Saturday, February 23, 2013

Soor 1745

30 Sept 1745

2nd SILESIAN WAR

WAR OF THE AUSTRIAN SUCCESSION


Prussians under Frederick II: approx. 24,000
Austrians/Saxons under Prince Charles of Lorraine: approx. 41,000

 Location: 50 ° 30’ 44” N   15° 54’ 43”  E   Burkersdorf is currently called Stritezska, Trutnov, in the Czech Republic, then part of Bohemia in the Hapsburg Empire.

Sunrise: 06:01   Sunset: 17:39

Toward the close of the 2nd Silesian War between Austrian and Prussia, Frederick II, trying to get his army back across the Silesian border to safety, is strategically surprised by the sudden appearance of Prince Charles of Lorraine’s army on his flank, threatening his retreat. 



Why Is Frederick Surprised?
 The reasons for the king’s embarrassment may be that, while the Prussian Army is rated as superior in combat due to their brutal discipline and training, that very discipline works against them when it comes to battlefield security. The risk of desertion is so high that the Prussians cannot afford to post pickets outside their camp. During the 1740s, they have no light infantry formations to fill this role. And Frederick’s army by this stage of the campaign was separated from its hussar arm, which would also have provided forewarning of Charles’ movement.

His Only Card 

Frederick is not only not deployed as Charles occupies the high ground to the west of Burkersdorff, the enemy outnumber and outgun him 41,000 (including about 3700 Saxons) to 22,000. His line into Silesia cut, the Prussian king realizes that the only card he has now is a preemptive attack before the Austrians can launch theirs.

Of course, having seized the initiative and the high ground, Charles’ evident strategy is for Frederick to do just that, wasting his forces on suicidal attacks uphill in the face of superior firepower. Perhaps he anticipates that Frederick, in the true spirit of cordial 18th century warfare and card games, will see he has been trumped and fold like a gentleman.

Frederick, while a gentleman, is now fighting for his life.


Situation at 0800, 30 September. Narrative continued below the map.

The Prussians Move into Position

Fog cloaks the lower part of the battlefield until about 0800, allowing time for the Prussians to move into position in relative security. Though their flanks are theoretically exposed to enfilade gunfire from the formidable 12 pounder Austrian artillery on the Graner Kroppe, the fog protects them as they complete the dangerous maneuver in front of the enemy. By the time the mist begins to lift, Frederick has his main strike force in position opposite the Austrian left. The map show the relative positions of the armies at this point.

The Battle Starts

Frederick, holding his center and left in echelon, signals the attack on the Austrian left. Prussian cavalry charge up the steep hill of the Graner Kroppe. The Austrian cavalry, instead of using their superior numbers and elevation to counter-charge the Prussian cavalry as they puff up the hill, await the impact inertly and deliver one, ineffective volley (in contemporary Austrian tactical doctrine) before the Prussians crash into and rout them.   A counter-attack by the supporting Austrian cavalry in the second line is thwarted by the confusion of hundreds of their comrades fleeing through their own ranks. Soon, all the Austrian cavalry is in flight through the open trees, swept along by a general stampede.

The two lines of Austrian cavalry swept away, the Prussian infantry now follows the cavalry charge and moves uphill in the teeth of the  strong, canister-vomiting battery on the Graner. Decimated by the fire, they are counterattacked by the Austrian Grenadiers under Beneda and driven back down the hill.

The Prussians reform, however, and launch a renewed attack. The Austrian grenadiers, milling around downhill from the artillery battery and so masking their own guns, are overrun by the oncoming second wave of Bluecoats, who sweep over the hill, capture the guns, and force the Austrian left to collapse.

Meanwhile, What is Happening Down South?

For some reason, Charles’ right, under d’Aremburg, remains inactive during the entire battle.  His right wing cavalry make a half-hearted move to advance about midday, but are immediately counter-charged by Baron von Kyau’s cavalry, who sweep them from the field. At about noon, the entire Austrian line begins to fall back into the pine trees of the Königsreichwald.

The only other action in this quarter is a farcical raid on the defenseless Prussian camp by Austrian hussars and pandours under Nadasti and Trenck, who steal some loot, torture some hapless sutlers to death, burn some papers (otherwise valuable as intelligence), and either (according to whose account you read) hack Frederick's beloved greyhound, Biche, to death, or merely made off with her. While lamentable (particularly for the sutlers and the dog) the action proves to be completely inconsequential to the outcome of the battle or the war. Few generals know how to use light troops to strategic advantage at this stage of warfare.

A Nasty Surprise Turned into a Gift

Frederick has not only saved his army by following his own maxim of audacity, but, with a few more deft maneuvers and skirmishes, has managed to conclude this 2nd Silesian War in a favorable position for negotiation.

