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Battle Report #10 - Rossbach & Leuthen 1757

Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by AUSTERLITZ, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. AUSTERLITZ

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    Battle Report #10 - Rossbach & Leuthen 1757

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    Background :Germany in the early 18th century was divided into more than 300 petty states ruled by princes nominally ruled over by the Holy Roman Emperor ,the king of austria based in vienna.Most of these small german states were politically insignificant save bavaria,brandenburg and saxony.Under Frederick wiliam,the great elector -Brandenburg expanded in alliance with austria[which faced threats from france and ottomans] into the kingdom of prussia centred on berlin with sanction from the austrian emperor.Prussia was a kingdom of a population of just 2.1 million ,but frederick william had an manic obsession with his army and had spent his entire reign and nearly most of his treasury maintaining a standing army of 80,000 men drilled to perfection under personal supervision of its ruler.The discipline and continous drilling of its infantry meant prussia possibly had the best infantry in europe in terms of quality.Frederick william had also reformed the civil and military administration and undertaken austerity measures to support his disproportionately large army.Thus an observer could remark-
    ''Prussia is an army with a state''.
    However frederick william had no designs to use this army and was an old fashioned character who deeply respected the emperor.

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    On his death,Frederick II his son succeeds him.An ambitious,capable and unscrupulous prince he wished to increase prussia's power and resources and make it a major player in european politics.To do this he had inherited the splendid instrument that was the prussian army from his father.Taking advantage of the death of the austrian emperor and succession crisis under her daughter Maria Theresa he stuns europe by invading the neighbouring rich province of silesia[under austrian rule] and occupying it after defeating the austrian attempts to recover it ,the prussian army proving its quality.Austria exhausted by long wars and faced with bavaria,prussia and france-its maritime ally england of no help but finances cedes silesia for the time being.
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    But Maria theresa would neither forget nor forgive and tries again to recover silesia in the second silesian war [1742]2 years later in alliance with saxony.Frederick again repulses the austrians winning a great victory at Hohenfriedberg[later battle report] .Prussia still strategically allied with france.Maria theresa is forced to give up for the time being.

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    Over the next decade,frederick-now increasingly called the 'great' satisfied with having propelled prussia to great power status with the other giants of europe[France,Austria,England,Spain and Russia] indulges himself in philosophy while simulatenously keeping strict control over his expanded army,preparing it with annual exercises.
    Maria theresa is not idle either, and prepares for a final showdown between the house of Habsburg and house of Brandenburg.Consolidating her position she and her minister Count
    kaunitz reform the administration,finances and army thoroughly.Unsatisfied with here ally britain's role in earlier conflicts ,austria now sought a new diplomatic equation to permanently liquidate prussia and avenge her humiliation.
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    The effect of this treaty was immediate. France finally responding to overtures from Austria. Russia failed to ratify the previous agreement with Britain. and with the prize of territorial gains in East Prussia, sought to join any likely coalition against Prussia, even if it meant war with Britain.
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    The Diplomatic Revolution.Frederick had been checkmated.
    Prussia had some 5 million to fight a combined strength of some 100 million between the three main enemies drawn up against him, and would be outnumbered theoritically in strategic manpower by 20:1. In a short war, Prussia could prevail; in a long war, chances were grim. The borders of Saxony, to the south of Prussia, were only a few days march to Berlin. Attacking and conquering Saxony, an independent state would be an act of war, but would buy the Prussians space in a defensive war, together with potential recruits to their army, material and money.
    Before the russians and austrians can put into effect their planned invasion of prussia in 1757,frederick invades saxony in 1756 triggering the Seven Years War.
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    The saxon army retreated to the camp of Pirna and were besieged by the prussians.
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    Frderick succesfully defeated an austrian relief attempt at the hard fought bloody battle of Lobositz but was shocked by the resilience and firepower of the reformed Austrian army.
    ‘We will have to be very careful not to attack them like a pack of Hussars. Nowadays they are up to all sorts of ruses, and, believe me, unless we can bring up a lot of cannon, we will lose a vast number of men before we can gain the upper hand’.- Frederick.

    The saxons capitulated in mid-october and their forces[~14,000] were forcefully amalgamated into the prussian army.

    Now Frederick planned a daring attack into the heart of the austrian empire,invading bohemia in march 1757,if he could knock austria out before the slowly mobilizing armies of france and russia could appear he could win the war.

    Continued-
     
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    BACKGROUND -II -

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    In early spring the Prussian army marched in four divisions over the mountain passes separating Saxony and Silesai from Bohemia . The four corps would unite at the Bohemian capital of Prague. Though risky, because it exposed the Prussian army to a defeat in detail, the plan succeeded. After Frederick's corps united with a corps under Prince Moritz, and General Bevern joined up with Schwerin,both armies converged near Prague with a total strength of about 115,000.
    Meanwhile the Austrians under prince charles and marshal browne retreated into the fortified position waiting reinforcements under Marshal Daun.
    Attaching an intercepting force frederick won a pyyrhic victory over the austrians at the Battle of prague .Austrians losing 12,000 men and 4,000 prisoners and prussians 14,300.Shaken by these staggering losses in trained manpower that were difficult to replace ,frederick decided not to assault the austrians who had retreated into prague city itself with his depleted force and besiege the city instead.

    However the austrian relief army under Daun approaches and in his attempt to intercept it, an overconfident frederick outnumbered 5:3 launches an attack on a fortified position suffering his first major defeat at the Battle of Kolin.[I have not expanded either Kolin or Prague as this i intend to do in a later battle report].Prussians suffering 14,000 losses to austrian 8,000.
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    A stunned Frederick goes into a temporary state of depression trying to find solace in tragic poetry.
    The battered prussians lift the siege of prague and retreat from Bohemia harried all the way by the hungarian hussars,but the main austrian army is lethargic in its pursuit.

    Now bad becomes worse- Simultaneously a large french and russian force invades prussian territory even as the austrians finally begin to move.In the west a combined french-imperial[contingents drawn from small german states loyal to austria] advances while in east prussia a russian army defeats a prussian holding force.
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    One french army is occupied by Anglo-german allies under Cumberland of frederick and is reinforced .
    Second French army under Souboise unites with Imperial force under Saxe and advances into prussia.
    In the east russians defeat the prussian holding force but are content with taking memel and do not pursue as the Russian commander is aware of Czarina Elizabeth's failing health and his son and successor is a huge admirer of Frederick.
    Meanwhile the Austrians advance into silesia.

    Frederick's situation is desperate-He needs a decisive victory at once.The Franco-Imperial allied army became an immediate danger after marching into Thuringia.. Elsewhere, strategically, the Austrian army was not as immediate a threat and the Russians were too far away to deal any damage
    Pulling himself out of his self-pity he leaves Bevern with a holding force to keep the passive austrians in check long enough for him to confront the Franco-imperials in a decisive encounter.He marches west determined to Do or die-

    ''In the face of the storm,
    and the threat of shipwreck,
    I must think, live and die like a king.
    ''

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    En route he learns of a austrain cavalry raid on Berlin itself.Frederick set out from Dresden on August 31 with 25,000 men and managed a very long and arduous march,Covering 170 miles in 13 days he bought supplies ahead of the army and abandoned his supply wagons to speed his march. Bringing the enemy to battle proved difficult, as the allies tried to stay out of reach. Both Frederick and his enemies moved back and forth for quite some time, trying to maneuver around each other and ending up in an apparent stalemate situation.After some time facing each other at Rossbach,the franco-imperial ever more confident of their numerical superiority and frederick's inactivity decide on a bold plan to defeat the prussians.The Battle of Rossbach is about to begin.

