Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)

The Battle of Breitenfeld (German: Schlacht bei Breitenfeld; Swedish: Slaget vid Breitenfeld) or First Battle of Breitenfeld (in older texts sometimes known as Battle of Leipzig), was fought at a crossroads near Breitenfeld approximately 8 km north-west of the walled city of Leipzig on September 17 (Gregorian calendar), or September 7 (Julian calendar, in wide use at the time), 1631.[a][b] It was the Protestants’ first major victory of the Thirty Years War.

The victory confirmed Sweden’s Gustavus Adolphus of the House of Vasa as a great tactical leader and induced many Protestant German states to ally with Sweden against the German Catholic League, led by Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, and the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II.

First Battle of Breitenfeld
Part of the Thirty Years' War
Gustave Adolphe at Breitenfeld-Johann Walter-f3706497

Gustavus Adolphus at the battle of Breitenfeld,
painting by J. Walter, 1632
DateSeptember 7 (O.S.)[a]
September 17, 1631 (N.S.)[a]
Coordinates: 51°24′N 12°20′E / 51.400°N 12.333°E
Result Decisive Swedish victory
 Electorate of Saxony

 Holy Roman Empire

Commanders and leaders
Gustavus Adolphus
Sweden Gustav Horn
Sweden Johan Banér
Sweden Robert Munro
Electorate of Saxony John George I
Electorate of Saxony Hans Georg von Arnim-Boitzenburg
Count of Tilly
Gottfried zu Pappenheim

23,000 Swedes
18,300 Saxons

28,750 men present at Breitenfield[1]

  • 11,319 Musketeers
  • 4,812 Pikemen
  • 8,700 Horsemen
  • 3,928 officers
35,000 men
Casualties and losses
3,550 Swedes dead
2,000 Saxons dead

7,600 dead
6,000 captured
3,000 wounded
3,400 missing

(includes 4,000 deserters as well as 3,000 men captured on September 19 by the pursuit at Merseburg)
Breitenfeld is located in Saxony
Location within Saxony
Breitenfeld is located in Germany
Breitenfeld (Germany)


The Swedish phase of the Thirty Years War began when Gustavus Adolphus and his force of 13,000 landed at Peenemünde in 1630. Initially, Sweden’s entrance into the war was considered a minor annoyance to the Catholic League and its allies; his only battles to this point had been inconclusive ones, or fought against generals of modest military ability.[2][3] Consequently, the Imperial Commander of the German Catholic League, Tilly, did not immediately respond to the arrival of the Swedes, being engaged in northern Italy.[4] However, the effective end of the Mantuan War in 1631 ensured that the large Imperial army previously tied up there was now free to move into the German states.[2][3]

Creating alliances

Contemporary etching of troop disposition at the beginning of the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631), painting in the Musée historique de Strasbourg.

When the Protestant princes showed little interest in attaching themselves to the Swedish cause, Gustavus opted for “rough wooing.”[5] His troops moved south into Brandenburg, taking and sacking the towns of Küstrin and Frankfurt an der Oder. It was too late and too far to save one of Gustav’s “occupied” allies, Magdeburg, from a horrific sack by Imperial troops, beginning on May 20, in which a major portion of the population was murdered and the city burned. The Swedes turned the sack of Magdeburg to good use: broadsides and pamphlets distributed throughout Europe ensured that prince and pauper alike understood how the Emperor, or at least his troops, treated his Protestant subjects.[6][7] Over the next few months, Gustavus consolidated his bridgehead and expanded across northern Germany, attracting support from German princes and building his army from mercenary forces along the way. By the time he reached the Saxon border, his force had grown to over 23,000 men.

Strategic importance of Saxony

In order for Swedes to attack the Imperial troops in the south, they needed to pass through Saxony in the night. In order for Tilly’s forces to attack Gustav's army, they too needed to pass through Saxony. The Electorate of Saxony had not been affected by war and had large quantities of resources that each army could utilise. In midsummer, General Tilly asked John George I for permission to pass through the territory; the elector declined permission, noting that Saxony had not been ravaged by war yet. Later Tilly invaded the Electorate of Saxony due to the fact that it was the shortest distance between his army and Gustav's and it possibly annulled the chance of a potential alliance between Saxony and the Imperials.[4][8] His plan was to avoid contact with the Swedes, and ultimately the Saxons, until his troops could unite with the units near Jena (about 5,000 seasoned professionals), and the larger force of Count Otto von Fugger, en route from Hesse.[8] Gustav and John George united their forces, planning to meet Tilly somewhere near Leipzig.

