1702 – Siege of Landau

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Sieges >> 1702 – Siege of Landau

The siege lasted from June to September 1702

Introduction

By the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the free Imperial City of Landau was placed under the protection of France. In 1697, by the Treaty of Ryswick, the city of Landau along with ten other cities in Alsace was definitely annexed by France. Landau became the easternmost sentry of France and therefore a very important place. Already in 1688, Louis XIV had given orders to Vauban, his chief-engineer, to improve the fortifications of Landau and to transform it into a modern fortress. In the spring of 1688, the old walls were dismantled and 16 battalions under General Montclar supported by 14,000 workers started the construction of the new fortress. During work, a large fire broke out, razing ¾ of the houses. This gave the architect the possibility to build new, straight streets and places for the military.

In 1700, Lieutenant-General Tarade erected a small defensive work on a hill north-west of the city.

In 1701, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, most military activity took place in the Italian theatre of operation.

In 1702, fighting spread to Germany. An Imperialist army concentrated on the Rhine. On 2 April, this army under the command of FML Count Friesen crossed the Rhine near Daxlanden and effected a junction with the corps of the Margrave of Baden. The troops of the Electorate of Palatinate (6 infantry rgts and 6 horse rgts) encamped at Lustadt, while another detachment of 2,000 men under General Count Leiningen occupied Germersheim and some places in its neighbourhood.

Map

Map of the siege of Landau in 1702 - Source: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Vol. IV

Landau is located on the Queich in the eastern foothills of the Haardt Mountains, 19 km from the left bank of the Rhine. The fortress of Landau was protected by seven bastion towers and one big redoubt; the latter being in an isolated position on the left bank of the Queich. A moat that could be flooded ran around the walls. The city had only two gates (the Allemagne Gate to the north and the France Gate to the south) and was subdivided into two parts by the Queich River. Furthermore, the ravelin nearest to the right bank of the Queich was protected by a counter-guard. A system of sluices allowed to flood all terrain to the north of the fortress on the left bank of the Queich.

To the west of Landau, the hamlets of Ilbesheim, Arzheim, Siebeldingen and Albersweiler were located in an area covered with fields and vineyards along the first wooded foothills of the Haardt. To the south, in the area of Wollmersheim, Mörzheim, Impflingen, Insheim the terrain gently sloped from the Haardt between the Queich and the nearby Klingbach down to the banks of the Rhine. To the east of the fortress, the lower valley of the Queich was quite marshy between Landau, Queichheim and Dammheim down to the forest of Bornheim. To the north of Landau, in the area of Godramstein, Nußdorf and Bornheim, the terrain consisted of gently sloping land covered with vineyards and fields. Two large forests, the Bornheimer Wald and the Lustadter Wald, extended from Bornheim to Germersheim on the Rhine.

Landau was garrisoned by 7 battalions (Nettancourt, 2; Royal-Artillerie, 2; II./La Sarre; II./Bourbon, II./Soissonnais) and by 2 sqns of Forsat Cavalerie. It totalled 4,095 foot and 240 horse (other sources mention 3,500 foot and 240 horse). In addition, Mélac had raised a free company of deserters.

The place was well supplied with ample ammunition and provisions for three months. The previous year, a defensive work had been erected on the left bank of the Queich. Furthermore, at the beginning of 1702, two lunettes had been built: one in front of the France Gate, the other on the side of Queichheim. Two other defensive works were added between the place and Merlenheim; two other on the left bank of the Queich.

The commander of Landau was Lieutenant-General Ezéchiel du Mas, Comte de Mélac, a 72 years old, experienced soldier, ingloriously famous for the devastation of Palatinate in 1688. Mélac was seconded by Brigadier de l´Esperoux, the infantry was commanded by Brigadier d'Amigny, the artillery by du Breuil, the engineers by Villars and Captain Rovère. The commander of the outer work known as the “Kronwerk” was Lieutenant-Colonel Colomes.

