1761 - Russian campaign in Pomerania
The campaign lasted from January to December 1761
General Gottlob Curt Heinrich von Tottleben, a very capable leader of light troops, had been subordinated to Major-General Chernichev until the end of 1760. Tottleben had not gone home with the rest of the Russian army after the raid on Berlin. He kept hovering, in Eastern Pomerania (aka Farther Pomerania), with 10,000 men.
For their part, the St. Petersburg authorities were not happy with the poor results of the campaign of 1760. Tottleben was put under their direct command and instructed to harass the Prussians during winter. His light troops were reinforced by 3 bns.
Description of Pomerania at this time
For a better understanding of this campaign, it is important to have an idea of the country where it took place. This section presents an abridged description of the area of Pomerania where these military operations occurred.
During this campaign, the Prussian and Russian armies confronted one another in forested and boggy areas of Pomerania. This country didn't lend itself very well to the operations of large forces of infantry in the open field. However, it was a great place to wage klein Krieg (little war) where small parties based in fortified positions would launch hit and run raids. These fortified positions were usually cities and crossings between bogs and numerous small rivers running across forests. The most important of these bases were Rega, Spie (present-day Błotnica) some 10 km to the south-west of Colberg (present-day Kołobrzeg), Völzer Bach (present-day Wołczennica River) and Kreiher Bach (present-day Dębosznica, some 25 km south of Colberg).
Large units could only march along roads. Forests made desertion easy and orientation difficult. Pomerania had a rather sparse road network. The main Prussian bases in this country were Colberg and Stettin (present-day Szczecin). Since the beginning of the war, Colberg had already been besieged twice because of its strategic importance. For this reason, the town was well prepared to defend itself. For its part, Stettin was more exposed to an attack by the small Swedish army operating in Pomerania. However, it was near Landsberg (present-day Gorzów Wielkopolski) which formed a bottleneck from where any help could arrive. A simple road linking Colberg to Stettin led through Sellnow (present-day Zieleniewo), running behind the bogs surrounding this stronghold, then passing by the village of Spie, crossing a small river at Neumuhl (unidentified location) near Gandelin (present-day Kędrzyno), then running through a forest to Treptow an der Rega (present-day Trzebiatów) located in a bend of the Rega River and surrounded by bogs and swamps. Next the road turned south towards Greiffenberg (present-day Gryfice) by way of Klatkow (present-day Kłodkowo). From Greiffenberg, the road ran in straight line to Naugard (present-day Nowogard) where it forked into two different roads. The first of these roads was the shortest way to Stettin. It ran southwestwards through Gollnow (present-day Goleniów) and Damm, surrounded on both sides with forests. The second road ran southwards through Massow (present-day Maszewo) to Stargard, and from there, to Damm. Another important road ran westwards from Körlin (present-day Karlino) to Naugard by way of Pinnow (present-day Pniewo) and Plathe (present-day Płoty). From Pinnow another road led northward to Treptow.
The next important road linked Stargard to Körlin by Freienwalde (present-day Chociwel), Wangerin (present-day Węgorzyno) and Schivelbein (present-day Świdwin). From Körlin, roads led directly to Colberg, Belgard (present-day Białogard) and Köslin (present-day Koszalin). This latter city, which was relatively far from the front, constituted a good place of safety to protect the lines of communication with the Russian bases in Greater Poland and East Prussia, and with the port of Rügenwalde (present-day Darłowo).
Finally, it was also possible to travel along the seashore. However, it was a difficult terrain speckled with large overflow areas forming inshore lakes.
Description of events
Russian raids in Pomerania
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Tottleben's corps in January.|
When most of the Prussian army of Pomerania had taken its winter quarters in January 1761, Russian light troops started to launch raids in the area. These light troops amounted to some 8,000 to 12,000 men under the command of Tottleben. Tottleben's first objective was to attack the right wing of the Prussian troops at Neustettin (present-day Szczecinek) and Klein-Küdde (present-day Gwda Mała).
On the Prussian side, Lieutenant-Colonel Guillaume René de l´Homme, Seigneur de Courbières was at the head of a covering corps stretching from the Wipper River (present-day Wieprza River) by way of Rügenwalde and Bublitz (present-day Bobolice) to Bärwalde (present-day Barwice) and Draheim (present-day Drahim). Courbières force consisted of 4½ bns and 7 sqns:
- Frei-Infanterie Courbières (1 bn)
- Frei-Infanterie Wunsch (1 bn)
- Stettiner Freikompanien (2 coys)
- Pomeranian Provincial Hussars von Hohendorff (2 sqns)
- HR6 Werner Hussars (5 sqns)
- Pomeranian Converged Grenadier Battalion von Ingersleben (1 bn)
- Grenadier Battalion S54/S56 Köller (1 bn)
On January 8, 1761, Tottleben occupied Stolp (present-day Slupsk).
Gradually, Tottleben’s Corps occupied Markisch Friedland (present-day Mirosławiec) and Deutsch Krone (present-day Walcz), forcing the Prussians to concentrate their troops in the area of Köslin and Belgard.
