1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg
The campaign lasted from July to October 1758
For the campaign of 1758, the Russians had assembled a very powerful army consisting of 20 cavalry regiments, 32 infantry regiments, 4 grenadier regiments, 14,000 Cossacks and 2,000 Kalmucks, 70 howitzers, 6 mortars and 166 guns of various calibres. Furthermore, EmpressElizabeth Petrovna ordered the creation of an Observation Corps of 5 brigades of 4 battalions each. The effective strength of the Russian Army was about 70,000 men.
From January to June the Russian Army progressively proceeded to the invasion of East Prussia.
On July 1, the Russian Army arrived at Posen (present-day Poznań) on the Wartha. General Rumyantsev remained at Schneidemuhl (present-day Pila) with his corps and Resanov took position at Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn) to cover the magazines and to guard the passage of the Vistula. With Posen, Fermor had a good place of arms and good locations for his magazines during his operations in Brandenburg and Silesia.
The Russians advance in Brandenburg
On July 3, a Prussian corps under the command of Dohna arrived at Betzien (unidentified location).
On July 6, Dohna encamped at Schwedt. His army consisted of 20 bns and 35 sqns. Ignoring where the Russians intended to attack, Dohna sent Kanitz, Platen and Ruesch to Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski) on the Wartha with 7 bns and 10 sqns.
On July 11, Fermor marched from Posen to Straschicke (unidentified location) with his 1st and 2nd divisions. The same day, Dohna quit his camp of Schwedt.
On July 12, the Russian Army had a resting day. Major Karabonov reported that he had made an incursion into Silesia with 250 Don Cossacks and retreated in front of a superior Prussian force (600 foot and 150 hussars), losing 13 men killed and 1 wounded. Reinforcements were sent to Karabonov.
On July 13, the Russian Army marched to Jankowitz (unidentified location) where it encamped in two lines with the town in front of its left flank.
On July 14, Fermor detached a strong body with artillery against Driesen (present-day Drezdenko) to destroy the place if the garrison made any opposition. Another detachment went through Neubruck (unidentified location) towards Woldenberg (present-day Dobiegniew) to cut off the retreat of the garrison of Driesen. Without waiting for the arrival of the Russians, the Prussian garrison under Colonel Hordt retired through Friedeberg (present-day Strzelce Krajenskie) to Cüstrin. Brigadier Jeropkin took possession of Driesen and the Russian light cavalry pursued the retreating Prussians, reaching them near Friedeberg. The Russians attacked Hordt's force and 400 men of his regiment (Frei-Infanterie von Hordt) instantly deserted to the Russians. Nevertheless, Hordt managed to retire in good order with the rest of his regiment, the militia and 3 guns. Finally, Major-General Ruesch came to the rescue of Hordt with a party of hussars and the Russian retreated to Driesen. Ruesch Hussars belonged to Dohna's vanguard (6 bns and 1,000 horse), under Kanitz, who had crossed the Oder at Cüstrin and advanced to Landsberg to oppose the crossing of the Wartha by the Russian Army.
On July 15, the Russian Main Army advanced to Biten (unidentified location) where it encamped with the village behind its left flank.
On July 18, the Russian Main Army marched to Pnewe (unidentified location) and encamped there. Five flèches were built in front of the camp.
On July 19, Major Engelhard brought 740 Prussian prisoners and deserters (including the 400 men who had deserted from Frei-Infanterie von Hordt) at the Russian headquarters.
On July 20, Lieutenant-General Rumyantsev was instructed to supply the garrison of Driesen from the magazine at Wronki and to send Brigadier Jeropkin's detachment across the Netze River. Jeropkin took position on the Berda River and reconnoitred the area. The same day, Dohna arrived at Gusow with his main force. There, he was informed that the Russians were planning to advance upon Frankfurt an der Oder. Dohna immediately recalled Kanitz from Landsberg and sent Malachowski Hussars and Belling Hussars (just arriving from Saxony) to Frankfurt an der Oder.
On July 21, the Russian Main Army marched to Linei (unidentified location) and encamped in front of the village. Brigadier Stojanov was detached to Meseritz (present-day Miedzyrzecz) with the Serbskiy Hussars to reinforce a Russian detachment of dragoons and Cossacks under Maslov, covering the magazine that was forming there. The same day, orders were sent to Braun to hasten the march of the Observation Corps from Posen to Paradise Kloster (unidentified location) and to collect supply for one month on the frontiers of Brandenburg. Still the same day, Dohna's Prussian Army reached the Heights of Lebus, arriving from Pasewalk, Schwedt and Angermunde.
