1761 - Swedish campaign in Pomerania – Prussian counter-offensive

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War (Main Page) >> Campaigns >> 1761 - Swedish campaign in Pomerania >> Prussian counter-offensive

The campaign of 1761 in Pomerania lasted from July to January 1762.. This article describes the second phase of the campaign from September to October 1761.

Introduction

The Swedes' preparations and their summer offensive from July 19 to August 31 are described in our article 1761 - Swedish campaign in Pomerania – Swedish summer offensive.

Description of events

Engagements at Klempenow

On August 31 1761, a Prussian detachment (5 infantry coys and 1 hussar bn), under the command of major Zülow, tried to force its way across the Tollense river near Klempenow which was defended by lieutenant-colonel Gyldener at the head of 1 bn of Västerbottens Infantry. Zülow's attempt was unsuccessful. Further attacks were postponed until the arrival of Stutterheim's corps. Until then, Belling took new positions at Golchen. During this time, the Swedish force at Klempenow had been reinforced by 1 bn of Skaraborgs Infantry, some Hästjägare and heavy artillery. These troops took position in the town and bridge of Klempenow and on the road leading to Anklam. Stutterheim's corps finally joined Belling. This corps consisted of:

With these reinforcements, Belling was not at the head of approximately 4,000 men with 9 guns.

On September 1, major Stojenthin (from Stutterheim's corps) with 2 infantry coys and 3 heavy guns assaulted the Swedish positions at Klempenow once more with the same result: the Prussian losing some men and being driven back.

On September 2, Stutterheim left artillery covered by some troops in front of Klempenow. The artillery was instructed to open on the Swedish positions while the supporting troops would skirmish with the defenders in order to keep them busy. He then sent Bellings’ corps towards Broock to cross the Tollense and then to turn the Swedish positions at Klempenow. Stutterheim then encamped at Hohenmocker with his main body. Despite the skirmishes taking place in front of Klempenow, the Swedish commander was informed of Belling's manoeuvre and immediately sent 1 bn of Västerbottens Infantry to Broock. To allow the battalion to march faster, the equipment of the soldiers was loaded on wagons and carts. Nevertheless, Belling arrived at Broock ahead of Västerbottens Infantry and the Swedes were driven back on Demmin. Their baggage as well as an escort of 30 men were taken prisoners by Prussian hussars. The rest of the Swedish force occupying Klempenow was now isolated and had no choice but to retire on their main army at Boldekow. Prussian troops immediately occupied the abandoned positions at Klempenow, Broock and Breest. Finally Belling sent a party of hussars towards Boldekow to observe the movements of the Swedes. A skirmish took place between the Prussian hussars and the Swedish Hästjägare, more than 20 men of this latter unit were captured, including captain Rosenguist.

On September 4, the main Swedish army tried to recover its positions at Klempenow. The bridge, road and town were defended by Hullessen and Kenewitz Freikorps supported by Stutterheim's artillery. The Prussian detachment was under the command of captain Hullessen while the Swedish infantry was lead by general Cronhjelm. The Swedes were repulsed, losing many soldiers in this unsuccessful attack. Hullesen lost 4 officers and some privates (sources are silent about the exact number). Ehrensvärd, the commander-in-chief of the Swedish army, then opted for retreat., leaving only a small detachment (Västerbottens Infantry, Böhnens Fribataljon and some cavalry) under general Carpelan near the Tollense. Ehrensvärd also sent light troops towards Ferdinandshof where the Prussian detachment of major Knobelsdorf was posted. The latter retired to Ückermünde.

On September 5, Belling sent lieutenant-colonel Goltz to Rothemühl were he engaged Sprengtporten's detachment. After this skirmish, Goltz retreated to Woldegk. Belling and Stutterheim then moved closer to Stettin (actual Szczecin).

In the night of September 6, six Prussian armed boats captured a Swedish galley and an espinger in the Stettiner Haff near Wollin (actual Wolin).

On September 7, about 100 men belonging to the Blå Hussars; under the command of Tranefelt, Silfverstolpe and Siewerts; came to contact with the entire regiment of Belling Hussars near Jatzke. For the first time in the war, the Swedish hussars charged with sabres drawn. The Swedish hussars fought long enough to allow Sprengtporten's light brigade to arrive on the scene of action. Sprengtporten was especially furious that Lieutenant Läwe had not recalled his hussars when he realized that they were facing the entire regiment of Belling Hussars. When the Prussians and Swedes exchanged prisoners of war, Wilhelm von Belling expressed his admiration for the courage of these hussars.

