The first major Protestant victory of the Thirty Years’ War, the Battle of Breitenfeld saw King Gustav II Adolf (Gustavus Adolphus) of Sweden’s army defeat Catholic League forces under Johan Isaclaes, Graf von Tilly. When the armies met, cavalry flanked Tilly’s infantry, but Gustav kept his lines separated from his allies, the Saxons. There was a two-hour exchange of artillery fire before Field Marshal Pappenheim attacked the Swedish right. A counterattack by the Swedish field marshal Johan Banér drove him from the field, but the Imperial army then scattered the Saxons on the Swedish left. As the Imperial army advanced, they met heavy bombardment from Count Gustav Horn’s troops. Gustav and his counterparts attacked, forcing back the opposition until Tilly’s lines broke and the Catholics fled the field. Gustav’s victory was significant after the losses suffered during the Siege of Magdeburg (1630–31), and he secured his reputation as an excellent commander and great tactical leader. Several Protestant states soon allied themselves with Sweden; even Catholic France, political rivals of the Habsburgs, offered much-needed financial support for the Protestant campaign.
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