On July 23, the Russian Main Army marched to Ptscheff (unidentified location) where it encamped. Rumyantsev was ordered to detach all his hussars to Schwerin (present-day Skwierzyna) and to reconnoitre towards Meseritz and along the frontier of Brandenburg.
On July 24, Dohna's Prussian Army encamped in the district of Lebus, a few km north of Frankfurt an der Oder. In Silesia, the Russian force under Lieutenant-Colonel Tockeli and Major Karabonov surprised the suburbs of Glogau (present-day Glogow) and alarmed the garrison.
On July 26, the Russian Main Army under Fermor marched to Meseritz, encamped and erected 7 redoubts to protect its lines.
On July 28, Kanitz made a junction with Dohna at the camp near Lebus. Dohna's Corps was further reinforced by 7 bns from Zieten's Corps stationed in Silesia and by 10 sqns from the Prussian Army of Saxony.
On July 30, to stop Fermor's advance, Dohna ordered Major-General Malachowski to cross the Oder at Frankfurt and to advance to Reppen (present-day Rzepin) with the remnants of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt and all available hussars. Malachowski posted his infantry at Reppen and the main body of hussars at Drossen (present-day Osno Lubuskie), and detached an outpost of 100 hussars to Sternberg (present-day Torzym).
On July 31, Dohna marched from Lebus with his army and encamped at Frankfurt an der Oder. Meanwhile, the Russians were busy baking bread and biscuits. General Braun detached a body of light troops to collect some 2,000 horses on the frontiers of Brandenburg and Silesia. Furthermore, the Moldavskiy Hussars and 3 pulks of Cossacks were sent to General Braun to be used in outposts.
On August 1, Quartermaster-General Stoffeln was sent with a large body of light troops and 300 dragoons to dislodge the Prussians from Lagow and Zielenzig (present-day Sulecin). The same day, the Prussians were driven out of Sternberg which was occupied by Russian light troops.
On August 2, Fermor quit his camp at Meseritz and encamped near Königswalde (present-day Lubniewice). Fermor's Army then consisted of 28 rgts of infantry with some light troops. The entire cavalry had been detached under Rumyantsev, it marched to the village of Dragomarg (unidentified location) and encamped parallel to Fermor's Army. Meanwhile, Stoffeln had taken possession of Lagow, pursuing 200 Prussian hussars from Zielenzig to Reppen. The same day, Manteuffel reinforced the Prussian detachment at Reppen with Schorlemmer Dragoons (5 sqns) and Plettenberg Dragoons (5 sqns) under Lieutenant-General Marschall. He also marched towards Reppen at the head of 3 bns.
On August 3, Manteuffel and his 3 bns arrived at Reppen. The same day, 7 bns under Major-Generals Kurssell and Dierecke arrived in the Prussian camp. They were part of the Prussian units which had previously been stationed in the area of Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Gora) and Glatz (present-day Klodzko) in Silesia. Frederick had detached this corps to the neighbourhood of Glogau when he had heard of the advance of the Russians towards Brandenburg. When the corps was ordered to join Dohna's Army, only the Grenadier Battalion 38/43 Burgsdorf was left behind at Glogau. Still the same day, the Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers and the Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers arrived in the camp at Frankfurt from Prince Henri's Army in Saxony. For their part, the Russians detached a party of light troops from Rumyantsev's Corps towards Koslin (present-day Koszalin) to reconnoitre the garrison of Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg). Furthermore, Stojanov was detached with 1,000 hussars, 100 grenadiers and 300 Cossacks to reconnoitre the Prussian corps on the right bank of the Oder while Colonel Bulatzell made a reconnaissance towards Sonnenburg (present-day Slonsk) and Drossen.
On the night of August 3, a Prussian force, consisting of 1 battalion of grenadiers and 600 hussars and dragoons, and 3 guns under the command of Ruesch, marched from Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą) towards Landsberg.
On August 4, the Russian Army baked bread while Major-General Dietz's Infantry Brigade along with 500 light cavalry moved forward on Landsberg followed by the heavy baggage. Lieutenant-Colonel Ashikov was also ordered to transport all available provisions from Posen to Landsberg. The same day, Ruesch, learning that the Russian detachment defending Landsberg was stronger than he had anticipated, retired to Soldin (present-day Mysliborz).
