Siege of Danzig (1734)

Last updated
Siege of Danzig
Part of the War of the Polish Succession
Siege of Danzig 1734.PNG
Depiction of the siege
Date22 February – 30 June 1734
54°22′N18°38′E / 54.367°N 18.633°E / 54.367; 18.633 Coordinates: 54°22′N18°38′E / 54.367°N 18.633°E / 54.367; 18.633
Result Russian-Saxon victory
Polish Royal Banner of The House of Wettin.svg Augustus III
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg  Russia
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg  Electorate of Saxony
Royal Banner of Stanislaw Leszczynski.svg Stanisław I
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg  France
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden
Commanders and leaders
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg Peter Lacy
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg Burkhard Christoph von Münnich
Flag of The Russian Empire 1883.svg Thomas Gordon
Flag of Electoral Saxony.svg Johann Adolf II, Duke of Saxe-Weissenfels
Royal Banner of Stanislaw Leszczynski.svg Stanisław I
Royal Banner of Stanislaw Leszczynski.svg General von Bittinghofen
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Rochon de la Pérouse, Comte de la Motte  (POW)
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Jean André, Marquis de Barailh
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Count Plélo 
Flag of Sweden.svg Baron von Stackelberg [1]
12,000(initially)-37,000 or 60,000 regulars(total) 4,500(initially)-7,000 Polish army(total)
7,500–8,500 Polish militia and volunteers
1,200–2,400 French [2]
130 Swedish volunteers [1]
Casualties and losses
8,000 Unknown

The Siege of Danzig of 1734 was the Russian encirclement (February 22 – June 30) and capture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth city of Danzig (Gdańsk) during the War of Polish Succession. It was the first time that troops of France and Russia had met as foes in the field. [3]



An early 18th-century map depicting Danzig and surrounding area Danzig1730.jpeg
An early 18th-century map depicting Danzig and surrounding area

Augustus II of Saxony, who had also ruled as King of Poland for most of the years since 1697, died on February 1, 1733, sparking a struggle over his successor to the Polish throne. Stanisław I Leszczyński, who had briefly ruled as king during the Great Northern War (his reign was from 1705 to 1709), was elected king by an election sejm held on September 10, 1733, with broad support from the Polish nobility and population, as well as support from France (where his daughter was married to Louis XV), and Sweden (where Charles XII had supported him during his earlier reign). Russia, the Habsburgs, and Saxony, desiring a monarch over whom they would have more influence, opposed his election. Russia sent troops into Poland in August 1733, at first in an attempt to influence the election, but then forcing Stanisław, who had only 2,000 troops in Warsaw, to retreat to Danzig, where he entrenched with his partisans (including the Primate of Poland Teodor Potocki and the French and Swedish ministers) to await support that had been promised by France. On September 30 a Russian army of 20,000 under Peter Lacy arrived in Warsaw, and on October 6 a second sejm (composed of a smaller number of electors who had dissented from the previous election) proclaimed Augustus III king.


France, which had agreed to financially and militarily support Stanisław in his bid for the throne, was reluctant to send a fleet into the Baltic Sea since it was trying to avoid confrontations with Britain and the Dutch that might draw those neutral powers into the conflict. French funds made their way to Danzig in 1733 and were used by General von Bittinghofen, Danzig's military commander, to improve the city's defenses in anticipation of military action from Russia, Saxony, and Austria. In addition to 4,500 regular troops stationed in the city, a large number of Stanisław's supporters joined locally raised militia to bolster the city's defenses.

General Lacy, required to leave large garrisons to deal with Stanisław's partisan supporters, marched 12,000 men to Danzig, which he began to besiege on February 22, 1734. Due to the lack of proper siege equipment and the winter season, little siege activity took place at first, and the Russians had to deal with constant skirmishing from partisans both inside and outside their siege lines.

First French fleet

Cardinal de Fleury, Louis XV's chancellor, ordered a small fleet to the Baltic in support of Stanisław. Departing Brest on August 31, 1733, a fleet of fourteen ships (nine transports carrying 1,500 troops, and an escort of five frigates) arrived at Copenhagen on September 20. The fleet was recalled before it became clear that Stanisław would need some sort of assistance, over the objections of France's ambassador to Denmark, Louis Robert Hyppolite de Bréhan, Count Plélo.


Engraving depicting the death of Count Plelo Philippoteaux Death of Count Plelo on Westerplatte 1734.jpg
Engraving depicting the death of Count Plélo

On March 17 Marshal Münnich arrived with reinforcements – 15,000 soldiers (raising the total size of the besieging army to 60,000, according to some sources [what sources?]) and took over command of the siege. The Russians made some advances, but were limited in their advances by inadequate artillery. Adam Tarło, a Stanisław supporter, led 8,000 men in an attempt to relieve the blockade; these were surprised by a detachment sent from the siege lines under Lacy near the town of Berent (present-day Kościerzyna) and repulsed. With the arrival of heavy artillery and 10,000 Saxons in May, the Russians captured Fort Sommerschanz at the mouth of the Vistula River, but were bloodily beaten back in an attempt to storm the Hagelburg.

