Battle of Abensberg

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Battle of Abensberg
Part of the War of the Fifth Coalition
Napoleon addressing Bavarian troops
Date20 April 1809
Result French victory
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austrian Empire Flag of France.svg First French Empire
Flag of Bavaria (striped).svg Kingdom of Bavaria
Flagge Konigreich Wurttemberg.svg Württemberg
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Archduke Charles
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Johann von Hiller
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Archduke Louis
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Michael Kienmayer
Flag of France.svg Napoleon I
Flag of France.svg Jean Lannes
Flag of France.svg François Lefebvre
Flag of Bavaria (striped).svg Karl von Wrede
Flagge Konigreich Wurttemberg.svg D. Vandamme
42,000 [1] 55,000 [1]
Casualties and losses
6,711, 12 guns [2] 1,107 [2]

The Battle of Abensberg took place on 20 April 1809, between a Franco-German force under the command of Emperor Napoleon I of France and a reinforced Austrian corps led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Archduke Louis of Austria. As the day wore on, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller arrived with reinforcements to take command of the three corps that formed the Austrian left wing. The action ended in a complete Franco-German victory. The battlefield was southeast of Abensberg and included clashes at Offenstetten, Biburg-Siegenburg , Rohr in Niederbayern , and Rottenburg an der Laaber . On the same day, the French garrison of Regensburg capitulated.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Archduke Louis of Austria Austrian archduke

Archduke Louis, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia and Prince of Tuscany, was the 14th child of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II, King of Hungary and Bohemia, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain.

Johann von Hiller Austrian general

Johann Baron von Hiller was an Austrian general during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He held an important command during the 1809 campaign against France, playing a prominent role at the Battle of Aspern-Essling.


After Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout's hard-fought victory at Battle of Teugen-Hausen the previous day, Napoleon determined to break through the Austrian defenses behind the Abens River. The emperor assembled a provisional corps consisting of part of Davout's corps plus cavalry and gave Marshal Jean Lannes command over it. Napoleon directed his German allies from the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Kingdom of Württemberg to attack across the Abens from the west, while Lannes thrust from the north toward Rohr.

Louis-Nicolas Davout Marshal of France

Louis-Nicolas d'Avout, better known as Davout, 1st Duke of Auerstaedt, 1st Prince of Eckmühl, was a French general who was Marshal of the Empire during the Napoleonic era. His talent for war along with his reputation as a stern disciplinarian earned him the title "The Iron Marshal". He is ranked along with Masséna and Lannes as one of Napoleon's finest commanders. His loyalty and obedience to Napoleon were absolute. During his lifetime, Davout's name was commonly spelled Davoust, which is how it appears on the Arc de Triomphe and in much of the correspondence between Napoleon and his generals.

Battle of Teugen-Hausen battle

The Battle of Teugen-Hausen or the Battle of Thann was an engagement that occurred during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought on 19 April 1809 between the French III Corps led by Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout and the Austrian III Armeekorps commanded by Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. The French won a hard-fought victory over their opponents when the Austrians withdrew that evening. The site of the battle is a wooded height approximately halfway between the villages of Teugn and Hausen in Lower Bavaria, part of modern-day Germany.

Abens river in Germany

The Abens is a river in Bavaria, Germany, and a right-bank tributary of the Danube. Its source is near Au in der Hallertau. Some 71 kilometres (44 mi) long, it flows generally northward through the small towns of Au in der Hallertau, Rudelzhausen, Mainburg, Siegenburg, and Abensberg. It empties into the Danube at Eining, part of Neustadt an der Donau.

While the Austrians initially held the river line, Lannes' strike force crashed through Louis' defenses farther east. On the left, the Austrians managed to conduct a capable rear guard action, but during the day the French smashed their opponents' right flank and captured thousands of soldiers. The day ended with the Austrians barely holding onto a line behind the Große Laber River.

Große Laber river in Germany

The Große Laber is a river in Bavaria, Germany, right tributary of the Danube. Its source is near Volkenschwand. It is 87.5 km long. It flows northeast through the small towns Rottenburg an der Laaber, Schierling and Rain. It flows into the Danube near Straubing.

The next day, Hiller withdrew to Landshut, separating the left wing from the main army under Generalissimo Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen near Regensburg (Ratisbon).

Landshut Place in Bavaria, Germany

Landshut is a town in Bavaria in the south-east of Germany. Situated on the banks of the River Isar, Landshut is the capital of Lower Bavaria, one of the seven administrative regions of the Free State of Bavaria. It is also the seat of the surrounding district, and has a population of more than 70,000. Landshut is the largest city in Lower Bavaria, followed by Passau and Straubing, and Eastern Bavaria's second biggest city.

