Sunday, February 24, 2008

Digression- Battle of Bergen 1759

M. de Broglie, and a young Prinz Ferdinand of Brunswick

I'd like to set the clock forward 16 years from 1743 to 1759 for this post- although there is a connection to the War of the Austrian Succession as we will see.

Back in 2003 while on vacation in Austria and Germany, my good friend Kris Opsetmoen, who lives in the town of Obereiffenberg near Frankfurt-am-Main, drove us to to the nearby town of Bergen. The reason for this was, of course, that it was the scene of a battle in the Seven Years War between a French and Saxon army under the very capable De Broglie, and on the other side the Allies under the (equally capable) Prussian General Prinz Ferdinand of Brunswick.

The French emerged victorious in this one- contrary to popular belief, they often did well in the Seven Years War, only to have the rug pulled out from under them by an annoying habit of losing the key battles. But Bergen was considered a well-deserved victory in which an energetic French command won the day through the flexible use of their troops .

This included efficient use of reserves organized in columns- rather than in lines as was the common practise of the times- and in doing so, foreshadowing later Napoleonic developments.

Any advantages gained by the French through their victory at Bergen, however, were to be thrown away as a result of the drubbing they were to receive at the Battle of Minden shortly afterwards.

Our trip to Bergen included a visit to the interesting town museum that has stood there since the early 18th Century, as well as a drive to the area outside town for some photos of the actual battlefield itself.

Rather than use up too much space on my blog, I have put the photos up in a seperate .pdf file on the sidebar, with more information on the battle itself- including pictures of the headquarters of King George II that was used in the Dettingen campaign!

I'm sure that his memoirs will reveal that our redoubtable M. de Sangfroid himself was to play no small role in the Battle of Bergen!

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