1758 - Swedish campaign in Pomerania
The campaign lasted from June to December 1758
At the end of November 1757, after a long march from East Prussia, the Prussian army of Field-Marshal Lehwaldt gradually assembled at Stettin (present-day Szczecin/PL) in Prussian-Pomerania. In mid-December Lehwaldt launched a successful counter-offensive in Pomerania. He recaptured Demmin on December 31.
Description of Events
The Swedes are driven back to Stralsund
The operations in Pomerania in 1758 started as a nightmare for the Swedes. Winter was so rude that thick ice formed over the strait separating the Island of Rügen from Western Pomerania, thus making the small Swedish force (2,000 men with 20 field guns) occupying the island very vulnerable. They continuously had to break the ice between Rügen and the mainland to prevent the passage of the Prussians.
In the evening of January 1, 1758, the Swedish garrison of Demmin set off with two field guns, its baggage and provisions and marched to Grimmen.
On January 2, Lehwaldt crossed the Peene at the head of his small army and advanced into Pomerania. Meanwhile, Lieutenant-General Schorlemer occupied Wolgast.
On January 4, Anklam capitulated and the Swedish garrison, consisting of 3 officers and 94 men, surrendered as prisoners of war.
On January 5, Lehwaldt’s vanguard reached Grimmen. Meanwhile, Schorlemer took possession of Anklam.
By January 6, Lehwaldt had recovered most of Prussian-Pomerania and completely bottled up the Swedes in Stralsund and Rügen Island. Most of the Swedish army had retired to Rügen Island, only a small garrison defended Stralsund while a small detachment still occupied the entrenchments of Peenemünde. During their advance, the Prussian columns had captured important depots at Anklam and Greifswald, 42 vessels and 3,000 Swedes. Mecklenburg was now left alone to feel the wrath of Prussia.
On January 7
- Lehwaldt’s main body took position between Greifswald and Grimmen.
On January 10, Lehwaldt invested Stralsund, blockading the town. His vanguard took position between Niederhof, Borgwallsee and Prohn and established outposts near the fortress. The main body occupied a line extending from Niederhof, by Elmernhorst, Steinhagen, Starkow, up to Barth. Furthermore, a Prussian force (8 sqns of Schorlemmer Dragoons, 3 sqns of Malachowski Hussars, 2 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and Grenadier Battalion Kleist) under the Prince of Holstein advanced into the Duchy of Mecklenburg, which had allied to the Swedes, and levied considerable contributions.
Frederick II repeatedly instructed Lehwaldt to cross the frozen Strelasund and attack the Swedes in the Island of Rügen, hoping to force Sweden to conclude a separate peace with Prussia, thus freeing Lehwaldt’s Army for the coming campaign against the Russians.
By January 19, some 400 guns were mounted on the walls of Stralsund because von Rosen expected a Prussian attack.
Indeed, by January 20, the Prussians had completely surrounded Stralsund on the land-side. The foremost Prussian line outside of Stralsund went through the villages of Niederhof, Elmenhorst, Steinhagen, Starkow and Barth. Lehwaldt had established the Prussian headquarters at Greifswald. The Swedish field army had to improve the fortifications of Stralsund. This work had already been initiated in the last months of 1757 under the supervision of Lieutenant-Colonel Karl Adam von Blessingh. The old bastions were repaired, new batteries were erected and walls were elevated with wooden palisades whenever wood could be transported to Stralsund. Redoubts were erected near the Tribseerthor (one of the gates), other redoubts added, and entrenchments built on the "Franken side" of the fortress. The Marquis Marc René de Montalembert, the current French attaché to the Swedish army, supervised the construction of modern redoubts on the "Knieper side" of the defence works, an initiative that the Swedish officers did not appreciate.
On January 26, von Rosen sent out one of his best generals, Augustin Ehrensvärd, at the head of 400 horse and 1,200 foot with 8 guns to reconnoitre the Prussian positions. The Prussians retired from some of their outposts and a small skirmish took place at Kedenhagen between a detachment of the Upplands Liv Regiment and a squadron of Prussian hussars which was driven back. Ehrensvärd, who was a prudent general, didn't advance farther than Parow, 5 km north of Stralsund. Strangely enough, this was the only reconnaissance action of the Swedish field army during the winter and spring of 1758. Lehwaldt anyhow contented himself of besieging Stralsund. He considered that the place was too strongly defended to try an attack. In fact, Lehwaldt simply had insufficient resources for such an endeavour.
On January 27, the Prince of Holstein's Corps took possession of Wismar in Mecklenburg.
On February 6, the Prince of Holstein entered into Rostock.
About the middle of February, the Prince of Holstein and Major-General Count Finckenstein advanced into the Duchy of Lüneburg with 2 rgts of dragoons (Holstein and Finckenstein), 3 sqns of Ruesch Hussars and 2 sqns of Malachowski Hussars and finally effected a junction with the Allied Army of Ferdinand of Brunswick in Hanover.