    Next: Armies and Tactics.
     
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    Armies and Tactics -

    Nature of European Warfare in the mid-18th century
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    The nature of warfare was linear.[as seen from image above].All european states maintained standing armies with an officer korps.Armies were now increasingly professional,and organized into regiments and battalions.The linear nature of battle was determined by the state of technology.Advances in weapons technology meant that the matchlock musket had given way to the flintlock musket which had better rate of fire,but most important was the replacement of the pikemen who were previously required to protect musketeers from cavalry in favour of all infantry being equipped with a flintlock musket and a socket bayonet.The mass adoption of the bayonet made all infantry both musketeers and pikemen at the same time .
    But the musket still took quite long to reload and most importantly was inaccurate beyond short-mid ranges,thus to provide concentrated firepower musketeers were grouped together in closed ranks for massed volleys.Also only infantry in close formation could repel cavalry as infantry caught in the open were liable to be cut down .Infantry was now the premier arm of decision-'The Queen of the Battlefield'.
    Cavalry remained a very important arm for reconssaince,shock action and pursuit and artillery was increasingly important but still small in number.
    Troops were deployed in blocks with spaces in betwen for retreat and reinforcement ,this being emulated from old roman manuals.

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    There were 3 common infantry formations used by all european armies-The column,The Line,The Square.Above u can see troops in line on the left and column on the right.

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    The line and column-showing 8 platoons of one battalion[~800 men].Columns could be tightly packed for a shock bayonet charge,or loose while on the march.Line was used exclusively in a firefight facing enemy ranks.
    Both had their advantages-
    Line offered maximum frontage being 2-3 ranks deep pouring triple/double rank musket volleys and utilized the entire firepower of the unit.This was the best for a firefight.It was however slow to move and was very vulnerable to cavalry due to its shallow depth.Another problem of line was it required time and space to deploy.
    Column offered rapid mobility and could be used for shock bayonet charges,the close packing meant they were much more resilient to and could more quickly and easily form the anti-cavalry formation the Square against cavalry.
    However it was highly vulnerable to artillery due to density and most important only 2-3 front ranks in the columns could participate in a firefight.Thus bulk of the firepower was unused because if rear ranks fired they would shoot their own men.Columns were used for marching.
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    The dominance of Line in a firefight vs column.Line was prefered for frontal firefights because of this as it offered most efficient use of available firepower and flanking oppurtunities vis-a-vis column.

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    2 units in Line slogging it out.Rate of Fire was very Important as well as getting the first volley.2 ranks usually fired,the third being kept as reinforcement.Delivering volleys then following up with a bayonet charge on a shaken enemy was a common tactic.More than physical damage done by bayonet charges was psychological and could induce a rout.

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    3 ways of forming Line from Column.
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    Line to Column.

    The final general formation was the Square.This was used to repel massed cavalry attacks.
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    The first 2 ranks presented bayonets to form a wall of steel to the horses and the standing ranks fired volleys.Cavalry charging against unbroken infantry in square would fail 9 out of 10 times.
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    Line To Square.Forming squares from column was much easier and quicker.

    As can be imagined,all these sophisticated manueveres required a full time officer cadre and during this era there was an explosion in military thought as well as revisiting old roman and greek military texts and how to apply their lessons.


    Next: The Individual armies and Cavalry and artillery tactics.
     
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    The Prussian Army -Infantry

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    The pride and joy of the Prussian army was its infantry.Drilled into perfection and constantly honing their skills in large scale annual exercises[unique to prussia at this time] their prowess was compared to the Iron discipline of the Roman legions of millenia ago.The basis of its strength were 3 factors.
    1]Awesome Rate of Fire - The prussians were so well drilled they could pour 4-5 Volleys a minute,compared to their opponents 2-3.[however this applied only to the regular troops,not reinforcements/reserves]
    2]Mobility - The tactics of the day made facing an enemy very important as the whole firing body of men had to turn,also discipline was required to deploy and move and redeploy units in a proper synchronized fashion.In this the prussians were unsurpassed as they could switch formation and move on the battlefield in close ranks faster than their enemies.The most renowned tactical formation used by the prussians was the oblique order attack.Prussians could also advance in the line formation much faster than others.
    Frederick could thus proudly boast-
    ''Our infantry is like Caesar's''

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    This is the basic Oblique order used by Epaminondas at Leuctra in 371 BC vs the spartans[See previous battle report].It was also used by alexander the great.With revival of interest in graeco-roman warfare,european military theorists were keen to apply the lessons of antiquity.However it would be Frederick who gave this attack style its modern shape.It was his favourite tactic and was used in nearly all his battles.
    As u can see the basic premise is to overload one flank to achieve a crushing local superiority,and refuse the other weaker one.
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    The Neo-oblique Order used by the Prussian infantry was its trump card.This was the brainchild of Frederick.Cavalry[blue and white] on wings and rear and right flank strengthened,infantry in echelon in centre.Required excellent discipline to maintain formation and prussian infantry habitually used it.When combined with the rapid movement and firing rate of prussian infantry it could be used to quickly decimate a chosen flank of the enemy.

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    Another feature of Prussian line infantry Drill.Wheeling columns in an organized fashion enabled the army to move rapidly and take the initiative.

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    Basic Use of The Oblique order in Frederick's earliest battle at Mollwitz 1741.[The inexperienced Frederick panicked and actually left the battlefield after seeing the rout of his cavalry,before the prussian infantry started its terrible musketry and won the battle on its own.It was the last time frederick fled the battlefield]

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    The Prussian 1740 Potsdam Musket was a state-of-the art firearm for its era.

    Prussian Infantry Organization -
    The basic unit was the Regiment which consisted of 2 battalions.The Battalion was the standard tactical formation.
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    A comparison between austrian and Prussian Battalions.The prussian battalion comprised of 5 Companies each of 140 men plus a grenadier company and 2 light battalion artillery guns.[Usually 3Pdr light guns,but Battalions leading the right wing and vanguard of the oblique formation were sometimes given 6Pdr medium guns]
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    Prussian Musketeer and Grenadiers.Grenadiers were originally exactly that -gunpowder grenade throwers,but due to unreliability of these antiquated devices and friendly casualities coupled with advances in musket technology,they were abandoned.The new grenadiers simply became an elite musket troop of big tall men for assault with bayonet.Each battalion had a grenadier company of 150 men.The prussians however didn't use them in that way.In battle all grenadier companies were withdrawn and converged into their own grenadier battalions ,which could be reserved for assault on specific points of the enemy line.
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    Tactically however the prussian battalions were not deployed in companies.They were divided into 8 platoons.2 platoons forming a 'division'[not to be confused with modern division].The battalion commander and his escort is in the centre and 2 field pieces on one flank giving fire support.This is the tactical deployment of a prussian battalion in line.Line would be 3 ranks deep in normal times and 2-rank deep in manpower shortage /understrength periods.
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    Prussian Infantry,standard bearer and officer.

