1760 - Russian campaign in Brandenburg

From Project Seven Years War
Revision as of 21:14, 14 January 2022 by RCouture (talk | contribs) (Added info from the work of the German Grosser Generalstab)
Jump to navigationJump to search

Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1760 - Russian campaign in Brandenburg

The campaign lasted from May to December 1760

Description

State of the Russian Field Army

The units of the Russian Army which had been involved in the campaigns of 1757, 1758 and 1759, had never been at full strength. Furthermore, they had suffered heavy losses in several battles. Many additional losses had been due to the long marches with irregular and often inadequate provisions. After the sanguinary Battle of Kunersdorf (August, 1759), General Saltykov had already requested a reinforcement of 30,000 men to replenish the ranks of his units. Accordingly, on September 18, 1759, the Russian Konferéntsiya (Conference of the Highest Court) had announced new recruitment, where each group of 128 conscripts had to provide 1 men to serve in the army. This measure allowed to enlist approx. 7,000 recruits. However, these recruits could not reach the theatre of operation before the second half of 1760. Additional measures had to be taken to reinforce the army in time for the coming campaign, The Konferéntsiya then decided to reinforce the army with 30,000 men, more precisely:

  • 9,000 convalescents and previously enlisted recruits
  • 5,000 men from the regiments still stationed in Russia
  • 6,000 men taken from the garrison and land militia units
  • 3,000 men initially destined the now disbanded Shuvalov's Corps
  • 7,000 men of the 12 third bns, which had reached the Vistula in the second half of 1759

By the end of November 1759, the Russian field army numbered only 52,000 men. One year later, when Field Marshal Buturlin took command, it counted 80,000 men. So it seems that the measures taken by the Konferéntsiya had given tangible results.

In the same way that King Frederick of Prussia was openly recruiting in occupied Saxony, Tsarina Elizabeth decided to recruit in occupied East Prussia. However, the governor of Königsberg, General von Korff, mentioned that the province was seriously depopulated and thus prevented enlistment of recruits in East Prussia. In St. Petersburg it was also considered advisable that the home provinces should initially make greater sacrifices than East Prussia, which Russia intended to incorporate into the empire within a short time.

By the time the army set off from its quarters in mid-June 1760, each infantry regiments had completed its two field battalions and two grenadier companies to almost the full strength. The third battalions, which had taken post on the Vistula, stayed behind and received recruits from Russia after the departure of the army. They were used to protect the towns of the Lower Vistula and East Prussia, the bases of operation of the army, against Prussian raids from Eastern Pomerania.

The cavalry completed its regiments with men and horses of the "Replacement Squadrons" sent from Russia to the Lower Vistula during the previous year (Masslovski also mentions that 1 sqn of Tobolskiy Dragoons and 1 sqn of Tverskoy Dragoons were used to replenish the ranks of the cavalry). Like the third battalions, these "Replacement Squadrons" remained posted on the Vistula. Finally, the Leib-Cuirassiers joined the army before the opening of the campaign.

Saltykov wanted to keep his Cossack regiments, so important for reconnaissance, in a single corps instead of distributing them among the divisions of his army. The poor discipline of these light troops must also have played a part in his decision. Only the 2,000 Malorussian Cossacks (probably the so-called Companeiskiy Cossacks) were allowed to serve with the field divisions. The Don Cossacks for their part were destined to be used in large units. For the campaign of 1760, 9 Cossacks regiments (including the Chuguev Cossacks served with the Russian army. They totalled 5,000 men.

Saltykov also assigned light guns (probably two 8-pdr unicorns) with mounted crews to each of his hussar and Cossacks regiments. The horse grenadiers and the dragoons were already equipped with similar guns and crews.

The Observation Corps, which had not met the expectation of the Russian generals during the previous campaigns, was disbanded at the beginning of 1760. Its artillery (including the Bombardier Corps and the Secret Howitzer Corps) joined the main army and the entire field artillery was organised in brigades. These brigades were assigned to divisions or independent corps. Furthermore, a special artillery reserve remained at the commander-in-chief's disposal.