On January 14 at night, Courbières set off from Tempelburg (present-day Czaplinek) and Bärwalde, followed by Tottleben.
On January 15, Tottleben attacked Regenwalde (present-day Resko), Greiffenberg and Fences (present-day Płoty).
On January 17, Tottleben made a unsuccessful attempt against the Prussian outpost of Belgard near Colberg, which was defended by the Pomeranian Converged Grenadier Battalion von Ingersleben.
On January 18 in the morning, Courbières left Körlin and marched to Rega, followed by Tottleben who immediately attacked his positions at Greifenberg and Regenwalde.
On January 21, Tottleben attacked a Prussian detachment at Plathe detachment but was repulsed. Courbières recalled this detachment, evacuated Greifenberg and Regenwalde and retreated.
The Prussians then decided to send some troops to Eastern Pomerania.
On January 23, after being informed by St. Petersburg, that Prince Heinrich and the Prince of Württemberg were on their way to support Courbières, Tottleben retired to Belgard-Körlin, but occupied Treptow. His troops camped in the vicinity of Treptow and Greifenberg. Tottleben also established a blockade around Colberg.
On January 23, Werner left his quarters with 5 sqns of Werner Hussars, Grenadier Battalion 13/26 Schwerin, II./IR14 Lehwaldt Infantry and II./IR16 Dohna Infantry and marched by way of Pasewalk and Stettin, where he was reinforced with a few heavy guns, to Stargard.
On January 30, Werner reached Stargard, where he stopped.
By January 31, Tottleben's positions extended from Körlin to Treptow with outposts at Rügenwalde, Plathe, Greiffenberg, Tempelburg, Neustettin and Falkenburg (present-day Zlocieniec). The Russian reserve was placed in Grossjestin (present-day Goscino), Körlin and Belgard while the Russian infantry was stationed at Köslin, Zanow (present-day Sianow), Rügenwalde and Schlawe (present-day Slawno).
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Russian army in January 1761|
On February 6, Werner made a junction with Courbières’ Corps near Jerhlin. He then proceeded by way of Treptow to Colberg. Tottleben left the region defenceless and took position at Körlin. Werner surrounded Tottleben.
On February 11, these Prussian forces reached Colberg. Tottleben now pursued by Werner retreated towards Stolp.
On February 12, Werner took up quarters opposite Colberg, at Zernin. Tottleben retired to Köslin.
On February 14, Werner marched by way of Varchim (unidentified location) but was harassed by Russian light troops. He found the Russian deployed in order of battle behind Tessin (present-day Cieszyn). After a short artillery duel, the Russians retired, evacuated Köslin and marched in darkness under heavy snowfall to Schlawe as recommended by General Buturlin. Late in the evening, Werner occupied Köslin and gave his tired troops some rest.
On February 15, thawing and heavy rain made further movements impossible. Only Courbières with Grenadier Battalion S54/S56 Köller, Pomeranian Converged Grenadier Battalion von Ingersleben, Frei-Infanterie Wunsch, Frei-Infanterie Courbières, 2 coys of the Stettiner Freikompanien and 11 hussar sqns went further to the Grabow River where they were forced to halt because there were no bridges to cross the river. Meanwhile, Werner remained at Köslin with Grenadier Battalion 13/26 Schwerin, II./IR14 Lehwaldt Infantry, II./IR16 Dohna Infantry and 1 hussar sqn. The DR7 Plettenberg Dragoons and II./IR2 Kanitz covered the rear and flanks at Belgard and Körlin.
On February 23, Courbières crossed the Grabow River and reached Schlawe. Bad weather and lack of provisions then interrupted all actions on both sides. The Prussians then supplied the Fortress of Colberg with the necessary material for the coming campaign.
On February 25, Tottleben and Werner made a truce. The Russians would not advance beyond the Stolp River, occupying Stolp and Bütow; the Prussians would not advance beyond the Wipper River, occupying Rügenwalde, Schlawe, Pollnow and Neustettin.
After the truce, prisoners of war were exchanged. Furthermore the following Prussian units were sent back to Stettin:
- Pomeranian Converged Grenadier Battalion von Ingersleben (1 bn)
- Grenadier Battalion S54/S56 Rothkirch (1 bn)
- Stettiner Freikompanien (2 coys)
- Pomeranian Provincial Hussars von Hohendorff (2 sqns)
During these negotiations,Tottleben had the opportunity to get in contact with the Duke von Bevern, who would later help him to join the Prussian service.
The truce, which was valid until May 12, was extended to May 27.
Preparations for the siege of Colberg
The Prussians employed the month of May for collecting food supplies, fodder and ammunition for Colberg. For their part, the Russians organized magazines in Konitz (present-day Chojnice) and Markisch Friedland. They wanted to make themselves master of the fortress of Colberg to dispose of a base of operation which they could supply by sea.
