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Thirty Years War

1626 to 1647

War Description
Conflict involving much of Europe that greatly weakened the Holy Roman Empire.

List Of Battles

Battle / Outcome
Battle of Prague
Imperials defeat Bohemians
Fought November 8, 1620, when the Imperialists, under Maximilian of Bavaria and Count Tilly, drove 22,000 Bohemians, under Frederick of Bohemia, up to the walls of Prague, and signally defeated them, with a loss of 5,000 men and all their artillery. Frederick was obliged to take refuge in the city, and soon afterwards capitulated. The battle only lasted an hour, and the Imperialists lost no more than 300 men.
Siege of Riga
Swedes defeat Poles
This place was invested by the Swedes, under Gustavus Adolphus, in the early part of August, 1621, and was defended by a garrison of 300 Poles. A resolute defense was made, and several determined assaults repulsed, but a large breach having been effected by September 11, the garrison, now reduced to a handful, had no option but to surrender, and the town was entered by the Swedes, September 15, 1621.
Battle of Hoechst
Imperials defeat Palatines
Fought June 10, 1622, between 20,000 Palatinate troops, under Christian of Brunswick, and 33,000 Imperialists, under Tilly. Christian having failed to join forces with Mansfeldt, was in retreat, and was engaged in holding a bridge over the Main. While thus employed he was overtaken by Tilly, and though a village covering the bridge was held gallantly for five hours, he was at last over-powered, losing about 12,000 in killed, wounded and prisoners. The Imperialist loss was comparatively small.
Battle of Wisloch
Palatines defeat Imperials
Fought April 16, 1622, between the troops of the Count Palatine, under the Count von Mansfeldt, and the Imperialists, under Count Tilly. Tilly attacked and drove in the Palatinate rearguard, but failing to check the pursuit, was confronted by the main body, and defeated with a loss of 3,000 killed and wounded, and all his guns. This victory enabled Mansfeldt to effect a junction with the army of the Margrave of Baden.
Battle of Wimpfen
Imperials defeat Palatines
Fought April 26, 1622, between 14,000 Palatinate troops, under the Margrave of Baden, and the Imperialists, under Count Tilly and Gonsalvo de Cordova. Tilly attacked the. Margrave's camp, which was not entrenched, and though a brilliant cavalry charge captured his guns, it was not supported by the Palatine infantry, and the Imperialists rallying, drove off the cavalry in disorder, recovered the guns, and then routed the infantry, with a loss of 2,000 killed and wounded, and all their artillery, baggage and camp equipment.
Battle of Fleurus
Spaniards defeat Palatines
Fought August 29, 1622, between the Spaniards, under Spinola, and the Palatinate troops, under Count von Mansfeldt and Christian of Brunswick. The Germans were endeavoring to retreat into Holland after their defeat at Hoechst and were intercepted by the Spaniards, through whom they tried to fight their way. In this effort the infantry was almost entirely cut to pieces, but about 7,000 cavalry reached Breda with the two generals.
Battle of Stadtlohn
Imperials defeat Protestants
Fought August 9, 1623, between the army of the Protestant Princes of Germany, about 22,000 strong, under Duke Christian of Brunswick, and the Imperialists, under Tilly. The Protestants were utterly routed and dispersed, Christian fleeing to Holland.
Battle of Dessau
Imperials defeat Protestants
Fought April 15, 1626, between the German Protestants under Count von Mansfeldt, and the Imperialists, about 20,000 strong, under Wallenstein. Mansfeldt was attacking the fort of Dessau, on the Elbe, when Wallenstein, approaching under cover of the woods, fell upon his flank, and totally routed him, killing or capturing nearly three-fourths of his army.
Battle of Lutter
Imperials defeat Danes
Fought August 27, 1626, between the Imperialists, under Tilly, and the Danes and Germans, under Christian IV of Denmark. The allies were retreating before Tilly, who came up with them in an open plain near the Castle of Lutter, where the King had taken up a strong position. Tilly attacked, and notwithstanding Christian's personal gallantry, his infantry was overwhelmed, while the German cavalry refused to take any part in the fight. The Danes left 4,000 dead on the field, and Tilly captured 2,000 prisoners, 22 guns and 60 standards. The King with difficulty cut his way through the enemy's horse, and escaped.
Siege of Dantzig
Poles defeat Swedes
This fortress was besieged by the Swedes under Gustavus Adolphus in 1627, and was defended by a Polish garrison which successfully resisted all attempts to storm the place, until the truce of September 16, 1629. In a night attack on May 27, 1627, the King of Sweden was severely wounded, while in the autumn of the same year a sally was made from the port by the Dantzig ships, which defeated the Swedish fleet under Admiral Stjernskold, the Admiral being killed, 1 ship captured and 1 destroyed.
