|Battle of Arlon (1793)|
|Part of the War of the First Coalition|
|First French Republic||Archduchy of Austria|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Jean Nicolas Houchard|
8,000 men |
30 siege artillery pieces
The Battle of Arlon was an episode at the stronghold of Arlon (now in Belgium) on 9 June 1793 during the French Revolutionary Wars.
During the Siege of Mainz, the Army of the Rhine, under the orders of Beauharnais (who had come to replace Custine), was entrenched on the Lauter. After taking up his positions, the commander in chief had reorganised his troops and incorporated the recruits who had arrived from all sides.
At the same time the Army of the Moselle was retiring behind the Blies and Saar. This inaction displeased the National Convention and the two generals were strongly ordered by the Committee of Public Safety to reassume the offensive and march to the aid of the army blockaded in Mainz by all the efforts of the Coalition forces. The surest means of raising the siege was to carry out a two-pronged simultaneous attack on the enemy, with the armée de la Moselle attacking by Pirmasens or Kaiserslautern and the armée du Rhin by the left bank of the river.
Houchard, commander of the armée de la Moselle, believed in the same goal, advancing on the left on 9 June to attack Arlon, on the heights, defended by 8,000 men, 30 artillery-pieces and a chain of echelon trenches overlooking all points from which it could be attacked. The Republican columns advanced at the charge in good order, shouting "Vive la République !" and under fire from these batteries, with the French artillery being of too low a calibre to reply with any advantage. The right was more exposed than the rest and was charged by the Austrian cavalry, but the columns in the centre and the artillery came to the right's aid and repulsed the enemy. During the fight near Arlon the future general Duprès, then only a lieutenant, distinguished himself by capturing a whole Austrian company.
During this time general Beauregard was marching on Arlon from the right and took the heights overlooking the town. 400 carabiniers attacked a square of 1,500 Austrians under Feldmarschalleutnant von Schröder. Several volleys of grapeshot, fired at only 50 footsteps from the front of the square, threw it into disorder and the carabiniers finished routing it. Arlon remained in French hands and the army set up its base there, but its capture was of no use to the besieged troops in Mainz, and Houchard's poor judgement in taking this action was not punished (he was made commander of the Army of the North the following August).
- Johann Gottfried Freiherr von Schröder. Ref.: Biographical Dictionary of all Austrian Generals.
- Général de Jomini: Histoire critique et militaire des campagnes de la Révolution (1811);
- A. Hugo: Histoire des armées françaises de 1792 à 1837 (1838);
- P. Giguet: Histoire militaire de la France (1849);
- C. Clerget: Tableaux des armées françaises pendant les guerres de la Révolution (Librairie militaire 1905).
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