On May 18, the corps of the Prince of Württemberg set out from Stettin, this corps consisted of:
- I./IR16 Dohna (1 bn)
- I./IR2 Kanitz (1 bn)
- IR46 Grabow (2 bns)
- IR45 Kassel (1 bn)
- DR12 Württemberg (5 sqns)
On June 4, the prince of Württemberg encamped under the walls of Colberg, his left anchored on the farm of Bullewinkel and his right on the Persante River. The hill on which his camp was established had the form of a square angle with the village of Neckin at the summit of this angle. His front was covered by a very deep ravine; his left by impracticable marshes; and his right was unassailable.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Württemberg's corps on June 8 after the arrival of Thadden.|
On June 8, general Thadden arrived at Colberg from Glogau (present-day Glogow) with 4 battalions of grenadiers. These Prussian forces occupied the right bank of the Persante river where they began entrenching. Besides the Prussian troops, 200 peasants were also employed at these works. With these reinforcements, Württemberg now had 9,343 foot (including 2,214 grenadiers) and 2,771 horse under his command, not counting the 2,000 men stationed inside the fortress. However, to the exception of the grenadiers, the Prussian units at Colberg were not very trustworthy and were prone to desertion.
Russian plans assumed that Buturlin with the main army would set out for Silesia where it would make a junction with an Austrian army under the command of Loudon. Meanwhile, another Russian army under Rumyantsev (about 18,000 men) would turn the attention of the Prussians away from Buturlin's march. This second Russian army, after having been resupplied from the sea, would then advance against the fortress of Colberg.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Rumyantsev's army during the campaign|
Tchernichev's corps was supposed to leave from Dirschau (present-day Tczew) and, marching through Stargard and Konitz, to reach Wronek (present-day Wronki). The 1st Division was supposed to set off from Tanning (present-day Opalenie), through Nakel (present-day Nakło), to Scharnikau (present-day Czarnków); the 2nd Division from Thorn (present-day Toruń), through Pakosch (present-day Pakość) and Kletzko (present-day Kłecko) to Posen (present-day Poznań); the 3rd Division, through Schwetz (present-day Świecie) and Crone an der Brahe (present-day Koronowo), to Stolpmünde (present-day Ustka); the Reserve artillery from around Meiburg (present-day Nowe), through Schwetz, Nakel and Znin, to Posen. Meanwhile, Totleben's corps was supposed to cover these movements in the regions of Bärwalde, Tempelburg, Markisch Friedland (present-day Mirosławiec). Finally, Rumyantsev's corps would set off from Marienwerder (present-day Kwidzyn) and march towards Konitz.
On May 7, Tottleben received the order to remain in Pomerania until the arrival of Rumyantsev. Then he should cooperate with Rumyantsev because the latter's corps was too weak to oppose the Prussian forces assembled at Colberg. However Tottleben received full freedom of action.
Rumyantsev then received instructions from Buturlin about his operation against Colberg. According to these instructions, Rumyantsev should first capture Köslin where Durnov's force would disembark the siege train. Then, Durnov would disembark near Colberg (as in 1758) and open trenches according to ingenieur Du Moulin's plan.
Once Colberg captured, Rumyantsev was supposed to leave 2,000 men to garrison the fortress and to concentrate his main force at Köslin and, if very favourable conditions materialize, to advance on Berlin. Furthermore, instructions of the War Commissary at the court stated that, if a Prussian relief force appeared in front of Colberg, the Russian garrison should destroy all fortifications and retire on Köslin. Tottleben for his part had to establish supply bases in Konitz, Głuchów, Neustettin and Rummelsburg (present-day Miastko) while the Russian fleet would assist in the establishment of similar bases in Leba and Rügenwalde. Meanwhile, Rumyantsev bought food with the money obtained from contributions of the Pomeranian towns. Plunders and other exactions were specifically forbidden. Rumyantsev expected reinforcements from Nieviadomski's force (15 third battalions) and Durnov's command.
The corps totalled some 7,000 in 9 battalions and consisted of:
- Koporskiy (3 bns for a total of 2,614 men)
- Tobolskiy (2 bns for a total of 1,719 men)
- Ingermlandskiy (1 bn of 540 to 700 men)
- Astrachanskiy (1 bn of 540 to 700 men)
- 1st Moscowskiy (1 bn of 540 to 700 men)
- Kabardaskiy (1 bn of 540 to 700 men)
On May 20, Buturlin's main army reached Posen.
Russians slowly advance on Colberg
After May 27, for several weeks nothing practical followed. The Prussians reinforced, revictualled and fortified Colberg. Eugen of Würtemberg and his 12,000 men took charge of the outside while Heyde commanded the fortress. Eugen surrounded Colberg with a fortified camp.
Tottleben's light troops operated against the Prussian line of communication between Colberg and Stettin. Indeed, Tottleben's raids were so efficient that, besides destroying 127 Prussian wagons, the Prussians thought they were surrounded. Only the arrival of the Prussian cavalry enabled to reopen communications.
On May 26, Rumyantsev set off towards Pomerania in two columns.
On May 30, Rumyantsev reached Tuchel (present-day Tuchola).
When the prince of Württemberg received intelligence that Rumyantsev was advancing with less than 10,000 men, he proposed to Frederick to attack him. However, Frederick had already engaged part of his troops in Goltz's enterprise against Buturlin in Silesia and he hoped that these measures would be sufficient to put a stop to the campaign of the entire Russian army.