Siege of Stralsund
Swedes defeat Imperials
This place was besieged, July 5, 1628, by the Imperialists, under Wallenstein, who had sworn to take it in three days. It was defended mainly by the inhabitants, aided by a small garrison of Swedes and Scots. An assault on the 8th was repulsed, and though on the 9th some of the outworks were gained, the town still held out, and finally, after a siege of 11 weeks, Wallenstein was compelled to withdraw his troops, having suffered a loss of over 12,000 men.
Siege of Frankfort-on-Oder
Swedes defeat Imperials
This place was taken by storm by Gustavus Adolphus, at the head of 15,000 Swedes, April 2, 1631. Schaumberg and Montecucculi, who were in the town, escaped with a portion of the cavalry, but 1,800 of the Imperialist garrison were killed, and 800 captured, with 30 standards and 18 heavy guns.
Battle of Werben
Swedes defeat Imperials
Fought July 22, 1631, between the Swedes, 16,000 strong, under Gustavus Adolphus, and 26,000 Imperialists, under Count Tilly. Tilly attacked Gustavus' entrenchments in front of Werben, but his troops could not face the fire of the Swedish batteries, and being thrown into disorder, were then charged by the cavalry, under Baudissen, and repulsed. The attack was renewed a few days later with a similar result, and Tilly then drew off his forces, having suffered a loss of 6,000 men.
Battle of Leipsic
Swedes defeat Imperials
Fought September 7, 1631, between 20,000 Swedes and an equal force of Saxons, under Gustavus Adolphus and John George, Elector of Saxony, and 44,000 Imperialists, under Tilly. The Imperialist right totally routed the Saxons, who fled from the field, headed by the Elector. Meanwhile, the Swedes had completely defeated the left of the Imperialists, under Pappenheim, and repulsed the centre under Tilly, and on the return of the right from pursuing the Saxons, they were attacked by the Swedish left, and driven from the field, only four regiments holding their ground in a wood until nightfall. The Imperialists lost 8,000 killed and wounded and 5,000 prisoners; the allies 2,700, of whom only 700 were Swedes. Gustavus captured the whole of Tilly's artillery, and his victory was the salvation of the Protestant cause, which was trembling in the balance.
Siege of Magdeburg
Imperials defeat Swedes
This city, held by a small Swedish garrison, tinder Falkenberg, was besieged by the Imperialists, under Tilly, March, 1631. After a desultory bombardment, Tilly was forced by the approach of Gustavus Adolphus either to raise the siege or to attempt a storm. Choosing the latter course, an assault was delivered, under Pappenberg, and after two hours' severe fighting, in the course of which Falkenberg fell, the garrison was overpowered. The victory was sullied by an infamous massacre of the unarmed inhabitants, thousands of whom perished at the hands of the Croats and Walloons.
Battle of Lützen
Swedes defeat Imperials
Fought November 16, 1632, between 20,000 Swedes, under Gustavus Adolphus, and 30,000 Imperialists, under Wallenstein. The Swedes attacked with success on their right, but their left was driven back by Pappenheim, and Gustavus, hurrying off to rally them fell mortally wounded. The fall of their king, however, did not dishearten the Swedes, and a fresh charge, in which Pappenheim was killed, gave them a complete victory. A dense fog, however, came on, which enabled Wallenstein to effect an orderly retreat, though he left all his guns on the field.
Battle of Altendorf
Imperials defeat Swedes
Fought August 24, 1632, between Gustavus Adolphus, with 40,000 Swedes and Germans, and the Imperialists, of about equal numbers, under Wallenstein. Wallenstein was very strongly posted on the hill and in the ruined castle of the Altenwald, and after a day spent in fruitless assaults, the King was forced to retire, having lost about 2,300 in killed and wounded. The defenders admitted a loss of 70 officers and 2,000 men killed, besides wounded and prisoners.
Battle of the Leck
Swedes defeat Imperials
Fought April 5, 1632, between 26,000 Swedes and German Protestants, under Gustavus Adolphus, and 20,000 Imperialists, under Count Tilly. Gustavus had prepared a bridge to cross the river, and immediately after daybreak his engineers commenced to fix it, the Swedish artillery meanwhile keeping the Imperialists in check. In the artillery duel Tilly was mortally wounded, and his troops retired, leaving the Swedes to effect the passage unmolested.
Battle of Nordlingen
Imperials defeat Swedes
Fought September 6, 1634, between 40,000 Imperialists, under Ferdinand of Hungary, and a numerically inferior force of Germans and Swedes, under the Duke of Weimar and Count Horn. The action was fought to relieve Nordlingen, which Ferdinand was besieging, and resulted in the total defeat of the allies, who lost 12,000 killed, 6,000 prisoners, including Horn, and 80 guns.
