1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg – Arrival of the Russians

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg >> 1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg – Arrival of the Russians

Introduction

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 Kalmyks, 70 howitzers, 6 mortars and 166 guns of various calibres. Furthermore, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna ordered the creation of an Observation Corps of 5 brigades of 4 battalions each. The effective strength of this Russian army was about 70,000 men.

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of Dohna’s Prussian Army around mid-May 1758.

Detailed order of battle of Bevern’s Prussian Army around mid-May 1758.

From January to June, the Russian army progressively proceeded to the invasion of East Prussia and then advanced into neutral Poland in a position allowing it to invade Eastern Pomerania, Brandenburg, or Silesia. Fermor, the commander-in-chief of the Russian army, finally decided to invade Brandenburg.

By mid-May, the Prussians had two forces operating in Pomerania: Dohna’s Army (approx. 18,600 men) in Western Pomerania and Bevern’s troops (approx. 8,500 men) posted at Stettin (present-day Szczecin).

Description

On July 1

  • Russians
    • The main army arrived at Posen (present-day Poznań) on the Warthe (present-day Warta). With Posen, Fermor had a good place of arms and good locations for his magazines during his operations in Brandenburg.
    • General Rumyantsev was posted at Schneidemühl (present-day Pila) with his corps.

The Russians advance towards Brandenburg

On July 3, a Prussian corps under the command of Dohna, coming from Stralsund, arrived at Bentzin.

On July 5, Resanov took position at Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn) to cover the magazines and to guard the passage of the Vistula.

On July 6

  • Prussians
    • Major-General von Platen was still near Köslin (present-day Koszalin). When the latter heard that the Swedes were recruiting on the territory of Danzig (present-day Gdansk), he sent First-Lieutenant du Fay with 60 hussars into this region. Du Fay managed to capture a Swedish officer along with his recruiting party and 50 recruits.
    • Dohna’s Army 20 bns and 35 sqns encamped at Schwedt where Dohna halted for a few days to organize supply and to build a bridge on the Oder for his cavalry and artillery. Ignoring where the Russians intended to attack, Dohna decided to send detachments under Kanitz and Ruesch in the general direction of Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski) on the Warthe.
    • Dohna was informed that Fermor’s army (estimated at 30,000 men) was assembling at Posen; that a corps of approx. 9,000 Russians had already crossed the Netze (present-day Noteć River) at Schneidemühl and that the Observation Corps (estimated at 8,000 men) had set off from Thorn (present-day Toruń). He wrote to Prince Heinrich asking him for cavalry reinforcements.

Rumyantsev’s Division was soon reinforced with the horse grenadier sqns and dragoon sqns and with 500 Horvat Hussars who had recently rejoined the main army at Posen.

On July 7

  • Prussians
    • Dohna sent his vanguard (Grenadier Battalion Lossow, Grenadier Battalion Petersdorff, Below Infantry, Rautter Infantry and 1,000 horse) under Lieutenant-General von Kanitz from Schwedt towards Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą) and ordered Platen to effect the junction with his army in the direction of Stargard and Soldin (present-day Mysliborz).
    • Platen, as ordered by Dohna, marched from Köslin by Belgard (present-day Bialogard), Schivelbein (present-day Świdwin), Labes (present-day Lobez) and Daber (present-day Dobra) to rejoin the main army. He sent 200 dragoons and 140 hussars forward to Schwedt.

On July 8

  • Russians
    • A courier sent by Field Marshal Daun from Moravia informed Fermor of the destruction of a Prussian convoy in the Combat of Domstadl and of the raising of the Siege of Olmütz. Fermor should now expect Frederick’s intervention in Brandenburg. Accordingly, he instructed Browne to hasten his march with the Observation Corps, sending him additional horses for his artillery and train. Browne replied that his corps could not reach Posen before the end of July. For his part, Fermor, judging that there were now insufficient fodder for his horses in the area of Posen, decided to march with the main army towards Frankfurt an der Oder by Meseritz (present-day Miedzyrzecz).
    • Rumyantsev sent Major-General Demiku with a strong cavalry detachment (approx. 2,000 men) from Wronke (present-day Wronki) to capture the small Fortress of Driesen (present-day Drezdenko). The occupation of this fortress was important for the Russians because it was the only place in the region where they could easily pass the Netze. Furthermore, Driesen offered a good base for operations in this region.

In the night of July 8 to 9, Dohna was informed that the Swedes had sent strong detachments towards the Peene. He asked himself if he could induce the Swedes to offer battle before the arrival of the Russians on the Oder.

On July 9

  • Russians
    • Rumyantsev received 2 additional unicorns.
  • Prussians
    • Major von Dittmannsdorff arrived at Landsberg with his garrison battalion to load supplies stored in the magazines on carriages and ships to transfer them to Cüstrin.

When the magistrates of Cüstrin heard of the presence of Russian light cavalry at Liebenau (present-day Lubrza), Meseritz, Königswalde (present-day Lubniewice) and Schwerin (present-day Skwierzyna), they turned to Colonel Count Hordt to obtain his support. Hordt sent 1 bn of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt with one 3-pdr gun under Lieutenant-Colonel von Goltz to Zielenzig (present-day Sulecin), along with a number of Land Hussars and Knobelsdorff’s hussar detachment. Hordt had thus deprived himself of almost half of his forces, including his best hussars, while he was facing Rumyantsev’s strong cavalry division.

In the afternoon of July 10, Demiku’s detachment appeared to the south of Driesen and vainly summoned Hordt to surrender. Demiku then bombarded Driesen with his light pieces. An intermittent artillery duel lasted until the next morning causing very little losses.

