1760 - Siege of Glatz
The siege lasted from July 20 to July 26 1760
On June 14 1760, FML Jahnus von Eberstädt wrote to FZM Loudon about his discussions with the wife of the Prussian General d'O, commander of the Fortress of Glatz (present-day Kłodzko) back in 1758. Jahnus had learned about d'O's poor financial situation and had asked whether he would open the fortress to the Austrians if he would receive some money. Jahnus exchanged some letters with the lady, he finally received a letter from d'O himself saying that he was a honest man and that, even though he was a Catholic serving a Protestant King, he would never betray his king. Nevertheless Jahnus was of the opinion that it was not d'O's “last word”.
Frederick II mentioned this letter after the quick capture of Glatz as a confirmation of d'O's betrayal.
The Fortress of Glatz consisted of two works located on steep hills on either side of the Neisse River (present-day Nysa Kłodzka) with a total of 200 pieces mounted on their walls. The little town of Glatz surrounded the main fortress on the left bank of the river. Colonel Bartholemew d'O commanded the entire fortress assisted by Colonel Quadt. The Prussian garrison numbered some 2,400 men. Among these troops the best elements were certainly the Standing Grenadier Battalion No. 2 Unruh. Furthermore, some 200 artillery pieces defended the place.
The Fortress of Glatz was occupied by Prussian forces since 1743. During these years, the Prussian garrison had made some improvements to the fortress. They had built a long narrow northwards extension to the main fortress. This extension, known as Der Kranich (the Crane), was terminated by a fleche (a pentagonal redoubt) about 1,000 m. in front of the fortress and connected to it by a covert way. They also fortified the summit of the Schaferberg, a mountain on the other (eastern) side of the Neisse River. The old fortress occupied higher ground than the new one. Colonel Bartholemew d'O commanded the main fortress of Glatz while his Second, Colonel Quadt, commanded the fort on the Schaferberg.
Description of Events
On June 26, Field-Marshal Daun, informed of Loudon's success at Landeshut sent General di Stampa from his Grand Army to reinforce Loudon's Army of Silesia. However, Daun considered that the situation in Silesia was not yet suitable for an attack on Glatz. Instead, he instructed Loudon to encamp at Landeshut and to manoeuvre in support of his own army to prevent any movement of Frederick against Silesia, thus delaying any vigorous action against Glatz.
At the beginning of July, Loudon was manoeuvring in the region of Lahn (present-day Wleń) on the Bober (present-day Bóbr River), Goldberg (present-day Złotoryja) and Liegnitz (present-day Legnica).
On July 8, Daun encamped at Ottendorf (present-day Ocice) near Naumburg an der Queis (present-day Nowogrodziec) and Loudon went there to have a conference with him. When they were informed that Frederick's Army, which had been racing towards Silesia, had suddenly turned back and was now marching towards Saxony, they were both surprised. Daun decided to march towards Dresden with the main army and instructed Loudon to take advantage of the situation to capture Glatz.
Loudon immediately ordered the siege artillery from Olmütz to besiege Glatz. His main corps remained at Hohkirch near Liegnitz to cover the siege while he sent 12 bns and 5 sqns under the command of General Harsch to reinforce the blockading force and to put siege to the fortress. The siege corps, placed under the command of FML Josip Kazimir Count Drašković consisted of:
- Infantry (20 fusilier bns, 1 grenadier bn)
- Toscana (3 bns and 6 grenadier coys)
- Moltke (? bns)
- Andlau (2 bns)
- Baden-Durlach (? bns)
- Simbschen (? bns)
- Batthyányi (? bns)
- d'Arberg (? bns)
- Salm (? bns)
- Los Rios (? bns)
- Kaiser (? bns)
- Hildburghausen (? bns)
- Wallis (? bns)
- Kolowrat (? bns)
- Grenadier-Division (1 bn of converged grenadiers)
- Grenzer units (7 bns)
The siege works were placed under the direct responsibility of FZM Ferdinand Amadeus Count Harsch who was instructed to rejoin the siege corps as soon as possible. This division of command between Drašković and Harsch would soon prove to be troublesome.
Meanwhile, Loudon remained in Eichholtz (present-day Warmutowice Sienkiewiczowski/PL) and sent General Campitelli with Erzherzog Joseph Dragoons and 2 squadrons of Pálffy Hussars to Parchwitz (present-day Prochowice/PL), Colonel Barcó with a few hundreds hussars to Lüben (present-day Lubin/PL) and Major-General Nauendorf to Neumarkt (present-day Sroda Slaska/PL) to observe the Prussian garrison in Breslau.
On July 16, the Austrian siege artillery arrived from Olmütz.
On the night of July 20 to 21, even though his heavy siege guns were not yet arrived from Olmütz, Drašković opened the first parallel. The Austrians tried to work as silently as possible but their was soon betrayed in a rather peculiar way: a drunken Grenzer officer went to the glacis and shouted “Here we are !”. This caused the garrison to open a vehement fire, the surprise was gone. In that moment, all officers leading the 3,000 Austrian workers stepped in front of them with drawn sabres and forced them to resume work under enemy fire.