On August 5, Dietz's force reached Hammer (unidentified location). In the night, Major-General Malachowski marched from Reppen with the Prussian hussars followed by 4 bns under Major-General Dierecke, hoping to surprise Stojanov's detachment at Sternberg. Meanwhile, Stojanov endeavoured a similar attempt on the Prussian camp at Reppen. The two vanguards clashed at Potschen (unidentified location). After a brief skirmish, Malachowski retired to Reppen. The same day, General Braun being sick, Lieutenant-General Czernichef assumed command of the Russian Observation Corps.
On August 6, Dohna's main corps encamped to the right of Frankfurt an der Oder. The same day, the Russian General Dietz reached Landsberg and the Observation Corps marched from Paradise Kloster through Birnbaum to Schwerin on the Wartha River where it encamped. Colonel Dalke at Posen was instructed to transfer the sick to Landsberg. The same day, Colonel Bulatzell returned from his reconnaissance in the area of Sonnenburg, without meeting any Prussian unit. Furthermore, Rumyantsev's cavalry division arrived in the camp of Königswalde. On the Prussian side, Lieutenant-General Marschall remitted his command at Reppen to Manteuffel.
On August 7, the Russian Main Army (21 rgts of infantry) advanced to the village of Alt Sorge (unidentified location) while Rumyantsev's Cavalry remained at Königswalde. The same day, Major-General Diez reported that he had crossed the Wartha at Landsberg with his brigade, the park of artillery and the heavy baggage.
On August 8, the Russian Main Army marched to Landsberg and encamped along the Wartha while the baggage of the 2nd Division and of the cavalry were moved across the river. Meanwhile, Rumyantsev sent out 3 small detachments to Drossen, Sternberg and Sonnenburg to reconnoitre the Prussian positions.
On August 9, Rumyantsev's detachments returned, informing him that the Prussians were still occupying Reppen. The same day, the 1st Brigade of the 1st Russian Division crossed the Wartha to cover the baggage and to support Dietz.
On August 10, the 1st Russian Division crossed the Wartha at Landsberg while Rumyantsev's Cavalry marched from Königswalde through Alt Sorge to Landsberg. Major-General Stoffeln with the Chuguevski Cossacks and some hussars took possession of Soldin while Colonel Bilau was sent to reinforce Stoffeln with 500 grenadiers and dragoons. Stoffeln then sent reconnaissance parties towards Cüstrin, Stettin (present-day Szczecin) and Schwedt. The same day, Czernichef was instructed to march from Schwerin to Landsberg with his Observation Corps. On the Prussian side, Dohna was still uncertain if Fermor would concentrate his efforts on Cüstrin or Stettin. The same day, Frederick II left Grüssau (present-day Krzeszów) in Silesia and marched to Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Góra), heading for Frankfurt an der Oder to come to the rescue of Dohna. He marched for 10 days through Liegnitz (present-day Legnica) and the Hohenfriedberg Country, straight for Frankfurt, with his best speed. His corps consisted of:
On August 11, Fermor crossed the Wartha with the 2nd Division. Stoffeln's reconnaissance parties reported a Prussian outpost of 2 sqns of dragoons between Soldin and Cüstrin. Meanwhile Frederick's Corps marched from Landeshut to Runstock (unidentified location).
In the night of August 12, Manteuffel tried to surprise a Russian detachment at Königswalde but the latter retired in time. The Prussian vanguard encamped at Zielenzig. The same day, Fermor marched to Friedrichsberg (unidentified location) with the 1st Division (17 infantry rgts, 2 dragoon rgts and 1 hussar rgt). The Russians were informed that Stargard was defended by Major Grumbkau with 1 infantry bn and some hussars; that Colberg was well supplied with guns and ammunition and garrisoned by 3 bns; and that the garrison of Stettin consisted of 10,000 men, mainly militia, and a few sqns of the recently raised Pomeranian Provincial Hussars von Natzmer. The same day, Frederick's Corps marched from Runstock to Liegnitz.