Second French fleet

When it was learned in Paris that Stanisław was blockaded in Danzig in February 1734, a second relief fleet was organized. While Plélo requested fifteen to twenty thousand troops, at first only two ships (Achille and Gloire) under Commodore Barailh were sent with 1,800 men under Pérouse La Motte. These troops were landed at Weichselmünde on May 11. Four days later, Pérouse La Motte abandoned the position, declaring it untenable, and returned to Copenhagen. There Count Plélo insisted that action be taken, and, reinforced by the arrival of three more ships (Fleuron, Brillant, and l'Astrée), the fleet returned to Danzig, landing the troops on May 24. On May 27, in the first recorded meeting of French and Russian troops, this force attempted to storm the Russian entrenchments, but failing to do so (the attempt costing Plélo his life), retreated to Weichselmünde. A Russian fleet under admiral Thomas Gordon arrived on June 1, delivering additional siege weaponry; the fleet's guns so battered the French position that they surrendered, with Weichselmünde (and thereby control of Danzig's port) following two days later. Barailh returned to Copenhagen, but not before two of his fleet captured the Russian frigate Mittau; this ship was eventually exchanged for the captured French troops.


Danzig capitulated unconditionally on June 30, after sustaining a siege of 135 days, which cost the Russians 8,000 men. [3] Danzig had suffered considerable damage and was also required to pay reparations to the victors.

Disguised as a peasant, Stanisław had contrived to escape two days before the city's surrender. He reappeared at Königsberg, whence he issued a manifesto to his partisans which resulted in the formation of a confederation on his behalf, and the dispatch of a Polish envoy to Paris to urge France to invade Saxony with at least 40,000 men. In Ukraine, Count Nicholas Potocki hoped to support Stanisław by joining up with a force of some 50,000 guerillas operating in the countryside around Danzig. However they were ultimately scattered by the Russians, and France refused to send any additional support. Stanisław formally renounced his claim on January 26, 1736.

Following the surrender, some of the Russian forces were sent further west to assist Austria in the defense of the empire against French military action in the Rhine River valley. Russian forces reached the Rhine for the first time, and helped to blunt further French military action in that theater.

Related Research Articles

War of the Polish Succession War in Europe 1734–1738

The War of the Polish Succession was a major European conflict sparked by a Polish civil war over the succession to Augustus II of Poland, which the other European powers widened in pursuit of their own national interests. France and Spain, the two Bourbon powers, attempted to test the power of the Austrian Habsburgs in western Europe, as did the Kingdom of Prussia, whilst Saxony and Russia mobilized to support the eventual Polish victor. The fighting in Poland resulted in the accession of Augustus III, who in addition to Russia and Saxony, was politically supported by the Habsburgs.

Great Northern War Conflict between mainly the Swedish and Russian empires in 1700–1721

The Great Northern War (1700–1721) was a conflict in which a coalition led by the Tsardom of Russia successfully contested the supremacy of the Swedish Empire in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. The initial leaders of the anti-Swedish alliance were Peter I of Russia, Frederick IV of Denmark–Norway and Augustus II the Strong of Saxony–Poland–Lithuania. Frederick IV and Augustus II were defeated by Sweden, under Charles XII, and forced out of the alliance in 1700 and 1706 respectively, but rejoined it in 1709 after the defeat of Charles XII at the Battle of Poltava. George I of Great Britain and Electorate of Hanover joined the coalition in 1714 for Hanover and in 1717 for Britain, and Frederick William I of Brandenburg-Prussia joined it in 1715.

Stanisław Leszczyński King of Poland

Stanisław I Leszczyński, also Anglicized and Latinized as Stanislaus I, was King of Poland, Grand Duke of Lithuania, Duke of Lorraine and a count of the Holy Roman Empire.

Augustus II the Strong Elector of Saxony

Augustus II the Strong, also known in Saxony as Frederick Augustus I, was Elector of Saxony from 1697, Imperial Vicar and elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in the years 1697–1706 and from 1709 until his death in 1733. He was succeeded by his son, Augustus III of Poland.

Augustus III of Poland King of Poland

Augustus III was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1734 until 1763, as well as Elector of Saxony in the Holy Roman Empire from 1733 until 1763 where he was known as Frederick Augustus II.

Second Northern War conflict

The Second Northern War was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1655–60), the Moscow Tsardom (1656–58), Brandenburg-Prussia (1657–60), the Habsburg Monarchy (1657–60) and Denmark–Norway. The Dutch Republic often intervened against Sweden in an informal trade war but was not a recognized part of the Polish–Danish alliance.

Battle of Bitonto battle

The Battle of Bitonto was a Spanish victory over Austrian forces near Bitonto in the Kingdom of Naples in the War of Polish Succession. The battle ended organized Austrian resistance outside a small number of fortresses in the kingdom.

