The Battle for the Swiepwald

Austria's Fatal Blunder at Koniggratz, The Climactic Battle of the Austro-Prussian War, 3 July 1866

Colonel (Oberst) Heidrich Ernst

The insubordination of two Austria Corps Commanders at the battle of Königgrätz played a huge part in this, the Empire's greatest defeat. Their decision to engage in an epic struggle for control of the Swiepwald forest left 12,000 men dead or wounded, and the Austrian right flank wide open to the Crown Prince of Prussia's advancing Second Army.
Date Published :
September 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Gerard Henry
Contributor(s) :
Frederick Steinhardt
Series :
From Musket to Maxim 1815-1914
Illustration :
18 b/w photos & illustrations, 3 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915070494
Pages : 134
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : Available


The battle of Königgrätz was the largest battle ever fought in western Europe until 1914 and its political consequences were no less epic - the demise of Austria as a European Great Power, the loss of her historic pre-eminence among the German nations, and the final, incontestable rise of Prussia. Whether Austria could have prevailed at Königgrätz on 3 July 1866 and salvaged her Great Power status is debatable, what is not, is the part the struggle for the Swiepwald played in her ultimate defeat. The insubordination of two Austrian Corps Commanders, and the decision to engage in their epic struggle for control of the Swiepwald forest, would leave 12,000 men dead or wounded within its shattered environs, and the Austrian right flank wide open to the Crown Prince of Prussia’s advancing Second Army. This meticulous translation of Heidrich’s brilliant monograph takes us through the fighting, hour by hour and foot by bloody foot, in a narrative unsurpassed for detail or accuracy.

About The Author

Colonel (Oberst) Ernst Heidrich was a serving officer in the KuK (Imperial and Royal) army when he wrote his exceptionally detailed monograph ‘Der Kampf Um Den Svibwald Am 3. Juli 1866’ (The battle for the Swiepwald 3rd July 1866, Sadowa Press 1902). Particulars of the Colonel’s early life are sparse, but we know he was born in Horschitz (Horice) and attended the high school in Hradec Kralove (Königgrätz), before being commissioned into the KuK Army. He seems to have served principally as an administrative officer, first as pharmacy superintendent in the fortress hospital at Josefov between 1880 – 1900, and later in the same capacity at Sarajevo (Bosnia). In the decennial Imperial census of 1900, Heidrich recorded his nationality as Czech not German (possibly to the detriment of his military career). He was living in Prague in 1918 when the empire finally collapsed and died there in 1922.

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