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Nicholas Cox
Nicholas Cox

Kolin 1757: Frederick The Great's First Defeat


Austrian musket and artillery fire stopped Frederick's advance. A counterattack by the Austrian right was defeated by Prussian cavalry and Frederick poured more troops into the ensuing gap in the enemy line. This new assault was first halted and then crushed by Austrian cavalry. By afternoon, after about five hours of fighting, the Prussians were disoriented and Daun's troops were driving them back. Prussian cuirassiers under Oberst Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz (promoted to major-general on that day) finally showed up. There were many charges and counter-charges on the Křečhoř Hill. The first Guard battalion under General Friedrich Bogislav von Tauentzien saved the Prussian army from a worse fate, covering the Prussian retreat. Daun did not pursue.[3]




Kolin 1757: Frederick the Great's First Defeat



The battle was Frederick's first defeat in this war, and forced him to abandon his intended march on Vienna, raise his siege of Prague on 20 June, and fall back on Litoměřice. The Austrians, reinforced by the 48,000 troops in Prague, followed them, 100,000 strong, and, falling on Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, who was retreating eccentrically (for commissariat reasons) at Zittau, inflicted a severe check upon him. The king retreated from Bohemia to Saxony.[3]


Shocked by the news of the defeat, Maria Theresa quickly regained her composure and a new army was soon built up from recruits and the regiments that had not been engaged in the battle. The command of these units fell to Field Marshal Leopold Joseph von Daun, a methodical and careful leader, and by early June 55,000 men were concentrated in eastern Bohemia and preparing to march to relive Prague. Frederick, informed of the formation of a new Austrian army, at first treated the threat lightly, considering Daun a mediocre commander, and only detached the Duke of Bevern with 19,000 troops to keep an eye on him. On the 12th June Daun began advancing east and Bevern was soon sending urgent messages to Frederick for reinforcements. [10]Showalter. Dennis, Frederick the Great. A Military History, page 158. jQuery('#footnote_plugin_tooltip_2059_1_10').tooltip( tip: '#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_2059_1_10', tipClass: 'footnote_tooltip', effect: 'fade', predelay: 0, fadeInSpeed: 200, delay: 400, fadeOutSpeed: 200, position: 'top center', relative: true, offset: [-7, 0], );


Kolin was Frederick's first defeat in battle. It forced him to raise the siege of Prague, to abandon Bohemia and to retire to Saxony. For the description of the Prussian retreat, see 1757 - Prussian invasion of Bohemia.


In fact, a larger Austrian army of 51,000 soldiers was victorious over a Prussian army of 33,500 under Frederick II. It was the first defeat of the Prussians in their campaign through Bohemia, during which they had already besieged Prague. "Field Marshal Leopold Daun commanded the last fighting Austrian army, reinforced by Saxon cavalry regiments. In the event of defeat, the Prussians would have opened the way towards Vienna," write Milan and Roman Plch in their book Where to go for military monuments.


The battle was Frederick's first defeat in this war, and forced him to abandon his intended march on Vienna, raise his siege of Prague, and fall back on Litoměřice. The Austrians, reinforced by the 48,000 troops in Prague, followed them, 100,000 strong, and, falling on Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia, who was retreating eccentrically (for commissariat reasons) at Zittau, inflicted a severe check upon him. The king was compelled to abandon Bohemia. 041b061a72


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