Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Unmatched Discipline of the Prussian Army Under Frederick The Great

From War History Online:
This was the army of the Kingdom of Prussia under the direct command of her king, Frederick II, called Frederick the Great. Frederick was the consummate soldier-king, a great general with many victories – as well as some notable defeats – in his career. His soldiers were the product of a century of sustained and rapid training and development, paralleling the swift expansion of Prussian-controlled territory on the northern European landmass.

Including Frederick, three generations of Prussian kings had given their close attention to military affairs. By the time Frederick II the Great marched at Leuthen, the precision and discipline of his troops was without peer. Even Rome at the height of her ancient power, thought Frederick, could not show so well as this. He rode with his staff in the midst of his cavalry, a powerful figure physically, but dressed without ostentation, with practicality and speed in mind; just a cavalry officer. Messengers rode near him, ready to speed his orders to any point in his army at a moment’s notice.

He was a learned and practiced tactician and strategist. In 1757, Frederick was in his mid-forties, as was his opponent on this early day in December. Upon hearing news of Frederick’s arrival in Silesia Charles had arrayed his huge force in a line facing west. The line stretched fully four miles long from north to south with the hope of guarding against a fast flanking maneuver by the Prussians. Charles’ army outnumbered Frederick’s two-to-one, and they both knew it. (Read more.)

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