Russian occupation of Berlin (1760)

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Russian occupation of Berlin (1760)
Part of: Seven Years War
Plan of Berlin and its fortifications in October 1760
Plan of Berlin and its fortifications in October 1760
date October 9, 1760 to October 12, 1760
place Berlin , Prussia
output The occupiers withdrew after four days
Parties to the conflict

Prussia Prussia

RussiaRussia Russia Habsburg ( Austria , Imperial )


Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz Friedrich Eugen von Württemberg Johann von Lehwaldt

RussiaRussia Gottlob Heinrich von Tottleben , Sachar G. Tschernyschow , Franz Moritz von Lacy

Troop strength
Prussia 14,000 men 35,000, including 20,000 Russians 15,000 Austrians

4,500 prisoners


500,000 thalers contribution,
2 million thalers damage from looting

During the Seven Years' War was Berlin twice conquered by enemy armies. After the Berlin hussar coup in October 1757, the Prussian capital had to capitulate again to Russian and Austrian troops in October 1760. Berlin and the surrounding Brandenburg cities up to Potsdam were occupied. After four days, the occupiers withdrew from the approaching Prussian main army.

initial situation

After the lossy defeat at Kunersdorf (1759), the miracle of the House of Brandenburg had saved Prussia's King Friedrich II for the time being, but he was forced to take the defensive. After further failures, he and his remaining troops only defeated a corps of the main Austrian army near Liegnitz in August 1760 , prevented a union of the Austrians with the Russians and evaded a threatening embrace. The allies under Wilhelm von Fermor and Leopold Joseph von Daun therefore commanded units to conquer Berlin on September 26, 1760, in order to force Friedrich to separate units from the main army to protect Berlin.

Siege and fighting

Under the command of the Saxon-Russian General Gottlob Heinrich von Tottleben , the first Cossack units moved via Köpenick to the Kottbusser Tor and Hallesche Tor on October 3, 1760 , but were initially taken over by the Berlin garrison, which was under the command of General Field Marshal Johann von Lehwaldt and repulsed by reinforcements hurrying up from Templin under General Friedrich Eugen von Württemberg . On October 7th, Beelitz's reinforcements from General Johann Dietrich von Hülsen attacked Tottleben's troops. In total, the Prussians had about 14,000 men (according to other sources 18,000 men) to defend the city of 120,000.

Tottleben's 5,000-strong corps was reinforced by the Russian corps of General Sachar Grigorjewitsch Tschernyschow (Generalfeldmarschall) (Tschernyshev), who met Württemberg near Lichtenberg, and the Austrian corps of General Franz Moritz von Lacy (Lascy), which was near Mariendorf on Hülsen met. Lacy's corps included the Saxon Uhlan Regiment Zeschwitz ( Zezschwitz ) and Saxon dragoons from the Brühl Regiment. Generals Panin , Dolgoruki and Leontiew were among the Russian troops , and Generals Joseph von Brentano , Esterházy and von Liechtenstein were among the Austrian troops .

On October 8, 1760, Württemberg and Hülsen withdrew to Spandau (and from there to Brandenburg) and the Berlin city commander Hans Friedrich von Rochow (who had to leave Berlin to the Austrians as early as 1757) capitulated to Tottleben. Tottleben appointed the German-born Russian Brigadier General Johan von Bachmann as the new city commander.

On the night of October 8th to 9th, Tottleben and Tschernyschows Russian units advanced into the capital; Lacy's Austrian, Hungarian, Croatian and Saxon troops occupied the suburbs and the surrounding area. When they moved in, the Russians and Austrians inflicted a few losses on the rearguard of the retreating Prussians.

Occupation and pillage

Russian map showing the line-up of the besiegers (family archive of Prince Vorontsov)

Tottleben moved into his quarters in the house of the merchant Johann Ernst Gotzkowsky in the Brüderstraße or in the Montgobertschen (formerly Vicentschen) house (Brüderstraße 39). A contribution of 500,000 thalers was required from the capital. Among other things, over their distribution, but also over the question of who is allowed to enter Berlin and take quarters, disputes quickly broke out among the three allied commanders.

