Siege of Torun 1658 at Ft. Randolph

Oct 31 - Nov 2nd, 2003

Ft. Randolph


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Boleslaw Orlicki's Light Artillery

The Siege of Torun on the Vistula in Brief

This Polish City had been captured by the Swedes in 1655

in 1657 the city was blockaded by Polish Cavalry

in Summer1658 Polish units and an Imperial Army (mostly Austrian and Brandenburg units) laid siege. Behind the walls, the Swedes defended with the help of a Scottish mercenary regiment and various other mercenaries from all over Europe.

In Nov 1658, the siege was finally resolved by an assault.

Detailed History

In 1655-6 the deluge had taken a toll on the regular components of the Crown (Poland) and the GDL (Grand Duchy of Lithuania) armies. The Swedes had in fact absorbed almost the entire army in early 1655, and disbanded or destroyed the rest. Only a few small surviving regular formations led the general uprising that followed in the wake of Czestochowa. What constituted the armies in 1656-7 had risen phoenix-like from the ashes. The noble cavalry was the most casually organized in the first place, so was the least disrupted by the chaos. The western-style infantry was highly disorganized, and few in number as some of the best infantry was lost to the Ukraine. The excellent artillery arm in particular had been entirely destroyed, its equipment and personnel lost or scattered. Gradually casual formations coalesced into veteran fighting forces.

Although the Swedes avoided a complete military disaster through their field victory at Warsaw, their strategic situation was untenable and the Swedish retreated north to Torun, harassed by fluid cavalry attacks by Stefan Czarniecki and Hetman Lubomirski. In their wake, the Swedes left garrisons in several Polish cities, including Krakow and Warsaw. The Poles first isolated and then besieged these garrisons, but often lacked the local force and in particular the artillery to resolve the siege quickly. After the defeat of the Prussian-Swedish army by a Polish-Tatar army at Protski in October 1656 the Swedish situation looked hopeless, but a major new ally intervened. In January 1657 a large force of Transylvanians and Cossacks marched North, and Charles marched south again. Then the Danes joined the war on the side of the Poles, and Charles marched north again. Meanwhile Lubormirski led a major raid into Transylvania, and Rakoczy the Transylvania duke was forced to march his army south. He was then crushed at the battle of Magierow by the Poles, and surrendered. (Within 2 months Transylvania was conquered by the Tatars). Meanwhile the Austrians allied with the Poles, and in July 1657 Krakow was recaptured with the aid of their artillery. The Poles meanwhile continued to build their infantry and artillery capabilities.

His strategic situation in Poland again desperate, Charles Gustav completed the extraction of his main field army by attacking the Danes, but held on to his garrisoned cities such as Torun as a rear guard (although the garrison was in grave danger Charles Gustav committed the elite Swedish Lifeguard regiment, along with Germans, Scotts, etc.) The political situation remained complex and fluid. The most powerful field army of 30,000 men from both the Crown and the GDL marched to the Ukraine under Hetman Pawl Sapieha. A small Austrian army marched north in support of the Commonwealth, which had a value far exceeding its size because it had the artillery the Poles lacked.
Hetman Lubomirski.
In the Prussian theater only Jan Sapieha's regiment maintained a blockade about Torun while Crown General of Artillery Krzysztof Grodzicki with 4 regiments of foote, 5 regiments of imperial riters and dragons engaged Warmje, with the Gdansk infantry and artillery.

Subsequent parts will detail the siege (Finally, Torun was taken in an assault on 16 Nov. 1658)

Swedish OB

Major General Barthold Hartwig von Bülow was commander of the Garrison in 1657. The Swedish governor of the Prussian territories was Benedect Oxenstierna, nephew of the Chancellor, Eric Oxenstierna.
A. Infantry
King's Lifeguard Regiment under Colonel (Oberszt) Zögen 355