On August 13, Fermor arrived at Gross Camin (unidentified location) with the 1st Division. The Russian general officers then reconnoitred Cüstrin while light troops drove the Prussian hussars back to the suburb of Cüstrin. The same day, Stoffeln reported that one of his reconnaissance party had advanced close to Schwedt and seen that the bridge over the Oder had been destroyed. Another party reported that 500 Prussian militia were stationed in Colberg while 50 hussars and 40 Bosniaks were posted at Koslin. Still the same day, Rumyantsev was ordered from Landsberg through Soldin to Stargard with the cavalry. Furthermore, Resanov was instructed to march from Marienwereder to Stolp (present-day Słupsk). On the Prussian side, Malachowski was detached with 1 bn and 500 horse to reconnoitre the neighbourhood of Landsberg and skirmished with some Russian light troops. Meanwhile Dohna sent Colonel Schack with 4 bns to reinforce Cüstrin. The same day, Frederick's Corps marched from Liegnitz to Heinzendorf (unidentified location).
On August 14, the Russian 1st Division remained at Gross Camin to bake bread while the 2nd Division joined this corps in its camp. The same day, when Dohna was informed that advanced parties of the Russian Army had been seen in front of Cüstrin, he detached Lieutenant-General Schorlemmer with 4 bns and 16 sqns to observe them. Schorlemmer arrived at Cüstrin in the evening. Meanwhile, Manteuffel's Corps was ordered to join the main army at Frankfurt. Accordingly, he quit Zielenzig and retired to Reppen. The same day, Frederick's Corps took a day rest at Heinzendorf.
Siege of Cüstrin
On August 15, Fermor began the Siege of Cüstrin, burning most of the town during this first day. Meanwhile, Dohna marched from Frankfurt towards Cüstrin while Manteuffel was retiring upon Frankfurt according to the orders that he had previously received. The same day, Frederick's Corps marched from Heinzendorf to Dalke (unidentified location).
On August 16 in the morning, Dohna encamped at Reitwein where he was joined by Manteuffel's detachment. Meanwhile, the Russians were continuing to bombard Cüstrin. The same day, Frederick's Corps marched from Dalke to Wartenberg (unidentified location).
On August 17, Dohna took position between Manschnow and Gorgast. A bridge was thrown on the river to establish communication with Cüstrin and its garrison was reinforced with 3 bns. The same day, Frederick's Corps marched from Wartenberg to Plothe (unidentified location).
On August 18, the siege of Cüstrin continued. The same day, Frederick's Corps marched from Plothe to Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie).
On August 19, Frederick's Corps marched from Crossen to Ziebingen (present-day Cybinka) where the whole corps encamped except Asseburg Infantry which remained in the village to protect the headquarters.
On Sunday August 20, while Cüstrin continued to resist, Frederick’s Army (15,000 strong) reached the City of Frankfurt an der Oder and the king took lodgings in the house of a clergyman widow. His infantry cantoned in the town while the cavalry encamped in front of the Lebus Gate. At Frankfurt, Frederick was observed to go often out of doors to listen to the noise of the Russian guns firing upon some 32 km away.
Frederick comes to the rescue
Early in the morning of August 21, leaving his corps behind at Frankfurt, Frederick visited General Dohna at his camp at Gorgast, just outside Cüstrin. Dohna had been keeping a watch on the Russians, although unable to interfere with their proceedings. The king had a profound contempt for the Russians, in spite of the warning of Keith, who had served with them, that they were far better soldiers than they appeared to be; and he anticipated a very easy victory over them.
Tuesday, August 22 at 5:00 a.m., Frederick's own army joined forces with Dohna's at Manschnow. The same day, Prince Moritz arrived with his corps which had left Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Góra) in Silesia on August 11 and marched by Liegnitz, Crossen and Ziebingen. The Prussian Army at the camp of Gorgast now counted 37,000 men. Frederick had no doubt that he would be able to beat the Russian Army positioned around Cüstrin. He then sent Manteuffel with the vanguard closer to the Oder in front of Schaumburg. Manteuffel cannonaded a Russian redoubt, as if intending to ford the Oder River there. Meanwhile, Frederick had also detached Kanitz with Prinz Moritz Infantry (2 bns), Graf zu Dohna Infantry (2 bns) and 200 hussars at Wriezen to bring back the small boats stored there. Frederick then reconnoitred the Russian positions from the banks of the Oder. At 7:00 p.m., he assembled his generals and gave them instructions for the crossing of the Oder. At 10:00 p.m., Frederick marched with all the infantry and hussars in two columns along the Oder towards Güstebiese. Manteuffel joined the army on its march.