On July 11

  • Russians
    • In the morning, the attempt of the Russian to cross the Netze near the fortress to encircle Driesen failed because of the depth of the water and the fire of the garrison. Demiku considered that he could not storm the fortress with his small detachment and retired to Zirke (present-day Sieraków). He did not try to cross the Netze farther from Driesen.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna’s Army marched from Schwedt to Angermünde.
    • In Bohemia, Frederick’s column, which was retreating from Moravia, reached the region of Königgrätz (present-day Hradec Králové/CZ) where it would remain until July 25. Daun was facing him in an advantageous position and believed that Frederick would continue his march towards Silesia.
Prussian and Russian manoeuvres in Brandenburg in July and August 1758.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab
 
Courtesy: Tony Flores

On July 12

  • Russians
    • Fermor set off from Posen with with his 1st and 2nd divisions and marched to Starzyny.
    • Major Karabanov 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 Karabanov.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna’s Army encamped at Eberswalde.
    • Kanitz was encamped near Seelow and Platen near Massow (present-day Maszewo).

On July 13

  • Austrians
    • Empress Maria Theresa approved Daun’s plan proposing to penetrate into Lusatia by Zittau instead of following Frederick’s Army in Silesia. Daun would leave an Austrian corps on the Silesian frontier and advance in the general direction of Frankfurt an der Oder. FML de Ville was already operating in Silesia with an Austrian corps (approx. 11,000 men). If ever Frederick chose to advance in Lusatia, Daun planned to follow him to catch the Prussians between the Russian and Austrian armies.
  • Russians
    • The main army had a resting day.
    • Dissatisfied with the results obtained by Demiku, Rumyantsev sent a strong new detachment (6 horse grenadier sqns, 3 dragoon sqns, 2 unicorns accompanied by Cossacks and hussars) under Brigadier Yeropkin by Zirke towards Driesen. Yeropkin’s light troops under Colonel Krasnotshokov reached Hammer (present-day Karwin near Drezdenko).
  • Prussians
    • Hordt was informed by reliable spies that the Russians would advance on Driesen the next day with a considerable force and resume the bombardment of the fortress. They would also send cavalry across the Netze through the fords at Trebitsch (present-day Trzebicz) and Bellitz (maybe Stare Bielice) to cut the line of retreat of the garrison. Considering the weak defensive works of the fortress and the insufficiency of provisions, artillery pieces (only 3 battalion guns) and ammunition, Hordt decided to evacuate the small fortress and to retreat to Friedeberg (present-day Strzelce Krajenskie).
    • Informed of the situation at Driesen, Dohna detached Major-General von Ruesch from his vanguard with Grenadier Battalion Lossow, Grenadier Battalion Petersdorff and 600 horse towards Landsberg. The rest of Kanitz’s vanguard (Below Infantry, Rautter Infantry, 400 horse) should follow on July 15 to cover the retreat of Hordt and Ruesch.
    • Platen rested his troops near Massow.

On July 14

  • Prussians
    • At daybreak, Hordt set off from Driesen.
    • Platen’s Corps marched from Massow to Stargard where he learned of the evacuation of Driesen and of Hordt’s retreat to Friedeberg. Platen decided to march to Friedeberg, but instead of rushing to the aid of Hordt, who was seriously threatened and for the time being entirely on his own, he remained at Stargard even though he had only covered 19 km that day and his cavalry could still march farther.
    • General Ruesch set off from Seelow and marched towards Landsberg.
  • Russians
    • Fermor reached Jankowice with the main army and encamped in two lines with the town in front of his left flank.
    • In the afternoon, Yeropkin arrived at Hammer with his regular cavalry. There he was informed of the retreat of the garrison of Driesen and of its exact strength. He immediately sent his light cavalry to pursue the Prussian garrison. In the evening, he entered into Driesen where he was soon joined by another detachment of Cossacks and hussars under Colonel Goritsh. This detachment had crossed the Netze above Driesen and reconnoitred along the Drage (present-day Drawa River).
    • Late in the evening, Goritsh launched a raid against Friedeberg. Yeropkin learned from incoming deserters that the reinforcements expected by Hordt were still far away.

On July 15

  • Engagement
    • At daybreak, Hordt sent his hussars and 1 coy of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt under Captain von Chambaud to reconnoitre in the direction of Driesen. They were suddenly surrounded by Cossacks east of Hohenkarzig and captured. However, one hussar managed to escape and galloped in the direction of Friedeberg.
    • Around 6h00 a.m., the hussar arrived at Friedeberg and informed Hordt of the engagement at Hohenkarzig (present-day Gardzko). However, he did not know the final outcome of this engagement. Hordt immediately posted detachments at the outskirts of Friedeberg to cover the town against attacks from the Cossacks. He then took position with the rest of his detachment (some 1,000 men) on a height about 1 km east of of Friedeberg, hoping that Chambaud’s party would soon rejoin them.
    • Hordt positions were immediately encircled by Russian light troops who cut his line of retreat towards Landsberg. Hordt was convinced that regular Russian troops closely followed the light troops. Accordingly, he remained in his positions on the height.
    • Around noon, Yeropkin arrived in front of Hordt’s positions with his horse grenadiers, dragoons and artillery pieces. As these new troops deployed for attack, the Austrians forming part of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt started to desert to the Russians.
    • Hodt formed his remaining troops in square and started his retreat. With difficulty, he managed to ward off the repeated attacks of the Cossacks and hussars. However, Yeropkin did not support his light troops with his regular cavalry and his artillery pieces. This saved Hordt’s detachment from total annihilation. Hordt could also thank his brave Land companies for their stubbornness, because most of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt deserted to the Russians during the combat.
    • As darkness fell, the Russians abandoned the pursuit.
    • The Russians assembled at Friedeberg and plundered the town. They then retired to Driesen.
  • Russians
    • The main army advanced to Bythin (present-day Bytyń) where it encamped with the village behind its left flank.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna’s main body was at Eberswalde.
    • Platen advanced from Stargard to Dölitz (present-day Dolice).
    • In the evening, Ruesch arrived at Landsberg with his detachment.

