Wednesday 1 November 2023

Kesselsdorf 1745 - A review

From Reason to Revolution no. 117 is ‘Kesselsdorf, 1745. Decision in the Fight for Silesia’ by Alexander Querengasser. As the author states, this is not one of the great or widely known battles of the age of Frederick the Great, indeed what makes it interesting to me is that Frederick was not present and enemy were almost all Saxons, accompanied by a small force of Austrian troops.

The armies and leaders of both Prussia and Saxony are clearly outlined so my understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of both was reinforced, and to anyone new to the period this information will provide a useful starting point. We then move on to the campaign itself, under the redoubtable Leopold von Anhalt-Dessau and the moves leading to the battle itself.

A good 25 percent of the book is devoted to an account of the battle, so as can be expected, it is dealt with in detail and we get a blow by blow description of events as they unfolded on the field of battle. This is certainly the most informative account of the battle I have ever come across, and this alone makes the book an invaluable and interesting source of research be it by historians, the ‘interested’ lay reader or many a wargamer of the mid-eighteenth century wars in Europe. That the battle and its importance (the outcome led directly and almost immediately to the Peace of Dresden) was sidelined in favour of the overall political ramifications of the successful Prussian campaign, and perhaps because Frederick was not there, is a shame but this book will go a long way to bringing it to the forefront where it belongs.

As with all similar Helion titles, this book is lavishly illustrated with eight pages of specially commissioned colour plates by non other than Patrice Courcelle. They are as one would rightly expect gorgeous. There are also a good number of largely contemporary black and white illustrations and a number of handy maps of the strategic situation as well as of the battle itself.

So, an excellent well written account, one useful to a wide readership whatever their background or interest.

ISBN 978-1-804511-88-6. 190 pages, soft cover.


  1. One I will be getting, nice to see that it's a goodie, thanks for the review.

  2. Thank you for the useful review.