What was the Battle of Filipów (1656)?

Introduction

The Battle of Filipów was fought on 22 October 1656 between forces of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth commanded by Field Lithuanian Hetman Wincenty Korwin Gosiewski on one side, and on the other allied Swedish and Brandenburg-Prussia forces commanded by Gustaf Otto Stenbock and Prince Georg Friedrich of Waldeck. The battle ended with victory for the Swedish-Brandenburg-Prussian troops.

Part of the Second Northern War, 1655-1660.

Background

After their victory in the Battle of Prostki, the Lithuanian – Tatar forces began widespread looting of the Duchy of Prussia. Soon afterwards, Crimean Tatar units, allied to Poland-Lithuania headed back to their homeland, and the Commonwealth army shrank to some 8,500.

The Battle

In the second half of October, a Swedish – Brandenburg – Prussian army of some 9,000 rushed towards the Lithuanians, who camped in the town of Filipów. The Lithuanians were commanded by Hetman Wincenty Korwin Gosiewski, while Swedish-Prussian forces were led by Gustaf Otto Stenbock and Prince Georg Friedrich of Waldeck.

While main Lithuanian forces rested in Filipów, Swedish-Prussian army carried out a surprise attack on their rear units, which were stationed in Mieruniszki. As time went by, additional units on both sides entered the battle. From the very beginning, Gustaf Otto Stenbock and Georg Friedrich of Waldeck enjoyed a tactical advantage.

The Lithuanians were threatened with encirclement, so Gosiewski ordered a retreat northwards. Due to this decision, Lithuanian losses were negligent, with one exception of Prince Bogusław Radziwiłł, who had been captured in Prostki, and who was released in Filipów.

Aftermath and Legacy

After the battle, the Lithuanians retreated from the Duchy of Prussia, while Stenbock with his army headed southwards, to the Vistula river.

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