On June 1, Rumyantsev arrived at Konitz.
On June 8, Rumyantsev reached Rummelsburg.
On June 14, Rumyantsev arrived at Körlin and deployed his corps between between the Alt Belz (present-day Stare Bielice) and Neu Klenz.
During the night of June 14 to 15, there was a small skirmish near Belgard between 35 sharpshooters and 40 hussars under the command of lieutenant Gans and 40 cossacks who were driven back. However, the cossacks were soon reinforced by 200 horse who were driven off once more by the Prussians accurate fire. The cossacks received further reinforcements, bringing their total force to 700 men and finally drove back the Prussian hussars, taking 14 prisoners.
On June 15, Tottleben wanted to undertake an expedition against Neustettin but Rumyantsev disagreed because it would divert the Russians from their main task.
In Steinfurt, Rumyantsev made a junction with Jeropkin who was at the head of a dragoon brigade (Arkhangelorodskiy and Tobolskiy) and a company of ingenieurs.
On June 16, Rumyantsev encamped near Pollnow (present-day Polanów), taking position between Nedlin and Barzenin.
On June 22, Rumyantsev reached Gollenberg (now part of Koszalin) and Köslin, where he left 1 infantry regiment and 3 squadrons of dragoons. He also left 1 battalion of grenadiers and another one of musketeers in the area of Köslin. The Russian cavalry prevented the Prussians to get any intelligence about the strength of the Russian army. The same day, Werner, commanding the Prussian outposts, saw the first Russian troops and skirmished with cossacks at Varchmin. The latter feigned a precipitous retreat, then suddenly turned back and attacked the hussars in flanks and rear, putting them to flight.
Organisation of the Rumyantsev's corps
For about 8 more weeks, Rumyantsev haggled along through Köslin, Körlin, Belgard, flowing slowly forward upon Werner's outposts.
Tottleben received orders from field marshal Buturlin to send 1,000 cossacks, 1 hussar regiment and all his infantry to reinforce Rumyantsev for the siege corps.
On June 26, the infantry brigade (Kievskiy, Viatskiy and Muromskiy infantry rgts) supported by a 1 battalion with 4 unicorns under the command of Beketov, which had been sent by Tottleben, made a junction with Rumyantsev's corps. With these reinforcements, Rumyantsev could now count on some 10,000 men. His force consisted of:
- Grenadiers from 3 unidentified regiments (2 bns for a total of 2,500 men including 204 sick)
- Novgorodskiy (2 bns for a total of 1,915 men including 162 sick)
- Voronejskiy (2 bns for a total of 1,911 men including 158 sick)
- Bjeloserskiy (2 bns for a total of 1,918 men including 165 sick)
- Arkhangelogorodskiy Dragoons (5 sqns for a total of 1,047 men including 160 sick)
- Tobolskiy Dragoons (5 sqns for a total of 1,092 men including 189 sick)
- Gruzinskiy Hussars (5 sqns for a total of 836 men including 35 sick)
- Krasnozekov Cossacks (2 pulks for a total of 1,000)
- Artillery (28 guns and 592 men)
Contrarily to Tottleben's troops, those of Rumyantsev were disciplined. Rumyantsev wrote to Lantinghausen, the commander-in-chief of the Swedish army operating in Pomerania, to propose him to undertake joint operations. The Swedes would block any communication between Colberg and Stettin. However, Lantinghausen declined to participate to this scheme, pretending that the Prussian garrison of Stettin presented a danger for his weak army and that he could not detach it towards Colberg. Furthermore, Tottleben did not agree to directly assist Rumyantsev's corps during the siege of Colberg.
Meanwhile, Rumyantsev was informed by colonel Asz about Tottleben's secret contact with Frederick. Sabatko, a messenger which Tottleben had sent to Kostschin (present-day Kostrzyn) with an escort of cossacks, was caught. He carried documents in which the route of march of the Russian army from Posen to Silesia was described. He was arrested but Tottleben gave as an excuse that Frederick had asked him for his intercession in Saint-Petersburg in return for his son who was prisoner of the Prussians. During interrogation, Sabatko admitted that he acted as a courier between Tottleben, Frederick and Henri. Letters to Werner were also found in Tottleben's papers. Tottleben, his butler and Sabatko were sent back to Saint-Petersburg. After 1763, Tottleben received his pardon from Empress Catherine and became commander in the Russian army and even led the campaign against the Turks in Georgia.
Württemberg planned to attack Rumyantsev's corps but Frederick did not authorise him to proceed.
On July 5, Rumyantsev received reinforcements from Posen under the command of brigadier Nieviadomski. These reinforcements totalled 4,050 men (including 750 sick) and consisted of 15 weak third battalions (see the detailed order of battle of the Russian army under Rumyantsev for an enumeration of these units).
These third battalions were gathered from various regions of Russia and assembled at Marienwerder. These new troops were incorporated into Rumyantsev's units, every musketeer regiment receiving troops drafted from these third battalions. With the remaining grenadiers of these reinforcements, Rumyantsev formed 6 mixed depot battalions who served for the capture of Köslin, and to guard the magazines at Zanow, the bakery and the field hospital. One of these depot battalion was named "Staff Battalion" and guarded Rumyantsev's headquarters. Two others were designated ”light battalions” or "jägers".
