This was the year when the swedes were pressed back all the way to the northgerman baltic coast. At the beginning of the year Banérs army was outside Leipzig wrer it had gotten by crisscrossing Saxony to avoid from a supply poit of view depleted (looted and devastated) areas. A storming of the saxon capital was prepared. Two large mines were blown under the Grimmagate. A ten meter wide breach was blown by cannonfire in the citywall. The columns of stormtroops deployed with ladders, short pikes, handgrenades and axes but when darkness fell the firing withered out and no storming materialized. In the morning the surprized defenders could see that the swedes were withdrawing. 

The reason was simple. The leaugers and imperials had managed to raise yet an army that was approaching. Banér retreated to Torgau with his 14 000 men while the enemy Gallas followed with 47 000 men. The imperials slowly began to surround the entrenched Banér. Simple arithmetic told of an impending disaster for the swedes. Add to that tthe army was in a miserable state. Some reinforcements from Sweden and Finland had arrived but these were not the high performing soldiers of 1631. These had fallen in battle, been killed in assault on besieged cities, disabled, crippled or died of disease. The companies had been depleted over and over. Banér prefferred the proffessional german mercenaries over scots, irish and english if he could choose, which he seldom could. The swedes were more loyal and seldom rebelled which made them perfect for garrison duty but their lack of experience with armies in the field made them extremely vulnerable to disease and they died in scores since they lacked the immunity acquired by the german mercenaries. The camps were filled with filth, cadavres and exrements and the lack of even basic hygiene made the the camps ripe with disease. In the summer of 1637 the heat made the situation even worse and even the experienced mercenaries that earlier had been able to withstand disease started to die en masse. There was also a serious lack of officers since many of the experienced had been sent home by orders from Sweden to make place for young men from the nobility that were to gather wartime experience.  These uptight, perfumed and made up boys were rarely to Banérs liking. He complained to Oxenstierna that many of them were not good enough to pull the boots of a real soldier! Desertionrates went up in the army, even among higher officers. 

Johan Banér

On the 18th of June Banér issued the marching orders. Buildings and supplies that couldnt be brought along were put to fire while 300 000 litres of wine were distributed to the men. A forced marsh to the north commenced. The enemy not far behind and often racing on parallel roads trying to intercept as well. Banérs small army acted like a small fish trying to escape a large octopus that throws it tentacles around it to catch it. With lightning marches, sudden maneuvers, feignts and iron control of his army Banér led the army out of threatening traps several times. At Luebben his cavalry disrupted an enemy force of croats that blocked the way and at Jueterbog his rearguard was overtaken by the enemy. 600 men were cut down and 400 taken prisoner. At the pond in Liebrose a counterattack threw the pursuers down into a swamp were many drowned. carts that broke were constantly pushed of the road and burned. The panic was never far away and often musketry was heard from the rear. Time after time the army broke free with rapier in hand. But the enemy advanced on better roads and eventually they stood north of the swedes. 

On the 27th of June all seemed lost. Banér himself led a unit of cavalry to Landsberg when disaster appeared. A large imperial force with leaugers, saxons, brandenburgers, hessians and Lueneburgers were deployed in front of the swedish army at Landsberg in a 4 km long battle line. A parade of enemies and former friends. They had finally beaten Banérs rapid advance and the way over the Warthe was closed. There was one possibility however.

The polish border was only 40 km away. Preparations were made. Banérs own wife with other high ranking officers were sent in advance with money to buy passports. On the 30th when the army was ready to march on the polish border contraorders came. Instead of marching to the east they headed west. The plan had been a feignt. Every hour the enemy spent marching east was two hours gained when the swedes marched west. It worked The Oder was crossed without opposition and the 4th of July the army was joined by Wrangels corps in Eberwalde. The army was safe. In incredible feat of arms had been pulled of.

The situation was still very serious. The swedes were back were they had started eight years before on the baltic coast and with an army of 11 000 men only. The army lacked all equipment, supplies, money and thus morale plummeted since the men were in it for the money and a broke general soon found that the units didnt cooperate. The fortifications in northern Germany were in terrible state, the countryside severly depleted, close to wasteland, and and army of only ragged, hungered unpaid ghosts couldnt be counted on to defeat the vastly superior enemy that slowly (Gallas was true to form) approached. In early 1638 Banérs army consisted of only 7000 men but these were dispersed since Banér feared rebellion if he concentrated the forces. A sigle push from Gallas and all was lost. Disaster was imminent. Again.