On February 16, Frederick gave orders to Field Marshal Lehwaldt to detach one of his dragoon rgt to Stolp (present-day Slupsk) to observe the Russians and to check the incursions of Cossacks sent forward after the Russian invasion of East Prussia. Lehwaldt chose Alt Platen Dragoons accompanied by 40 hussars for this mission and placed the detachment under the command of Major-General von Platen.
Meanwhile, the Prussian blockade of Stralsund continued (it would last till June 18). During this blockade, the Swedish garrison was reduced from 7,000 men to only 4,000 men fit for service.
On March 7, the Prussians invested the Fort of Peenemünde.
On March 9, the Prussians began the siege of the Fort of Peenemünde.
On March 13, after a heavy bombardment, the Swedish garrison at Peenemünde (8 officers, 200 men with 39 guns) finally capitulated.
By the end of March, the Swedish army in Pomerania counted approx. 20,000 men of whom some 4,500 were sick.
On April 2, Frederick wrote to Dohna to instruct him to force the Swedes to peace with his small army (18,600 men) and, if unsuccessful, to protect Pomerania and the Uckermark against them. The fortress of Stettin had to be reinforced and occupied so that it could withstand a siege. If the Russians would enter into Pomerania and Neumark, Dohna should engage them and drive them out of these provinces. Then he should direct his efforts once more against the Swedes.
However, it was already too late to seize the opportunity to attack the Swedes in the island of Rügen across the frozen sound. Indeed, at the end of March a prolonged thaw had freed the waters and immediately Swedish warships had started to patrol the sound.
Nevertheless, Frederick repeatedly urged Dohna to give battle to the Swedes before the arrival of the Russians on this theatre of operation. However, it was impossible for Dohna to attack the Swedes who were stationed on the island of Rügen, well protected by gunboats and galleys cruising out of range of Dohna’s artillery.
Dohna expected a landing attempt by the Swedes and erected batteries at Stahlbrode, Niederhof and Parow. The Fort of Peenemünde and the entrenchments at Swinemünde (present-day Świnoujście) were strengthened and the mouth of the Peene and of the Dievenow were blocked.
Swedes assault on the Peenemünde redoubt
On April 3, a few Swedish galleys and gunboats sailed from Stralsund and bombarded the Prussian batteries at Stahlrode and Niederhof with causing much damage.
On April 4, Dohna reported to the king that, with the Swedes cruising the coast, it was impossible to assemble enough boats and barges at Stettin and in the coastal towns to transport his little army to the island of Rügen. In the absence of any naval support from the British the operation had to be abandoned.
In the night of April 4 to 5, eager to reconquer the position, a Swedish detachment (200 men) transported by boat from Rügen tried to take the Fort of Peenemünde by surprise. The Swedes managed to climb the wall at one point; but the garrison finally repulsed the attack.
The units involved in this attack were:
- on the Prussian side
- Garrison Regiment Nr. I Puttkamer (100 men) under Captain von Reibnitz
- on the Swedish side
During this action, the Swedes lost 1 captain and 16 men killed and 1 officer and 63 men taken prisoners. The Prussians lost 3 men killed and 5 wounded.
|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.
In April, the Swedish Böhnens Fribataljon of light troops was raised from värvade soldiers in the country around Danzig (present-day Gdansk).
On April 18, the Swedish troops stationed on the island of Rügen were ordered to get ready to march.
At the end of April, Dohna learned that the Swedes were receiving massive reinforcements from their homeland and that the French were urging them to start operations soon. Indeed, the French Court had convinced the Riksråd (Council of the Realm) in Stockholm to reinforce the army with an additional 10,000 men and supplied the necessary subsidies. Furthermore, the Russians seemed to prepare to advance from the Vistula.
At the beginning of May
- Dohna received additional artillery pieces (10 howitzers and 8 x 12-pdr guns) from Berlin. However, even with these new pieces, he considered that he had not enough artillery to bombard or besiege Stralsund. He could only maintain a narrow encirclement of the fortress.
- When Frederick heard that some Russian troops were operating on the west bank of the Vistula, he ordered Dohna to send reinforcements to Platen.
With sickness high in both armies, no enterprises were undertaken. Furthermore, the movements of the Russians were increasingly drawing Dohna’s attention. He expected to soon have to march against the Russians and wanted to spare his small army for this great effort. The Swedes too were not interested to break the ceasefire, suffering from sickness due to insufficient provisions and clothing and improper accommodations. They also lacked equipment, weapons, horses and vehicles.
In mid-May, Dohna ordered his army out of its winter-quarters. According to Frederick‘s orders, he sent 200 hussars (from Ruesch Hussars and 2 Malachowski Hussars), under Captain von Zedmar, along with Grenadier Battalion Nesse and 1 bn of Garrison Regiment Nr. I Puttkamer from Western Pomerania towards Stolp. Furthermore, a detachment of Alt Platen Dragoons, which had been left behind in Mecklenburg-Schwerin along with 20 Land Hussars rejoined Platen.
