1759 - Prussian incursion in Franconia
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The campaign lasted from April to June 1759
At the beginning of 1759, the Reichsarmee and its Austrian auxiliaries had advanced into Thuringia and Franconia, and reached Erfurt where they took post, formed magazines and strengthened the fortifications.
In March, the Prussian army of Prince Heinrich and a detachment of the Allied army of Ferdinand of Brunswick conducted joint operations in Thuringia to dislodge the Austro-Imperial troops from this country. By the end of the month they had driven them back to Franconia.
For the campaign of 1759, the plan established by Field Marshal Daun called for the concentration of the Reichsarmee under Field Marshal Prince Friedrich von Zweibrücken near Saalfeld at the end of March or beginning of April. Then, in conjunction with an Austrian corps posted in Northwestern Bohemia, the Reichsarmee would advance into Saxony. However, Zweibrücken feared a concerted offensive by Ferdinand of Brunswick from Hesse and Prince Heinrich from Saxony.
In April, at the opening of the campaigning season, a Prussian army of 43 bns and 60 sqns was deployed in Saxony under the command of Prince Heinrich.
In the first days of April, the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick advanced from Fulda towards Meiningen with an Allied corps. He forced the Austrian corps of General d’Arberg to retire towards Königshofen and Coburg. Zweibrücken considered that the left flank of the Reichsarmee was seriously threatened. He therefore mainly focused on securing Würzburg where he had stored a large number of artillery pieces, ammunition and provisions. He also wanted to cover his magazines at Schweinfurt, Kitzingen, Markbreit and Ochsenfurt. Indeed, if the Allies could manage to penetrated this far into the Empire, the Reichsarmee would not only be deprived of its supplies, but several princes, whose estates would be threatened, could be induced to neutrality. After all, these princes weren't all happily participating in the war anyway. For these reasons, Zweibrücken did not consider advisable to assemble the Reichsarmee in the vicinity of Saalfeld, he preferred to concentrate it between Lichtenfels and Schweinfurt until he knew more about the intentions of the enemy.
The Austrians had posted Gemmingen's Corps (9 bns, 39 sqns, 3,000 Grenzers) on the Eger (present-day Ohře River) on the frontier between Bohemia and Saxony while another Austrian corps of 15,000 men had already joined the Reichsarmee cantoned in Franconia near the Saxon border with another strong division occupying the Bishopric of Fulda and several important posts on the Werra near Hesse. Globally these forces amounted to about 45,000 men.
On April 5, Zweibrücken wrote to Daun to tell him that he considered Northwestern Bohemia in the area of Eger and Komotau (present-day Chomutov/CZ) to be insufficiently protected against Prussian raids from Saxony and that, if the Austrians were attacked in this area they would be unable to support the Reichsarmee in case of an Allied offensive against its left wing. Zweibrücken vainly asked the Duc de Broglie to attack the rear of the Allies. However, with Ferdinand concentrating the Allied army against him, Broglie was in no position to bring his support to Zweibrücken. Nevertheless, Broglie sent Schomberg's detachment forward to Lohr and Wertheim on the Upper Main.
However, Vienna and Daun did not expect any serious support from the Reichsarmee, a lack of confidence that events would soon justify.
The Austro-Imperial generals then learned that the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick had retired from the region of Meiningen towards Fulda. It was therefore reasonable to assume that the Allies would now turn against Broglie’s French Army of the Main. Since a French defeat could have terrible consequences for the Reichsarmee, Field Marshal Zweibrücken decided to support Broglie by advancing his left wing from Königshofen towards Meiningen and Schmalkalden. From these new positions, his left wing threatened the line of communication of the Allies.
After the defeat of the Allies at Bergen on April 13, Ferdinand of Brunswick was forced to retire towards Ziegenhain. This movement reduced the potential threat of an Allied offensive from Hesse against the Reichsarmee.
On April 15, Frederick II ordered Prince Heinrich to raid the Bohemian border and to destroy as much Austrian magazines as he could. This area was guarded by Gemmingen but his forces were too spread out.
On April 17, during Prince Heinrich incursion in Bohemia, a small Prussian column under Lieutenant-General von Platen advanced from Plauen towards Hof.