On August 23 at daybreak, the Prussian Army was near Güstebiese where Kanitz joined it with the boats. No Russian troops could be seen in the village or on the heights behind it. The construction of the bridge began at 8:15 a.m. and lasted three hours. Meanwhile the infantry of the vanguard had crossed the Oder aboard large boats to establish a bridgehead. Frederick crossed first with Grenadier Battalion 1/23 Wedell and deployed them on the heights. Then came a squadron of Zieten Hussars. At noon, the main army began to cross the river with Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars in the van, followed by the infantry, the train of artillery, the cuirassiers and dragoons. The Prussian Army completed the crossing of the Oder, resumed its march and finally encamped with its right wing at Zellin (probably Czelin) and its left wing at Klossow (present-day Klosow). Prussian hussars brought in a dozen or two of Cossacks and Frederick had his first sight of Russian soldiery, by no means a favourable one. All baggage was left on the left bank of the Oder and Frei-Infanterie von Hordt was assigned to the guard of the bridge. When Fermor learned that Frederick had crossed the Oder and cut his line of communication with Rumyantsev's cavalry corps (12,000 men) camped downstream at Schwedt; he gave order to General Braun, who was just arriving from Landsberg with the Observation Corps to hasten and to make a junction with his own corps. Fermor then lifted the Siege of Cüstrin and detached his baggage and artillery train to Kleinkammin (probably Kamien Maly) escorted by 4,000 grenadiers and 4 guns who formed a wagenburg to protect the baggage.
Battle of Zorndorf
On August 24, the Russian Army deployed in front of the villages of Quartschen (probably Krzesnica) and Zorndorf (present-day Sarbinowo) with it right covered by the Mietzel River and its left anchored on the woods of Drewitz. Braun made a junction with Fermor's Corps at 2:00 p.m. and deployed his corps en potence on the flank facing Quartschen. Braun's Corps consisted of 1 grenadier "legion", 4 infantry "legions", 8 infantry regiments, 3 pulks of Cossacks, 5 sqns of hussars, 9 sqns of horse grenadiers and 6 sqns of cuirassiers. The Prussian Army rested during the morning but at 1:00 p.m. the vanguard started its march followed by the army in 2 columns at 3:00 p.m. The first column advanced along the Furstenfeld Woods while the second marched by the Neudammer Mühle (unidentified location) covered by the Mietzel. Frederick spent the night in a mill. The vanguard first re-established the bridge on the Mietzel then encamped along the river bank. Grenadier Battalion 1/23 Wedell along with Forcade Infantry occupied Darmietzel (unidentified location). Fermor expected the Prussian attack in the area of Kutzdorf but when he realised that Frederick's Army was deployed beyond its right flank, he redeployed his own army while Braun's Corps moved closer to Wilkersdorf. During the night, Fermor reorganised his positions once more, moving his best regiments from his first line to his second, since it was this line which was now facing the Prussians. He disposed his army in a large square on the Heights of Quartschen. The cavalry and the baggage were placed inside this hollow square. Only Cossacks were left outside the square.
On August 25 at 3:30 a.m., the Prussian Army started its march. The infantry crossed the Mietzel on the mill bridge and the cavalry on the bridge of Kersten. Baggage and pack horses were escorted to Neudam. After the crossing of the river, the Prussian Army broke the bridges and resumed its advance in 3 columns: the infantry formed the first and second lines and the cavalry the third. It marched towards Batzlow and turned right as it debouched from the woods. The bloody Battle of Zorndorf was ferociously contested between both armies and ended in a stalemate: the Prussian Army occupied the battlefield but the Russian Army was encamped nearby.
On August 26 at daybreak, the Russians reorganised their lines with their right towards Zorndorf and their left behind the small Valley of Quartschen. Frederick then advanced his left wing, including most of his cavalry, towards this small valley and extended his right up to Wilkersdorf. Everything then came to a standstill until 11:00 a.m. The Russians then retired closer to the woods. Around noon, after receiving its baggage, the Prussian Army encamped on the battlefield. It lacked ammunition and the cavalry was too exhausted to launch another attack.