By May 22, Dohna‘s Army was assembled at the camps of Falkenberg and Pütte.
At the beginning of June, the Russian army finally marched from the Vistula into Mark.
On June 13, the Prussian troops blockading Mecklenburg-Schwerin were ordered to raise the blockade.
On June 15, all Prussian regiments who had been in winter-quarters in Mecklenburg were recalled in Pomerania.
Dohna leaves for Brandenburg
On June 18, Dohna abandoned the blockade of Stralsund and left with his army, heading for the Oder to oppose the Russian invasion of Brandenburg led by Fermor. Judging from the previous months and the latest news received, he thought that there was nothing serious to fear from the Swedes in Western Pomerania in the near future. The only Prussian troops left in Western Pomerania were those of the Duke of Bevern, the Governor of Pomerania, assembled at Stettin. Dohna planned to remain on the west bank of the Oder to protect Berlin from the Russians and the Swedes. He would wait there until the Russians would try to cross the river and then offer battle.
On June 19, Dohna’s army encamped near Treuen, north of Loitz, where he would remain until June 25. Dohna left only a small force of 40 hussars under First-Lieutenant von Grabowsky of Ruesch Hussars behind at Brandshagen to act as a rearguard and to tempt the Swedes out of their fortified positions, hoping to defeat them before leaving for Brandenburg.
On June 20, Major Baron Georg Gustaf Wrangel signed a contract to raise a new regiment of hussars: the Blå Hussars (Blue Hussars); in order to bring the full establishment of Swedish hussars to 10 squadrons (of 100 men each).
On June 21, the Prussian hussars detachment appeared outside the walls of Stralsund to steal some horses and cows. Immediately, 50 men from Blå Hussars and 50 men from the Upplands Liv Regiment were sent over to Brandshagen. According to Rosen, the Swedes under Major von Platen (one of the founders of the Blå Hussars together with Count Putbus) drove back the 40 Prussian hussars.
On June 26, Dohna departed from Treuen and marched towards Schwedt by Pasewalk. Only a tiny Prussian force remained in Pomerania. It consisted of:
- Grabowsky’s Hussar Detachment (40 men)
- Garrison Regiment Nr. I Puttkamer (2 bns)
On June 27, von Rosen, who considered that this war was not for him, sent a letter to ask to be relieved of his command. He explained that he was too sick and too tired to be able to lead the Swedish field army. Lieutenant-General Count Gustaf David Hamilton, the oldest Swedish general in Pomerania, assumed command of the field army, in accordance with the Swedish seniority-system.
At the end of June, a large part of the Swedish force concentrated in Stralsund suffered from food-poisoning cause by salted pork. Swedish command managed to send these soldiers to "take the waters" at Knieperdam.
By July 1 in the Swedish army, some 5,093 foot and 757 cavalrymen were ill. Hamilton could rely only on 8,761 men to take part in the operations, of these 1,434 had to remain in Stralsund as garrison. Altogether, Hamilton could field less than 2,500 cavalrymen because horses had starved during the long siege conducted by General Lehwaldt. The lack of horses was even worst in the field artillery and train.
On July 4, the Swedish Rådet (council) authorised von Rosen to quit his charge. Lieutenant-General Count Hamilton finally took command of the Swedish army after having acted as interim commander for a few days for Count Rosen who had fell ill. Hamilton initially wanted to wait for the arrival of the reinforcements from Sweden and, if possible, to remedy the numerous shortcomings of his army. However, he soon changed his mind and decided to move through Loitz to Treptow on the Tollense, and from there to follow Dohna and, if necessary, to give battle. With such an advance, he hoped to support the operations of the Russians and keep Dohna at bay. He also believed that his army could live off the land in the Uckermark. Communications between Swedish Pomerania and the Rügen Island would be secured, if Hamilton could take the Fort of Peenemünde and guard the coast with war vessels, especially the Peene Road in the lagoon. Thus Hamilton could turn his attention to Usedom to prevent any enterprise of the garrison of Stettin from this island.
On July 6, Dohna’s Army arrived at Schwedt.
- N.B.: please refer to our article 1758 - Russian invasion of Brandenburg to follow the operations of Dohna’s Army .
In the first half of July, the Swedish army, counting 14,000 men, received a reinforcement of about 8,000 consisting of:
- Light Troops
- Artillery (661 men)
These reinforcements disembarked at Perd on Rügen.