On April 18, one of Platen’s detachments reached Münchberg. Meanwhile, General of Cavalry Hadik, who commanded the right wing of the Austro-Imperial army posted in the region of Kulmbach in Northeastern Franconia, detached FML Count Maquire with a corps to Asch (present-day Aš/CZ).
After the success of the incursion into Bohemia by Prince Heinrich little army, Frederick II immediately realised that the destruction of Austrian magazines there had bought him time to send Prince Heinrich against the Reichsarmee.
On April 20
- Frederick wrote to Prince Heinrich to instruct him to prepare for an advance in Franconia to destroy the Reichsarmee.
- When Platen retired from Hof towards Plauen, Hadik did not pursue him beyond Hof.
By April 23, Prince Heinrich's force was back in Saxony. The same day, Prince Heinrich answered to Frederick’s instruction, mentioning that the Reichsarmee was strongly entrenched in its camp near Kulmbach. He also feared that an advance in Franconia would lead his army too far from its magazines in Saxony.
On April 25, Frederick confirmed his orders to advance against the Reichsarmee and to put it out of action for a certain time. The success of this operation would allow Prince Heinrich’s Army to effect a junction with Frederick in prevision of the coming campaign against the Russians.
On April 26, Prince Heinrich complied and made arrangements for the concentration of his troops near Gera and Zwickau.
On April 30, Prince Heinrich wrote to Ferdinand of Brunswick to ask him to send a detachment in the direction of Bamberg to support his planned offensive in Franconia.
By the end of April, the Imperial War Council in Vienna considered that the Reichsarmee was now better prepared to face a Prussian offensive in Franconia. The Prince of Zweibrücken assembled his army in Northeastern Franconia.
On April 29, the leftmost column led by Finck departed.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Austro-Imperial Army at the beginning of May 1759.
Order of battle of the Prussian army of Prince Heinrich at the beginning of May 1759.
At the beginning of May, the Austro-Imperial army (47 bns, 43 grenadier coys, 71 sqns, 6 elite cavalry coys and 2,000 Grenzer light troops for a total of approx. 35,000 men excluding garrisons and Vecsay’s detachment) of the Prince of Zweibrücken was deployed as follows:
- FML Count Maquire with 9 bns and 3 cavalry rgts encamped at Asch (present-day Aš in Bohemia) near Eger (present-day Cheb)
- The main body of the Austrian Contingent under General of Cavalry Hadik entrenched near and south of Münchberg
- Margrave of Baden's Imperial Corps at Stadtsteinach
- Zweibrücken with the main body of the Reichsarmee in the area of Lichtenfels and Schweinfurt
- Austrian light troops secured the region of Roßbach, FML Pálffy’s Light Corps secured the region of Hof and Pirk; and Major-General von Ried’s Light Corps secured the region of Lichtenberg and Nordhalten.
- Major-General Vecsay with 1 hussar rgt and 400 Grenzer light troops, posted between Taun and Bischofsheim observed the frontier with Hesse.
On May 3, Prince Heinrich informed Frederick that he planned to launch his offensive on May 6. Prince Heinrich had received good intelligence about the positions of the Austro-Imperials in Franconia.
Prince Heinrich (41 bns, 50 sqns) had decided to attack the Austro-Imperial army from three sides:
- The right column under Major-General Knobloch, consisting of 6 bns, 100 picked cuirassiers and 1 hussar sqn, would advance from Gera towards Nordhalben, aiming at the left flank and rear of the enemy
- The centre and main column under Prince Heinrich, consisting of 22 bns and 37 sqns, would advance by way of Hof on Münchberg
- The left column under Lieutenant-General Finck, consisting of 9 bns, 10 sqns and 10 field artillery pieces, would advance on Asch and attack the place on May 8. He would then advance by way of Seth towards Sparneck and effect a junction with the main column at Münchberg on May 10.
- Meanwhile, 4 bns and 2 hussar sqns would secure the line of communication with Saxony.
On May 4
- Prince Heinrich’s main column had gathered near Zwickau, ready to march into Franconia.
- Knobloch’s columns marched from Gera to Auma, from where it feigned attacks towards Saalfeld.
- Finck’s columns marched to Waldkirchen.
- Zweibrücken's main army marched to Kulmbach while detachments occupied Hof and Nordhalben.
On May 5
- Knobloch’s columns marched from Auma to Schleiz.
- Finck’s columns sojourned at Waldkirchen because of supply problems.
