Battle of Dirschau, 17-18 August 1627

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The battle of Dirschau (or Tczew) was a minor Swedish victory during the Polish-Swedish War of 1600-1629. After invading Prussia in 1626, Gustav Adolf of Sweden had returned home for the winter, returning in May 1627. He faced a challenge from a Polish-Lithuanian army under Hetman Alexander Koniecpolski.

The Swedish army was 10,200 strong, with 6,194 infantry and 4,000 cavalry. Gustav Adolf had reformed Swedish cavalry tactics, adopted much from the Polish hussars, who relied on the lance and sabre to maximise the shock of their impact. The Polish-Lithuanian army contained 4,500 cavalry, as well as 1,000 Polish and 2,000 German infantrymen and 300 gunners.

The two armies came together at Dirschau, on the Vistula River. Both sides lined up behind fieldworks and attempted to lure the other into making attacks. Neither Gustav Adolf or Koniecpolski was willing to take that risk. After two hours on the first day of battle, the Poles began to withdraw to their camp. They were separated from their camp by an area of marshy ground, crossed by a narrow causeway. While they were crossing this causeway, Gustav Adolf launched a cavalry attack, which drove the Poles off the causeway into the marsh. The Poles lost 80-100 men killed in the mini-rout, but the situation was restored by a volley from the infantry and by a Polish cavalry charge. The Polish-Lithuanian army was then able to withdraw to their camp.

On the second day of the battle, Gustav Adolf was prepared to take the initiative. His infantry was advancing towards the Polish camp, when a Polish marksman hit Gustav Adolf in the shoulder. The attack was abandoned,  and knocked Gustav Adolf out of the war for the rest of the campaigning season of 1627 while he recovered from his wound.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 July 2007), Battle of Dirschau, 17-18 August 1627 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_dirschau.html

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