In preparation for the incoming campaign, the Swedish grenadiers were then converged into two battalions commanded respectively by Majors Anton Reinhold Wrangel and Johan August Meijerfelt. Furthermore, Nylands Infantry was attached to the Artillery which was reorganised into 8 brigades with 36 heavy and 60 light guns. Similarly, a corps of 50 foot had been added to the Blå Hussars in the Autumn of 1757. Corruption in the "Hats Party" allowed suppliers to provide very poor quality equipment: bad rifles, bad shirts and shoes. A lot of wagons supplied by the firm Finlay & Jennings carrying pontoons were unusable, because the axis were too weak and made of bad wood, and were left behind when the army finally advanced.
Hamilton’s cavalry then advanced to the Peene while his main body assembled in a camp near Loitz.
By July 15, the Swedish right wing, under Lieutenant-General Count Liewen, was near Loitz; while the left wing, under Major-General Count Horn, was at Anklam to cover the approaches from Stettin. Overall, Hamilton had approx. 14,500 men fit for duty, including 2,700 horse and 470 artillerymen.
During the following days, Hamilton detached a mixed force of 2,000 men under Major-General Count Hessenstein from Wolgast to occupy the Usedom Island.
On July 20, a Swedish detachment (700 men and four 3-pdr guns), under Major-General Ehrensvärd, invested the Fort of Peenemünde and started digging trenches.
On July 22
- Ships sailing from Stralsund delivered a number of heavy pieces to Ehrensvärd who established part of these pieces on the mainland opposite the Fort of Peenemünde.
- Rosen left Stralsund for Sweden.
On July 23, Ehrensvärd received a reinforcement of 2 bns.
On July 27, after a brief bombardment, Colonel von Wuthenow surrendered the Fort of Peenemünde to the Swedes. The small garrison (335 men) then became prisoners of war, 165 men immediately entering in the Swedish service. The Swedes also captured 36 pieces in the fort. The Prussian officers of the garrison were freed on parole but Dohna put Colonel von Wuthenow and Major von Schätzel under arrest.
Hamilton recalled most of his troops from Usedom after the destruction of the entrenchments of Swinemünde, leaving only a small garrison in the Fort of Peenemünde. Galleys patrolled the Peene Road to protect the coasts.
On August 15, Lieutenant-General Count Liewen detached Major-General Count Horn from Anklam with a mixed force towards the Ücker to reconnoitre the area and collect some provisions. Horn’s detachment engaged Freigrenadier Wussow near Altwigshafen and drove them back.
In the night of August 15 to 16, Freigrenadier Wussow retired to Torgelow while Freigrenadier Hüllesem evacuated Ückermünde and retired to Ahlbeck because they feared that the Swedish galleys would land troops at Neuwarp (present-day Nowe Warpno).
On August 16
- Hamilton marched with part of his army from Loitz to Daberkow.
On August 17
- The Prussian Kompagnie Seebach (1 coy) occupied the important crossing point at Pasewalk. It was soon joined by Grabowsky’s hussars.
At this moment in Stettin, the Duke of Bevern was informed that a Russian force had been seen near Schwedt. He feared that Russian light troops could effect a junction with the Swedes.
On August 19, Bevern redirected Tettau’s detachment further to Penkun to guard the region of Prenzlau. From there, Lieutenant-Colonel von Stosch would advance to Gartz with 400 men to observe the Russians at Schwedt while the rest of the detachment would cover the region against the enterprises of Horn’s detachment.
The Russians retired from Schwedt and Horn retreated to Spantekow.
On August 21
- Hamilton marched with part of his army from Daberkow to Wodarg near Altentreptow.
- Liewen’s Corps advanced from Anklam to Spantekow.
Hamilton wanted to wait for the arrival of the last reinforcements and additional horses, train servants and pieces of equipment in these positions. The Swedish government had left total freedom to Hamilton for the next operations. However, the French envoy at the Swedish headquarters tried to persuade Hamilton to advance by Wittstock towards the Elbe and to effect a junction with Soubise’s Army advancing from Cassel.
On August 22, a first engagement took place off Anklam between the Swedish squadron and the Prussian flotilla. The Swedes won this initial action.
On August 23, a courier sent by Armfelt with a letter from Fermor arrived at Hamilton’s headquarters, escorted by Cossacks. Fermor informed Hamilton that the Russians had begun to bombard Cüstrin (present-day Kostrzyn nad Odrą) and occupied Schwedt and mentioned that he hoped to soon be able to effect a junction with the Swedish army. Hamilton decided to advance to Strasburg to get closer to Fermor’s army and then wait for further information.
On August 25, an important Russian cavalry corps (12,000 men) under the command of Rumyantsev camped at Schwedt, but no attempt was undertaken to make a junction with the Swedish army.
On August 26 and 27, Tettau assembled his detachment at Pasewalk. In front of him, the Swedes occupied a line extending from Spantekow by Friedland to Strasburg.
On August 27, Hamilton was informed that the Russians had been stopped at the Battle of Zorndorf and that they had evacuated the bridge of Schwedt. The initial news about the battle which grossly exaggerated the Russian defeat, caused general consternation in the Swedish headquarters.
