Rare early map of the area around Pilsen in Bohemia, showing the Siege of Pilsen, from November 11 to November 21, 1618, under the command of Ernst von Mansfeldt.
The map shows the Siege of Pilsen, with the positions of several forces and artillery attacks at the gates. The key provides a more detailed explanation of the siege.
The Siege of Pilsen was a siege of the fortified city of Pilsen in Bohemia carried out by the forces of the Bohemian Protestants led by Ernst von Mansfeld. It was the first major battle of the Thirty Years' War. The Protestant victory and subsequent capture of the city sparked the Bohemian Revolt.
In May 1618 the Protestant nobles overthrew the rule of King Ferdinand II and threw the Roman Catholic governors of Bohemia from their office at Prague Castle in the Defenestration of Prague. The new government formed of Protestant nobility and gentry, gave Ernst von Mansfeld the command over all of its forces. Meanwhile, Catholic nobles and priests started fleeing the country. Some of the monasteries as well as unfortified manors were evacuated and the Catholic refugees headed for the city of Pilsen. The city was well-prepared for a lengthy siege, but the defenses were undermanned and the defenders lacked enough gunpowder for their artillery. Mansfeld decided to capture the city before the Catholics were able to gain support from the outside.
On September 19, 1618, Mansfeld's army reached the outskirts of the city. The defenders blocked two city gates and the third one was reinforced with additional guards. The Protestant army was too weak to start an all-out assault on the castle, so Mansfeld decided to take the city by hunger. On October 2, 1618, the Protestant artillery arrived, but the caliber and number of the cannons was small and the bombardment of the city walls brought little effect. The siege continued, with the Protestants receiving new supplies and recruits on a daily basis, while the defenders lacked food and munitions. Also, the main city well was destroyed and the stores of potable water soon depleted.
Finally, on November 21, 1618, cracks were made in the walls and the Protestant soldiers poured into the city. After several hours of close hand-to-hand combat, all of the town was in Mansfeld's hands.