Description

Blockade

On 24 April, the Margrave of Baden sent detachments on the Lauter who made themselves master of Wissembourg and of the Castle of Saint-Rémy (unidentified location). Meanwhile, the margrave's corps advanced to Kandel where he established his headquarters. Being master of the Lauter, he had a good defensive line against the French and had cut communications with Landau.

On 5 May, Mélac drove back a detachment of Cusani Cuirassiers who had approached his defensive works. The same day, he launched a second sortie to destroy a bridge on the canal near Godramstein. However, Palatine troops drove back the French detachment to the covert way before it could accomplish its mission.

On the night of 6 to 7 May, Major Saint-Froy made a sortie from Landau at the head of 160 foot and 60 horse and plundered Bornheim, bringing back 12 horses and a few cows to Landau.

By 10 May, the siege works erected by Palatine troops in the area of Queichheim had already reached within cannon range from Landau and Mélac's artillery opened them without causing much damage.

By 11 May, the Margrave had extended his line of posts from Lauterbourg to Wissembourg. He then posted the Palatine GFWM von Junkheim at Essingen with some 1,800 men from the Upper-Rhine and Palatine contingents to block any communication from Landau through Bornheim, thus completing the encirclement of the Landau.

On the evening of 11 May, the Margrave ordered GFWM Fürst Oettingen with 300 dragoons, 300 cuirassiers and 200 grenadiers to make himself master of Queichheim which was occupied by a small French garrison (1 lieutenant and 30 men). As the Imperialists approached the French garrison retired to the fortified churchyard of the village. With the support of the artillery posted on the walls of Landau, this small garrison stubbornly defended itself. Finally, Oettingen had to set fire to the positions and a only a few of the brave defenders managed to escape. In this action, the Imperialists lost 8 men killed and 20 wounded. To support this attack, General Rehbinder had set fire to a mill hold by the French and had thrown a few grenades against Landau.

On 12 May, the French reoccupied the churchyard of Queichheim but finally evacuated it.

On the night of 12 to 13 May, the Imperialists destroyed the defensive works erected in Queichheim.

All these activities took place prior to the official declaration of war which was made on 15 May (as late as 6 October for the Imperial Circles).

When the Imperialist surrounded Landau, some French officers were out of the place. They tried to reach the fortress. On 18 May, Colonel de Nettancourt and Brigadier de Guesques were intercepted by a patrol of Palatinate horse only 30 paces from the gate of the fortress (Colonel de Gournay then replaced Nettancourt at the head of his infantry regiment).

The staff of the Margrave Ludwig von Baden comprised some excellent officers whom he had known during the former Austro-Turkish War. His most important assistant was the Margrave von Bayreuth, who spent several nights with the troops in the approaches (at the beginning of September, he replaced the Duke of Hohenlohe as commander on the Lauter). There were also FM Johann Karl von Thüngen, the Prince of Sachsen-Meiningen, FML Duke Karl Alexander von Württemberg, GFWM Franz Sebastian von Thürheim and Duke Maximilian Karl zu Löwenstein. The Imperial artillery was supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel Köchly while the Palatine artillery was placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Hansen. For engineering, the Margrave could count on General-Adjutant Baron Belrupt, Quartermaster-Lieutenant Chretien de Bouchon, Lieutenant-Colonel Kayserbronn, Lieutenant-Colonel Fontana and Ingenieurs Willer, Beaulaincourt and Sebastiani. Later on – accompanying Joseph, King of the Romans – arrived Ludwig's relative, Prince Ludwig Thomas von Savoyen-Carignan.

On 13 June, the Imperialist heavy artillery finally arrived from Philippsburg and Daxlanden. The Margrave of Baden detached the Franconian FML Aufsess with 12 sqns to Wissembourg; the Margrave of Baden-Durlach remained near Offenburg with 600 men; and the Swabian contingent took position on the Lauter.

On 15 June. The Margrave of Baden marched from Kandel towards Landau. His troops were distributed in 6 large camps surrounding the fortress. The headquarters were at Arzheim.