    Apart from this Frederick also had Guard regiments which were high quality troops for assault purposes.Armament was same.Prussian army due to local manpower shortages took many foreigners into their ranks,but the army was battle hardened,superbly disciplined and confident in its officers and king.

    Next : Prussian Cavalry and Artillery
     
  5. AUSTERLITZ

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    Prussian Cavalry & Tactics :

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    If Frederick had inherited the infantry arm from his father,the development cavalry must be merited solely to him.He inherited a cavalry arm which was disorganized and low quality.After the harrowing experience of mollwitz where it was easily routed by the austrian cavalry and subsequent problems against the austrian hungarian hussars ,frederick used the decade long lull to completely reform the cavalry arm,bringing about radical changes.The prussian cavalry arm could now be counted among the best in Europe,if not the best and had several experienced commanders like Zeiten and Dreisen and the rising star Von seydlitz.
    Cavalry consisted of 3 types - The heavy cuirassiers which were sword cavalry with body armour and on large horses designed for shock action with massed charges against enemy cavalry or infantry,if caught out of formation the cuirassiers could savage an enemy.
    2nd type were medium cavalry dragoons,they were sword armed cavalry but without body armour.They also had carbines and could act as mounted infantry.
    The 3rd type were Hussars-Light sabre cavalry used for reconssaince,harassment,raiding and attacking the flanks of an engaged enemy.

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    A Prussian Cuirassier.Chestplate and sword were primary equipment.The chestplate provided excellent protection against enemy cavalry but was of little use against musket volleys unless at extreme ranges.

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    Dragoons.Standard medium cavalry.

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    Hussars-Flamboyantly dressed light cavalry.The hussars originated from the hungarian hussars in austrian service and rapidly spread all over europe due to their effectiveness in vital duties that heavy cavalry couldn't perform.Reconssaince,Raiding,harassing supply lines,covering a retreat and charging disorganized foes.Hussar uniforms were not standard and caused confusion at times in the battlefield.
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    A famous unit was the Totenkopf Hussars[Death's Head Hussars],this unit 's insignia[skull and crossbones] was later adopted by The infamous Waffen-ss 'Totenkopf' division in WW2.

    Tactics and Organization-

    Frederick's Cavalry was divided into regiments.Each regiment had about 740 horsemen plus support staff.Regiments were divided into 5 Squadrons which was the basic tactical unit.Each squadron was again subdivided into 2 companies ,each company of 2 Platoons.
    Each squadron ahd a strength of usually 150-160 horsemen plus officers and NCOs
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    On tactics - The proliferation of Gunpowder had brought about enormous changes in the way cavalry was used.Body armour had been abandoned except in cuirassiers[partial]as they were useless against musket volleys and mobility was desired to close to melee combat with the enemy as soon as possible before he could reload.Lances had long fallen out of favour,used only in Poland and by the russian cossacks as they were difficult to train with.
    For cavalry formations both armies used linear attacks in waves charging with sabre.The first wave consisted of heavy cuirassiers,second dragoons and last hussars.[Same in both armies]The wedge formation used by armies of the past had given way as -1]Lancers could make best use of it.2]Required extreme discipline3]Was very vulnerable to massed musket volleys and artillery.
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    Prussian cavalry in march,deployed for action and a close up of the strengthened right wing of cavalry.
    The discipline now instilled in the Prussian cavalry also allowed it to attack [uniquely] in staggered waves.
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    Line attack and staggered wave attack.Staggered wave attack gave more depth,spacing and was less vulnerable to artillery.But required high discipline,for opposing formations a cavalry charge in staggered waves was an imposing sight.
    All in all cavalry was expected to be aggressive and reorganize quickly after a charge[very important ability as disorganized cavalry could be countercharged by small bodies of men and routed{As u saw in battle report on pharsalus}].Cavalry was extremely effective against infantry in open,caught from the flanks or out of formation but were ineffective against squares.


    Next : Austrian and french armies and Artillery.
     
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    The Austrian Army -

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    The austrian empire was a multiethnic entity and this was reflected in its army which composed of germans,croats,hungarians etc.After the reforms of kaunitz the army had become much more disciplined and though not yet a complete match for the prussians was quite good and very resilient.They also carried with them the confidence of their first success vs the prussians at kolin.
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    The Infantry was organized in regiments subdivided into battalions[see comparison diagram with prussian in earlier post].They used the 3 general formations-Line,column and square.However grenadiers were not as a practice detatched into seperate battalions like the prussians and austrains also had 6 companies per battalion to prussian five,though prussians had more men per battalion overall.Infantry fired in ranks 3-4 men deep depending on available manpower.The description for the austrian infantry would be stout and reliable.
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    Austrian line infantry and Grenadiers.

    Cavalry -
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    Austrian cavalry again similar to the prussians consisted of Cuirassiers,dragoons and Hussars.The Cuirassiers and dragoons were composed of germans and the hussar contingents entirely Hungarian.
    Austrain cavalry was good quality and the hungarian husssars were the best light cavalry in europe.
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    They had caused frederick problems to no end in earlier conflicts.Equipment was similar to prussians and they too were divided into regiments subdivided into squadrons and companies.
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    Tactics was same more or less same .Austrian cavalry charged in line in 3 ranks.Less reliable men in the centre and best men on flanks and rear.They didn't use the staggered wave attack.

    French Army -

    In the 1750s France was going through a period of decline.After the days of La Gloire under Louis XIV 'the sun king',the country was hamstrung with underlying social stryfe.The bourbon absolute monarchy and overhwhelming oppression,luxury and corruption of the nobility was reflected in the army.The Size of the army had come down to perhaps 1/3 of what it was under louis XIV.And even this was much more expensive to maintain than the prussian army.The noble officers were vain and ate up half the military budget in salaries.The generals were picked by court politics rather than ability.The social state of affairs would ultimately lead to the french revolution in 1789,and the peerless armies of the revolutionary and napoleonic age-But that was still five decades away.

    Infantry -

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    French infantry were excellent basic material but during this time they were not yet reorganized to the standard of austrian or prussian forces.Each line regiment usually had 1 battalion with 15 companies-a unwieldy composition.They used the 3 general formations.But at this time there was a hot debate in french military circles over whether to prefer line or column and thus military doctrine was in a state of flux-each general doing his own thing.However under a competent general they could achieve good results.

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    Cavalry - French cavalry consisted of Cuirassier heavy cavalry,Guard regiments and dragoons.There was no light cavalry as such.Consisting mostly of nobles discipline was lax and only the guard regiments and cuirassiers were of real value.But these were solid shock cavalry.
    They charged in line in waves.Organization was again squadrons but here to frenchformations were bulkier and more difficult to control.
    Artillery was not composed of professional gunners,but men taken from the line served the gun and then returned.