As in previous campaigns, groups of 2 or 3 field artillery pieces were allocated to infantry regiments in addition to their 4 regimental pieces. Even in 1760, the field army did not have siege artillery because it would have required a disproportionately large number of horses to allow it to follow the army.

Saltykov still wanted the army to be accompanied by a supply of provisions for one month. However, carts and wagons were still in poor conditions and it was not possible to find enough horses. It was only in late autumn, when 7,000 draft oxen arrived from Ukraine, that the situation somewhat improved. So for most of the campaign, an excessively large train seriously impeded the movements of the Russian field army.

Prelude to the Campaign

Detailed order of battle of the Russian Army on May 24.

By the end of May 1760, the Russians crossed the Vistula and lay in four camps. Prince Heinrich was waiting for them. His headquarters were in Sagan (present-day Zagan) Country and his force spread out up to Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg) in the north and linking with Fouqué in the south.

Frederick ordered Prince Heinrich to concentrate his force and to march on the Russians. Prince Heinrich concentrated his army between Sagan and Sprottau (present-day Szprotawa) with a post at Frankfurt-an-der-Oder. However, he did not attack any corps of the Russians. As usual, the Russians chose Posen (present-day Poznań) as place-of-arms.

On June 1, Count Fermor arrived at Posen.

On June 19, Prince Heinrich advanced from Sagan, through Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, and got settled at Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski) on the Warthe (present-day Warta) where he remained for a while. His main army consisted of 30 bns and 46 sqns while another corps (7 bns and 20 sqns) under Forcade de Biaix had been detached to protect Pomerania, taking position at Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie) to cut General Tottleben who was laying waste to the regions of Belgard (present-day Białogard) and Köslin (present-day Koszalin).

On July 12, Prince Heinrich began to cross the Warthe.

On July 14, Prince Heinrich encamped at Gleißen (present-day Glisno) and extended his lines to protect the country from Russian raids.

On July 17, Count Saltykov had completed the concentration his army at Posen. His army consisted of 60,000 regulars and 7,000 Cossacks. Rumours indicated that a separate corps, under Fermor, would join Tottleben's Cossacks and besiege Colberg.

On July 20, Saltykov sent Chernichev with his vanguard to Winkowitz (unidentified location).

By July 26, Prince Heinrich, still at Gleißen, planned to keep the Russians from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and to cover Glogau (present-day Glogow) to prevent a siege of Breslau (present-day Wroclaw). Meanwhile, Saltykov had his depots at Siradin (unidentified location) and Kalisch (present-day Kalisz) and considered how to get it carted out in case of an advance of Prince Heinrich’s forces. Saltykov finally decided to besiege Glogau. But St. Petersburg rather ordered to besiege Breslau. Therefore, on July 26, Saltykov started from Posen in 3 columns with 45,000 men, faster than usual, and marched southwards to Moschin (present-day Moszinna). His vanguard under Chernichev remained at Winkowitz. The Russian army then took part in a joint campaign in Silesia with the Austrians.

Siege of Colberg

On August 26, a Russian fleet sailing directly from St. Petersburg arrived in front of Colberg with an army of 8,000 men to lay siege to Colberg by land and see.

On August 27, this fleet was joined by a Swedish squadron.

The Siege of Colberg really lasted from August 26, when bombardment began, to September 8, when a relief force under Major-General Paul von Werner stormed the Russian entrenchments.

Raid on Berlin

In September, Saltykov fell sick and Fermor took command of the Russian army.

On September 11, after endless prevarications about various joint plans of operation, Fermor finally made his mind for the plan proposed by Montalembert, the French ambassador, calling for a concentration at Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and then a rapid advance on Berlin with a strong corps. Accordingly, the Russian army left Herrnstadt and marched to Guhrau (present-day Góra Śląska). A force of 20,000 Russians under Chernichev with Tottleben as second in command was assigned to this task. The Russian plan for the attack on Berlin called for Tottleben's Cossacks Corps, reinforced with 2,000 grenadiers, 2 horse grenadier rgts and all light troops; to march with all speed by Guben (present-day Gubin) and Beeskow. Meanwhile, the Russian vanguard under Chernichev would take position on the Spree to support Tottleben. A third part of the Russian Army would take post at Guben while Rumyantsev would remain in observation at Crossen (present-day Krosno Odrzańskie) on the right bank of the Oder.