During the night of July 15 to 16, Hordt’s exhausted detachment finally met the troops of General Ruesch, a few km northeast of Landsberg. Altogether, they took refuge in Landsberg. In the engagements of Hohenkarzig and Friedeberg, Hordt had lost in killed and wounded 66 men of the Land militia, 17 invalids, 29 Land hussars and 75 men of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt. Furthermore, more than 700 men of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt had deserted to the enemy. In addition, 1 officer was killed, 2 wounded and 7 captured. Overall, he had lost some 900 men. The Russians suffered only minor losses.

On July 16

  • Prussians
    • Dohna’s Army marched from Eberswalde to Wriezen. Dohna was informed of Hordt’s defeat at Friedeberg. He renewed his request to Prince Heinrich for reinforcements.
    • Platen reached Bernstein (present-day Pełczyce).
    • Ruesch waited at Landsberg for the arrival of Kanitz’s vanguard while the invalids and the Land Hussars were sent back to Cüstrin.

On July 18, Fermor’s Army reached Pinne (present-day Pniewy) and encamped there, building five flèches in front of the camp. Part of Rumyantsev’s light troops effected a junction with the army at Pinne and were used to make forward reconnaissances. In this town, Fermor was informed of the capture of Driesen and of the combat near Friedeberg. He decided to throw a strong garrison (a few hundreds men with 5 artillery pieces) into Driesen and to use it as a base for his operations.

On July 19

  • Russians
    • Major Engelhard brought 740 Prussian prisoners and deserters (including 400 men who had deserted from Frei-Infanterie von Hordt) at the Russian headquarters.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna’s Army encamped at Gusow, west of Cüstrin.

On July 20

  • Russians
    • Lieutenant-General Rumyantsev was instructed to supply the garrison of Driesen from the magazine at Wronke and to send Brigadier Yeropkin's detachment across the Netze River. Yeropkin took position on the Berda River and reconnoitred the area.
  • Prussians
    • Belling’s detachment (3 sqns of Belling Hussars and 1 sqn of Szekely Hussars), arriving from Saxony, reached Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie).
    • At Gusow, Dohna was informed that the Russians were planning to advance upon Frankfurt an der Oder.

On July 21

  • Russians
    • The main army marched to Linde (present-day Linia) and encamped in front of the village.
    • Brigadier Stoyanov was detached to Meseritz with the Serbskiy Hussars to reinforce a Russian detachment of dragoons and Cossacks under Maslov, covering the magazine that was forming there.
    • Orders were sent to Browne to hasten the march of the Observation Corps from Posen to Paradies Kloster (present-day Gościkowo) and to collect supply for one month on the frontiers of Brandenburg.
    • In Silesia, Lieutenant-Colonel Tockeli’s detachment (2 hussar sqns, 400 Cossacks), who had been sent by Fermor to reinforce Karabanov when he had been informed of the engagement of Zaborowo, effected a junction with Karabanov’s detachment. Together, these detachments advanced on Guhrau (present-day Góra) where they skirmished with Burgsdorff’s detachment for an hour before retiring.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna learned that the Russian vanguard had reached Meseritz, closely followed by the army. He immediately sent Major-General von Malachowski towards Frankfurt an der Oder with 600 men of Malachowski Hussars to effect a junction with Belling and to observe the Russians and put a stop to their depredations.

On July 22

  • Engagement
    • There was an engagement between Prussian and Russian hussars north of Schwerin.
  • Russians
    • The Observation Corps arrived at Posen.
  • Prussians
    • Belling informed Dohna that he had been ordered by Prince Heinrich to observe an Austrian detachment operating in the region of Sommerfeld (present-day Lubsko) and Sorau (present-day Żary) and would not be able to effect a junction with Malachowski’s detachment.

On July 23

  • Russians
    • The main army marched to Betsche (present-day Pszczew) where it encamped.
    • Fermor ordered Rumyantsev to send all his hussars to Schwerin to reconnoitre towards Meseritz and along the frontier of Brandenburg.