On May 6
- Knobloch’s columns marched from Schleiz to Lobenstein (present-day Bad Lobenstein).
- Prince Heinrich’s column set off from Zwickau and marched to Reichenbach.
- Finck’s columns marched from Waldkirchen to Poppengrün.
- As requested, Duke Ferdinand detached Major-General von Urff with 6 bns (Anhalt, Hanau, Ysenburg, Toll, Marsschalck, Bückeburg), 12 sqns (Hessian Leib-Regiment (2 sqns), Prinz Wilhelm Cavalry (2 sqns), Hammerstein Cavalry (2 sqns), Dachenhausen Dragoons (4 sqns), Hesse-Kassel Hussars (2 sqns)) and 600 light troops from Nieder-Aula, to support Prince Heinrich’s offensive by an advance in the direction of Schweinfurt and Bamberg.
On May 7
- Knobloch’s columns marched from Lobenstein to Nordhalben. On its way, it came to contact with Austrian light troops under Major-General von Ried near Neundorf and in the forested area near Nordhalben. After a brief engagement, Ried retired to Steinwiesen.
- Finck’s columns marched from Poppengrün to Adorf where Finck received intelligence on the precise deployment of Maquire’s Austrian Corps.
- Prince Heinrich’s column marched from Reichenbach in Vogtland to Ölsnitz where he received a report from Finck detailing Maquire’s forces near Asch and asking if he should attack. Finck also mentioned that, if he had to attack, he would need some light troops. Prince Heinrich immediately sent him reinforcements (Szekely Hussars, Freibataillon Collignon) under Lieutenant-Colonel Kleist.
- Urff’s vanguard (500 grenadiers, 500 light troops, Hessian Leib-Regiment and 200 men of the Hesse-Kassel Hussars) under Captain von Bülow marched by way of Tann and drove back an outposts of Grenzer light troops and hussars belonging to Vecsay’s Austrian detachment.
- Urff’s main body reached the vicinity of Geisa.
- A detachment of hussar and Grenzer light troops posted near Adorf retired to Asch.
- Maquire’s Corps was posted near Asch while its hussars occupied Roßbach (present-day Hranice).
On May 8
- Knobloch’s column sojourned near Nordhalben.
- Prince Heinrich’s column sojourned at Ölsnitz.
- Finck’s reinforced column attacked the Austrians near Asch. Maquire (8 bns and some cavalry) bravely withstood all Finck's efforts for the whole day.
- Urff’s main body encamped near Fladungen.
- Being in danger of being overpowered by numbers and without any hope for support, Maquire retired southeastwards during the night through Haslau (present-day Hazlov) towards Eger (present-day Cheb). Belling Hussars pursued them, caught up with their rearguard and captured many officers (including Colonel Prince von Salm) and 170 men. During these actions, Lieutenant-Colonel von Belling was wounded and Major von Gerlach assumed command of the hussar regiment. Among the Austro-Imperial troops, Marschall (1 bn), Salm (1 bn) and the Darmstadt Grenadiers (1 bn) suffered considerably.
- The Austrians evacuated Ostheim as Bülow’s vanguard approached and retired towards the Main to take position in a line extending from Hassfurt to Eltmann.
- In the evening, Ried, posted near Steinwiesen, tried to simulate the arrival of reinforcements by lighting additional campfires.
On May 9
- Knobloch sent a reconnaissance party towards Ried’s camp near Steinwiesen and soon realised the real strength of this corps. He immediately detached Freibataillon Wunsch and some hussars under Major von Roëll to attack the camp. After a brief engagement, Ried retired and Knobloch’s column moved forward in a difficult march across the forest, reaching Zeyern in the evening.
- Prince Heinrich’s column marched from Ölsnitz to Hof.
- Finck’s column sojourned at Asch.
- Bülow’s vanguard reached Römhild without having met any opposition.
- Urff’s main body marched to Mellrichstadt.
- Ried’s Corps having been driven out of Steinwiesen by Knobloch’s column, retired to Wallenfels.
- Hussars posted at Gassenreuth and the infantry entrenched near Hof all retired to Münchberg in front of Prince Heinrich’s column without firing a shot.
During the night of May 9 to 10, Hadik abandoned his entrenched camp near Münchberg to avoid an open battle and retired to Kulmbach where he arrived in the morning, joining the forces of M. de la Touche.
