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Google Tag Manager. The Second Prussian Army completely broke through the Austrian lines and took Chlum behind the center. The Army of the Elbe, which had merely held position after the early morning bloodying by the Austrian artillery and the Saxon infantry, attacked and broke through the Austrian left flank.

It seized Probluz, and proceeded to destroy the Austrian flank. The Prussian king ordered all remaining forces into the attack all along the line, which had been slowed by the final counter-attack from the battalions of Brigadier General Ferdinand Rosenzweig von Dreuwehr 's Austrian brigade.


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The arriving reinforcements joined the fight just as the Austrians had forced the 1st Prussian Guard back to Chlum. The result was a decisive shock of firepower which collapsed the Austrian line. The Prussian advance was so rapid that Benedek ordered a series of cavalry countercharges to back up his artillery and cover the general retreat he ordered at These were successful at covering the Austrian rear, keeping the bridges over the Elbe open for retreating Austrian soldiers, and preventing pursuit by the Prussians, but at a terrible cost: 2, men and almost as many horses were killed, wounded or captured in the action.

Benedek himself crossed the Elbe near and several hours later informed the emperor that the catastrophe of which he had warned had indeed occurred. The battle ended with heavy casualties for the Austrians. The Prussians had some 9, men killed, wounded or missing. The Austrians and allies had more than 44, men killed, wounded or missing, with 22, captured.

As a result, Austrian medical personnel were regarded as combatants, and withdrew from the field with the main bulk of the forces, leaving the wounded to die on the field. Following the battle the Prussians continued to pursue the defeated Austrian Nord-Armee and fought a series of minor clashes with the last skirmish being fought at Blumenau on July 22 just as the Armistice to put a halt to the fighting was being signed.

It provided a great opportunity for Prussian statesmen, by clearing a path toward German unification , in particular with the Little Germany Germany without Austria solution, with the subsequent foundation of the North German Confederation. The outcome also ensured that Prussia would have a free hand when a war with France came to pass in After this Prussian victory, France attempted to extract territorial concessions in the Palatinate and Luxembourg.

It is known that even on 6 August , I was in the position to observe the French ambassador make his appearance to see me in order, to put it succinctly, to present an ultimatum: to relinquish Mainz , or to expect an immediate declaration of war.

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Naturally I was not doubtful of the answer for a second. I answered him: "Good, then it's war! A few days after one in Paris thought differently, and I was given to understand that this instruction had been torn from Emperor Napoleon during an illness. The further attempts in relation to Luxemburg are known. The French public resented the Prussian victory and demanded "Revanche pour Sadova" or "Revenge for Sadowa", [6] which formed part of the build-up to the Franco-Prussian War of From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. Bismarck may well have been encouraged to go to war by the advantages of the Prussian army against the Austrian Empire. Taylor wrote that Bismarck was reluctant for war as it "deprived him of control and left the decisions to the generals whose ability he distrusted. Taylor suggested that Bismarck was hoping to force Austrian leaders into concessions in Germany, rather than provoke war.

The truth may be more complicated than simply that Bismarck, who famously said that "politics is the art of the possible," initially sought war with Austria or was initially against the idea of going to war with Austria. In , von Roon had implemented several army reforms that ensured that all Prussian citizens were liable to conscription. Before this date, the size of the army had been fixed by earlier laws that had not taken population growth into account, making conscription inequitable and unpopular for this reason.

While some Prussian men remained in the army or the reserves until they were forty years old, about one man in three or even more in some regions where the population had expanded greatly as a result of industrialisation was assigned minimal service in the Landwehr , the home guard. Introducing universal conscription for three years, increased the size of the active duty army and provided Prussia with a reserve army equal in size to that which Moltke deployed against Austria.

Had France under Napoleon III attempted to intervene against the Prussians, they could have faced him with equal or superior numbers of troops. Prussian conscript service was one of continuous training and drilling, in contrast to the Austrian army, where some commanders routinely dismissed infantry conscripts to their homes on permanent leave, soon after their induction into the army, retaining only a cadre of long-term soldiers for formal parades and routine duties. Austrian conscripts had to be trained almost from scratch, when they were recalled to their units on the outbreak of war.

The Prussian army was better trained and disciplined than the Austrian army, particularly in the infantry. While Austrian cavalry and artillery were as well-trained as their Prussian counterparts, with Austria possessing two elite divisions of heavy cavalry, weapons and tactics had advanced since the Napoleonic Wars and cavalry charges have been rendered obsolete. The Prussian army was locally based, organised in Kreise military districts, lit: circles , each containing a Korps headquarters and its component units.