Grenadiers battalions from following coys:
- 1st Converged Grenadier Battalion under lieutenant-colonel Volkov
- Kievskiy (2 coys)
- Voronejskiy (1 coy)
- 2nd Converged Grenadier Battalion under lieutenant-colonel Grudavkov
- Muromskiy (2 coys)
- Voronejskiy (1 coy)
- 3rd Converged Grenadier Battalion under lieutenant-colonel Guriev
- 3rd Grenadier (2 coys)
- Viatskiy (1 coy)
- 4th Converged Grenadier Battalion under major Golitsin
- Viatskiy (1 coy)
- Novgorodskiy (2 coys)
- No commander
- Bjeloserskiy (2 grenadier coys)
Rumyantsev now had 89 guns and from 17,000 to 19,000 men. His artillery was formed as follow:
- 3 brigades of 5 field pieces each
- each infantry regiment had: 4 light guns, 2 Shuvalov guns and 1 big howitzer
- each grenadier regiment had: 6 guns, 2 Shuvalov guns and 1 big howitzer
- each converged grenadier battalion had: 2 guns
- each dragoon or cossack regiment had 2 light guns
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Rumyantsev's corps on June 15 at Pollnow.|
While encamped at Pollnow, Rumyantsev organised his corps, assembling grenadier companies into converged battalions and grouping his various units into brigades. He then waited for the arrival of the fleet.
A French diplomat was supposed to ease communications between Rumyantsev and the Swedish headquarters.
The Russian fleet sets sail
On July 12, the Russian squadron of admiral Polanski set sail from Danzig to join Rumyantsev's corps in front of Colberg. This squadron consisted of 16 warships, 2 artillery transport ships, 7 smaller 20-guns ships and 17 transport ships (each carrying 200 soldiers) and 25 other ships. The squadron transported about 500 artillerymen, 7,000 infantrymen and 42 medium and heavy guns along with provisions, ammunition (400 rounds per man) and supplies. More precisely, the 42 guns consisted of:
- 20 x 24-pdrs guns
- 6 x 5-pdrs mortars
- 6 x 80-pdrs unicorns
- 10 * 40-pdrs unicorns
By July 30, the Russian fleet had finally appeared in front of Rügenwalde. It then disembarked the siege equipment, war materials, supplies and troopers in Rügenwalde under the escort of 5 ships and 7 frigates.
By August 1, the unloading of the material from the ships was completed. These reinforcements brought Rumyantsev's force to more than 27,000 men.
On August 12, Durnov's brigade (9 bns) made a junction with Rumyantsev's corps. Upon arrival, part of these 9 inexperienced battalions were used to reinforce Rumyantsev's depleted regiments, only 4 out of these 9 bns remaining independent. Indeed, as per the new regulation, the old regiments should count of 2 battalions of 5 coys each (without grenadiers) and one reserve coy. Durnov's brigade encamped at Zanow while Rumyantsev's corps was encamped at Alt Belz. To feed these additional troops, daily rations had to be reduced from 14 to 8 portions. All horses from the neighbouring villages were commandeered to transport the guns and baggage of these new battalions. Artillery and supplies were collected in Köslin.
On August 17, 6 Russian ships-of-war showed themselves in front of Colberg.
On 18 August, Rumyantsev set off in two columns for Massow (present-day Maszewo) and Nosówko. The advanced guard consisted of 7 dragoon sqns under the command of Dewitz dragoons (on the road from Köslin to Körlin) and Maszkilin cossacks (forming a cordon from Nosówko to the sea). Colonel Gruzdavtsiev commanded the left column (2nd Grenadier Battalion, 4 guns and 2 x 20-pdrs unicorns) marched to Körlin. The right column, under colonel Bibkov, marched to Wyganowo (unidentified location). Next marched, brigadier Brandt at the head of the 1st and 5th Grenadier Battalions, Voronejskiy Infantry and 2 x 40-pdrs unicorns between Nosówko and Warnin. Next came Rumyantsev's main force advancing on Nosówko. Colonel Münster covered the left flank with 3 sqns of dragoons, 2 sqns of hussars and 300 cossacks (marching to Kuwańce). He was assisted by colonel. Müller with 1 bn of infantry and 100 hussars (marching from Köslin to Belgard. Brigadier Nieviadomski led the rearguard (400 infantry and 100 hussars).
On August 19, Rumyantsev got possession of Körlin, Belgard and the outposts on the Persante River. Werner retired without bombardment.
On August 22, Rumyantsev installed his main posts at Quetzin and Degow. He was now within sight of Colberg, only 12 km west of him. During the advance of the Russian army on Colberg, their light troops frequently skirmished with Prussian hussars
On August 24, the Russian fleet sailed to Colberg.
Siege of Colberg
From August 24, the Russians made the siege of Colberg. They tried to cut any supply to the town.
On August 27, the Swedish fleet arrived at Colberg to assist the Russians. Finally, the Russian ships and then the Swedish as well, all got to their moorings. They numbered 12 ships of the line with 42 frigates and gunboats.
