Battle of Klingenthal

The Battle of Klingenthal was a battle fought between Swedish troops and forces of the Holy Roman Empire on November 11, 1642, during the Thirty Years' War. The purpose was to cement Swedish control of all parts of Saxony following the decisive Battle of Breitenfeld (1642).

BackgroundEdit

The Second Battle of Breitenfeld was a decisive defeat of Catholic forces in Saxony, most of whom were loyal to the Holy Roman Empire, by Swedish forces under Lennart Torstensson and Torsten Stålhandske, which occurred on November 2, 1642. A breakdown in cavalry under the regiment of Colonel Madlon led to a full-scale rout of Holy Roman forces and the subsequent loss of Leipzig.[1] A disorganized contingent of infantry, with little cavalry support, subsequently fled to the vicinity of Klingenthal in extreme southwestern Saxony, where they assembled positions on the low mountains of the Bohemia-Saxony border region.

The battleEdit

Around 1500 infantry, armed mostly with the arquebus, with a variety of older weapons like pikes, swords, and longbows and several cannon that had been spirited out of Breitenfeld, stood on the elevated terrain in and around Klingenthal. Around half of them hid themselves in the fir forests on and around Aschberg, a mountain outside Klingenthal which offered a substantial elevation advantage as well as thick forest cover; the other half had occupied woods near the town and the town itself. A pitched mop-up campaign had to be fought by infantry and cavalry forces, totaling around 2400 men under Count Magnar Svendssen, a subordinate of Lennart Torstensson, culminating in the Battle of Klingtenthal. Svendssen's forces initially faced light resistance as they occupied the town of Klingenthal in the morning of November 11, but a pitched battle raged as they stormed Aschberg around noon. The mountain was encircled and the order was given to storm the mountain by brute force. The campaign managed to seize the mountain before sunset against heavy losses of around 500 men on the Swedish side. The Holy Roman infantry suffered a near-total loss of life by the time the battle ended around sunset; around 100 survivors were captured, of whom 60 were summarily executed over the next three days.[2] An unknown number of infantry stationed elsewhere in the woods around the town managed to escape into Bohemia.

AftermathEdit

This battle completed the Swedish conquest of Saxony in 1642. The Swedes continued to dominate the region through the rest of the Thirty Years' War, leading to victory in Bohemia at Prague in 1648 and a favorable position in the Peace of Westphalia, beginning the golden age of the Swedish Empire.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Grant, Reg G. 1001 Battles That Changed the Course of World History Random House LLC, 2011. p. 336.
  2. ^ Emmeritch, John et al. The Cambridge Modern History, Volume 4. pp. 385-87. The Macmillan Company, 1906.