|Battle of Nördlingen|
|Part of the Thirty Years' War|
The Battle of Nördlingen by Jan van den Hoecke
|Commanders and leaders|
| Gustav Horn (POW) |
Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar
Johann Philipp Kratz von Scharffenstein (POW)
| Crown Prince Ferdinand |
|Casualties and losses|
|21,000 killed or captured||3,500 killed or wounded|
The Battle of Nördlingen (German : Schlacht bei Nördlingen; Spanish : Batalla de Nördlingen; Swedish : Slaget vid Nördlingen) was fought in 1634 during the Thirty Years' War, on 27 August (Julian calendar) or 6 September (Gregorian calendar). The Roman Catholic Imperial army, bolstered by 15,000 Spanish soldiers, won a crushing victory over the combined Protestant armies of Sweden and their German-Protestant allies (Heilbronn Alliance).
After the failure of the tercio system in the first Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631, the professional Spanish troops deployed at Nördlingen proved the tercio system could still contend with the deployment improvements devised by Maurice of Orange and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in their respective troops.
This section needs additional citations for verification . (September 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The Battle of Nördlingen was part of the Thirty Years' War, fought from 1618 to 1648. The chief belligerents were the Catholic Habsburg dynasties consisting of an Austrian and Spanish branch and their allies on one side. (The Austrian archduke also held the title of Holy Roman Emperor. For this reason, the Austrian Habsburgs are frequently referred to as the Imperialists.) Opposed to them were the Protestant nations comprising the Dutch, Denmark, Sweden, various German principalities and later, Catholic France.
After the Protestant victory at the Battle of Lützen two years before, the Swedes failed to follow up due to the death of their king, Gustavus Adolphus. As a result, the Imperial forces began to regain the initiative.
In 1634 Protestant German and Swedish forces moved south and invaded Bavaria, threatening a major Habsburg ally. In response, the Austrian Habsburg commander, Ferdinand of Hungary (son of Ferdinand II, the Holy Roman Emperor) advanced west from Bohemia (today, the Czech Republic) threatening to cut across the supply lines of the Protestant armies. Consequently, the Protestant commanders quickly reversed course and headed north. They were aware that Spanish reinforcements under Ferdinand of Hungary's cousin, the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand of Austria, were en route from their dominions in Northern Italy. The Spanish army had marched through the Stelvio Pass trying to open a new "Spanish Road", and take their Commander to his Governorship in the Spanish Low Countries.
The Protestant commanders decided they could not ignore the threat of a union between the two enemy forces and combined their two largest armies near Augsburg on 12 July, which included the Swabian-Alsatian Army under Gustav Horn and the so-called Franconian Army under Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar. Both armies were named after their main operation area and belonged to the Heilbronn Alliance (Sweden's German-Protestant allies under the directorate of the Swedish chancellor Axel Oxenstierna). These forces mostly consisted of German recruits. Among them were the Blue brigade and the Scots in Swedish service ("the Green brigade") with a few national Swedish/Finnish regiments (mostly cavalry) and one national Swedish infantry brigade ("the Yellow brigade").
The Protestants proved unable to prevent the fall of Regensburg to Ferdinand of Hungary and desperately pursued him westwards in an effort to prevent the merger of the two Habsburg armies. On 16 August the Cardinal-Infante crossed the Danube at Donauwörth. Despite their best efforts the Protestant armies were still behind when Ferdinand of Hungary set down to besiege the town of Nördlingen in Swabia and await the Cardinal-Infante, who arrived before the city on 2 September - three days before the Protestants.
The cousins, Ferdinand, brother of the Spanish king and known as the Cardinal-Infante, and Ferdinand of Hungary, son of Ferdinand II, the Austrian Holy Roman Emperor, prepared for battle, ignoring the advice of more experienced generals such as Matthias Gallas. Most felt a full engagement against two of the most experienced Protestant commanders was reckless and unlikely to have positive results. However, the cousins were supported by Count Leganés, the Spanish deputy commander, who was confident in their superior numbers, including the reliable Spanish Infantry.
Bernhard and Horn also prepared for battle. Bernhard felt that no matter the odds, an attempt must be made to relieve Nördlingen. Horn seems to have been reluctant given the state of the Protestant armies, which were short of supplies. Bernard underestimated the numerically superior enemy forces despite information obtained from a prisoner. The Spanish reinforcements numbered closer to 20,000 not 7,000. In addition, the Austrian and Spanish Imperialists possessed 13,000 cavalry. By contrast, the combined Protestant forces numbered 16,000 infantry and 9,000 horse. Also critical was the fact that the terrain features of the battlefield convinced the Protestant commanders to abandon the 3 pounder guns normally attached to each of their infantry brigades, which at previous battles had provided a crucial firepower advantage.
The two Ferdinands drew up their armies between the Protestant forces and the town of Nördlingen, with the left wing anchored at the base of a hill. In the center, Catholic German infantry were placed in front with the Spanish behind them. A contingent of Catholic Germans defended the hilltop.
