1761-10-22 - Combat of Gollnow
Prelude to the Battle
In the night of October 21 1761, during the siege of Colberg, Platen decamped from Schwanteshagen and marched through the forest of Kautreck (present-day Loźnica), constantly fighting against Russian light troops. At about 11 p.m., his vanguard (V. "Standing" Grenadier Battalion (G-V/G-X Hachenberg) marched out of his camp, followed by baggage at midnight, and at 1:00 a.m., by his rearguard. Near Miękowo, the Russians attacked the rearguard of Platen's Corps which consisted of the Plettenberg Dragoons and Horse Artillery. In this skirmish, the Prussians lost about 60 men.
Fermor had made the mistake to stop at Glewitz, thus giving enough time to Platen to escape the trap. Platen then joined Kleist's transports at Gollnow (present-day Goleniów).
Kleist led some troops send there by the Governor of Stettin, General Bevern, reinforced by a small party of hussars, escorting 2,000 carts with supplies destined to Colberg.
Gollnow was a medium town counting some 1,600 inhabitants, surrounded by damaged and old medieval wall. All buildings were on the right bank of the Ihna River, and only 1 bridge connected the town to the left bank of the river, where the road to Stettin passed.
The walls of the town were defended only by the Frei-Grenadier companies of August Wilhelm Ferdinand von Knesewitz and probably Grenadier-battalion S-54/S-56 Rothkirch.
On the other side of Ihna, IR42 Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers (1 bn), a battalion of recruits lead by Major Johann Ferdinand von Stosch, was posted in the forest along with 2 sqns of Pomerian Landhussars (von Stülpnagel, von Hohendorff). Furthermore, Major Daniel Friedrich von Lossow was in Gollnow with convalescents of HR5 von Ruesch and newly recruited Bosniaken. Finally, the Prussians had erected some earthworks on the road in front of the bridge.
Description of Events
On October 22, the Russian Corps of Fermor and Berg reached Gollnow. The first units to arrive on the spot were hussars and cossacks. The Serbskiy Hussars under Tekeley and Filipov's Cossacks made themselves masters of the suburbs. Then came Panin's Infantry Brigade, belonging to Berg's Corps (about 5-6 bns).
At 8:00 a.m., a Russian grenadier battalion, lead by Suvorov, stormed the Stettiner Gate, supported by 2 fusiliers battalions. The Russians suffered many casualties but finally captured the gate and drove the Prussians back to the other side of the river. The pursuit came to a halt, stopped by grape-shots and musket fire. The Russians waited for additional battalions before launching a new attack but the Prussians resisted stubbornly.
The Russians then planted artillery in front of the bridge. However, their first guns were soon dismounted and they had to cease pursuit. During the engagement, the bridge has been destroyed.
Meanwhile, the rest of Fermor's 1st Division reached the battlefied. This time, the Russians established artillery on the hills on each side of the town and opened on the Prussians.
The ensuing artillery duel lasted for 9 hours. Fermor and Berg had about 27 field cannons, the Prussians about 10.
Platen had previously retired and deployed in a strong position, leaving command of the entire infantry to Colonel Heinrich Werner von Kleist. The latter instructed his infantry to line up behind dunes to protect them from unnecessary casualties from the Russian artillery. Fermor tried to find another way to cross the river and crush Platen (he had about 27,000 men against some 6,500 Prussians) but his cossacks could not find a ford.
During the combat, the convoy under escort of battalions Stosch and Rothkirch were sent to take cover into the woods. Despite this measure, the Prussians lost about 100 carts because of the panic who spread among civilian carters at the sound of the heavy artillery fire.
Neither Fermor nor Platen decides to attack his opponent.
Fermor reconnoitred Platen's positions but did not attack. Platen was now unable to return to Colberg and his convoy was forced to retrace its steps towards Stettin. The Russians could not pursue immediately, so the Prussians were allowed enough time to retreat.
In this combat, the Prussians lost about 10 men killed and 17 wounded. Russian reports give another 60 men taken prisoners in Gollnow. The Russians lost about 300-500 men.
The same day, Rumyantsev launched an attack on the Prussian entrenched camp at Prettmin. After resisting an entire day, the Prussians retired to Colberg under the cover of night and the Russians immediately took possession of the camp.
Order of Battle
Prussian Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: Lieutenant-General D. F. von Platen
Summary: 1861 infantry, 10 field guns and 2895 cavalry.
W. H. Kleist's Brigade:
- IR42 Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers (1 combined bn)
- HR7 Malachowski (300 men)
- HR5 Ruesch (approx. 200 convalescents) under Major D. F. von Lossow
- HR9 Bosniaks (approx. 100 recruits)
Field Artillery under Captain K. S. du Troffel.
- 14 x 3-pdr battalion guns
- 4 x 12-pdr guns
- 1 x 7-pdr howitzer
- 4 x 6-pdr guns
- 1 x unicorn (taken from Russian near Gostyń)
Reinforcements from Stettin
- Recruit Battalion von Stosch aka 2nd Stettin Recruit-Battalion (1 bn)
- Frei-Grenadier von Hüllessem and von Knesewitz (2 coys)
- Grenadier Battalion von Rothkirch (1 bn)
- Provincial Landhussars von Stülpnagel (2 sqns)
Russian Order of Battle
Commander-in-chief: Count Villim Vilimovich Fermor
Fermor's 1st Division
- unknown numbers of units
Berg's Light Corps
- Serbskiy Hussars
- Filipov Cossacks Pulk
- unknown numbers of units
- Panin's Brigade
- unidentified battalions (5-6 bns)
- 27 field cannon
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Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the initial version of this article