Scottish Lifeguard Regiment , under Lt. Colonel Hamilton 492
Regiment of Colonel Skytte 357
squadron Lt. Colonel Bock. 323

infantry 1527

B. Dragoons
Regiment of Colonel Hatten 196

C. Rieters
Regiment Vice-Fieldmarshal Duglas under Lt. Colonel Breitholtzem
Regiment Colonel Dracke

Total Cavalry 787

Total Garrison: 2510

The 5 major sections of the defence were named as follows, under the
command of `Captains'
St. Jana (John) - Captain Schultz
Starotourunska (old Torun) - Captain Andrzej Seidler
Marjacka - Captain Kryztof Seidler
Chelminska - Captain Muller
St. Mikolaja (Michael) - unknown

Precise figures on the available arms do not survive. Over 150 cannon included 3-pounder regimentals, falconettes, and several demi- kartuns 24pdrs.. Records indicate the following stocks in January
280 large Barrels of powder
70 of lead
30 of match
1076 24pdr balls
900 12pdrballs
500 6pdr Balls
200 3pdr Balls


Commonwealth OB for Siege ofTorun Spring 1658 

A. Foote:
Regiment Grodzicki under colonel Franciszki del Pace 900
Regiment Col. Czarnocci 600

B. Dragoons
Regiment Sapieh 500

C. Polish Horse
Regiment Sapieh (7 banners pancerni, 5 tatar light horse, 1 Woloska
light horse) 1500

Total 3500

Commonwealth (Polish) Army late Summer 1658
Under command of Lubormirski Marshal of the Crown
A. Foote
Regiment Marshal Lubormirski, under Col. Gyssan (8 Coys) 1520
Regiment Paul Cellari (general major of infantry) 647
Regiment Jan Zamoyski under Col Andrault de Buyen 1000 (?)
Regiment Andrzeja Morsztyna 800
Regiment Jan Leszczynski underchancellor of the Crown 700
Regiment Alexander Lubormirski, Equestrian of the Crown
Lanowa infantry or the Voiovode of Sandomier 700
Royal Guard under colonel Fromhold Von Ludinghausen Wollf
Infantry Total; 5750

B. Dragoons
King's Regiment under col. Jan Henryk von Alten-Blockum 820
Regiment Col. Jozeph Wanczynski 460
Free Company Lubormirski, under captain Aleksandre Pniewski 101

Squadron Aleksandr Koniecoiksji, Voiovode of Sandomier 360
Dragoons Total 1741

C. Rajtars (arquebusiers)
King Reiter Guard under Col. JH von Alten Bokum 190
Regiment Marshal Lubormirski under Col. Stefan Franciszki baron of Oedt (8 coys) 641
Reiter Total 851

D. Polish horse
Regiment (pulk_ Marshal Lubormirsk, 1 banner hussars, 16 pancerni, 1 tatar)     2500
Regiment Koniecpolski, 11 pancerni banners and 1 wolosk 1450
Regiment Samoyski, 1 banner hussars, 5 pancerni 470
Regiment Jan Sobieski, Bannerette of the Crown 7 banners pancerni, 1 tatar 800
Total 5220

Regiment J, Sapieh, already at Torun
Regiment Dymitry Wisniowiecki, 5 banners pancerni, 1 woloska 650

Imperial OB
The Imperial Artillery under General Baron Ludwik de Souches arrived 2 July 1658, but was weak given the job, only 6 half-kartauns (24pdrs) and 2 large siege mortars in the siege train, and several field guns (6 and 4 pdrs, with perhaps some 12 pdrs also). (These joined a few small Polish field guns.) Fieldmarshal Montecuccoli was also present. 

Some of these regiments are Brandenburgers, others Austrians or other Imperial.
Regiment Infantry Souches         650
Regiment Infantry (unknown)     400
Regiment Dragoons Spanck         300
Regiment Dragoons Fletting         300
Regiment Reiters Heister             200
Regiment Reiters Ratschin             200
Regiment Reiters Knig                 400

The numbers are very uncertain because there may have been other regiments present, and several of the regiments had detached several companies (Heister's were in Krakow, Ratschin's were in Czech.)


Showing Swedish siege in 1655 (Poles defending) (print made in 1697)

showing map as of 1640s
note the city is in 2 parts each surrounded by medieval walls, old
torun on the river, new torun to the left.