The Margrave of Baden decided to make his main attack between the Landau-Impflingen and the Landau-Insheim roads against the bastions from the France Gate eastwards to the Queich under his own command. A converging attack would be made on the right bank of the Queich against the earthen entrenchments near the mouth of the Quiche River by Palatine troops led by General Count Nassau-Weilburg and Count Leiningen. Finally a diversionary attack would come from the Heights of Godramstein against the “Kronwerk” on the left bank of the Queich to the north-west of Landau by Imperialists troops under FM Baron von Thüngen..

Siege

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Imperialist Army of the Rhine in June 1702

On 16 June, Brigadier d'Amigny managed to pass the Imperialist positions, disguised as a farmer and successfully reached the town. The same day, the Imperialists started to dig the approaches.

The French artillery mounted on the walls of Landau seriously hampered work on the approaches, firing between 15,000 and 20,000 shots between 16 June and 2 July. Workers could work at the approaches only at night, protected by cuirasses made available by the cuirassiers.

On 17 June, the circumvallation around Landau was completed. The Margrave of Baden established a battery of 3 guns on the Galgenberg to the south of Landau, between Impflingen and the place; and a redoubt erected on the canal. Meanwhile Field Marshal Baron Thüngen took position opposite the Citadel. Furthermore, the Palatine Vehlen Dragoons moved from Dammheim down into the valley of Queich between Landau and the Forest of Bornheim, protecting its western outskirts with a strong barricade. The garrison opened a lively fire on these siege works.

On 18 June, a small French detachment inflicted some losses to the Palatine Vehlen Dragoons. In the evening, the Margrave of Baden sent 200 grenadiers supported by 800 men to open the trenches from Queichheim and Impflingen. The same day, the Margrave Louis of Baden, also known as “Türkenlouis”, was officially appointed commander of the Imperialist Army of the Rhine. Only part of his army (32,000 foot and 14,000 horse) was assigned to the blockade and siege of Landau. A large part of the Imperial artillery (42 Halbkartaunen, 2 Viertelkartaunen and 13 mortars), who had passed the Rhine on the bridge of Daxlanden, arrived at the camp near Landau. It had taken long and intensive negotiations between the Duke of Löwenstein and the Imperial Cities of Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Augsburg and Ulm to obtain heavy guns for the siege of Landau. Furthermore, Hanau and Darmstadt consented to supply the necessary gun powder.

On 19 June, the Imperialists opened the first parallel and started to work on batteries and redoubts:

  • a battery of 14 guns to the west of the road to Impflingen, 500 paces from the glacis
  • a battery of 14 guns between the road to Impflingen and the road to Insheim
  • a square shaped redoubt (Redoubt No. 1) to the east of the road to Impflingen
  • a redoubt (Citadel Redoubt No. 1) directly to the north of the road from Godramstein to the citadel

The garrison maintained a fierce fire and the Imperialists lost 4 men killed and 1 officer and 12 men wounded. Furthermore, the Imperialists suffered from a serious lack of gunners. The margrave enlisted 20 gunners from Palatinate and 22 from Bohemia. In the evening, FML Count Herberstein and the Prince Alexander of Württemberg moved with 1000 men in the trenches and General Adjutant Baron Belrupt received order to connect the batteries with Redoubt No. 1. Meanwhile, on the side of the citadel, 400 men under the command of the Prince of Sachsen-Meiningen dug a trench from the Citadel Redoubt No. 1.

On 21 June, the Margrave of Baden inspected the whole line of attack while the French opened on this line with 8 heavy guns and 4 mortars. Each day, a battalion defended the citadel. Mélac reinforced this battalion with the 2 sqns of Forsac Cavalerie armed with muskets. The same day, the Imperialists finally received their first heavy guns from Daxlanden, the rest of the heavy artillery gradually arrived from Daxlanden during the following days. Despite all the problems, the Imperialists opened the second parallel.

On the night of 24 to 25 June, the Margrave of Baden instructed General-Adjutant Baron Belrupt to dig two approaches from Battery No 3. A new redoubt was erected to strengthen the entrenchments along of the Forest of Bornheim while works on other entrenchments continued.

