Battle of Neuwied (1797)

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Battle of Neuwied (1797)
Part of the French Revolutionary Wars
Date18 April 1797
Location
Neuwied, present-day Germany
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg First French Republic Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (after 1400).svg Habsburg Austria
Commanders and leaders
Lazare Hoche Franz von Werneck [1]
Units involved
Army of Sambre-et-Meuse Army of the Lower Rhine
Strength
35,000 [2] to 38,000 [3] 21,000
Casualties and losses
2,000 killed, wounded and captured 10,000 (3,0004,000 dead, 7,000 captured), 2427 guns, 57 colors, 60 wagons

The Battle of Neuwied (18 April 1797) saw Lazare Hoche lead part of the French Army of Sambre-et-Meuse against Franz von Werneck's Austrian army. The French attack surprised their enemies and broke through their lines. Aside from 1,000 men killed and wounded, Austrian losses included at least 3,000 prisoners, 24 artillery pieces, 60 vehicles, and five colors. For their part, the French lost 2,000 men killed, wounded, and captured. The losses were in vain because Napoleon Bonaparte signed the Preliminaries of Leoben with Austria the same day. The armistice halted the fighting so that both sides could negotiate a peace. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Lazare Hoche French general

Louis Lazare Hoche was a French soldier who rose to be general of the Revolutionary army. He won a victory over Royalist forces in Brittany. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3. Richard Holmes says he was, "quick-thinking, stern, and ruthless...a general of real talent whose early death was a loss to France."

Franz Freiherr von Werneck, born 13 October 1748 – died 17 January 1806, enlisted in the army of Habsburg Austria and fought in the Austro-Turkish War, the French Revolutionary Wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. He enjoyed a distinguished career until 1797, when he lost a battle and was dismissed as punishment. He was only reinstated in 1805. In that year he surrendered his command and was later brought up on charges. He died while awaiting a court-martial.

War of the First Coalition 1790s war to contain Revolutionary France

The War of the First Coalition is the traditional name of the wars that several European powers fought between 1792 and 1797 against the French First Republic. Despite the collective strength of these nations compared with France, they were not really allied and fought without much apparent coordination or agreement. Each power had its eye on a different part of France it wanted to appropriate after a French defeat, which never occurred.

Contents

The battle

The battle opened with an Austrian cannonade causing an attack by the French right wing on the Austrian left wing under Pál Kray. After several attacks against the key position on the Austrian right near the village of Bendorff, the French infantry, aided by several squadrons of chasseurs, were able to dislodge the Austrians from this position. A French cavalry charge drove the Austrians out of the village of Sayn. Hoche then launched a column under Antoine Richepanse in the pursuit of the retreating Austrians. Richepanse succeeded in capturing seven cannons, fifty caissons and five Austrian colors. The French infantry, supported by the guns of François Joseph Lefebvre, managed to dislodge the Austrians from the village of Zolenberg, causing the final defeat of the Austrian left wing.

Antoine Richepanse French general

Antoine Richepanse was a French revolutionary general and colonial administrator.

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.

As the French right wing attacked the Austrian left wing, Hoche launched a second assault, this time on the Austrian center. After an artillery barrage, the grenadiers of General Paul Grenier assaulted the redoubts of Hettersdorff and took the village in a bayonet charge, while the hussars of Michel Ney outflanked the Austrian center position from the left. These attacks forced the Austrian center to retreat.

Paul Grenier French general

Paul Grenier joined the French royal army and rapidly rose to general officer rank during the French Revolutionary Wars. He led a division in the 1796-1797 campaign in southern Germany. During the 1800 campaign in the Electorate of Bavaria he was a wing commander. Beginning in 1809, in the Napoleonic Wars, Emperor Napoleon I entrusted him with corps commands in the Italian theater. A skilled tactician, he was one of the veteran generals who made the Napoleonic armies such a formidable foe to the other European powers. After the Bourbon Restoration he retired from the army and later went into politics. Grenier is one of the Names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

Hussar light cavalry originally from Hungary

A hussar was a member of a class of light cavalry, originating in Central Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. The title and distinctive dress of these horsemen were subsequently widely adopted by light cavalry regiments in European armies in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Michel Ney French soldier and military commander

Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney, 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva, popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander of German origin who fought in the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves by Napoleon.

After being dislodged by Richepanse, the Austrian left was rallied by Kray who was able to withstand further French attacks. To counter this, Hoche launched the grenadiers of Grenier and several squadrons of dragoons and Ney's hussars against Kray. Ney with some 500 hussars proceeded to Dierdorf where he engaged the Austrian reserve of 6,000 for four hours until the rest of the French army caught up. [4] During a counterattack by Austrian cavalry Ney's horse fell and he was captured. Under this attack the Austrian left collapsed and in the pursuit the hussars captured 4,000 men and two colors. On their part of the battlefield the French left wing under Jean Étienne Championnet succeeded in driving the Austrians out of Altenkirchen and Kerathh.

Dragoon mounted infantry soldiers

Dragoons originally were a class of mounted infantry, who used horses for mobility, but dismounted to fight on foot. From the early 18th century onward, dragoons were increasingly also employed as conventional cavalry, trained for combat with swords from horseback.

Result

The Austrian army lost 3,000 men in the battle and another 7,000 men were captured in the aftermath of the battle. The French captured twenty-seven cannon and seven Austrian colors in this major success. Hoche's successful offensive was stopped by news of the Preliminaries of Leoben which led to the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Battle of Neuwied is inscribed on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Treaty of Campo Formio 1797 treaty between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria

The Treaty of Campo Formio was signed on 18 October 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp von Cobenzl as representatives of the French Republic and the Austrian monarchy, respectively. The treaty followed the armistice of Leoben, which had been forced on the Habsburgs by Napoleon's victorious campaign in Italy. It ended the War of the First Coalition and left Great Britain fighting alone against revolutionary France.

Arc de Triomphe Triumphal arch in Paris, France

The Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, France, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l'Étoile — the étoile or "star" of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues. The location of the arc and the plaza is shared between three arrondissements, 16th, 17th (north) and 8th (east). The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

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References

  1. http://www.napoleon-online.de/AU_Generale/html/werneck.html
  2. The history of the campaigns in the years 1796, 1797, 1798, 1799. Vol II., London, 1812, p.96
  3. Smith (1998), 135
  4. Bulos, M.. Memoirs of Marshal Ney, Volume 1, London 1834, p.226.

Coordinates: 50°27′12″N7°27′15″E / 50.45333°N 7.45417°E / 50.45333; 7.45417

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.