Battle at Breitenfeld

Battle at Breitenfeld:   A reflection on Clausewitz’s Paradoxical Trinity element of Chance and Probability

Uncertainty, chance, and probability led the Swedish King, Gustavus Adolphus, to victory in the Battle at Breitenfeld.   By applying Clausewitz’s paradoxical element of Chance and Probability to the talent, courage, and determination of Adolphus and his force, the Battle of Breitenfeld can best be analyzed.
Prior to his great victories, he studied the doctrine of other armies, other commanders’ actions, and the formations they employed in battles.   Using his talent and vision he molded and modified modern-day practices into a new effective fighting system that increased his chance for success.
Adolphus was responsible for many doctrinal innovations and new battle formations.   He studied Maurice of Orange and observed how he had used disciplined and well drilled troops to produce maximum combat power in linear formations that led to the defeat of the Spanish Tercio.   He took this idea a step further by reducing the musket formations from 10 to 6 ranks and changed the pikemen from a defensive force to an offensive force.   He also changed his cavalry doctrine based on past experience.   In previous battles, Swedes had tried the caracole against the Poles and were beaten badly.   The Polish cavalry chose the shock of a saber and lance charge when faced with the caracole of the pistol armed Swedish force.   The result of this change in contemporary tactics by the Poles was a soundly defeated Swedish cavalry.   Through his learning and examination, Adolphus was able to adjust these actions into inventive battle formations and future doctrinal concepts.   These new battle formations and doctrinal concepts changed the way he arrayed and deployed his troops and increased his likelihood of success.
Adolphus was also a great leader of troops who had progressive organizational ideas for his time.   He encouraged his senior leaders to employ initiative on the battlefield...