The Austrians and Saxons began to pillage and pillage more than the Russians. With the exception of the Sauvegarden , the troops were to camp in front of the city. Tottleben therefore had his Sauvegarden fired at the Austrians who had penetrated the city and some Austrians fusilized , whereupon there were isolated armed clashes between regular Russian troops and plundering Austrians.

In response to rumors that the Prussian King Friedrich II or Prince Heinrich was approaching with the entire main army, Lacy's Austrians withdrew to their main army in Torgau on the night of October 11th and 12th, and Chernyshev's troops moved on the 12th to Frankfurt from and until October 13th they were finally followed by Tottleben's rearguard. In the chaos of the withdrawal there was again some looting in the suburbs, on the evening of October 13th the last Russian Sauvegarden left Berlin.

With the withdrawal, the magistrate is said to have offered Brigadier General Bachmann an additional 10,000 thalers as a reward for his decent and honorable efforts to protect law and order in the occupied capital. However, Bachmann refused and replied that having been city commandant for four days was already a sufficient honor and reward.


From a military point of view, the occupation of Berlin remained an insignificant episode, but it was an embarrassing blow to the honor and splendor of the Prussian kingdom, as it was symptomatic of the desperate situation in Prussia. The destruction enraged King Friedrich II. In Berlin alone, the magistrate put the damage at 2 million thalers. Above all, military and royal facilities were destroyed and burned. B. the armory , foundries, powder mills, etc. The surrounding cities suffered more than Berlin from looting. Cossacks sent to Potsdam were able to prevent the destruction of Sanssouci, but the castles in Charlottenburg, Schönhausen and Friedrichsfelde were plundered and devastated by Cossacks, Saxon dragoons and lancers as well as Austrian and Hungarian hussars.

Friedrich succeeded the Austrians, whose main army he was able to defeat at Torgau on November 3, 1760 , but suffered enormous losses and lost over a third of his army. By the end of the war, both sides, exhausted and tired of war, did not have the strength for further major decisive battles. Frederick's situation worsened in 1761 when his ally, Great Britain, lacked financial support. In his enemy-encircled camp of Bunzelwitz against Austria and Russia, he even tried desperately for an alliance with the Ottoman Empire. Only another miracle, Russia's exit from the war or change of sides, brought about the turning point in 1762. Ironically, Chernyshev's corps should, according to the will of the new Russian Tsar Peter III. now fight against the Austrians at Friedrich's side. But it didn't come to that. After the rapid death of the new tsar, Russia withdrew from the war; the war between Prussia and Austria lasted until 1763.

Artist's representation by Chodowiecki, Menzel and Kotzebue


Web links

Commons : Russian occupation of Berlin (1760)  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Karl Heinrich Siegfried Rödenbeck: Diary or history calendar from Friedrich's regent life , Diary III. Plahn, 1841, pp. 41-54.
  2. a b c Lectures of the Great General Staff: History of the Seven Years War , pp. 145–164. Berlin 1834
  3. a b Mikhail Bykov (Russkiy Mir Foundation): Those who caputured Berlin .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  4. a b Ingrid Mittenzwei : Friedrich II of Prussia . VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin 1980, p. 122.
  5. a b Friedrich Knuth: Chronicle of Gransen, connected with the most important events in patriotic history . Petsch, Berlin 1840, p. 79.
  6. ^ Henry Lloyd and Georg Friedrich von Tempelhoff: History of the Seven Years' War in Germany between the King of Prussia and the Empress-Queen with her allies . Volume 4. Unger, Berlin 1789, p. 267
  7. ^ Franz AJ Szabo: The Seven Years War in Europe 1756–1763 . Pearson 2008, p. 292.
  8. ^ Leopold von Ledebur (Ed.): General Archive for the History of the Prussian State , Volume 16, Pages 53ff. Berlin 1835
  9. Philip Mansel: The Prince of Europe, Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne 1735-1814 . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2006, p. 46.