Generalissimo is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to field marshal and other five-star ranks in the countries where they are used.

Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen Archduke of Austria

Archduke Charles Louis John Joseph Laurentius of Austria, Duke of Teschen was an Austrian field-marshal, the third son of Emperor Leopold II and his wife, Maria Luisa of Spain. He was also the younger brother of Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor. Despite being epileptic, Charles achieved respect both as a commander and as a reformer of the Austrian army. He was considered one of Napoleon's more formidable opponents.

The French surrender of Regensburg on 20 April allowed Charles' army a retreat route to the north bank of the Danube. The Battle of Landshut was fought on 21 April.

Battle of Landshut (1809) battle

The Battle of Landshut took place on 21 April 1809 between the French, Württembergers and Bavarians under Napoleon which numbered about 77,000 strong, and 36,000 Austrians under the General Johann von Hiller. The Austrians, though outnumbered, fought hard until Napoleon arrived, when the battle subsequently became a clear French victory.



Archduke Charles stole a march on Napoleon when his army invaded the Kingdom of Bavaria on 10 April 1809. Even though the Austrian army took six days to slowly march from the Inn River at the frontier to the Isar River, the move placed the army of France and their German allies in grave danger. [3] Napoleon's deputy commander, Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier mismanaged the Grande Armée's concentration, leaving its units scattered across a broad front in a confused state. [4]

Kingdom of Bavaria kingdom in Central Europe between 1806–1918, from January 1871 part of the German Empire

The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph. The crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Most of Bavaria's present-day borders were established after 1814 with the Treaty of Paris, in which Bavaria ceded Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire while receiving Aschaffenburg and Würzburg. With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom became a federal state of the new Empire and was second in size, power, and wealth only to the leading state, the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1918, Bavaria became a republic, and the kingdom was thus succeeded by the current Free State of Bavaria.

Inn (river) river in Switzerland, Austria and Germany, a right tributary of the Danube

The Inn is a river in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. It is a right tributary of the Danube and is 518 kilometres (322 mi) long. The highest point of its drainage basin is the summit of Piz Bernina, at 4,049 metres (13,284 ft). The Engadine, the valley of the En, is the only Swiss valley whose waters end up in the Black Sea.

Isar river in Tyrol, Austria and Bavaria, Germany

The Isar is a river in Tyrol, Austria and Bavaria, Germany. Its source is in the Karwendel range of the Alps in Tyrol; it enters Germany near Mittenwald, and flows through Bad Tölz, Munich, and Landshut before reaching the Danube near Deggendorf. At 295 km (183 mi) in length, it is the fourth largest river in Bavaria, after the Danube, Inn, and Main. It is Germany's second most important tributary of the Danube after the Inn.

Archduke Charles Archdukecharles1.jpg
Archduke Charles

The central mass of Archduke Charles' 209,600-man host [5] crossed the Isar at Landshut on 16 April, but the next day Emperor Napoleon arrived at the front from Paris. Desperately trying to wrest the initiative back from the archduke, Napoleon consolidated his forces and ordered Marshal André Masséna's IV Corps and General of Division Nicolas Oudinot's II Corps on the right flank to march on Landshut to cut the Austrian line of communications. He planned for Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre's Bavarian VII Corps to hold in the center at Abensberg while Davout's left flank III Corps withdrew west to escape being trapped between Charles' main body and the Danube. [6]

On 19 April, Charles realized he had an opportunity to destroy Davout. He launched 65,000 troops in three powerful columns northwest as Davout attempted a flank march across his front. Luckily for the French, General of Cavalry Johann I Joseph, Prince of Liechtenstein's 20,000 troops found no opposition on the Austrian right. [7] In the center, General of Division Louis-Pierre Montbrun's 3,800 cavalry and infantry skilfully held off Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince Franz Seraph of Rosenberg-Orsini's much stronger IV Armeekorps for most of the day. [8]

On the left flank, Feldmarschall-Leutnant Prince Friedrich Franz Xaver of Hohenzollern-Hechingen's III Armeekorps crashed into General of Division Louis Vincent Le Blond de Saint-Hilaire's division and a terrific fight blazed up. Both sides fed in reinforcements as the infantry battled over a pair of parallel ridges in the Battle of Teugen-Hausen. Ultimately, Davout brought superior forces to bear in the late afternoon and pushed back the Austrians a short ways. That night, Charles ordered Hohenzollern to withdraw a little to the east, closer to his main body. [9]

