Battle of Kolin

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Battle of Kolin
Part of: Seven Years War
Cards for the battle of Kolin
Cards for the battle of Kolin
date June 18, 1757
place near Kolín in Bohemia
output Austrian victory
Parties to the conflict

Prussia KingdomKingdom of Prussia Prussia

Holy Roman Empire 1400Holy Roman Empire Habsburg ( Austria , Imperial )


Friedrich II.

Leopold Joseph Count Daun

Troop strength
35,000 men 54,000 men

13,700–14,000 dead and wounded

8,100–9,000 dead and wounded

The battle of Kolin (also Collin or Kollin ) is the armed conflict between Prussia and Austria on June 18, 1757 in the Bohemian town of Kolín , when Field Marshal Leopold Joseph von Daun met the Prussian King Frederick II the Great , the first defeat at the age of seven War (1756–1763) taught. The battle claimed around 22,000 dead and wounded.


After the battle of Prague on May 6, 1757, the city of Kolin was besieged by the Prussian troops. The imperial field marshal Daun had set out with a relief army to help the trapped Austrians under Prince Karl of Lorraine . Thereupon Frederick II broke off the bombardment of Prague and opposed the advancing Austrians with part of his troops.

Troop strengths and topography

In the battle, about 35,000 men (33 battalions and 116 squadrons) were mobilized on the Prussian side - about 21,000 men infantry, about 14,000 men cavalry and 90 (thereof 28 heavy) guns. On the Austrian side they faced about 54,000 men (51 battalions and 171 squadrons) - including about 35,000 infantry, about 19,000 cavalry and 154 (including 60 heavy) guns.

Area map of the Battle of Kolin
Leopold Count Daun

Field Marshal von Daun was informed that the Prussians were approaching Plajan. Then he took up a new defensive position at night of June 17th. Instead of its previous front to the west, it now took a position between Radwenitz and Poborz with the front to the north. Its left wing stood at the level of Przerovsky, the right wing at the level of Krzeczhorz, the upstream villages of Krzeczhorz , Brzistwi and Chozenitz were occupied by light Croatian infantry. The Prussians advanced against this range of hills west of Kolin on the morning of June 18, 1757. In front of the position, the so-called Imperial Road from Planjan to Kolin ran parallel. The area in front of it was extensively covered with tall grain and cut through by several sunken paths, most of which ran from north to south.


August Querfurt : Battle of Kolin ( Army History Museum Vienna)
The 1st Prussian Battalion of the Life Guard in the Battle of Kolin. History painting by Richard Knötel (1854–1914)
"Friedrich II after the Battle of Collin", historical-genealogical calendar for the common year 1826, Berlin. Copper engraving.
Wilhelm Camphausen : Friedrich II after the battle, with von Seydlitz and von Tauentzien , 1878.

Despite poor clarification and numerical inferiority, King Friedrich II attacked the Austrians. But his tactics of the crooked order of battle , which brought him the victory in the Battle of Leuthen in December of the same year , should fail here. Prussian units of the corps of the advance guard under General of the Infantry Prince Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau let themselves be provoked into an early break in the high positions of the enemy by banter with the Austrian avant-garde . The first Prussian attempt to roll up the Austrian front from one side and to bind the opposite wing by sham attacks by some regiments failed. By holding the Prussians inactive for almost two hours, Daun gained sufficient time to take useful countermeasures. Since he no longer knew that his left, almost invulnerable wing under General Sergeant Conde de la Puebla near Preboz was no longer in danger, he moved his reserve under Count von Colloredo and Field Marshal Lieutenant von Wied behind the right wing shortly before 11 a.m. as a third meeting, exactly there, where the Prussians later put their main thrust.

At around 1 p.m. the Prussian vanguard and the entire cavalry under Lieutenant General von Zieten attacked Kutlitz, the infantry reserve under General von Hülsen attacked Krzezor. In the center, Friedrich II let the divisions under Generals von Manstein and Tresckow advance along the road to Bradlitz and then swing south towards the village of Brzistwi. The opposite right wing of the Austrians under von Nadasdy went with his cavalry to the north of Krzeczhorz and later to Radowesnitz , but succeeded here in stopping the advance of the infantry under General von Hülsen.