Peter Lacy Irish general in Russia

Peter Graf von Lacy was an Irish military commander who served in the Imperial Russian army, he was one of the most successful Russian imperial commanders before Rumyantsev and Suvorov. During a military career that spanned half a century, he professed to have been present at a total of 31 campaigns, 18 battles, and 18 sieges. He died at Riga, of which he for many years served as governor.

The Polish–Swedish War of 1626–1629 was the fourth stage in a series of conflicts between Sweden and Poland fought in the 17th century. It began in 1626 and ended four years later with the Truce of Altmark and later at Stuhmsdorf with the Treaty of Stuhmsdorf.

The Battle of San Pietro, also known as the Battle of Crocetta or the Battle of Parma was a battle fought on June 29, 1734, between troops of France and Sardinia on one side, and Habsburg Austrian troops on the other, as part of the War of Polish Succession, between the village of La Crocetta and the city of Parma, then in the Duchy of Parma. Austrian troops assaulted an entrenched Franco-Sardinian position, and were ultimately repulsed, due in part to the death of their commander, Florimund Mercy, and the wounding of his second in command, Frederick of Württemberg. Both sides suffered significant casualties in the battle, which lasted for most of the day.

Battle of Guastalla

The Battle of Guastalla or Battle of Luzzara was a battle fought on 19 September 1734 between Franco-Sardinian and Austrian (Habsburg) troops as part of the War of the Polish Succession.

Siege of Danzig (1807)

The Siege of Danzig was the French encirclement and capture of Danzig during the War of the Fourth Coalition. On 19 March 1807, around 27,000 French troops under Marshall Lefebvre besieged around 14,400 Prussian troops under Marshall Kalckreuth garrisoning the city of Danzig.

Treaty of the Three Black Eagles

The Treaty of the Three Black Eagles, or Treaty of Berlin, was a secret treaty signed in September and December 1732 between the Austrian Empire, the Russian Empire and Prussia.

Grégoire Orlyk, also Hryhor Orlyk, was a French military commander, special envoy and member of Louis XV's secret intelligence service. Grégoire Orlyk was born in Ukraine, the son of Ukrainian hetman in exile Pylyp Orlyk and Hanna Hertsyk, received good education in Sweden, served in Poland and Saxony, participated in secret efforts of France to restore on the Polish throne Stanisław Leszczyński. He later commanded the king's regiment of Royal suedois. For his intelligence work and military exploits was given the title of a comte and promoted to the general's rank of Maréchal de camp. Grégoire Orlyk was an acquaintance of French philosopher Voltaire, championed Ukrainian cause in France and other countries.

Siege of Kehl (1733)

The Siege of Kehl was one of the opening moves of the French Rhineland campaign in the War of the Polish Succession, at the fortress town of Kehl in the upper Rhine River valley. A large French army under the command of the Duke of Berwick besieged and captured the fortress, which was lightly garrisoned and in poor condition.

Siege of Philippsburg (1734) 1734 siege

The Siege of Philippsburg was conducted by French forces against forces in the fortress of Philippsburg in the Rhine River valley during the War of the Polish Succession. The Duke of Berwick led 100,000 men up the Rhine Valley in opposition to Austrian forces, of which 60,000 were detached to invest the fortress at Philippsburg, beginning on 1 June 1734. A relief column of 35,000 under the aging Prince Eugene of Savoy was unsuccessful in actually relieving the siege. On 12 June Berwick was killed by a cannonball while inspecting the trenches, and command of the besiegers fell to Marshals d'Asfeld and Noailles. The fortress surrendered one month later, and the garrison withdrew to the fortress of Mainz with the honours of war.

History of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1648–1764)

The history of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1648–1764) covers a period in the history of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, from the time their joint state became the theater of wars and invasions fought on a great scale in the middle of the 17th century, to the time just before the election of Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Antoni Paweł Sułkowski Polish general

Prince Antoni Paweł Sułkowski, of the Sułkowski family, was a Polish division general and later overall commander of the armed forces of the Duchy of Warsaw.

Swedish invasion of Poland (1701–1706)

The Swedish invasion of Poland (1701–1706), also known as Charles XII's invasion of Poland or the Polish front of the Great Northern War, was a conflict in eastern Europe overshadowed by the ongoing Great Northern War fought between the Swedish Empire against the Russian Empire, Denmark-Norway, Saxony and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Polish front was a major part of the greater conflict, and it included some decisive battles in favor of the Swedes that contributed to the length of the war.

1733 Polish–Lithuanian royal election

On February 1, 1733, the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Augustus II the Strong died in Warsaw, leaving the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth without a monarch. Another royal election was necessary. This time, the Polish – Lithuanian nobility firmly opposed a foreign candidate, such as Portuguese Duke Infante Manuel, Count of Ourem, who was supported by the Russian Empire and the Habsburg Empire.


  1. 1 2 Hoburg, p. 13
  2. Sources differ on the number of French troops. The most common counts are between 1,200 and 1,800.
  3. 1 2 The History of Poland