On the morning of 19 April, Archduke Charles requested that Hohenzollern provide a link between the III and V Armeekorps. Accordingly, the III Armeekorps commander detached General-Major Ludwig Thierry's 6,000-man infantry brigade to his left. As an additional link between Thierry and III Armeekorps, Hohenzollern detached General-Major Joseph Freiherr von Pfanzelter with a Grenz infantry battalion and two squadrons of hussars, about 1,000 men. [10] While the Battle of Teugen-Hausen raged, Thierry clashed with Bavarian troops near Arnhofen and fell back to Offenstetten. [11]

Austrian deployment

Johann Kollowrat Johann Kolowrat.jpg
Johann Kollowrat

On 20 April, Archduke Charles' main body consisted of the III, IV, and I Reserve Armeekorps. These were arrayed near Dünzling and Eckmühl. [12] Feldzeugmeister Johann Kollowrat's II Armeekorps spent 19 April attacking Regensburg from north of the Danube. While successfully defending the city, Colonel Louis Coutard's 2,000-man 65th Line Infantry Regiment ran dangerously low on small-arms ammunition. [13] General of Cavalry Count Heinrich von Bellegarde's I Armeekorps also remained north of the Danube. [14]

Archduke Louis spread out his V Armeekorps behind the Abens River, facing west. [15] Having detached Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Friedrich von Lindenau's division to Liechtenstein, [16] only the divisions of Feldmarschall-Leutnants Prince Heinrich XV of Reuss-Plauen and Vincenz Freiherr von Schustekh-Herve remained under Louis' command. [17] Feldmarschall-Leutnant Michael von Kienmayer's II Reserve Armeekorps, nominally 7,975-strong, waited in support at Ludmannsdorf. [15] [18] Kienmayer's cuirassier brigade under General-Major Andreas von Schneller was serving with Liechtenstein [19] and four dragoon squadrons were attached to Thierry's brigade. On the evening of the 19th, the bulk of Hiller's VI Armeekorps reached Mainburg to the south. [15] Like V and II Reserve Armeekorps, the VI suffered from detachments. At the beginning of the war, Charles sent the division of Feldmarschall-Leutnant Franz Jellacic to hold Munich, the Bavarian capital, where it remained. [20] Hiller also posted General-Major Armand von Nordmann with a small force at Moosburg an der Isar to watch his south flank. [12] The official returns of Hiller's three corps totalled 75,880 troops, [18] but after detachments, the left wing numbered only 42,000. [1]

French deployment

Siegenburg from a c. 1700 woodcut Siegenburg Kupferstich Wening 1700.jpeg
Siegenburg from a c. 1700 woodcut

When Lannes arrived at the front, Napoleon immediately placed him in command of a provisional corps. This ad hoc formation consisted largely of III Corps units that escaped Archduke Charles' trap the day before, namely General of Division Charles Antoine Morand's 1st Division, General of Division Charles-Étienne Gudin de La Sablonnière's 3rd Division, General of Division Raymond-Gaspard de Bonardi de Saint-Sulpice's 2nd Heavy Cavalry Division, and General of Brigade Charles Claude Jacquinot's light cavalry brigade of Montbrun's division. Also added was General of Division Etienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty's 1st Heavy Cavalry Division from the cavalry reserve. [21] One of Saint-Sulpice's brigades was detailed to guard Saal an der Donau, a defile between Lannes and Davout. [22]

On the morning of 20 April, Napoleon mistakenly assumed that the bulk of Archduke Charles' army lay in front of him. Accordingly, he gave orders for a drive southeast in the direction of Landshut. Lannes' mission was to turn the Austrian right flank by pushing south toward Rohr. General of Division Dominique Vandamme would attack Siegenburg with his small Kingdom of Württemberg corps. Lefebvre's other VII Corps divisions, together with General of Division Joseph Laurent Demont's Reserve Division of the III Corps, would link Lannes and Vandamme. Napoleon ordered Masséna's IV Corps to capture Landshut and the Isar River crossings, cutting the Austrian line of communications. [23]



Archduke Charles sent orders to his brother Archduke Louis at 7:30 AM on 20 April. He instructed Louis to fall back to Rottenburg and defend behind the Große Laber. Charles intended Hiller to take position on Louis' left at Pfeffenhausen. Charles erred in sending the orders so late and in not informing Louis of Hohenzollern's withdrawal to the east. The latter move left the V Armeekorps' right flank exposed. [14]

Pfanzelter held Bachl on the extreme right flank. To the west of Bachl, Thierry held Offenstetten with three and one-third battalions. His other two and two-thirds battalions had become separated the previous day and joined General-Major Frederick Bianchi, Duke of Casalanza who had six battalions near Biburg. Louis posted Schustekh with four squadrons of hussars and one and one-third battalions at Rohr. [24] Schustekh's infantry had just rejoined V Armeekorps after marching from Mainburg with General-Major Joseph, Baron von Mesko de Felsö-Kubiny's detachment. [25]

