established their camp.
- After a wide detour by Schömberg (present-day Šumperk) and through the forest surrounding the road to Gabel an der Adler (present-day Jablonné nad Orlicí), Colonel Lanjus arrived at Klein-Mohrau (present-day Malá Morávka), to the north of Irmsdorf (present-day Jamartice), intending to ambush Fouqué's fourth column.
Leaving only a small force under Esterházy (1 infantry rgt and some Grenzer light troops) and Kálnoky (1 infantry rgt and some Grenzer light troops) at Nachod and Trautenau, FZM Harsch marched by Königgrätz to effect a junction with the main Austrian army. Colonel von Zedwitz was still posted at Reinerz with his Grenzer light troops. Furthermore, 4 infantry rgts occupied Königgrätz.
On May 16
- The first section of Fouqué's convoy (4 bns, 2 sqns) under Major-General von Schenckendorff, escorting the siege artillery sent from the County of Glatz, arrived at the camp established between the villages of Krönau and Kirwein (present-day Skrbeň).
In the night of May 16 to 17, Colonel Lanjus established himself in the woods near Lobnig (present-day Lobník). He detached the Chevalier Caldwell with his grenadiers, 200 Slavonisch-Peterwardeiner Grenzer and 30 hussars to occupy Andersdorf (present-day Ondrášov n. Moravě) while he advanced to Bärn with the main body. Around 11:00 p.m., the two formations reached their assigned positions. Caldwell's detachment drove the Prussians out of Andersdorf, killing 30 men and capturing 1 lieutenant, 6 hussars, 36 horses and the whole baggage of the Prussian hussars. Lanjus's troops occupied Bärn. Afterwards Lanjus returned to Klein-Mohrau and patiently awaited the passage of the fourth section of Fouqué's convoy.
On May 17
- Seydlitz’s detachment, which had been posted at Prödlitz and Trasenitz since May 13, plundering and foraging to remove all supplies remaining on the Silesian frontier which could be reachable by the Austrians, returned to Frederick’s camp near Prossnitz loaded with provisions.
- The second section of Fouqué's convoy (escorted by 4 bns and 4 sqns) personally led by Fouqué arrived at Krönau.
- General Harsch established his camp at Nikel (present-day Mikuleč), between Leuthomischl and Zwittau (present-day Svitavy).
On May 18, Frederick with a strong escort reconnoitred Olmütz from the Tafelberg. The Austrian workers interrupted their activities and picked up their arms.
In the night of May 18 to 19, Colonel Lanjus' detachment finally attacked the fourth section of Fouqué's convoy between the villages of Brockersdorf (present-day Čabová) and Andersdorf, taking the escorting troops totally by surprise. The Prussian escort lost 10 officers and 140 men killed or wounded and 1 officer and 5 men taken prisoners. Some 80 Prussians deserted. Furthermore, Lanjus damaged several wagons and captured 30 horses loaded with baggage. His losses were trivial: 1 officers and 1 hussar wounded; and 1 hussar missing. Major-General Puttkamer, who was cantoned at Bärn with most of the escort, unsuccessfully tried to catch the Austrian raiders who had precipitously retired towards Rautenberg (present-day Roudno).
On May 19
- Near Olmütz, the siege corps lifted its camp at Krönau and established a new camp behind the Tafelberg.
- The third section of Fouqué's convoy (escorted by 4 bns and 2 sqns) under Prince Franz von Brunswick marched from Sternberg to Krönau. Frederick personally went there to inspect the artillery. He then sent 8 of the 12 bns who had escorted the three first sections to the camp of Schnobolin on the Tafelberg, and the 4 remaining ones to Horka. He then personally supervised the dispositions for the siege of Olmütz. His army was not large enough to allow a uniform encirclement of the fortress so he deployed only a weak corps (Grenadier Battalion Naumeister, Grenadier Battalion Nimschöfsky, 10 sqns of Bayreuth Dragoons, 2 sqns of Seydlitz Hussars, 1 coy of Feldjäger zu Fuß) under the command of Major-General von Meier on the left bank of the March. However, the siege corps on the west side of Olmütz counted 8,000 men. The attack front extended from Neustift, where it was linked to the eastern bank of the March by a bridge, through Schnobolin, then to the west of Neretein (present-day Neředín) and to the south of Krönau. Both wings were secured by hussars near the banks of the March. The rest of the cavalry was posted between the lines of infantry. Keith took his quarters in Schnobolin which was occupied by IV./Garrison Regiment VI Lattorff and 2 miner coys. The artillery was placed to the north-west of Schnobolin, hidden from sight of the defenders by the Tafelberg. The hospital, the bakery and a small magazine were established in Horka. Most wagons and carts were parked at Krönau.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Prussian Army on May 20 1758|
On May 20
- The fourth and last section of Fouqué's convoy (escorted by 2 sqns: Herzog von Württemberg (1 sqn) and Möhring Hussars (1 sqn), Bornstedt (2 bns), Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers (2 bns) and convalescents (1 bn)) under Major-General von Puttkamer arrived at Krönau.