On July 24

  • Russians
    • Fermor held a council of war at his headquarters which was also attended by General Browne. The Conference in St. Petersburg had advised Fermor to send the Observation Corps, reinforced by 8,000 men of the main army, against Glogau (present-day Glogow). After the capture of Glogau, this force should penetrate farther into Silesia. Fermor had received intelligence that Dohna’s Army and Kanitz’s and Platen’s detachments were now assembled near Cüstrin and Landsberg. It was also known that Frederick was marching towards Königgrätz with a column of his army while Keith advanced towards Silesia with another. Furthermore, a reinforcement of 4,000 men sent by Prince Heinrich should join Dohna’s Army in a few days. Finally, Hamilton had informed Fermor that he would advance only up to Anklam with his Swedish army. The War council expected Dohna’s and Frederick’s forces to effect a junction of the left bank of the Oder to prevent the Russians from crossing the river. If the Prussians did not manage to effect this junction in time, the Russian generals expected that they would let the Russians cross the river, then cut them off from their line of retreat and attack them from two sides. In such a situation the war council estimated that it was inadvisable to split the Russian army (36,000 foot in the main army and 12,000 foot in the Observation Corps) in two distinct operational forces. The Austrian military envoy agreed with this view of the situation. The war council finally concluded that the entire army should march towards Frankfurt an der Oder. Upon arrival, the army would entrench itself in strong positions, summoned the city to surrender and, if necessary, bombard it. Future operations after the capture of Frankfurt an der Oder were not yet clearly defined. Saint-André, the Austrian envoy, urged Fermor to cross the Oder at Frankfurt and to take position on the left bank. However, Fermor wanted to have the agreement of his government before undertaking such an action. Nevertheless, he promised to keep an eye on Berlin with strong forces. Fermor did not know if he would have sufficient provisions to feed his army during the month of August. He had already lost a great number of horses because of lack of provisions.
    • In Silesia, the force under Lieutenant-Colonel Tockeli and Major Karabanov surprised the suburbs of Glogau and alarmed the garrison.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna recalled Kanitz from Landsberg with the vanguard, leaving only Grenadier Battalion Lossow, Grenadier Battalion Nesse and 500 cavalrymen under Major-General von Below at Cüstrin to observe the Russian army.
    • Dohna marched to the heights of Lebus, on the left bank of the Oder a few km north of Frankfurt an der Oder, where he encamped. He was not yet sure about the real intentions of the Russians and still hoped that, after a brief demonstration on the frontier of Mark, they would turn their attention towards Saxony or Silesia. While at Lebus, Dohna received new instructions from Frederick who also informed him that he had ordered 15 Prussian sqns then serving with Ferdinand of Brunswick in Western Germany to join Dohna’s Army. He had also ordered to send 10 bns (in fact only 9 bns because Grenadier Battalion Arnim remained at Glatz (present-day Klodzko)) from Silesia under Major-General von Kurssell and Major-General von Diericke to reinforce Dohna’s Army. Frederick accompanied his instructions with a schema depicting how to engage battle against the Russians which, he assumed, Dohna would defeat.
    • Frederick had also written to Prince Heinrich to instruct him to effect a junction with Dohna’s Army for the planned battle.

On July 25 and 26, the Russian army marched towards Meseritz where Fermor wanted to wait for the arrival of the Observation Corps.

On July 26

  • Russians
    • The Russians erected 7 redoubts to protect their camp at Meseritz.
    • Rumyantsev’s Cavalry Division set off from Wronke.

On July 27

  • Russians
    • Fermor was informed of the departure of Kanitz’s detachment from Landsberg and of its march through Cüstrin towards Frankfurt an der Oder. Fermor threw 500 cavalrymen and 200 foot with 4 artillery pieces into Landsberg.
  • Prussians

On July 28

  • Russians
    • Rumyantsev’s Cavalry Division reached Schwerin. Fermor then recalled most of the light cavalry to the main army.
    • The Observation Corps reached Tirschtiegel (present-day Trzciel). However, its wagons and its artillery could not follow the troops as they advanced on sandy tracks under a pouring rain.
    • Fermor received a letter from the Austrian Chancellor Kaunitz at his headquarters near Meseritz, inviting the Russian commander to collaborate with Daun and suggesting to involve the Swedes in the general plan of operation.
  • Prussians
    • 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 29, Kurssell and Diericke reached Crossen with their 7 bns.

On July 30

  • Russians
    • Fermor held a council of war to discuss in depth the Austrian proposal. Fermor informed his generals that a corps of 12,000 men was on its way to reinforce Dohna’s Army posted near Frankfurt an der Oder, bringing his army to a strength of 36,000 men (in fact only 23,600 men). Thus Dohna would be strong enough to make the passage of the Oder very difficult. In fact, because of his supply problems, Fermor did not consider to cross the Oder and advance into the poor region of Mark. Fermor even thought that the army should not continue its march towards Frankfurt an der Oder because his provisions could not last beyond August 12. Furthermore, the horses of the artillery and train urgently needed rest and better feed while the provisions of the region were already exhausted. Fermor mentioned that it was necessary to leave the region and to march towards Silesia or Pomerania. He thought that Pomerania and the nearby Neumark offered better possibility to build magazine for his army. Furthermore, the capture of Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg) would allow to transport supplies by sea; and its new position would allow the Russian army to support the Swedes. The council of war finally decided to follow Fermor’s advice and to march to the region of Schwedt, Cüstrin and Landsberg. Outposts would secure the vicinity of Cüstrin, Stettin and Schwedt. Magazines would be established in Soldin and Stargard with the assistance of local authorities and Colberg would be taken to open the sea route for supplies. Wagons would transport supplies from Colberg and Marienwerder by Stargard to the army. Even Danzig would be compelled to deliver provisions in case of emergency. In the fodder rich Eastern Pomerania, the exhausted horses would soon recover, so that the Russian army could confidently resume operations at the end of August or at the beginning of September. Accordingly:
      • on August 1, Rumyantsev’s Cavalry Division would advance from Schwerin to Sonnenburg (present-day Slonsk) where it would wait for the arrival of the Observation Corps in the vicinity
      • on August 2, Fermor’s main army would set off from Meseritz and advance towards Sonnenburg, screened by light troops; then it would take the direction of Landsberg
      • on August 6, the Observation Corps would set off from Paradies but would not march directly to effect a junction with Rumyantsev’s Division, initially advancing towards Sternberg (present-day Torzym) to confuse the Prussians
  • Prussians
    • 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.

On July 31

  • Russians
    • The Russians were busy baking bread and biscuits.
    • General Browne detached a body of light troops to collect some 2,000 horses on the frontiers of Brandenburg and Silesia.
    • The Moldavskiy Hussars and 3 pulks of Cossacks were sent to General Browne to be used in outposts.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna marched from Lebus with his army and encamped near Frankfurt an der Oder, on the west bank of the Oder. He decided to sent II./Rautter Infantry to reinforce the Prussian garrison of Stettin.

