Battle of Moys

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Location
51°09'08"N
014°59'36"E
Country
 Germany
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Description

The Battle of Moys was a battle fought on 7 September 1757 during the Third Silesian War (part of the Seven Years' War). A Prussian army of 13,000 men fought an Austrian army of double their size. The Prussians were defeated and their commander killed. The battle was fought near Moys in Upper Lusatia, present-day Ujazd, a district of Zgorzelec in Poland.

Seven Years' War

Although the Seven Years' War was a global conflict, it acquired a specific intensity in the European theater based on the recently concluded War of the Austrian Succession (1741–1748). The 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle concluded the earlier war with Austria. Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great, acquired the prosperous province of Silesia. Empress Maria Theresa of Austria had signed the treaty to gain time to rebuild her military forces and forge new alliances; she intended to regain ascendancy in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1754, escalating tensions between Britain and France in North America offered the Empress the opportunity to regain her lost territories and to limit Prussia's ever growing power. Similarly, France sought to break the British dominance of Atlantic trade. France and Austria put aside their old rivalry to form a coalition of their own. Britain aligned herself with the Kingdom of Prussia; this alliance drew in not only the British king's territories held in personal union, including Hanover, but also those of his relatives in the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg and the Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel. This series of political maneuvers became known as the Diplomatic Revolution.After over-running Saxony, Frederick campaigned in Bohemia and defeated the Austrians on 6 May 1757 at the Battle of Prague. Learning that French forces had invaded his ally's territory of Hanover, Frederick moved west. On 5 November 1757, he defeated the combined French and Austrian force at the Battle of Rossbach. In his absence, the Austrians had managed to retake Silesia: Prince Charles had taken the city of Schweidnitz and moved on Breslau in Lower Silesia.A few days after the Battle of Gross-Jägersdorf, instead of marching on Königsberg or toward the heart of Prussia, Apraxin returned to Russia. Frederick sent his brother home in disgrace, and visited the army in Silesia. Several times, he taunted Prince Charles, almost daring him to meet him on the battlefield, but Charles was a cautious fellow. Finally Frederick returned to Saxony, leaving the Duke of Bevern in command of the troops in the Lausitz region. Bevern's duty was to block any Austrian advance on Saxony; he also left Hans Karl von Winterfelt to "assist" him. Frederick actually trusted Winterfeldt more, but the duke was ageing, and the Winterfeldt had the trust of the king; Bevern had the assistance of a powerful royal favorite as his nominal subordinate. Bevern felt embarrassed; Winterfeldt felt irked by the constraints imposed. Bevern was alarmed by the lack of his supplies, and withdrew to Görlitz, leaving Winterfeldt's corps on the opposite side of the Lusatian Neisse river, near Moys. On the day before the battle, Prince Charles sent Hadasty to the right bank of the river, nearly on Moys, with instructions to take Jäkelsberg (a hill) on the following day. He has 15,000 men, possibly 20,000, and artillery.

Battle

On 7 September, Winterfeldt was absent from his corps, either in consultation with Bevern, or having escorted a meal convoy out of Bautzen: sources disagree. Zieten commanded the left wing, and his part was not lost. Winterfeldt had 2,000 grenadiers stationed on the slight rise of a hill, Nasti's artillery started a line of fire and then sent 1,000 Croats and some regulars, about 40 companies in three lines, up the hill.

Aftermath

While heading back to Silesia, Frederick learned of the fall of Breslau (22 November). He and his 22,000 men covered 274 km (170 mi) in 12 days and, at Liegnitz, joined up with the Prussian troops who had survived the fighting at Breslau. The augmented army of about 33,000 troops (with approximately 167 cannons) arrived near Leuthen (now Lutynia, Poland), 27 km (17 mi) west of Breslau, to find 66,000 Austrians in possession.
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