Zorndorf

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Zorndorf

 

(now Sarbinowo), a village 10 km northeast of Küstrin (now Kostrzyn, Poland); scene of a battle between Russia and Prussia on Aug. 14 (25), 1758, during the Seven Years’ War of 1756–63.

The Russian force of 42,000 men and 240 pieces of artillery was commanded by General W. Fermor. If the Russians, located 100 km from Berlin, joined the Austrian force under Field Marshal L. Daun, Prussia would be faced with a serious threat. Frederick II therefore decided to hold off the Austrian army and defeat the Russian army at Zorndorf before it had a chance to reach the Austrian troops.

Frederick approached Zorndorf from the south with approximately 33,000 men and 116 pieces of artillery. In the morning the Prussian advance guard, having bypassed Zorndorf on both sides, launched an attack, supported by artillery, on the Russian positions. The Russians resisted stubbornly but began to retreat slowly under the enemy onslaught. In order to break the Russian resistance, Frederick threw his entire cavalry, under the command of General F. W. von Seydlitz, into the attack. The Russian infantry allowed the Prussian cavalry to pass through intervals in the battle formations, closed ranks, and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.

The battle ended with nightfall, but the Russians held the field. The Russians suffered more than 16,000 casualties, the Prussians, more than 11,000. After the battle, Frederick withdrew to Küstrin, and the Russian army fell back to Landsberg.

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