The Battle of Gabel, 13 April 1757

The Battlefield at Gabel

Battle fought at Frankfurt, Germany
Prussian Player: Christian R.
Austrian Player: Achim

The table-top battle covered an area of 9.0 ×6.0 kilometers (km), with the town of Gabel located approximately 600 yards north of the southern table edge and about 2.5 km away from the eastern and western table edges. Gabel is surrounded by orchards and light woods which limit visibility, but do not prevent formed troops from maneuvering through them. The town is 1200 yards off the southern edge of the map section shown here.

About 2.4 km north of Gabel is a 4.8 km long ridgeline which runs from the western table edge to within 900 yards of the eastern edge. The westernmost quarter of the Gabel Heights are covered with heavy woods, the remainder clear. About 1.2 km north of the Gabel Heights runs a little stream, the Jablonne, which is crossed at a road bridge approximately 1.6 km north-east of the center of the Gabel heights. The Gabel-Zittau road runs north from the town of Gabel, across the middle of the Gabel Heights and crosses the Jablonne at the road bridge. The map shows the position of the forces around 11:00 hours. The red arrow north of the river shows General Königseck's forces arriving from Zittau at 13:00 hours, and attacking General Bevern in the rear.

Scale

  • 1 Turn = 1 Hour
  • 1 inch on table = 100 yards/meters in real life
  • 200 × 200m figure base = army/corps commander
  • 150 × 150m figure base = division commander
  • 300 × 150m figure base = 1 infantry regiment
  • 300 × 300m figure base = 1 cavalry brigade
  • 150 × 300m gun base = 1 artillery battalion
  • 150 × 300m figure base = 1 skirmish cavalry

Battles is joined at 07:00 in the morning ...

  • 07:00 hours: Prussian General Bevern arrives at the northern edge of the Gabel Heights, personally attached to his single Hussar Regiment. Austrian General Noe de Crousatz, under orders to march north to Zittau, is unaware of the Prussian advance against him. Crousatz had just left the town of Gabel and put himself at the head of his lead units, marching north toward the Gabel Heights.
  • 08:00 hours: Bevern and his Hussars ascend the Gabel Heigths. As they cross the ridgeline, the entire Austrian corps comes into view below them, with a heavy cavalry division just a few hundred yards to the south-east. Immediately, the Hussars are attacked, ridden down and dispersed, Bevern escapes unharmed and joins his own cavalry division just 1,000 yards north-west of the ridge.
  • 09:00 hours: Bevern attacks with Schmettau's Cuirassier brigade and the Hessian Leib Dragoner brigade, completely destroying the Austrian Cuirassier Brigade of Stampach.
  • 10:00 hours: The Prussian cavalry division advances along the eastern side of the road, to a position in the rear of the Austrian infantry and artillery. Austrian infantry and artillery form a line behind the crest of the Gabel Heights, anchored on the woods on the western part of the ridge. The remaining Austrian dragoon brigade, Saint Ignon, blocks the Gabel road just south of the crest of the Gabel Heights, to act as a flank guard and to prevent the Prussian infantry from breaking through to Gabel.
  • 11:00 hours: Artillery fire in conjunctions with a charge of the Hessian Leib Dragoner brigade destroys the Austrian dragoons. General de Crousatz is now without cavalry, except for cavalry skirmishers. Austrian infantry division receives heavy casualties from artillery fire and becomes exhausted.
  • 12:00 hours: Infantry Regiment Bülow is eliminated in an attack against Austrian infantry on the ridge. Prussian artillery fires with good effect. The Austrian infantry division panics, one regiment routs and is eliminated, exposing the flank of the artillery battery.
  • 13:00 hours: Prussian infantry eliminates the Austrian artillery in a flank attack. Remaining Austrian infantry is driven off the hill and forms another line 700 yards south of it. Austrian General Königseck arrives from Zittau and advances his corps to a position just 200 yards north of the bridge.
  • 14:00 hours: Prussian cavalry catches the two Austrian Hussar regiments in melee and destroys them. Austrian infantry from the Gabel command destroy a Prussian grenadier regiment by fire, losing one regiment of their own.
  • 15:00 hours: The Prussian Cuirassier brigade destroys an infantry regiment in melee. Prussian infantry consolidates its position on the Gabel Heights and faces north to defend against Königseck. Infantry regiment Bernburg is destroyed by fire.
  • 16:00 hours: IR Quadt attacks an Austrian road column on the Gabel Heights, repulses the enemy, but is itself destroyed by enemy support fire.
  • 17:00 hours: Hessian Leib Dragoner catch an Austrian field battery in road column just north of the heights and destroy them. Infantry regiment Zastrow attacks Austrian infantry regiment Salm 2, both are destroyed by fire and close combat. Prussian infantry division of General Oldenburg is exhausted. Newly arrived Austrian cavalry of Königseck's force ride down infantry regiment Blanckensee, plus one heavy battery. The Austrian field battery of the Gabel command routs and is eliminated.
  • 18:00 hours: Hessian Leib Dragoner ride down field artillery of Thurheim's division from the rear. The newly arrived Austrian cavalry division (one dragoon and one cuirassier brigade) combines an attack against the Leib Dragoner on Gabel Hill, but is repulsed. Both Austrian units are pushed back 1,200 yards in disorder.
  • 19:00 hours: Prussian Cuirassier brigade of Schmettau attacks, routs and destroys the Austrian cuirassiers. The breakthrough charge contacts and eliminates a Croat infantry skirmish unit. Hessian Leib Dragoner attack, rout and destroy the Austrian Dragoon brigade. Another Croat infantry unit is contacted and eliminated on the Leib Dragoner's breakthrough. A bad moment for the Austrian army. Nightfall ended the battle.
  • Prussian Casualties: 5,000 including wounded and captured
  • Noe de Crousatz: 4,250 including wounded and captured
  • Königseck: 4,000 including wounded and captured

During the night, General Bevern decided to regroup his damaged corps at Zittau, leaving the field to a badly battered Austrian army, now under the joint command of General Königseck. The Austrian cavalry was destroyed and not in a position to pursue the withdrawing Prussians. The only fresh units on the field were the glorious Prussian cavalry division, with 2,000 men remaining, and Königseck's Advance Guard of 1,000 Hussars and 500 Croats.

Return to central Bohemia.