On September 13, Fermor quitted Guhrau and marched towards Carolath (present-day Siedlisko).

On September 19, Fermor reached Carolath. He was now only 43 km from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder and 130 km from Berlin.

On September 20, Tottleben with a vanguard of 5,000 men crossed the Oder at Beuthen (present-day Bytom Odrzański) in Sagan Country and marched directly upon Berlin. This vanguard consisted of:

N.B.: the grenadiers forming the converged grenadier battalions came from the 1st Grenadier, 2nd Grenadier, 3rd Grenadier, 4th Grenadier, 2nd Moscowskiy Infantry and Kievskiy Infantry (2 coys from each rgt).

N.B.: the German Grossergeneralstab work (vol. 14) also mentions the Gruzinskiy Hussars and Vengerskiy Hussars as being part of Tottleben's vanguard.

On September 29 in Silesia, when Field-Marshal Daun was informed of Fermor's final decision, he resolved to send Lacy with 15,000 Austrians to march across Lusatia and to make a junction with the Russian army. Once out of sight of Frederick, Lacy whirled, at a furious rate of speed, into the opposite direction. Its real destination being Berlin. It took a while before Frederick realized that Berlin was under attack. Meanwhile, the main Russian army, now some 20,000 men, move towards Frankfurt-an-der-Oder to support the expedition. Berlin had only weak palisades and an effective garrison of 1,200 men (3 weak battalions).

When he heard of the raid on Berlin, Hülsen resolved to abandon Saxony and to march to the relief of the city with his 9,000 men. Similarly, Prince Eugen of Württemberg, who commanded the small Prussian army facing the Swedes, left Templin (74 km north of Berlin) to come to the rescue of the capital.

On Friday October 3, Hülsen left Wittenberg and marched to Kosnig (unidentified location, maybe Coswig). The same day, Tottleben arrived near Berlin and took post at the Halle Gate, on the west side of the city. The same day, Chernichev reached Fürstenwalde, 55 km from Berlin. Tottleben summoned Rochow, requiring instant admittance and a ransom of four million thalers. The queen, royal family, archives, principal ministries and directorium had already left for Magdeburg after the disaster at Kunersdorf in 1759. Besides Rochow, there were, by accident, certain generals in Berlin: Lieutenant-General Seydlitz and two others, recovering from their Kunersdorf hurts. Field-Marshal Lehwaldt was official governor of Berlin. They all took part in the defence of the city gates. Rochow having rejected the summon, bombardment began sporadically at 3:00 p.m., becoming constant at 5:00 p.m.. It continued the same till 3:00 a.m. on October 4.

In the night of October 3 to 4, Prince Eugen of Württemberg arrived with the vanguard of his corps to reinforce the town. The whole corps, counting 5,000 men, was still 64 km from Berlin and was expected the next day.

In the morning of October 4, informed of the arrival of Prince Eugen, Tottleben retired eastward at Köpenick towards Chernichev, leaving only a corps of Cossacks in front of Berlin. In the evening, Lacy, after marching from Silesia at a furious rate, arrived in the environs with an Austrian corps of 15,000 men. The same day, Hülsen marched to Belzig in Brandenburg.

On October 5, Hülsen marched to Beelitz and Prince Eugen encamped in front of the Halle Gate. The same day, the Cossacks who had been left in front of Berlin retired, Chernichev arrived at Köpenick with about 12,000 men and the main Russian army finally reached Frankfurt-an-der-Oder.

Chernichev's Corps consisted of:

On October 6, with Chernichev and Lacy approaching Berlin, Prince Eugen retired to the other side of the city and encamped near the Landsberg Gate. Hülsen, who had now reached the vicinity of Berlin, detached 6 bns and all his cavalry to reinforce Prince Eugen.

