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Battle of Oldendorf
Part of Thirty Years' War
Date 8 July 1633
Location Hessisch-Oldendorf, present-day Germany
Result Swedish victory
 Sweden  Holy Roman Empire
George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Dodo zu Innhausen und Knyphausen
Jobst Maximilian von Gronsfeld
John (Johann, Jean) of Merode
Lothar Dietrich Freiherr von Bönninghausen

The Battle of Oldendorf (German: Schlacht bei Hessisch-Oldendorf[1]) on 8 July 1633[2] was a battle of the Thirty Years' War between the Swedish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire near Hessisch-Oldendorf, Lower Saxony, Germany.[3] The result was a decisive victory of the Swedish Army.[1][3]



The Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, William V, as a Protestant ally of Sweden had campaigned in Westfalia, Ruhr area and Sauerland and successfully reduced imperial presence there.[1] The imperial defense of the Weser area in 1633 was led by Jobst Maximilian von Gronsfeld.[4]

The battle was preceded by a Swedish siege of the nearby imperial-held town of Hameln, laid in March 1633 with support of Hessian and Lüneburgian troops.[5]


On 8 July, the Swedish army commanded by George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg[3][6] and Marshal Dodo zu Innhausen und Knyphausen[3][6] faced an imperial relief army commanded by Field Marshal Jobst Maximilian von Gronsfeld,[3][6] Count John (Johann, Jean) of Merode[3][6] and Lothar Dietrich Freiherr von Bönninghausen.[6] Merode commanded 4,450 infantry and 1,245 cavalry, Bonninghausen 4,475 infantry and 2,060 cavalry, Gronsfeld 2,000 infantry and 600 cavalry.[6] The armies met near Hessisch-Oldendorf, northwest of besieged Hameln.[3]

Both armies attacked, a rare event in the Thirty Year's War which besides Oldendorf only occurred in the Second Battle of Breitenfeld.[nb 1][7] The left wing of the Swedish forces was commanded by the general of Hesse-Kassel and later imperial field marshal Count Peter Eppelmann Melander von Holzapfel.[8] Later field marshal Torsten Stalhansk led a Swedish brigade.[9] Later field marshal Gottfried von Geelen participated in the battle on the imperial side.[10]

Gronsfeld was captured[3] after his wing was routed by Melander,[11] leaving over 7,000 dead.[12]


The Swedish victory in Oldendorf and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Pfaffenhofen on 11 August balanced the Swedish defeat in the Battle of Steinau on 10 October; overall, Swedish and Imperial forces were "on even terms" in 1633.[13] This only changed in the following year: While the Swedish forces won the Battle of Liegnitz on 8 May and the Battle of Landshut on 22 July,[13] their defeat in the Battle of Nördlingen on 6 September 1634 brought about a change in the balance of power.[14]

Melander, Swedish commander at Oldendorf, intrigued with the Holy Roman Emperor in 1635 to merge Hesse-Kassel's forces into the imperial army and have Hesse-Kassel sign the Peace of Prague.[4] These plans failed, and personal quarrels led him to quit service to re-enter it as the Imperial commander of Westphalia in 1645.[4] The Peace of Prague reconciled many Protestant states with the Holy Roman Emperor, most notably the Electorate of Saxony.[14] As a consequence, Sweden's and Hesse-Kassel's forces stood alone against a growing anti-Swedish, pro-Habsburg coalition in 1635 - a disequilibrium eventually stirring France's intervention in the Thirty Years' War.[14]

In 1647, Hessisch-Oldendorf became the winter quarters of the Swedish army commanded by Carl Gustaf Wrangel retreating from Bohemia, followed by then imperial commander Melander who took quarter in Hesse.[15]



  1. ^ Usually, one of the armies (the less numerous one) would take on a defensive position, while the other army (the more numerous one) would attack if its leader, having evaluated the defense of the opponent, found an attack promising. Guthrie (2003), p.121.




  1. ^ a b c Schattkowsky (2003), p.241
  2. ^ Guthrie (2003), p.28
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Jaques (2007), p.448
  4. ^ a b c Guthrie (2003), p.238
  5. ^ Bedürftig (2006), p.73
  6. ^ a b c d e f Guthrie (2002), p.252
  7. ^ Guthrie (2003), p.121
  8. ^ Guthrie (2003), pp.237-238
  9. ^ Guthrie (2003), pp.46-47
  10. ^ Guthrie (2003), p.201
  11. ^ Guthrie (2003), pp.238-239
  12. ^ Burschel (1994), p.272
  13. ^ a b Guthrie (2003), p.28
  14. ^ a b c Guthrie (2003), p.29
  15. ^ Guthrie (2003), p.234



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