At the end of July, Prince Heinrich ordered Belling to return to Leipzig with his detachment. Dohna was then forced to send additional hussars to reinforce Malachowski at Lagow. Meanwhile, with the Russians advancing through Poland, Frederick retreated from Königgrätz towards Landeshut (present-day Kamienna Gora) in case the Russians would advance on Berlin or break into Silesia.

The decisions of Fermor’s War Council and its reasons were communicated to the Conference, to Daun and to Kaunitz. The Conference in St. Petersburg agreed with these but emphasized that it was imperative to weaken Dohna's Army as much as possible to support the operations of the Austrians.

For his part Lieutenant-General Count Hamilton did nothing to ease the junction of his Swedish army with the Russians.

At the beginning of August, Tockeli and Karabanov evacuated Silesia and rejoined the Observation Corps.

On August 1

  • Russians
    • Quartermaster-General Stoffeln was sent forward from Meseritz with a large body of light troops and 300 dragoons to dislodge the Prussians from Lagow and Zielenzig.
  • Prussians
    • The Prussians were driven out of Sternberg which was occupied by Russian light troops.
    • Kurssell Fusiliers, which had been left behind at Glogau, marched towards Crossen.

On August 2

  • Russians
    • Stoffeln took possession of Lagow. He left a garrison in Lagow before resuming his advance to Zielenzig. The 200 Prussian hussars posted at Zielenzig evacuated the village before Stoffeln’s arrival. Stoffeln pursued them up to Reppen before returning to Zielenzig where he learned from the inhabitants that a force of approx. 5,500 Prussian infantry and light cavalry was posted at Kunersdorf (probably Kosobudz or Kunowice).
    • Fermor quit his camp at Meseritz and encamped near Königswalde in Brandenburg. Fermor's Army then consisted of 28 rgts of infantry with some light troops.
    • Rumyantsev’s entire Cavalry Division marched from Schwerin to Hammer where Fermor, informed of the presence of a Prussian force at Kunersdorf, ordered it to halt.
  • Prussians
    • 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.
    • Kurssell and Diericke also arrived at Reppen with their 7 bns.

On August 3

  • Russians
    • Rumyantsev detached a party of light troops from his corps towards Köslin to reconnoitre the garrison of Colberg.
    • Fermor sent Brigadier Stoyanov with with 1,000 hussars, 100 grenadiers and 300 Cossacks by Sternberg and Reppen to reconnoitre in the direction of Kunersdorf on the right bank of the Oder.
    • Fermor also sent 200 Cossacks under Colonel Bulatzell towards Drossen and Sonnenburg. They then formed a chain of outposts from Zielenzig, Sternberg and Lagow up to Paradies to mask the movement of his army.
    • Prince Karl of Saxony and his retinue arrived at the Russian headquarters to participate in the ongoing campaign.
  • Prussians
    • Manteuffel and his 3 bns arrived at Reppen.
    • 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 and Glatz 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 Burgsdorff was left behind at Glogau.

On the night of August 3, a Prussian force, consisting of 1 grenadier bn and 600 hussars and dragoons, and 3 guns under the command of Ruesch, marched from Cüstrin towards Landsberg.

On August 4

  • Russians
    • Fermor led his army to the north bank of the Warthe.
    • Major-General Dietz's Infantry Brigade along with 500 light cavalry moved forward by Hammer towards Landsberg followed by the heavy baggage.
    • Lieutenant-Colonel Ashikov was also ordered to transport all available provisions from Posen to Landsberg.
  • Prussians
    • Ruesch, learning that the Russian detachment defending Landsberg was stronger than he had anticipated, retired to Soldin.

In the night of August 4 to 5, Dohna sent Major-General Malachowski at the head of 10 hussar sqns (Malachowski Hussars (5 sqns), Ruesch Hussars (5 sqns)), 300 dragoons; and 3 bns (I./Bülow Fusiliers, I./Alt-Kreytzen Fusiliers, I./Sers Fusiliers) under Major-General Dierecke from Reppen, hoping to surprise Stoyanov's detachment at Sternberg. Meanwhile, Stoyanov endeavoured a similar attempt on the Prussian camp at Reppen. The two vanguards clashed at Bottschow (present-day Boczów). After a brief skirmish, Malachowski retired to Reppen and Stoyanov retired on the main army.

On August 5

  • Russians
    • Dietz's force reached Hammer and reported that the Prussian General Ruesch had taken position in the woods to the north-west of Landsberg where he seemed to be waiting for reinforcements.
    • General Browne being sick, Lieutenant-General Tchernishev assumed command of the Observation Corps which reached Paradies, three days later than anticipated, heavy rain having delayed the train. To help this struggling corps, Fermor sent 1 hussar rgt and 3 Cossack rgts in a raid on the borders of Silesia and Brandenburg to bring back 1,500 horses to replace the exhausted artillery and train horses of the Observation Corps. This raid further delayed the planned operations.
    • Fermor held a council of war where it was decided to speed up movement. The cavalry division should advance from Hammer towards Königswalde to cover the main army and mask its movements; while the Observation Corps would return in two columns by Schwerin and Birnbaum (present-day Międzychód) to Driesen and then march by Friedeberg to Landsberg where it would effect a junction with the main army. Fermor had already taken disposition to establish a magazine in Landsberg where supply collected in the region would be assembled.

Browne had warned Fermor of the importance of seizing Colberg immediately, as Russian troops arriving in Eastern Pomerania would soon suffer from a shortage of food that would not put a stop to all further operations, but would also force the Russians into an inglorious retreat. Browne suggested to detach 500 grenadiers and 4 artillery pieces from Resanov’s Corps stationed on the Vistula, to transport these troops aboard wagons and to storm Colberg which had only a small garrison.