Though the battle is described as proportionately one of the bloodiest during the two Silesian Wars of the 1740s (7,500 Austrian and 4,000 Prussian casualties), it proves to be the final knockout blow to the Austrian will to continue. Frederick, under the Treaty of Dresden, signed in December, is finally able to keep the rich Silesian province while recognizing Maria Theresa’s claim to the Hapsburg Throne, securing, at least in terms of the eponymous War of the Austrian Succession, that monarch's political position in Europe.

War Gaming Options:

1. It might be interesting to see what would have happened had Charles or d’Aremburg taken more initiative on his right and moved on the weaker Prussian left. Charles complained that his staff was incompetent, which is why he explained the slowness of his deployment. A war game could test this theory by giving the wing commanders more autonomy and initiative.

2. Another variation would be to allow the Austrian cavalry, with their numerical superiority and higher position, to charge down on the Prussians from the Graner Koppe rather than receiving them halted. While this was contrary to contemporary Austrian doctrine of fire over movement, even at the time, Charles and others complained that their cavalry were using the doctrine to excuse cowardice.

Notes about the Map

This map was created referencing a combination of satellite images from Google Earth and maps in the works mentioned below. In order to make the formations easier to see, the ground is rendered in a homogeneous green, though it would have been more mottled and broken up into fields of various states of cultivation.

Rather than the convention of representing units as dull and imprecise blocks, the troops are represented in their actual, doctrinal formations and occupy ground that is accurate to the scale of the map. In this way one can see how wide and thin the 3 and 4 rank linear formations of the period actually were, as well as the practical limitations of 18th century linear warfare.

The size and layout of the Prussian camp is speculative and represented here in a stylized way.

To order a high resolution PDF copy of this map ( in which you can zoom down to see not only individual regiments, but individual soldiers, regimental flags, and cannon) for $15, contact me at jeff@peoplesbranding.com. I accept PayPal and can deliver the files to you via Dropbox.

Orders of Battle





 

 

 

 

 

Prussians 

Coat Color Facings Strength Guns Coys Equipment
Frederick   24,519 31    
Buddenbrock   1,570 0    
Gensd'armes C.10 800   10 Carbine
CR#1 Buddenbrock Cuir. C 1 770   10 Carbine
Posadowsky 4 2,340 0    
Garde du Corps C 13 150   2 Carbine
DR# 3 Rothenburg Drag. D 3 795   10 Carbine
CR# 2 Prinz von Preussen Cuir. C 2 755   10 Carbine
CR# 12 Kyau Cuir C12 640   10 Carbine
Jeetze & Blanckensee   3,687 3    
Wedell Gr. 15/18 607   4 Flintlock
Strantz Gr. 35/39 633   4 Flintlock
Finck Gr. 43/g7 580   4 Flintlock
IR# 3 Alt-Anhalt / 1 3.1 653   4 Flintlock
IR# 3 Alt-Anhalt / 2 3.2 588   4 Flintlock
IR# 3 Alt-Anhalt / 3 3.3 602   4 Flintlock
IR# 3 Artillery 3 a 24 3 2 3 pdrs
Fouquee & Bonin   3,180 4    
IR# 17 La Motte / 1 17.1 571   4 Flintlock
IR# 17 La Motte / 2 17.2 630   4 Flintlock
IR#17 Artillery 17a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
IR# 23 Christoph Dohna/ 1 23.1 639   4 Flintlock
IR# 23 Christoph Dohna / 2 23.2 682   4 Flintlock
IR# 23 Artillery 23 a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
Hagen Gr. 13/37 618   4 Flintlock
Ferdinand v Brunswick   10,882 14    
IR# 25 Kalckstein / 1 25.1 697   4 Flintlock
IR# 25 Kalckstein / 2 25.2 663   4 Flintlock
IR# 25 Artillery 25 a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
IR# 14 Lehwaldt / 1 14.1 679   4 Flintlock
IR# 14 Lehwaldt / 2 14.2 683   4 Flintlock
IR# 14 Artillery 14 a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
IR# 4 Dohna / 1 4.1 624   4 Flintlock
IR# 4 Dohna / 2 4.2 682   4 Flintlock
IR# 4 Artillery 4 a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
IR# 19 Brandenburg/ 1 19.1 650   4 Flintlock
IR# 19 Brandenburg/ 2 19.2 731   4 Flintlock
IR# 19 Artillery 19 a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
IR# 15 Garde / 1 15.1 660   4 Flintlock
IR# 15 Garde / 2 15.2 650   4 Flintlock
IR# 15 Garde / 3 (Grenadiers) 15.3 650   4 Flintlock
IR# 19 Artillery 15 a 21 3 1 3 pdrs
IR# 6 Grenadier Garde 6 658   4 Flintlock
IR# 6 Artillery 6 a 16 1 1 3 pdrs
IR# 2 Schlichting / 1 2.1 732   4 Flintlock
IR# 2 Schlichting / 2 2.1 727   4 Flintlock
IR# 2 Artillery 2 a 16 2 1 3 pdrs
Grumbkow Gr. 7 / 21 658   4 Flintlock
Kahlbutz Gr. 24/g5 621   4 Flintlock
Kyau   2,860 0    
CR# 9 Bornstedt Cuir. C 9 690   10 Flintlock
CR# 8 Rochow Cuir. C 8 750   10 Flintlock
CR# 4 Gessler Cuir. C 4 720   10 Flintlock
DR# 12 Alt Wurrtemburg Drag. D 12 700   10 Flintlock
12 pdr Battery   203 10 5 12 pdrs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austrians

