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Battle of Wittstock
Part of Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War
The Battle of Wittstock 1636.jpg
Date 4 October 1636
Location Wittstock, about 95 km northwest of Berlin, Germany
Result Decisive Swedish victory
Belligerents
 Sweden  Holy Roman Empire
 Saxony
Commanders
Johan Banér
Lennart Torstenson,
James King,
Alexander Leslie
Melchior von Hatzfeldt

Rodolfo Giovanni Marazzino
John George I of Saxony

Strength
18,000 (7,750 Foot & 10,250 Horse) plus 60 guns 18,600 (8,500 Foot & 10,100 Horse) plus 32 guns
Casualties and losses
3,100 dead or wounded 5,000 dead,

2,000 captured and recruited into the Swedish army

The Battle of Wittstock was fought on 24 September (Julian calendar) or 4 October (Gregorian calendar) 1636, between a Protestant Swedish army and an alliance of the Holy Roman Empire and Saxony.

The Holy Roman Emperor in Vienna, with his Saxon and Roman Catholic allies, was contesting Northern Germany with the Swedes. The German main army was screening the Swedish army behind the Elbe while a smaller army under General Klitzing was overrunning Brandenburg. Baner crossed the Elbe with a surprise march and the Swedish army intercepted their opponents in the forested hilly landscape slightly south of Wittstock.

The German army was equal in strength to the Swedish army, but at least one-third of it was composed of Saxon units of questionable quality. The Swedish artillery was considerably stronger, leading the German commanders to adopt a defensive stance.

The Germans decided to wait for the Swedes on a range of sandy hills, the Scharfenberg. A part of the German front was further defended with six ditches and a wall of linked wagons. Their commanders waited for some time for the Swedish troops to appear on the open fields before their front. Instead, the Swedish army was turning the German left flank, moving behind the cover of a series of linked hills. The Germans were forced to redeploy their lines to set up a new front.

The battle was begun by small forces detached in detail to secure the hills. The Swedes had problems moving up reinforcements through marshy ground, while the Germans had to reform its entire line.

Baner had detached one-fourth of his army under James King to take a long detour around the German right flank. Those forces arrived in time before Baner's main force was overwhelmed by the German army. King's cavalry overran a screen of 1,000 German musketeers and attacked the German army from the rear. Now attacked on two fronts, the Germans, having lost all their artillery, retreated under the cover of dusk.

References

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