On July 23, when FZM Harsch arrived with Colonel of Artillery Adolf Alfson, Drašković had to cede command of the siege to Harsch and to give him his own quarters. Needless to say, Drašković was not quite pleased with the situation. The long awaited siege pieces arrived on the same day.
In the evening of July 25, Loudon arrived and took overall command of the operations.
In the early hours of July 26, Loudon, accompanied by Drašković and his adjutant Lieutenant-Colonel Kray, inspected the siege works and batteries, meeting Major-General Vogelsang while doing so.
At 4:00 a.m., the Austrian siege-artillery batteries of the left wing, under Colonel Rouvroy, opened fire; soon followed by those of the right wing, under colonel Alfson. Altogether, 114 Austrian guns were bombarding the fortress. The Prussian artillery in Glatz was rapidly silenced after a two hours duel of artillery. Furthermore, some of the powder magazines in the fortresses exploded.
Loudon's attendants then had a meeting on the left wing with Rouvroy and Alfson, along with the wounded “Tranchée Major” Kallenich (maybe Johann Kallinič who would be promoted Colonel of the Karlstädter-Szluiner Grenzer in 1761) of the Karlstädter-Ottochaner Grenzer. They saw many deserters and realised that the flèche had been abandoned by the Prussians.
Loudon. taking advantage of the confusion, decided to immediately occupy the flèche. Drašković collected some 300 volunteers. Loudon promised to pay 10 ducats and Drašković 5 to each volunteer. Captain Gnesowich from the Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer (who was also adjutant of Major-General Vogelsang) and Lieutenant Mylius took command of these volunteers. Another 300 men were placed under command of Major Mihokowitch. Colonel Hallenich led the supporting troops (1 bn of Andlau Infantry under Major Tertzy. Colonel Rouvroy accompanied the volunteers.
The garrison greeted the attacking volunteers with heavy fire but the undefended flèche was soon occupied. Then Major Pechardt (Jean Baptiste Baron Béchade de la Rochepine) and Major-General Gribeauval arrived at the flèche and helped to organize the next action.
Drašković then sent Colonel Rouvroy to summon the garrison to surrender. It was a very dangerous mission that he fulfilled under fire from both sides.
Drašković, after asking support to Loudon, sent forward two battalions to attack the covert way. Colonel Rouvroy accompanied this first wave which was closely followed by Major-General Vogelsang at the head of 1bn of Batthyányi Infantry, the grenadiers of Simbschen Infantry and the whole left wing of the trenches.
Colonel d'O soon led a counter-attack at the head of the Standing Grenadier Battalion No. 2 Unruh. He chased the Austrians out of the fortress and of the flèche.
Without losing time, Loudon ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Thelliers with 200 men to launch another attack on one of the tower on the north side of the fortress. The capture of this tower threatened to isolate the Standing Grenadier Battalion No. 2 Unruh in the flèche and forced them to retreat back to the main fortress.
By 10:00 a.m., d'O had surrendered and 2 battalions of the Austrian Andlau Infantry entered the main fortress.
By 11:00 a.m., Quadt had also surrendered the fort on the Schaferberg.
Loudon captured 33 colours, 110 officers, 2,403 men and the large magazine containing 23,000 quintals of flour, 14,000 pounds of bread and other victuals. In addition 203 guns with 40,000 cannon-balls, 10,000 bombs, 2,000 quintals of gunpowder were seized.
From the captured soldiers only 8 took service in the Austrian Army. Furthermore, 243 foreigners were released and 124 Austrian deserters went to prison. Thus, Glatz, one of the two southern keys of Silesia was now in Austrian hands. Neisse, the other key fortress was still under Prussian control. Loudon then made preparations to march on Breslau which had been left uncovered by Frederick and Prince Henri.
It's interesting to note that FZM Harsch was not present during the attack. He was later on informed of the result!
Lieutenant Mylius won the Order of Marie Theresa for his valiant efforts. Drašković described the storming of Glatz in his reports to his superiors (cited in W. Janko's book “Laudon´s Leben”, Vienna 1869, p. 178ff).
After the war, Colonel d´O was court martialed and sentenced to death by a tribunal led by Major-General von Zieten.
Anonymous: A Complete History of the Present War, from its Commencement in 1756, to the End of the Campaign, 1760, London, 1761, pp. 511-513, 516-521, 543
Carlyle, T.: History of Friedrich II of Prussia, vol. 20
Janko, Wilhelm Edler von: Laudon's Leben, Vienna 1869
Jomini, baron de: Traité des grandes opérations militaires, Vol. 3, 2nd ed., Magimel, Paris, 1811, pp. 222-223, 245-250, 255-256, 271-281, 286-295, 302-308, 311-323, 339-342, 366
Müller, Fritz: 1998 Frederick the Great Battlefield Tour, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. X No. 3
Relation of FML Josip K. count Drašković mentioned in the book of W. von Janko: Laudon's Leben, Vienna 1869
Vanicek, Fr.: Specialgeschichte der Militärgrenze aus Originalquellen und Quellenwerken geschöpft, Vol. II, Vienna: Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1875, pp. 481-486
Harald Skala for the initial version of this article