On May 10
- Knobloch’s column marched towards Kronach and established a camp on the Kreuzberg. That was a bold manoeuvre, because Ried's Corps now stood between Knobloch’s column and that of Prince Heinrich. Knobloch then vainly summoned the well-fortified place.
- Finck’s column advanced on Sparneck, southeast of Münchberg, leaving a detachment (II./Puttkamer Infantry, Freibataillon Monjou, Horn Cuirassiers and 130 men from Belling Hussars) under Major-General von Horn in Asch to observe the Austrians now posted near Eger. Meanwhile, Kleist rejoined Prince Heinrich’s column with the Szekely Hussars and Freibataillon Collignon.
- Prince Heinrich’s column continued its advance on Münchberg where it encamped in the evening. Prince Heinrich knew that General Maquire would try to advance from Eger by way of Weißenstadt and the Gefrees Pass to establish contact with the main body of the Reichsarmee near Kupferberg and Kulmbach. Accordingly, he decided to advance towards Berneck while Finck was ordered to advance to Weißenstadt. Prince Heinrich also sent a detachment to assist Knobloch.
- Bülow’s vanguard advanced to Neustadt (maybe Neustadt/Saale).
- Urff’s main body reached Römhild.
- Maquire marched to Wunsiedel on his way to Bayreuth.
- Most of the Austro-Imperial army, including Hadik’s Corps, assembled at Kulmbach, sending baggage away by the route of Bamberg.
- In the evening, the reunited Austro-Imperial army marched to Grasmannsdorf where the rearguard took post under the command of General Pálffy.
On the night of May 10 to 11, Prince Heinrich sent reinforcements (Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers, Spaen Cuirassiers) to Finck so that he could attack Maquire’s Corps.
On May 11
- Knobloch asked Prince Heinrich if he should try to storm Kronach or whether he should advance to Burgkunstadt or Lichtenfels to complete the encirclement of the Austro-Imperial forces posted at Kulmbach
- At daybreak, Finck’s reinforced column advance against Maquire’s positions near Doberz (probably Döberein). However, Maquire had already retired precipitously southwards to the forested slopes of the Fichtelgebirge, followed by the Belling Hussars. Finck continued his advance and caught up with Maquire’s rearguard near Nagel, taking 11 officers and 319 men prisoners. In the evening, Finck encamped near Döberein. Finck asked Prince Heinrich to take position on the road leading from Döberein to Bayreuth, in the hope that they could trap Maquire’s Corps between their two columns and force it to capitulate.
- Prince Heinrich’s column
- Prince Heinrich advanced from Münchberg in two march columns. The first column reached Himmelkron by way of Marktschorgast; and the second, Benk by way of Gefrees and Berneck, in the neighbourhood of Bayreuth. Prince Heinrich established his headquarters at Himmelkron.
- In the afternoon near Himmelkron, Prince Heinrich’s vanguard (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, Freibataillon Collignon, Meinicke Dragoons, complemented on this occasion by I./Bredow Fusiliers) under Major-General Meinicke, supported by Szekely Hussars under Lieutenant-Colonel von Kleist, attacked the Austro-Imperial rearguard under General von Riedesel, which was retreating towards Kulmbach. The Prussians took 30 officers and 800 men prisoners (19 officers and approx. 650 men belonging to a bn of Cronegk Infantry and approx. 150 men of the Kurpfalz Leib-Dragoner) with three colours, some wagons and 2 regimental guns.
- Following Finck’s suggestion, Prince Heinrich sent Lieutenant-General von Platen with 4 bns (Finck Infantry, Knobloch Infantry) and 5 sqns (from Leibregiment zu Pferde and Schlaberndorff Cuirassiers) to St. Johannis, just east of Bayreuth, to block the road to Maquire’s Corps.
- Prince Heinrich detached Lieutenant-General von Itzenplitz with 4 bns (Wied Fusiliers, Zastrow Fusiliers), 5 sqns of Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers and 150 hussars from Benk to march by way of Kulmbach on Bamberg.
- Bülow’s vanguard reached Milz (part of Römhild).
- Realising the danger of encirclement, Maquire modified his itinerary and marched to Kemnath where he entrenched in an impregnable camp. He had timely been informed of the movements of the Prussians in time to avoid being trapped in the Fichtelberg Pass.
