Combat of Frankenthal, 13-14 November 1795

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The combat of Frankenthal (13-14 November 1795) was an Austrian victory that forced General Pichegru to abandon his last defensive position north of Mannheim and that led to the fall of the city. Mannheim had been in French hands since late September, when it had surrendered to Pichegru during the French invasion of Germany. This invasion had failed, and the Austrian commander (Clerfayt) had taken advantage of the wide gap between the two French armies of Generals Jourdan and Pichegru to end the siege of Mainz.

On 29 October the Austrians emerged from the besieged city, smashed through the French siege lines and took up a position on the west bank of the Rhine. Clerfayt sent part of his army west to face General Jourdan and then turned south to attack General Pichegru. The first clash came on 10 November on the Pfrim. Pichegru was defeated and was forced to pull back to a new line just north of Mannheim. This city was already being attacked by General Würmser on the east bank of the Rhine, but the French were still able to get supplies into the city across the River. 

The French line ran along a stream that runs from Bad Dürkheim east into the Rhine just to the south of the town of Frankenthal. The French centre was at Lambsheim and the French right at Eppstein, Studernheim and Edigheim, the last place being close to the Rhine.

General Clerfayt decided to attack all along the French line. On 13 November General Kray was sent to harass the French left. The main attack came on the morning of 14 November. In the centre the Austrians captured Lambsheim. On their left, close to the Rhine, General Latour attacked in three columns. General Lilien captured Epstein, Latour himself took Studernheim and General Ott took Edigheim and Friesenheim.

These successes forced Pichegru to retreat. The French withdrew through Mutterstadt to a line than ran from Speyerbach (close to Neustadt an Weinstrasse) to Speyer on the Rhine. The loss of the lines at Frankenthal allowed Clerfayt to begin a proper siege of Mannheim, with control over both banks of the Rhine. The city surrendered on 22 November.

Pichegru was forced to retreat once more before the campaign ended. On 16 November an Austrian force occupied Kaiserlautern and threatened to outflank the French left. Pichegru pulled back to the line of the River Queich, between the fortress of Landau and the Rhine at Germersheim. 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (11 February 2009), Combat of Frankenthal, 13-14 November 1795 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_frankenthal.html

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