ARTICLES: A brief chronology of the Seven Year War

A brief chronology of the Seven Year War   

by Charlie Douville

The Germany Campaign 1755-1762.

Introduction: the Austrian and Russian armies attack the Prussian army of Frederick II. With this aggression Austria tries to have Silésie back from Prussia. The battles take place in Prussia, Saxony and Bohemia.

The chronology of the battles of the Germany Campaign:

the Campaign of Frederick II who is defeated in August, 28. The Saxon army starts fighting with the Prussian one from the15 October.

Since the Anglo Saxon- Prussian and French-Austrian alliances are confirmed, Frederick II invades Bohemia. An Austrian army, commanded by Charles de Lorraine, is defeated close to Prague the 6 May; the Austrian general Daun (the best among the Austrian army) defeats the Prussians in the battle of Kollin the18 June. Frederick must renounce to his campaign and decides to leave Bohemia. The French army of Louis XV begins its offensive. The general D’Estrés is victorious against the Anglo-Prussians, leaded by the Duke of Cumberland (who is defeated at Fontenoy and Lawfeld) in the battle of Hastenberk the 26 July. The Duke of Richelieu, thanks to a few right moves, manages to win against Cumberland’s army. Despite the treatise signed in Closter-Severn, the fight will begin again in 1758.

On seeing the advance of the French in Germany, the Prussians of Frederick II decide to stop the army of Soubisse. The Bavarian army, leaded by the general Hildburghausen, reaches the one of Soubisse to help fight against Frederick II. A battle takes place in Rosbach the 5 November. The Bavarian make a mistake and attack before the arrival of the chivalry of D’Estres, with a sad defeat as a result. Frederick II is the winner. The invasion of Germany is blocked. Only a month after his triumph during the battle of Rosbach, he beats the Austrian army of de Lorraine in the battle of Leuthen, the 5 December. The Austrians tried to enter in Silésie, which comes back to Frederick after his victory.

A new French army arrives in Germany with the firm intention to revenge Rosbach. The general Soubisse fights against the army of the duke of Brunswick in the battle of Sundershaussen, the 13 July. This time the French are victorious. The Duke of Brunswick counter-attacks and wins against the French of the Duke of Clermont in the battle of Crefeld, the 25 August. While Brunswick is busy fighting the French, the Prussian army of Fredrick II is attacked by the Russians in the battle of Zorndorf the 25 August. The Russians are twice as many the men of Fredrick, but he tries to resist and to defeat them briefly. The Prussians are successful but this is the “beginning of the end” for them, as they don’t manage to bear such superiority for a long time. Despite any problem, Frederick manages to defeat an Austrian army in Saxony, keeping his conquest made in 1755! On coming back from the western front the French, leaded by Soubisse, win against Brunswick’s army the 10 October in the battle of Lutzelberg.

The best general of Louis XV, the duke of Broglie, leads a French army and is attacked by the duke of Brunswick the 13 April in Bergen. Being well leaded the French have a good victory, so Brunswick is obliged to leave the French territory. Broglie will be named Prince of the Empire the 28 May. Putting Broglie under the command of the count of Contades, Louis XV makes another mistake, as Contades happens to be quite unable. A second campaign starts: the French of Broglie defeat the German army in Cassel and Minden in July, makes the enemy’s general prisoner and confiscates a lot of weapons. Contades is beaten the 1 August by the duke of Brunswick, during the second battle of Minden. At this point the French have to begin again everything! On the eastern front Frederick II is attacked by strong and numerous armies: the Austrians and the Russians are united in order to beat the Prussians. Frederick decides to stop them to save his country from an invasion. A battle takes place in Kunersdorf the 12 August. The Austrian-Russian alliance, thanks to its superiority, manages to defeat the Prussians: they had 60.000 soldiers but this time looses 20.000 of them and can’t keep on fighting.