The Protestant commanders came up with a plan: With half the army, Bernard was to hold the main Imperialist force in check while Horn wheeled the remainder through some woods on the right with the object of taking the hill on the Imperialist left. Once the hill was seized, artillery could be placed on top that would subject the enemy flank to enfilade fire. That would force him to withdraw and relieve Nördlingen.
At sunrise on September 6, Horn commenced his attack, which suffered every kind of bad luck. After laying out careful instructions to his subordinates, the cavalry attacked prematurely, leaving the infantry and artillery behind, when they were supposed to lead. Despite this blunder, the Catholic Germans holding the hilltop panicked, deserting their batteries. However, the wooded features caused two of Horn's brigades to mistake each other for enemy, and they began to exchange fire. Meanwhile, the victorious cavalry dissipated itself chasing down fugitives.
Taking advantage of the confusion in Horn's forces, the Cardinal-Infante sent a detachment of Spanish foot and horse, which reclaimed the hill. Horn was able to rally his men, but by then the hilltop was impregnable. Fifteen assaults were made over the next few hours, all of which were beaten back.Among the defending Spanish forces were the "Tercios Viejos" (Old Tercios), mainly those commanded by Fuenclara, Idiáquez, and Toralto with support from Ottavio Piccolomini's Italian cavalry. The Protestant attacks were led by the brigades Vitzthum, Pfuel and one of the Scots Brigades (Colonel William Gunn), supported by the brigade of Count Thurn (Black and Yellow Regiment).
Meanwhile, in the center, Bernard had avoided battle and prevented the Imperialists from reinforcing their threatened left by skillful use of his artillery.However, the Imperial commanders observed the weakened condition of Bernhard's army, which had sent reinforcements to assist Horn on the right. At the opportune moment, a general advance was ordered that quickly put Bernard's forces to flight. Pursuit of Bernard's troops threatened to cut off any escape route of the Swedish units under Horn, who also promptly broke.
Gustav Horn of Björneborg was captured and his army destroyed. A small remnant of Protestants fled to Heilbronn.
The battle was one of the most crushing victories of the Thirty Years' War. With their forces substantially reduced and many German principalities refusing aid, the Swedes withdrew to Northern Germany where they remained inactive for two years. Consequently, the Protestant German princes made a separate peace with the Emperor in the Treaty of Prague.
The Habsburg triumph at Nördlingen followed by the Treaty of Prague could have been decisive in ending the war, enhancing Habsburg dominance in Europe. Spanish forces were no longer engaged in Germany, and now posed a direct threat to France all along its frontier.
France had long been financing the enemies of the Habsburgs, but now they no longer were strong enough to be relied upon. France therefore intervened directly against the Habsburgs by declaring war against Spain on May 21, 1635. This opened a second front against the Spanish Netherlands. Bernard of Saxe-Weimar was given 12,000 French troops and extensive funding.
The Swedes recovered. In 1636, two years after Nördlingen, they defeated a combined Imperial and Saxon army at the Battle of Wittstock, followed later by victories at the Second Battle of Breitenfeld, the battle of Jankov, and the battle of Zusmarshausen.
The Thirty Years' War was a conflict primarily fought in Central Europe from 1618 to 1648; estimates of total military and civilian deaths range from 4.5 to 8 million, mostly from disease or starvation. In some areas of Germany, it has been suggested up to 60% of the population died.
Ferdinand III was from 1621 Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary from 1625, King of Croatia and Bohemia from 1627 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1637 until his death in 1657.
The Battle of Rocroi, fought on 19 May 1643, was a major engagement of the Thirty Years' War. It was fought between a French army led by the 21-year-old Duke of Enghien and Spanish forces under General Francisco de Melo only five days after the accession of Louis XIV to the throne of France following his father's death. Rocroi is regarded as the graveyard of the myth of invincibility of the Spanish Tercios, the terrifying infantry units that had dominated European battlefields for 120 years up to that point. The battle is therefore often considered to mark the end of Spanish military greatness and the beginning of French hegemony in Europe. After Rocroi, the Spanish abandoned the Tercio system and adopted the Line infantry doctrine like the French.
The Battle of White Mountain was an important battle in the early stages of the Thirty Years' War.
The Battle of Breitenfeld or First Battle of Breitenfeld, was fought at a crossroads near Breitenfeld approximately 8 km north-west of the walled city of Leipzig on 17 September, or 7 September, 1631. It was the Protestants' first major victory of the Thirty Years War.
One tercio was a military unit of the Spanish Army during the time of the House of Austria. The Tercios were famous for their resistance on the battlefield, forming the elite of the military units available to the kings of the Hispanic Monarchy of the time. The thirds were the essential piece of the terrestrial hegemony, and sometimes also maritime of the Spanish Empire. The Tercio is considered the rebirth of the infantry on the battlefield, comparable to the Roman legions or the Macedonian phalanxes.
