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Old 16th February 2020, 04:14 PM   #81
HansMustermann
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Well, as I was saying, I'm not saying it was the best choice or anything. Just explaining the exact context and reasons of that decision.
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Old 21st February 2020, 09:45 PM   #82
Pacal
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Actually a really good example of snatching defeat from the jaws of, if not victory, at least an advantage and giving it to the other side is the battle of Lutzen in 1632. The battle is also one of the most excellent examples of the long term effects of good propaganda.

Gustavus Adolphus is considered by so, so many to be one of the "Great Captains" of history and with my interest in military history I accepted this story for quite some time. It seems to have originated in European Military Staff colleges in the 19th century. When I read about, in detail, Gustavus' actual campaigns I was distinctly less impressed and wondered about Gustavus out sized reputation.

The battle in question, Lutzen, was frequently described in the literature has a "Great Swedish victory", with the Imperial army routed and Gustavus' antagonist, the great Czech General Wallenstein, (He Germanized his last name.), being utterly defeated and the Swedes being unable to reap the full fruits of victory due to Gustavus' death in the battle.

Well then I began reading in the heavily academic literature of The Thirty Years War that the battle was indecisive, that the notion that Gustavus was heavily out numbered at the beginning of the battle was so much nonsense. That the 8,000 reinforcements that came for Wallenstein came after the battle was over. In fact Gustavus had about 40-50% more men than Wallenstein at the beginning of the battle. That Swedish losses were in fact about double Imperial losses during it. That the Imperial army was still on the field when the battle was over after hours of savage fighting which only ended at nightfall. That the Swedish commanders were going to withdraw the next day. Effectively conceding the advantage to Wallenstein. Wallenstein sick and ill and not sure that Gustavus was in fact dead, despite the arrival of reinforcements withdrew that night. The Swedes were stunned to find the imperial army gone he next day leaving behind most of it's artillery and many wounded. Thus the Swedes were able to claim victory.

Gustavus was apparently trying to crush Wallenstein by sheer force of numbers in a frontal attack. He failed and got killed and what would have been a serious reverse for Sweden was turned in to a victory by Wallenstein losing his nerve. What is also interesting is how this shambolic mess was turned into a "Great Swedish victory", by propaganda and then by Military Staff colleges.
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Old 21st February 2020, 10:39 PM   #83
ajelehtija
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Actually a really good example of snatching defeat from the jaws of, if not victory, at least an advantage and giving it to the other side is the battle of Lutzen in 1632. The battle is also one of the most excellent examples of the long term effects of good propaganda.

Gustavus Adolphus is considered by so, so many to be one of the "Great Captains" of history and with my interest in military history I accepted this story for quite some time. It seems to have originated in European Military Staff colleges in the 19th century. When I read about, in detail, Gustavus' actual campaigns I was distinctly less impressed and wondered about Gustavus out sized reputation.

The battle in question, Lutzen, was frequently described in the literature has a "Great Swedish victory", with the Imperial army routed and Gustavus' antagonist, the great Czech General Wallenstein, (He Germanized his last name.), being utterly defeated and the Swedes being unable to reap the full fruits of victory due to Gustavus' death in the battle.

Well then I began reading in the heavily academic literature of The Thirty Years War that the battle was indecisive, that the notion that Gustavus was heavily out numbered at the beginning of the battle was so much nonsense. That the 8,000 reinforcements that came for Wallenstein came after the battle was over. In fact Gustavus had about 40-50% more men than Wallenstein at the beginning of the battle. That Swedish losses were in fact about double Imperial losses during it. That the Imperial army was still on the field when the battle was over after hours of savage fighting which only ended at nightfall. That the Swedish commanders were going to withdraw the next day. Effectively conceding the advantage to Wallenstein. Wallenstein sick and ill and not sure that Gustavus was in fact dead, despite the arrival of reinforcements withdrew that night. The Swedes were stunned to find the imperial army gone he next day leaving behind most of it's artillery and many wounded. Thus the Swedes were able to claim victory.

Gustavus was apparently trying to crush Wallenstein by sheer force of numbers in a frontal attack. He failed and got killed and what would have been a serious reverse for Sweden was turned in to a victory by Wallenstein losing his nerve. What is also interesting is how this shambolic mess was turned into a "Great Swedish victory", by propaganda and then by Military Staff colleges.
The more I've read about the 30 Years War the more it has seemed to me as well that Gustavus Adolphus is overrated. His employment of light cannons and having them plus infantry support his cavalry seem like his major accomplishment as a military reformer, but that's more an evolution. The one that I was taught even at school was that Gustavus ordered his cavalry to charge in with steel, but from what I've read that might have been more that his Swedish cavalry units couldn't afford pistols at first but armed themselves at first opportunity.
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