The Battle of Lobositz, 21st of May 1757

The Battlefield at Lobositz

Battle fought via e-mail
Moritz von Dessau: Kai Diekmann, et alii
FML von Brentano: Fred Avner, et alii

The map shows the area west of the Elbe river, at around 12:30 that fateful day. On the Elbe, and approximately 900 yards south of the map edge is the village of Welhota. 650 yards south of Welhota the road runs into Lobositz, where the Elbe makes a bend. 100 yards west of Welhota can be seen an area of vineyards, 2500 yards in length and between 200 and 600 yards wide, covering the southern slopes of the Lobosch, a hill with four major contours of elevation. On the lowest contour of the Lobosch, and on the western map edge, is the village of Bilinka. The main road coming from Aussig can be seen running south of Bilinka and on to Lobositz, approximately 3000 yards away, where it exits the eastern map edge and continues to the town of Budin.

Lobositz covers an area of 1000 × 300 yards. The road to Libochowitz crosses the Morellen-Bach 700 yards south of Lobositz. Just 100 yards north of the crossing is an intersection with the road coming from the village of Sullowitz, approximately 1000 yards to the south-west. The banks of the Morellen-Bach are swampy and there are several ponds along its length. On the eastern bank of the Morellen-Bach and near the southern map edge is the town of Tschischkowitz. Troops may ford the Morellen-Bach south-west of Tschischkowitz and south-east of Sullowitz without fear of losing their battalion guns.

Finally, on the western map edge can be seen the Homolka Hügel, a two contour hill. On the lower slope of the Homolka is the village of Radositz, and 300 yards north-east of it is Wchinitz. About 300 yards east of the village of Wchinitz can be seen a sunken road leading into Lobositz.

Prussian forces (blue): Commanded by Fürst Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau

  • Tresckow’s infantry brigade west and north of Radositz.
  • Manstein’s infantry brigade behind Tresckow.
  • Braunschweig’s infantry brigade on the western approaches of the Lobosch.
  • Graf Geßler and four units of light cavalry south-west of Radositz.
  • Kyau’s cavalry division west/north-west of Geßler.
  • Katte’s cavalry division south-west of Geßler.

Austrian Forces (red): FML Graf von Brentano

  • Entrenched Artillery concentrated north and south of the Wchinitz-Lobositz road.
  • FML Starhemberg’s brigade entrenched in a line from Sullowitz to the grand battery.
  • Two regiments of Lacy’s brigade entrenched north of the grand battery, one in reserve.
  • Three regiments of Lacy’s brigade entrenched on the lower eastern slope of the Lobosch.
  • Kollowrath-Emmanuel’s cavalry division south of the Bilinka-Lobositz road.
  • Croats deployed in the vineyards, in the center of Lacy’s brigade.

Austrian Reinforcements: Commanded by Feldmarschall von Browne

  • FZM Kollowrath’s infantry brigade arrives 700 yards east of Lobositz at 13:30 hours.
  • Graf Hadick’s Avantgarde marches behind Kollowrath.
  • Radicati’s cavalry division arrives 900 yards south-east of Lobositz at 13:30 hours.
sunken road battery

Left: Lobositz, Welhota and the Elbe in the background, Bilinka-Lobositz road in foreground.
Right: Austrian artillery on the Wchinitz-Lobositz road.

It is 09:00 hours and the Prussians are coming through the fog.

09:00 hours: Moritz von Dessau’s Prussian corps can be seen advancing against Lobositz, just south of the Bilinka-Lobositz road. It is a foggy morning, limiting visibility to 1 mile. The Prussian army halts 1600 yards away from the line of Austrian fieldworks. As the fog lifts, a single Prussian infantry regiment appears on the summit of the Lobosch.

10:00 Generalleutnant von Tresckow’s brigade of four infantry regiments advances to within 500 yards of the Austrian lines west of Lobositz. Infanterie-Regiment von Zastrow is immediately destroyed by severe cannister fire from the combined Austrian batteries directly opposite. Shortly thereafter, Infanterie-Regiment von Anhalt-Dessau meets the same fate in a crossfire of battalion gun and artillery fire coming from the advanced right flank of the Austrian line and the artillery position on the Wchinitz-Lobositz road. Only Tresckow’s right flank remains, and they continue to engage Austrian infantry south of the battery position with long-range battalion gun fire. Generalleutnant von Manstein’s brigade advances to a position 1100 yards behind Tresckow. Prussian light cavalry is seen moving off the Homolka Hügel and advancing north, toward the Lobosch.

11:00 Tresckow attaches himself to Infanterie-Regiment von der Goltz, ordering the unit to face north-east and attack the enemy heavy artillery battery with the bayonet. IR von Forcade is ordered to charge the enemy field artillery, but they run into IR Harrach before they have a chance to mingle with the gunners. Tresckow’s field artillery hits IR Anton-Colloredo with long-range fire. The Prussian infantry never gets across the rampart, nor do they inflict noticeable casualties on the entrenched Austrians. IR v.d. Goltz loses heart upon reaching the battery. The regiment falls into disorder, is hit by heavy cannister and battalion gun fire from IR Anton-Colloredo, and finally routs 1200 yards to the rear.

Tresckow’s field artillery and IR Itzenplitz of Manstein’s brigade are thrown into disorder as IR v.d. Goltz routs through them. IR von Forcade is hit by cannister fire, loses the melee against IR Harrach and retreats 600 yards away from the trenches. Because of the severe casualties, Tresckow’s brigade panics and is eliminated completely. The remnants of IR v.d. Goltz dissolve. IR von Forcade and Tresckow’s field artillery rout through IR von Meyerinck and IR von Kanitz of Manstein’s brigade, disordering these units and turning into a mob of stragglers in the process.

