Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Road to Leuthen: November 29, 1757

The battlefield of Leuthen, in a quiter moment before the troops arrive. Click all pix to enlarge the view.
I spent nearly eight hours yesterday clearing off the Sudan terrain from my game table and replacing it with Winter terrain for the SYW in Silesia (Leuthen).

Lobetinz (foreground) anchors the left flank of the Prussians and Sagschutz, near the post in the background, is where the Wurtemburg and Bavarian forces were deployed. They would face the first wave of the Prussian attack.

A picture of me at Leuthen, to the south of the town. If you click on the picture to enlarge the view you can just make out the church towers of the Catholic Church (left) and the Protestant Church (right). Very flat terrain, perfect for cavalry action.

I should have mentioned yesterday that the Prussians were busy crossing the Katzbach stream at Parchwitz on November 28th. This was important because of the geographical nature of the Katzbach, which while narrow, had steep embankments that made crossing very difficult for an army. The Katzbach basically cut Silesia into two halves. Had the Austrian army moved forward from Breslau to take up a position along the Katzbach, they would have been in a good position to deny Frederick a march on Breslau.

Below is an excellent campaign map of the Leuthen Campaign that we will be referring to again over the coarce of the run up to the battle of Leuthen on December 4th: 

Map from "Prussia's Glory" by Christopher Duffy

By an oversight Charles and Daun had made very little provision to cover the Glogau-Breslau highway, which crossed the Katzbach by a little wooden bridge outside of Parchwitz. This post was held by Colonel Gersdorf and his force of 500 Croats, hussars and German cavalry, and on the same November 28th it was surprised and overthrown by Frederick's advance guard of 4,000 troops, which enjoyed a superiority of eight to one. The Austrians were not given the time to burn the bridge, and Gersdorf's command was driven through the town and scattered, with a total loss of 43 Croats, 6 hussars and 76 German cavalry.

On November 29th Charles responded by placing Major General Luzinsky at Newmarkt with a small blocking force (above), but the main Austrian army still hung back outside Breslau, and the enemy still had a free hand. Charles merely wrote to Vienna that he hoped that 'the Prussian movements will declare themselves in two to three days time, so that we can take such measures as are most advantageous to Your Majesty's service. In this we shall bear in mind the Kingdom of Bohemia.' The last remark was significant, for it indicated that Charles was still worried about the security of his left or southern flank [DAF: influenced by Marshal Kieth's earlier raid into Bohemia on November 26th, designed to draw off Austrian forces that were blocking Frederick' route of march from Dresden to Parchwitz] 

Frederick was therefore left undisturbed in his bridgehead at Parchwitz, and his "Rossbach Army" received a reinforcement from Glogau in the shape of three battalions. A convoy bearing ammunition and flour arrived with them and Frederick was now able to set up a field bakery in the Schloss at Parchwitz.

- from "Prussia's Glory" by Christopher Duffy, pages 128 to 129.

Below is a picture of the Leuthen battlefield, as presented on my war-game table:

Leuthen battlefield viewed from Sagschutz in the east towards Lobetinz in the west.


  1. Jim,
    That's a lovely set up. We are refighting Leuthen again this week, so I will be very interested to compare your refight with ours.

  2. Terrific! I alway look forward to this annual event...
    First big snow of the year here today as well, just in time.


  3. I too really look forward to the forthcoming game. No snow here,uncommonly mild after heavy frosts last week.

  4. Awesome set up, this battlfield is gorgeous!

  5. Wonderful looking table and really enjoying the 'daily' updates leading up to the tbattle.

  6. Jim, you have some very interesting objects hanging on your walls, pray enloghten us. Oh and the posts and pictures of Leuthen are superb (as usual with your blog)

  7. Lovely looking table Jim. I have always admired your winter terrain and the ability to make me feel cold whenever I view it!