The Battle of Fleurus of August 29, 1622 was fought in the Spanish Netherlands between a Spanish army, and the Protestant forces of Ernst von Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick during the Eighty Years' War and Thirty Years' War. The bloody struggle left the Protestants mangled and the Spanish masters of the field, but unable to block the enemy's march.
Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand was Governor of the Spanish Netherlands, Cardinal of the Holy Catholic Church, Infante of Spain, Infante of Portugal, Archduke of Austria, Archbishop of Toledo (1619–41), and military commander during the Thirty Years' War.
The Peace of Prague, Pražský mír (Czech), Prager Frieden (German), signed on 30 May 1635, ended Saxony's participation in the Thirty Years War. The terms would later form the basis of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia.
The Franco-Spanish War of 1635 to 1659 was fought between France, and their Habsburg rivals in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. It consists of two segments, the first as a connected conflict of the Thirty Years War, ended by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, the second continuing until the 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees. The war is generally viewed by historians as inconclusive.
The Treaty of Fontainebleau was signed on 30 May 1631 during the Thirty Years' War, at the Palace of Fontainebleau. It was a pact of mutual assistance between Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, and France, for a period of eight years.
The Battle of Herbsthausen, also known as the Battle of Mergentheim, took place near Bad Mergentheim, in the modern German state of Baden-Württemberg. Fought on 2 May 1645, during the Thirty Years War, it featured a French army led by Turenne, and a Bavarian force under Franz von Mercy.
Count Jindřich Matyáš Thurn-Valsassina, was a Czech (Bohemian) nobleman, one of leaders of Protestant Bohemian Revolt against Emperor Ferdinand II. He took part in events that led to the Thirty Years War, and after the war he became a military leader and diplomat in Swedish service, who eventually resided in Swedish Estonia.
The Battle of Les Avins or Avein took place on 20 May 1635, outside the town of Les Avins, near Huy in modern Belgium, then part of the Bishopric of Liège. It was the first major engagement of the 1635 to 1659 Franco-Spanish War, a connected conflict of the Thirty Years' War.
The Treaty of Bärwalde, signed on 23 January 1631, was an agreement by France to provide Sweden financial support, following its intervention in the Thirty Years' War.
The Battle of Oldendorf on 8 July 1633 was fought as part of the Thirty Years' War between the Swedish Empire and the Holy Roman Empire near Hessisch-Oldendorf, Lower Saxony, Germany. The result was a decisive victory for the Swedish Army.
The Siege of Bad Kreuznach or the Spanish capture of Bad Kreuznach took place on 10 September 1620, in Bad Kreuznach in the Electorate of the Palatinate, where the Army of Flanders, led by the spanish Don Ambrosio Spinola, conquered the troops of Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate, during the Palatinate campaign of the Thirty Years' War. The Army of Flanders was a multinational army in the service of the kings of Spain that was based in the Netherlands during the 16th to 18th centuries. Spinola's troops stormed Bad Kreuznach and its garrison surrendered. Later the town was freed on an oath not to rebel against the Holy Roman Empire.
The Swedish invasion of the Holy Roman Empire or the Swedish Intervention in the Thirty Years' War is a historically accepted division of the Thirty Years' War. It was a military conflict that took place between 1630 and 1635, during the course of the Thirty Years' War. It was a major turning point of the war: the Protestant cause, previously on the verge of defeat, won several major victories and changed the direction of the War. The Habsburg-Catholic coalition, previously in the ascendant, was significantly weakened as a result of the gains the Protestant cause made. It is often considered to be an independent conflict by most historians.
The Battle of Willstätt was fought during the Swedish phase of the Thirty Years' War near the Free city of Strasbourg, in the Holy Roman Empire. Having dealt a heavy defeat on the Swedish army at the Battle of Nördlingen in September, the armies of the Emperor, Spain and the Catholic League overran much of the Swedish-held southern Germany. At Wilsttätt, the armies of the Emperor and the Catholic League, led by Duke Charles IV of Lorraine and general Johann von Werth, defeated a Swedish force assembled by the Germans the Rhingrave of Salm-Kyrburg-Mörchingen, the Duke of Württemberg and the Margrave of Baden-Durlach. The battle lasted for three hours and ended with 2,000 Swedish soldiers dead on the battlefield and a bigger number in the rout. The Rheingrave Otto saved himself inside Strasbourg.
Johann Philipp Kratz von Scharffenstein was a German nobleman and field marshal, who fought during the course of the Thirty Years' War. He served with distinction in forces of both the Catholic League and Holy Roman Empire. His poor relationship with the Imperial generalissimo Albrecht von Wallenstein frustrated his plan of becoming the supreme commander of the League's forces. Embittered by this he defected to Sweden, where he attained the rank of field marshal. He was captured at the Battle of Nördlingen (1634) and executed for treason a year later.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Nördlingen .|