Ferdinand von Braunschweig’s brigade continues to march down the eastern slope of the Lobosch, with two of his regiments advancing to within 150 yards of the Austrian lines there. IR von Pannwitz, already damaged by long range battalion gun fire, is destroyed in the ensuing firefight with Austrian IR Joseph Esterhazy and IR Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Austrian Infanterie-Regiment Louis-Wolfenbüttel, on the extreme right of the line, refuses the flank and forms a 90 degree protective angle with its neighbour, IR Joseph Esterhazy. Prussian light cavalry under Generalmajor von Kleist continues north, past Bilinka, and then turns east, across the Lobosch, apparently in an attempt to ride around the Austrian right flank. They reach a position directly behind Braunschweig’s left flank regiment. Meanwhile, Croat light infantry advances through the vineyard and into a position behind Manstein’s left flank, engages the 2. Battalion of Freiregiment Mayr in a firefight and destroys them.

A dustcloud approximately 2 miles south-east of Lobositz indicates that a large body of cavalry and infantry is approaching the battlefield from the direction of Budin.

12:00 Four regiments of Prussian light cavalry under Generalmajor von Kleist ride into the rear of General Lacy’s brigade, advancing as far south as Welhota. Heavy artillery attached to Braunschweig’s brigade unlimbers just 350 yards east of Lacy’s defenses and begins firing. IR von Braunschweig maneuvers around the enemy northern flank of the Austrian line and detroys IR Louis Wolfenbüttel in the ensuing firefight. IR von Kalckstein and IR von Brandes advance against the Austrian fieldworks, but they suffer greatly from musketry and close range battalion gun fire. Braunschweig’s brigade is exhausted, panic spreads and the regiments fall into disorder.

General Manstein’s brigade takes no time to reform from disorder. The regiments are marched south with great haste, forming a new line facing south and refusing the left flank to south-east. Regiment Itzenplitz re-deploys behind the left flank of this line, but facing north, and the Jägers take a position north-east of Itzenplitz. With the exception of the Guard, all regiments in Manstein’s brigade remain disordered. 1. Freibattalion Mayr remains in place near the vineyard, apparently in an effort to distract the Croats there.

Austrian Grenadiers advance and occupy the town of Welhota. General Lacy pulls regiments Joseph Esterhazy and Sachsen Hildburgshausen out of the trenches and forms a new defense line inside the vineyard, facing north. Battalion gun fire from IR Joseph Esterhazy destroys IR von Kalckstein. Two battalions of Croat light infantry move into position just inside the vineyards, to protect Lacy’s left flank. Horse Grenadiers of Lacy’s brigade redeploy to Lobositz, sealing all approaches to Austrian rear areas.

13:00 Kleist’s regiment of Freihusaren cuts the Welhota-Lobositz road and defeats a counter-attack by the Austrian Horse Grenadiers. IR von Brandes and the grenadiers from General von Braunschweig’s brigade form a new line facing south, and advance to within 100 yards of General Lacy’s regiments in the vineyard. IR von Brandes is destroyed, the Austrian infantry suffers negligable casualties. IR von Braunschweig advances against Welhota and is destroyed by musket and cannister fire from the Austrian grenadiers there.

General Manstein’s brigade reforms and withdraws 300 yards toward the summit of the Homolka Hügel, west of their previous position. The Jägers pull back 500 yards and occupy the village of Wchinitz. 1. Freibattalion Mayr is destroyed by long-range heavy artillery fire coming from the Austrian grand battery.

Austrian reinforcements of two infantry brigades and a cavalry division arrive on the battlefield from the direction of Budin. Kollowrath’s infantry brigade deploys immediately behind the Austrian artillery position on the Wchinitz-Lobositz road, but facing north. Four cavalry brigades and two hussar regiments deploy south and west of Lobositz, facing north-west. IR Kaiser, IR Harsch and Modena Dragoons are disordered by the retreating Horse Grenadiers.

14:00 Kleist’s light cavalry re-deploys to a position 600 yards north of Welhota. General von Braunschweig attaches himself to the remaining grenadier regiment, covering the withdrawal of his heavy artillery battalion and the scattered survivors of his brigade. Croat light infantry continues to engage the grenadiers in a firefight near the northern edge of the vineyards.

General Manstein’s brigade forms a column and advances north, toward Bilinka. IR von Meyerinck and the Jäger battalion cover the right flank of the column.

Austrian infantry of Starhemberg’s and part of Lacy’s brigades continue to man their breastworks. Feldmarschall Browne’s reinforcement march into the crowded Lobositz perimeter, finding it increasingly difficult to deploy there.

15:00 Kleist’s light cavalry withdraws west, across the Lobosch. Ferdinand von Braunschweig’s grenadiers continue to cover the retreat of their battered brigade, slowly withdrawing to the west. Three battalions of Croats fire at the grenadiers from several ambush positions just inside the vineyards. The grenadiers are dispered by the intense musketry fire and General von Braunschweig falls mortally wounded.

General Manstein’s brigade forms into road column, marches west and then north, toward Aussig. Austrian General Hadick’s Avantgarde, regiments from General Lacy’s brigade and two cavalry divisions advance west to secure the battlefield and pursue the retreating enemy.

16:00 Moritz von Dessau orders all Prussian units to withdraw to Aussig. Kleist’s regiment of Freihusaren is the last Prussian unit to leave the Lobositz battlefield.

  • Prussian Casualties: currently estimated at more than 7000
  • Austrian Casualties: currently estimated at less than 2000

Return to western Bohemia.