In the center, the Prussian corps under the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern ran into the Austrian elevation of Przerovsky. The division under Manstein had been stopped on the outskirts of Chocenitz by the Austrians under Freiherr von Andlau , the division under Tresckow by the opposing division of Sincere .

Around 4 p.m. the Saxon Chevauxlegers and the Dragoon Regiment de Ligne attacked the left flank of the Prussians, made them give way and then attacked the Prussian infantry in conjunction with the Austrian cavalry regiments on the right flank, which had to give way after a heavy fight. Daun's troops began to grapple with the increasingly disoriented Prussians and drive them back further and further.

According to an anecdote, Frederick the Great shouted to the fleeing grenadiers around 5:30 p.m. when the defeat became clear: “Dogs, do you want to live forever?” (In reality, the Prussian king's statement is not guaranteed). In covering the retreat, the Prussian cuirassiers under Colonel von Seydlitz , who was promoted to major general on the same day, and in particular the 1st Battalion of the Life Guard under General von Tauentzien , whose courageous resistance saved the king's army from worse, stood out.

The losses of the Prussians in the battle amounted to 13,733 men and 1,667 horses, 45 guns and 22 flags were lost, the seriously wounded Generals Tresckow and Pannewitz fell into Austrian captivity. The Austrians lost 8,114 men and 2,745 horses.


As a result of this severe and unexpected defeat, the Prussians had to give up the siege of Prague that had been in operation since May of that year and retreat to Saxony , temporarily surrendering Silesia . Frederick II had firmly expected a victory that would enable him to make further advances in the direction of Vienna, from which he figured good chances for a peace agreement that he had proposed.

The king and his army leader, Prince Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau, blamed each other for the defeat. The fact is that Moritz was responsible for the premature intrusion of his regiments into the Austrian positions, but the king had to accept the general risk that he had with the impatient desire for a quick end to the fighting with a final blow (in an unfavorable spatial situation ) invited himself and his men.


  • As a result of the victory, Empress Maria Theresa donated the Military Maria Theresa Order named after her on June 22, 1757 a few days after the battle . The order for outstanding merits by officers in the war was the first visible Austrian military award. The first solemn award of the order (doctorate) took place for the first time on March 7, 1758 in the presence of the founder.
  • In 1870 the Kolingasse in Vienna- Alsergrund (9th district) was named after the battle.
  • The German poet Detlev von Liliencron wrote the ballad “Who knows where”, which refers to the Battle of Kolin.
  • At Křečhoř and on Bedřichov , monuments remember the battle


  • Peter Broucek : The birthday of the monarchy. The battle of Kolin 1757 (an Austria topic from the federal publisher). Österreichischer Bundesverlag, Vienna 1982, ISBN 3-215-04444-7 .
  • Peter Broucek: The Battle of Kolin, June 18, 1757 . In: Truppendienst 297 (3/2007), ISSN  0041-3658 , pp. 199-208.
  • Christopher Clark : Iron kingdom. The rise and downfall of Prussia. 1600-1947 . Penguin Books, London 2007, ISBN 978-0-14-029334-0 .
  • Günter Dorn: The battles of Frederick the Great. Leadership, course, battle scenes, outlines, maps . Bechtermünz Verlag, Augsburg 1996, ISBN 3-86047-242-9 (EA Friedberg 1986).
  • Christopher Duffy : Frederick the Great. A military life . Routledge, London 1995, ISBN 0-415-00276-1 .
    • German: Frederick the Great. The biography . Albatros-Verlag, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-491-96026-6 (former title Friedrich the Great - A Soldier's Life ).
  • Olaf Groehler : The wars of Friedrich II. Brandenburg publishing house, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-327-00038-7 .
  • Detlef Wenzlik: Kolin. Friedrich's first defeat. VRZ-Verlag Zörb, Hamburg 1995, ISBN 3-931482-00-6 .

Web links

Monument on the battlefield near Křečhoř
Monument on the Bedřichov
Commons : Battle of Kolin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Christopher Clark: Prussia. Rise and Fall 1600–1947 , p. 243.
  2. ^ Günter Dorn: The battles of Frederick the Great , p. 57.
  3. Peter Broucek: The birthday of the monarchy , p. 135.