The Battle of Krefeld


July 6, 2022

The Battle of Krefeld (also called the Battle of Créfeld, after the French place name) was fought between Hanover and France on June 23, 1758, during the Seven Years' War. In the battle, Ferdinand von Braunschweig succeeded in driving a numerically significantly stronger French force back across the Rhine. Together with the previous victory at the Battle of Rheinberg, this eased the pressure on Frederick II of Prussia in the west, so that he could focus on the east where war luck was worse.


The Hanoverian army led by Duke Ferdinand of Braunschweig, brother of the Duke of Braunschweig, had driven the French, led by Louis de Bourbon-Condé, comte de Clermont, back to the other side of the Rhine. Duke Ferdinand's army had crossed to the left of the Rhine and was now in a position where he threatened the border with France. The battle of Rheinberg was then fought on June 12, but it was not decisive. Clermont, who had recently taken over from Duc de Richelieu as commander of the French army, tried to stop the advance. He chose a line of defense on the south side of a brick canal that ran roughly from east to west. The canal served as a kind of natural fortress that Clermont could easily defend. After several skin attacks against Clermont's right flank, Ferdinand marched a wide arc towards the flank and crossed the canal out of sight of the French. He reappeared in a wooded area on the left flank of Clermont. Clermont, who was in the middle of the dinner, sent reinforcements late, and his left flank was crushed. Comte de Gisors, the popular charismatic son of the French Minister of War Comte de Belle-Isle, was mortally wounded as he advanced to the front with the French Carabinieri. Comte de St. Germain, who commanded the French left flank, still managed to prevent a complete slaughter, and the French army managed to withdraw in relatively good order.


The Crown Prince, the son of the Duke of Braunschweig, who later died of his injuries during the Battle of Jena in the Napoleonic Wars, was in command of the Allied troops. Clermont asked not to continue as commander of the French Turks after the defeat, a wish he was granted. He was succeeded by Marshal de Contades. The French forces had to surrender many positions, and were significantly weakened. This allowed Hanover to move forces and reinforce the siege of Düsseldorf and eventually take over the city. A memorial stone was subsequently erected in Krefeld and a street in the town named after Prince Ferdinand.


Carl von Decker (1837). The battles and main battles of the Seven Years' War. With predominant reference to the use of artillery, in conjunction with the other two main weapons of the army. Berlin, Posen and Bromberg: E.S. Mittler. pp. 131–138. E. O. Schmidt (1842). Germany's battlefields. Leipzig: Fest'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung. pp. 125–128. Christian H. P. von Westphalen (1859). History of the campaigns of Duke Ferdinand von Braunschweig-Lüneberg. Berlin: R. Decker. pp. 159 ff.