Battle of Kaiserslautern


Battle of Kaiserslautern

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Kaiserslautern
partof=the French Revolution


caption=
date=28-30 November 1793
place=Kaiserslautern, present-day Germany
casus=
territory=
result=Prussian victory
combatant1=flagicon|France France
combatant2=flagicon|Prussia|1750 Prussia
combatant3=
commander1=Lazare Hoche
commander2=Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick
commander3=
strength1=30,000
strength2=
strength3=
casualties1=3,000
casualties2=1,300
casualties3=
notes=

The Battle of Kaiserslautern (28-30 November 1793) was a battle of the War of the First Coalition (part of the French Revolutionary Wars), fought near the German city of Kaiserslautern. It resulted in a victory of the Prussian army under the Duke of Brunswick against the French Army of the Moselle led by Lazare Hoche.

Prologue

Having failed to capture the fort at Bitche, the Duke of Brunswick retreated into the Vosges. In terrible weather the French Army of the Moselle, led by Lazare Hoche who had been appointed to the post in October, pursued the Prussian forces. Having lost contact with the Prussians, Hoche divided his army to locate them. The Duke of Brunswick found an excellent position on the swampy river Lauter.

The battle

First day

On 28 November the French army advanced in three columns, commanded by Alexandre Camille Taponier (right), Hoche (center) and Jean-Jacques Ambert (left) against the Prussian position. Taponier's column was the first to encounter the Prussians and to open the battle, meeting moderate success. On the left, Ambert encountered problems crossing the Lauter with his 6,000 men and was soon faced by the corps of Friedrich Adolf von Kalckreuth which outnumbered him heavily. Menaced with encirclement, Ambert had to retreat and rejoined Hoche's center column.

econd day

The next day, having located the Prussians, the French army crossed the river in force. The advance force led by the generals Dubois and Molitor became stuck on the plateau of Erlebach and had to be rescued by Ambert. Hoche reformed his troops on the Otterberg and unsuccessfully attacked the Prussian left with several squadrons of cavalry. In the confusion several French units lost their way in the terrain and Ambert had to march all night to rejoin the French main force. On the right flank Taponier attacked Kaiserslautern but encountering stiff resistance he was pushed back into the woods.

Third Day

After a heavy morning cannonade, Hoche launched new piecemeal attacks on the Prussians. On the left flank, leading four battalions against the Buchberg, Molitor failed to capture the position and was repulsed. On the French right flank the division of Huet had difficulty maintaining its position. In the center, the fighting took the form of charges and counter-charges of the French and Prussian cavalry. After having secured his flanks, the Duke of Brunswick launched a counterattack against the Otterberg and Hoche ordered a retreat, having lost 3,000 men in the course of the battle. As the Prussians didn't follow up their success, the French army was able to retreat back towards the Moselle River.


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