During the night of August 26 to 27, the Russians marched towards the wagenburg previously established at Kleinkammin. At 2:00 a.m., Cossacks attacked the Prussian advanced posts to screen the movement of the Russian Main Army. At daybreak, when Frederick realised that the Russians had left their position, he ordered his cavalry to pursue them and the rest of his army to march and to support the cavalry. The Russians planted a battery on the heights near Wilkersdorf and cannonaded the Prussian cavalry. The Russians resumed their retreat to their wagenburg near Kleinkammin, protected by many small redoubts and much artillery. The Prussians then took position nearby at Tamsel to the west of the wagenburg. General Bredow was detached with 2 Prussian rgts towards Batzlow to prevent the Cossacks from plundering the battlefield. The same day, the Prussian Major-General Gablenz was detached to Damm with 4 bns and a party of hussars to strike a blow in the rear of the Russians. Towards evening, Wied Fusiliers, who had been left behind in Cüstrin, escorted a supply of bread and ammunition to the Prussian Army. Meanwhile, Zieten Hussars were detached to Lower Lusatia to prevent the incursions of Austrian light troops under Loudon.
The Russians remained unmolested at Kleinkammin for four days.
Operations come to a standstill
On September 1, the Russian Army marched in two columns to Landsberg while Frederick took position at Blumenberg (unidentified location). The Prussian cuirassiers had been left behind at the camp of Tamsell.
On September 2, Manteuffel was detached from the Prussian Army with 10 bns and 20 sqns (Ruesch Hussars and Malachowski Hussars) to follow the Russians. Manteuffel marched through Massin and Tornow and posted his corps in the woods near Hohenvalda (three unidentified locations). The same day, Frederick was informed that Marshal Daun had invaded Saxony and was probably advancing on Dresden. He left for Saxony the same afternoon with the corps that he had brought out from Silesia (15 bns and 38 sqns). The rest of the Prussian Army, consisting of 21 bns and 35 sqns, was placed under the command of Dohna to observe Fermor.
On September 4 at daybreak Manteuffel was attacked by a detachment of Cossacks and hussars which were repulsed. The same day, Dohna detached 1 bn and 100 dragoons to Soldin to seize forage that the Russians had collected there.
On September 6, the most severely wounded Russian soldiers were sent off to Marienwerder. A detachment of Russian light cavalry renewed the attack on Manteuffel's vanguard and was repulsed once more. However, Manteuffel resolved to take a new position on a height between Liebenau (present-day Lubrza) and Ratzdorf (unidentified location).
On September 10, some thousands Cossacks attacked Manteuffel's outposts and managed to penetrate up to the chain of camp guards before being stopped by Prussian hussars. The Cossacks retired around 9:00 a.m.
On September 11, Rumyantsev's Corps made a junction with the Russian Main Army at Landsberg and encamped on the left bank of the Wartha. Rumyantsev's Corps consisted of:
- Kazanskiy Cuirassiers (half the regiment)
- Kievskiy Cuirassiers (half the regiment)
- Novotroitskiy Cuirassiers (half the regiment)
- Tobolskiy Dragoons (half the regiment)
- Kargopolskiy Horse Grenadiers (half the regiment)
- Arkhangelogorodskiy Dragoons (entire regiment)
- Nizegorodskiy Dragoons (entire regiment)
- 1st Novoserbskiy Hussars or Horvat Hussars (about 1,000 men)
- 2nd Novoserbskiy Hussars (New Serbian) Hussars (1 sqn)
- Vengerskiy Hussars (about 600 men)
With the arrival of Rumyantsev, the Russian Army now counted about 38,000 men. In the afternoon, Manteuffel received intelligence that a Russian corps would attack him the following day. Accordingly, at 9:00 p.m., Manteuffel retired to Blumenberg where he joined Dohna's main force.
On September 12, a Russian corps advanced on Ratzdorf but returned to Landsberg when it realised that Manteuffel had already retired from this position.
On September 13, 2 Prussian bns were detached to Soldin to escort a convoy of provisions and the heavy baggage of the army arriving from Stettin to Blumenberg.
On September 14, the Prussian convoy reached Blumenberg. Meanwhile, the Russians rearranged their positions around Landsberg.
On September 15, Dohna retreated from Blumenberg to Cüstrin where he passed the Oder. He then encamped near Manschnow. He made this movement to get closer to the Swedish Army who seemed to threaten Berlin. Fermor immediately sent a detachment of Cossacks and grenadiers under Colonel Buccow to Soldin to collect forage and provisions. During the evening, Dohna received orders from Frederick instructing him to send Plettenberg Dragoons to Berlin where they would join Wedel who was advancing against the Swedes. For his part, Dohna was instructed to observe the Russian Army.
