Combat of Hollabrunn, 9 July 1809

The combat of Hollabrunn (9 July 1809) was a successful Austrian rearguard action during their retreat after defeat at Wagram (5-6 July 1809) and saw Klenau's VI Corps hold up the French troops sent to find the retreating Austrian army. On the day after the battle of Wagram Napoleon had lost contact with the retreating Austrians, who could have retreated down one of three possible roads - north-west towards Prague or north towards Znaim or Brünn. Several columns were sent out to find the Austrians, with Massena given the task of following the road to Znaim. On 8 July he captured Stockerau, the point at which the road to Znaim left the Danube, and on the following morning he sent Legrand's infantry and his cavalry forces north towards Hollabrunn, leaving his remaining two infantry divisions (Molitor and Boudet) at Stockerau.

Hollabrunn was initially defended by the St Georg Grenzer (border infantry), the 1st and 2nd Vienna Volunteers, two units that had performed well earlier in the campaign, and a force of Landwehr. This small force was unable to prevent Legrand from capturing the town, but Klenau immediately counterattacked. The town changed hands repeatedly during the day as Klenau threw six more units into the fighting, all supported by his artillery posted on some hills to the north of the town. The fighting lasted until after nightfall, and when it ended neither side had total control of Hollabrunn.

Both sides lost around 900 men in the fighting at Hollabrunn. Klenau's men had successfully held up the French pursuit on the main road being used by the rest of the army, and prevented Massena from playing any part in the first day of the battle of Znaim (10-11 July 1809).  Massena would instead spend much of 10 July fighting a second rearguard action against Reuss's fresh V Corps, this time at Schöngrabern, a little to the north of Hollabrunn.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 November 2010), Combat of Hollabrunn, 9 July 1809 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_hollabrunn.html

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