Battle of Kay
When the Austrian army under Count Leopold Joseph Daun set out in late June 1759 to open the campaign, they had the firm intention of establishing contact with the Russian army as soon as possible . It therefore invaded Silesia . Frederick II wanted to prevent the unification of the two hostile armies, so Daun relocated and moved into camp at Schmottseiffen (near Strehlen ). However, Daun even accommodated this situation. Now he was able to tie up the main Prussian army and at the same time send a corps under Gideon Ernst von Laudon with about 20,000 men from the Russian army.
In June 1759, Pyotr Semyonovich Saltykov had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian army. In mid-July the Russians gathered in the Poznan area in order to then strive for a union with the Austrians.
The Prussian Corps Dohna had not succeeded in hindering the advance of the Russians. King Friedrich II then deposed the commander and appointed Lieutenant General Carl Heinrich von Wedel as the new commander on July 22nd . But Wedel also failed at the task. Clear orders from the king now made a battle inevitable.
The Prussians had 30 battalions, 63 squadrons and 56 heavy artillery pieces (a total of 27,400 men). The Russian army consisted of 54 battalions with 46 grenadier companies, 58 squadrons and 3,900 Cossacks as well as 188 heavy artillery (together about 52,300 men).
Course of the battle
On July 23, von Wedel threw himself against the Russian army near the village of Kay near Züllichau . The Russians were well protected by swamps and marshes, and the Prussian infantry were greeted by devastating artillery fire when they attacked. Cavalry advances were thrown back by Russian counterattacks. As there were too few cannons to seriously endanger the Russians, von Wedel retreated across the Oder at nightfall .
The Prussians lost 6,800 dead, wounded and prisoners, while the Russians only lost 4,800 men. A lack of education had a negative effect on the Prussians. In addition, the cavalry stuck too much to the infantry, which itself was only wasted and deployed without concentration. The Prussian artillery was hardly effective.
Laudon took advantage of the new situation to bypass the Prussian positions and on July 29 to establish contact with the Russian army, which was advancing on Frankfurt (Oder) . Frederick II was forced to act. He handed over the command against Daun's troops to his brother Heinrich . The Prussians now had to bare almost completely the previously occupied Saxony .
The Prussian king advanced with the rest of the troops in order to unite with Wedel's army on August 6 at Müllrose . After the Prussians had crossed the Oder on August 11th, the next battle, that of Kunersdorf , was already looming.
- Joachim Engelmann, Günter Dorn: The battles of Frederick the Great , Friedberg 1986.
- Olaf Groehler : The Wars of Frederick II , Berlin 1989.
- Hannsjoachim W. Koch: History of Prussia . Orig. A History of Prussia , 1978. Translated from. J. Heimannsberg et al. U. Riemerschmidt. Pawlak, Herrsching 1986.
- FR Paulig: History of the Seven Years War. A contribution to German history from 1740–1763 , Starnberg 1988 (reprint of the Frankfurt (Oder) 1878 edition).