Map of the siege of Berlin in October 1760.
 I. City of Berlin
II. Prussian positions
III. Leontiev's Corps
IV. Panin's infantry
V. Cuirasiers under Haugreven (15 sqns)
VI. Ryazanskiy Horse Grenadiers (3 sqns)
VII. Moldavskiy Hussars, Krasnoszczekow Don Cossacks, 2nd Krasnoszczekov Don Cossacks and Slaviano-Serbian Hussars
VIII. Rest of Tottleben's corps
Source: Dmitrij F. Masslowski - Courtesy: Prinz Henrich's collection


On October 7 in the morning, Hülsen marched by Saarmund and encamped near the Halle Gate. Chernichev deployed in front of the positions of Prince Eugen and both armies cannonaded each other on the Heights of Lichtenberg, 6 km east of Berlin. The same day, Frederick left Silesia in a hurry to relieve his capital.

On October 8, Hülsen arrived in Berlin. The Prussian forces in the town now totalled 14,000 men. However, the combined forces of Lacy and Chernichev totalled some 35,000 men. The same day, Chernichev, who had received reinforcements (9 bns and 5 sqns), and Prince Eugen drew out their troops and manoeuvred about. A violent thunderstorm slowed down operations. Prince Eugen did not dare to attack the Austro-Russians.

During the night of October 8 to 9, Prince Eugen and Hülsen finally withdrew to Spandau. The Cossacks engaged their rearguard and took several prisoners.

On Thursday October 9 at about 7:00 a.m., Tottleben came circling to the Halle Gate. Berlin capitulated and was delivered up to the Russians. The garrison (3 bns) became prisoners of war. The city had to pay a contribution of 1,5 million crowns and to give 200,000 crowns to the troops as a gratuity. Lacy arrived after the capitulation and strongly disagreed with its terms. His Grenzer light troops bent on housebreaking, street-robbery and insolent violence. Tottleben had to fire upon them a couple of times.

For three days, Lacy was as the evil genius of Berlin while Tottleben and his Russians showed excellent discipline. The Cossacks were kept out beyond the walls.

Saxon and Austrian parties were occupying various palaces at Potsdam, Charlottenburg, Schönhausen and Friedrichsfeld. Some of these parties behaved well while other had a horrible conduct. In Charlottenburg, the Saxon Graf Brühl Chevauxlegers smashed the furnitures, the doors, cut the pictures, maltreated people and overset Polignac's collection of antiques and classicalities. At Potsdam, on the other hand, Prince Esterházy, with perhaps Hungarians among his people, behaved like a very prince.

On Saturday October 11, news arrived in Berlin that Frederick was coming. That same evening, Lacy took the road, with extraordinary velocity to join the Reichsarmee in Torgau Country.

On the morning of Sunday October 12, Chernichev and Tottleben too left Berlin, marching at the rate of 50 km a day. Meanwhile the main Russian army moved off from Frankfurt-an-der-Oder to a safer distance. Frederick was still five marches off. The Russian spoilings during the retreat were horrible.

On October 14, Chernichev made a junction with the main Russian army, which retired towards Drossen (present-day Ośno Lubuskie).

On October 15, while he still was at Groß Muckrow in Guben Country, Frederick first heard for certain that the Russians had occupied Berlin and had now left the town.

On October 16, Frederick marched to Siegadel between Lieberose and Lübben.

On October 17, Frederick marched to Lübben, 86 km straight south of Berlin, where he rested his army some days.

On October 19, Frederick, informed of the Siege of Cosel (present-day Koźle) in Silesia, which was threatened by Loudon, detached Goltz with 16 bns and 38 sqns to relieve the fortress.

The Russians took camp about Landsberg and the Wartha Country.

On October 20, Frederick left Lübben and marched to Dahme on his way to Torgau in Saxony. He had previously reinforced Goltz, at Glogau, to 20,000 men to protect Silesia. Frederick's Army then entered into Saxony (for details of its manoeuvres, see 1760 - Austrian campaign in Saxony).

