Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Day 3: Lobositz

The Lobosch Hill at Lobositz, infested by Croats in 1756, but a very quiet place today.

Messes Bunger, Rubottom and I checked out of the Hotel Otto this morning ( after another brief stop at the Berliner Zinnfiguren store - Hey! The hotel is only one block away from  BZ, why do you think that we picked it as our place to stay?) and taxied to Tegel Airport where we met up with the rest of the Duffy Trip crew at 11am. There are twenty of us on the trip with representatives from Sweden, Germany, Italy, Canada, the UK and the USA, many of whom are familiar faces from trips of yore. 

Boarding the bus at Tegel. John Curran on the left and Ken Bunger on the right.

We departed Tegel around 11:30pm and headed south on the autobahn for Dresden and our ultimate destination of Prague, in the Czech Republic. Our first stop was the battlefield of Lobositz, site of the battle fought in 1756. Christopher Duffy briefed us along the way about the topography in the theatre of war, which provided a better understanding of why campaigns were fought in certain parts of Germany.

Travel by coach: you can just make out the Elbe River on the left.

I endeavor to learn something new on every battlefield tour and what I learned is that initially Frederick had no specific plans or strategy at the outset of the SYW. He believed that Saxony was ready to fall in with the Austrians, whereas in fact, Saxony wanted nothing more than to be a neutral power in the coming war. Once he invaded Saxony and had bottled the Saxon army up in the camp at Pirna, his objective was nothing beyond the capitulation of the Saxon army before the Austrians, French and Russians could mobilize their armies and intercede in the theatre of war.

Hans von Winterfeldt, he egged on Frederick to launch a pre-emptive invasion of Saxony in 1756.

And since Frederick had no specific plans or strategy, it was hard for the Austrian commander Marshal Ulysses von Browne to divine what Frederick was up to. Thus Browne's objective was to rescue the Saxon army from the trap at Pirna and bring it over to the Austrian side.

The Elbe River valley between Aussig and Lobositz. Croats positioned on the opposite or left blank, did an effective job of whittling down a regiment of Prussians that passed this way whilst guarding a supply convoy. happily, no shots were fired today, other than those from cameras.

The two armies collided almost by happenstance at Lobositz, just across the Saxon border with Bohemia. From Dresden, we followed one of the main routes into Bohemia along the Elbe River, via the towns of Aussig and Lobositz.

Lobositz was really a reconnaissance in force by the Prussians. Marshall Keith had found  von Browne's army there and Frederick brought up more of the army from Pirna to add a little more punch to his forces. Von Browne really had no interest in having a battle, settling instead on a delaying action.

The town of Lobositz. I almost got run over by a car as I stood in the road taking this picture.

The Homolka Mound. Frederick placed his artillery on the rise on the left where there is an open notch between two clumps of trees.

The line of the Morellanbach lies where you see the church steeple and the line of trees. Von Browne positioned most of his army behind this boggy ground.

The gist of the battle is this: Frederick's army poured out of the Elbe River valley and they could not see the Austrian positions due to the dense fog that morning. Von Browne's right flank (commanded by Lacy) rested on the Lobosch Hill, which was clogged with vineyards and infested by Croats. von Browne's center was held by his cavalry, as the center was really the only logical ground on which to employ cavalry. His left flank was posted behind the Morellanbach steam, out of harms way.

Frederick launched his cavalry into the fog to find the enemy and soon his cuirassiers came steaming back with many an empty saddle. The Austrian cavalry got caught up in the counterattack and received rough handling by the second line of Prussian cavalry. The Prussian 12-pounders on the Homolka Mound opened up on anything that they could see as the fog began to lift. Over on the Austrian left, Lacy's Croats and grenadiers were gradually pushed off the Lobosch Hill by Bevern's Prussian left wing. Once the Lobosch Hill was cleared of the enemy, the Austeian right wing was compromised and had to withdraw from Lobositz and join the rest of von Browne's army on the far side of the Morellanbach. Neither general had any incentive to continue the fighting and so the battle ended there, in somewhat of a draw.

Some pix of the Theresianstadt fortress are shown below, a fine example of Vauban style fortifications.

As the sun set and the sky opened up with rain, we arrived in Prague and checked into our hotel, eager for some rest, a good meal and looking forward to seeing Kolin tomorrow. 


  1. I'm extremely jealous! Will be doing this tour myself one day.
    Kolin is supposed to be virtually untouched so will be very interesting.

  2. Ditto the jealousy! Enjoy your trip!

  3. Where does one find out info about the tours that Prof Duffy runs?

    1. Alas, this will be his last tour due to age and health.


  4. Very interesting to hear how about Frederick's lack of a clear strategy and how both forces sort of bumped into each other.

  5. Hello Jim,
    I live near Rossbach, if Rossbach is part of your trip, i would like to join your group. So maybe i can get access to the diorama of the battle that is not public anymore. If it is possible, please leave a comment here.
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Thomas,

      Thank you for the kind offer but we will not be visiting Rossbach on this trip. We are more focused on the Silesian battles of Frederick the Great.


  6. Very interesting. So you visited not Königsstein and Pirna? I can recommend to visit Königsstein and than travel back by ship on the river Elbe. We had a old ship from the 1870s. You may see not only the impressive Königsstein, but the Sonnenstein and parts of the fortress of Dresden too.


    1. We will be staying in Dresden for the next 5 nights, using it as our base of operations. We will see Pirna and Koenigstein within the next few days.

  7. It sounds like a splendid trip. One of your group will have to take over from Prof. Duffy as you are all experts now. :)

  8. Looks like an excellent trip. Thank you for sharing pictures and a bit of history.