In the afternoon of 25 June, Mélac sent 1 sqn of Forsac Cavalerie to make sortie by the France Gate against the entrenchments of Wollmersheim. They managed to rout 150 commandeered Imperialist horse led by Lieutenant-Colonel Hochberg of the Alt-Hannover Cuirassiers. The latter fled towards the encampment of the Palatine Lübeck Infantry who opened fire on the advancing French cavalry and drove it back towards the fortress. The commandeered horse then rallied and reoccupied their initial post. In this action, the Imperialists lost 21 men killed and 16 wounded.

On the night of 25 to 26 June, FM Thüngen started to dig an approach towards the citadel and the Palatine troops posted near Queichheim did the same.

On 26 June General-Quartermaster-Lieutenant Chrétien was severely wounded. With him, the Margrave lost one of his most effective officers; the slow-working engineer Fontana could in no way replace him.

On 28 June, in front of the citadel, work started on another large redoubt (Redoubt No. 3) on the left wing of the first parallel. Till then, the Imperialists had not fired a single cannon shot against the fortifications of Landau even though heavy guns were available. In fact, the lack of gunners made it impossible to answer to the fire of the French artillery.

On the night of 1 to 2 July, Lieutenant-Colonel Köchly finally managed to bring the first heavy guns into the batteries.

On 2 July in the morning, the artillery of the Margrave of Baden (26 guns and 18 mortars) finally opened against Landau. The French answered with a lively fire, managing to dismount 2 guns.

On 3 July, Redoubt No. 6 and Redoubt No. 7 were connected and the second parallel reached a depth of approx. 1 m. The same day, Ingenieur-Captain Weiss from Alt-Breisach was severely wounded. The arrival of the Palatine Artillery-Colonel Hansen with 22 gunners allowed the Imperialists to place heavy guns and mortars in the redoubts facing the “Kronwerk”. Furthermore, Lieutenant-Colonel Köchly established a battery of of 12 mortars (Battery No. 5) in the middle of the second parallel of the main attack; and General-Adjutant Baron Belrupt dug two new approaches from the second parallel.

Gradually the fire of the besiegers became more important that the one from the fortress. Indeed, Mélac had to take measures to spare his ammunition. His artillery now fired for a while and then stopped for several hours.

Desertion from Landau and from the French camp at Schweighausen increased. The loss of officers during siege was not entirely due to death and wounds, some officers also deserted. The most noticeable desertion was the one of the French engineer officer La Douder posted at the “Kronwerk” who knew about the mine fields and other defences of the fortress. After a trial in absentia, La Douder was sentenced to death and an effigy clad in his uniform was hanged on a bastion of the “Kronwerk”.

On 7 July, 60 additional gunners arrived to the Imperialist camp from Bohemia by a post coach! Meanwhile, FM Thüngen established a battery of 6 Carthaunen in Redoubt No. 3. The same day, Redoubt No. 3 finally opened against the “Kronwerk”.

On the night of 7 to 8 July, the Imperialists established two small batteries of 4 and 2 mortars in Redoubt No. 6 and Redoubt No. 7.

On 8 July, disguised as an inhabitant, Captain Rovère managed to reconnoitre the Imperialist camp at Arzheim. However, his servant was captured in the afternoon. FM Thüngen questioned him and went to the assigned rendezvous where he captured Captain Rovère after a short fight. The capture of such a valuable officer was a big loss for the French. The same day, the Margrave ordered celebrations for the capture of the Fortress of Kayserwerth by the Allies.

On the night of 8 to 9 July, Mélac sent a party of 40 men against Godramstein; 40 horse against the front along the Queich; and 200 men against the main siege works to destroy Redoubt No. 6 and Redoubt No. 7. However, the 40 Imperialist grenadiers guarding the trenches and the nearby reserve drove back the attack, the French losing 20 men killed in this action. The Imperialists, lost 1 captain wounded, 13 men killed and 20 men wounded.

On 9 July, the Kollonits Hussars arrived at the Imperialist camp near Landau.