Battle of Abensberg map showing Lannes breakthrough at Bachl and Rohr Battle of Abensberg 1809.JPG
Battle of Abensberg map showing Lannes breakthrough at Bachl and Rohr

In one account, Lannes' advance guard approached Bachl in the late morning of 20 April, forcing Pfanzelter’s small detachment from the Austrian III Armeekorps eastward. The 1st Bavarian Division under Lieutenant General Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and the 3rd Bavarian Division led by Lieutenant General Bernhard Erasmus von Deroy, together with Demont’s III Corps Division advanced on Offenstetten. Around 10:00 AM, they defeated Thierry’s brigade, forcing him back on Bachl as Lannes approached from the north. Thierry hastily withdrew to Rohr, which he reached at 2:00 PM. [26]

Historian James R. Arnold offers a different narrative. He writes that Pfanzelter's command was withdrawn on the III Armeekorps commander Hohenzollern's orders, leaving the north-south road through Bachl wide open. Meanwhile, Thierry's attached dragoons discovered that Abensberg and its nearby roads were alive with moving columns of enemy troops. Around 8:00 AM, Thierry fell back on Bachl and found to his dismay that French cavalry already occupied the village. Having become separated from his supporting dragoons, Thierry's men were chased into the woods by Jacquinot's horsemen. From there the Austrians hiked cross-country toward Rohr. [21]

Author Francis Loraine Petre states that Gudin encountered Pfanzelter north of Bachl and brushed him aside about 9:00 AM. The 1st Bavarian division and General-Major Hügel's Württemberg brigade drove Thierry from Offenstetten around 10:00 AM. When the Austrians reached Bachl they stumbled upon Jacquinot who attacked and they "scattered through the woods". [27] Pfanzelter marched east to Langquaid where he rejoined Hohenzollern's corps.

Because he feared that the woods to his left might contain Austrians, Lannes slowed his march so he could scout the terrain to the east. Even so, his column arrived at Rohr before Thierry's infantry. Without Pfanzelter's detachment to warn him, the arrival of Lannes' column surprised Schustekh. The Austrian commander gamely threw four squadrons of hussars at Jacquinot's advance guard. Eventually, Jacquinot got his entire brigade into action and pressed the Austrian hussars back on the supporting battalion and one-third of Grenz infantry south of Rohr. At this time, Thierry's winded infantry appeared on the scene. With the help of Gudin's 17th Light Infantry and a battery of artillery, Jacquinot's chasseurs broke Thierry's foot soldiers and hounded them into the woods again. [28]

French Cuirassier in 1809 Napoleon Cuirassier in 1809 by Bellange.jpg
French Cuirassier in 1809

To take the pressure off the infantry, Schustekh charged again, just as Thierry's lost dragoons showed up. At first, the attack went well, but then the Austrian horsemen came up against a mass of cuirassiers. The result was a rout of the Habsburg cavalry, who rode through the ranks of their own foot soldiers. The French chasseurs and cuirassiers rode roughshod over the troops of Thierry and Mesko, cutting down the fugitives. Over 3,000 Austrians became prisoners, including Thierry, and four cannon were lost. [29]

The previous evening, Hiller's VI Armeekorps bivouacked at Mainburg. Though a road ran directly from Mainburg to Louis' left flank at Siegenburg, a distance of only 13 kilometers, Hiller elected to join his colleague by a roundabout march via Pfeffenhausen. Once he arrived, Hiller was authorized to take command of all three left wing corps. [30] Hiller personally arrived in Siegenburg to confer with Archduke Louis around midday. Hearing troubling reports from the right flank, he sent Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl von Vincent toward Rottenburg with the line brigades of Generals-Major Josef Hoffmeister and Nikolaus Weissenwolf, plus four squadrons of the Rosenberg Chevauxlegers Regiment # 6. [31] [32]

Archduke Louis posted Prince Reuss and General-Major Joseph Radetzky von Radetz with four battalions and 12 cavalry squadrons at Siegenburg. Bianchi held the east bank of the Abens opposite Biburg. Lieutenant-General Karl Philipp von Wrede probed at Siegenburg but his 2nd Bavarian Division was easily fended off by Radetzky and a battery of 12-pdr cannon. At this time, Louis heard that the French attacked Thierry, so he ordered Radetzky to send two battalions to the right flank and called up Kienmayer's command from Ludmannsdorf. [33]

