Friday, December 2, 2016

The Fifth Day of Leuthen - Things Are Heating Up Now

Prussian artillery train hauling 12-pound Brummers to Parchwitz. (Minded Miniatures) - click pix to enlarge.

The Prussians
On December 2, 1757 things began to heat up in both camps what with Zieten arriving from Glogau with the rest of the "Breslau Army" into Frederick's camp at Parchwitz. The combined Rossbach and Breslau armies included 48-1/2 battalions, 133 squadrons, and 78 heavy field pieces, including 10 fortress 12-pounders (the Brummers) bringing the Prussian army up to 39,000 men.

Prussian powder wagon, part of the artillery train, with crew marching behind the wagon. (Minden Miniatures)

Frederick never employed the positive side of his man-management to better effect than in these early days of December 1757. In terms of motivation, his army was the best he had ever led into the field. A veteran wrote that this little force was "made up almost entirely of genuine native Prussians, for most of the foreigners had deserted, and those that remained had taken on our national character." Their guiding principle was an extraordinary attachment to their king and their fatherland, and if ever troops may be compared to Spartans and Romans, it must have been the Prussians of that time.

The units of Bevern's army had expected a typical tongue-lashing, but the king sensed that this was not appropriate. When he talked to the officers, his conversation turned on how well they had done in the past times. He walked among the soldiers, chatting with them in terms they understood. There were distributions of extra rations, and wine to help  to revive flagging spirits. For the time being he kept these people in a separate encampment, but he encouraged the men of the "Rossbach" army to come across to their lines and talk about the events of November 5th. All of this helped to turn discouragement into thoughts of revenge.

Frederick's solicitude extended to the generals. The king, unlike the Austrians, was notoriously stingy in dispersing praise and rewards, and something altogether out of the ordinary must have compelled him to proclaim a mass promotion on December 1st -- Driesen and the princes Ferdinand of Prussia and Friedrich Eugen of Wurttemberg were advanced to lieutenant generals, and eleven of the colonels became major generals.

Prussia's Glory (pages 130-131) Christopher Duffy

The Austrians
The Austrian high command held a meeting to debate strategy for the coming battle with the Prussians. The best course of action would have been for the Austrian army to occupy the Breslau defenses, however, they decided to march out of camp and march towards the Katzbach. They decided to leave much of their heavy artillery in Breslau, presumably for a speedier march. It was decided to reinforce Lignite with 1,000 more men and build up a command of Croats, hussars and Saxon light dragoons at Newmarket, on the highway to Parchwitz. Duffy indicates that the real reason for the advance towards Frederick was a concern that the Prussians would cut off the supply line back to Bohemia.



  1. I am really enjoying the scenario context that you are progressively building coupled with the outstanding figures and terrain. Most enjoyable.

    I eagerly look forward to the continuing installments.

    Many thanks.

  2. Yes! The brummers look tantalizingy good, and the treatment you gave the saddlecoths and sabretaches on those RSM95 hussars is inspiring.

    Best Regards,