Combat of Ober-Mörlen, 9 July 1796

The combat of Ober-Mörlen (9 July 1796) was a minor French victory during General Jourdan's advance from the Lahn to the Main early in his second campaign in Germany in 1796. On 7 July the French had advanced to the line of the Lahn from the west and the north, and had captured the bridge at Runkel. The Austrians decided that their position on the Lahn was too vulnerable, and began to pull back towards the Main. On the Austrian right General Kray joined up with the troops retreating from Lein, Wetzlar and Giessen, and moved south through Pohlheim to Nieder-Mörlen. By 9 July Kray's cavalry was camped on the plains north of Nieder-Mörlen.

Portrait of Marshal Michel Ney (1769-1815)
Portrait of
Marshal Michel Ney

On the same day a French column under General Collaud crossed the Lahn at Wetlzer and advanced south, with General Ney in command of the vanguard. Ney discovered the Austrian camp at Nieder-Mörlen, and decided to attack. Aware that Kray had enough cavalry to crush him on the plains, Ney sent the 20th légère to capture the hills close to the village.

The French left was under the overall command of General Kléber. When he discovered what Ney was doing he ordered him to stop, and take up a new position in front of the village of Ober-Mörlen, to the south west of Nieder-Mörlen. Collaud was placed in command of this new French position.

Kray launched a series of attacks against the French lines. The village of Ober-Mörlen changed hands several times during the day, but at the end of the fighting it was still held by the French. Kray withdrew back to Nieder-Mörlen. Five miles to the south, on the opposite side of the hills south of the two Mörlens, General Wartensleben took up a position at Rosbach, Wöllstadt and Friedberg, where on the next day he was attacked by Kléber (battle of Freidberg (Hesse), 10 July1796).

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (18 February 2009), Combat of Ober-Mörlen, 9 July 1796 ,

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