Battle of Jankau
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|Battle of Jankau|
|Part of the Thirty Years' War|
The Battle of Jankau, Theatrum Europaeum
|Sweden||Holy Roman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Lennart Torstensson||Melchior von Hatzfeldt (POW)|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Jankau (also written as "Jankov", "Jankow", or "Jankowitz"), one of the bloodiest of the Thirty Years' War, was fought on 6 March 1645 in southern Bohemia, some 50 kilometres (31 mi) southeast of Prague, between the armies of Sweden and the Holy Roman Empire.
The army of Matthias Gallas was returning from a defeat in Holstein with General Lennart Torstensson and the Swedish army in pursuit. In order to protect the rich Bohemian lands from a Swedish invasion, the emperor sent a large portion of his Hungarian force to reinforce the defense of Bohemia. General Hatzfeld was given the command of the retreating army and reinforced it by adding new enlistments. General Gotz arrived with his army and the Bavarians sent General Werth and colonel Spork to further reinforce the army, giving it a total strength of 16,000.
Both sides had around 16,000 men. The Swedes had superior and more mobile artillery, allowing them to react quickly to changes on the battlefield. Only 7,000 of the combined Austrian Bavarian imperial army escaped the slaughter. The majority of the army was either killed or captured when the Imperial center was surrounded, including the commander-in-chief Hatzfeld. Between 4,000 and 5,000 prisoners were taken.
Upon hearing about the defeat at Jankau the emperor Ferdinand III retreated further towards the Upper Palatinate near Regensburg. He sent out calls to all of his estates of his dominions for fresh troops. The Emperor even offered Maximilian of Bavaria parts of Silesia and Bohemia as collateral in case conceding was the only option. Bavaria’s continuation of hostilities with France meant that Emperor Ferdinand III could no longer count on Bavarian troops. The emperor had sent a request to the papacy for a subsidy to raise more troops. The papal throne changed hands and Pope Innocent the X took over. He was unfriendly towards the Habsburgs; the pope gave no aid to the emperor. The emperor was forced to rely upon his own resources. The victory at Jankau opened up the way to Prague and Vienna. By April Torstensson was within thirty miles of Vienna, laying siege to the city of Brunn. Torstensson and his army did not make it to either Prague or Vienna in 1645. By late December the Swedish army had been worn out by the constant fighting.
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- Acton, Lord. The Cambridge modern history. Vol. 4. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1911. Print.
- Setton, Kenneth M. Venice, Austria and the Turks in the Seventeenth Century. Vol. 192. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1991. Print.
- Wedgewood, Cicely V. The Thirty Years' War, Part 258. New York: New York Review of Books, 2005. Print. Ser. 285.
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- Bellum.cz – Battle of Jankau 6th March 1645