Siege of Rheinfeldt
Protestants defeat Imperials
Fought 1638, between the Protestant Germans, under Duke Bernard of Saxe Weimar, and the Imperialists, under Jean de Wert. The Duke was besieging Rheinfeldt, when he was attacked by de Wert, and forced to raise the siege and retire. After retreating, however, a short distance only, unpursued, he suddenly retraced his steps, and taking the Imperialists by surprise, inflicted upon them a severe defeat, dispersing their army and capturing de Wert. In this action fell the veteran Duc de Rohan.
Battle of Breitenfeld
Swedes defeat Imperials
Fought November 2, 1642, between the Imperialists under the Archduke Leopold and Piccolomini, and the Swedes under Torstenson. The latter, who were in retreat, were caught by the pursuing Austrians at Breitenfeld, but turning upon them, they offered a desperate resistance, and finally drove them from the field, totally routed, with a loss of 10,000 men.
Battle of Lerida
French defeat Spanish
Fought September, 1642, between the Spaniards, under Leganez, and the French, under Lamothe-Houdancourt. The Spanish army was defeated, and this victory, in conjunction with the fall of Perpignan, gave the French possession of Roussillon.
Battle of Rocroi
French defeat Spanish
Fought May 19, 1643, between the French, 22,000 strong, under the Great Condé, and 27,000 Spaniards, under Don Francisco de Melo. The battle was sternly contested, and at first went against the French, their left wing being repulsed, and the centre shaken. Want of cavalry, however, prevented Melo pressing home his advantage, and the French, rallying, broke the Spanish line, and severely defeated them. The Spaniards lost 9,000 killed, and 6,000 prisoners in the infantry alone. The French only admitted a loss of 2,000, but it was doubtless considerably heavier.
Battle of Teuttingen
Imperials defeat French
Fought November, 1643, between the French, under the Marechal de Rantzau, and the Imperialists, under the Count de Merci. The Imperialists surprised the French camp, and totally routed them, Rantzau, being captured with most of his superior officers, and all his artillery and baggage.
Battle of Fribourg
French defeat Bavarians
Fought August 3, 5 and 9, 1644, between 20,000 French under the Great Condé and Turenne, and 15,000 Bavarians under the Comte de Mercy. On the 3rd, Turenne, after a long flank march, attacked the Bavarians on the flank, while Condé assailed their front, at 5 p.m. When night fell, the Bavarians were giving way, and during the night de Mercy retired to a fresh position. Here he was attacked on the 5th, but held his ground throughout the day. The French losing twice as many men as their opponents. Three days later de Mercy found it necessary to retreat, and on the 9th he was attacked while retiring by a force of cavalry. This he repulsed, but Condé, coming up, rescued his cavalry, and drove the Bavarians headlong before him, capturing all their artillery and baggage.
Battle of Mariendahl
Imperials defeat French
Fought May 2, 1645, between the French, under Turenne, and the Imperialists, under Merci. Turenne, who had 3,000 infantry and 8 regiments of horse, was surprised in his camp by Merci at 2 a.m., and being placed between two fires, was compelled to beat a disastrous retreat, with the loss of almost all his infantry, 1,200 cavalry, and all his artillery and baggage.
Battle of Nordlingen
French defeat Imperials
Fought August 3, 1645, between 17,000 French under Condé, and 14,000 Imperialists, under Mercy. The French attacked the village of Allersheim, where the Imperialists were strongly entrenched, and after very severe fighting, the left under Turenne succeeded in expelling them, with a loss of 6,000 killed, wounded and prisoners, and almost all their guns. General Mercy was killed. The French loss amounted to about 4,000.
Battle of Zummerhausen
French defeat Imperials
Fought 1647, when the French and Swedes, under Turenne and Wrangel, inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Imperialists.
Siege of Lerida
Spanish defeat French
This city, held by a garrison of 4,000 Spaniards, under Don Jorge Britt, was besieged by the French, under the Great Condé, May 12, 1647. The defense was vigorous, the garrison making constant sorties, and about the middle of June the appearance of a large Spanish army at Fraga forced Condé either to deliver an assault or to raise the siege. He chose the second alternative and withdrew his troops June 17.
Battle of Lens
French defeat Imperials
Fought August 20, 1648, between the French, 14,000 strong, under Condé, and the Austrians, in somewhat superior force, under the Archduke Leopold. Condé feigned a retreat, to draw the enemy from their lines, and then turning upon them, decisively defeated them, with a loss of 4,000 killed, 6,000 prisoners, and all their baggage and artillery.