The French begin a new campaign in Germany the 10 June. The French army leaded by Broglie, has an extraordinary victory against Brunswick’s army in the battle of Corbach who immediately manages to have revenge in the battle of Cassel. On the eastern front the Austrian-Russian alliance invades and sacks Berlin. The new Tsarina, Catherine II, decides to let Prussia free: a real miracle for Frederick!!! On the western front, the French of the duke of Castries are surprised by a Brunswick attack during the night; thanks to the courageous shout of the knight of Assas “To me Alvernia, here is the enemy!” the French are not beaten but Assas is killed by the German soldiers. The French army counter-attacks, the Norman and Alsatian soldiers charge with their bayonets diverting the German army. The French are victorious in Clostercamp the 16 October. On the eastern front Frederick II manages to rebuild an army and beats the Austrians of the general Daun, his old adversary, driving back a new invasion.

Coming back to the eastern front, the French don’t give up, they seem to be strengthen by the victory of Clostercamp. The Duke of Broglie manages to break Brunswick’s army once again, in the battle of Grunberg he confiscates 19 flags and takes 2.000 men as prisoners! Once again Louis XV makes a mistake: instead of leaving the command to Broglie only, he reunites his army with the one of Soubisse. The two captains don’t like each other too much, so the battle of Fillinghausen despite a good beginning ends up with a defeat! Brunswick is the winner, like in 1759 the successes made by Broglie are cancelled by the incapacity of the King of France!

Frederick beats the Austrians in the battle of Fukersdorf and re-conquers Silésie for the second time. The French King decides to send his army back to France, this unlucky army that has all its victories swept away by the bad choices of the King. The generals Soubisse and D’Estres don’t want to finish the war with only one victory, so they beat the German army in the battle of Johainisberg.

The American Campaign 1755-1760

Introduction: the English absolutely want to expel the French from the immense territories that they occupy, Canada and Louisiana, but the fight is unkind as the French have a proportion of 1 to 10.

An English army leaded by Lord Abercomby with 15.000 soldiers, attacks the camp of trench in Carillon. 3.000 men form the French army, in their blockhouses, only! They fight like devils and send back the English. Despite the incredible number of the enemies the Marquise of Montcalm wins. America is safe for one year. The English loose 4.000 men in this battle.

The British besiege Quebec. Montcalm makes a mistake and let his army out to push back the Wolf’s English one, but above all the soldiers are undisciplined, a mere militia, not like the regular men of Carillon. The English look at their wrong attempts so attack on their sides, driving them back. The French have a defeat and loose Quebec.

After Montcalm death in the Abraham plains, the French general Levis takes the command of the regular armies, the ones that won in Carillon. The general Muray on knowing about the French approach to Quebec, tries to stop them with an army, but the French beat the English in the Santa Fé plains thanks to a charge with the bayonets. Unfortunately Levis doesn’t win, comes back to Montreal to be beaten a month later, Canada is lost.

Was the battle of Rosbach decisive for the Seven Year War ?   

by Charlie Douville

The French-Bavarian defeat wasn’t so decisive, I explain my opinion: Frederick II had to fight against the Austrian-Russian armies on the eastern front. He had some victory in the beginning, but had a bad defeat in the battle of Kunesdorf, in 1759. The Prussian kingdom seemed in danger but thanks to the Tsarina Catherine II, who had German origins, could be saved from the invasion! To speak again about Rosbach, the consequences of that defeat were very important, why so? In case of a French victory Prussia would have been conquered, so Frederick pushed back a French invasion.

If you would like to know more about the battle of Rosbach, I can give a few details. The Prussian army had 20.000 soldiers, the French and the German (the Bavarian) had 60.000 men. Being too impatient, the Bavarian general Hildburghausen makes a big mistake: he attacks the Prussians without waiting for the French army to be complete. The chivalry of D’Estres has not yet arrived when the battles begins!
With the help of the chivalry the Prussians would have certainly lost. The end of this battle confirms it, as when D’Estres arrived they were unable at transforming a defeat into a victory just only for a bit (a charge of the chivalry!).
Due to a lot of tactical mistakes made by the general Hildburghausen, Frederick II beats the enemy with his army. The Bavarian are sent back, the French can’t do anything to resolve the situation and are defeated by the Prussians.
That’s how Frederick II defeated an army that was much more numerous than his one! The main reason for the French-Bavarian defeat, was the total incapacity of the generals at leading an army in the right way.