Ars Bellica

Battles In Brief

Battle of Hohenlinden

December 3, 1800

The opponents

John Baptist Joseph Fabian Sebastian von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduke of Austria ( Florence, January 20, 1782 - Graz, May 11, 1859 )

Son of Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany (Emperor Leopold II) and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain, brother of Emperor Francis I of Austria. Driven by his brother, initially he cultivated military ambitions that vanished after the defeat of Hohenlinden (1800). He directed (1805-09), not perfectly , the struggle for independence of Tyrol against Napoleon. In 1811 he founded the Graz Museum of Natural History and the Higher Institute Iohannaeum. With the revolution of 1848 contributed to the fall of Metternich and was vicar of the Emperor. That same year, the German National Assembly, meeting in Frankfurt, chose him, as Reichverweser, vicar of the empire, a position he held until the dissolution of the Assembly (Dec. 1849) and retired to private life in Graz.

Jean Victor Marie Moreau ( Morlaix, February 4, 1763 - Laun, September 2, 1813 ) was a French general.

General since 1793, in 1796 to him was given command of the Army of the Rhine and Moselle during the march on the Danube and Vienna. Because of the defeat by the general JB Jourdan, in Würzburg, he was forced to retreat. Suspected of lack of zeal by the republic, he was retired. Recalled for the Italian campaign (1799), brought back the French armies at home, beaten by the armies of the Second Coalition. On the occasion of the coup of 18 Brumaire, he reached an agreement with Napoleon and was still at the command of the army of the Rhine (120,000 men), while Napoleon was forced to resign himself with an army of 40,000 men. Moreau inflicted the coup de grace to the Habsburgs, with the victory of Hohenlinden (1800). Disappointed in the aspiration to be the military leader of the Republic, Moreau turned against Bonaparte and was sentenced (1804) to two years in prison for his contacts with G. Cadoudal and Pichegru. The imprisonment was convertede in exile, so he emigrated in Spain, then in America. After the Napoleonic campaign in Russia he returned in Europe, and Tsar Alexander I appointed him his aide and adviser. He was mortally wounded during the battle of Dresden while operating with the armies of the Sixth Coalition.

Laurent de Gouvion-Saint-Cyr ( Toul, April 13, 1764 - Hyeres, March 17, 1830 ) was a French general, and Marshal of the Empire under Napoleon, Marquis under the reign of Louis XVIII.

He was for more than two years in Rome, study painting, but the Revolution converted him in a commander. Elected in November 1792 captain of the Republicans Hunters, a year later was general of the division. The familiarity with the Italian language earned him, in 1798, the command of the French occupation troops in Rome, which had mutinied against Massena and had created a committee of command. The Saint-Cyr restored discipline among the soldiers and did the concussion embankment of Regents French, forcing them to return the ill-gotten gains. So was recalled in France and ran the danger of falling out of favor of the republican Directory. But the following year, in the misfortune of the French arms, returned to Italy, beat the Austrians in Cuneo, delaying the siege of Genoa. He had then, for some time, important commands of the army of the Rhine under the command of Moreau, in 1801 was at the head of the army of Portugal and then ambassador in Madrid, and in 1803 commander of the occupation army of the coast kingdom of Naples (Gulf of Taranto). He had a conspicuous part as commander of the army in all the wars from 1808 to 1812, but only after the invasion of Russia won the marshal's office for the victory in Polotsk against Wittgenstein. In the following year, due to lack of food and ammunition, was forced, after very valid defense, to capitulate in Dresden, and finally prisoned. At the first restoration began his service under Louis XVIII, but at the reappearance of Napoleon, he had the command of the royal troops gathered in Orléans. During the Hundred Days was held privately, and during the second restoration, was then Minister of War and Navy. It was an exceptional organizer and endowed the military institutions of France that remained largely unchanged for many years, including the law on the recruitment and organization of the General Staff.

His writings became the official text for a long time in military schools. Notable among others: the Journal des opérations de l'Armée de Catalogne en 1808-09 (Paris 1821); Memoires sur les campagnes des Armees du Rhin et du Rhin et Moselle (1829), Memoires pour servir à l'histoire militaire sous the Directoire, the Consulat et l'Empire (1831); Maximes de guerre. Remarques, conseils, observations sur l'art militaire (Paris 1875).

The genesis

After the rejection of the peace proposals made by Bonaparte, First Consul, to England and the Emperor of Austria, and even before the French armies in Italy gained the victory of Marengo, two armies faced each other in Germany: an Austrian commanded by General Kray, and a French under General Moreau, the emulator of Bonaparte. These, even before the First Consul passed the St. Bernard, fought the Austrians in several battles, repelling them and attacking the fortress of Ulm. Then passed the Danube and threatening enemy communications with Bohemia. The truce of Parsdorf, signed a month after the one of Alexandria in Italy, marked an operations break of four months, which, taken November 26, 1800, led to the battle fought on December 3.

The fighting forces (50,000 Austro- Bavarian,against the 56,000 French) were about half of their respective entire available forces, as the other were located in the Tyrol and in other regions. The Austrians, already passed under the command of the Archduke John, believed, it seems, that the French were retreating, so they quickly advanced in four columns, in a rugged region, between the Inn and the Isar, along the two roads that from Mühldorf and Wasserburg go to Monaco: there they fought against the French, deployed in front of Hohenlinden and around the great royal park of Ebersberg.

The battle

On the road Erding-Hohenlinden gather divisions Legrand, Bastoul and Ney (of the army of Grenier), the Grouchy division of the army of Moreau, with the left wing and the right wing in Hòrlkofen, south of Hohenlinden. The divisions Marigny and Decaen (of the army of Moreau) were directed far right, to Mattenboett.

On the far right, the Richepanse division poassed trough St. Christopher and was attacked on the right flank by a column of the Austrian Albaching (7:00), but according to the orders continue running to Mattenboett, leaving the division Dicaen that follows the task of delaying the Austrians from St. Christopher.

Meanwhile the other divisions are attacked frontally. In front of the large Grouchy division, Austrian column comes out from the forest of Hohenlinden, straddling the road to Mattenboett (8:00). Shortly after the division Ney had to fight the Austrians coming from Isen, trying to come out from the forest at north of Hohenlinden. The Austrians were driven back into the forest and remain undecided on what to do, suffering the French counterattack.

Richpanse comes to Mettenboett where he meets a strong core of Austrian cavalry, which restrained by launching its less numerous divisional cavalry, while infantry is sent against the Austrian right flank, even on multiple columns in the woods, catching a train of artillery and wagons (87 pieces and 300 vehicles ) and reaches a disordered Austrian column, already engaged on the front by Ney and Groucy. Finally, the Austrian column was missing. Pursed through the woods, the Austrians, lost 16,000 men, of which 11,000 were prisoners. The French lost 2500 men.

The aftermath

This decisive victory, along with the one of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Marengo, closed the wars of the Second Coalition. In February 1801, Austria signed the Treaty of Luneville accepting French control over the Rhine Valley and the creation of the satellite states of the Batavian Republic in the Netherlands and Italy in the Cisalpine Republic.