- Keith took command at Krönau of the corps assigned to the siege of Olmütz.
- From the towers of Olmütz, the Austrian could easily see the Prussians establishing their new camp on the Tafelberg.
- The bridge of Nimlau (present-day Nemilany) was demolished.
- Daun was at Leuthomischl with the Austrian main army. He had agreed on signals with the commander of Olmütz to ease communications. This way, if Marschall estimated that he could not hold for 6 to 8 additional days, he could signal it to Daun who would then march to the relief of Olmütz with his entire forces.
- Harsch was at Nikel with a large corps.
- De Ville was at Neu Raußnitz on the road of Brünn with some cavalry.
- Loudon was near Konitz with a corps of light infantry with which he also occupied the villages of Willimau (Vilémov u Litovle), Namiest, Laschkau (present-day Laškov) and Ptin. Taking advantage of the important distance separating the corps of Frederick and Prince Moritz, Loudon constantly pushed detachments on Willimau and Namiest to threaten their communications.
- Jahnus was at Müglitz in the hills of Allerheiligen with detachments at Lexen, Loschitz, Busow and Mährisch Aussee (present-day Úsov).
- Colonel Lanjus was at Friedland (present-day Břidličná) and Lobnig with about 1,000 light troops to cover the road to Brünn. Lanjus, despite the small size of his detachment followed the road from Troppau to Hof to threaten the Prussian supply lines between Bautsch and Giebau.
- The Austrian positions were veiled under a cloud of grenzers.
Since the withdrawal of de Ville’s Corps to Brünn, the Court in Vienna feared a Prussian advance on the Danube and made preparations to evacuate the capital.
The other phases of the campaign are described in the following articles:
- Siege till the Combat of Domstadl (May 21 to June 30, 1758) describing the manoeuvres of the Prussian covering forces and of the Austrian relief corps while Olmütz was under siege;
- From the Combat of Domstadl till the evacuation of Moravia by the Prussian Army (July 1 to August 10, 1758) describing the lifting of the siege of Olmütz, the retreat of the Prussian Army through Bohemia and the departure of Frederick for Brandenburg.
This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts 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. 6 Leuthen, Berlin, 1904, pp. 51-53, 71-74
- Grosser Generalstab Kriegsgeschichtliche Abteilung II: Die Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, Part 3 Der siebenjährige Krieg 1756-1763, Vol. 7 Olmütz und Crefeld, Berlin, 1909, pp. 56-77, Anhang 6-7
- St.; E. v.: Zum Säcular-Gedächtniss von 1758 – Der Felzug in Mähren oder die Belagerung und der Entsatz von Olmütz, Frankfurt am Main: Sauerländer's Verlag, 1858, pp. 8-180
- Jomini, Henri, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 6-7, 66-135
- Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18
- Anonymous, A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 260-265
- Archenholz, J. W., The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 148, 156, 171
- Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 434-437
- Hödl, Rudolf v.: Geschichte des K. und K. Infanterieregiments Nr. 29, Temesvár 1906, pp. 111-116
- Gorani, Joseph: Mémoires, Paris: Gallimard, 1944, pp. 82-101
- Schuster, O. and F. Francke: Geschichte der Sächsischen Armee, 2. part, Leipzig 1885
Salisch, M. von: Treue Deserteure – Das kursächsische Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg, Munich, 2009
Harald Skala for information on the Saxon Army during this period
Jiří Sissak for details on the Austrian winter-quarters