Battle of Reichenbach
The Prussians closed after the Battle of Burkersdorf the fortress Swidnica , while the Austrians under Daun had retreated behind the Owl Mountains. At the beginning of August, Friedrich II was informed that Daun was moving its main stores from Braunau to Habelschwerdt . The king concluded from this that the Austrians wanted to try to relieve Schweidnitz. This assumption was supported by the report that General Beck's Austrian corps was approaching from Upper Silesia and joining Daun's main power. Friedrich II then called in the troops of the Duke von Bevern . On August 13, the Prussians united near Peilau, southwest of Reichenbach.
Frederick II now made preparations to repel an attack by the Austrian forces rallying between Wartha and Silberberg . He divided his army into two groups: the Duke von Bevern's group with around 14 battalions and artillery east of Nieder- and Mittel-Peilau with the left wing on the Fischerberg, General von Möllendorff's group with ten battalions and artillery near Peterswaldau with the right wing on the mountains . The king joined the second division.
The position of the two groups formed an angle, the point of which was at Reichenbach . To secure and connect the two departments, General von Werner and about 30 squadrons were positioned south of Peterswaldau, with advance troops on the Herrleinberg and Hutberg and with parts at Herrenvorwerk east of Reichenbach. General von Zieten with 43 squadrons backed up at Peiskersdorf to secure the mountain exits. Frederick II ordered that the department initially attacked limit itself to defense, while the other group should rush to help.
Course of the battle
The Austrians gathered their forces (approx. 47,000 to 48,000 men) around Silberberg on August 15, and on August 16, at 2 a.m., they marched in three columns to attack the left Prussian wing near Peilau. The right column under Lacy marched from Schönwalde to Habendorf , the middle column under General Odonel from Schönwalde to Langenbielau and the left column under Laudon to Neubielau. The avant-garde under General Brentano pushed the Prussian forces out of Langenbielau after hard fighting and occupied the place. Around noon, the Austrians marched up the Habendorf-Herrleinberg line and began to pitch their tents. The further Austrian attack seemed postponed until the next day.
Around 3 p.m., however, the Austrians broke down their tents and started moving again. The avant-garde and the middle column passed through Nieder- and Mittel-Peilau, but were then stopped by Prussian artillery and infantry fire from the Fischerberg. An artillery duel developed between the two troops. At the same time the right Austrian wing under General Lacy advanced - hidden by mountains - over Ober-Peilau. A strong detachment under General Beck bypassed the Prussians unnoticed and attacked the Fischerberg in the flank and back.
The Duke of Bevern defended his position because he expected help from the king from Peterswaldau. The Austrian troops under Beck could initially be stopped thanks to the boggy Schobergrund. Field Marshal Daun, who was following the battle at a height near Habendorf, gave General Lacy the order at 5:30 p.m. to stop the attack on Fischerberg and to withdraw, as he had been informed that strong Prussian forces were marching on Reichenbach. The Prussians under Duke von Bevern thus escaped complete circumvention.
At 6 p.m. General von Werner intervened by advancing with strong cavalry and the entire mounted artillery (16 cannons) over Ernsdorf, leaving Reichenbach on the right. He was followed by nine battalions from General von Möllendorff. The target of the attack was the left flank of the Austrians attacking from Nieder- and Mittel-Peilau. The advance of the cavalry units was covered by artillery fire.
The Austrian reinforcements for the left wing did not arrive in time. The Austrian cavalry was "knocked over" by the Prussians and thrown into the bearings, so that General Brentano had to take back his left wing. General Daun thereupon gave General Lacy and Brentano the order to break off the battle and return to the positions near Habendorf. General Beck also had to move away again. Werner's quick advance decided the battle for the Prussians.
Frederick the Great refrained from pursuing the Austrians because he saw his main task in the conquest of Schweidnitz. The Möllendorff column was therefore called in to the Bevern troops. On the morning of August 17, the reconnaissance reported that Daun was marching on the Silberberg. The Schweidnitz fortress finally fell five weeks later.
In the case of the Prussians, 138 men were killed, 234 wounded and 614 missing, while in the case of the Austrians approx. 800 wounded and fallen, or 340 were captured.
- The meeting at Reichenbach in Silesia between a corps of Prussia under the orders of the Duke of Braunschweig-Bevern and the Kaiserl. Royal Troops under the leadership of Generals Lascy und Beck on August 16, 1762 ( digitized version )