On August 29, Hamilton encamped near Strasburg with his army and recalled Liewen’s troops. His vanguard advanced up to Prenzlau where it joined Liewen’s vanguard under Major-General Carpelan. The latter, now at the head of some 3,000 men occupied Pasewalk, Torgelow, Ferdinandshof and Ückermünde, skirmishing with Tettau’s troops who retired to Löcknitz behind the Randow.
Swedish advance on Berlin
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Hamilton’s Swedish Army in September 1758.|
From September 2, the Swedes started to get more accurate reports about the battle of Zorndorf. Hamilton had initially planned to get closer to the Oder and act jointly with the Russian Army. But the Russo-Swedish joint operations previously planned had already been seriously compromised by the indecisive Battle of Zorndorf. The Russians were no more interested in such a cooperation. Hamilton had problems to keep in touch with them. Fromhold Armfelt, the Swedish envoy to the Russian Army had problems to forward letters to him. Hamilton wished to make a junction with the Russian Army but this appeared to be impossible because Fermor and his army, still counting 40,000 men, were licking their wounds in Landsberg (present-day Gorzow Wielkopolski) on the River Warthe (present-day Warta River). Fermor did not wish to fight the Prussians anymore and would have preferred to move closer to his magazines on the Vistula in Poland. However, Empress Elizabeth Petrovna insisted that he undertook more active operations against the Prussians. As a compromise, Fermor decided after a discussion with his generals to march northwards with his army to East Pomerania and to take his winter-quarters at Stargard, some 40 km east of Stettin, while a detachment was sent against the Fortress of Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg). This put an end to any hope Hamilton could have to conduct joint operations.
To complicate things further, a letter from Armfelt to Hamilton, criticizing Fermor, was intercepted by the Prussians who published it in the Berlin newspapers, thus making Fermor furious. Armfelt left the Russian army and went to the Austrian army to assume the same role of liaison. Nevertheless, the president of the chancellery in Stockholm, Anders Johan Count von Höpken, insisted that the Swedish army should advance on Berlin.
Hamilton considered that he could not take the direct road through Templin, Zehdenick and Oranienburg because it was too sandy and bordered by infertile regions. Furthermore, because of the uselessness of his pontoons, he had to avoid watercourses as much as possible. Hamilton planned to advance in the direction of the rich Prignitz and then to follow the course of the Havel towards Berlin. This way, he could establish communication with the Austrians in Saxony and use the Elbe for his supplies. He also wanted to relocate his lines of communications across Mecklenburg.
On September 6, the Swedish army advanced on Prenzlau to gather the detachments posted along the Ücker. There, Hamilton learned of Frederick departure from Blumberg and of his march towards Saxony. Hamilton assumed that the Russians would fix Dohna’s Corps and that his own army could advance unhindered on Berlin. He expected success if he acted swiftly because, apart from the weak garrison of Berlin (Land Regiment 1 (7 coys), the weak II./Garrison Regiment VII Lange and 1 sqn of Land Hussars (probably the Kurmark Land Hussars von Wangenheim) for a total of some 2,000 men with a few 3-pdrs), no Prussian troops stood between him and the capital.
On September 10
- The troops of Major-General Carpelan, who had previously been stationed on the Ücker, marched from Pasewalk to Prenzlau following the main body as rearguard.
On September 11, after much delay, Hamilton’s army set off from Prenzlau and marched to Lychen.
The threat to Berlin, the residence of the royal family and the location of weapon and powder factories, put Dohna in a difficult situation. He had to decide by himself if he should march to the relief of Berlin or stay in his current positions near Blumberg, facing the Russians.
On September 13, because of the weakness of his artillery horses and train horses, Hamilton had to halt again at Lychen.
On September 14
- Hamilton remained one more day at Lychen.
- Informed of the advance of the Swedes towards Berlin, Frederick sent out Major-General von Wedel with 2 bns (Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff, Grenadier Battalion Östenreich) and 4 x 12-pdrs from his camp at Schönfeld near Dresden in Saxony to relieve Berlin.
- Frederick instructed Dohna to remain in his positions facing the Russians, despite the threat to Berlin, until the latter would retreat from Landsberg towards the Vistula, and the Prussians would have recaptured Driesen. Frederick also mentioned that he would himself send a corps to the relief of Berlin. He was quite disgruntled that Dohna had even considered letting the Russians free to move into Eastern Pomerania.
On September 15
- The Prussian forces sent out from Stettin, being too weak to attack in force, prepared an ambush in the forest between Boitzenburg and Lychen. Carpelan, the Swedish commander, neglected to send out any flanking patrols believing the Prussians to still be far away. The Prussian infantry and dismounted cavalry hid among the trees and let the long train of wagons and troops pass by, waiting for the baggage train to appear. This was guarded by Böhnens Fribataljon consisting of inexperienced German recruits. At a point blank range of 10 paces the Prussians opened a devastating fire. Within minutes more than 80 men were wounded or killed among the wagons and trees. The slaughter would have continued if Älvsborgs Infantry had not come to the rescue chasing away the Prussian skirmishers with musket fire. The units involved in this skirmish were:
- Hamilton’s army reached Fürstenberg on the Havel.