Story LinksBook Links
The Thirty Years War  in  Stories from German History  by  Florence Aston
Thirty Year's War  in  Germany: Peeps at History  by  John  Finnemore
Wallenstein  in  Famous Men of Modern Times  by  J. H.  Haaren
Gustavus Adolphus  in  Famous Men of Modern Times  by  J. H.  Haaren
Ferdinand II  in  History of Germany  by  H. E.  Marshall
Gustavus Adolphus on the Field of Leipsic  in  Historical Tales: 9—Scandinavian  by  Charles  Morris
Thirty Years of War  in  Awakening of Europe  by  M. B.  Synge
Gustavus Adolfphus, Lion of the North  in  European Hero Stories  by  E. M.  Tappan

Map Links
France, 1618-1648

Image Links
Gustavus Adolphus praying before the Battle of Lutzen in Stories from German History Beginning of the Thirty Years' War  in Famous Men of Modern Times Living off the country  in Famous Men of Modern Times
Tilly at Magdeburg  in Famous Men of Modern Times Gustavus Adolphus before the Battle of Lutzen in Soldiers and Sailors Through their ranks rode Wallenstein, drawn sword in hand  in History of Germany
Wallenstein and his Generals Feasting  in European Hero Stories Commissioners Concluding the Peace of Westphalia  in European Hero Stories In the Dark Days.  in Youth of the Great Elector
Soldiers at the time of the Thirty Years' War.  in Youth of the Great Elector