Tottleben and his Cossacks remained in Neumark and Pomerania, even launching raids in Ueckermark across the Oder. His Cossacks appeared near Freienwalde, Schwedt, Eberswalde but also near Prenzlau and Stettin (present-day Szczecin).

The Duke of Bevern was not able to stop Tottleben’s incursions and asked Werner for assistance. Meanwhile, the Russians occupied Greifenhagen and Stargard.

On November 1, the Cossacks attacked a detachment belonging to Belling’s Army. The same day, Werner arrived from Mecklenburg at Stettin.

On the night of November 1 to 2, hoping to surprise the Moldavskiy Hussars at Greifenhagen, the Duke of Bevern sent two detachments of the garrison of Stettin towards Greifenhagen. One detachment was transported by boats on the Zoll River, while the other marched along the dam. The first detachment arrived too early, but managed to surprise the hussars and to take 8 officers and 200 hussars prisoners. The remaining hussars drove back the second Prussian detachment. The Prussians had been unable to dislodge the Russians from Greifenhagen.

On November 5, Buturlin arrived at Arenswalde to take command of the Russian army, replacing Saltykov, who still had health problem. When he received the news of the Austrian defeat at Torgau, Buturlin considered that it would be impossible to spend winter in the ruined country around Landsberg and resolved to retire to bring back his army in Poland, leaving Chernichev with his “Corps Volant” and Tottleben with his light troops in Eastern Pomerania to cover the retreat of the main army.

On November 6, Werner came to contact with a Russian outpost in front of Vierraden, drove it back and occupied Schwedt. While escaping, some Russians drowned in the Oder River, and 50 were taken prisoners.

Werner remained at Schwedt until November 9, and established pontoon bridges on the Oder.

On November 10, Buturlin left Arenswalde and marched by way of Retz, Dramburg, Tempelburg, and Stolp to Marienburg where he would arrive on December 11.

On November 15, Werner occupied Stargard, which had been evacuated by the Russians.

On November 20, the corps of Prince Eugen of Württemberg arrived at Schwedt. On the same day, the Plettenberg Dragoons and Werner Hussars arrived at Stargard, they had been sent by the Prince of Württemberg to support Werner’s forces.

On November 26, the Prince of Württemberg went from Schwedt to Mecklenburg, reaching Malchin on December 3. Werner’s Corps was supposed to follow.

Werner marched by way of Naugard, Greifenberg and Körlin to Köslin, where it arrived on December 2.

On December 3, Major von Owstien with 2 sqns of Werner Hussars and the Bayreuth Dragoons with 2 guns was surprised by a strong Cossack detachment led by Major Popov. Due to heavy rain, the guns were useless and Owstien had sent them back to Quatzow. His surprised hussars and dragoons broke and fled, and the guns were captured by the Cossacks. Captain von Pfeil and 1 bn of Frei-Infanterie von Wunsch, sent to support Owstien, arrived too late to intervene in the engagement. The Cossacks took 60 Prussians prisoners.

On December 26, Werner left Stargard, as ordered by the Prince of Württemberg.

On December 30, Werner’s Corps arrived at Pasewalk.

A cordon of troops (Frei-Infanterie von Hordt) was deployed along the Peene River against the Swedes.

Only the Plettenberg Dragoons continued their march towards Mecklenburg to collect provisions and recruits.

The Prince of Württemberg took up his winter-quarters at Rostock, his troops around this city and as well as Tessin, Gnoien, Ribnitz and Sülze.

An armistice was concluded with the Swedes which was to last until April 1, 1761.

References

This article is essentially a compilation of texts 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. 12 Landeshut und Liegnitz, Berlin, 1913, pp. 26-29
  • Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 537-539
  • Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 20
  • Jomini, Baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 274, 323, 335-339, 341-342, 367
  • Masslowski, Dmitrij F.: Russian army in the 7YW Vol. 3, Moscow, 1891, p. 308

Other sources

Grossergeneralstab, vol. 14

Kessel, E.: Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, 2007, Paderborn, pp. 74-81

Zveguintzov, L'Armée Russe, 1973

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for the translation and integration of info from Kessel’s work