- Tettau advanced on Prenzlau with his remaining 800 men, leaving only his hussars at Boitzenburg to follow the Swedes.
- As Wedel was marching to Grossenhain, he was joined by 5 sqns of Möhring Hussars. He was now at the head of 2 bns and 5 sqns with 4 x 12-pdrs.
On September 16, Wedel’s force made a junction with the Kurssell Fusiliers (2 bns) and the Wied Fusiliers (2 bns) when he arrived at Sonnenwalde. He was now at the head of 6 bns and 5 sqns with 4 x 12-pdrs.
On September 17
- The Hesse-Kassel Fusiliers (2 bns), sent as reinforcements by Prince Heinrich, joined Wedel’s force at Luckau. Wedel was now at the head of 8 bns and 5 sqns with 4 x 12-pdrs.
- After receiving Frederick’s instruction while he was in Gorgast, Dohna retraced his steps towards Blumberg. Only the Plettenberg Dragoons resumed their march towards Berlin, according to Frederick’s orders, to reinforce the Wedel’s corps assembling there.
At about his time, the Prussian detachments posted at Lychen, Boitzenburg and Prenzlau by the Duke of Bevern were recalled to Stettin because he feared that the Russians would advance in Eastern Pomerania.
On September 18, Hamilton’s Army reached Rheinsberg.
On September 19, Hamilton’s army rested near Rheinsberg. The vanguard under Lieutenant-General Count Liewen reached Neuruppin and sent a small detachment to occupy the passage of the Rhin at Fehrbellin. Major-General Count Hessenstein occupied Zehdenick with another detachment, destroying the gun foundry and finding a large quantity of flour in the neighbouring mills.
On September 20, Wedel’s Corps reached Berlin after marching by Grossenhain and Baruth. There it effected a junction with the Plettenberg Dragoons, detached from Dohna’s Army. Wedel was now at the head of approx. 6,000 men (8 bns, 10 sqns).
On September 21
- Wedel’s Corps rested at Berlin. Wedel sent Captain von Wuthenow at the head of 100 horse and 200 foot from II./Garrison Regiment VII Lange towards Fehrbellin to reconnoitre the Swedish positions. This detachment skirmished with the Swedes occupying the town before retiring to Dechtow.
- The Swedish army marched from Rheinsberg to Lindow where Hamilton was informed by Liewen that the garrison of Fehrbellin had been attacked the same day by a Prussian detachment. No one knew from where these troops had come from but Hamilton thought that they might be the advanced elements of a large detachment sent by Dohna. Hamilton held a council of war where it was decided to interrupt the march on Oranienburg and to take position near Neuruppin.
On September 22
- Hamilton’s Army reached Neuruppin.
- The garrison of Fehrbellin was reinforced to 700 men and a detachment of some 1,000 men took position on the north bank of the Rhin-Luches near Langen to cover Fehrbellin.
- Hessenstein marched from Zehdenick to Lindow, leaving 500 men behind to guard the provisions of flour. Menz was already occupied by a small detachment.
- Hamilton intended to remain in these positions to give some rest to his cavalry and see how the situation would evolve. His army counted some 18,000 men (including 4,000 horse) and 80 field pieces.
- One of Bevern’s detachment attacked the small garrison of Anklam. However, another similar attack on Demmin failed.
- Wedel’s Corps left Berlin and marched to Oranienburg. Wedel sent Major von Losberg of the Plettenberg Dragoons with a detachment (100 dragoons, 100 hussars and 100 men of the Grenadier Battalion Schenckendorff and 1 artillery piece) against Zehdenick. Losberg drove the small Swedish detachment out of the town.
At about this time, a skirmish took place on the Island of Usedom between the troops of Major von Ingersleben and a Swedish landing party. A clash between the Prussian and Swedish galley fleets seemed imminent.
On September 25
- Wedel marched from Oranienburg to take position between Linum and Dechtow. As he reached Kremmen, Captain von Wuthenow, still posted at Dechtow with his detachment, informed him that the Swedes were trying to recapture the villages to the south of Fehrbellin.
- Wedel’s Corps encamped between Hakenberg and Dechtow. The corps remained in these positions until September 27. Wedel used these days to thoroughly reconnoitre the surroundings.
On September 26, Wedel marched to the support of Dechtow with the Plettenberg Dragoons and the Möhring Hussars. He attacked a Swedish foraging party in an engagement at Tarmow. During this engagement, the Swedish cavalrymen had asked to dismount and fight on foot because they considered that their horses were in too bad condition. Finally, the Swedish cavalry routed by the infantry retired in good order. Wedel’s troops suffered heavy losses.