- FML von Bretlach with 3 cavalry rgts took position at Lichtenfels to cover the retreat of the Reichsarmee.
- Zweibrücken recalled Ried’s detachment from Wallenfels and then the Reichsarmee retired from Kulmbach, marching towards Kasendorf.
On May 12
- Knobloch informed Prince Heinrich that it was impossible to take Kronach without mortars and engineers; that he could no longer remain in the vicinity of the place because he was running out of provisions; and that he would march to Kulmbach, which had been evacuated by the Austro-Imperials, on the next day. There he would wait for further instructions.
- Itzenplitz’s column reached Kulmbach after negotiating a right of passage with the commander of Plassenburg.
- Prinz Heinrich’s column sojourned near Benk.
- Finck’s column sojourned near Döberein.
- Bülow’s vanguard marched to the small Fortress of Königshofen (present-day Bad Königshofen). Bülow vainly summoned the commander of the fortress to surrender. Meanwhile, his patrols reached the vicinity of Schweinfurt and Bamberg.
- The Reichsarmee retired to Vilseck.
On May 13
- Knobloch’s column marched to Zeuln (present-day Marktzeuln).
- The columns of Prince Heinrich and Finck effected a junction near Bayreuth and encamped on the heights of Altstadt (a district in the southwest of Bayreuth).
- Itzenplitz’s column sojourned at Kulmbach.
- Meinicke’s vanguard reached Busbach.
- His mission accomplished, Major-General von Urff retired from Römhild by way of Meiningen, Dermbach and Mannsbach.
- The Reichsarmee continued its retreat, reaching Vilseck and Bamberg.
On May 14
- Knobloch’s column marched to Lichtenfels where it found a fairly large magazine.
- Itzenplitz’s column marched to Azendorf.
- Prinz Heinrich’s column marched from Altstadt near Bayreuth and reached Hollfeld and Waischenfeld. Prince Heinrich sent his vanguard to Heiligenstadt in Upper Franconia on the road to Bamberg.
- The Reichsarmee evacuated Bamberg and continued its retreat, reaching Höchstadt. Generals Baron von Kolb and von Ried were left behind near Gaustadt with approx. 6,000 men (including 2,000 Grenzer light troops) to observe the Prussians and to escort a large magazine being transferred from Bamberg to Forchheim.
On May 15
- Knobloch’s column marched to Zapfendorf.
- Prince Heinrich's vanguard marched to Nistendorf (two hours north of Bamberg).
- Itzenplitz’s column marched to Scheßlitz.
- In the evening, hussars belonging to Ried’s Corps attacked one of Knobloch’s outpost at Breitengüßbach but they were easily driven back.
On May 16
- Early in the day, Knobloch’s column marched on Bamberg. By 7:00 a.m., its vanguard stood in front of gates of the city. The city of Bamberg surrendered on terms and Knobloch received the keys of the city and his troops took position on the market place. Before the capitulation was completely finished, a party of Grenzers fired upon some Prussian troops stationed near one of the gates. This was considered by the Prussians as a breach of capitulation
- In the afternoon, Itzenplitz’s column arrived at Bamberg and entered into the city. Street fighting against the Grenzer light troops ensued. It took a few hours to rid the towns of these light troops who marched to Sommerfeld (maybe Pommersfelden). The Prussians then pillaged the city for 2 days in a very licentious manner, seizing a considerable magazine which had been partly destroyed. Bamberg then became a Prussian place-of-arms. As the most senior general, Lieutenant-General Itzenplitz then assumed command of all Prussian troops assembled in and around Bamberg. Despite the destruction of the magazines, the Prussians managed to find enough provisions to secure their supply for a few days.
- Prince Heinrich’s main body sojourned at Hollfeld.
- In the afternoon, Meinicke arrived at Bamberg with the vanguard of Prince Heinrich’s column.
- Urff’s Corps arrived at Hersfeld. Bülow’s detachment, now acting as rearguard, soon followed.
- Informed of the advance of the Prussian columns, Zweibrücken recalled Kolb’s and Ried’s detachments from Höchstadt. He then marched to Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg with the main Austro-Imperial army, abandoning Bamberg and most of Franconia to the contributions inflicted by the Prussians.
- The Castle of Kronach surrendered to Knobloch.