N.B.: the following operations receive a detailed coverage in the article dedicated to the siege of Colberg.
Prussian attempts against the Russian lines of communication
On September 11, the prince of Württemberg sent Werner with a small detachment of 2,300 men to operate against the rear of the Russian army on its line of communications and to attack its magazines Rügenwalde (present-day Darłowo), Zanow (present-day Sianow), Köslin (present-day Koszalin). The same day, Frederick decided to send a small corps under Platen in a raid in Greater Poland (Wielkopolska) against the Russian supply lines. Platen was instructed to destroy Russian magazines in Greater Poland and to return to the main body or join the Prince of Württemberg at Colberg.
On September 12, Werner reached Treptow and rashly put his troops into cantonments in the neighbouring villages in a radius of 6 km. However, the screen of Russian light troops soon detected Werner's movements. Russian troops encircled his positions. Then, colonel Bibikov surprised him and took him prisoner on the outskirts of Treptow with the Freikorps and about 100 dragoons. The rest of the Prussian cavalry rallied and drove back the Russians towards Kletkow. The Prussians then retired after taking 100 prisoners .
On September 13, the remnants of Werner's force managed to return to Neumark.
On September 19, Rumyantsev repeatedly attempted to storm the Green redoubt but was repulsed each time. After these unsuccessful attempts, he realized that this method did not work. He then limited his actions at firing at the fortress from the sea, blockading the place and reinforcing his own entrenchments.
After Platen's initial successes in Greater Poland, Buturlin got worried and instructed Dolgoruki to cover Rumyantsev's operation with the 3rd Division.
Platen heads for Colberg
On September 22, after an engagement at Landsberg, Platen decided to head for Colberg, pursued by Russian troops.
On September 26, Platen reached Arenswalde (unidentified location).
On September 27, Platen formed a junction with part of the cavalry of the prince of Württemberg at Freienwalde.
During the following days, colonel Kleist was sent out to join the supply convoy (food, forage and ammunition) sent from Stettin.
On September 30, Platen attacked major Wettitz at Körlin, capturing 67 men.
On October 1, the main Russian army under Buturlin, which was retreating from Silesia, had reached Driesen (present-day Drezdenko) in Pomerania. Platen now headed towards Spie, approaching Colberg. Rumyantsev sent out Brandt with a strong detachment to prevent Platen from reaching Colberg. However, Brandt did not get to Spie in time and Platen was able to force the Russian defences and to reach the camp of the prince of Württemberg with reinforcements. Supplies were now running short in the Prussian camp.
On October 2, Platen took position at Prettmin (present-day Przećmino), on the left bank of the Persante, to the right of the Prussian entrenched camp. The Prussian corps at Colberg now counted some 16,000 men, thus making the lack of provisions even more serious. Indeed, provisions had to come from Stettin by Gollnow through many obstacles.
On October 16, the main Russian army retiring from Silesia encamped at Dramburg (present-day Drawsko Pomorskie), thus making it impossible to send provisions from Stettin to Colberg. Buturlin then detached Berg and Fermor on Greiffenberg with instructions to advance up to Treptow.
Platen tries to resupply Colberg
Furthermore, Württemberg detached Platen with a strong force (8 bns, 42 sqns) to draw the attention of the Russian detachments operating near Greiffenberg. Once this accomplished, Platen was ordered to march to Gollnow to make a junction with Kleist and the supply convoy. Finally, Knobloch would take post behind Treptow to bring back the battalion and the provisions stored there.
On October 17, Platen set off from Prettmin.
On October 18, Platen reached Gollnow.
On October 19, Platen encamped at Schwanteshagen (present-day Świętoszewo).
On October 20, Dolgoruki crossed the Persante river and encamped at Garrin. The same day, Platen detached Courbières towards Zarnglaff (present-day Czarnoglowy) with 1 grenadier battalion and 450 hussars to reconnoitre the Russian positions and to buy food in the surrounding country. A ring of Russian forces was now rapidly tightening around Platen's force. Constantly harassed, Platen reached Gollnow where he was reinforced by IR42 Kleist Fusiliers. The convoy from Stettin joined him there. The same day, Knobloch reached Treptow. Meanwhile, Buturlin's main army had marched to Regenwalde and Buturlin had detached Fermor to join Berg's light corps and to attack Platen and cut him any possible retreat on Stettin.
On October 21, a Russian corps appeared in front of Treptow and surrounded the town, thus isolating Knobloch's small force. The same day, Courbières was finally encircled and defeated in the engagement of Zarnglaff where he was forced to surrender.
In the night of October 21, Platen decamped from Schwanteshagen and marched through the forest of Kautreck, under the constant fire of Russian light troops. 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.
On October 22, during the Combat of Gollnow, the Russian corps of Fermor and Berg attacked and captured the town. However, Platen had previously retired and deployed in a strong position. Fermor reconnoitred his position but did not attack. Platen was now unable to return to Colberg and his convoy was forced to retrace its steps towards Stettin. 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.
On October 23 at 4:00 am, Rumyantsev joined the Russian corps preparing to lay siege to Treptow with reinforcements. The place was defended by general Knobloch. The same day, Platen retired to Damm.
