The story about the officers is as far as I can tell just another of those anecdotes created to glorify Frederic II. ... like the one about the Miller of Sanssouci. If you had a look at the real story behind the Miller, you'd be surprised.
To quote Thomas Mann (in 1914) on those anecdotes: "Von nun an hieß er ‚Der alte Fritz’ – ein schauerlicher Name, wenn man Sinn fürs Schauerliche hat; denn es ist wirklich in höchstem Grade schauerlich, wenn der Dämon populär wird und einen gemütlichen Namen erhält" (roughly: From that day on, he was "Old Fritz" - a gruesome name, if you have a sense for gruesome things. Because it is gruesome, when the Demon becomes popular and gets a cute nickname").
As far as I am concerned he was a mediocre military leader who won battles because he had a well-trained army and extremly loyal officers. But he had that attribute which Weber calls "Charisma", no doubt, and was able to create loyalty.
I rather despise Frederic II. ... oddly enough, I like his father, Frederic William I. An bumpkin, uncultured and cruel ... but somehow I consider him to be a better king and a "more German" king then that son of his.
By the way: Strictly speaking Frederic should have been executed. Since he was an officer of the Prussian army, fleeing to France was desertation, an offence punishable by death (as many common soldiers found out, when they had enough of dying for Prussia). If it hadn't been for Austrian intervention (they probably kicked themselves in the ar*** later on for that
) it is quite likely that Frederic's career would have been cut short by a hangman's sword before it even started.
Oh, and Hohenlohe: Keith ran away and was hanged "in effigiem". Katte lost his head over that affair.
Frederick II. at Kolin to his retreating soldiers: "Kerls, wollt ihr denn ewig leben?"
(Do you want to live forever?)
Unfortunately we don't know his reaction to the answer he got: "Für dreizehn Pfennig wars für heute genug!"
(basically: I'd say we did enough today, considering what you pay us.