Battle of Nordlingen (1), 6 September 1634
Battle in Thirty Years War that for a short time looked to have given victory to the Imperial party. The Imperial army under Ferdinand of Hungary (the future emperor Ferdinand III) was besieging Nordlingen, where there was a Protestant garrison. The Protestant army, 25,000 strong, representing the Heilbronn League, and commanded by Bernard of Saxe-Weimar and Gustav Horn (of Sweden), arrived to relieve the city, but on 2 September the army of the Spanish Habsburgs led by the Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand arrived, boosting the Habsburg forces to over 33,000 men. The League commanders were aware that they had wasted the summer, and could not afford to led Nordlingen fall without some attempt at action. The League attack went wrong from the start. They had planed a night attack, but their army got disordered, and the wagons and heavy guns ended up at the front of the advance, giving the Imperial forces plenty of notice. When the attack itself began, confused orders resulted in the Protestant infantry attacking unsupported, and although they temporarily overran the Imperial flank, they were soon driven back. Despite determined efforts against the Spanish, Horn's troops were eventually forced to withdraw, at which point the Imperial troops charged the already tired German lines under Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, who broke under the pressure, smashing into Horn's retreating troops. The League forces suffered a devastating defeat. Horn was captured, and the Swedes soon ceased to be a factor. However, the defeat of their German allies soon forced the French to take a more open posture as enemies of the Hapsburgs, allowing the war to continue.
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. (7 November 2000), Battle of Nordlingen (1), 6 September 1634, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_nordlingen1634.html