    Imperial Forces -
    The imperial contingents drawn from german territories of the holy roman empire loyal to austria were somewhat poor.Discipline was much lower than common standards ,except a few regiments which were good quality rest were not a match for the armies of the large monarchies.
    Cavalry was mediocre.

    Next : Artillery and Tactics.
     
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    Artillery of the Armies -

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    Cutaway of a Cannon.Showing vent for lighting the fuse,gunpowder and bore.

    Field artillery became a common feature of the european battlefield from the 17th century .During this age they were still small in number and more importantly calibres were low.Battalions had supporting field pieces,but larger heavy artillery was limited in number. The artillery was not truly professional and centralized yet and depended on few specailists hired.
    Artillery could be field guns which fired flat long range projectiles or howitzers which fired angled trajectories negating terrain but lower range and power.Light battalion support pieces were 3 pounder or 4 pounder.Medium pieces 6 pdr/8Pdr.Heavy artillery 12 Pdrs.Above that was siege artillery of 16pdr or 24 Pdr rarely useful in battle.
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    Several designs of the Seven years war.Light battalion pieces were mobile and offered infantry fire support,but had small ranges and low damage potential.
    Medium guns were well balanced but costlier.
    Heavy guns of 12 Pdr calibre were long range and extremely effective but less mobile and slower rate of fire.


    Artillery used various types of Ammunition,but 2 types dominated.The solid Roundshot and the canistershot or grapeshot.
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    A heavy roundshot for siege cannon. Round shot(or solid shot, or a cannonball, or simply ball) is a solid projectile without explosive charge, fired from a cannon. As the name implies, round shot is spherical; its diameter is slightly less than the bore of the gun from which it is fired.It was the standard artillery ammunition and used for long range anti-personnel duty.
    In land battles, round shot would often plough through many ranks of troops, causing multiple casualties. Unlike the fake gunpowder explosions representing roundshot in movies, real roundshot was more like a bouncing bowling ball, which would not stop after the initial impact, but continue and tear through anything in its path. It could bounce when it hit the ground, striking men at each bounce. The casualties from round shot were extremely gory.The larger the round more damage it could do,but more heavy and slower to fire.Light artillery firing small roundshot had less range and penetrating power.
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    Lethal effect of Roundshot on cuirassier breastplate.Went right through.
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    Canister Shot.An absolutely deadly short range anti-personnel ammo.
    Canister shot consists of a closed metal cylinder typically filled with round lead or iron balls, normally packed with sawdust to add more solidity to the mass and to prevent the balls from crowding each other when the round was fired.When fired, the canister disintegrates and its shards and projectiles spread out in a conical formation, causing a wide swath of destruction.Massed troops at close range could be broken up by artillery batteries firing canister. Its main drawbacks were much smaller range and no penetration beyond front ranks.

    Artillery Tactics -

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    Effect of Roundshot and Canister shot on Both Line and column.Note range difference.[This takes medium calibre artillery as example,light artillery didn't have penetration power beyond a few ranks.].
    1.Roundshot on advancing infantry in line 3 ranks deep.Effectiveness is marginal.Only 3 men and their neighbouring soldiers are affected.

    2.A line formation caught from the flank.Damage is hideous.The entire second rank could be wiped out and richochet may affect neighbouring ranks.

    3.Column advancing towards gun,Again hideous damage.1/3 or more men could be destroyed.

    4.Column advancing against canister shot.Whole front 2-3 ranks are affected.While this may seem less,but in a charging column if its front ranks are destroyed panic and confusion are almost certain.Canister was thus devastating to column as well as line as u will see.

    5.Line advancing aganist canister.Hideous damage Front 2-3 ranks are affected over its entire width.Damage is much more than in advancing column.

    6.Column taken from the flank by canister fire.Again massive damage.


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    One of the more prized shots was the oblique shot.This did enormous damage.

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    Prussian 3 Pdr Battalion support field piece.2 per battalion.

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    Prussian Heavy 12 Pdr.These were deployed in groups of 6/10 or 12 and were small in number.
    Prussian artillery was reliable in quality and mediocre in organization but was handled with aggressiveness and in co-operation with other arms.
    Austrian artillery had been thoroughly reformed after the previous wars and after the lichtenstein reforms was the best organized artillery arm in europe.However their commanders used them timidly and didn't always make use of their full potential.Even with this deficiency the firepower of the austrian artillery had shocked frederick at kolin,prague and lobositz causing the maximum losses.

    Artillery during this era was still an arm in ascendence,still a support arm.But one now ever increasingly important.The bulk of the artillery were small light infantry support pieces and heavy guns were few in number.Also none of the armies yet used professional gunners and firing rate was low.Artillery would reach its zenith in the napoleonic wars,then in the american civil war and finally the modern age in WW1.

    Next: The Battle of Rossbach.
     
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    BATTLE OF ROSSBACH

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    The allied french-imperial army of 46,000 men and 45 guns under Souboise leading the french contingnet[34,000-36,000] and Saxe-Hildburghausen leading the imperials[10,000-12,000] faces Frederick with 22,000 prussians and 79 guns.Their advance posts overlooked the prussian positions and after the previous day's manuvering and frederick's inactivity Saxe determined to take the offensive utilizing their 2 to 1 numerical advantage to gain a victory through a bold move.
    The map above depicts the manuevering of the previous day,the arrival and assembling of the various divisions of the prussian forces and eventual positions of both armies at the initial stage of the battle.Prussian position was a strong one,anchored on both flanks by villages-the right wing on the village of Rossbach.The allies too had taken up position on an elevated slope.

    Saxe's plan was a wide turning movement by the allied army south-east getting around frederick's right flank into his rear.His communications would be cut and if the prussians were not forced into the river they would be compelled to retreat back across the salle.In effect Saxe 's plan of action copied frederick's hitherto favourite tactic,to concentrate his army on one of the enemy's flanks.The allies sought to beat Frederick at his own game.However a skeptical observer among the allies remarks-

    ''No general will permit himself to be taken in the flank with his eyes open,and the king of prussia is the unlikeliest u could try it with"


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    French in Blue,Prussians in Dark Tan and Imperialists Orange.Rectangles are Infantry and triangles cavalry.