On the night of 9 to 10 July, the Imperialists opened the third parallel, about 150 paces from the glacis and started to work at Redoubt No. 8 and Redoubt No. 9 located at the two exits of the second parallel. The bastion located to the east of the France Gate was so heavily bombarded that the artillerymen manning its guns were forced to retire. Within the walls, the headquarters, barracks, the main wood storage, the hay magazine and several houses all burnt. Mélac was compelled to keep part of his troops in the covert way to protect them against the bombardment, and was finally forced to bring them back to the counterscarp.

On 10 July, the Margrave of Baden sent the Kollonits Hussars to reinforce the corps under the command of FML Aufsess at Wissembourg. The FZM Prince de Soissons (the brother of Prince Eugène de Savoie), the Prince von Oettingen, at the head of 1 sqn of his Leibgarde, and 60 Imperial artillerymen arrived at the Imperialist camp.

On the night of 13 to 14 July, the communications between Redoubt No. 8 and Redoubt No. 9 were started.

On 15 July in the evening, General-Adjutant Baron Belrupt was mortally wounded. He was replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Fontana to direct the works of the main attack.

On 16 July, the Imperialists started to work on Redoubt No. 4 at the foot of the glacis of the “Kronwerk” and on a communication between this redoubt and Redoubt No. 3. In the area of Queichheim, they were now only 300 paces from the glacis and the trench between Redoubt No. 8 and Redoubt No. was completed and a new redoubt (Redoubt No. 10) established midway between them with two large breaching batteries of 10 pieces each were prepared, on on each side of Redoubt No. 10. Finally, a battery of 6 mortars was established near Redoubt No. 8.

On 19 July, the Imperial forces besieging Landau had reached the glacis. By then, the margrave had received additional artillery and could count on 114 guns (including some 24-pdrs and 30-pdrs) and 46 mortars.

On 20 and 22 July, the Imperialist established two new batteries (one of 6 pieces; the other, of 4 pieces) in the potence in front of Redoubt No.8 and Redoubt No. 9 to bombard the ravelin.

On 22 July, Field Marshal Count Thüngen, together with General Count Daun, were sent to Philippsburg to welcome Joseph, King of the Romans who would assume overall command of the Imperialist army.

In the evening of 23 July, Mélac launched a small attack (40 men from Forsac Cavalerie) against the main siege works. In this action, the French lost 1 officer and 8 men and the Imperialists 1 lieutenant and 1 man wounded. However, this was just a diversionary sortie while a successful attack was launched from the Kronwerk.

On 24 July, the Imperialists started to dig approaches from redoubts No. 8, 9 and 10.

On 25 July, Imperialist miners started to dig galleries in front of the Kronwerk.

On 26 July, Joseph arrived at Landau with his suite (250 noblemen, 77 carriages and 250 horses), established his headquarters in Impflingen and took command of the Imperialist army. However, effective command still remained in the hands of the Margrave of Baden. On the same day, Mélac opened the floodgates and thus put the enemy trench under water. Now, the French defended themselves mainly with mines. The Imperialist miners tried to locate these hidden mines.

On 28 July, Joseph reviewed the Imperialist army. At first, Mélac thought that Catinat was approaching with a relief army. When he realised his mistake, he sent a courier to ask where the tent of King Joseph was located to avoid firing on his quarters with his fortress guns (!).

Order of Battle
Order of battle of the Imperialist Army of the Rhine on 31 July 1702

On 29 July, informed by a deserter of the general location of some French mines, Thüngen launched a fake attack, inducing the French to explode 5 mines. He then established Redoubt No. 5 and Redoubt No. 7 near the Kronwerk.

On 30 July, Salm Infantry along with its grenadier company arrived at the Imperialist camp near Landau.

On 31 July, sapping in front of Redoubt No. 10 reached the ravelin. The same day, FML Bibra and Colonel Count Hohenzollern were wounded.

On 1 August, Marsigli Infantry arrived at the Imperialist camp near Landau. Sapping in front of Redoubt No 11 reached the outworks near the France Gate. Meanwhile, the four breaching-batteries of the third parallel were very active.