On August 6

  • Russians
    • General Dietz reached Landsberg.
    • The Observation Corps marched from Paradies through Birnbaum to Schwerin on the Warthe River where it encamped.
    • Colonel Dalke at Posen was instructed to transfer the sick to Landsberg.
    • Colonel Bulatzell returned from his reconnaissance in the area of Sonnenburg, without meeting any Prussian unit.
    • Rumyantsev's Cavalry Division arrived at the camp of Königswalde.
  • Prussians
    • Lieutenant-General Marschall remitted his command at Reppen to Manteuffel.
    • Dohna's main corps encamped to the right of Frankfurt an der Oder.

On August 7

  • Russians
    • The main army (21 rgts of infantry) marched to the village of Altensorge (present-day Glinik). All light cavalry and 1 infantry brigade were sent forward to support the cavalry division at Königswalde.
    • Rumyantsev's Cavalry remained at Königswalde.
    • Major-General Dietz reported that he had crossed the Warthe at Landsberg with his brigade, the park of artillery and the heavy baggage. He also reported that Ruesch’s detachment had returned to Cüstrin.
  • Prussians
    • The Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers and the Markgraf Friedrich Cuirassiers under Major-General von Zieten, which had been sent as reinforcement from Saxony by Prince Heinrich upon Frederick’s insistence, arrived at the camp near Frankfurt.
    • Kurssell Fusiliers effected a junction with the main body of Dohna’s Army near Frankfurt on the left bank of the Oder.
    • 33 new artillery pieces (14 x 12-pdr guns and 19 x howitzers), sent from Berlin, arrived at Frankfurt an der Oder.

After the arrival of reinforcements from Silesia, Dohna assembled a strong vanguard under Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel at Reppen

...while Frei-Infanterie von Hordt took position at Drossen.

On August 8

  • Russians
    • The main army marched to Landsberg and encamped along the Warthe while the baggage of the 2nd Division and of the cavalry were moved across the river.
    • Rumyantsev sent out 3 small detachments to Drossen, Sternberg and Sonnenburg to reconnoitre the Prussian positions.

On August 9

  • Russians
    • Rumyantsev's detachments returned, informing him that the Prussians were still occupying Reppen.
    • Rumyantsev’s Cavalry Division set off from Königswalde and marched to Altensorge.
    • The 1st Brigade of the 1st Russian Division crossed the Warthe to cover the baggage and to support Dietz.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna learned that the Russians had unexpectedly retired from Königswalde. He sent a strong detachment under Malachowski and Diericke from Reppen to reconnoitre. In the evening this detachment reached Drossen.
Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of Frederick’s Prussian Army on August 10, 1758.

On August 10

  • Russians
    • The 1st Division crossed the Warthe at Landsberg.
    • Rumyantsev's Cavalry marched from Altensorge to Landsberg. Rumyantsev left part of his cavalry on the south bank of the Warthe and resumed his march to cover the advance of the Observation Corps.
    • Major-General Stoffeln with the Chuguevski Cossacks and some hussars took possession of Soldin.
    • Colonel Bilau was sent to reinforce Stoffeln with 500 grenadiers and dragoons. Stoffeln then sent reconnaissance parties towards Cüstrin, Stettin and Schwedt.
  • Tchernishev was instructed to march from Schwerin to Landsberg with his Observation Corps.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna was still uncertain if Fermor would concentrate his efforts on Cüstrin or Stettin.
    • Frederick II left Grüssau (present-day Krzeszów) in Silesia with 14 bns and 38 sqns and marched to Landeshut, 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.
    • Before leaving, Frederick had appointed Prince Heinrich as guardian of the heir to the throne.

On August 11

  • Russians
    • Fermor’s 2nd Division passed the Warthe. Both divisions encamped on the heights north-west of Landsberg.
    • Stoffeln's reconnaissance parties reported a Prussian outpost of 2 sqns of dragoons between Soldin and Cüstrin.
    • The Observation Corps marched from Paradies in a single column, contrary to orders. It had previously sent forward several detachments (including Karabanov’s detachment which had returned from Silesia) at Zielenzig, Sternberg, Schwiebus (present-day Świebodzin) and Züllichau (present-day Sulechów) to cover its march.
  • Prussians
    • Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel advanced from Reppen to Drossen with the rest of his vanguard.
    • In Silesia Frederick marched from Landeshut to Rohnstock (present-day Roztoka) where he assembled his small army.

Between August 12 and 16, Fermor finally took dispositions for the capture of Colberg. He ordered Resanov to advance on Colberg from the Vistula with part of his corps (Sibyrskiy Infantry, Nevskiy Infantry, Belozerskiy Infantry, 30 field pieces, 30 hussars and 300 Cossacks). The fleet would also participate in the enterprise.

On August 12

  • Russians
    • Fermor marched to Friedrichsberg (probably present-day Motylewo near Bogdaniec) 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.
  • Prussians
    • Frederick's Corps marched from Rohnstock to Liegnitz.
    • In the evening, Malachowski and Diericke, forming Manteuffel’s vanguard, advanced from Drossen towards Zielenzig with some hussars, 6 dragoon sqns and 3 bns.

