1759-09-21 - Combat of Korbitz
Prelude to the Battle
At the beginning of September 1759, a Prussian relief corps under major-general Wunsch had been sent out to counter the Austro-Imperial invasion of Saxony. Arriving too late to prevent the surrender of Dresden, it managed to recapture most of northern Saxony, repulsing an Austro-Imperial force at the combat of Zinna on September 8. A few days later, on September 11, Wunsch was joined by reinforcements led by lieutenant-general Finck. On September 13, Wunsch recaptured Leipzig. On September 19, the combined corps of Wunsch and Finck marched on Meissen.
As soon as general-field-marshal prince Friedrich von Pflaz-Zweibrücken, the commander-in-chief of the Reichsarmee, heard of the movements of these Prussian corps, he threw 16 bns into Dresden and marched with his army to attack them.
Finck's corps was encamping near Korbitz while Wunsch occupied the heights of Lerchenberg near Siebeneichen on the left.
Description of Events
On September 21 at 10:00 AM, the Reichsarmee attacked Wunsch's positions on the Lerchenberg. Zweibrücken planted several batteries on the heights of Reppnitz and opened a lively but ineffective cannonade on the Prussian positions. Wunsch's artillery replied and the Prussians maintained their positions.
Meanwhile, General der Kavallerie Andreas Hadik passed the defiles of Munzig and Miltitzand and deployed between Krögis and Stroischen
At noon, Hadik attacked Finck, cannonading his positions with 3 batteries.
Finck marched by the right and deployed in front of Hadik's line between Schletta and Korbitz.
Hadik advanced Brentano's corps on the Prussian right. Finck replied by sending Rebentisch with 4 grenadier battalions and Markgraf Carl Infantry against Brentano who was driven back. Rebentisch managed to silence one of Hadik's batteries.
Hadik sent major-general Lamberg with 4 battalions to counterattack. After a bloody firefight, Lamberg was driven back.
Hadik then launched a charge with all his cavalry to relieve the retreating troops. The Austrian cavalry drove back the Prussian cavalry and then redirected its effort on the Prussian infantry., charging it 5 or 6 times. Markgraf Carl Infantry, after being charged twice, was pushed back and retreated under the cover of the Prussian grenadiers, loosing five 12-pdr guns and two howitzers. However, the rest of the Prussian infantry resisted and repulsed all these charges.
At nightfall, the combat ended with the Prussians still holding their positions.
In this affair, the Reichsarmee lost 473 prisoners (including 12 officers) and 1,145 killed or wounded (including 60 officers) along with 11 guns, captured by the Grenadier Battalion 19/25/13/26 Kreckwitz. Marschall Infantry alone lost 18 officers and 338 men.
The Prussians lost 43 officers (7 killed) and 1,300 men along with five 12-pdr guns, two howitzers, one 3-pdr gun and one 6-pdr gun. Plettenberg Dragoons alone lost 3 officers and 30 men killed, and 5 officers (including Pogrell) and 100 men wounded. Krockow Dragoons lost 17 men killed, and 3 officers and 29 men wounded.
Order of Battle
Austro-Imperial Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: General der Kavallerie Andreas Hadik and General-field-marshal Prince Friedrich von Pflaz-Zweibrücken
Summary: 38 bns, 27 grenadier coys for a total of 21,000 foot, 60 sqns (7,300 men), artillery for a grand total of about 28,500 men
- Hadik: 19 bns (more than 12,000 men including 3,000 grenzers), 33 sqns (about 4,200 men)
- Zweibrücken: 20 bns, 22 grenadier coys, for a total of 9,600 foot including 3,600 foot from Macquire's corps), 28 sqns (about 3,100 men)
N.B. This ODB is mostly reconstructed from Etats in the middle August of 1759 including moves and reinforcement during September.
- Right Wing
- Centre under Major-general Lamberg
- Left Wing
- Light infantry under Major-general Brentano
- Cavalry under Lieutenant-field-marshal Schallenberg
- Artillery (unknown strength)
Zweibrücken's Corps (exact deployment unknown)
- Lieutenant-field-marshal von Macquire's Brigade (6 bns for a total of about 3,600 men)
- Lieutenant-field-marshal Count Stolberg's division
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Baden-Durlach (1 bn, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Kurpfalz Effern (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Fürstenberg (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- I./Hohenlohe (1 bn, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Pfalz-Zweibrücken (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Varell (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Kurbayern (2 bns, 2 grenadier coys)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Kurköln Wildenstein (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Mengersen (1 bn, 1 grenadier coy)
- Kreisinfanterieregiment Cronegk (2 grenadier coys)
- Major-general Kleefeld's Cavalry Division
- Artillery (unknown strength)
Prussian Order of Battle
|First Line||Second Line|
|Right Wing under the command of lieutenant-general Finck|
|Left Wing under the command of major-general Wunsch|
N.B. : during the bloody campaign of 1759, some of the Prussian converged grenadier battalions suffered so many casualties that Prussian commanders had to combine two of them to get battalion strength units.
Plan des Gefechts bei Meißen zwischen der vereinigten Kaiserlichen und Reichs-Armee und der Preußischen Armee, 21. September 1759.
Gieraths, G., Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgische-preussischen Armee, Berlin 1964
Der siebenjährige Krieg, hrsg Grossen Generalstab, Band 11
Jomini, baron de, Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811
Tempelhoff G. F., Geschichte des siebenjahrige Krieges in Deutschland, vol. 3
Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the initial version of this article