On September 8, Stutterheim marched to Bargensdorf and then to Kublank where he made a junction with Goltz detachment. The same day, Bevern, fearing a junction of Swedish and Russian forces, sent major Paulsdorf and captain Seld from Stettin with a small infantry detachment to destroy the Swedish bridge linking the island of Wollin to Western Pomerania. The small Prussian detachment accomplish its task without suffering any loss.

On September 9, Belling Hussars ambushed the vanguard of Hessenstein's corps in the woods near Jatzke. They charged the Swedish cavalry forming the vanguard from three sides: 3 sqns charged on each flank while 4 sqns charged frontally. Hessensteins corps consisted of 4 bns and 2 cavalry rgts. His vanguard was defeated. In this action, the Prussian hussars lost 3 men killed, 11 wounded and 22 taken prisoners while the Swedes lost 4 officers and about 50 men.

On September 11, general Werner was captured during the campaign in Eastern Pomerania against the Russians and Stutterheim was ordered to take position at Stettin.

On September 12, Ehrensvärd sent lieutenant-general Hessenstein to reinforce his brother, major-general Hessenstein, commanding the Swedish corps occupying Wollin. Reinforcements consisted of:

After the departure of Hessenstein, Ehrensvärd's main army counted about 11,000 to 11,900 men.

On September 15, according to his orders, Stutterheim marched towards Stettin by Woldegk, Pasewalk and Löcknitz. By this date, the Swedes had, at Wollin and in Pomerania, a total of 13,791 men (including 3,098 cavalry with 2,988 horses, and 1,152 artillerymen counting Nylands Infantry who served with the artillery). The departure of Stutterheim offered to Ehrensvärd the opportunity to retake the initiative and to launch another offensive against Belling's small force. The Swedish army concentrated in 2 columns.

On September 16, one of the Swedish column, under the command of Sprengtporten, marched to Ferdinandshof.

Combat at Kosabroma

On September 17, Stutterheim reached Stettin. The same day, the second Swedish column (7 bns, 2 cavalry rgts and some hussars), under general Lybecker, marched to Woldegk. Ehrensvärd wanted to crush Belling's force in a pincer movement. Belling immediately concentrated most of his units and decided to stop Lybecker's column first. He engaged it at the combat of Kosabroma. His attack nearly succeeded but he was forced to retire leaving Goltz at Kosabroma to delay Lybecker.

On September 18, Goltz skirmished with Lybecker's column in the area of Kosabroma. However, Lybecker resumed his march forward. Belling withdrew towards Rothemühl where the Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben1 and Grenadier Battalion S54/S56 Rothkirch, arriving from Pasewalk, should join him. The same day, Sprengtporten's vanguard pursued Knobelsdorf's detachment (200 infantry, 50 hussars) which had been defending Ferdinandshof. Knobelsdorf skirmished with light troops of the Swedish vanguard (Frikompanie Lundberg and Silverstolpe) while retreating on Rothemühl. On his way, Knobelsdorf had been reinforced by 2 Freicompanien from Stettin who delayed the Swedes pursuit. Sprengtporten sent 1 bn Skaraborgs Infantry towards Rothemühl while he marched to Torgelow with the rest of his column.

Combat of Rothemühl-Neuensund

On September 18, Belling reached Neuensund, about 6 km west of Rothemühl. He clashed with Sprengtporten's column in the combat of Rothemühl-Neuensund. Soon overwhelmed and fearing to be caught between the two Swedish columns, Belling resolved to retire to Taschenberg, sending back the 2 grenadier battalions to Pasewalk. The Swedish columns of Lybecker and Sprengtporten made a junction at Schőnhausen and marched back to Woldegk and Strasburg.

Skirmish at Taschenberg

On September 22 (23 according to Belling and Sulicki) lieutenant-colonel Sprengtporten marched with his cavalries (450 men) and 1 grenadier battalion from Strasburg to Taschenberg, looking for contributions and supplies. In the village of Taschenberg, he stumbled on a post occupied by 800 men of Belling Hussars. Prussian initially used their firearms. The Swedes didn’t close up and the skirmish lasted about 2 hours. After this engagement, Belling passed the Uecker river. Knobelsdorf marched to Ückermünde and the other units to Torgelow while the hussars took posts near Rollwitz, Züsedom and Bandelow. Frei-Infanterie Hordt took position at Pasewalk.