    1.The prussian army is deployed in a strong position with an elevated slope on its front and 2 villages anchoring their flanks.Frderick conducts an initial reconssaince then decides to postpone his plan for an immediate attack on the enemy on account of his superior numbers[he believed them to be around 60,000]
    2.A body of french troopers mostly horse under St germain advances and making a lot of noise makes a pretense as if to attack the prussians.Frderick observing this facade correctly concludes it as a diversionary farce and retires to his quarters .Behind this body sent to distract the prussians,the allied main body spends hours organizing itself into coloumns for its flank march.
    3.The main allied body begins its ponderous march slowly getting its units in position as it marches down the heights at about 12:00 AM.The rapid advance necessary for taking the prussians by surprise was absent and not even a cavalry screen was dispatched to cover the movement.
    4.Belatedly allies dispatch a cavalry contingent under Laudon to further distract the prussians and act as a flank guard.
    5.The Allied army is divided into 5 major columns[From top to bottom - French first line infantry,Artillery,Reserve divisions,French 2nd line infantry and the imperial infantry]They are preceeded by a large advance guard of Cavalry.At first, they retained regulation distance, but when wheeling eastward toward Zeuchfeld much confusion arose. Part of the reserve infantry moved in between the two main columns hampering the movements of the reserve artillery. The rest on the outer flank of the wheel found themselves unable to keep up with the overly rapid movement of the wheeling pivot.
    6.At around 2:00 PM Major gaudi,one of Frederick's staff officers observes several allied generals inspecting the prussian positions and also that the march of the allied army has changed direction.He immediately informs and persuades an initially skeptical frederick.Aftre observing for himslef Frederick understood that the allies were indeed attempting a flanking movement and decided to attack them in the line of march itself.Within 15 minutes,by 2:15 the whole prussian army is on the move.Leaving a handful of light troops in outposts to entertain the french under St germain,The Prussian army wheels right in three columns under the cover of janus hill and redeploys in its unique style.
    Frederick had no intention either of forming up parallel to the enemy or of retreating. His army could move as a unit twice as fast as the enemy's and he intended to make a detour, screened by the Janus and the Pölzen hill, and to fall upon the Allies suddenly from the east. If at the moment of contact the Allies had already formed their line of battle facing north, the attack would strike their right flank; if they were still on the move in column eastwards or north-eastwards, the heads of their columns would be crushed before the rest could deploy in the new direction – deployment in those days being a lengthy affair for most armies.
    7.15:15-To this end Colonel von Moller, with eighteen heavy guns, is dispatched to provide Advance fire support against the allies and takes up position on janus ridge.
    8.15:30-General Von Seydlitz,with all available cavalry squadrons hurried eastward from Rossbach, behind the coverJanus hill, to take up position in the new left wing of the prussian army.Seydlitz,a rising star had performed brilliantly at Kolin saving large parts of the Prussian forces and was given command of all 38 squadrons of cavalry[5500-6000 men] by frederick at rossbach bypassing 2 senior officers.He recieved his orders,rode over to his new command and addressed them simply -
    ''Gentlemen,i obey the King and You will Obey me!''.

    9.On seeing the prussian troops moving out the allies assume they are withdrawing and reinforce the advance guard with all available cavalry and send it some distance forward to take part in the general chase.
    10.The Allied advance columns comes into heavy flanking fire from Moller's battery on janus ridge and are thrown into some disorder,but it was usual practice to employ heavy guns to protect a retreat, and the Allies contented themselves with bringing some field guns into action.
    11.Von seydlitz hears the start of the barrage and wheeling his squadrons in line Charges the totally surprised allied cavalry head on.Only 2 allied cuirassier regiments are initially formed properly to take the charge.Others are trying to redeploy ,at the same time rear squadrons trying to move up all the while taking artillery fire from the ridge as seydlitz's heavy cavalry crashes into them.Souboise attempts to stem the tide with reinforcements but the swirling mass of allied cavalry are finally routed when seydlitz unleashes his second line of 18 squadrons.
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    Von seydlitz throwing his pipe in the air before leading his cavalry into the charge.

    12.The surviving allied cavalry retreats in disarray towards the main body throwing the front ranks of the columns into chaos.Most of the allied cavalry in front were smashed to pieces by the initial charge and many of them trampled over their own men trying to flee.
    13.Meanwhile the allied columns are finally coming into position.
    14.Even as the allies approach the disciplined prussian infantry advances down janus ridge like a well-drilled machine in oblique order.
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    1.Advance of the prussian infantry in echeleon down janus hill.
    2.Seydlitz meanwhile exhibits his quality as a cavalry commander and rallies and reforms his troops ready for more action.
    3.The Prussian infantry deploy from echeleon to create a V-shaped kill zone right on the path of the advancing allied columns.
    4 and 5.The Allied infantry managed to deploy some regiments at the head of the column. The French in particular formed one or two columns of attack, then peculiar to the French army, and rushed forward with the bayonet rather than advance in order with regular fire. But Moller's guns[now redeployed from janus ridge to suuport the infantry davance], which had advanced with the infantry, tore gaps in the closed French masses. When the French columns arrived within effective musketry range, the attack died out before the rapid and methodical volleys of the Prussian line.
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    Meanwhile the Allies tried in vain to form a line of battle. The two main columns had maneuvered too closely together in the advance from Pettstädt. Part of the reserve which had become entangled between the main columns was extricating itself by degrees and endeavoring to catch up with the rest of the reserve column away to the right and the reserve artillery proved useless in the middle of the infantry. The Prussian infantry was still in echelon from the left, and the leftmost battalions that had repulsed the French columns quickly came within musket-shot of this helpless mass.
    6.The allied columns are caught out of formation by the prussians in a kill zone of musketry and cannon and the front lines decimated,and the rest thrown into disorder.Still the french attempt to grimly hold on.
    7.At this juncture Von seydlitz having rallied his cavalry and with enemy cavalry still streaming past and trying to reorganize ,launches another unexpected massed charge on the hapless allied horsemen.

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    8.The milling mass of allied cavalry crashes back into its own infantry followed hot in heels by Seydlitz's Horsemen with disastrous results.The hard pressed infantry line already shattered in front and in disorder degenerates into total chaos.
    9.The whole Allied army reduced to a disorganized mob flees in total disarray pursued mercilessly by the prussian cavalry.Only a couple of swiss regimenst attempt to make a fighting retreat.
    10.Finally Laudon and St germain arrive to cover the allied retreat from the prussian cavalry thus saving the allies from further embarassment.The battle had lasted less than an hour and a half and the last episode of the infantry fight no more than fifteen minutes. Seven Prussian battalions only had engaged with the enemy and these expended five to fifteen rounds per man.

    Aftermath :

    The total losses amongst the Prussian army comprised 169 dead and 379 wounded[among them von seydlitz] as compared with 5,000 killed and wounded and 5,000 prisoners on the part of the Allies. Frederick was heard to say -
    "I won the battle of Rossbach with most of my infantry having their muskets shouldered."

    For the rest of the war Frederick's german allies reinforced with english and prussian troops were able to keep the french armies in check on his western front[France was also involved in colonial wars worldwide with britain],leaving frederick free to concentrate on the austrians and russians.
    For immediate effect,the battle stunned europe-Frederick had crushed 2 armies with trifling losses.
    Frderick was now to free to march back east and take on the austrian army which was pushing back his faltering forces in silesia.

    Battle Analysis :Causes of Allied Defeat and Prussian Success.

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    1]Mobility - The key feature of the success of the prussian forces was the speed with which it could move in formation and deploy,their skills being honed by constant drilling and exercises.This allowed frderick to redeploy far faster and far more smoothly his army using shorter distances than the ponderous allied turning move.The slobbering Movements of the allies on the other hand robbed them of any chance of taking the prussians by surprise before they could be detected.