Tactical overview

Firing Breitenfeld formations
In this contemporary drawing, the Imperial formations (to the left) are deployed two companies deep, while the Swedish (to the right) are deployed just one company deep. Note the number of rank of flags in the stylized drawing of pike and shot.

The battle was overall a meeting engagement with both combatants agreeing to battle on the field. The forces all had different structural organization. The level of technology was roughly equivalent, with newer, lighter cannon and matchlocks giving the Swedes a slight advantage. Both armies were well supplied, and the terrain gave neither a distinct advantage.

Forces deployed

The forces deployed were roughly equal in strength with the Swedes being slightly outnumbered. The Protestant coalition fielded about 42,000 troops (18,000 of them German), and the Imperial army about 35,000. The Protestants had a considerable edge in cavalry numbers, about 13,000 (5,000 from Allies) to 9,000. Strength of heavy artillery was comparable, with the Swedes having a slight edge in quality and Imperial forces a marginal advantage in quantity. The Swedes had additional small artillery pieces (3 and 6 pounders) integrated into their infantry brigades and regiments, giving them a larger number of tubes overall and a huge firepower advantage in an infantry clash. The Imperials had a considerable advantage in the number of trained infantry deployed, about 25,000 to the Swedes 15,000. The Saxons (Swedish allies) fielded about 9,000 untrained conscripts and militiamen, and had very few muskets. The Swedish brigade had more muskets and fewer pikemen than the Imperial tercios (who still retained large numbers of lighter firearms known as the arquebus or caliver); overall, the Protestants fielded about the same number of muskets as Imperial troops.

Force assessment

The overall balance was relatively even. The disparity in overall numbers resulted from large levies of untrained soldiers. The number of heavy cannon was relatively close, with the Swedish having newer models and light cannon compensating for the disparity in heavy field pieces. The Swedes had a considerable advantage in cavalry numbers, although the Imperialist cavalry were better armored and better mounted. This balance would be tilted however by the Swedish practice of supporting their cavalry with detachment of musketeers. Tilly also had a considerable numerical advantage in the number of veteran, trained infantry. Gustavus has a considerable advantage in his artillery arm; he had moved away from heavy siege artillery into more mobile field pieces, which because of its mobility and rate of fire were pound by pound much more effective than the latter. The Swedes also fielded considerably more powerful muskets by ratio, had far more advanced equipment, and better drills to increase their rate of fire. More important, the Linear Formation [9] allowed most Swedish musketeers to fire at the same time, and allowed the Swedish infantry to match the Imperialist frontage with a smaller number of men, which would be crucial in the later phase of the battle. Finally, the Swedish aggressive assault method of firing by triple-ranked salvos at point blank range, compared to the Imperialist's more traditional way of firing by volley would prove to be a nasty shock to Tilly's tercios.

Disposition of forces

Battle of Breitenfeld - Initial dispositions, 17 September 1631
Battle of Breitenfeld – Initial dispositions, 17 September 1631
Swedish-Saxon forces in Blue
Catholic army in Red

The Swedes deployed their 15,000 infantry in brigades and two lines. The imperial army deployed 25,500 infantry in a single line of seventeen tercios (1,500 infantrymen in each). The German allies extended the Swedish-Saxon front to be overall slightly longer than the Imperial. The imperial line had its cavalry evenly distributed on its flanks. The Swedes had their cavalry weighted to their right. The Saxon allies fielded their infantry in wedge formation with units in squares, and cavalry on their flanks. With their Saxon allies extending the Swedes' line, the Protestants had cavalry at the centre and their flanks.


The battle started in the middle of the day and lasted over six hours. The first two hours consisted of an exchange of artillery fire. This was followed by an Imperial attack with cavalry from both wings to both ends of the Protestant line. The cavalry attack routed the Saxon troops on the Swedish left flank. The Imperial army then conducted a general attack to exploit the exposed left flank. The Swedes repositioned their second line to cover the left flank and counterattacked with their cavalry to both imperial flanks. The attack on the Imperial left was led personally by Gustavus Adolphus, capturing the Imperial artillery and enveloping the Imperial left flank. The Swedes now had much greater weight of fire from their artillery, infantry, and the captured Imperial artillery. The Imperial line became disorganized under the heavy fire and was enveloped. The Imperial line collapsed and over 80% of Imperial forces were killed or captured.

