Frederick The Great

Frederick The Great

The Battles in Saxony and Prussia

BattlefieldHistory

17th - 24th September 2019
(8 Days)

Guide : Major General John Drewienkiewicz CB CMG

Tour price: £2,595

click here to book

Frederick The Great

The Battles in Saxony and Prussia

BattlefieldHistory

Your Holiday Essentials

17th - 24th September 2019
(8 Days)

Return flights from London, 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Major General John Drewienkiewicz CB CMG

Tour price: £2,595

Single supplement: £275
Deposit: £225
Price without flights: £2,470

Booking open

click here to book

Tour Introduction

This new Fredrick the Great tour takes us mostly to Saxony where we explore battlefields from both The Austrian War of Succession and The Seven Years War. Under the expert guidance of Major-General John Drewienkiewicz, a long time student of the Prussian Army, we examine the roots of that army’s organisation and operation. As we traverse the fields of many of his climactic battles, both victories and defeats, we will appreciate why Frederick the Great is considered one of history’s most influential military thinkers and tacticians, inspirational to generals of later years. Rossbach aside, these battlefields may be amongst Europe’s less well-known and visited, but they remain, in the best part, undisturbed to provide a perfect platform to demonstrate Frederick the Great’s tactical genius. We will be based out of a number of Saxony’s most historic cities: Dresden, the one-time capital of Saxony where Frederick and Maria Theresa signed the treaty to end the Second Silesian War and whose centre has been meticulously rebuilt to its baroque and rococo grandeur; the cultural city of Leipzig, home to Bach and Goethe, with its wonderful old buildings dotted around its atmospheric market place; the historic fortress city of Torgau, where American and Soviets met in 1945, with its ancient castle and renaissance town hall; and finally the lovely old town of Potsdam, beloved of Frederick himself.

Background

Frederick had seized Silesia from Austria during The Austrian War of Succession and in the ensuing peace he ensured that it remained under Prussian hegemony. But a revengeful Austrian Empress, Maria Theresa, determined to win back those lands, went about recruiting allies to her cause. By 1756 Fredrick saw war as inevitable and so determined on a pre-emptive strike against the Austrians, invading neutral Saxony en-route to Bohemia and occupying Dresden and Leipzig in the process. Inevitably these actions brought Saxony into the coalition against him, but at Pirna he swiftly brought that country’s army to its knees, even recruiting most of those who surrendered in to his own army. Despite these early successes, the ensuing years would be bitter sweet for Frederick, especially in Saxony and Thuringia: at Rossbach he won his greatest victory and effectively removed France from the coalition; at Hochkirch he allowed himself to be surprised and virtually routed; whilst at Torgau, an over-complicated and poorly executed battle plan resulted in a Pyrrhic victory.

Highlights

  • With expert guide Maj-Gen John Drewienkiewicz
  • Explore Berlin, Dresden and Leipzig
  • The Saxon fortresses of Pirna, Konigstein and Hohnstein
  • Discover some of Frederick the Great’s most impressive victories and resounding losses

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival

Fly London to Berlin and drive to Dresden where we check-in to our hotel for 3 nights. Introductory talk before dinner

Day 2 – Dresden

This morning we take a guided walking tour of Dresden to include its castle, the Frauenkirche and the Zwinger Palace. This afternoon we visit the Bundeswehr Military Museum, one of the finest in Europe and which showcases the evolution of German military technology.

Day 3 – Kesselsdorf and Maxen

At Kesselsdorf (December 1745), a victory at which Frederick was not present, we examine the weak position outside the town where the outnumbered Prussians were initially repulsed and we see where they finally triumphed over an impetuous Austrian counter-attack to capture this important town. At Maxen (November 1759),where once again Frederick was not present, we see where an entire Prussian corps became isolated and forced into humiliating surrender.

Day 4 – Fortresses

This morning we drive out to the fortress of Pirna, successfully besieged by Frederick in 1756, resulting in the surrender of the Saxon army within a month. At the majestic and towering Saxon fortress at Konigstein, we take the lift to the inside of its walls where we find a wonderful museum with a fine display of military hardware, explore its many period buildings and gain magnificent views over the Elbe valley. We finish the day at the impressive Saxon fortress Hohnstein amidst ‘Saxon Switzerland’. Continue to Leipzig where we check-in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 5 – Rossbach

Despite being outnumbered nearly 2:1, in November 1757 Frederick won one of his greatest victories at Rossbach. We will see the ground used to hide his flanking manoeuvre and over which he rapidly moved in oblique order to achieve complete surprise. In the nearby village of Reichardtswerben there is a wonderful diorama of the battle itself.

Day 6 - Hochkirch

To the east of Dresden, just outside of the historic city of Bautzen, we find the battlefield of Hochkirch (14 October 1758), considered one of Frederick’s greatest blunders. We explore the open fields, visit the distinctive church with extant cannonballs embedded into its walls and walk down the ‘Blutgasse’, the scene of bitter close quarter combat. Perhaps we might even enjoy a refreshment in the Alte Fritz bar! Continue to Torgau where we spend our last two nights.

Day 7 – Torgau

This morning we explore much of the existing fortifications of this vital River Elbe bastion. Thence to the battlefield which, in November 1760, saw one of the bloodiest battles of the Third Silesian War. We consider Frederick’s turning movements, appreciate how the extant forest served to disorientate the Prussian forces and determine whether indeed Frederick’s plan was simply too ambitious.

Day 8 – Potsdam

We enjoy a guided tour around Sanscouci Palace, home to the Hohenzollerns and favourite of Frederick, where amidst its grand terraced gardens we find his simple grave to pay our respects. Fly Berlin to London.

Photo Gallery

  • Moritz Castle, Dresden
  • Sanssouci Palace
  • Hochkirch
  • Frederick reviewing his troops

Your Holiday Essentials

17th - 24th September 2019
(8 Days)

Return flights from London, 4 star hotels, buffet breakfast, 3-course dinner with drinks each evening, all entrance fees and expert guide throughout.

Activity Level: 2

Guide: Major General John Drewienkiewicz CB CMG

Tour price: £2,595

Single supplement: £275
Deposit: £225
Price without flights: £2,470

Booking open

click here to book

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