    2]Discipline: The Discipline of the prussian forces was another major factor.The oblique march was executed perfectly in a superb display of positioning allowing them to create a kill zone.The disciplined prusian cavalry also displayed control and instead of scattering after its initial charge,reformed for a second even more lethal assault.

    3]Fire Superiority : The Prussians were able to maintain superiority in Fire support in both actions,moller's artillery provided constant support to both the cavalry in the first action and then the infantry in the second.In the scond phase the Prussians were able to create a zone of fire maximising their fire potential over their hapless enemies.

    4]Co-operation - Combined arms is one of the secrets to success in warfare and the 3 arms of the prussian army co-ordinated superbly,each performing its own function and intervening exactly when necessary.

    5]Timing - The timing of the prussian cavalry charges was unsurpassed and credit goes to the brilliant Seydlitz for his Coup'd oeil[Judgement and timing].The first one was launched right after the artillery barrage,and the second one into the flanks of a the reorganizing austrians.Each one took the enemy completely by surprise and hit home with deadly effect.

    6]Use Of Terrain - Frederick's use of janus hill first to mask the redeployment of his infantry and then the same to cover the movement of the cavalry both decieved the franco-imperials into believing what they wanted to believe- a withdrawal was taking place.

    7]Independent Will of the Enemy - A basic maxim of war is to Acknowledge the independent will of the enemy.That is,take into account that the enemy will not deliver himself into your hands by tamely following your line of thought.He might take action on his own that may disrupt your own maneuvres.A clever general thus provides for such contingencies.
    The Allied commanders Saxe and Souboise however seemed to have assumed Frederick helpless before their move and never foresaw a prussian counterblow.The advance guard was even sent forward with all available cavalry to pursue the apparently retreating prussians with disastrous results based on this flawed assumption.Attempting frederick's own move against him in fullview of the enemy based on the false confidence cost the allies dear.[Pro vs Noobs case].
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    Next: The Battle Of Leuthen.
     
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    THE BATTLE OF LEUTHEN -

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    Frederick force marched his army back to silesia to confront the austrians who had invaded silesia.However command had been shifted to the inexperienced Prince charles of Lorraine,who owed his position to his being the brother-in-law of the Empress Maria Theresa.He had already suffered a major defeat to frederick at Hohenfriedberg(1745) and 2 more at Prague(1757) and soor(1745).He was seconded by Marshal Daun,the victor of Kolin.Tactically competent but strategically timid.The Austrian commanders had failed to exploit prussian weakness and Frderick's absence with a major offensive into the heart of Prussia which the weak holding troops couldn't repulse and had contended themselves with winning minor victories over these forces.

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    Developments on the austrian front meanwhile.The austrians had scored notable successes against the feeble prussian armies,but had failed to exploit their enemies weakness with their overcautious and lethargic movements.But with the fall of Breslau the Prussian strategic situation was becoming dire.Meanwhile Frederick reunites with his retreating forces and prepares to confront the main austrian army under charles.He has at his disposal 38,000 men.

    Frederick had to engage and defeat the numerically superior Austrians before winter set in, and drive their army from Silesia. One more decisive victory would be needed from his men. Normally a strict disciplinarian, Frederick changed his style of leadership before the battle of Leuthen, offering atonement to the remainder of Bevern’s army, in exchange for future good conduct in the forthcoming battle. He circulated freely among his troops to hear their stories and offer his encouragement.

    He called his Regimental and battalion commanders and general staff to his tent on the morning of 4 December, to give what would become known as the Parchwitz address.-
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    “The enemy hold the same entrenched camp of Breslau which my troops defended so honourably. I am marching to attack this position. I have no need to explain my conduct or why I am determined on this measure. I fully recognise the dangers attached to this enterprise, but in my present situation I must conquer or die. If we go under, all is lost. Bear in mind, gentlemen, that we shall be fighting for our glory, the preservation of our homes, and for our wives and children. Those who think as I do can rest assured that, if they are killed, I will look after their families. If anybody prefers to take his leave, he can have it now, but he will cease to have any claim on my benevolence.”

    The commanders pass down the message to the troops in the ranks and the old soldiers resolve on one more great effort-Either victory or death.

    Frederick marched directly toward the Austrian army with its center at Leuthen, its front stretching four miles, significantly larger than the average front of the time.The Austrian army was stretched out to such an incredible length in order to prevent it from being out-flanked by Frederick, as was his favorite tactic.Th excellent austrian artillery had been distributed equally along this whole length undermining its ability to concentrate fire at one point.With the experience from Kolin,Daun formed a small mobile reserve.
    The weather was foggy, but the entire area had once been a training ground for the Prussian army, so Frederick the Great knew the terrain intimately.He would have to defeat an enemy superior in numbers on chosen ground, suited to defence.

    Size of the Armies:
    Prussians: 24,000-27,000 infantry, 12,000-14,000 cavalry and 167 guns (39,000 in all).
    Austrians: 44,000 infantry, 22,000 cavalry and 210 guns (66,000 in all).


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    At 5am on 5th December 1757 the Prussian army formed up in two infantry columns, flanked by the heavy cavalry, and marched to the south east across the wintry countryside. In front of the advance guard Frederick scouted the way ahead with the light troops and hussar regiments.
    As the Prussians approached the town of Borna they attacked a force of Austrian hussars and took six hundred prisoners. The Prussian columns marched past the captured Austrians and into the town.
    Frederick rode through Borna with Prince Moritz onto the Schön-Berg from where he surveyed the countryside to the east through his telescope. In front of him, from Nippern in the North to Leuthen in the South and beyond, stretched the Austrian line, some 4 miles in length.Some 2 miles behind the Austrian line and parallel to it flowed the Schweidnitzer-Wasser.

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    After surveying the austrian positions Frederick decided to attack the austrian left flank as its right flank rested on marshy ground Unsuited for quick advance and cavalry action.
    To distract the austrian commanders from the true point of attack the hussars and troops of the Prussian advance guard moved out of Borna down the road towards Frobelwitz in full view of the austrians,further reinforcing it by marching the main army in columns facing the austrian right.Frederick conducted several marches and countermarches that convinced Lucchese the right flank commander that he was about to be attacked and he requested the mobile reserve.After a while the hesitant austrian commanders agreed and the mobile reserve was released to deploy between Nippern and Frobelwitz, and Daun himself went to take a look.Now Charles decided on a second reinforcement by withdrawing Several Cavalry Squadrons under general serbollini to firm up his right.This premature deployment of austrian reserves would have serious implications later.Frederick had succeeded in decieving the austrians.

    It was mid-morning by the time the main Prussian army began its march south out of Borna.To the austrians it appeared that the enemy had refused battle [a common occurence in those days against an army in a strong defensive position]and a frustrated frederick was withdrawing to try his luck another day.As the prussians vanished out of view,Prince Charles remarked -

    ''Our Friends are leaving,let them go in peace''

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    Prussian army however swung south and marched out of view from the Austrian high command, their movements being shielded by a series of low hills.With clockwork efficiency the Prussian army wheeled from columns into line covered by the cavalry screen and out of view of the austrians under cover of the undulating terrain and low hills.[the several 'bergs'].The efficiency of the Prussian regiments at drill enabled them to move about the battlefield with a speed and manoeuvrability that no other European Army could equal.During the later stages of the march, the Prussians managed to convert their columns of march to lines of attack in their formidable Oblique Order as the army swung around between the villages of Lobetinz and Sagschutz.