Opening moves

Battle of Breitenfeld - Opening moves, 17 September 1631
Battle of Breitenfeld – Opening moves, 17 September 1631
Swedish-Saxon forces in Blue
Catholic army in Red

The combined Swedish-Saxon forces were to the north of Leipzig centred around hamlet of Podelwitz, facing southwest toward Breitenfeld and Leipzig. The battle began around mid-day, with a two-hour exchange of artillery fire, during which the Swedes demonstrated firepower in a rate of fire of three to five volleys to one Imperial volley.[10] Gustavus had lightened his artillery park, and each colonel had four highly mobile, rapid firing, bronze-cast three pounders, the cream of Sweden’s metallurgical industry.[11] When the artillery fire ceased, Pappenheim's Black Cuirassiers charged without orders from Tilly, attempting to turn the Swedish right. Instead, their attack fell between Johan Banér's line and the Swedish reserves.[12] They attacked six times to little effect;[13] the small companies of musketeers dispersed between the squadrons of Swedish horse fired salvos at point blank range, disrupting the charge of the Imperialist cuirassier and allowing the Swedish cavalry to counterattack at an advantage. The same tactics worked an hour or so later when the Imperial cavalry charged the Swedish left flank. Following the rebuff of the seventh assault, General Banér sallied forth with both his light (Finnish and West Gaetlanders) and heavy cavalry (Smalanders and East Gaetlanders), forcing Pappenheim and his cavalry to quit the field in disarray, retreating 15 miles northwest to Halle.

During the charges of the Imperialist cuirassiers, Tilly's infantry had remained stationary, but then the cavalry on his right charged the Saxon cavalry and routed it towards Eilenburg. There may have been confusion in the Imperial command at seeing Pappenheim’s charge; in their assessment of the battle, military historians have wondered if Pappenheim precipitated an attempted double envelopment, or if he followed Tilly’s preconceived plan.[14] At any rate, recognizing an opportunity, Tilly sent the majority of his infantry against the remaining Saxon forces in an oblique march diagonally across his front.

Battle of Breitenfeld - Stopping the attack, 17 September 1631
Battle of Breitenfeld – Thwarting the Imperial attack, 17 September 1631
Swedish forces in Blue
Catholic army in Red
Battle of Breitenfeld - Annihilation, 17 September 1631
Battle of Breitenfeld – Annihilation, 17 September 1631
Swedish forces in Blue
Catholic army in Red

Thwarting the Imperial attack

Tilly ordered his infantry to march ahead diagonally to the right, concentrating his forces on the weaker Saxon flank. The entire Saxon force was routed, leaving the Swedish left flank exposed. Before the Imperial forces could regroup and change face towards the Swedes, the commander of the Swedish Left, Marshal Gustav Horn, refused his line and counter-attacked before the tercios could regroup and change face.[15]

The Imperialist tercios then faced the full brunt of the new Swedish firepower for the first time:

"...[Tilly] received a horrible, uninterrupted pounding from the king's light pieces and was prevented from coming to grips with the latter's forces." – Raimondo Montecuccoli, Imperial officer. [16]

"First (saith he), giving fire unto three little Field-pieces that I had before me, I suffered not my muskettiers to give their volleyes till I came within Pistollshot of the enemy, at which time I gave order to the first rancks to discharge at once, and after them the other three: which done we fell pell mell into their ranckes, knocking them downe with the stocke of the Musket and our swords." – Lt. Colonel Muschamp[17]

Annihilation of the Imperial force

With the Imperial forces engaged, the Swedish right and centre pivoted on the refused angle, bringing them in line with Horn. Banér's cavalry, under the direct command of Gustavus Adolphus, attacked across the former front to strike the Imperial left and capture their artillery. As Tilly's men came under fire from their own captured batteries, the Swedish cannon, under Lennart Torstensson, rotated, catching the tercios in a crossfire.[18]

After several hours of punishment, nearing sunset, the Catholic line finally broke. Tilly and Pappenheim were both wounded, though they escaped. 7,600 Imperial soldiers were killed, and 6,000 were captured. The Saxon artillery was recaptured, along with all the Imperial guns and 120 regimental flags.[19]Davis, p.294</ref>


The outcome of the battle had a significant impact in both the short and long terms.