Wrede moved north to Biburg, where he tried to get across the Abens again. At first he was not successful, but Bianchi withdrew to Kirchdorf, allowing the 2nd Bavarian Division to cross to the east bank of the stream. Meanwhile, General of Division Dominique Vandamme's Württemberg contingent (later known as the VIII Corps) replaced Wrede in front of Siegenburg. Vandamme soon realized that crossing at Siegenburg was futile, so he too marched north, crossed the river at Abensberg and moved south to Kirchdorf. Here the Bavarians and Württembergers found Bianchi with his reinforced brigade and a cavalry squadron. [34] Reuss soon arrived with Radetzky's two battalions. [35] Around 2:00 PM a sharp combat took place after which the Austrians retreated to the southeast. [36] According to one account, General of Division Jean Victor Tharreau's cavalry of the II Corps also became involved at Kirchdorf. [37]

Pressed by Wrede's 7th Bavarian Infantry Regiment, plus two of Hügel's Württemberg battalions, [35] Radetzky conducted an orderly retreat on the Siegenburg road, covered by the grenzers and Kienmayer's grenadiers under General-Major Konstantin Ghilian Karl d'Aspré. He managed to shepherd the V Armeekorps trains safely through Pfeffenhausen before the Bavarians cut him off. Wrede pursued aggressively and scooped up many prisoners but failed to capture the bridge, which the Austrians burned. [38] Even so, the Bavarians kept up the pressure, crossing the shallow Große Laber at 11:00 PM to attack. Radetzky fell back to a hill called the Hornbach where his rear guard skirmished with the Bavarians into the early morning hours. [39]

When Vincent's column neared Rottenburg, he found the road jammed with the III Armeekorps trains. A charge by the Rosenberg Chevauxlegers halted the French cuirassiers long enough for his infantry to gain solid positions on the east side of the Große Laber. Hiller arrived at Rottenburg in the late afternoon and ordered a counterattack at 7:00 PM. Vincent swung his left brigade forward and quickly overran a Bavarian unit, capturing 300 troops. Soon after, the Deutschmeister Infantry Regiment # 4 got into a vicious firefight with Bavarian and French infantry. In the twilight, the Austrians were forced back by superior numbers with 600 casualties, but they had finally stopped their enemies. [40]


Prince Liechtenstein Johann Josef I von Liechtenstein.jpg
Prince Liechtenstein

On 20 April, the Austrian II Armeekorps continued attacking Colonel Louis Coutard's 65th Line Infantry Regiment at Regensburg. A French convoy sent to replenish the critically low ammunition supply was ambushed by Austrian cavalry at 8:00 AM. [41] The French troops finally ran out of ammunition and Coutard asked Kollowrat for a 24-hour truce after which he promised to surrender if not relieved. The Austrian commander foolishly agreed to the terms. [42]

However, Liechtenstein's column soon appeared from the south. Liechtenstein pointed out that the existing truce did not apply to him and demanded an immediate surrender. Coutard thereupon capitulated at 5:00 PM. [42] The French sappers had found it impossible to demolish the sturdily-built Regensburg bridge. The intact bridge later played a key factor in the escape of Charles' army. [43] In two days of fighting, the French lost 11 officers and about 200 soldiers killed and wounded, plus 1,988 captured. Austrian losses were 73 dead, 220 wounded, and 85 missing for a total of 378 casualties. During the struggle the French captured 75 troops and one color, all of which were recovered. [44]

When Kollowrat finally reported the II Armeekorps available for duty that evening, the headquarters ordered his troops to make an overnight march west to Hemau on the north bank of the Danube. In the morning, the tired troops were recalled to Regensburg from their pointless ramble. [45]


Arnold lists 1,107 Allied casualties, including 746 Bavarians. He gives Austrian losses as 492 killed, 2,219 wounded, and nearly 4,000 captured, or a total of 6,711. The French also captured eight colors and 12 cannons. [2] Digby Smith notes Allied casualties as 34 dead and 438 wounded, but this seems to count only the German allied troops. Austrian total losses are given as 6,872, including 3,000 to 4,000 captured. The 2nd battalion of the Broder Grenz (Mesko's brigade) was annihilated, with 18 officers and 1,040 rank and file counted as lost. [46] Petre lists 2,710 Austrians killed and wounded, plus about 4,000 captured. Altogether, the 42,000 troops of Hiller's three-corps left wing faced 55,000 French and their German allies. Only about 25,000 Austrians and an equal number of Allies were engaged in action. [1]

Davout was not disturbed on 20 April. Louis-Nicolas Davout.jpg
Davout was not disturbed on 20 April.

