1761 - Prussian first raid in Greater Poland

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Description

At the end of June 1761, Ziethen received orders to destroy the main Russian magazines Greater Poland, mainly in Posen (actual Poznań). He was placed at the head of an important corps of 20,000 men from Goltz's corps and from reinforcements sent by Frederick II. More precisely, Zieten's corps consisted of:

Infantry (24 bns)
  • Grenadier Battalion 28/32 Arnim (1 bn)
  • Grenadier Battalion G-V/G-X Hachenberg (1 bn)
  • Grenadier Battalion 17/22/24/34 Rothenburg (1 bn)
  • Grenadier Battalion 12/39 Görne (1 bn)
  • Garrison Regiment No. VI Lattorf (1 bn)
  • IR34 Prinz Ferdinand (2 bns)
  • IR40 Gabelentz Fusiliers (2 bns)
  • IR29 Knobloch (2 bns)
  • IR12 Finck (2 bns)
  • IR35 Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Fusiliers (2 bns)
  • IR39 Jung Braunschweig Fusiliers (2 bns)
  • IR37 Braun Fusiliers (2 bns)
  • IR28 Thile (2 bns)
  • IR42 Markgraf von Brandenburg Fusiliers (2 bns)
  • IR43 Zieten Fusiliers (1 bn)
Cavalry (47 sqns)
  • KR9 Bredow Cuirassiers (3 sqns)
  • KR12 Spaen Cuirassiers (5 sqns)
  • KR6 Vasold Cuirassiers (5 sqns)
  • KR2 Prinz Heinrich von Preußen Cuirassiers (5 sqns)
  • DR10 Finckenstein Dragoons (5 sqns)
  • DR3 Flanß Dragoons (5 sqns)
  • DR8 Alt Platen Dragoons (3 sqns)
  • HR5 Ruesch Hussars (7 sqns)
  • HR7 Malachowsky Hussars (8 sqns)
  • HR9 Bosniaken (1 sqn)

On June 29, Zieten's corps left Glogau (actual Głogów) in two columns. The first column advanced from Glogau through Przyczyna Górna and Osowa Sień to Fraustadt (actual Wschowa), while the second marched by Stare Drzewce and Gross Lissen (actual Wielkie Lisy) in direction of Jezierzyce Kościelne where it encamped.

In the following days, Zieten continued his march, penetrating deep into Greater Poland.

On June 30, near Scmiegle (actual Śmigiel), the Prussian vanguard under colonel Lossow attacked Russian brigadier Löpen who had 2 sqns of Tverskiy Dragoons, along with Chuguevski cossacks and more than 1,000 more cossacks. For its part, the Prussian vanguard consisted of Flanß Dragoons, Finckenstein Dragoons, Ruesch Hussars, Malachowski Hussars and Bosniaken. The Russians were defeated, loosing 1 lieutenant-colonel, 3 sub-officers, 30 dragoons, 5 cossacks and 3 others. The Prussians lost only 19 men in this action. At the end of the day, Zieten's corps encamped at Kosten (actual Kościan).

On July 3, Zieten advanced to Storchnest (actual Osieczna) while the Russians troops observing him went to Dolzig (actual Dolsk).

On July 8, the Prussian colonel Dalwig was ordered to advance on Dolzig with 10 dragoon sqns, 10 hussar sqns and 2 bns. A skirmish took place between Russian troops and Ruesch Hussars (the other Prussian units did not take part to this skirmish). The Russian cavalry was driven back, loosing more than 150 men while Ruesch Hussars lost about 20 men.

Despite these initial successes, Zieten knew that the Russians were now concentrating an army to act against him. He couldn’t continue his mission and decided to return to Silesia, fearing to be cut off from his base at any moment.

Accordingly, on July 10, Zieten undertook a retreat towards Breslau (actual Wrocław) by Bojanowo, Rawitsch (actual Rawicz) and Trachenberg (actual Żmigród).

On July 12, Zieten reached Breslau. Since his entry into Greater Poland, he had been constantly followed and observed by Russian troops. During his raid, he lost 32 men killed, wounded or missing and 39 other men during the two skirmishes.

References

Archencholtz J.,Geschichte des siebenjahrigen Krieges in Deutschland, Berlin 1793, p. 188

Jany K., Geschichte der Königlisch Preussischen Armee bis zum Jahre 1807, t. 2, Berlin 1929, p. 601

Masslowskij D., Russkaia armija, p. 442

Schwarz F., Die Provinz Posen als Schauplatz des siebenjahrigen Krieges, Posen 1890, p. 38

Acknowledgments

Tomasz Karpiński (student at the Institute of History, University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań, Poland) for the initial version of this article