Battle of Limburg (1796)
|Battle of Limburg|
|Part of War of the First Coalition|
|Republican France||Habsburg Austria|
|Commanders and leaders|
|General Jourdan||Archduke Charles|
|Army of Sambre-et-Meuse||Army of the Lower Rhine|
The Battle of Limburg or Second Battle of Altenkirchen or Battle of the Lahn (16–19 September 1796) saw a Habsburg Austrian army commanded by Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen attack a Republican French army led by Jean Baptiste Jourdan in its positions behind the Lahn River. The unexpected collapse of their right flank on the evening of the 16th compelled the French to make a three-day fighting withdrawal. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of a wider conflict known as the Wars of the French Revolution. Limburg an der Lahn is located in the state of Hesse in Germany about 50 kilometres (31 mi) east of Koblenz.
Two French armies were initially successful in the Rhine Campaign of 1796, penetrating far into southern Germany. However, Archduke Charles defeated Jourdan's army at Amberg and Würzburg in the late summer, forcing the French to retreat to the Lahn. On the 16th, Charles launched an attack at Giessen on Jourdan's left flank, but his main assault was intended to crack the French center at Limburg an der Lahn. Though both Austrian thrusts stalled, Jourdan was forced to withdraw when the French right flank commander Jean Castelbert de Castelverd ordered his troops to fall back. During the next three days, the French center under François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers and Jean Baptiste Bernadotte made a fighting retreat back to Altenkirchen so that Jourdan's left flank troops could escape. French division commanders Marceau and Jacques Philippe Bonnaud were fatally wounded in the various clashes. After the battle Jourdan pulled most of his army back to the west bank of the Rhine, effectively ending the campaign in the north. Leaving Franz von Werneck with a reduced army to watch the French, Charles moved south, hoping to cut off the second French army under Jean Victor Marie Moreau.
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