On September 28, Wedel advanced against the Swedish Army. The Prussian lost the ensuing Battle of Fehrbellin.
The last two combats had clearly shown Hamilton the difficulties of his situation. He now knew that he was dealing with a 6,000-strong corps of good troops sent by Frederick from Saxony. He could no longer advance on Berlin unopposed nor could he could field enough light troops to protect his extended lines of communication with Stralsund. Furthermore, Hamilton could not offer battle in such a difficult country. Accordingly, he retired to Neuruppin where he encamped. However, the Swedish command estimated that it would be possible to take up winter-quarters in Prussian Pomerania.
Nevertheless, Wedel’s Corps, outnumbered by its Swedish opponents, had to remain on the defensive at Dechtow between the Swedish army and Berlin. However, Wedel used his cavalry to attack Hamilton's lines of communication, making it difficult for Hamilton to properly supply his army or to send back the sick and wounded.
At the beginning of October, Hamilton was informed that the Russians had begun to retire from Landsberg towards the Vistula and that the Austrians were evacuating Saxony. Furthermore, Wedel was expecting shortly reinforcements from Lusatia and another force of 5,000 Prussians was advancing from Stettin against his lines of communication.
On October 4
- Captain von Lehwaldt at the head of three coys (Freigrenadier Wussow (1 coy), Freigrenadier Hüllesem (1 coy), Grenadier Battalion Köller (1 coy)) and a hussar detachment managed to capture the Swedish garrison guarding the passage of the Peene at Loitz. The Swedish garrisons of Anklam, which had been recently recaptured, and Demmin, precipitously retired towards Stralsund, followed by the hussars who roamed the country up to Barth.
- The Prussians immediately occupied Anklam and Demmin.
- The bold advance of the Prussian cavalry, convinced the Swedish troops holding the entrenchments near Damgarten and Tribsees that the Prussians were preparing an offensive in force. Accordingly, the Swedes evacuated the entrenchments and retired towards Stralsund.
- Calls for help were sent to Hamilton. However, after the initial alarm, the Swedes advanced again up to Loitz.
With his lines of communication seriously threatened, Hamilton changed his mind and prepared to abandon his camp at Neuruppin and to recapture Demmin to reopen his lines of communication.
On October 10, Major-General Count Hessenstein at the head of Hamilton’s vanguard (3,000 men) set off from Neuruppin, retreating towards Prenzlau with the sick, the ammunition and the heavy artillery.
On the night of October 10 to 11
- The Swedes evacuated Fehrbellin.
- Wedel sent some hussars to follow the retreating Swedes and marched in the direction of Kremmen, Zehdenick and Templin with the main body.
On October 11, Hamilton's Army retired from Neuruppin, covered by a strong rearguard, and marched to Prenzlau due to the poor condition of its supply lines. It was closely followed by Wedel's Corps.
On October 12, Wedel reached Zehdenick.
On October 14
- The Swedes unsuccessfully tried to recapture Anklam with a strong force.
- In the evening, Hessenstein reached Boitzenburg with the vanguard. He quartered the sick in town and established his camp at the north-west exit. He then placed guards at each exit of the town.
- The main body reached Hardenbeck. By then, Hamilton's Army had been reduced to 14,000 men.
Around 2:00 a.m. on October 15, Major von Schenckendorff managed to penetrate into Boitzenburg with 3 coys and the cavalry, to take 170 prisoners and to capture part of their baggage and 300 horses. As Hamilton’s troops poured out of their camp, Spaen retired. For his conduct in this affair, Schenckendorf was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
On October 17, Hamilton encamped near Prenzlau. His next objectives were to reestablish his line of communication with Stralsund and to protect it from any threat for the Prussian forces stationed in Stettin.
On October 18, the Swedes forced the small Prussian garrison of Demmin to surrender. The garrison obtained free withdrawal and retired to Anklam.
On October 19
- Hamilton sent Generals Horn and Fersen at the head of 5,000 men to occupy Pasewalk and Torgelow. Meanwhile, the Swedish army was resupplied with bread and cereals from Prenzlau and surroundings and then marched to Pasewalk where Hamilton intended to wait for the results of the operations of the Russian and Austrian armies. If the general situation did not evolve, Hamilton would be unable to take up his winter-quarters in Prussian territory as instructed by Stockholm.
- Wedel encamped near Suckow. His small corps had been severely weakened when he had sent back the Plettenberg Dragoons from Boitzenburg to rejoin Dohna’s Army. With his small force, Wedel could not contemplate an attack against the good Swedish positions. He limited himself to skirmishes.
On October 20, the Prussian coys under Captain von Lehwald defending Anklam retired to Ückermünde where they joined the II./Garrison Regiment I von Puttkamer. Their position had become untenable when the Swedes took position in Torgelow and Pasewalk.