Most reservists lived close to their regimental depots and could be swiftly mobilised. Austrian policy was to ensure that units were stationed far from home to prevent them from taking part in separatist revolts. Conscripts on leave or reservists recalled to their units during mobilization faced a journey that might take weeks before they could report to their units, making the Austrian mobilisation much slower than that of the Prussian Army. The railway system of Prussia was more extensively developed than that within Austria.

Railways made it possible to supply larger numbers of troops than hitherto and allowed the rapid movement of troops within friendly territory. The better Prussian rail network allowed the Prussian army to concentrate more rapidly than the Austrians. Von Moltke, reviewing his plans to von Roon stated, "We have the inestimable advantage of being able to carry our Field Army of , men over five railway lines and of virtually concentrating them in twenty-five days Austria has only one railway line and it will take her forty-five days to assemble , men.

The Austrian army under Ludwig von Benedek in Bohemia the present-day Czech Republic might previously have been expected to enjoy the advantage of the "central position", by being able to concentrate on successive attacking armies strung out along the frontier, but the quicker Prussian concentration nullified this advantage. By the time the Austrians were fully assembled, they would be unable to concentrate against one Prussian army without having the other two instantly attack their flank and rear, threatening their lines of communication. Prussian infantry were equipped with the Dreyse needle gun , a bolt-action rifle capable of far more rapid fire than the muzzle-loading Lorenz Rifles of the Austrian army.

In the Franco-Austrian War of , French troops had taken advantage of the fact that the rifles of the time fired high if sighted for long range. By rapidly closing the range, French troops could come to close quarters without sustaining too many casualties from the Austrian infantry. The Austrian artillery had breech-loading rifled guns, while the Prussian army retained many muzzle-loading smoothbore cannon. New Krupp breech-loading cannons were only slowly being introduced but the shortcomings of the Austrian army prevented the artillery from being decisive.

In , the Prussian economy was rapidly growing, partly as a result of the Zollverein , which gave Prussia an advantage in the war. Prussia could equip its armies with breech-loading rifles and later with new Krupp breech-loading artillery but the Austrian economy was suffering from the effects of the Hungarian Revolution of and the Second Italian War of Independence.

Austria had only one bank, the Creditanstalt and the state was heavily in debt.

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Christopher Clark wrote that there is little to suggest that Prussia had an overwhelming economic and industrial advantage over Austria and wrote that a larger portion of the Prussian population was engaged in agriculture than in the Austrian population and that Austrian industry could produce the most sophisticated weapons in the war rifled artillery.

The Austro-Prussian War ended quickly and was fought mainly with existing weapons and munitions, which reduced the influence of economic and industrial power relative to politics and military culture. Prior to the outbreak of hositilites both the Austrian and Prussian governments sought to rally allies in Germany. The proposition grievously offended Frederick William's "legitimist sensibilities" and the monarch joined the Austrians, despite the Hessian Landtag voting for neutrality.

The Hanoverian monarch concluded that his kingdom would fall if it were to fight against the Prussian armies. Most of the German states sided with Austria against Prussia, even though Austria had declared war. Many of the German princes allied with the Habsburgs principally out of defending their thrones.

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The Kingdom of Italy participated in the war with Prussia, because Austria held Venetia and other smaller territories wanted by Italy to complete the process of Italian unification. In return for Italian aid against Austria, Bismarck agreed not to make a separate peace until Italy had obtained Venetia. Notably, the other foreign powers abstained from this war.


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  • French Emperor Napoleon III , who expected a Prussian defeat, chose to remain out of the war to strengthen his negotiating position for territory along the Rhine , while the Russian Empire still bore a grudge against Austria from the Crimean War. The first war between two major continental powers in seven years, it used many of the same technologies as the American Civil War , including railways to concentrate troops during mobilization and telegraphs to enhance long-distance communication.

    Disaster at Königgrätz.

    The Prussian Army used von Dreyse 's breech-loading needle gun , which could be rapidly loaded while the soldier was seeking cover on the ground, whereas the Austrian muzzle-loading rifles could only be loaded slowly, and generally from a standing position. The main campaign of the war occurred in Bohemia. He rapidly mobilized the Prussian army and advanced across the border into Saxony and Bohemia, where the Austrian army was concentrating for an invasion of Silesia. The Prussian Elbe Army advanced on the Austrian left wing, and the First Army on the center, prematurely; they risked being counter-flanked on their own left.

    Victory therefore depended on the timely arrival of the Second Army on the left wing. This was achieved through the brilliant staffwork of its Chief of Staff, Leonhard Graf von Blumenthal.