Sunday, December 31, 2023

Eckmuhl Campaign (3)


The previous instalment of this narrative ended with the tremendous clashes east of the Abens river and about Teugen. The Army Corps of Marshals Lannes and Lefebvre, were pushing eastwards from Arnhofen, along the along with half of Marshal Davout's III Corps under General Gudin. Immediately opposing this large force were the Corps of Hohenzollern-Hechingen (III) and Archduke Ludwig (V), keeping safe Rosenberg's IV Corps holding at Teugen. Marshal Davout himself was directing the counterattacks with the half of his corps that remained under his command. Though tenuous, his contact with the rest of Grande Armee was being kept open by his garrison at Regensburg - then under assault from Bellegarde's I Corps.
Day 5:
As the battles raged about Arnhofen and Teugen, Napoleon himself was accompanying General Vandamme's Wurttembergers.  Having reached the banks of the Abens River, the question was weather to cross it at Siegenburg, or turn southwards towards Au and Freising to join the action to force the Isar.
Napoleon to self: 'Continue east or head south?'

Battle of Teugen: three army corps the side, though the French 
III Corps is the equivalent of two.

Perhaps the battles to the east decided him.  Between them, Lannes and Lebebvre drove Ludwig with heavy loss back down the Pfaffenhausen road, but Hohenzollern held. From the east, Davout stormed into Teugen, retook the place, and shovelled Rosenberg's corps south towards Lanquaid. This left Hohenzollern's corps perilously placed - almost surrounded by three times their numbers. How was their escape to be effected?

Teugen changes hands a second time

Far to the south at Freising, Hiller's VI Corps was in full retreat towards Landshut, whilst General Oudinot made good his hold upon Freising and the western end of the river bridge. Marshal Massena's Corps was behind him on the Pfaffenhofen road. Coming down the Moosburg road, Prince Liechtenstein was marching along the north bank of the Isar. His objective: to retake Freising and secure the river crossing there. In view of what was facing him: a tall order, indeed.
VI Corps retreat from Freising

Day 6:
In view of their successes at the end of the day, the French high command became too complacent. For in the morning that followed, the Austrians seized the initiative and bade fair to reverse the results of the day before. Bellegarde finally burst through the Regensburg garrison, and surged across the river. Now Marshal Davout was in real peril, practically surrounded by enemies, and his communication with the rest of his command and the Grand Armee as a whole completely cut off. 
Bellegarde's I Corps carries Regensburg, and cuts
off Marshal Davout from the main French Army.

Austrian III Corps's breakout battle at Teugen

The Austrian's early attacks by III and IV Corps proved more than the Iron Marshal could withstand. Although IV Corps was repulsed, and drew off southward, III Corps broke into Teugen village and decisively drove the French eastwards, and away from their friends. Much reduced in numbers, the French retired eastwards, across the front of the none too distant Austrian I Corps. They were also reduced by Marshal Davout, seriously wounded and out of the campaign.
A third time, Teugen changes hands.  Marshal Davout seriously 
wounded in the battle.

This success, and the retreats of IV and V Corps had brought the Austrians out of a parlous strategic situation, and threw Marshal Davout's demi-Corps, now under the command of General St-Hilaire, into one that might have seemed well-nigh hopeless. But there were powerful French forces not too far away on the other side of the enemies in between. The complication was the addition of Bellegarde's corps to the foes arrayed against them.  Now there were four Austrian facing three French army corps.

Austrians have taken Teugen and extricated 
themselves from a dangerous situation.

At least, there ought to have been four Austrian corps. But Ludwig's V Corps had taken very heavy casualties, and had retreated a far south as Pfaffenhausen. The Austrians around Teugen would have to do without V Corps for at least a day.

Events were not going in French favour to the south, either. Prince Liechtenstein was preparing to ttack  across the river from Moosburg, just as Hiller was pulling back along the Landshut road. There Hiller ran into Feldmarschallleutnant Kienmayer's II Reserve Corps coming the other way. 

The traffic jam that ensued - a real 'edge of the world' problem the way I set up the table - meant that both formations fetched up back around Landshut, in order to resolve the tangle. Prince Liechtenstein was on his own.

Recovering their aplomb, and before Bellegarde was in a position to prevent it, III and VII Corps surrounded Hohenzollern's Corps at Teugen, the main attacks coming in from the west side. However, the approach marches taking most of the day to keep the corps closed up, the initial attacks were probes only. The main attacks had to wait upon the morrow.

At the same time, Marshal Lannes moved up his command, seized Langquaid, and readied himself to attack Rosenberg also the following morning.

Big battles imminent around Teugen and Langquaid, matters were reaching a head at Freising. 

Before Liechtenstein could launch his attack upon the town, Marshal Massena had brought his corps alongside Oudinot's into Freising, whilst the latter brought his own command north of the town alongside the Ammen river bank. The Emperor Napoleon was with Vandamme's command at Au, barely a day's march distant, although the orphaned cavalry of VI Corps determined to have some say in whether, or how quickly, Napoleon could bring the Wurttembergers forward.
The battles between Massena and Oudinot against Prince Liechtenstein were soon decided. Defeated by double their numbers, the Austrian grenadiers and cuirassiers fell back upon Moosburg. But both French corps knew from their losses they had been in a deadly fight.

So matters stand at the end of Day 6 (24 April), the issue still very much in doubt around Teugen and Langquaid, further large scale battles imminent. Nor is the French hold upon Freising yet fully secure, leaving aside the matter of advancing further upon the vital town of Landshut. Oh, yes, and there's that little isolated Division of cavalry from VI Corps, hanging about Au: they too will have their own contribution to make to the history of this campaign.

To be continued...


  1. Very interesting, the outcome seems to be very much up in the air.

    1. A campaign of fluctuating fortunes. Who knows which way the tide will turn?

  2. Another excellent series of actions in the campaign, with Fortune being fickle in her favours it would seem. This is all nicely set up and hard to know which way the Lady will swing, but we hope towards Vienna...

    1. Dame Fortune was on this occasion a deal more than usually fickle in her affections in this campaign, that's for sure.

  3. Very good blow by blow accounting these reports.

    1. Thank you. Not an easy narrative to relate, on account of the twisting and turning of events as the initiative continually chanced hands. Having two turns in a row placed the side receiving them in the ascendancy, but then the wheel would turn... and turn again.

  4. My preference is for Austria too… From a British perspective anything that gives that little Corsican chap a headache is a positive thing.

    1. I have to admit, Geoff, to being very much an admirer of Napoleon, not merely for his military skill, but more for the sheer capacity of the man. He was no mere adventurer, whatever the British thought of him.

      The world needs people of that capacity, but who are ready to use it for the betterment of humankind. The pity of it is, that such people end up being surrounded by people of midget abilities trying to bring them down.

      But, as I have said before, Napoleon doesn't get to win every time! After all, the Archduke Charles was no slouch, despite his defeatism in this campaign (believing the army he had been working so hard to reform since Austerlitz was not yet ready for war).

      Just by the way, I have redone the campaign map, so this one I reckon I'll 'do' a second time later in the year.

  5. Archduke Piccolo,

    I love the fact that events of this mini-campaign favour one side then the other turn by turn … just like in real life.

    This is yet another tour-de-force!

    All the best,