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Battle of Ettlingen
Part of the French Revolutionary War
Date9 July 1796
LocationEttlingen, Baden-Württemberg, present-day Germany
Result French victory
Belligerents
France French Republic Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Austria
Commanders and leaders
Jean Victor Marie Moreau Archduke Charles
Strength
36,000[1] 32,000[1]
Casualties and losses
2,400[1] 2,600[1]


The Battle of Ettlingen on 9 July 1796 was fought during the French Revolutionary Wars between the armies of the First French Republic and Habsburg Austria near the town of Malsch, 9 km southwest of Ettlingen. The Austrians under Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen tried to halt the eastward advance of Jean Moreau's French army. After a tough fight, the Austrian commander conceded victory to the French and retreated east toward Stuttgart.

Background[edit | edit source]

Forces[edit | edit source]

June 1796 found General of Division (MG) Jean-Baptiste Jourdan's French Army of Sambre-et-Meuse operating on the middle Rhine while Moreau's Army of Rhin-et-Moselle threatened to cross the lower Rhine. To defend southern Germany, Feldzeugmeister (FZM) Archduke Charles' Army of the Lower Rhine defended the Lahn River near Koblenz and FZM Maximilian Baillet de Latour's Army of the Upper Rhine held the line of the river opposite Strasbourg.

French successes[edit | edit source]

Moreau's army included 71,581 infantry and 6,515 cavalry. He formed these into a Right Wing led by MG Pierre Ferino, a Center commanded by MG Louis Desaix, and a Left Wing under MG Laurent de Gouvion Saint-Cyr.[2] Desaix and the Center won clashes at Maudach, northwest of Speyer on 15 June and Renchen on 28 June. Meanwhile, Moreau staged a successful assault crossing of the Rhine at Kehl on 24 June. Leaving FZM Wilhelm von Wartensleben to lead the Army of the Lower Rhine, Archduke Charles soon arrived from the north with reinforcements and took command of the Army of the Upper Rhine from Latour.[3]

Rastatt[edit | edit source]

At Rastatt on 5 July, the 19,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry of MG Alexandre Taponier's reinforced division of the Left Wing sparred with 6,000 Austrians led by Feldmarschal-Leutnant (FML) Karl Aloys zu Fürstenberg and FML Johann Mészáros. Rather than directly attacking his enemies, Taponier turned both Austrian flanks, forcing his enemies to pull back east toward Ettlingen. Casualties on both sides were light. The Austrians lost 200 soldiers and 3 guns captured.[4]

Battle[edit | edit source]

Austrian army[edit | edit source]

On 9 July, Archduke Charles stood to fight at Malsch, 10 km west of Rastatt on 9 July. The archduke commanded 32,000 troops organized in 25 infantry battalions (bns) and 24 cavalry squadrons (sqns). The line infantry was made up of the Archduke Charles Infantry Regiment (IR) # 3 (1 bn), Carl Schröder IR # 7 (2 bns), Manfredini IR # 12 (3 bns), Reisky IR # 13 (4 bns), d'Alton IR # 15, Nádasdy IR # 39 (3 bns), Franz Kinsky IR # 47 (3 bns), and Pellegrini IR # 49 (3 bns). The Riera, Retz, Reisinger, Apfaltrern, and Candiani Grenadier battalions formed the elite infantry.[1] The cavalry units were the Archduke Franz Cuirassier Regiment # 29 (4 sqns), Grand Duke Albert Carabinier Regt # 5 (4 sqns), Archduke John Dragoon Regt # 26 (4 sqns), Siebenburgen Hussar Regt # 47 (6 sqns), and Waldeck Dragoon Regt # 39 (6 sqns).[5]

Combat[edit | edit source]

Moreau had 36,000 men available in 45 battalions and 55 squadrons. It is not clear which divisions participated in the fighting. To open the battle, Archduke Charles launched an assault against the French center. After serious fighting, this attack failed to dislodge the French. When Saint-Cyr sent troops to outflank the Austrians, Archduke Charles ordered a withdrawal east-southeast to Pforzheim.[1]

Result[edit | edit source]

French losses numbered 2,000 killed and wounded, plus 400 captured. The Austrians suffered 1,300 killed and wounded, with 1,300 captured. The Austrian retreat continued for 60 km to Stuttgart. East of that city, the two armies skirmished at Bad Cannstatt on 21 July. The Austrians subsequently fell back another 80 km.[1] The next clash would be the Battle of Neresheim.

References[edit | edit source]

Printed materials[edit | edit source]

  • Pivka, Otto von. Armies of the Napoleonic Era. New York: Taplinger Publishing, 1979. ISBN 0-8008-5471-3
  • Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998. ISBN 1-85367-276-9

External sources[edit | edit source]

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Smith, p 117
  2. Smith, p 111
  3. Smith, pp 114-115
  4. Smith, p 116
  5. Smith, p 117. Before 1798, the Austrian army numbered cavalry regiments from 1 to 43. See the German Wikipedia page. Smith mislabeled Dragoons # 26 as Cuirassiers. Hussars # 47 cannot be identified, though Siebenburgen clearly refers to a Grenz regiment.

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