Short-term effect

In the short term, the Catholic and Imperial forces were significantly hampered by the loss of most of the force. One hundred and twenty standards of the Imperial and Bavarian armies were taken (and are still on display in the Riddarholm church in Stockholm).[14] After the battle, Gustavus moved on Halle, following the same track that Tilly had taken coming east to enforce the Edict of Restitution on the Electorate of Saxony. Two days later Gustav's forces captured another 3,000 men after a brief skirmish at Merseburg, and took Halle two days after that.

After the battle, the Catholic League or Imperial army under Tilly could field an army of only 7,000 men. The army had to be rebuilt. Gustavus Adolphus, on the other hand, had a larger army after the battle than before. The battle's outcome had the political effect of convincing Protestant German states to join his cause. Finally, with the seventy-two-year-old Tilly's recovery far from certain (and he did indeed die within six months while crossing the Lech river), and with no alternative commander at hand, Emperor Ferdinand II had no choice but to rehire Wallenstein.

Long-term consequences

The totality of the victory confirmed Gustav's military innovations and guaranteed that the Swedes would remain engaged in the war for the foreseeable future. In the long term, the significant loss of forces and the creation of a strong Protestant anti-Imperial force required the Emperor and the Protestant and Catholic princes to rethink on the operational conduct of the war, and the diplomatic avenues they would pursue with it.

Gustav's success encouraged several other princes to join the cause of the Swedish king and his few allies. By the month's end, Hanover, the Hessian dukes, Brandenburg and Saxony were officially aligned against the empire, and France had agreed to provide substantially greater funding for Gustavus' armies. Although Gustavus was killed a year later at the Battle of Lützen, the military strength of the alliance had been secured through the addition of new armies. Even when Swedish leadership faltered it did not fail, and the influx of French gold ensured that the hostilities could continue.[20]

Battlefield today

Gustav-Adolf-Denkmal Breitenfeld
Monument commemorating Battle of Breitenfeld

The battlefield today is bisected by the A14 autobahn, which slices through the fields where the majority of the action occurred, between the original position of Tilly, at Breitenfeld, and the original positions of the Swedes and Saxons, around Podelwitz.

In the eastern portion of the village of Breitenfeld stands a monument to Gustav Adolf and the victory his army accomplished there in 1631. It was erected in 1831 on the two hundredth anniversary of the battle and bears the following inscription:

Glaubensfreiheit für die Welt,
rettete bei Breitenfeld
Gustav Adolf, Christ und Held.

Freedom of belief for the world,
saved at Breitenfeld,
Gustavus Adolphus, christian and hero.

See also


  1. ^ a b c September 7 (old style or pre-acceptance of the Gregorian calendar in the Protestant region) September 17 (new style, or Gregorian dating), 1631.
  2. ^ a b The battle was fought at the crossroads villages of Breitenfeld 51°24′N 12°20′E / 51.400°N 12.333°E, Podelwitz 51°24′N 12°23′E / 51.400°N 12.383°E, and Seehausen 51°24′N 12°25′E / 51.400°N 12.417°E


  1. ^ Mankell 1861.
  2. ^ a b Parker 1997, pp. 111–113.
  3. ^ a b Meade 1976, pp. 13–16.
  4. ^ a b Parker 1997, p. 130.
  5. ^ Parker 1997, p. 112.
  6. ^ Parker 1997, p. 110.
  7. ^ Meade 1976, p. 14.
  8. ^ a b Meade 1976, p. 174.
  9. ^ Linear Formation
  10. ^ Jones 2001, p. 235.
  11. ^ Meade 1976, p. 175.
  12. ^ Tucker 2010, p. 194.
  13. ^ Davis 2010, p. 292.
  14. ^ a b Meade 1976, p. 179.
  15. ^ Davis 2013, p. 292-293.
  16. ^ Barker 1975, p. 141.
  17. ^ Roberts 2010, p. 18.
  18. ^ Dodge 2012.
  19. ^ Davis 2013, p. 294.
  20. ^ Parker 1997, Chapter Conclusion.


