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Battle of Lobositz
Part of the Seven Years' War
Battle of Lobositz.png
Map of the Battle of Lobositz. Red is Prussian, blue Austrian army.
Date1 October 1756
LocationLovosice, Bohemia, present-day Czech Republic
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
Kingdom of Prussia Prussia Habsburg Monarchy Austria
Commanders and leaders
King Frederick the Great Maximilian Ulysses Reichsgraf von Browne
Strength
29,000 34,500
Casualties and losses
2,900 2,900


The Battle of Lobositz or Lovosice also Lowositz on 1 October 1756 was the opening land battle of the Seven Years' War. Frederick the Great's 29,000 Prussians prevented Field Marshal Maximilian Ulysses Count Browne 34,500 Austrians from relieving their besieged Saxon allies during the Siege of Pirna, who surrendered two weeks later.

Prelude

Being a believer in the pre-emptive strike, on 29 August 1756 Frederick invaded Saxony with the bulk of the Prussian army, against the advice of his British allies. Neither the Saxon nor the Austrian army was ready for war. The Saxon army took up a strong defensive position near Pirna, and Frederick had no option but to isolate and starve them.

An Austrian army raced to the aid of Saxony, but was intercepted by Frederick's forces near the town of Lobositz (Czech Lovosice), along the Elbe river, in present-day Czech Republic. Von Browne, the Austrian general, had ordered a small force on the opposite bank of the Elbe to move to the beleaguered Saxon army at Pirna, but recalled it when he heard the news of Frederick's advance.

Battle

The Austrian army took up a defensive stance on a hill, the Lobosch (Lovoš), along the Elbe River (opposite another mountain, the Homolka), straddling a small brook, the Morellenbach (Modla). Although this was not deep, and could be forded by infantry, crossing it would break up formations.

In heavy fog, Frederick's Prussians approached. A detachment of Croats opened fire on them and Frederick, believing he was up against a small rearguard of the Austrian army, ordered a few infantry battalions to advance.

The infantry cleared the lower slopes of the Homolka, while the Prussian artillery was brought forward into position. From a terrace they had a good field of fire over the valley and the Austrian cavalry.

As the mist slowly lifted, infantry in the Prussian centre were targeted by the Austrian main battery. Frederick soon realised that the force he faced was not the Austrian rearguard, but a full field army. In order to find out more, he ordered his cavalry to advance and reconnoitre.

As they neared Sullowitz, they came under fire and veered leftwards. This provoked an Austrian cavalry charge from the left. In an attempt to outflank the Austrians, Colonel Hans von Blumenthal led his Gardes du Corps, who were closest to Sullowitz, in a counter-charge which brought them back into musket-range from the village. Von Blumenthal had his horse shot down and received a crippling sabre-blow in the neck.

Twice Prussian cavalry assaulted the Austrian position, but in vain. Already believing the battle to be lost, Frederick wanted to leave the battlefield, saying "These are no longer the same Austrians".

But the Duke of Brunswick-Bevern, in command of the Prussian left wing, then succeeded in storming the Austrian right flank with infantry. The Prussians charged at bayonet-point, many having run out of ammunition. Bevern's men chased the Austrians through the burning town of Lobositz. The Austrian army retreated, leaving the Prussians in command of the battlefield.

Results

The Prussians and the Austrians lost about 2,900 men each. The Austrian army retreated intact, and von Browne even managed to slip a force around the Prussians towards the besieged Saxons, but it was too little too late. The Saxon army at Pirna surrendered on 14 October before the relief force arrived, and Saxony surrendered the next day. Both Prussian and Austrian armies then retreated into their winter quarters.

Order of Battle

The order of battle was as follows:

