Battle of the Lech, 15 April 1632
Battle during Thirty Years War. After defeat at Breitenfeld in 1631, Tilly had fallen back, and with 5,000 reinforcements decided to hold the line of the River Lech. He was joined by Maximilian of Bavaria, one of his employers, who had briefly declaired himself neutral before fleeing to join Tilly under pressure from Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Gustavus reached the river on 14 April. Overnight. he constructed a bridge of boats, and in the morning sent over 300 elite Finnish troops to build earthworks. Tilly was afraid to risk his position with a charge, and stayed on his hill while Gustavus crossed the river with the bulk of his army. When Gustavus charged the hill, luck favoured him. Tilly was wounded very early on, and had to pass command on to his second in command, who a few minutes later was also wounded. Tilly later died from his wounds. Maximilian took command, and by a rapid retreat managed to save his army, although lost most of his artillery and baggage. The defeat and death of Tilly left Wallenstein as the only remaining significant commander on the Imperial side, while Gustavus was free to occupy Augsburg, Munich and southern Bavaria.
The Thirty Years War
, C.V.Wedgewood. Despite its age (first published in 1938), this is still one of the best english language narratives of this most complex of wars, tracing the intricate dance of diplomacy and combat that involved all of Europe in the fate of Germany.
How to cite this article: Rickard, J. (31 December 2000), Battle of the Lech, 15 April 1632, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_lech.html