Battle of Fraustadt, 1706 Feb 13

The Battle

Warcries of the day:
Swedish - Med Guds hjälp! (With the help of God)

Saxon - Greif an und schone nicht! (Dig in and: No pardon)

The saxons and russians had positioned themselves in a strong defensive position ahead of Fraustadt, between the villages Geiersdorf and Röhrsdorf. The army was arranged in two battle lines with cavalry on the flanks and the most prestigeous units on the right. Obstacles were placed in front and artillery dispersed throughout the front line. The swedes marched onto the battle field in 3 columns, with cavalry either side of the infantry. As they marched on, the saxon artillery was firing furiously. This did not stop the very disciplined swedes. The battle lines were arranged and the swedish cavalry charged.

The saxon right flank under LtGen von Plötz was attacked first, but the swedish cavalry had to negotiate an area covered with slippery ice. The un-shod horses fell in great numbers and had to be led to more secure ground. All the time they were mocked by the saxon Garde du Corps: "Wir wollen die Mäussen lebendig fangen" (we are going to capture the mice alive). In their conceded state, they forgot that they could easliy have slaughtered the swedes - a grave mistake.

As soon as the dragoons were organized again, they charged the saxons, full gallop with drawn swords. Three times they charged through each others' lines before the saxon cavalry finally turned and fled in a wholesale route. The saxon Garde du Corps and Chevaliers Garde were the only units to make any impression on the swedes.

The saxon left flank was hit very soon after the right, and fled the field when the right wing departed. The swedish cavalry did not pursue the saxon route too far, as their outnumbered infantry needed their assistance, so they returned to the battle field and attacked the saxon and russian infantry from behind. This caused in particular the saxon Guards regiments to buckle and break formation.

Meanwhile, the swedish infantry advanced through heavy cannon fire and with one musquet salvo cleared the saxons' detachments from behind the obstacles, removed the same and firing at very close range drove the saxons before them. When the swedes found the left saxon flank to be manned by russian units, their attention was directed at them. The russian units, knowing their inferior fighting capabilities, had turned their white coats inside out, displaying the red lining, so that they would not stand out against the red-clad, more experienced saxons.

Through superior tactics and exemplary discipline, the swedes drove the saxons back, until they started to reel and finally route. They fled through Fraustadt, but were met at the exits by the swedish cavalry, and surrendered in droves. At this point the saxons were pardoned, but due to atrocities committed by the russians in the Baltic states, the 500 russian captives were mercilessly slaughtered by Rehnskiöld's order. Rehnskiöld was later to be criticized for this, but according to the standards of the times, the victor did not have to grant pardon. It was actually more common for the victors to slaughter their prisoners, than is generally known.

The battle was over in less than two hours.

The losses were 700 killed and wounded swedes against over 8000 saxons and russians killed and over 7000 captured, including 2 generals. It was said that Schulenburg was one of the first to flee.

As a result of the battle, the saxon infantry had almost ceased to exist, and August II could no longer influence the swedish movements.

The battle has been seen as a school example of battle of annihilation, and was the crowning achievement of Carl Gustaf Rehnskiöld, who was promoted to field marshal.

Ordre de Bataille
The Officers
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