On 2 August, the trenches in front of Queichheim were linked with those of the main attack between the Queich and the road to Impflingen. The same day, the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers arrived at the Imperialist camp. The Imperialists now had a large number of workers assigned to their various attacks:

  • approx. 1,150 men for the attack against the Kronwerk;
  • approx. 2,200 men for the main attack;
  • approx. 750 men for the attack from Queichheim.

By 3 August, the siege of Landau had not yet markedly progressed. Imperialist engineers used an old system of siege and started the approaches far from the fortress walls. These approaches were wide enough to allow generals to ride in it with their horse (!). Often, Mélac led night attack to destroy siege works. The same day, the Imperialists reinforced Redoubt No. 11 with a palisade and established a battery of six mortars to the left of this redoubt. Communication was also established with the new Redoubt No. 12.

On 5 August, Archduke Joseph, who had visited the queen at Heidelberg, returned to the camp in front of Landau to witness the planned attack against the France Gate.

At 11:00 p.m. in the night of 6 to 7 August, a mine exploded and the besiegers, led by FZM Prince de Soissons, Count Herberstein and Count Thürheim immediately launched an attack. Despite a heavy thunderstorm and a hard defence, the Imperialists managed to occupy a redoubt on the glacis. Simultaneously, FM Baron Thüngen with Swabian General Ferdinand Philipp Count Fürstenberg-Stühling and the Prince of Brandenburg-Anspach attacked the “Kronwerk”. After heavy losses (10 officers and 500 men) caused by mines, Imperialists soldiers occupied the counterscarp.

On 13 August, the siege works had significantly progressed and another assault could be considered but the Margrave decided to continue work. In front of the Kronwerk, the Imperialist miners had reached the ravelin.

On 14 August, the Imperialists located and defused a French mine.

On the night of 14 to 15 August, Archduke Joseph decided to attack the covert way at the angle of the ravelin with a detachment of 2 officers and 50 grenadiers. A French counter-attack failed and the grenadiers established themselves in the covert way. The same night, the Imperialists launched two diversionary attacks from Queichheim.

On the night of 15 to 16 August, the French managed to damage part of the trenches and tried to recover part of the lost ground. The Margrave of Durlach and the Lieutenant-Colonel Count Königsegg from Fürstenberg-Infanterie ran to the point of attack with detachments. FML. Count Friesen brought support. Even Prince Soissons, who was returning from a reconnaissance, rushed to the trenches. However, Soissons and Freisen realised that there were no more French troops outside the walls. In this action, the Imperialists lost 39 men killed and 95 wounded.

On 16 August, the Imperialists reached the covert way. The same day, Prince Ludwig Thomas von Savoyen-Carignan was killed by a bomb.

In the night of 16 to 17 August, the Imperialists made themselves master of the France Gate. The Imperialists were master of the covert way from France Gate to the second bastion. Similarly, their trenches had reached the covert way of the “Kronwerk”.

On 17 August, M. de Mélac drove back the Imperial troops occupying the France Gate but was not able to reoccupy it.

On 19 August, Thüngen established a battery of 6 heavy pieces to fire on the north face of the south bastion of the “Kronwerk”.

On 21 August, FML Friesen and GWM Daun stormed a small outwork (No. 14) on the side of Queichheim.

On 24 August, the Imperialists established a new battery of 6 pieces.

On the night of 25 to 26 August, the Imperialists established a fourth place of arms in the covert way near the Queich on the right flank of the attack.

On 27 August, Forgách Hussars and Gombos Hussars arrived at Philippsburg with orders to join the corps of the FML Fürst Hohenzollern at Wissembourg. A few days later, Loosy Hussars arrived at Landau.

On 28 August around 5:00 p.m., the French launched an attack against the trenches in front of the “Kronwerk” but were driven back, the Imperialists losing 2 men killed, 6 wounded and 2 taken prisoners.

Mining and counter-mining continued till 30 August when the Imperialists managed to deploy 35 guns and 23 mortars on the glacis. This artillery immediately started to destroy the walls of the ravelin near the “France Gate”.

