Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Action at Klintzingen

The Action at Klintzingen, August 30, 1628
Hans Georg, Duke of Anholt, (1580 – 1628) was a veteran soldier who was a competent, experienced cavalry commander. Most of his experience came from his time spent with Tilly in Flanders.

At Klintzingen, Duke Anholt showed that while he was an average cavalry commander, he was totally unsuited to lead an army. He was careless with his forces and allowed Uslar to catch up to the Duke at Klintzingen only weeks after the engagement at Desfurs Bridge. Duke Anholt had only been able to reform and to reorganize a few of his original forces and was still weakened from the previous engagement. His force was roughly half the size of Uslar’s and did not include any artillery pieces as he still had not gotten any transport in Reichling and had abandoned the guns in the garrison. The forces available to Duke Anholt were:

Left Wing: Hameln (Average)
Eynatten KUR 200 men
Aston KUR 200 men; Formed from Des Fours and Nivenheim KUR

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

Right Wing: Nordsee (Average)
Losada KUR 200 men; Re-formed from remnants of Losada and Lindelo KUR
Baden KUR 200 men

The battle opened much differently as Uslar ordered his cavalry to envelop the Imperial forces. On the Swedish left, the troopers advanced quickly and occupied Klintzingen on the far left of the Imperial forces. On the Swedish right, the cavalry advanced until almost engaged with the Losada and Baden cuirassiers. These cuirassiers loosened a couple of caracoles which surprised the Swedes and caused Silversparre’s troopers to rout after taking heavy losses. Silversparre was mortally wounded in this engagement. As the melee continued, the Imperials were able to rout the remaining Swedish cavalry from the table wounding Stalhansk in the process. After their success, the Imperial cavalry reformed for further action.

In the center, the Imperial tercios turned to clear the Swedes out of the village while the Swedish infantry advanced with caution.

The second phase of the battle saw the advance of the Imperial cavalry wings. On the right, after being outfoxed for Klintzingen by their Swedish counterparts, the Imperial cavalry regiments overran the German Mitzlaff IR and after caracoling, shattered the regiment with short sharp attacks.

The Imperial cavalry reforming on the left were caught by the Swedish infantry advance. The Swedes with a few well placed volleys shattered the cavalry killing both the wing commander, Hameln, and one of the regimental commanders, Eynatten, effectively destroying both cavalry regiments.

The final phase of the battle, the Imperial tercios succeeded in reaching Klintzingen and driving out one of the Swedish regiments. The Swedish regiment saw their commander, Baudissin, fall mortally wounded as the first of the two Imperial tercios, Anholt, advanced through Klintzingen. The second tercio, Herliberg, was caught by the Swedes just outside Klintzingen and was shot to pieces. As Duke Anholt turned back to rally the wavering troops, his horse was struck down and rolled over him leaving him severely wounded. With Duke Anholt down his troops fled the field. The Duke was brought to the safety of his carriage but died in the arms of his personal secretary en route to Reichling.

With two successive defeats, the Imperial cause looked bleak especially as they had lost successive generals in each of the battles they were engaged in. With the losses of the main commanders, the emperor decided to concentrate on areas other than the Palatinate but in a last ditch effort sent one of his most able commanders, Hohenzollern, to delay and frustrate Uslar.

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