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  • in the Battle of Warsaw in 1705, a Swedish force of 2,000 men defeated a Polish-Lithuanian-Saxonian force five times as strong?

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Battle of Warsaw
Part of Great Northern War
POL theatrum europeanum Warszawa 1705.jpg
Plan of the battle as published in Theatrum Europeanum, 1720
Date July 31, 1705
July 21 of the Swedish calendar
Location outskirts of Warsaw, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Result Decisive Swedish victory
Belligerents
Naval Ensign of Sweden.svg Sweden Flag Kurfuerstentum-Sachsen bis 1806.jpg Saxony

  Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Commanders
Carl Nieroth Otto Arnold von Paykull
Strength
2,000 men 9,500 men
(6,000 from Commonwealth and 3,500 from Saxony)
Casualties and losses
150 dead, 150 wounded 500 dead, 1000 wounded

The Battle of Warsaw (sometimes known as Battle of Rakowitz[1]) took place on 31 July 1705 near Warsaw. Swedish forces under Carl Nieroth defeated the Polish-Lithuanian-Saxonian forces under Otto Arnold von Paykull.

Contents

Background

Part of the Great Northern War constituted a civil war in Poland (1704-1709), between the Warsaw Confederation forces supporting pretender king Stanisław Leszczyński and Sandomierz Confederation supporting king August II the Strong. Sweden supported Leszczyński against August, and send a contingent of troops to Leszczyński's aid, under Carl Nieroth. In July 1705 Saxon commander Otto Arnold von Paykull and his allies from the Warsaw Confederation decided to take on the numerically inferior Swedish forces loyal to Leszczyński.[2]

Opposing forces

The Swedish forces consisted of three cavalry regiments and a small force of 60 infantrymen.[2] The total size of the Swedish army under Carl Nieroth was around 2,000 men.[2] The Polish-Lithuanian-Saxon army consisted of 3,500 Saxon cuirassiers and 6,000 Polish cavalrymen.[2] Its main commander was the Saxonian general Otto Arnold von Paykull;[2] the Polish-Lithuanian forces were led by Stanisław Chomętowski, Stanisław Rzewuski, Adam Mikołaj Sieniawski, Michał Serwacy Wiśniowiecki and Stanisław Ernest Denhoff.

Battle begins

The Swedes sent out two reconnaissance forces, and a detachment of 20 men from one of them led by Bonde stumbled into a unit of 500 men in the front ranks of the Polish army at dusk on July 30. The unit was attempting to cross the Vistula River. Bonde ordered a sudden charge on the unit that was crossing the river, but it failed and resulted in heavy losses due to the large disparity in numbers between the two forces. Later, the remaining cavalrymen in the unit repeated the assault without success. However, some cavalrymen were able to return to alarm the rest of the Swedish army.[2]

Main confrontation

On July 31, the two armies faced each other outside of Warsaw. Nieroth decided to charge the numerically superior Polish force. The charge was split up into two wings due to the fact that the Swedish army was partly encircled. The 60 Swedish infantrymen hid in a field of tall rye so that they could perform a surprise attack on the Poles. This time, the Swedish charge was more successful. One regiment routed 3,000 Lithuanian cavalrymen and pursued them for 20 kilometers. However, other regiments ran into trouble after early successes. Paykull ordered an attack through the center of the Swedish lines to attack the flanks and rear of the Swedish forces. Six Saxon squadrons suddenly charged one Swedish regiment, causing disorder in the unit. Another force of 3,000 Saxons withstood the charge of one regiment and then continually counterattacked. One Swedish regiment, however, withstood the Polish counterattacks and attacked so fiercely that the Saxons had to retreat. The infantrymen fired a salvo on the Saxons as they were reforming their lines and soon after this the few remaining squadrons of Polish forces were defeated.[2]

End of the battle

Around 150 Swedish had been killed and 150 wounded in the battle whilst around 500 Saxon and Polish had been killed and around 1,000 had been wounded.[2] During the battle some members of the Polish-Lithuanian-Saxon forces were captured, notably, general von Paykull.[2]

References

  1. ^ after a village Rakowiec that later became part of the Ochota district of Warsaw
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nothern Wars – The Battle of Warsaw 1705, Oskar Sjöström (pdf)

Further reading

  • Bitwa warszawska w 1705 r.., "Stolica", nr 1 (315), 3 stycznia 1954 r., p. 12-13

External links

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