During this time, the Swedens were sending small detachment across the country to collect contributions, horses and food.

On September 27, near Taschenberg, a Swedish raiding party, transporting its booty, was destroyed.

On September 29, Lybecker rejoined the main Swedish army at Boldekow while Sprengtporten continued to scour the surroundings of Ferdinandshof. Belling marched to Neuensund and Badresch and Knobelsdorf to Eggesin. Prussian posts at Torgelow were strengthened in case the Swedes attempted the crossing of the Uecker.

By October 1, Prussian troops were deployed as follows:

  • at Eggesin and Torgelow: major Knobelsdorf with II./Frei-Infanterie Hordt and 1 sqn of Belling Hussars
  • at Neumühl and Jatznick: major Stanckar and Eben each at the head of 150 horse
  • at Papendorf (near Pasewalk on the left bank of the Uecker): II./Frei-Infanterie Hordt with the rest of the cavalry
  • at Malchow (2 hours south of Pasewalk on the right bank of the Uecker: general Stutterheim (went back to Prenzlau after October 1)

N.B.: the 2 Freikompanien from Stettin had been sent back to Bevern.

At the beginning of October the Swedish army received reinforcements. Meanwhile, Russian cossacks had crossed the Oder and penetrated into the Ueckermark and in the surroundings of Stettin. Stutterheim had to detach 1 bn of Le Grand Infantry to garrison Stettin and protect it against possible Russian attempts. From Stettin, the Prussian were sending supply transport to Colberg (see Russian campaign in Pomerania). Ehrensvärd planned to pass the Peene with his main army. He also sent 2 bns (about 1,000 men) under general Cronhjelm to reinforce Hessenstein's corps which now counted almost 3,000 men.

On October 8, the main Swedish army marched from its camp at Boldekow to Anklam. Its light troops acted as rearguard before joining the army at Anklam on October 10.

On October 15, the Swedes passed the Peene even though all bridges over the river had been broken.

On October 16, Stutterheim quitted Pomerania, being recalled to Saxony by prince Henri.

On October 17, Belling took his quarters at Dargun.

The Finnish cavalry had no horse and some had been bought in Mecklenburg where gold had been contributed for supplies. The Swedes planned to create a second regiment of hussars (the Gula Hussars) of 800 men. They also raised 2 new coys of jägers.

In October, lieutenant-general Hessenstein, commanding the Swedish force on the island of Wollin, deployed 400 men along the Kammin bay (actual Zalew Kamieński) and sent small detachments to Greifenberg (actual Gryfice) and Treptow (actual Trzebiatów). However, these manoeuvres were mere demonstrations to please his Russian allies.

Continuation

The final phase of the campaign is described in the following articles:

Footnotes

1 - Grenadier Battalion Ingersleben was raised at Stettin in 1758. Major Ingersleben commanded the battalion from 1758 to 1762. It consisted of:

  • part of Recruten Battalion Tettau (1 coy) (uniform as S53 Manstein)
  • part of Recruten Battalion Stosch (1 coy) (uniform as S58 Fleming)
  • Stettin Neues Garnison Regiment Stockhausen (2 coys)

This battalion eventually took the place of Grenadier Battalion 45/G-XIII/G-IX Unruh captured at Glatz in 1760.

References

Main sources

Kessel E., Das Ende des Siebenjährigen Krieges 1760-1763, Hrgb. von T. Linder, t. 1, Padeborn – München – Wien – Zürich 2007.

Sharman A., Sweden's Role in the Seven Years War: 1761, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII, 2002.

Sulicki K. M., Der Siebenjährigen Kriegin in Pommern und in den benachbarten Marken. Studie des Detaschmentes und des kleinen Krieges, Berlin 1867.

Other sources

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

Gieraths G., Die Kampfhandlungen der Brandenburgische-preussischen Armee, Berlin 1964.

Geschichte des siebenjährigen Krieges in einer Reihe von Vorlesungen, Prussia Armee Grosser Generalstab, t. 5, cz. 2 , Berlin 1837.

Säve, Teofron Sveriges deltagande i Sjuåriga Kriget Åren 1757-1762, Beijers Bokförlagsaktiebolag, Stockholm, 1915

Straehle A., Lexicon der Schlachten, Treffen, Gefecht, Scharmutzel, Recontres, Belagerung, Neuwied 1853.

Acknowledgments

Tomasz Karpiński from Gniezno/Poznań for the initial version of this article

Gunnar W. Bergman for the action of September 7 near Jatzke