On September 16, according to orders, the Plettenberg Dragoons were detached to Berlin while Dohna occupied his former position at Blumenberg, establishing outposts in the passes in the Massin Wood and near Vietz (present-day Witnica).
On September 18, Fermor held a council of war where it was decided to make movement to resupply the Russian Army. Meanwhile, Dohna sent Manteuffel at the head of 3 bns and the Malachowski Hussars to dislodge Buccow's Russians from Soldin.
During the night of September 18 to 19, Manteuffel marched through Neudam to Soldin. After reconnoitring the Russian positions there, he abandoned his project and returned to Blumenberg, leaving 2 bns and Malachowski Hussars at Neudam on his way back.
On September 19, the Russian vanguard marched to Marwitz (unidentified location).
On September 20, Fermor quit his camp at Landsberg with the Russian Main Army, leaving a small garrison. He marched to the village of Kartzig (unidentified location). The first line of the right wing consisted of 5 cuirassier rgts and 3 legions of the Observation Corps; the second of 3 horse grenadier rgts, 2 dragoon rgts and 2 legions. The first line of the left wing counted 16 infantry rgts; the second 12 infantry rgts. The hussars and Cossacks covered the rear of the camp. Artillery, grouped in 3 batteries, covered the front of the army.
On September 21, the Russian Main Army marched to Dicko (unidentified location).
On September 22, the Russian Main Army marched to Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce) where it encamped with its right flank extending to the road leading to Stargard.
On September 24, the Russian Major-General Dietz marched to Passkrug (unidentified location) with his brigade.
On September 25, Major-General Palmbach's Brigade was detached to Passkrug while Dietz took possession of Stargard, seizing lots of provisions. The same day, Dohna was finally informed of the march of the Russian Army from Landsberg which had been successfully screened by 1,000 grenadiers and 400 Cossacks left behind at Landsberg. Immediately, Dohna ordered Major-General Wobersnow to cut off the Russian detachment left at Landsberg. At 4:00 p.m., Wobersnow quit Blumenberg with Lehwaldt Infantry (2 bns), Rautter Infantry (only 1 bn), Schorlemmer Dragoons (10 sqns) and 200 hussars.
On September 26 around 2:00 a.m., Wobersnow arrived at the village of Schonefeld, 2 km from Landsberg. He intended to simultaneously attack the two gates on this side of the Wartha River and to send Frei-Infanterie von Hordt (which had returned after escorting Frederick up to Lubben) on the other side of the Wartha. At daybreak, Wobersnow appeared in front of Landsberg. All went according to Wobersnow's plan. The Russians, seeing the two gates blocked by the Prussians, attempted to retire towards Poland. The Prussians immediately entered into Landsberg and followed up the retiring Russians. However, Hordt had not yet reached his assigned position and the Russians retired, burning the bridge over the Wartha after passing it. After the capture of Landsberg, the battalion of Rautter Infantry was stationed there while Hordt occupied the suburb on the other side of the Wartha. The same day, the Russian Main Army marched to Prilow (unidentified location). Around midnight, Wobersnow's Corps marched to rejoin Dohna's Army.
On September 27, the Prussian Army marched to Neudam where it was joined by Wobersnow's Corps during the afternoon. The Prussian vanguard under Manteuffel advanced up to Wustewitz (unidentified location). During the evening the Russian detachment who had escaped from Landsberg joined the Russian Main Army.
On September 28, Palmbach's Brigade began its march to Colberg to undertake the siege of that fortress.
On September 29, Dohna's Army arrived at Soldin.
On September 30, the Russian Main Army marched to Stargard, leaving Rumyantsev's Corps at Passkrug.
On October 2, the Prussian Army marched to Lippehne (present-day Lipiany) while its vanguard under Manteuffel advanced on Pyritz where the Russians had left a small garrison.
On October 3 in the morning, Manteuffel reached Pyritz and surprised the Russian garrison, capturing 46 prisoners. The rest of the Russian garrison managed to retire to Passkrug where its artillery covered its retreat and stopped the pursuing Prussian troops. The same day, Dohna's Army reached Pyritz where it encamped. Manteuffel took position on the height near Grossrisch (unidentified location) while Hordt was detached to Kolbatz (unidentified location) with his unit to cover the line of communication with Stettin.
