Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Action at Buchholz Hof

The Action at Buchholz Hof, October 15, 1628
Uslar continued his advance through the Palatinate and after his capture of Reichling and his victory at Klintzingen, he decided to concentrate his forces and to prepare for the winter. The Margrave did not expect the Imperials to re-organize and focused his energies on rebuilding and re-equipping his Swedish and German forces. The emperor, however, had other plans and dispatched a young, brilliant commander to thwart the protestant zealot, Uslar.

Manfred Stephan Georg Hohenzollern (1590 – 1650) was a much different commander than the previous Imperial commanders – he was seen as one of the up and coming commanders and his vast experience under Tilly soon was put to the test. Hohenzollern managed to rally a number of the shattered and scattered troops in the Palatinate to form a small but formidable force.

Left Wing: Silvester (Average)
Siebdruck KUR 200 men; Fresh recruits from the Palatinate
Aston KUR 200 men; Re-formed from Aston and Eynatten

Center: Heilbronn (Average)
Herliberg IR 1.200 men; Formed from remnants of Anholt and Herliberg regiments
Hohenzollern IR 1.200 men

Right Wing: Nordsee (Average)
Losada KUR 200 men
Baden KUR 200 men
Weiss KUR 200 men; Fresh recruits from the Palatinate

The gathering forces under Hohenzollern could not be ignored by the Margrave and, in early October, Uslar advanced to meet the rebuilt Imperial force. After a number of attempts at flanking each other the armies met at Buchholz Hof.

Unlike the previous engagements, the Imperials opened the battle by advancing their center against a gap between the Swedish Right wing and the center. The two tercios, Herliberg and Hohenzollern, advanced and crashed into the two Swedish brigades of Thurn and Baner. After a short melee which saw the Swedish brigades collapse, the tercios had effectively split the Swedes into two forces – the cavalry on the right wing and the rest of the Swedish force. On the Swedish right, the cavalry was caracoled by the Imperial cavalry which threw the Swedes into disorder. The rapid advance of the Imperialists had shocked the Swedes who had, after the Imperial debacle at Desfurs Bridge, assumed the Imperialists were of inferior quality. While Klintzingen had shown the effective caracole of the Imperial cavalry, the Swedes had never experienced the power of the tercio once it closed to melee. At Buchholz Hof, the strength of the tercio showed itself and the Swedes were now in serious trouble.

The second phase of the battle continued with the Imperial tercios rolling up the Swedish flank, under Knyphausen, overrunning the Swedish guns in the center. To stem the advance, the Swedes, under Ruthven, attempted to turn their troops to face the advancing tercios but were then threatened on the flank as the Imperial Right Wing advanced into caracole range disordering Mitzlaff’s brigade. The Swedish cavalry on the far left advanced to threaten the Imperial cavalry which effectively halted.

While the tercios continued to roll up the Swedish brigades, the Imperial left cavalry wing continued to caracole their Swedish counterparts who tried to muster the courage to charge home. However, with the tercios rolling up their comrades on the left, the Swedes bravely remained standing in their position unsure whether to advance or retreat. After a series of caracoles the Smaland Horse broke leaving the Stalhansk Horse to their fate. The Stalhansk Horse soon followed their comrades and routed from the field.

The final phase of the battle saw the Imperial tercios continue their advance until they contacted the Moen Brigade. Here the advance was stopped and the leading tercio, Herliberg, was routed. The Swedes, however, had seen enough and with their left flank destroyed, the general withdrawal started. The Swedish right wing covered the retreat of the remnants of the Swedish force. This was the first decisive defeat of the Swedes in the campaign.

After the battle both sides went into winter quarters to rest and recover from the campaign season. With both sides exhausted and the supplies low, the spring of 1629 was spent in minor skirmishes as the armies were rebuilt. In the early summer of 1629, the Imperials advanced against the Swedes in an attempt to drive out the Protestants from the Palatinate.

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