Battle of Stockach (1800)

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Battle of Stockach and Engen (1800)
Part of War of the Second Coalition
Date 3 May 1800
Location Stockach and Engen, Germany
Result French victory
Belligerents
France First French Republic  Habsburg Monarchy
Commanders and leaders
France Jean Victor Moreau
France Claude Lecourbe
Habsburg Monarchy Pál Kray
Habsburg Monarchy Joseph, Prince of Lorraine-Vaudemont
Strength
84,000 72,000
Casualties and losses
7,000 7,000

The Battle of Stockach and Engen was fought on 3 May 1800 between the army of the First French Republic under Jean Victor Marie Moreau and the army of Habsburg Austria led by Pál Kray. The fighting near Engen resulted in a stalemate with heavy losses on both sides. However, while the two main armies were engaged at Engen, Claude Lecourbe captured Stockach from its Austrian defenders under the Joseph, Prince of Lorraine-Vaudemont. The loss of his main supply base at Stockach compelled Kray to order a retreat. Stockach is located near the northwestern end of Lake Constance while Engen is 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of Stockach. The action occurred during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars.

Background[edit]

At the beginning of 1800, the armies of France and Austria faced each other across the Rhine. Feldzeugmeister Pál Kray led approximately 120,000 troops. Beside his regular Austrian soldiers, he led 12,000 men from the Electorate of Bavaria, 6,000 troops from the Duchy of Württemberg, 5,000 soldiers of low quality from the Archbishopric of Mainz, and 7,000 militiamen from the County of Tyrol. Of these, 25,000 men were deployed east of Lake Constance (Bodensee) to protect the Voralberg. Kray posted his main body of 95,000 soldiers in the L-shaped angle where the Rhine changes direction from a westward flow along the northern border of Switzerland to a northward flow along the eastern border of France. Unwisely, Kray set up his main magazine at Stockach, only a day's march from French-held Switzerland.[1]

General of Division Jean Victor Marie Moreau commanded a well-equipped army of 137,000 French troops. Of these, 108,000 troops were available for field operations while the other 29,000 watched the Swiss border and held the Rhine fortresses. First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte offered a plan of operations based on outflanking the Austrians by a push from Switzerland, but Moreau declined to follow it. Rather, Moreau planned to cross the Rhine near Basel where the river swung to the north. A French column would distract Kray from Moreau's true intentions by crossing the Rhine from the west. Bonaparte wanted Claude Lecourbe's corps to be detached to Italy after the initial battles, but Moreau had other plans.[2]

Forces[edit]

At the beginning of March, Bonaparte ordered Moreau to form his army into all-arms army corps. Accordingly, by 20 March 1800, there were four corps, with the last one serving as an army reserve.[2] The Right Wing was led by Lecourbe and included four divisions. These were General of Division Dominique Vandamme's 9,632 infantry and 540 cavalry, General of Division Joseph Hélie Désiré Perruquet de Montrichard's 6,998 infantry, General of Division Jean Thomas Guillaume Lorge's 8,238 infantry and 464 cavalry, and General of Division Étienne Marie Antoine Champion de Nansouty's 1,500 grenadiers and 1,280 cavalry.[3]

The Center was led by General of Division Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr and comprised four divisions. These were General of Division Michel Ney's 7,270 infantry and 569 cavalry, General of Division Louis Baraguey d'Hilliers' 8,340 infantry and 542 cavalry, General of Division Jean Victor Tharreau's 8,326 infantry and 611 cavalry, and General of Brigade Nicolas Emault de Rignac Des Bruslys' 2,474 light infantry and 1,616 cavalry.[4]

The Left Wing was commanded by General of Division Gilles Joseph Martin Brunteau Saint-Suzanne and consisted of four divisions. These units were General of Division Claude Sylvestre Colaud's 2,740 infantry and 981 cavalry, General of Division Joseph Souham's 4,687 infantry and 1,394 cavalry, General of Division Claude Juste Alexandre Legrand's 5,286 infantry and 1,094 cavalry, and General of Division Henri François Delaborde's 2,573 infantry and 286 cavalry.[4]

Moreau personally directed the Reserve which was made up of three infantry and one cavalry divisions. These were General of Division Antoine Guillaume Delmas de la Coste's 8,635 infantry and 1,031 cavalry, General of Division Antoine Richepanse's 6,848 infantry and 1,187 cavalry, General of Division Charles Leclerc's 6,035 infantry and 963 cavalry, and General of Division Jean-Joseph Ange d'Hautpoul's 1,504 heavy cavalry.[4]

There were additional troops under Moreau's overall leadership. These included General of Division Louis-Antoine-Choin de Montchoisy's 7,715 infantry and 519 cavalry, detached to hold Switzerland. Fortresses in Alsace and along the Rhine were defended by forces under Generals of Division François Xavier Jacob Freytag, 2,935 infantry; Joseph Gilot, 750 cavalry; Alexandre Paul Guerin de Joyeuse de Chateauneuf-Randon, 3,430 infantry and 485 cavalry; Antoine Laroche Dubouscat, 3,001 infantry and 91 cavalry; and Jean François Leval, 5,640 infantry and 426 cavalry.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Arnold, 197-199
  2. ^ a b Arnold, 199-201
  3. ^ Smith, 177
  4. ^ a b c d Smith, 178

References[edit]