Siege of Colberg
On October 3, a Russian Corps (about 15,000 men) under the command of Palmbach laid Siege to Colberg which was defended by a small garrison of 2 Invalid bns (some 700 men) under the command of Major Heyden.
The siege lasted till November 1 when Palmbach retired to join the Russian Main Army retreating towards Poland.
Russians slowly retire
From October 4, daily skirmishes took place between Fermor's troops and Prussian light troops.
On October 5, a small Prussian detachment was surprised at Berlinchen, the Russians capturing a cornet and 20 hussars. The same day, Major-General Lubomirsky was detached to Passkrug with 4,000 infantry and some light troops to strengthen the defence of the pass.
On October 8, Fermor sent Colonel Jakoblev with 2 rgts and 2 howitzers to reinforce Palmbach at Colberg. The same day, part of the heavy baggage of the Russian Main Army was sent to Calies (unidentified location).
On October 12, the Russians captured 6 hussars and 60 men of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt.
On October 15, 2 Russian rgts of Resanov's Corps joined Fermor while the Russians abandoned the pass of Passkrug.
On October 16, the Russian Main Army marched to Zachan (present-day Suchan). Prussian light troops attacked the Russian rearguards but were repulsed.
On October 18, the Russian Main Army marched to Reetz (present-day Recz). Artillery was deployed in batteries and flèches to cover the camp.
On October 21, the Russian Main Army marched to Springfeld (unidentified location).
On October 22, the Russian Main Army marched to Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie). The same day, the Prussian vanguard under Manteuffel marched to Stargrad.
On October 23, Dohna followed with his army to Stargard, detaching Kleist with Kreytzen Fusiliers and 200 hussars back to Landsberg to check an incursion of the Cossacks. Hordt was also detached with Frei-Infanterie von Hordt and 300 hussars to Dolitz (unidentified location) on the road that the Russian Army had taken.
On October 24, Hordt was attacked at Dolitz by 500 cossacks which were repulsed. The same day, Alt-Platen Dragoons took possession of Massow (present-day Maszewo). Meanwhile, Sibyrskiy Infantry and Narvskiy Infantry marched from their camp to Colberg with ammunition.
On October 25, Dohna detached Wobersnow with 5 bns (Moritz 2 bns, Kanitz 2 bns and Grenadier Battalion 2/Gar.2 Nesse 1 bn) and 9 sqns (Alt-Platen Dragoons 5 sqns and 400 hussars) towards Colberg. They marched from Stargard to Massow.
On October 29, Fermor, ignoring the exact situation at Colberg, sent Martuinov with a reinforcement of 5 infantry regiments.
On October 30, Colonel Irrman of the Russian engineers reconnoitred the neighbourhood of Labes (present-day Lobez). The same day, Fermor was informed of the raising of the Siege of Colberg.
On October 31, Fermor ordered Martuinov to return to the army with his corps.
On November 1, Fermor sent off the prisoners.
On November 2, a courier arrived in the Russian camp from Sankt Petersburg with the order for the army to go into winter-quarters.
On November 3, the Russian Main Army retired to Poland and encamped at Tempelburg (present-day Czaplinek). Palmbach's Corps rejoined the army in this camp.
On November 8, the Russian Army began its march to its winter-quarters. It moved in 3 columns. Fermor personally commanded the first column which marched to Hochstadt.
On November 9, Fermor's column marched to Crone.
On November 10, Fermor's column marched to Schneidemuhl.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Russian Army in its winter-quarters in November 1758.|
On November 13, the Russian army divided up into small detachments, each marching to its assigned winter-quarters.
On November 22, the Russian garrison retired out of Driesen into Poland. Brandenburg and Pomerania were now free of any Russian troops.
This article is mostly made of abridged and adapted excerpts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
- Tielke, J. G.: An Account of some of the most Remarkable Events of the War between the Prussians, Austrians and Russians from 1756 to 1763, Vol. 2, Walter, London, 1788, pp. 87-260
- Jomini, Henri: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 140-167, 232, 252-253, 262-264
- 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. 317-318
Duffy, Christopher: various articles on the Russian army, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 2
Alessandro Colaiacomo for the excerpts of his article on the battle of Zorndorf describing the various manoeuvres which took place between the arrival of Frederick and the battle