That evening, as the extent of Thierry and Schustekh's disaster became known, Hiller resolved to pull his three corps behind the Isar at Landshut. In this decision, he was also influenced by Masséna's move against his left rear and unfavorable reports from Archduke Louis. This crucial decision meant that the Austrian left wing would in the near future operate independently from Archduke Charles' main body. Hiller would only reunite with his army commander on 15 May north of Vienna. [47]

While Napoleon savaged his left wing, Archduke Charles remained amazingly inert. [48] At 6:00 AM, the archduke was with Prince Rosenberg and at 7:30 AM he sent orders to Archduke Louis and then wrote a letter to Emperor Francis I of Austria. But from 11:00 AM until 6:30 PM, the Austrian generalissimo failed to issue any orders. He either became obsessed with capturing Regensburg or he had an epileptic seizure during which he is supposed to have locked himself in his quarters. [49] The epileptic attack is probable, but there is a possibility it may be a cover story for Charles' failure to exercise command. [50] What is known is that the Austrian III, IV, and I Reserve Armeekorps did not disturb Davout's remaining three divisions under Generals of Division Louis Friant, Saint-Hilaire, and Montbrun on 20 April. [48]

Despite being outnumbered, Napoleon's 113,000 troops split the 161,000 strung-out Austrians into two forces. Charles five corps, including 48,000 additional troops of the I and II Armeekorps north of Regensburg, lay to the north while Hiller's three corps fell back to Landshut. (Massena and Oudinot's 57,000 soldiers are not counted in Napoleon's total.) [51] Both Austrian forces had to fight a second major battle each. Hiller fought the Battle of Landshut on 21 April, while Charles engaged in the Battle of Eckmühl on the 22nd. [52]

Order of battle

The following is an abbreviated order of battle. Complete orders of battle are found in the Abensberg 1809 Order of Battle.

Austrian forces

Johann von Hiller Johann Freiherr von Hiller.JPG
Johann von Hiller

Left Wing: Feldmarschall-Leutnant Johann von Hiller

Archduke Louis LudwigLitho.jpg
Archduke Louis

French-Allied forces

Grande Armée: Napoleon I of France

Jean Lannes Jean lannes.jpg
Jean Lannes
Francois Lefebvre Francois-Joseph Lefebvre.png
François Lefebvre
Vandamme General Dominique Joseph Rene Vandamme (4).jpg

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Petre, p 139
  2. 1 2 3 Arnold, p 120
  3. Chandler Campaigns, p 677
  4. Chandler Campaigns, p 678-679
  5. Bowden & Tarbox, p 73
  6. Chandler Campaigns, pp 682–683
  7. Arnold, pp 83–84
  8. Arnold, p 90
  9. Arnold, pp 85–93
  10. Arnold, p 84
  11. Smith, p 289
  12. 1 2 Arnold, p 105 map
  13. Arnold, p 101
  14. 1 2 Arnold p 104
  15. 1 2 3 Arnold, p 107
  16. Arnold, p 74 map
  17. Bowden & Tarbox, p 69-70
  18. 1 2 Arnold, p 235
  19. Arnold, p 175
  20. Arnold, p 78
  21. 1 2 Arnold, p 110
  22. Petre, p 133n
  23. Arnold, pp 104–105
  24. Petre, p 134
  25. Petre, p 136
  26. Castle, p 41
  27. Petre, pp 134–135
  28. Arnold, pp 110–111
  29. Arnold, pp 111–112
  30. Arnold, p 108
  31. Arnold, p 112
  32. Petre, p 137. Petre names the two line infantry brigade commanders.
  33. Arnold, pp 107–108
  34. Arnold, pp 114–115
  35. 1 2 Petre, p 138
  36. Arnold, p 115
  37. Castle, p 46
  38. Arnold, p 116
  39. Arnold, p 137
  40. Arnold, pp 113–114
  41. Arnold, pp 119–120
  42. 1 2 Arnold, p 119
  43. Arnold, p 100
  44. Smith, pp 288–289
  45. Arnold, p 125
  46. Smith, p 290. Smith gives killed, wounded, captured, and missing, but the numbers only add up to 5,824 so they are not listed.
  47. Arnold, pp 116–117
  48. 1 2 Arnold, p 118
  49. Petre, pp 143–144
  50. Arnold, p 213
  51. Chandler Campaigns, p 685 map
  52. Smith, pp 290–291
  53. 1 2 3 Arnold, p 235. Strength only.
  54. Bowden & Tarbox, pp 70–71. Order of battle.
  55. 1 2 Arnold, p 260. Hoffmeister's brigade belonged to Jellacic, but it was exchanged for Dollmayer von Provenchères' brigade of the Light Division at the beginning of the conflict.
  56. Bowden & Tarbox, pp 69–70
  57. Bowden & Tarbox, p 72. Order of battle.
  58. Bowden & Tarbox, pp 57–59
  59. Petre, p 133. It is not known which brigade was detached.
  60. Bowden & Tarbox, pp 61–62
  61. Bowden & Tarbox, p 62

