Battle of Neresheim
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|Battle of Neresheim|
|Part of the French Revolutionary War|
|French Republic||Habsburg Austria|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Jean Moreau
| Archduke Charles
|Army of Rhin-et-Moselle||Army of the Upper Rhine|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Neresheim (11 August 1796) saw a victory of Republican French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau over the Habsburg Austrian army of Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen. Pursued by Moreau's Army of Rhin-et-Moselle, Charles launched an attack against the French. While the Austrian left wing saw some success, the battle degenerated into a stalemate and the archduke withdrew further into the Electorate of Bavaria. Neresheim is located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany a distance of 57 kilometres (35 mi) northeast of Ulm. The action took place during the War of the First Coalition, part of a larger conflict called the French Revolutionary Wars.
In the Rhine Campaign of 1796, two French armies successfully breached the Rhine River to invade Germany, Moreau's army in the south and Jean-Baptiste Jourdan's Army of Sambre-et-Meuse in the north. The French armies operated independently while Charles commanded both Maximilian Anton Karl, Count Baillet de Latour's Army of the Upper Rhine in the south and Wilhelm von Wartensleben's Army of the Lower Rhine in the north. Charles hoped to concentrate superior strength against one of the two French armies. To keep his enemies separated, the archduke wished to lure Moreau south of the Danube River by crossing to the south bank. To allow his columns to cross the river safely, Charles attacked the French, hoping to push them back. Though he failed to defeat the French, the battle gave the archduke enough space to get his troops over the Danube without interference. Moreau soon crossed to the south bank in pursuit.
On 8 June 1796, the Army of Rhin-et-Moselle commanded by Jean Victor Marie Moreau numbered 71,581 foot soldiers and 6,515 cavalry, not counting artillerists. The army was formed into a Right Wing under Pierre Marie Barthélemy Ferino, a Center led by Louis Desaix and a Left Wing directed by Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr. Ferino's three divisions were led by François Antoine Louis Bourcier, 9,281 infantry and 690 cavalry, Henri François Delaborde, 8,300 infantry and 174 cavalry and Augustin Tuncq, 7,437 infantry and 432 cavalry. Desaix's three divisions were commanded by Michel de Beaupuy, 14,565 infantry and 1,266 cavalry, Antoine Guillaume Delmas, 7,898 infantry and 865 cavalry, and Charles Antoine Xaintrailles, 4,828 infantry and 962 cavalry. Saint-Cyr's two divisions were under Guillaume Philibert Duhesme, 7,438 infantry and 895 cavalry, and Alexandre Camille Taponier, 11,823 infantry and 1,231 cavalry. With artillerymen, Moreau's host counted a total of 79,592 soldiers. Originally, the Army of Rhin-et-Moselle was opposed by 82,776 Austrians and allies under Dagobert Sigmund von Wurmser. But 25,330 Austrians were soon transferred to Italy and Wurmser went with this force on 18 June. Maximilian Anton Karl, Count Baillet de Latour was appointed the new commander of the Army of the Upper Rhine. The former leader of the Army of the Lower Rhine, Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen was replaced by Wilhelm von Wartensleben so he could take overall command of both Austrian armies.
On 24 June 1796, the Army of Rhin-et-Moselle mounted a successful assault crossing of the Rhine River at Kehl. The French sustained losses of 150 killed, wounded and missing out of 10,065 engaged. The Swabian Regional Contingent defenders numbered 7,000 soldiers in eight foot battalions, eight horse squadrons and two artillery batteries. The Swabians suffered over 700 casualties and lost 14 guns and 22 munition wagons. Moreau's forces inflicted a second defeat on a force of 9,000 Swabians and their Austrian allies at Renchen on 28 June. This time the French reported only 200 casualties while inflicting 550 killed and wounded on their enemies. In addition, the French captured 850 soldiers, seven guns and two munition wagons. During this period of maneuvering, Moreau shuffled the positions of two of his wings. Ferino still commanded the Right Wing, but Desaix now commanded the Left Wing while Saint-Cyr led the Center.
Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen commanded an army of 43,000 men while Jean Victor Marie Moreau led 44,737 troops. However, Charles massed his main strength against Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr's wing, which comprised 30,426 soldiers including the nearby reserves. The Austrians lost 1,100 killed and wounded plus 500 captured while the French suffered 1,200 killed and wounded plus 1,200 captured. Another authority stated that each army lost about 3,000 casualties.
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. p. 111. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
- Phipps, Ramsay Weston (2011). The Armies of the First French Republic: Volume II The Armées du Moselle, du Rhin, de Sambre-et-Meuse, de Rhin-et-Moselle. USA: Pickle Partners Publishing. p. 290. ISBN 978-1-908692-25-2.
- Phipps (2010), p. 274
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. pp. 115–116. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
- Phipps, Ramsay Weston (2011). The Armies of the First French Republic: Volume II The Armées du Moselle, du Rhin, de Sambre-et-Meuse, de Rhin-et-Moselle. USA: Pickle Partners Publishing. p. 320. ISBN 978-1-908692-25-2.
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. pp. 119–120. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
- Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (2011). Warfare in the Age of Napoleon: The Revolutionary Wars Against the First Coalition in Northern Europe and the Italian Campaign, 1789-1797. USA: Leonaur Ltd. p. 293. ISBN 978-0-85706-598-8.
- Dodge, Theodore Ayrault (2011). Warfare in the Age of Napoleon: The Revolutionary Wars Against the First Coalition in Northern Europe and the Italian Campaign, 1789-1797. USA: Leonaur Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85706-598-8.
- Phipps, Ramsay Weston (2011). The Armies of the First French Republic: Volume II The Armées du Moselle, du Rhin, de Sambre-et-Meuse, de Rhin-et-Moselle. USA: Pickle Partners Publishing. ISBN 978-1-908692-25-2.
- Pope, Stephen. The Cassell Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars, Cassell (1999)
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
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