Alte Veste

Battle of the Alte Veste

The Battle of the Alte Veste was a significant battle of the Thirty Years' War. In the late summer of 1632 the army of Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus had been besieged by Albrecht von Wallenstein at Nürnberg. The successes of Gustavus Adolphus over General Tilly forced Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II to recall Albrecht von Wallenstein into military service from retirement. Wallenstein was unmatched in his ability to raise troops within a few weeks and with fresh army he took to the field. The Imperial Army's ranks swelled as Wallenstein moved to trap the Swedes at their stronghold of Nürnberg. Repeatedly Gustav Adolf formed for battle and challenged Wallenstein to come out of his fortified camp, but he refused. As the supply situation worsened, the impetuous King attacked the Imperial camp at the Alte Veste "Old Fortress" -- a derelict castle atop a wooded hill that would then allow the Swedish guns to dominate the Imperial camp. The Imperials were prepared with trenches and an abatis that stymied the Swedish advance. When the vaunted brigades faltered, much of the cavalry was sent in dismounted. Wallenstein saw an opportunity to strike a blow and sallied his cavalry and cut down many of the exhausted troops. Only the Swedish cavalry reserve was able to avert a complete disaster. The Swedes had been defeated. Commander of Swedish artillery Lennart Torstenson was taken prisoner and locked up for nearly a year at Ingolstadt. Gustav Adolf received reinforcements days later and Wallenstein left camp and moved north.

In culture and literature

The serves as a secondary departure point for the fiction in the best selling alternate history series 1632. Unlike in the (real) emerging early modern era battle, historian Flint uses the siege of Nürnberg and in particular the Battle for Alte Veste (the ruins commanding the heights) as the capstone to his initial best selling novel of the Ring of Fire setting, where aided by the up-time (geographically and time displaced American's) using a machine gun mounted atop an armored coal truck (or APCs), the American APC's are able to break through and create a gap in Wallenstein's lines which is exploited by the Swedish cavalry so that the Catholic army is rolled up to either side through the breech. In the fictional account, renowned sniper severely wounds and kills one of his staff who unluckily interposes his body in the line of fire of a follow up shot. Subsequent neohistorical stories, beginning with K. D. Wentworth's and especially the Flint novelette allys the wily general with the new "United States" and it's successor the which is expanded upon greatly in the sequel The Anaconda Project. The departure point is significant, as a long plotted main in the hydra-like neohistory depicted in the nearly twenty 1632-verse works.

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