Example of battle where one wing forms a crotchet: battle of Prague, may 18, 1757.
army, amounting to about 80,000 men, had taken a position near Prague
; this position, if well defended, it was scarcely possible to force--one wing bearing toward the Moldau, and the front and right wing covered by a small river and marshes.
Only four small passages were left to the Prussians to attack the Austrian army.
64,000 men strong, take a position in C. The Austrians
, to cover their right flank, form a crotchet; their position is shown in A A A.
The Count Schwerin
traverses the marshes, and proceeds to D, his left wing formed by his cavalry.
The right wing of the Austrians, forming the crotchet, partly changes its front, and takes position in B B, their cavalry being opposite that of the Prussians.
By this movement they leave a space of a few hundred yards between their right wing and main body.
The king, perceiving this fault, proceeds with a part of his army to occupy this space; the Austrian right wing, attacked on all sides, is completely separated from the center, and obliged to retreat in an eccentric direction from the main army, which is now attacked in its flank and rear by Frederick
's whole forces, and driven into Prague
, where it is blockaded for several weeks.
This battle, as well as that of Leuthen
, shows well that Frederick knew how to fall with his whole force on the weak point of the enemy, and defeat him by a series of small fights.
It shows, at the same time, the danger of a crotchet, which, if without any space between it and the main body, is exposed to a very destructive concentric fire.
, in this battle, lost 16,000 men and 200 pieces of cannon.
The Prussian loss amounted to nearly 13,000 men.