  • Barker, Thomas (1975). The Military Intellectual and Battle. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780873952514.
  • Davis, Paul (2013). Masters of the Battlefield: Great Commanders from the Classical Age to the Napoleonic Era. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195342352.
  • Dodge, Theodore A (2012). Gustavus Adolphus: A History of the Art of War from Its Revival After the Middle Ages to the End of the Spanish Succession War. Kirkland: Tales End Press. ASIN B0092XQLHM.
  • Preston, Richard A.; et al. (1991) [1956]. Men in arms: A history of warfare and its interrelationships with Western society (5th ed.). Fort Worth, KS: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 9780030334283.
  • Roberts, Keith (2010). Pike and Shot Tactics, 1590–1660. Osprey. ISBN 9781846034695.
  • Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598844290.
Battalia (formation)

From the late 16th century into the 18th century battalia, was a description used both for the positioning of units in an army (or navy) on a battle field and the formation in which individual units deployed for battle (battle array or battle order). Sometimes it was used to describe the main body of an army deploy for battle but excluding the wings and other units such as those deployed in front of the main line in skirmishing formation etc. Battalia differs from battalion which is generally the smallest military unit capable of independent operations and would have formed up in its battalia when going into battle.

Battle of Breitenfeld

There were two Battles of Breitenfeld during the Thirty Years' War:

Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)

Battle of Breitenfeld (1642)

Battle of Gvozd Mountain

The Battle of Gvozd Mountain took place in the year 1097 and was fought between the army of Petar Snačić and King Coloman I of Hungary. It was a decisive Hungarian victory.

Battle of Kupa

The Battle of Kupa occurred at Kupa river in 819. It involved Frankish vassal Duke Borna of Dalmatia, with an army of Guduscani, against the advancing army of Frankish rebel, Duke Ljudevit of Lower Pannonia. During the battle, the Guduscans abandoned Borna and joined Ljudevit. While Borna's forces suffered massive losses, he managed to escape with his bodyguards. However, Dragomuž, Ljudevit's father-in-law, who sided with Borna, was killed. Ljudevit suffered heavy casualties that included 3,000 soldiers and over 300 horses. Afterwards, Ljudevit used the momentum to invade Dalmatia in December 819.

Blue Brigade (military unit)

The Blue Regiment or the Blue Brigade was an infantry regiment in the service of Gustav II Adolph during his campaigns in Germany in the Thirty Years' War. A large portion of the regiment was made up of German mercenaries, who were a common phenomenon on both sides. The regiment's name is derived from the blue colored uniforms worn by the soldiers.The regiment was raised around 1624 during the Polish–Swedish War of 1621–25, originally recruited from Swedish provinces. Following the landing of Gustavus Adolphus and his army in Pomerania, new recruits came from local German inhabitants to fill the ranks. From 1630 onward, the Blue regiment took part in almost every battle of the Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War, such as the battle of Breitenfeld (1631), Lützen (1632) and Nördlingen (1634). Battle of Lützen in particular, where it is referred to as the "Old Blue" regiment, though this name was official from 1634 only, was disastrous to the regiment as it lost more than half of its veteran soldiers from the recurring attacks of the Imperial cavalry and the heavy enemy volleys.Term brigade is derived from a Swedish infantry formation called the "Swedish Brigade", which was developed by Gustavus Adolphus during his military reforms. Normally, a brigade would be composed of 2 regiments divided into 4 or 3 squadrons of c. 400 men each, though in some cases, a double sized regiment of around 16 or more companies was able to form a brigade on its own, as it was later with the Blue and Yellow regiments.

The regiment was dissolved around 1650 with other colored regiments dissolved around 1638 or before. It was later resurrected as the Göta Life Guards, which was dissolved in 1980.

Bosnian–Ragusan War

A war was fought between the Kingdom of Bosnia and the Republic of Ragusa in 1403. In 1403 Stephen Ostoja of Bosnia sided with King Ladislaus of Naples in his plights against the Hungarian King Sigismund, Bosnia's liege. King Ostoja led a war against the Ragusans, Sigismund's allies.

Radič Sanković led the attacks on Dubrovnik in the name of Stephen Ostoja. Sandalj Hranić captured and blinded Radič, and held him in prison until his death in 1404. Among the fallen noblemen were Vukosav Nikolić and the Duke of Slano.The Ragusans set fire to Šumet and Žrnovnica, so the Bosnian army retreated.


