1759-09-21 - Combat of Korbitz

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Battles >> 1759-09-21 - Combat of Korbitz

Prussian victory

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.

Map

Map of the combat of Meissen on September 21 1759.
 
Source: Kriege Friedrichs des Grossen, volume III by the German Grosser Generalstab
 
Copyright Tony Flores

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.

Outcome

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.

Hadik's corps

Zweibrücken's Corps (exact deployment unknown)

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.

References

Cartography

Plan des Gefechts bei Meißen zwischen der vereinigten Kaiserlichen und Reichs-Armee und der Preußischen Armee, 21. September 1759.

Bibliography

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

Acknowledgments

Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the initial version of this article