Map of Prussian Westphalia (circa 1908) - click to enlarge
After a year of hard fighting in 1756, which saw Frederick of Prussia invading Saxony and Bohemia, and the Gallians (French) and their allies from Imperium (Austria), Saxony and Russie (Russia) losing the key battle of Pettstadt in September 1756, the year closed with the Gallians firmly established at their forward bases of Cologne and Frankfurt in Western Germany. A late foray by Frederick into Bohemia was turned back by Marshal von Browne's Imperium victory at Lobositz in November. Thus, Frederick was content to establish winter quarters in Dresden. His western flank was guarded by the Britannian Expeditionary Force at Minden and by the Hesse Seewald army blocking the Fulda Gap, northeast of Frankfurt.
In July 1757, the primary Gallian (French) army of Marshal de Broglie advanced north from its supply base in Cologne (Koln) with the objective of capturing the British/Hanoverian strong hold at Minden. The Britannian army of the Marquis of Granby sallied forth from Minden and offered battle to the Gallians at the town of Gutersloh. Broglie won a hard fought battle which forced Granby to fall back to Minden, where he awaited reinforcements from either Hanover or from his Hesse Seewald allies.
In August 1757, a second Gallian army commanded by General de Chevert, ventured forth from its base at Frankfurt-am-Main, heading northeast towards Hesse Seewald, via the Fulda Gap. Der Erbprinz Friedrich of Hesse Seewaldt delaying action at Salzungen turned into a double envelopment of Chevert's army that would have done Hannibal proud. As a result, Chevert's shattered army tumbled back towards Frankfurt, holding a position near the fortress of Gemunden.
With Chevert no longer a threat to the Hesse Seewald homeland, Der Erbprinz decided to leave a small blocking force in Fulda, while marching the rest of his army north via Kassel and Paderborn in order to trap Broglie between Der Erbprinz and the Britannian army at Minden. With a strong Germanian light cavalry screen consisting of 15 squadrons of hussars descending upon the town of Hamm, astride de Broglie's supply line from Koln to Minden, de Broglie knew that he had to act quickly or else run the risk of getting trapped between the two enemy armies. Accordingly, he detached a significant portion of his army to find the Germanian army somewhere between Hamm and Bielefeld. (please click on the map for a larger view).
This is the context for the Big Game battle to be fought on Saturday October 13, 1757 (2007).