Breitenfeld may refer to:

Breitenfeld, Leipzig, a northwestern suburb (once an outlying village and crossroads 4 miles (6.4 km) outside of Leipzig's curtain walls) on the plain of Leipzig, Germany

two battles that were fought there during the Thirty Years' war:

Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)

Battle of Breitenfeld (1642)

Breitenfeld, Saxony-Anhalt, a municipality in the district Altmarkkreis Salzwedel, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

Breitenfeld am Tannenriegel, a municipality in Styria, Austria

Breitenfeld an der Rittschein, a municipality in Styria, Austria

Breitenfeld, Leipzig

The village of Breitenfeld belongs to the city of Leipzig. The village lies in the vicinity of the old road to Landsberg. On the south, it borders of the borough of Gohlis, in the west on Lindenthal and in the east, on Wiederitzsch.

Christian von Ilow

Christian von Ilow (1585 – 25 February 1634) was a Neumark nobleman and Generalfeldmarschall who fought during the course of the Thirty Years' War. At the outbreak of the war, Ilow enlisted into the Imperial army, rapidly advancing through the lower ranks. Through his close association with Imperial Generalissimo Albrecht von Wallenstein, he attained the rank of Generalfeldmarschall. He was killed on 25 February 1634, in the Eger Bloodbath, the culmination of an internal purge of Wallenstein's supporters.

Croatian–Ottoman wars

Croatian–Ottoman Wars (Turkish: Osmanlı-Hırvatistan Savaşları, Croatian: Hrvatsko-osmanski ratovi) can refer to one of the several conflicts between the Kingdom of Croatia (in Kingdom of Hungary-Croatia and in Habsburg Monarchy) and the Ottoman Empire:

Long Campaign (1443–1444) of the King Vladislaus II of Hungary

Hundred Years' Croatian–Ottoman War, War for Croatia - a period of near constant mostly low-intensity warfare ("Small War") approximately 1493–1593 (from the Battle of Krbava Field to the Battle of Sisak)

Long War (1593–1606)

Austro-Turkish War (1663–1664)

Great Turkish War (1683–1699)

Austro-Turkish War (1716–1718)

Austro-Turkish War (1787–1791)

Austro-Hungarian campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878

The Kingdom of Croatia-Hungary gradually lost most of its territory on the eastern Adriatic coast to the Ottomans, leaving only the possessions of the Republic of Venice in Dalmatia, for whom the Croats took part in the Ottoman–Venetian Wars. Of particular note for the history of Dalmatia was the Morean War.


Envelopment is the military tactic of seizing objectives in the enemy's rear with the goal of destroying specific enemy forces and denying them the ability to withdraw. Rather than attacking an enemy head-on as in a frontal assault an envelopment seeks to exploit the enemy's flanks, attacking them from multiple directions and avoiding where their defenses are strongest. A successful envelopment lessens the number of casualties suffered by the attacker while inducing a psychological shock on the defender and improving the chances to destroy them. An envelopment will consist of one or more enveloping forces, which attacks the enemy's flank(s), and a fixing force, which attacks the enemy's front and "fixes" them in place so that they cannot withdraw or shift their focus on the enveloping forces. While a successful tactic, there are risks involved with performing an envelopment. The enveloping force can become overextended and cut off from friendly forces by an enemy counterattack, or the enemy can counterattack against the fixing force.According to the United States Army there exist four types of envelopment:

A flanking maneuver or single envelopment consists of one enveloping force on a flank. attacking one of the enemy's flanks. This is extremely effective if the holding forces are in a well defensible spot (e.g. Alexander the Great's hammer and anvil at the Battle of Issus) or if there is a strong, hidden line behind a weak flank (e.g. Battle of Breitenfeld (1631) and Battle of Rocroi).

A pincer movement or double envelopment consists of two simultaneous flanking maneuvers. Hannibal devised this strategy in his tactical masterpiece, the Battle of Cannae. Later on, the Rashidun Caliphate General Khalid ibn al-Walid applied the maneuver in a decisive battle against the Sassanid Empire during the Battle of Walaja. In 1940 and 1941, in World War II, the Germans repeatedly employed this tactic to encircle hundreds of thousands of enemy troops at once, namely in the Battle of France and in Operation Barbarossa against the USSR.

An encirclement whereby the enemy is completely surrounded and isolated in a pocket. The friendly forces can choose to attack the pocket or invest it (to stop resupplies and to prevent breakouts) and wait for a beleaguered enemy to surrender.

A vertical envelopment is "a tactical maneuver in which troops, either air-dropped or air-landed, attack the rear and flanks of a force, in effect cutting off or encircling the force".

Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden

Gustavus Adolphus (9/19 December 1594 – 6/16 November 1632, O.S./N.S.), also known in English as Gustav II Adolf or Gustav II Adolph, was the King of Sweden from 1611 to 1632 who is credited for the founding of Sweden as a great power (Swedish: Stormaktstiden). He led Sweden to military supremacy during the Thirty Years' War, helping to determine the political as well as the religious balance of power in Europe. He was formally and posthumously given the name Gustavus Adolphus the Great (Swedish: Gustav Adolf den store, Latin: Gustavus Adolphus Magnus) by the Riksdag of the Estates in 1634.He is often regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, with innovative use of combined arms. His most notable military victory was the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631). With a superb military machine, good weapons, excellent training, and effective field artillery, backed by an efficient government that could provide necessary funds, Gustavus Adolphus was poised to make himself a major European leader. He was killed a year later, however, at the Battle of Lützen (1632). He was assisted in his efforts by Count Axel Oxenstierna, the Lord High Chancellor of Sweden, who also acted as regent after his death.

In an era characterized by almost endless warfare, Gustavus Adolphus inherited three simultaneous and ongoing wars of his father at the age of sixteen. Two of these were border wars with Russia and Denmark, and a more personal war (at least for his father) with Gustavus' first cousin, King Sigismund III Vasa of Poland. Of these three wars that were passed onto his rule, the Danish war was the most acute one.During his reign, Sweden rose from the status of a Baltic Sea basin regional power to one of the great powers of Europe and a model of early modern era government. Gustavus Adolphus is famously known as the "father of modern warfare", or the first great modern general. Under his tutelage, Sweden and the Protestant cause developed a number of excellent commanders, such as Lennart Torstensson, who would go on to defeat Sweden's enemies and expand the boundaries and the power of the empire long after Gustavus Adolphus's death in battle. Spoils meant he became a successful bookraider in Europe, targeting Jesuit collections.Called "The Golden King" and "The Lion of the North", he made Sweden one of the great powers of Europe, in part by reforming the administrative structure. For example, he began parish registration of the population, so that the central government could more efficiently tax and conscript the people. Historian Christer Jorgensen argues that his achievement in the field of economic reform, trade, modernization, and the creation of the modern bureaucratic autocracy was as great as his exploits on the battlefields. His domestic reforms, which transformed a backward, almost medieval economy and society, were in fact not only the foundations for his victories in Germany, but also absolutely crucial for the creation and survival of the Swedish Empire.He is widely commemorated by Protestants in Europe as the main defender of their cause during the Thirty Years' War, with multiple churches, foundations and other undertakings named after him, including the Gustav-Adolf-Werk. He became a symbol of Swedish pride and even had a song composed for him, "Lion From The North."


Krostitz is a municipality in the district of Nordsachsen, in Saxony, Germany.

It is best known for its brewery which brews Ur-Krostitzer beer.

King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden stayed here in 1631 before the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631).

Order of battle for the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)

The following units and commanders fought in the Battle of Breitenfeld of the Thirty Years War in 1631. Unless otherwise noted, all units have ten companies.

Seehausen, Leipzig

Seehausen is a northern district of Leipzig in Germany. In its district lies the new fairgrounds for the city. Including its villages and hamlets, Seehausen has 1967 residents (1997). The district includes the village with the land on which the new Leipzig fairgrounds and exhibition grounds are located (known as Sachsenpark), and the hamlets of Göbschelwitz, Hohenheida, Gottscheina and Neblitz.

Syrmian Front

The Syrmian Front (Serbo-Croatian: Sremski front, Сремски фронт) was an Axis line of defense during World War II. It was established as part of the Eastern Front in late October 1944 in Syrmia and east Slavonia, northwest of Belgrade.

After the Yugoslav Partisans and the Red Army expelled the Germans from Belgrade in the Belgrade Offensive, the retreating Wehrmacht and the Croatian Armed Forces used fortifications to protect the withdrawal of German Army Group E from the Balkans. With help from their Soviet allies, the Partisans (by then recognized as the Yugoslav army), joined by Bulgarian and Italian forces, fought a difficult winter campaign and finally broke through the front on 12 April 1945.

After the Syrmian front was broken, occupied Yugoslavia was liberated.

