Today 6 September is the anniversary of the crucial (First) Battle of Nördlingen in 1934 during the Thirty Years' War. In this battle the Imperial forces strengthened by the arrival of fresh Spanish tercios destroyed the mighty Swedish army! Glory to the mighty tercios!
The Swedes intervened on the Protestant side during the Thirty Years' War in 1630. They helped turn the tide of war after victories over the Imperial Catholic forces at Breitenfeld (1631), Rain (1632) and Lützen (1632), the legendary triumphs of the great Gustavus Adolphus.
With these victories the Swedes were able to reverse the progress made by great Catholic Imperial generals Johann Tserclaes von Tilly and Albrecht Wallenstein, and made sure that the war would go on despite the devastation it had already cause in the lands of Holy Roman Empire.
By the summer of 1634, however, all of these three great generals were dead. Tilly and Gustavus Adolphus both died on the battlefields, while Wallenstein was assassinated as the Emperor feared his betrayal due to the power he obtained as a powerful mercenary commander.
This meant that both the Catholic Imperial and the Protestant Swedish army (strengthened by its local German allies) were now lacking leadership and direction, especially the latter which made a lot of strategic mistakes, splitting themselves into different armies.
Fortunately for the Imperial side, the new commander of the Imperial army Ferdinand of Hungary, son of Emperor Ferdinand II and future Emperor Ferdinand III, proved to be a quite capable leader. He successfully took Regensburg and marched down the Danube to Donauwörth.
The Protestant army led by Swedish commander Gustav Horn and the German Lutheran prince Bernhard pursued Ferdinand with a stronger army of around 26000 men (compared to Ferdinand's 15000 strong army) but did not pursue a decisive battle hoping that the Imperials would withdraw.
However on 2 September, the Imperial army was strengthened by around 18000 Spanish troops who arrived from the old Spanish road from Italy! They were led by Ferdinand's cousin also named Ferdinand, Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand. The ancient Spanish road was back in use again!
Now the Imperial army had around 32000 men compared to 26000 on the Protestant Swedish side. The Swedish decided to attack the Imperial army besieging the city of Nördlingen. The Imperials dug in trenches and maintained a defensive position which would prevent them being flanked.
In early morning of 6th of September, the Swedish army advanced with Horn's infantry attacking the center. They were pushed back at first but had a lot of success in the second attack, as Horn's veteran troops pushed back the Bavarian Catholic infantry...
But the next troops waiting for Horn were the legendary veteran tercios who arrived freshly from Italy. A fierce battle ensued as the tercios held their position and beat back the Swedish, but at the same time were unable to advance due to Swedish artillery bombardment.
The tercios fought with honor and courage just like in the old days, this was a crucial battle to show the world that the Spanish tercios still ruled the European battlefields! They fought against a new enemy for the old ideals of Catholic faith and Habsburg Empire!
The brutal clashes for the positions at Albuch held by tercios were crucial for the rest of the battle as the result of this engagement would open up the opportunities to flank the enemy for either side. Both sides fought with dignity and pride!
The losses and exhaustion that the Swedish suffered finally opened up opportunities for the Imperial light cavalry, the famed Croats, to flank and attack the Protestant army. The Swedish army broke under pressure and disintegrated, losing many men as they fled in panic.
The Protestant Swedish army suffered around 8000-12000 casualties, with 4000 more being captured, including the commander Gustav Horn himself. The Imperial side lost only around 3500 men. This battle was a major setback for the Swedish and a very crucial win for Habsburg Empire.
This battle restored the balance of power between Catholics and Protestants in the Holy Roman Empire and resulted in Peace of Prague 1635. However the war itself was far from over as France got involved and it became primarily a conflict between big European powers.
1634* I don't know how I managed to make this mistake. Oh well, I guess it happens to everyone.

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More from @LandsknechtPike

14 Sep
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