Coat Color Facings Strength Guns Coys Equipment
Archduke Charles 41,284 98    
Lobkovitz 15,853 45    
Preysing 1,152    
Bernes Cuir Regt C 21 240   6 Carbine
Serbellon Cuir Regt C 12 516   12 Carbine
Elite Coys C E 396   9 Carbine
Modena* 1,932    
Czernin Cuir Regt C iii 492   12 Carbine
Birkenfeld Cuir Regt C 23 444   12 Carbine
Palffy Cuir Regt C 8 516   12 Carbine
Lucchesi Cuir Regt C ii 480   12 Carbine
Philibert* 1,476    
Preysing Dragoons D ii 480   13 Carbine
Wurttemberg Dragoons D 38 468   13 Carbine
Philibert Dragoons D 37 528   13 Carbine
Millich*        
Battery on Graner Kopp   288 16 2 12 pdrs
Daun 11,005 29    
Benda Grenadiers / 1 Gr 1 400   5 Flintlock
Benda Grenadiers / 2 Gr 2 400   5 Flintlock
Benda Grenadiers / 3 Gr 3 400   5 Flintlock
Wurmbrand / 1 50.1 480   5 Flintlock
Wurmbrand bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Wurmbrand / 2 50.2 495   5 Flintlock
Wurmbrand bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Wurmbrand / 3 50.3 475   5 Flintlock
Wurmbrand bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Harrach/ 1 47.1 425   5 Flintlock
Harrach bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Harrach/ 2 47.2 415   5 Flintlock
Harrach bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Neipperg / 3 7.3 490   5 Flintlock
Neipperg bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Koenigsegg- / 1 16.1 500   5 Flintlock
Koenigsegg bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Koenigsegg / 2 16.2 500   5 Flintlock
Koenigsegg bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Koenigsegg / 3 16.3 425   5 Flintlock
Koenigsegg bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Lothringen / 1 3.1 490   5 Flintlock
Lothringen bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Lothringen / 2 3.2 500   5 Flintlock
Lothringen bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Lothringen / 3 3.3 435   5 Flintlock
Lothringen bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Kaiser / 1 1.1 465   5 Flintlock
Kaiser bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Kaiser / 2 1.2 425   5 Flintlock
Kaiser bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Kaiser / 3 1.3 495   5 Flintlock
Kaiser bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Saxe Weissenfels 2,700 14    
Konigen K.1 590   4 Flintlock
Konigen / bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Pr Friedrich August / 1 FA 1 593   4 Flintlock
Bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Pr Max / 1 M 1 556   4 Flintlock
Bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Liebgrenadieren / 1 M.1 465   6 Flintlock
Gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
VitzthumDragoons Sx D 160   2 Flintlock
Saxon Kronprinz Cuirassiers Sx C 144   2 Flintlock
Saxon Garde du Corps Sx G 168   2 Flintlock
Saxon Battery   180 10 2 12 pdrs
Wallis 10,696 29    
Garde zu Fuss (Saxon) GF 576   4 Flintlock
bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Pr Xavier / 1 (Saxon) X 1 619   4 Flintlock
Bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Botta / 1 12.1 465   5 Flintlock
Botta bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Botta / 2 12.2 477   5 Flintlock
Botta bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Botta / 3 12.3 451   5 Flintlock
Botta bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Vettes / 1 34.1 445   5 Flintlock
Vettes bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Vettes / 2 34.2 485   5 Flintlock
Vettes bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Vettes / 2 34.3 465   5 Flintlock
Vettes bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Bayreuth / 1 41.1 435   5 Flintlock
Bayreuth bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Bayreuth / 2 41.2 495   5 Flintlock
Bayreuth bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Bayreuth / 3 41.3 475   5 Flintlock
Bayreuth bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Jung Wolfenbuettel / 1 10.1 490   5 Flintlock
Jung Wolff. bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Jung Wolfenbuettel / 1 10.2 450   5 Flintlock
Jung Wolff. bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Jung Wolfenbuettel / 1 10.3 455   5 Flintlock
Jung Wolff. bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Marschall / 1 18.1 410   5 Flintlock
Biberstein bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Marschall / 2 18.2 500   5 Flintlock
Biberstein bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Browne / 1 36.1 435   5 Flintlock
Browne bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Browne / 2 36.2 415   5 Flintlock
Browne bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Browne / 3 36.3 435   5 Flintlock
Browne bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Gyulai / 1 51.1 415   5 Flintlock
Gyulai bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Gyulai / 2 51.2 500   5 Flintlock
Gyulai bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Gyulai / 3 51.3 455   5 Flintlock
Gyulai bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Battery on Right Wing   216 12 2 12 pdrs
d'Aremberg 14,735 24    
d'Aremberg   4,655 10    
Kollowrat / 1 17.1 415   5 Flintlock
Kollowrat bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Kollowrat / 2 17.2 455   5 Flintlock
Kollowrat bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Baden Baden / 1 23.1 410   5 Flintlock
Baden Baden bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Baden Baden / 2 23.2 480   5 Flintlock
Baden Baden bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Baden Baden / 3 23.3 475   5 Flintlock
Baden Baden bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Damnitz / 1 40.1 475   5 Flintlock
Damnitz bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Damnitz / 2 40.2 500   5 Flintlock
Damnitz bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Damnitz / 3 40.3 500   5 Flintlock
Damnitz bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Hessen Cassel / 1 27.1 450   5 Flintlock
Hessen Cassel bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Hessen Cassel / 2 27.2 435   5 Flintlock
Hessen Cassel bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Harrach* 6,544 14    
Andlau 57 440   5 Flintlock
Andlau bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
O'Gilvy OG 445   5 Flintlock
O'Gilvy bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Platz / 1 43.1 475   5 Flintlock
Platz bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Platz / 2 43.2 485   5 Flintlock
Platz bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Platz / 3 43.3 425   5 Flintlock
Platz bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Grunne / 1 26.1 465   5 Flintlock
Grunne bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Grunne / 2 26.2 505   5 Flintlock
Grunne bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Leopold Daun / 1 59.1 445   5 Flintlock
Leopold Daun bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Leopold Daun / 2 59.2 460   5 Flintlock
Leopold Daun bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Waldeck / 1 35.1 460   5 Flintlock
Waldeck bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Waldeck / 2 35.2 485   5 Flintlock
Waldeck bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Neipperg / 1 7.1 450   5 Flintlock
Neipperg bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Neipperg / 2 7.2 435   5 Flintlock
Neipperg bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Harrach/ 3 47.3 485   5 Flintlock
Harrach bn gun   6 1 1 3 pdrs
Hoehnembs 3,536
   