    The Austro- Imperialist troops were largely unaware of the storm about to break on them. Worse,At the extreme left of the Austro- Imperialist left flank were Württemburgers and Bavarians, German auxillary troops-not among the best of the austrian forces.Facing them in the vanguard, were elite Prussian units of the 26th and 13th infantry regiments.Frederick personally fired up these men with an impromptu speech-

    ''Boys,you see the whitecoats over there.All you've got to do is go for them with the bayonet and drive them out.I'll support you with five grenadier battalions and the whole army.It's win or die!In front of you is the enemy,at your back the army,there is no room forward or back except as victors.''


    The Austrian left was commanded by the Hungarian Hussar General Nadasty. Nadasty had watched with growing trepidation as the Prussian columns appeared behind Lobetinz and wheeled around his flank.He sent dispatch after dispatch to the High command who were slow to respond initially ignoring them. In any case it was too late.
    Desperate to buy time he assembled all available cavalry and launched an attack on the prussian right wing cavalry under his old adversary-the prussian hussar commander Zeiten.Even as the horsemen of both armies clashed,the first battalions of Frederick's strengthened right wing of the oblique order began their assault on the Austrian left.

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    Close up of the Austrian left flank as the Prussian assault begins.Austrians in yellow,The austrian allied troops in orange,prussians in dark tan.Normal boxes represent infantry and those with crossed lines cavalry.

    1.Nadasty's cavalry clashes with Zieten's troops.However after a hard fought encounter the Accompanying prussian infantry under Bevern also begins to lay down disciplined fire in support and finally the reserve squadrons of cuirassiers rout the austro-hungarians.It had been a bloody contest.
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    2.Meanwhile Major general wedel leading the vanguard launches the main prussian attack on the wurtemmburgers,the prussians having achieved a local numerical superiority.Three assault divisions deliver volleys frontally while four others in deep column aim to puncture through the austrian ranks which have hastily attempted to turn and face the prussians.
    3.Nadasty realizing that his whole force is in peril of being taken in the flank withdraws the battalions under his command and attempts to form a new line facing the prussians for a stand on the kirchberg heights.
    4.Meanwhile the Austrian commanders have now realized the impending catastrophe and the first troops are being moved into leuthen to create a makeshift front to face the prussian army there.
    5.The rest of the prussian army marches inexorably and joins the assault.
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    6.A heavy gun battery is moved up and provides close fire support from point blank range,shredding the ranks of the bavarians and wurtemburgers with canister.
    7.All this is too much for the german auxillaries and they turn and flee,wurtemburgers followed by the bavarians.The austrian left wing has collapsed.
    8.Major General Buccow with 3 cavalry regiments makes a determined stand delaying the prussians and buying precious time for the austrin army.But as overwhelming numbers of prussian troops begin to overwhelm him he is force dto retreat.
    9.Bevern's infantry now joins the main prussian infantry assault .Zeiten's cavalry after defeating nadasty's horse advances.They come across the fleeing wurtembergers and bavarians,bulk of whom are either taken prisoner or sabred by zeiten's horsemen.
    10.Nadasty's austrian and hungarian battalions make a brief stand at kirchbirg but are overwhelmed when the heights are stormed by waves of prussian infantry from 2 directions and zeiten's cavalry on the right.They retreat in disarray to the town of leuthen.
    11.Meanwhile the austrians are attempting to realign themselves in a panic and forces are streaming in from the other flank in totally disorganized fashion,having left behind their battalion artillery pieces.The length of the austrian line is now working to their disadvantage as the generals hastily attempt to create a new line anchored at leuthen with their panting troops.
    12. 40 cavalry squadrons under General Dreisen[Seydlitz not present due to injury] part of the prussian refused left flank are deployed at sophenberg,masked from austrian eyes by the radaxdorf and Lobetinz heights.

    Continued -
     
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    1.The austrians have finally consolidated a shaky battle line facing the prussians at leuthen.But the whole force is in a chaotic state,most units out of position and without their battalion artillery.At some places units are 100 men deep!![remember normal practice is 3 ranks deep as only those can fire].The Prussians have formed their infantry into line and now advance to attack leuthen.

    2.Prussians assault leuthen from all sides,the close-quarter fighting is brutal and bloody as the prussians slowly make their way into the town.

    3.The prussian artillery batteries inflict heavy casualities on the packed austrian ranks.

    4.The strongpoint and pivot of the austrian defence is the catholic church of leuthen[Deep Black bordered yellow box] garrisoned by the excellent Austrian Rot-Wurzburg Regiment.The Prussian guards assault this position with bayonet and are repulsed repeatedly.

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    5.Seeing his left wing taking heavy casualities from the austrian heavy batteries and remembering the destruction wrought by austrian artillery at kolin,frederick quickly orders his 12 Pdr heavy 'Brummers'[10 or 18 guns] to be moved up to butterberg heights from where they lay down a devastating barrage on the austrians.

    6.Finally with artillery support the prussians manage to capture the church ,this signals the end of general austrian resistance in the town itself as they retreat.The wurzburg regiment retreats with its colours intact.Frederick has taken Leuthen but the austrian army is not beaten yet.
    7.Meanwhile Zeiten and nadasty reorganize their exhausted cavalry squadrons.

    8.The austrian right wing cavalry under Lucchese returning sees the seemingly exposed left wing of the prussian left wing and advances to wheel and smash into this irresistable target.

    9.Dreisen observes the approach of the austrian horse and wheels his cavalry round to intercept them.The prussian cavalry on this wing remains unseen by the austrians behind cover of the heights.

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    1.The prussian infantry continues to attack the resilient austrians but are encountering stiff resistance and are unable to advance at the face of heavy musketry fire.

    2.Lucchesse charges forward with his cavalry and begins to wheel round to take the Prussian infantry in its exposed side.However mid-manuevre they are intercepted out of the blue by the charge of Dreisen's heavy cavalry.The totally surprised austrians are caught out of position as the prussians launch a brilliantly executed attack from 3 angles.Bulk of the austrian cavalry is caught facing the wrong direction and ends up taking the full impact of the prussian charge with disastrous results.Only 3 regiments of cuirassiers face and engage the prussian mounted assault in the centre.Lucchese is killed in the opening minutes of the prussian countermove.Squadrons of Prussian hussars had found thier way around the austrian cavalry and assaulted them from the rear.Despite this terrible attack ,the melee is furious and hotly contested,austrian cavalry having outnumbered the prussians.

    3.The cavalry squadron hangs in the balance for a while until major general wurtemburg leading 10 squadrons of the reserve cavalry in the centre joins the fray ,this renewed assault crushes the austrian forces in a vice grip from 3 directions and they break into a mass of fugitives fleeing in disarray to the safety of their infantry.