On October 25, Knobloch, isolated at Treptow and completely surrounded since 4 days, was forced to surrender as prisoner of war with his 1,800 men. All communications between Stettin and Colberg were now interrupted.
Meanwhile, Platen had received orders from Frederick instructing him to march towards Berlin through Stargard, Passkrug (unidentified location) and Pyritz (present-day Pyrzyce).
At Pyritz, Platen encountered a Russian detachment consisting of a reserve battalion with one 12-pdrs and two 3-pdrs guns. Captain du Troffel advanced upon this detachment with his horse artillery and fired canister at close range, routing them. On the way, another skirmish with a detachment of Russian cavalry took place at Altdamm (present-day Dąbie). Platen's force now counted less than 3,000 men in 6 bns and 2,100 cavalry in 38 sqns. Platen's march towards Berlin forced Berg to move to Greiffenberg to cover the Russian camp at Colberg.
Württemberg escapes from Colberg
On November 1, Rumyantsev summoned the prince of Württemberg to capitulate but his offer was declined. With supplies running very short, Württemberg finally resolved to break through the Russian blockade with his corps.
On November 2, the main Russian army marched from Dramburg for its winter quarters in Poland, leaving Berg's corps as reinforcement to Rumyantsev.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Platen's corps on November 9 after his junction with Schenckendorf.|
On November 9, the corps under the command of general Schenckendorf, sent by Frederick II from Breslau to reinforce Platen, joined the latter at Pyritz. Schenckendorf's corps consisted of 4,000 infantry in 8 bns (Grenadier battalions 35/36 Schwarz and 29/31 Falkenhayn with Infantry regiments Ramin, Prinz Ferdinand and IR34) and 30 hussars from Frei Corps von Schony with 6 heavy 6-pdrs. Schenckendorf had marched by Glogau, Crossen an Oder (present-day Krosno), Frankfurt an Oder, Cüstrin, Karsko and Pyritz. Platen was now at the head of about 9,500 men.
On November 10, Platen marched from Pyritz to Arnswalde (present-day Choszczno).
During the night of November 13 to 14, leaving only a garrison of 4 battalions in Colberg, the prince of Württemberg prepared to leave Colberg by the Colberger Deep road. He assembled boats to throw a bridge across the Rega and transported them behind the dunes of the Kamper pond.
On November 14, Platen and Schenckendorf combined forced reached Naugard, pushing back Berg's corps who retired to Freienwalde. At 7:00 PM, the prince of Württemberg marched from Colberg. The guards of the outposts were left in place to hide his movement.
On November 15 at 1:00 PM, the prince of Württemberg reached Colberger Deep. However, the trestle bridge was not yet completed and his vanguard passed the Rega aboard 17 small boats. As soon as the bridge was ready, the rest of the Prussian corps passed the Rega and moved through the marshes across an old dyke which the Russian had neglected to guard. The same day, the prince of Württemberg reached Treptow, chasing Russian detachments before him. Meanwhile, Platen and Schenkendorf had marched from Naugard to Koldemanz (present-day Kolomac) where they were informed of the prince of Württemberg's march. They then advanced to make a junction with Württemberg, Platen reached Greiffenberg where Jakovlev was encamped with about 3,000 infantry (6 bns) and 1,000 horse (cossacks and horse dragoons). Platen made himself master of the town and bridges, and bombarded the Russian camp.
On November 16, the prince of Württemberg ordered Platen to march to Plathe and to repair its bridge. Württemberg's avant-garde then formed a junction with Platen's corps in Greiffenberg. Supplies and wagons were left behind.
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of Württemberg's corps on November 17 after his junction with Platen.|
On November 17, Berg bombarded Greiffenberg after Württemberg's main army had formed a junction with Platen's corps. Württemberg was now at the head of 11,560 foot in 28 bns and 2,900 badly mounted cavalry. He resolved to march southward to protect his line of communication with Stettin and have the opportunity to turn the Russian positions.
On November 18, the prince of Württemberg marched to Falkenburg (present-day Zlocieniec). The same day, Zoric at the head of 2 Russian hussar regiments and other mounted troops (total of 11 sqns) clashed with a Prussian detachment and pursue it. Finckenstein Dragoons covered the retreat of the Prussian detachment, loosing 1 officer and 95 privates taken prisoners. The Russians also suffered some losses and had to retire. Meanwhile, Berg's corps was in in Zabrowo. Nevertheless, Rumyantsev remained focused on the siege of Colberg tightening its grip on the fortress and taking post at Gostyn with a large corps to cover the siege.
On November 20, Württemberg sent ill and wounded to Stettin and installed his bakery in Regenwalde.
On November 22, Berg's rearguard engaged Grenadier Battalion Falkenhayn defending the Prussian camp at Lekowo (present-day Lekowo). The movements of Württemberg's corps were closely observed by the Russian light cavalry.
