1761-10-21 - Engagement of Zarnglaff
Prelude to the Battle
In October 1761, during the Siege of Colberg, Eugen von Württemberg resolved to make another attempt to resupply his army by sending out Platen with a strong force (8 bns, 42 sqns).
On October 17, Platen set off from Prettmin (present-day Przećmin).
On October 18, Platen reached Gollnow (present-day Goleniów).
On October 19, Platen encamped at Schwentdehagen (unidentified location).
On October 20, Dolgoruki crossed the Persante River and encamped at Garrin (present-day Charzyno). The same day, Platen detached hussars in the direction of Kantreck (present-day Łoźnica), Dischenhagen (aka Fischehagen, present-day Dzisna) and Luttmanshagen (present-day Budzieszewice) to resupply horses and soldiers. It rained the entire day. Patrols of Ruesch Hussars spotted a cossack outpost at Zarnglaff (present-day Czarnogłowy).
On October 21, Lieutenant-colonel Courbière was sent towards Gülzow (present-day Golczewo) with 1 freibattalion, 1 grenadier battalion and 600-700 hussars. Courbière was instructed to collect supply in the surrounding country and to reconnoitre the Russian positions.
Courbière's detachment passed the Wołczenica River in Francken Mühle (unidentified location) and reached Zarnglaff. Meanwhile, Berg's Russian Corps marched from Plathe (present-day Płoty) to Naugard (present-day Nowogard). Berg's cossacks spotted Courbière's detachment and informed Berg of the presence of a small Prussian detachment. Berg resolved to attack them.
Description of Events
On October 21, Berg marched northwards from Naugard. He came into contact with Courbière's detachment near Zarnglaff.
Berg's main body manoeuvred to cut off the road between Courbière's and Platen's Corps. Other Russian detachments surrounded Courbière's positions from west and north.
Courbière engaged these small detachments of Russian hussars and cossacks and defeated them, taking Lieutenant-colonel Fukur as prisoner of war. Because of the rain and of the bad news recently received, Platen sent his adjutant, Lieutenant von Schmettau to Courbière, demanding immediate return. However, the messenger arrived too late.
After destroying Fukur's detachment, Courbière deployed his troops on a hill between Zarnglaff and Baumgarten as follows: his infantry in the centre with artillery in front of the line, some cavalry covering both flanks and the rest of his cavalry sent to neighbouring settlements for resupply.
When the Russian cavalry advanced close enough, the Prussian hussars charged them. About 450 of them under the command Major Johann Christhop von Lockstadt were able to break through the Russian cavalry and to escape. The rest were overwhelmed. Then, the victorious Russians broke the isolated infantry formed in square.
Courbière was forced to surrender. The engagement had lasted only 30 minutes. Prussian guns had fired only 15 times. The Prussian infantry could not make use of their muskets because of the heavy rain (it had been raining for 48 hours).
The Prussians lost 21 officers including Lieutenant-colonel Courbière, Major Johann Heinrich von Enthier of Ruesch Hussars, Kipski commander of the detachment of Bosniaken and about 1,000 men (including 25 Bosniaken, some cavalry and artillery crew) taken prisoners and 5 artillery pieces.
As soon as Platen had heard the first fire, he had sent V. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (G-V/G-X Hachenberg) and Plettenberg Dragoons to the rescue but it was too late.
Order of Battle
Prussian Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: Lieutenant-general Courbière
- Frei-Infanterie Courbière (250 men) *
- Grenadier Battalion 28/32 Arnim (347 men) *
- Ruesch Hussars (450-500 men) * under Major J. C. von Lockstädt **
- III./Belling Hussars (150-200 men) *
- Bosniaken (less than 100 men) under Kipski
- 1 x 7-pdr howitzer
- 4 x 3-pdr (?) battalion guns
* see: E. Kessel, Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, op. cit., p. 367, footnotes 143
** see his biography in Sammlung ungedruckter Nachrichten, so die Geschichte der Feldzüge der Preußen von 1740 bis 1779, erläutern, p. 8
Russian Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: Major-general Gustav Berg
The most probable order of battle is:
- Converged grenadiers (3 bns for a total of 9 coys or around 1,500 men) under J. Renenkampf
- Cavalry (3,000 men)
N.B.: some sources mention 5,000 to 6,000 horse (see: Geschichte des siebenjährigen Krieges, op. cit., p. 540)
Raspe, Plan der Affairen bey Gollnow und Sargelow zwischen den Russis(chen) und Preussisch(en) Truppen im Monath October An(no) 1761, copperplate, Nürnberg XVIII century.
Anthing, J. F.: History of the Campaigns of Count Alexander Suworow-Rymnikski, field-marshal-general in the service of His Imperial Majesty, the Emperor of all the Russias: with a preliminary sketch of his private life and character, London 1799
Massenbach, Christian Karl August Ludwig von: Berichtigungen der Kolberger Kampagne im Jahr 1761 in Militärische Monatsschrift, Bd. IV, Berlin 1786
Gaudi, F. W.: Journal vom Siebenjährigen Kriege, Hrsg von J. Zeichmann, bearb. von M. Löffelholz, Buchholz-Sprotze 1999
Gieraths, G.: Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgische-preussischen Armee, Berlin 1964
Grosser Generalstab: [ http://books.google.com/books?id=JxcLAAAAIAAJ Geschichte des siebenjahrigen Krieges in einer Reihe von Vorlesungen, Prussian Army Grosser Generalstab, t. 5, part. 2], Berlin 1837
Jany, K.: Geschichte der Königlisch Preussischen Armee bis zum Jahre 1807, vol. 2, Berlin 1929
Kessel, E.: Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, Hrgb. von T. Linder, t. 1, Padeborn – München – Wien – Zürich 2007
Maslowskij, D.: Russkaia armija w siemieletnjuju wojnu, t. III, Moscow 1891
Suvorov, A. W.: Authobiography
Tagenbuch der Unternehmungen des Generallieutenants Dubislav Friedrich von Platen, sowohl in Pohlen als Pommern,vom 9 Aug(ust) 1761.,an, bis zum 14. Nov(ember) 1761 in Sammlung ungedruckter Nachrichten, so Geschichte der Feldzüge der Preussen von 1740 bis 1779 erläutern, Hrsg. von Gottlob Naumann, Dresden 1783, t. 3
Tempelhoff, G. F.: Geschichte des siebenjahrige Krieges in Deutschland, vol. 5, Berlin 1794
Tielcke, J. G.: Beyträge zur Kriegskunst und Geschichte des Kriegs von 1756 bis 1763, t. 5, Freyburg
1761 g. oktiabria 15 – Relacia A. B Buturlina imperatrice Elizawete o uspesznych diejstwijach russkich wojsk w Pomeranij osenju 1761 g. in: Rumiancew P. A. Documenty, under red. Fortunatova P. K., vol. 1, Moscow, 1953
Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the initial versions of this article