Battle of Altenkirchen

Last updated
Battle of Altenkirchen
Part of War of the First Coalition
Date4 June 1796
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg Republican France Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Habsburg Austria
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Jean Baptiste Kléber Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Duke Ferdinand of Württemberg
Units involved
Flag of France.svg Army of Sambre-et-Meuse Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Army of the Lower Rhine
Strength
20,000 20,000
Casualties and losses
light 1,500, 12 guns

The Battle of Altenkirchen (4 June 1796) saw two Republican French divisions commanded by Jean Baptiste Kléber attack a wing of the Habsburg Austrian army led by Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg. A frontal attack combined with a flanking maneuver forced the Austrians to retreat. Three future Marshals of France played significant roles in the engagement: François Joseph Lefebvre as a division commander, Jean-de-Dieu Soult as a brigadier and Michel Ney as leader of a flanking column. The battle occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of a larger conflict called the Wars of the French Revolution. Altenkirchen is located in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Bonn.

Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg German military leader

Duke Ferdinand Frederick Augustus of Württemberg was the fifth son of Frederick II Eugene, Duke of Württemberg and a Habsburg Austrian general during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. As a high-ranking nobleman, he started his military career as an Oberstleutnant in 1781. Promoted to General-major in 1788, he fought at Belgrade during the Austro-Turkish War. During the War of the First Coalition he led his troops at Neerwinden and was in command of the successful Siege of Condé in 1793.

François Joseph Lefebvre Marshal of France

François Joseph Lefebvre, Duc de Dantzig, was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon.

Jean-de-Dieu Soult Prime Minister of France

Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia, was a French general and statesman, named Marshal of the Empire in 1804 and often called Marshal Soult. Soult was one of only six officers in French history to receive the distinction of Marshal General of France. The Duke also served three times as President of the Council of Ministers, or Prime Minister of France.

The French opened the Rhine Campaign of 1796 by ordering Kléber to attack south out of his bridgehead at Düsseldorf. After Kléber won sufficient maneuver room on the east bank of the Rhine River, Jean Baptiste Jourdan was supposed to join him with the remainder of the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse . But this was only a distraction. When the Austrians under Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen moved north to oppose Jourdan, Jean Victor Marie Moreau would cross the Rhine far to the south with the Army of Rhin-et-Moselle . Kléber carried out his part of the scheme to perfection, allowing Jourdan to cross the Rhine at Neuwied on 10 June. The next action was the Battle of Wetzlar on 1516 June.

Rhine Campaign of 1796 Last campaign of the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars

In the Rhine Campaign of 1796, two First Coalition armies under the overall command of Archduke Charles outmaneuvered and defeated two French Republican armies. This was the last campaign of the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Düsseldorf Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Düsseldorf is the capital and second-largest city of the most populous German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne, as well as the seventh-largest city in Germany, with a population of 617,280. At the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary Düssel, the city lies in the centre of both the Rhine-Ruhr and the Rhineland Metropolitan Regions with the Cologne Bonn Region to its south and the Ruhr to its north. Most of the city lies on the right bank of the Rhine. The city is the largest in the German Low Franconian dialect area. "Dorf" meaning "village" in German, the "-dorf" suffix is unusual in the German-speaking area for a settlement of Düsseldorf's size.

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.

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References

Theodore Ayrault Dodge Union United States Army officer

Theodore Ayrault Dodge was an American officer, military historian, and businessman. He fought as a Union officer in the American Civil War; as a writer, he was devoted to both the Civil War and the great generals of ancient and European history.

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Coordinates: 50°41′14″N7°38′44″E / 50.68722°N 7.64556°E / 50.68722; 7.64556

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.