On November 25, Rumyantsev ordered brigadier Brandt to take new positions on the left bank of the Persante from Colberg to Spie to prevent any relief to reach the fortress. Uglitskiy Infantry covered the bridges behind Brandt's lines. The Russian 1st division, under Dolgoruki went to Grossjestin, the 2nd Division, under Olic, took position between Poblat (present-day Pobłocie Male) and Skronie while a battalion was sent to Körlin and Belgard. Colonel Budein of the Observation Corps was in Cammin (present-day Kamień), dragoons in Wefelow (present-day Wlewo), Krasnoczekov's cossacks in Borzyno (present-day Borzecin). Berg' corps took position in Lepnin (present-day Lepino). Finally, Jakovlev was stationed in Kolberger Deep (present-day Dźwirzyno) with the 3rd and 6th Grenadier Battalions and infantry regiments Riazanskiy, Kegsgolmskiy, Viatskiy and Kievskiy. The same day, the Prussians lost 60 men at Mysłowice.
On November 26, Shetniev attacked a Prussian encampment at Fierhof with Rizhskiy Horse Grenadiers, Vengerskiy Hussars, 1st Novoserbskiy (Horvat) Hussars, Tverskiy Dragoons and Tobolskiy Dragoons. During this engagement, the Grenadier Battalion 17/22 Rothenburg lost 107 men (including 2 officers and 44 privates taken prisoners). The same day, Buturlin left Pomerania and marched to Marienwerder. There were now 4 Russian armies in operation:
- Rumyantsev assisted by Berg, Dolgoruki and Fermor in Pomerania
- Volkovysky at Posen, covering the Warthe river
- Czernishev in Silesia
- main army in Greater Poland.
On November 29 and 30, the combined corps of Württemberg and Platen marched from Regenwalde to Naugard where they waited for a convoy of supplies arriving from Stettin. Kleist brigade was sent to Gulzow (present-day Golczewo) to install the bakery.
About this time, Berg divided his corps into two columns:
- right column under Krasnoczekov:
- Cossack (4 pulks or about 400 men)
- Tverskiy Dragoons under Suvorov
- 2 guns
- left column under Zoric:
- Vengerskiy Hussars
- Croatian Hussars (a few squadrons, approx. 3 sqns, added to Vengersky Hussars Regiment – similarly to the Bosniaks accompanying HR5 in the Prussian army)
- 2 guns
On December 2, near Kislau (present-day Wierzbięcin) the 2 columns of Berg's corps assaulted a Prussian detachment while it was on the march. Hussars and cossacks attacked on the left and Suvorov on the right. The Prussian Prinz Ferdinand Fusilier regiment (consisting mostly of recruits) lost 30 wounded and killed and 71 prisoners. Württemberg quickly sent reinforcements (6 bns, Plettenberg Dragoons and Württemberg Dragoons), forcing Suvorov to retreat.
On December 3, Prussian general Thadden was sent to Cammin. Berg's corps now counted 6 cossacks pulks, 5 regiments of dragoons and horse grenadiers, 6 regiments of hussars and 4 infantry battalions.
Württemberg last attempt to relieve Colberg
On December 7, Württemberg decided to march towards Treptow.
On December 9, Württemberg arrived near Treptow where he found a small Russian cavalry force occupying the town (2 dragoon rgts, 2 hussar rgts and some cossacks). He placed Grenadier Battalion 13/26 Schwerin, Kalckstein Volunteers and some artillery on a nearby hill. Then, he deployed the rest of his infantry in line. The Russian force evacuated the town where Württemberg established his headquarters, assigning Werner Hussars as garrison.
On December 10 at 10:00 PM, a Prussian convoy of 1,000 wagons with supplies, medicines, provisions and ammunition arrived at Treptow, under escort of major's Rohr's detachment.
On December 11, Württemberg marched from Treptow in 2 columns, escorting the convoy. It was cold and snowing.
On December 12, the Russians put a stop to the advance of the Prussian relief column at the combat of Spie, forcing the Prussians to retire.
On December 13, Württemberg's army along with the convoy began its retreat towards Treptow and Stettin, desertion were numerous during this retreat.
Finally, the isolated Prussian garrison of Colberg surrendered on December 16.
The armies take their winter quarters
|Order of Battle|
|Detailed order of battle of the Prussian corps in Eastern Pomerania in their winter quarters in December 1761.
Detailed order of battle of the Russian army in its winter quarters in December 1761.
On December 20, while Platen and Schenckendorf marched towards Saxony by Schwedt and Berlin, general Thadden with 4 grenadier battalions (Beneckendorf, Kleist, Bock and Busch ) along with Ruesch and Malachowski hussars went to Lausig (???maybe Lusatia???). Meanwhile, the prince of Württemberg took his winter quarters in Mecklenburg.
Meanwhile, the Russian army also took its winter quarters. Troops were stationed in the Pomeranian villages from Köslin, Treptow, Belgard and Rügenwalde to Neu Stettin. Berg with all the light cavalry and two battalions of grenadiers (4th and 8th) occupied the line of communications from Driesen through Treptow up to Cammin to cover theRussian winter quarters in Pomerania.
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Tomasz Karpiński (student at the Institute of History, University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań, Poland) for the initial version of this article
Harald Skala for the translation and integration of info from Kessel’s work