Between Scylla and Charybdis - The Army of Elector Frederich August II of Saxony, 1733-1763

Part I: Staff and Cavalry

Marco Pagan

Lavishly illustrated by Franco Saudelli, the volume shows the elegance of the Saxon Army, misjudged by Frederick II of Prussia as "weak”.
Date Published :
August 2018
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Contributor(s) :
Franco Saudelli
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
8pp color section, 5 b/w maps, 2 b/w ills, 2 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912174898
Pages : 111
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : In stock


During the 18th Century, the Electorate of Saxony was a rich state of the Holy Roman Empire. Northern Saxony was one of most fertile parts of Germany, though fertility diminishes toward Ore Mountains of the south where Saxony long had important mineral production. The House of Wettin ruled Saxony since 1429. Between 1697 and 1763, the Electors of Saxony were also elected Kings of Poland. The Elector Friedrich August I (12 May 1670-1 February 1733), also known as “Sun King” of Saxony, was elected King of Poland with the support of Austria and the help of Russia when the former King Stanisław I Leszczyński, supported by France, was forced to flee after the Swedish defeat of Poltava in 1709. The Elector married Maria Josepha, sister of the Emperor Charles VI of Austria. The Emperor, having no male heirs was obsessed with the partition of the vast Imperial territories after his death. He issued on 19 April, 1713, an edict to ensure that the Habsburg hereditary possession could be inherited by a daughter, the Pragmatic Sanction. Friedrich August I recognised the edict. When Friedrich August died in 1733, Leszczyński, the archenemy of the House of Wettin, with the support of France and Spain, contested the election of Friedrich August II of Saxony as King of Poland. This led to the War of the Polish Succession.

The new Elector inherited an efficient and modern army. Forged by Field Marshall von Flemming on new lines between 1717 and 1727, this re-born army could match the other European countries. Friedrich August II, aided by the Russian army and supported by Austria, managed to defeat Leszczyński’s supporters, and after a short but bloody conflict he was elected King of Poland. Next the Saxon army fought as an auxiliary in the Austrian service in Hungary against the Turks, and on the Rhine against the French. In 1741, Saxony reneged on the Pragmatic Sanction and sided with France, Bavaria, and Prussia when Friedrich II of Prussia invaded Silesia after the death of Emperor Charles VI. The Saxons fought against Maria Theresia’s Austrian army during the First Silesian War, occupied Prague and campaigned in both Bohemia and Moravia. Thereafter, Prussia signed a unilateral peace with Austria. Saxony signed a separate cease-fire and France was left alone. Years of armed peace followed until the Second Silesian War. During the war, Saxony sided with Austria. The Prussian army crossed the border and invaded Saxony. The Saxon army was badly defeated at Kesseldorf on 15 December, 1745. The Second Silesian War was over.

Peace once again reigned in Europe until 1756 when France changed alliances. Friedrich II of Prussia launched another preventive war and invaded Saxony. Caught totally unprepared, the Saxon army retired to Pirna where it was surrounded by an overwhelming Prussian force. With no food, the Saxon army was forced to lay down its arms and surrender unconditionally. The prisoners were incorporated into the Prussian army. A massive desertion followed and soon a Saxon Corps was formed in Bohemia. The Saxon Auxiliary Corps of 10,000 men was transferred to French service and fought until the end of the Seven Years War. It was repatriated in 1763.

Part I of this work deals with the Saxon army of the years 1730-1763. The campaigns, the commanders, the guards mounted units, and the line cavalry units of this overshadowed army are treated. Lavishly illustrated by Franco Saudelli, the volume shows the elegance of the Saxon army and particularly an army misjudged by Friedrich II of Prussia as “weak”.

About The Author

Marco Pagan M.D, ph. D (author) was born in Recco (Genova, Italy), in 1960. A former Medical Officer of the Italian Army Medical Corps, after his resignation he worked in a Diagnostic Imaging Department. He inherited from his parents a strong passion for history and archeology, and has written the text accompanying Saudelli’s uniforms plates for many years. He lives in Rome, is married and has two daughters, Loredana and Paola.

Franco Saudelli (illustrator)was born in Latina (Rome, Italy) in 1952 but moved soon to Rome where he lives. He is a professional comics artist. He made his debut in the comic’s world in the mid 1970s. Saudelli’s works appeared in several Italian and French magazines, like Orient Express, Liberation, and Charlie Mensuel. In the 1980s he started making comics for the magazines Comic Art, Glamour, and Diva. He has contributed as an illustrator to Seven Years War Project websitesince 2010 and is currently one of the illustrators of Italian magazine Soldatini. He is married.


"This is another elegant volume in the series."

- Miniature Wargames

More from this publisher