On August 13

  • Russians
    • The 1st Division reached Gross-Cammin (present-day Kamień Wielki). In the afternoon, Fermor, escorted by a few hundreds Cossacks and 2 hussar rgts reconnoitred the vicinity of Cüstrin. In the suburbs, the Cossacks engaged Prussian hussars, threw them back and reached the bridges leading to Cüstrin over the arm of the Warthe but the fire of the artillery of the fortress stopped them. In the suburbs, Fermor learned from a reliable source that there were about 2,000 men in the fortress, and that Frederick was expected shortly with a sizable force. In the evening, the reconnaissance party returned to Gross-Cammin.
    • 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 Köslin.
    • Rumyantsev was ordered to march from Landsberg through Soldin to Stargard with the cavalry.
    • Resanov was instructed to march from Marienwerder to Stolp (present-day Słupsk).
  • Prussians
    • In the morning, Malachowski and Diericke reached Zielenzig which had already been evacuated by the Russians.
    • In the afternoon, Manteuffel arrived at Zielenzig with the rest of the vanguard. Malachowski immediately marched towards Königswalde near Landsberg with 600 hussars and Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, engaging and routing a party of Cossacks on his way. But additional Russian light troops finally forced Malachowski to retreat to Zielenzig.
    • Dohna sent Colonel Schack von Wittenau with 4 bns to reinforce Cüstrin.
    • Frederick's Corps marched from Liegnitz to Groß Heinzendorf (present-day Jędrzychów).

Meanwhile, Fermor had reorganized his army, distributing the former cavalry division among other divisions and creating a 3rd Division which he placed under the command of Rumyantsev. Fermor also made preparations for the establishment of magazines in Pomerania and Neumark. He also sent reconnaissance parties towards Stettin, Schwedt and Cüstrin.

Asseburg Infantry on fast march from Moravia to Cüstrin in August 1758 - Source: Carl Röchling, 1895

On August 14

  • Russians
    • The 1st Division remained at Gross-Cammin to bake bread while the 2nd Division joined this corps in its camp. It was decided to invest the Fortress of Cüstrin from the east bank of the Warthe while Stoffeln with a strong detachment would make himself master of the suburbs.
    • The Observation Corps reached Schwerin. It was charged to cover the Warthe between Cüstrin and Birnbaum to prevent an advance of the Prussian from the south.
    • Rumyantsev’s Division was charged to cover Stettin and to occupy Eastern Pomerania. He marched from Landsberg by Soldin and Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce) towards Stargard to control the Oder between Stettin and Schwedt. He also had to establish magazines in Stargard and Soldin. Once at Stargard, he had been instructed to establish communication with Lieutenant-General Resanov’s force. Rumyantsev would reinforce Resanov with 2 infantry rgts and some field artillery; and Resanov would advance on Colberg in an attempt to take the place by surprise.
  • Prussians
    • In the afternoon, 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 (Grenadier Battalion Burgsdorff, Grenadier Battalion Petersdorff, Kurssell Fusiliers) and 10 sqns (5 sqns of Alt-Platen Dragoons and 5 sqns of Schorlemmer Dragoons) and 130 hussars to observe them. Schorlemmer arrived at Cüstrin in the evening. He had been instructed to take position between the Fortress and the “Kurzen Vorstadt” and to fortify the Weinberg. However, for the night, his dragoons encamped west of the “Langen Vorstadt”. Meanwhile, his infantry and hussars took post in the low grounds on the eastern side of the fortress.
    • Manteuffel's Corps was ordered to rejoin the main army at Frankfurt. Accordingly, he quit Zielenzig and retired to Reppen.
    • Frederick's Corps took a day rest at Groß Heinzendorf.

In the following days, Fermor received reports that Dohna’s Army still stood near Frankfurt an der Oder; that Schwedt was occupied only by a small infantry detachment; and that 1 bn and a few hussars were occupying Stargard. In Stettin, there was o force of 10,000 Prussian foot, mainly militia with a few sqns of Land Hussars. Another reconnaissance party reported that Colberg was occupied by only 500 militia but had a good artillery.

Siege of Cüstrin

Order of Battle
Detailed order of battle of Rumyantsev’s Russian Corps on August 15, 1758.

On August 15

  • Russians
    • At 3:00 a.m., General-Quartermaster von Stoffeln set off from the Russian camp at Gross-Cammin. (present-day Kamień Wielki) with 20 grenadier coys (in two converged rgts), Chuguev Cossacks, 4 unicorns, 2 Shuvalov howitzers and 10 guns.
    • At 4:00 a.m., the rest of the Russian army set off from Gross-Cammin. in two columns and marched by Wilkersdorf (present-day Krześniczka), Tamsel (present-day Dąbroszyn) and Warnick (present-day Warniki).
    • The main body of Fermor’s Army had encamped between Alt-Drewitz (present-day Drzewice) and Warnick, across the Drewitz Heath.
    • Fermor began the Siege of Cüstrin, burning most of the town during this first day.
    • Rumyantsev’s Corps (8 infantry rgts, 15 regular sqns, 5 hussar sqns, 900 Cossacks and 11 field pieces for a total of 10,800 men) reached Soldin and a cavalry detachment was sent towards Stargard to establish a magazine. The Prussian garrison of Stargard (Land Militia Battalion Grumbkow and a few Landhusaren) evacuated the place
  • Prussians
    • Dohna received a report from Schorlemmer about the situation at Cüstrin. He finally decided to rush to the assistance of the fortress, to deny the passage of the Oder to the Russians and to engage them in battle.
    • Manteuffel was retiring upon Frankfurt according to the orders that he had previously received.
    • Major-General von Below assumed command of the Prussian troops (Freibataillon du Verger, and 440 men of the Land-Battalion I Heiderstädt) left behind at Frankfurt an der Oder to guard the heavy baggage, the bakery, the war chest and the commissariat. He had been instructed to hold the place at all cost.
    • Frederick's Corps marched from Groß Heinzendorf to Dalkau (present-day Dalków).

In the night of August 15 to 16, Dohna set off from Frankfurt and marched towards Cüstrin.