On 2 September, Colonel Buttler was killed in action.

On 7 September, the defences of the “Kronwerk” were in such a poor condition that Mélac decided to evacuate it. At night most of the garrison of this outer work, some 800 men with a few guns, were quietly transferred to the main fortress. Only 120 men remained to guard the “Kronwerk”.

On 8 September, the “France Gate” was destroyed. The situation of the defenders was now hopeless: there was a lack of ammunition and powder for the artillery; even musket balls had to be made from the lead used for the windows; provisions were nearly exhausted; and Mélac could only pay his men with his own silver dishes. The French garrison then counted only 1,800 men fit for duty (900 men had already been killed during the siege and there were some 800 wounded in the hospitals. All cavalry horses had been already been eaten.

On the same day, ignoring that the “Kronwerk” was now defended by only 120 men, King Joseph ordered to attack it with considerable forces. The vanguard of the first column consisted of a lieutenant with 2 sergeants and 20 prisoners (!), followed by another lieutenant with 12 grenadiers, supported by 24 grenadiers. The main force of this column counted 100 grenadiers closely followed by 200 workers equipped with different tools. Finally the reserve of this column comprised 200 men led by a major. The second attack column was similar. The first column was commanded by FML Sachsen-Meiningen and FM Thüngen, the second by GFWM Baron Rehbinder seconded by GFZM Duke Fürstenberg. Both columns had miners (the French deserter La Douder was pressed to accompany the attackers and was killed during the engagement by a bullet from the fortress). The small group of defenders blew up a mine and then evacuated the “Kronwerk”, destroying the small bridge linking the “Kronwerk” to the fortress.

On the night of 8 to 9 September, M. de Mélac repulsed an assault against Landau.

King Louis XIV had tried to convince Marshal Catinat to relieve Landau but the latter had refused to do so. Mélac was informed of the situation by a courier. After consultation with his staff, Mélac sent du Breuil as delegate to negotiate with the besieger.

On 9 September in the afternoon, after a fierce defence, Landau capitulated.

On 10 September, the capitulation was signed. The garrison was allowed to leave the fortress with the honours of war with flying colours and at the sound of the drums. The soldiers were allowed to carry their weapons and 4 guns and 2 mortars with 24 gun-balls. All French clerks should leave the city within next 6 weeks. Imperialist troops entered into Landau. The new garrison consisted of 6 battalions of Imperialist troops under FML count Friesen who had been appointed Governor of Landau.

On 11 September, Margrave Ludwig von Baden met with General Mélac and gave him his highest appreciation.

On 12 September, M. de Mélac delivered Landau to the Margrave of Baden and marched out of the place with the honours of war. The French were escorted up to Billigheim and Wissembourg by one infantry battalion and 300 horse.

King Joseph and his wife recognized the fortress and, on 17 September, left for Vienna by Lauterbourg.

Outcome

The Imperialist army lost 30 officers and 600 men dead, 65 officers and 2,200 men wounded.

The French lost 900 men killed and 800 wounded. The booty was small, most of the guns left were useless, only 46 guns and 19 mortars were intact. The magazines were empty, all valuable goods having been carried away by the French.

In fact the inhabitants of Landau were the ones who suffered the most terrible losses from the siege. Most houses had been destroyed by bombs; and food, cattle and all valuable goods has been taken away by the French. There was no compensation by the Austrian government.

References

This article incorporates texts from the following books which are now in the public domain:

  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 4, Vienna 1877, pp. 438-477

Other sources

Heuser E.: Die Belagerungen von Landau, Landau, 1913

Dolleczek: Geschichte der österreichischen Artillerie, Vienna, 1887

Treuenfest, A. v.: Die Geschichte des Husarenregiments Nr. 3 Vienna, 1893

Oster, U. A.: Markgraf Ludwig v. Baden, Bergisch Gladbach, 2001

Stadtarchiv Landau, Belagerung der Stadt (Stich)

Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV, Vol. 2 pp. 283-454

Acknowledgements

Harald Skala for the initial version of this article.