Austrian Forces

First Line

  • Advance Guard
    • 8 Squadrons of Carabiniers
    • 5 Squadrons from Hadik Hussars
    • 4 Squadrons from Baranyay Hussarsm
    • 4 Battalions of Grenadiers and 4 Grenzer Companies
    • Banal Grenzer Infantry Regiment
    • Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzerinfanterieregiment
  • Right Wing Cavalry
    • Erzherzog Joseph Dragoonregiment
    • Cordova Cuirassiersregiment
    • Anspach Cuirassierregiment
  • Right Wing Cavalry (2nd Line)
    • Erzherzog Ferdinand Cuirassiers
    • Stampach Cuirassiers
  • Centre Line Infantry
    • Wied's Brigade
      • Nikolaus Esterházy Infantry Regiment
      • Kaiser Infantry Regiment
      • Harsch Infantry Regiment
    • Perony's Brigade
      • Alt-Wolfenbüttel Infantry Regiment
      • Baden-Durlach Infantry Regiment
    • Maquire's Brigade
      • Wallis Infantry Regiment
      • Harrach Infantry Regiment
  • Second Line Infantry
    • Krottendorf's Brigade
      • Jung-Wolfenbüttel Infantry Regiment
      • Hildburghausen Infantry Regiment
      • Kolowrat Infantry Regiment
      • Joseph Esterházy Infantry Regiment
    • Wolffersdorff's Brigade
      • Kheul Infantry Regiment
      • Waldeck Infantry Regiment
  • Life Wing Cavalry
    • Trautmansdorf Cuirassiers
    • Serbellioni Cuirassiers
    • Liechtenstein Dragoons
  • Left Wing Cavalry (2nd Line)
    • Bretlach Cuirassiers
    • Carl Pálffy Cuirassiers

Count Lacy's Force

  • Converged Horse Grenadiers
    • Kolowrat-Krakowski Dragoons (1 Company)
    • Batthyányi Dragoons (1 Company)
    • Liechtenstein Dragoons (1 Company)
    • Erzherzog Joseph Dragoons (1 Company)
  • Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer Regiment
  • Browne Infantry Regiment
  • Alt-Colloredo Infantry Regiment

Reserve Corps

  • Banal Grenzer Infantry Regiment (2 Battalions)
  • Karlstädter-Lykaner Grenzer Regiment (1 Battalion)
  • Karlstädter-Ottochaner (1 Battalion)

Artillery

  • German Field Artillery Regiment
    • x70 3 Pounders
    • x12 6 Pounders
    • x6 12 Pounders
    • x6 Howitzers
  • Pontoon Train

Prussian Forces

Prince's Infantry Division

  • 3/6th Kleist Grenadier Battalion
  • 24/34th Grumbkow Grenadier Battalion
  • Prince von Bevern's Brigade
    • 2nd Battalion, Hülsen Infantry Regiment
    • Manteuffel Infantry Regiment
    • Blanckensee Infantry Regiment
    • Braunschweig-Bevern Infantry Regiment
    • 5/20th Jung-Billerbeck Grenadier Battalion
  • Ferdinand, Prince von Braunschweig-Wolfenbuttel's Brigade
    • 1st Battalion, Hülsen Infantry Regiment
    • Alt-Braunschweig Infantry Regiment
    • Quadt Infantry Regiment
    • Alt-Anhault Infantry Regiment (3 Battalions)

Kleist's Infantry Division

  • Zastrow's Brigade
    • Kleist Infantry Regiment
    • Münchow Fusiliers Regiment
  • Itzenplitz's Brigade
    • 1st Battalion, Zastrow Infantry Regiment
    • Itzenplitz Infantry Regiment
    • 17/22nd Puttkamer Grenadier Battalion

Cavalry

  • Szekely Hussars (3 Squadrons)
  • Örtzen's Brigade
    • Oertzen Dragoons
    • Truchseß Dragoons
  • Katte's Brigade
    • Markgraf Friedrich von Bayreuth Dragoons (10 Squadrons)
  • Katzler's Group
    • Luderit's Brigade
      • Leibregiment zu Pferde
      • Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg Cuirassiers
    • Driesen's Brigade
      • Baron von Schönaich Cuirassiers
      • Driesen Cuirassiers
  • Kyau's Group
    • Schonaich's Brigade
      • Leib-Carabiniers
      • Rochow Cuirassiers
    • Pennavaire's Brigade
      • Garde du Corps (1 Squadron)
      • Gens d'Armes
      • Prinz von Preußen Cuirassiers

Artillery

  • Field Artillery Regiment
  • Homolka Battery (x5 12 Pounders, x4 24 Pounders, x1 10 Pounder Howitzers)
  • x25 12 Pounders
  • x4 24 Pounders
  • x7 10 Pound Howitzers
  • x4 50 Pound Howitzers

References

Duffy, Christopher. 1964. The wild goose and the eagle: A life of Marshal von Browne, 1705-1757. Chatto & Windus.

Coordinates: 50°30′46″N 14°02′00″E / 50.51278°N 14.0333333°E / 50.51278; 14.0333333

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