On May 17
- Prinz Heinrich’s column marched from Hollfeld and Waischenfeld to Aufseß and encamped near Sachsendorf.
- Prince Heinrich gave orders to Major-General von Knobloch to destroy the magazines in Schweinfurt, Kitzingen, Marktsteft, Marktbreit and Ochsenfurt. He would be assisted by Lieutenant-Colonel von Kleist and Lieutenant-Colonel von Wunsch.
- Prince Heinrich gave orders to Major-General von Meinicke to observe the Austro-Imperial troops who had retired from Bamberg and to draw their attention while Knobloch would conduct his raids.
- Major-General von Meinicke marched with 4 bns (Grenadier Battalion Jung-Billerbeck, Grenadier Battalion Lubath, Grenadier Battalion Östenreich, Freibataillon Collignon) and the 5 sqns of Meinicke Dragoons to the vicinity of Ebermannstadt, where he would be joined by 4 sqns of Kleist Hussars under Major von Bohlen. From Ebermannstadt, Meinicke reported that the enemy had evacuated Erlangen and retired to Fürth.
- In the afternoon, Major-General von Knobloch set off from Bamberg with 5 bns (Braun Fusiliers, Bülow Fusiliers, Freibataillon Wunsch, 150 men from the Spaen Cuirassiers and 6 sqns of Kleist Hussars.
- Knobloch’s cuirassiers rode along the Main Valley to capture provisions of the enemy at Eltmann, Zeil and Haßfurt.
- Knobloch marched to Burgebrach with his regular infantry.
- Freibataillon Wunsch and part of the hussars under Lieutenant-Colonel von Wunsch marched to Ebrach.
- FZM Baron von Saint-André was sent to Würzburg with 8 bns and some dragoons to defend the place.
- The main Austro-Imperial army made a junction with Maquire's and Kolb's corps at Steinbach behind Nuremberg and encamped there, covered by rearguard detachments at Erlangen and Herzogenaurach under General von Pálffy and General von Ried. From the camp of Steinach, Zweibrücken could cross the Danube at Donauwörth if necessary.
- Major-General Vecsay, who had previously been detached towards Hesse, reached the Main River between Eltmann and Haßfurt.
On May 18
- Prince Heinrich was informed that Austrian forces (Gemmingen’s Corps) had penetrated in Lusatia and that an Austrian corps was assembling near Eger.
- Prince Heinrich wrote to Frederick to inform him that he did not intend to advance farther than Aufseß with the main body of his army and that he planned to send detachments to destroy the remaining magazines on the Main River and to raise contributions. Afterwards, he would retreat to Saxony.
- Meinicke’s detachment marched to Wiesenthau where it encamped. Afterwards, Major von Bohlen drove a small detachment of hussars and Grenzer light troops out of Baiersdorf which he occupied. Meanwhile, Major von Roëll with 1 bn and 300 picked hussars and dragoons reconnoitred in the direction of Schosseritz.
- Knobloch’s detachment
- Knobloch sent 4 sqns of Kleist Hussars to Pommersfelden to observe the Reichsarmee and to secure his left flank.
- Knobloch marched to Ebrach with his regular infantry.
- Lieutenant-Colonel Wunsch’s force destroyed the magazines of the enemy in these quarters. While he was as at Stadtschwarzach, Wunsch learned that Kitzingen was weakly defended. He immediately advanced on the town, stormed its closed gate, drove back a small hussar party belonging to Vecsay’s detachment, and destroyed the magazine.
- Vecsay’s detachment marched to Würzburg where it effected a junction with Saint-André’s troops.
On May 19
- Knobloch’s detachment
- At daybreak, Lieutenant-Colonel Wunsch sent a small party downstream along the Main River against the villages of Marktsteft, Marktbreit and Ochsenfurt. An engagement with Austrian hussars took place near Markbreit and the Prussian was driven back to the gates of Kitzingen. In this affair, the Kleist Hussars lost 1 officer and 30 men.
- Knobloch was informed of the arrival of an Austro-Imperial force (8 bns) under Saint-André at Würzburg. He also feared that the Austro-Imperial army posted near Nuremberg could cut his line of communication with Bamberg and Prince Heinrich’s main column.
