Battle of Praga (1705)
The Battle of Praga took place on October 25, 1705 near the town of Warsaw, Poland during the fifth year of the Great Northern War. The Swedish army of more than 270 men assisted by approximately 140 soldiers from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth under the command of Valentin Dahldorf defeated a combined Polish–Saxon–Russian force of about 5,000 men under Michał Serwacy Wiśniowiecki and Aleksandr Menshikov.
After the fruitless attack by Otto Arnold von Paykull to interrupt the coronation of king Stanisław Leszczyński in the battle of Warsaw, Polish commander Wiśniowiecki and Russian commander Menshikov attempted to surprise the Swedish patrol guarding the bridge going over the Vistula from Praga to Warsaw in order to capture and destroy the bridge which would, otherwise, greatly assist to the Swedish operations in the area. Only the Uppland and Dala regiments were left to protect the Polish Coronation in Warsaw, while the main army under Charles XII of Sweden was at Blonie.
A part of the coalition army managed to completely surprise and overwhelm a Polish force of about 140 men—friendly to Leszczyński—inside Praga while the rest attacked the 40 Swedish infantrymen patrolling the bridgehead. These were, in turn, also surprised and the coalition forces managed to push out to the middle of the bridge before getting halted by twelve men of the patrol, guarding there. They could hold their defense until further Swedish reinforcements, alerted by the musket fire, from the Uppland regiment of 20 men under Dahldorf arrived, which forced the coalition forces back. However, at the same bridgehead the coalition forces were reinforced by the rest of their part having fought the Polish guard in Praga. They soon positioned all around the bridgehead and fired massive volleys and cannon fire—six cannons which they had earlier captured from the Poles—against the vulnerable Swedes who retreated back over the bridge after having lost many men dead and wounded. The bridge was then open for their opponents to capture and destroy. Soon, however, further Swedish reinforcements of 210 men from the Uppland and Dala regiments (100 from Dal) grouped and counterattacked—with a cold steel charge—the superior coalition forces at the bridge, who were thrown back once again towards Praga and then forced to retreat after the rest of the Dalregiment under Gustaf Henrik Siegroth arrived, who chased them out, inflicting great casualties.
In this action the Swedes lost not much more than 100 men (17 men dead and 53 injured only from the Dala regiment) while the losses of their Polish allies guarding Praga, is unknown. The combined Polish–Saxon–Russian forces lost about 250 men. About 270 Swedes and 140 Poles participated in the fighting before the arrival of the full Dala regiment in the ending, which could estimate the full force to somewhere between 500 and 1,000 men.
- Wimmer, Jan (1956).
- Grimberg & Uddgren, pp. 233–236
- According to "Wimmer, Jan (1956)" the coalition army lost about a fourth of the Swedish-Polish casualties, which they overestimated to 1,000 men.
- Pihlström, Anton & Westerlund, Carl (1906). pp. 147, 155.
- Grimberg & Uddgren, Carl & Hugo (1914). Svenska krigarbragder (in Swedish). Norstedt Förlag. Stockholm.
- Wimmer, Jan (1956). Wojsko Rzeczypospolitej w dobie wojny północnej: 1700–1717.
- Pihlström, Anton & Westerlund, Carl (1906). 1Kungl. dalregementets historia 3, Kungl. dalregementet under karolinska tiden 1682-1721.