Action of Königinhof, 29 June 1866

The action of Königinhof (29 June 1866) saw the Prussian Guards Corps capture the town and its bridge over the River Elbe, badly disrupting the Austrian plan of campaign (Austria-Prussian War, 1866).

Battles of the Austro-Prussian War 1866: Bohemian Front
Battles of the
Austro-Prussian War 1866:
Bohemian Front

At the start of the fighting in Bohemia the Prussians advanced into Bohemia on two fronts. In the west the Army of the Elbe and the 1st Army advanced towards the River Iser while in the east the 2nd Army (Crown Prince Frederick William) advanced across the mountains towards the Elbe. The Austrians concentrated around Josephstadt on the Elbe, but their commander, General Benedek, decided to attack the two western Prussian armies first, leaving a weaker force to watch the Crown Prince.

This plan unravelled very quickly. The Crown Prince advanced across the mountains in three columns, with I Corps on the right, the Guards Corps in the centre and V Corps on the left. On 27 June the Prussians fought two battles at the edge of the mountains. On the left V Corps won a victory at Nachod, but on the right I Corps was defeated by the Austrian 10th Corps at Trautenau. I Corps retreated back to its starting point, but the Austrians had been badly mauled in the battle.

On 28 June the Guards Corps attacked west across the area west of Trautenau, hitting the Austrian 10th Corps on its right flank. The Austrians put up a good fight, but they were eventually forced to retreat west across the Elbe (Battle of Soor or Burkersdorf, 28 June 1866). On the same day V Corps won another victory, at Skalitz.

Benedek responded to these defeats by moving his fresh 4th Corps north to guard the line of the Elbe from Königinhof south. Three brigades from this corps were posted south of Königinhof, and would suffer a separate defeat around Schweinschadel (29 June 1866). The town itself was defended by parts of the defeated 10th Corps and Coranini's regiment from the fresh 4th Corps, part of the rearguard at Soor on the night after the battle of Soor/ Berkersdorf.

On the morning of 29 June the 1st Guards Division advanced west towards. Their advance guard was held up by the defenders of the town, who had been reinforced by some artillery from Mondl's Brigade.

The situation changed when the main body of the Guards Division arrived. The defenders were pushed back, until the Prussians captured the upper bridge over the Elbe. Many of the defenders were trapped by this, and forced to surrender. The Prussians took just over 400 prisoners in this small combat. The survivors escaped across a bridge further down the Elbe.

In the aftermath of the fighting the Guards Corps concentrated around Königinhof, while the I Corps moved to Pilnikau, west of Trauenau and north of Königinhof. V Corps, after its victory at Schweinschadel, moved towards Gradlitz, east of the Guards Corps. The Crown Prince's Army was now securely based on the Elbe, and was soon able to open communications with the western wing of the Prussian army.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (17 August 2015), Action of Königinhof, 29 June 1866 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/action_koniginhof.html

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