- Knobloch’s detachment
- When Pálffy informed the Prince of Zweibrücken that the Prussians had advanced up to Ebermannstadt, the latter tried to establish a defensive line in front of Nuremberg from Hersbruck to Baiersdorf. He also sent a stronger detachment to Erlangen.
On the night of May 19 to 20, Major-General von Knobloch recalled Wunsch’s detachment to Ebrach.
On May 20
- Knobloch recalled his cuirassiers from the Main Valley and Lieutenant-Colonel von Kleist from Pommersfelden, assembled his entire detachment at Ebrach and retired to Burgebrach.
- Meinicke’s detachment
- Major von Bohlen’s hussars were driven back as they approached Erlangen.
- In the afternoon, Bohlen’s force, which had been reinforced, advanced on Baiersdorf. This led to a short engagement, but Bohlen retired when he was informed that a stronger Austro-Imperial force was on its way.
During this incursion, Prince Heinrich was seeking to engage into an open battle with the Austro-Imperial army. However, he did not succeed in his scheme. Rather than advancing deeper into enemy territory, he resolved to return to Saxony.
On May 21
- Meinicke’s detachment
- Meinicke recalled Major von Roëll from Schossaritz. He then retired from Ebermannstadt and encamped near Streitberg.
- Prince Heinrich sent his artillery and heavy baggage back towards Hof on their way to Saxony. I./Bredow Fusiliers and Spaen Cuirassiers under Lieutenant-General von Finck escorted the convoy.
- Meinicke’s detachment
On May 23
- Knobloch’s detachment effected a junction with Itzenplitz’s forces in Bamberg.
On May 24
- Finck arrived at Hof with the convoy of artillery and heavy baggage.
- Knobloch’s and Itzenplitz’s detachments marched to the camp of Prince Heinrich at Hollfeld.
- Knobloch Infantry was sent to Heiligenstadt to keep open the line of communication with Meinicke’s detachment at Streitberg.
- Vecsay’s detachment occupied Bamberg.
On May 25
- Prince Heinrich then retired towards Saxony with his army, marching from Hollfeld to Bayreuth.
- Meinicke’s detachment set off from its camp near Streitberg to form the rearguard of Prince Heinrich’s Army.
- Ried’s Corps arrived at Bamberg.
On May 26
- Prince Heinrich’s Army retired by the same road it had followed at the beginning of the offensive, reaching Lützenreuth.
- Lieutenant-General von Platen marched by Goldkronach, Weißenstadt, Kirchenlamitz and Pilgramsreuth with 5 bns (Anhalt-Bernburg Infantry (3 bns), Goltz Infantry (2 bns)) and the 5 sqns of Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers, to secure the left flank of the army.
- Light troops followed Platen’s detachment to the east of its line of march by way of Kemnath and Wunsiedel.
On May 27
- Prince Heinrich’s Army sojourned near Lützenreuth.
- General of Cavalry Count Hadik advanced to Forchheim with his corps.
On May 28, the Reichsarmee advanced to Erlangen.
On May 29
- Prince Heinrich’s Army continued its retreat by way of Münchberg and reached Hof.
- Meinicke remained near Pirk with the rearguard.
- The Austrian light troops attached to the Reichsarmee under Pálffy and Major-General Kleefeld followed the retiring Prussians up to Berneck and Münchberg.
On May 30
- Prince Heinrich’s Army sojourned near Hof.
On May 31
- Prince Heinrich’s Army sojourned one more day near Hof.
- Meinicke’s rearguard returned to Münchberg. He managed to catch up with the retiring Austrian vanguard. An engagement took place between Berneck (Bad Berneck) and Gefrees near Hof. Pálffy was defeated and lost 100 men killed and wounded and several prisoners among whom General Kleefeld. The Prussians then pursued the Austro-Imperial vanguard up to Bayreuth.
On June 1
- Prince Heinrich’s Army recrossed the border of Saxony. During his incursion, Prince Heinrich had lost less than 100 men while taking 50 officers and 1,800 men prisoners. Even though he had not destroyed the Reichsarmee as he intended to do, the destruction of several of its magazines would cause a huge delay in its operations.
On June 3, Prince Heinrich's forces were assembled in the neighbourhood of Zwickau.
Wunsch, lieutenant-colonel of Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch, distinguished himself in this expedition. Kleist, of the Szekely Hussars, also made a figure there.
This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:
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