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The Battle of Hohenlinden was fought on 3 December 1800, during the French Revolutionary Wars. A French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau won a decisive victory over the Austrians and Bavarians led by Archduke John of Austria. After being forced into a disastrous retreat, the allies were compelled to request an armistice that effectively ended the War of the Second Coalition. Hohenlinden is 33 km east of Munich in modern Germany.

Battle of Sacile battle

The Battle of Sacile on 16 April 1809 and its companion Clash at Pordenone on 15 April saw an Austrian army commanded by Archduke John of Austria defeat a Franco-Italian army led by Eugène de Beauharnais and force it to retreat. Sacile proved to be the most notable victory of John's career. The action took place east of the Livenza River near Sacile in modern-day Italy during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Elchingen battle

The Battle of Elchingen, fought on 14 October 1805, saw French forces under Michel Ney rout an Austrian corps led by Johann Sigismund Riesch. This defeat led to a large part of the Austrian army being invested in the fortress of Ulm by the army of Emperor Napoleon I of France while other formations fled to the east. Soon afterward, the Austrians trapped in Ulm surrendered and the French mopped up most of the remaining Austrians forces, bringing the Ulm Campaign to a close.

The Battle of Ebelsberg, known in French accounts as the Battle of Ebersberg, was fought on 3 May 1809 during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The Austrian left wing under the command of Johann von Hiller took up positions at Ebersberg on the Traun river. The French under André Masséna attacked, crossing a heavily defended 550-meter-long bridge and subsequently conquering the local castle, thus forcing Hiller to withdraw. Ebelsberg is now a southern suburb of Linz, situated on the south bank of the Traun, a short distance above the place where that stream flows into the Danube River.

Battle of Würzburg battle

The Battle of Würzburg was fought on 3 September 1796 between an army of Habsburg Austria led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen and an army of the First French Republic led by Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. The French attacked the archduke's forces, but they were resisted until the arrival of reinforcements decided the engagement in favor of the Austrians. The French retreated west toward the Rhine River. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Würzburg is 95 kilometres (59 mi) southeast of Frankfurt.

Hohenlinden Order of Battle

In the Battle of Hohenlinden on 3 December 1800, a French army commanded by Jean Victor Marie Moreau decisively defeated the army of Habsburg Austria led by Archduke John. The first action of the campaign was the Battle of Ampfing, two days earlier. After Hohenlinden there was a series of rearguard clashes beginning on 9 December at Rosenheim and continuing from the 14th through the 20th at Salzburg, Neumarkt am Wallersee, Frankenmarkt, Schwanenstadt, Vöcklabruck, Lambach, and Kremsmünster. During the retreat, the Austrian army began a process of disintegration and an armistice was concluded a few days later.

In the Battle of Sankt Michael on 25 May 1809, Paul Grenier's French corps crushed Franz Jellacic's Austrian division at Sankt Michael in Obersteiermark, Austria. The action occurred after the initial French victories during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Sankt Michael is located approximately 140 kilometers southwest of Vienna.

Battle of Verona (1805) 1805

The Battle of Verona was fought on 18 October 1805 between the French Army of Italy under the command of André Masséna and an Austrian army led by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. By the end of the day, Massena seized a bridgehead on the east bank of the Adige River, driving back the defending troops under Josef Philipp Vukassovich. The action took place near the city of Verona in northern Italy during the War of the Third Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Graz

The Battle of Graz took place on 24–26 June 1809 between an Austrian corps commanded by Ignaz Gyulai and a French division led by Jean-Baptiste Broussier. The French were soon reinforced by a corps under Auguste Marmont. The battle is considered a French victory though Gyulai was successful in getting supplies to the Austrian garrison of Graz before the two French forces drove him away from the city. Graz, Austria is located 145 kilometers south-southwest of Vienna at the intersection of the modern A2 and A9 highways.

Abensberg 1809 Order of Battle

The Battle of Abensberg was fought on 20 April 1809, between an Allied force under the command of Emperor Napoleon I of France on one side and three Austrian corps led by Johann von Hiller, Archduke Louis of Austria, and Michael von Kienmayer. The Austrians formed the left wing of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen's main army and were under the overall command of Hiller. Napoleon's French troops, reinforced by troops from the Kingdom of Bavaria and the Kingdom of Württemberg outfought their opponents, inflicted heavy losses, and forced the Austrians to retreat to the southeast.

Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit

The Battle of Neumarkt-Sankt Veit on 24 April 1809 saw a Franco-Bavarian force led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières face an Austrian Empire army commanded by Johann von Hiller. Hiller's numerically superior force won a victory over the Allied troops, forcing Bessières to retreat to the west. Neumarkt-Sankt Veit is located ten kilometers north of Mühldorf and 33 kilometers southeast of Landshut in Bavaria.

Battle of Wörgl

In the Battle of Wörgl or Wörgel on 13 May 1809 a Bavarian force under French Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre attacked an Austrian Empire detachment commanded by Johann Gabriel Chasteler de Courcelles. The Bavarians severely defeated Chasteler's soldiers in series of actions in the Austrian towns of Wörgl, Söll, and Rattenberg. Wörgl is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the modern-day German border on the upper Inn River.

Joseph-Armand Ritter von Nordmann, was a French officer in the French Royal Army. He transferred his allegiance to Habsburg Austria during the French Revolution, like other French émigrés. In Austrian service he fought capably against his former country during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

Konstantin Ghilian Karl dAspré austrian general

Konstantin Ghilian Karl d'Aspré von Hoobreuk, served in the army of Habsburg Austria during the French Revolutionary Wars. In the Napoleonic Wars, he made a mark in two major campaigns. In 1809, he was briefly Proprietor (Inhaber) of an infantry regiment and rose to command a division. His son Konstantin d'Aspré (1789–1850) also became an Austrian general.

The Battle of Günzburg on 9 October 1805 saw General of Division Jean-Pierre Firmin Malher's French division attempt to seize a crossing over the Danube River at Günzburg in the face of a Habsburg Austrian army led by Feldmarschall-Leutnant Karl Mack von Lieberich. Malher's division managed to capture a bridge and hold it against Austrian counterattacks. The battle occurred during the War of the Third Coalition, part of the larger Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Tarvis (1809)

The Battle of Tarvis from 16 to 17 May 1809, the Storming of the Malborghetto Blockhouse from 15 to 17 May 1809, and the Storming of the Predil Blockhouse from 15 to 18 May saw the Franco-Italian army of Eugène de Beauharnais attacking Austrian Empire forces under Albert Gyulai. Eugène crushed Gyulai's division in a pitched battle near Tarvisio, then an Austrian town known as Tarvis. At nearby Malborghetto Valbruna and Predil Pass, small garrisons of Grenz infantry heroically defended two forts before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The Franco-Italian capture of the key mountain passes allowed their forces to invade Austrian Kärnten during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Tarvisio is located in far northeast Italy, near the borders of both Austria and Slovenia.

The Battle of Linz-Urfahr on 17 May 1809 saw soldiers from the Austrian Empire fighting against troops from two of Emperor Napoleon's allies, the Kingdom of Württemberg and the Kingdom of Saxony. An Austrian corps led by Feldzeugmeister Johann Kollowrat attacked General of Division Dominique Vandamme's Württembergers who held a fortified bridgehead on the north bank of the Danube opposite the city of Linz. As the combat got underway, Saxons led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte began reinforcing the defenders. This prompted Kollowrat to order a retreat, which was followed up by Napoleon's German allies.

Battle of Caldiero (1809)

In the Battle of Caldiero or Battle of Soave or Battle of Castelcerino from 27 to 30 April 1809, an Austrian army led by Archduke John of Austria defended against a Franco-Italian army headed by Eugène de Beauharnais, the Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy. The outnumbered Austrians successfully fended off the attacks of their enemies in actions at San Bonifacio, Soave, and Castelcerino before retreating to the east. The clash occurred during the War of the Fifth Coalition, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Piave River 1809 Order of Battle shows the units and organization for the Franco-Italian and Austrian Empire armies that fought in the Battle of Piave River on 8 May 1809. Eugène de Beauharnais, the viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy defeated Archduke John of Austria. Eugène's Advance Guard crossed the river first and was assailed by Austrian cavalry and artillery. The French cavalry routed the opposing cavalry and captured 14 enemy guns. A lull followed as John arranged his infantry in a formidable defensive position. Meanwhile, Eugène struggled to pour reinforcements into the bridgehead as the Piave rose dangerously. In the afternoon, the viceroy sent Paul Grenier to drive back the Austrian left while Jacques MacDonald mounted an assault on the center. The attack succeeded in breaking the Austrian line and compelling John to order a retreat.


Coordinates: 48°48′N11°51′E / 48.800°N 11.850°E / 48.800; 11.850