    4 and 5.This swirling mass of cavalry pursued by the prussian horse slams into the already hard pressed austrian infantry from the right and the resulting chaos is too much for the austrians who are already being attacked in front by the prussian infantry and raked with canister shot by the prussian heavy guns.The austrian left wing is massacred by the prussian cavalry,regiments that stood their ground being sabered and ridden down by the prussian dragoons and cuirassiers.

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    6.The pussian right heartened now by the collapse of the enemy launches a vigorous attack followed by a general prussian advance all along the line.The austrian artillery gunners fight to the last until they are bayonetted by prussian grenadiers,but the austrian rout is now complete as the prussians sweep away any remaining resistance.

    7 and 8.Nadasty rallied his forces and his cavalry aided in launching small counterattacks to cover the retreat of the surviving austrian forces.The exhausted prussians pursue till a distance.Darkness saves the austrians from an even greater catastrophe.

    A stunned Prince charles is seen mumbling as he leaves the battlefield-

    '' I can't believe it !''


    Aftermath:
    Leuthen was Frederick's Perfect battle.Austrians had lost 22,000 men.10,000 killed and wounded and 12,000 taken prisoner plus 116 field guns lost.In the following weeks after the battle, during the prussians pursuit 17,000 more surrendered.In all Austria lost 67% of its army in silesia.The prussian losses had been 6,000 killed and wounded.
    Rossbach and Leuthen had reinstated the Prussian army's aura of invincibility which had been shattered by the defeat at Kolin.Against the odds and surrounded on all sides, Frederick had struck back with his greatest victory and the Prussian phoenix had risen from the ashes.
    The battle of Leuthen is considered one of the greatest tactical masterpieces in military history and the classic example of the oblique order attack.The camapign of 1757 cemented Frderick's position among the great captains of history.
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    [Ignore some inconsistencies in the descriptions on this diagram]

    Maria Theresa was enraged at the news of the disaster but refused to give up.
    ''In the end god will take pity on us and deliver us from this monster''

    For Charles of lorraine however it was the end of his career as a field commander.Austria would raise more armies to take on the 'parvenu' prussian state.And indeed dark days lay ahead for Prussia and Frederick.
    After Leuthen a confident Frederick marched east to permanently deal with the russians whom he expected to be easy prey.To his chagrin[as would be the case with future conquerors]he would find the russians to be the most formidable and dangerous of his enemies.During the long seven years war,Frederick was unable to defeat the russians in a pitched battle.There would be no more glorious campaigns like that of 1757,from here on it would be a bloody slog .Prussia was slowly ground down in an attritional struggle and only saved due to the internal rivalries and passivity of the allied commanders.Still by 1762 Frederick's army was at an all time low and his strategic manpower reserve exhausted.The Officer korps was so depleted that he had to conscript 14 yr old cadets.France and England had withdrawn from the war and british financial subsidies were no longer coming.With Prussia on the brink of certain collapse the sudden death of Czarina Elisabeth of russia-bitter enemy of Frederick, turned the situation upside down.His son the new czar,a lifelong admirer of frederick hastened to make peace and even put 20,000 russian soldiers at Frederick's disposal.Maria Theresa shorn of all her allies finally ceded silesia to the prussians once and for all.This event came to be known as the 'Miracle of the House of Brandenburg'.

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    Frederick would thus establish prussia as a major power in europe,one that would one day supersede austria to become the political centre of an unified Germany.It was militaristic prussia that unified germany and imbibed in it its martial spirit inherited from Frederick's legacy.This militarism would be one of the main causes of the First and second world wars that changed the world forever.
    Frederick's campaign of 1757 remains a brilliant example of the use of interior lines and bold movement to achieve incredible results.
    Next: - Battle Analysis.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  11. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ BANNED

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    Battle Analysis :Reasons for Prussian Success -

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    1]Deception - Frederick with elaborate pre-battle manuevering managed to fool the austrian commanders to the real objective of his attack.

    2]Concentration of Force - In Classic Oblique order style Frederick was able to concentrate his whole army on a single austrian flank thus gaining a decisive local superiority inspite of an overwhelming overall numerical disparity.He thus defeated the austrians piecemeal by rolling up their flank.This is the basis of the later Schwerpunkt concept.

    3]Firepower superiority - Frederick was again able to maximise his firepower advantage at decisive points,the heavy guns providing invaluable mobile fire support throughout the battle.On the other hand the excellent austrian artillery was scattered and used poorly.

    4]Co-Operation - As at Rossbach,Co-ordination between infantry,cavalry and artillery was superb.Bevern's infantry assisted in zeiten's contest against nadasty,the prussian artillery was ever present to assist the infantry advance with relentless cannonfire and the cavalry too executed its duty by dealing the deathblow at the crucial hour.

    5]Surprise - The Prussians achieved total tactical surprise twice,first with the flank attack and then withe the cavalry.

    6]Mobility and Discipline- The mobility and discipline of the prussian forces allowed them to conduct such a perfectly executed flank attack in oblique order without being disrupted by terrain.The brilliant 3 prong attack of Dreisen's cavalry was also testament to the quality of the prussian horse.

    7]Wrong choice of battlefield - Knowing that Frederick would strike on one flank the austrians should not have kept both flanks open,had they given battle some miles back with one flank resting on the river Schweidnitz Frederick's attack would have been predictable and easy to repulse.[However in such a case frederick might not attack at all,and austrians would fight wit6hn a river on their back- a dangerous proposition].However there was no excuse for the austrians choosing a battlefield the prussians were intimately familiar with,being their annual exercise grounds.

    8]Faulty Deployment - The deployment of the austrians was flawed in 2 respects-

    a)It was stretched too long and transfering troops from one wing to another took lengthy amounts of time.As a result, in battle most of the austrian artillery was left behind and didn't come into action.

    b)The inferior german auxillaries were placed on one wing. .An unforgivable mistake since the austrian generals were aware of frederick's preferance to assault one flank.These troops should have been in the centre or reserve.

    9]Blunders of the Austrian Generals - Charles and his premature release of the austrian mobile reserve ,followed by a totally illogical follow up of the cavalry as well denuded the austrain left wing and also robbed it of reserves to stall the prussian advance.These mistakes made frderick's job easy and were largely responsible for the austrian disaster.

    10]Use of Terrain -Frederick again made excellent use of terrain to conceal his flank march and also his left wing cavalry which enabled him to achieve total surprise.


    This battle report was extremely long and took a while,i was also busy so wasn't able to write up the whole thing at once.
     
  12. asad71

    asad71 PROFESSIONAL

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  13. AUSTERLITZ

    AUSTERLITZ BANNED

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    Continue what?The battle report is complete?:what:
    Or didn't u see leuthen?
    Anyway sry for the delays but this one was very big.:(
    Thanks for the feedback,which is always appreciated and motivates to keep going.

    Eh?
     
  14. jaibi

    jaibi RETIRED MOD

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    Very detailed analysis and report, @AUSTERLITZ , very well done!
     
  15. MohitV

    MohitV BANNED

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    wow!! nice report :)


    nvr knew battle formation analysis can be so much complex....u must be a champ at 'total war' :D