On October 25, the Swedes attacked Ückermünde with superior forces and the Prussian garrison retired with difficulty to Eggesin. However, Bevern’s troops posted the Randow and in the Island of Usedom managed to stop the advance of the Swedes.
The Swedish army was deployed along a line extending from Wolgast by Anklam, Ückermünde, Torgelow and Pasewalk to Prenzlau.
Hamilton finally decided to take up his winter-quarters behind the Recknitz, Trebel and Peene in Swedish Pomerania protected by these rivers and supported by the Fortress of Stralsund. Now that the Swedes were retiring towards their winter-quarters, Frederick resolved to recall most of Wedel's Corps to reinforce the small Prussian army defending Saxony while he was trying to relieve the besieged Fortress of Neisse (present-day Nysa) in Silesia.
On October 28, Wedel, according to Frederick's orders, quit Suckow in Pomerania and marched towards Berlin.
On October 31, Wedel arrived at Berlin where he waited for Dohna's Corps.
As soon as Dohna made a junction with Wedel's Corps at Berlin, they both took the road towards Torgau in Saxony with 23 bns and 32 sqns. Only 8 bns under Manteuffel were left in Northern Germany.
Campaigning continues in Western Pomerania
On November 15, Manteuffel marched from Angermünde to Gramzow. A Swedish detachment of 250 horse under the command of Major Platen occupying Güstow was pushed back to Bietikow.
On November 18, a Swedish force led by General von Lingen vainly attempted to recapture Güstow. After this costly affair, the Swedish force moved towards Pasewalk and built a redoubt at the village of Werbelow. Manteuffel screened this Swedish force.
On November 25, Manteuffel sent forward General Platen with a force of grenadiers and cavalry to reconnoitre the Swedish position. Outside Werbelow they ran into a Swedish patrol of 40 men from Skaraborgs Infantry. The Swedes retreated in good order towards the redoubt, which was defended by 160 men of Kalmar Infantry. Platen opened up with artillery at the redoubt and sent the cavalry forward. At the same time, a Swedish party consisting of Wrangel's Grenadiers, closely followed by 7 cavalry squadrons, moved up in support. Outnumbered the Prussians withdrew suffering more than 50 casualties from musketry fire when retreating past the redoubt. The units involved in this small action were:
- on the Prussian side
- Grenadiers (400 men)
- Hussars (200 men)
- Dragoons (300 men)
- 4 x guns
- on the Swedish side
Later in the Autumn, the Prussian flotilla defending Stettin Lagoon counted 12 vessels, 20 captains, 72 helmsmen and 344 sailors. A detachment (2 captains, 8 lieutenants, 12 NCOs, 1 drummer, 8 surgeons, 144 privates and 8 artillerymen) of Garrison Regiment No. I also served aboard the flotilla.
At the end of November, Dohna left Eulenburg in Saxony, advanced through Leipzig and returned to Pomerania with 21 bns and 35 sqns to repulse the Swedes.
On December 19, Hamilton was relieved of his command by the Swedish Rådet (Council).
General Jacob Abrekt Lantingshausen, who had succeeded Hamilton at the head of the Swedish army, retired up to Stralsund, leaving 1,300 men to occupy Demmin and another 1,400 to hold Anklam.
Anklam and Demmin were soon abandoned to the Prussians and Dohna took up his winter-quarters in Pomerania and Mecklenburg.
This article contains 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. 127-133
- Vol. 8 Zorndorf und Hochkirch, Berlin, 1910, pp. 13, 22, 31, 54-64, 184-195, Anhang 48
- Jomini, Henri, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, 2ème édition, 2ème partie, Magimel, Paris: 1811, pp. 252-253, 256, 264-266
- 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. 67-72
- 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. 318
- Archenholz, J. W., The History of the Seven Years War in Germany, translated by F. A. Catty, Francfort, 1843, pp. 200-203
Cremer, Peter: Die preussischen Landregimenter & -milizen, die Stettiner Haff-Flotille und das Verpflegungswesen der Armee 1756-1753, KLIO-Arbeitgruppe, Heimbach, 1987
O'Hara, Danny: Eighteenth Century Wargaming Resources On-Line
Säve, Teofron: Sveriges deltagande i Sjuåriga Kriget Åren 1757-1762, pp. 147 ff., 187 ff., 224 ff. Stockholm 1915
Schantz, G von: Försök till en historia öfver det förra Pommerska kriget p. 38 f., 51 ff. Stockholm 1811
Sharman, Alistair: Sweden's Role in the Seven Years War: A Brief Chronology 1756-1761, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XII No. 4
Sulicki, Marschall von: Der Siebenjährige Krieg in Pommern und in den benachbarten Marken, Berlin, 1867
Wilson, Peter: Swedish Mobilization and Strategy, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 1
Wilson, Peter: The Campaign in Pomerania 1757-1762, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 1
Traveller for the description of small actions during the Pomeranian campaigns
Gunnar W. Bergman for additional information on this campaign