Battle of Münchengrätz

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Battle of Münchengrätz
Part of Austro-Prussian War
Eduard Clam-Gallas.jpg
The Austrian commander Eduard Clam-Gallas
Date 28 June 1866
Location Mnichovo Hradiště, Bohemia, modern day Czech Republic
Result Prussian victory
Belligerents
Kingdom of Prussia Prussia Austrian Empire Austria
Commanders and leaders
Prince Frederick Charles
Karl Eberhard von Bittenfeld
Eduard Clam-Gallas
Strength
14,000
18 guns
20,000
Casualties and losses
46 killed
279 wounded
16 captured
Total 341
3,000 (estimated)

The Battle of Münchengrätz (German: Schlacht bei Münchengrätz) or Battle of Mnichovo Hradiště (Czech: Bitva u Mnichova Hradiště) was fought near Mnichovo Hradiště, modern day Czech Republic, on 28 June 1866 during the Austro-Prussian War. It ended in a Prussian victory over the Austrian Empire.

Events[edit]

Having lost the engagements at Hühnerwasser and Podol, and with the Prussian Elbe army and 1st Army bearing in on them from the west and the north, Clam-Gallas and his ally, Prince Albert of Saxony, decided to have Iser Army abandon their exposed position near Münchengrätz. While three Austrian brigades, under Count Leiningen, remained to slow the Prussian pursuit, Clam-Gallas sent Ringelsheims's and Poschacher's brigades east towards Jičín, while the five Saxon brigades marched south to Jungbunzlau. Leiningen deployed his jäger in town and posted the line regiments from his own brigade across the Iser river in Klaster, Piret's brigade deployed on Musky Hill, and Abele's brigade drew up in battalion columns on the road from Podol.

The Prussian 31st brigade, part of Elbe Army, started the battle and attacked Klaster making the 38th Austrian Regiment, consisting out of Venetians, to rapidly abandon their position on the hill. In the north, Prince Frederick Charles attacked the north side of Musky Hill with his Prussian 8th Davison, under Horn, where they encountered Piret and Abele, while the Prussian 7th Division, under Fransecky, marched through the morass behind the heights to cut the Austrian communication lines to Münchengrätz and Jičín. Seeing the danger of being encircled, Leiningen ordered his brigade to withdraw from the town. The Prussians from Elbe Army then occupied the town and being thirsty and hungry from the long march abandoned formation to sack the town and drink at the local brewery.

Abele's brigade held long enough on the slopes of the hill for Leiningen and Piret to untangle and the Austrian brigades escaped to the east, leaving some 3000 men in killed, wounded and prisoners. The Prussians, having only engaged with 14 battalions, only lost about 300 men, but managed to link up their two armies and drive the Austrians and their Saxon allies out of their Iser line.

References[edit]

  • Geoffrey Wawro, The Austro-Prussian War. Austria's war with Prussia and Italy in 1866 (New York 2007), p. 156-159.
  • Heinz Helmert; Hans-Jürgen Usczeck: Preußischdeutsche Kriege von 1864 bis 1871 - Militärischer Verlauf. 6. überarbeitete Auflage, Militärverlag der deutschen demokratischen Republik, Berlin 1988, ISBN 3-327-00222-3
  • German General Staff, Campaign of 1866 in Germany Battery Press, Nashville 1994