Combat of Platzberg and Trippstadt, 13-14 July 1794

The combat of Platzberg and Trippstadt (13-14 July 1794) was a minor French victory in the northern end of the Vosges close to Kaiserslautern. During the first half of 1794 the Rhine front had been something of a backwater, but in the summer the French Directory ordered General Michaud, the new commander of the Army of the Rhine, to attack the Prussians to prevent them from sending reinforcements to the critical northern front.

War of the First Coalition - Rhine Front 1794
War of the First Coalition
Rhine Front 1794

Michaud’s first attack, on 2 July, ended in failure after the French attempted to attack in strength on both slopes of the Vosges. Michaud then held a council of war which decided to attack along the line of the mountains to force the Prussians out of their camps at Speyerbach, Platzberg and around Trippstadt. The Prussians (Hohenlohe) were defending a line that stretched across the mountains from Kaiserslauten south to Trippstadt and then east to Neustadt.

Sources differ as to the exact order of events (and some of the place names are difficult to trace, amongst them Platzberg!). The basic outline of events is clearer. General Taponnier attacked the Prussian camp at Tripstadt. The attack was held off for an entire day, but overnight the Prussians pulled back to a position closer to Kaiserslautern. St. Cyr attacked to Taponnier’s right, taking Johanniskreuz (south east of Tripstadt). Further to the right the Prussians held Schanzel against an attack from the west but were forced to retreat to Neustadt when the French attacked from the south (via Albersweiler and Ramberg). General Theodore von Pfau was killed during this part of the battle.

This victory gave the French control of the passes across the northern Vosges. Michaud planned to attack the Prussians at Kaiserslautern on 16 July, but on the night of 15-16 July Hohenlohe retreated back out of the mountains to Frankenthal.

The French rather wasted this victory. The Directory ordered Michaud to move west to attack Triers, and in mid-September the Prussians reoccupied Kaiserslautern. The French soon returned, but fighting continued until the Prussians discovered that the Austrians had been forced back to the Rhine at Coblenz, abandoning the Austrian Netherlands. With their northern flank now dangerously exposed the Allies withdrew east across the Rhine, retaining a foothold at Mainz.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (10 February 2009), Combat of Platzberg and Trippstadt, 13-14 July 1794 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_platzberg_trippstadt.html

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