On August 16

  • Russians
    • The bombardment of Cüstrin continued. However, Fermor wrote to the empress to inform her that, because of the lack of siege artillery pieces, a former attack against Cüstrin was not feasible.
    • Fermor intended to lure Dohna to cross the Oder at Cüstrin or below so that he could attack and defeat him. Fermor wanted to defend the Oder but he did not even consider attacking the left bank with his whole army.
    • The Observation Corps marched from Schwerin to Landsberg and replaced the garrison of Landsberg, Friedeberg and Driesen who rejoined the main army.
  • Prussians
    • In the morning, Dohna encamped at Reitwein where he was joined by Manteuffel's detachment.
    • Frederick's Corps marched from Dalkau to Deutsch-Wartenberg (present-day Otyń).

On August 17

  • Russians
    • Informed that the bridge on the Oder at Schwedt was still intact and that the town was occupied only by 1 coy with 4 artillery pieces, Rumyantsev dispatched 1 bn with a few field pieces and 90 Cossacks towards Schwedt to fortify a position in front of the bridge on the east bank of the Oder. A Cossack detachment sent forward to Freienwalde would then bring all carts and wagons back to the east bank.
  • Prussians
    • 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.
    • Dohna was informed that a large Cossack detachment had swum across the Oder near Kienitz the previous night and captured a large quantity of cattle and horses in the country; intercepted boats loaded with flour; and brought everything back to their army. In the afternoon, Dohna learned that another party of a few thousands Cossacks had crossed the Oder near Schwedt.
    • In the evening, Dohna finally sent Lieutenant-General von Schorlemmer with 10 dragoon sqns and a number of hussars towards Schwedt.
    • Around midnight, Dohna was informed that the Russians were building a bridge of boats near Alt-Schaumburg (present-day Szumiłowo), even though he thought that this was just a diversion, Dohna reinforced the garrison defending the nearby dam to 7 bns under Lieutenant-General von Manteuffel. He also kept the rest of his army in readiness to support Manteuffel.
    • Frederick's Corps marched from Deutsch-Wartenberg to Plothe (present-day Płoty).
  • Engagement
    • A 600 men strong Russian detachment drove back the few Prussian troops (120 men from a Landkompagnie and Landhussars belonging to the garrison of Stettin) guarding the bridge at Schwedt. However, the Prussian hussars managed to set the decking of the bridge afire. The Prussian detachment retired to Gartz unmolested, occupied the town and re-established the bridge with the help of the inhabitants.

On August 18

  • Russians
    • Fermor, informed of the departure of a strong Prussian detachment (Schorlemmer’s) in the direction of Schwedt, immediately sent a messenger to Rumyantsev. With Schwedt threatened by Schorlemmer’s detachment, Fermor decided to send Quartermaster-General von Stoffeln with some troops to reinforce the small Russian force holding the place.
    • The siege of Cüstrin continued. Fermor could not raise the blockade of Cüstrin because, if he marched away from Cüstrin, he would give Count Dohna the opportunity to pass the Oder and follow him. Therefore, he resolved to resume the blockade but to look for a suitable battlefield in the neighbourhood and to begin to fortify positions there.
    • Rumyantsev’s Corps arrived at Pyritz. However, Rumyantsev was ordered to rapidly effect a junction with the Observation Corps at Landsberg. Rumyantsev was informed that 2,000 Prussians had set off from Stettin on August 16 and were marching against him. Despite Fermor's denial, he still feared an attack, a fear which determined his actions in the following days.
  • Prussians
    • The commandant of Berlin notified Dohna that he had no other pontoons for his army, the 45 remaining pontoons having been recently sent to Prince Heinrich. He suggested to secretly send, through the Finow Canal, barges and timbers necessary for a bridge over the Oder. Furthermore, Grenadier Battalion Lossow assembled 50 barges at Lebus to use them, if necessary, to establish a bridge near Cüstrin. Finally, 1 bn of Frei-Infanterie von Hordt occupied Kienitz to defend it against Russian light troops.
    • Frederick's Corps marched from Plothe to Crossen.

In the night of August 18 to 19, Lieutenant-General Schorlemmer, learned of the capture of Schwedt as he arrived at Wriezen. He immediately set out to drive the Russians out of the town. However, Dohna considered the action of unsupported cavalry against a place occupied by infantry and artillery as hopeless and ordered Schorlemmer to return to the army.

On August 19

  • Russians
    • Rumyantsev marched to Damnitz (present-day Dębica), north of Pyritz.
  • Prussians
    • Dohna reported to Frederick that the Russians had made the bridge at Drossen unusable.
    • 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

  • Russians
    • Fermor received additional information about Frederick’s march. Realizing that the latter was not advancing towards Landsberg, he ordered General Browne to rejoin the main army with his Observation Corps.
    • Stoffeln arrived at Schwedt with the Russian reinforcements (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy, the Chuguev Cossacks and 1 sqn of Slaviano-Serbian Hussars).
    • Fermor dispatched the Sankt-Peterburgskiy Horse Grenadiers towards Schwedt. Meanwhile, he sent orders to Rumyantsev, encamped at Damnitz, to advance on Schwedt with his entire division, countermanding the previous order to send 2 infantry rgt to Colberg.
  • Prussians
    • 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. Frederick was eager to engage the Russians as soon as possible. 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.

Continuation

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

  • Frederick comes to the rescue (August 21 to September 1, 1758) describing the arrival of Frederick in Brandenburg with a relief army, the battle of Zorndorf and the ensuing until Frederick’s departure for Saxony;
  • The Russians move to Eastern Pomerania (September 2 to December, 1758) describing the march of the Russians from Brandenburg to Eastern Pomerania, the siege of Colberg and the retreat of the Russian army to East Prussia.

References

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. 7 Olmütz und Crefeld, Berlin, 1909, p. 199
    • Vol. 8 Zorndorf und Hochkirch, Berlin, 1910, pp. 31-54, 64-104, 157, 161-183, 195-240
  • 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

Other sources

Duffy, Christopher: various articles on the Russian army, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 2