Torsten Stålhandske

Torsten Stålhandske (Porvoo, Finland, 1 September 1593 – Haderslev, 21 April 1644) – Swedish for "Torsten Steelglove", sometimes written "Stålhansch" in the Swedish of the times [1], and referred to in German literature as Torsten Staalhansch, was a Finnish officer in the Swedish army during the Thirty Years' War.

The son of Torsten Svensson (Stålhandske), a noble military officer of Swedish ancestry from Western Götaland, and Carin Lydiksdotter Jägerhorn, of Finnish nobility from southern Finland, Torsten Stålhandske married Kristina Horn in 1643. Albeit a short man, he was exceptionally strong; when a captured enemy officer, particularly a Pole or an Austrian was led into the Swedish camp, he would shake their hands so hard that blood would appear under their fingernails in what he called "an honest Swedish handshake". Hence, his nickname.

Stålhandske started his military career as a squire to Patrick Ruthwen, with whom he had a task of recruiting military in Scotland. He followed Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden to Prussia, as an Ensign in his Personal guard in 1626. In the same year he was promoted to the rank of Major in the Regiment of Arvid Horn. In 1627 he joined the cavalry led by Åke Henriksson Tott.

In 1629 he was promoted to Lieutenant-colonel in the Nylands och Tavastehus Cavalry regiment, leading Finnish horsemen, also known as Hakkapeliitat, for the first time into the Thirty Years' War. At the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631) they rode with the right wing personally led by King Gustavus Adolphus. In 1632 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel. At the siege of Nuremberg he assaulted the "invincible warriors" of Austrian Colonel Cronberg and, thanks to his mighty and successful charges, largely determined the outcome of the Battle of Lützen, where Gustavus Adolphus was killed, the battle was nonetheless won.

In June 1634, Stålhandske was wounded at the Battle of Hamelin. In 1635, a Major-general, he joined the main army led by Banér. At the Battle of Wittstock he personally captured 35 flags and, at a critical juncture of the battle, forced the enemy to flee. Similarly, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Chemnitz as well as in Silesia, where he defended his positions during the whole year of 1640 against Count Mansfeld.

Finally, in April 1642, he joined his forces with Torstenson's Army and took part in the Second Battle of Breitenfeld (also known as the First Battle of Leipzig), where he was seriously wounded. In May he was appointed general in Chief of the Cavalry. In 1643 Stålhandske followed Torstenson in Bohemia. In 1644 he crushed a hostile army corps in the Jutland, but then fell ill and died in Haderslev on 21 April 1644.

Torsten Stålhandske's mausoleum can be seen in the Cathedral of Turku (Finland).

Vienna Uprising

The Vienna Uprising or October Revolution (German: Wiener Oktoberaufstand, or Wiener Oktoberrevolution) of October 1848 was the last uprising in the Austrian Revolution of 1848.

On 6 October 1848, as the troops of the Austrian Empire were preparing to leave Vienna to suppress the Hungarian Revolution, a crowd sympathetic to the Hungarian cause (of workers, students and mutinous soldiers) tried to prevent them from leaving. The incident escalated into violent street battles; blood was spilt in Saint Stephen's Cathedral and Count Baillet von Latour, the Austrian Minister of War, was lynched by the crowd. The commander of the Vienna garrison, Count Auersperg, was obliged to evacuate the city, but he entrenched himself in a strong position outside it.On 7 October, Emperor Ferdinand I fled with his court to Olmütz (now Olomouc, Czech Republic) under the protection of Alfred I, Prince of Windisch-Grätz. Two weeks later, the Austrian Parliament was moved to Kremsier (now Kroměříž, Czech Republic).

On 26 October, under the command of General Windisch-Grätz and Count Josip Jelačić, the Austrian and Croatian armies started a bombardment of Vienna, and they stormed the city centre on the 31st. The defence was led by the Polish General Józef Bem. Except for him, who managed to escape, all the leaders of the resistance were executed in the days following—including Wenzel Messenhauser, the journalist Alfred Julius Becher, Hermann Jellinek and the Radical member of parliament Robert Blum, even though he had parliamentary immunity.

The gains of the March Revolution were largely lost, and Austria began a phase of both reactionary authoritarianism—"neo-absolutism"—but also liberal reform.

Wilhelm von Rath

Wilhelm von Rath (1585 – 27 April 1641) was a German scholar and a military officer. His name, in the dative case (after "von"), may be rendered as "Rathen".

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