The Battle of Lützen was one of the most important battles of the Thirty Years' War, which began with the Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618 and ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The battle was a Protestant victory, but cost the life of one of the most important leaders of the Protestant alliance, the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf, which caused the Protestant campaign to lose direction. The battle was characterized by fog, which lay heavy over the fields of Saxony that morning. The phrase "Lützendimma" is still used in the Swedish language in order to describe particularly heavy fog.
Two days before the battle, on 14 November the Roman Catholic general Wallenstein decided to split his men and withdraw his main headquarters back towards Leipzig. He expected no further move that year from the Protestant army, led by the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus, since unseasonably wintry weather was making it difficult to camp in the open countryside; however, Gustavus Adolphus' army, many of whom, it is now known, were foreign mercenaries, marched out of camp towards Wallenstein's last-known position and attempted to catch him by surprise, but his trap was sprung prematurely on the afternoon of 15 November, by a small force left by Wallenstein at the Rippach stream, about 5–6 kilometres south of Lützen. A skirmish delayed the Swedish advance by two or three hours, thus when night fell the two armies were still separated by about 2–3 kilometres .
Copyright: CC 3.0