Diemar Cuirassiers C 33 468   12 Carbine
Johann Palffy Cuirassiers C 27 528   12 Carbine
Hohenemb Cuirassiers C 4 528   12 Carbine
St Ignon Cuirassiers C 22 500   12 Carbine
Liechtenstein Dragoons D 6 516   12 Carbine
Kohary Dragoons D iii 480   12 Carbine
Nadasti Hussars H 11 516   13 Carbine
           
* Speculative Commander Name          

 

References:


Frederick the Great, The Magnificent Enigma
Robert B. Asprey, 1986  pp 333-338

The Army of Frederick the Great
Christopher Duffy, 1996  pp 243-245

Frederick the Great, A Military Life
Christopher Duffy, 1985  pp 69-71

To view the area today on Google Maps search for Stritezska, Trutnov, Czech Republic the current name of Burkersdorf. During Frederick's day this region was a part of the Hapsburg Empire and known as Bohemia.


Copyright 2014, The Jeffery P. Berry Trust. All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced or re-posted without permission the the Jeffery P. Berry Trust. However, feel free to link to this site from other, related sites for the purposes of sharing information.

5 comments:

  1. Little hard reading the map's distances hash tags. What are the break downs on the distance in yards? I think its 100/200/300 yards but can't say for certain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. You're right. This was my first map to publish on this site, so I hadn't calibrated the sizes of the type right yet. But those distances are 100/200/300 yards/meters. I should adjust and repost the map so they can be read.

      Delete
  2. Next question. Any information on the caliber of the Austrian artillery batteries?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An oversight, Flayed. I had, in my other OOBs, included details as to equipment, but didn't on this first post. This was my pilot post in the project and I hadn't settled on a format yet. But, thanks to the time machine that is the internet, I have been able to go back in and add an updated OOB, including equipment, which should answer your question.

      Delete
  3. WOW! I just needed the artillery. I think its given with the infantry weapons.

    ReplyDelete