1704 – Siege of Ulm

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Sieges >> 1704 – Siege of Ulm

The siege lasted from 2 to 10 September 1704


On 16 August 1704, a few days after the crushing defeat at the Battle of Blenheim, Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria had assembled the remnants of the Franco-Bavarian army at Wiblingen.

On 17 August, leaving all wounded and sick soldiers in Ulm, the Elector marched to Emerkingen.

On 20 August, the Franco-Bavarian army finally reached Tuttlingen. During the march, some 1,000 wagons had been burned or left behind because of lack of horses.

Prince Eugène and Marlborough confided the siege of Ulm to Field-Marshal Johann Karl von Thüngen.

On 22 August, the Allies built a boat-bridge downstream from Ulm and some cavalry regiments erected a bridgehead.

On 26 August, Thüngen's siege corps (23 bns, 19 sqns) reached Pfuel, only one hour march from Ulm. At his headquarters in Söflingen, FM Thüngen discussed the attack on the fortress with the Prussian engineer Colonel Labaume and the Dutch engineer officers.


Map of the siege of Ulm in September 1704 – Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis

The Fortress of Ulm had four gates: the Frauen, Göklinger, Gänse and Neu gates. The stone bridge over the Danube at the Heerdsbrücker Gate was protected by a solid tower on the left bank and by big ravelin on the right bank.

The Bavarian Lieutenant-General Philipp Ludwig Baron von Bettendorf had been appointed commander of Ulm. The garrison consisted of 9 Bavarian and 3 French battalions, for a total of approx. 4,000 men.

Distrusting the townspeople, Lieutenant-General Bettendorf had disarmed them. He had also made every possible effort to improve the defensive readiness of the fortress.


On 1 September, the convoy of artillery destined to the siege of Ulm set off from Nördlingen. It consisted of:

  • 30 guns
  • 3 x 100-pdr mortars
  • 5 x 60-pdr mortars
  • 2 x 30-pdr mortars

This convoy was expected at Ulm eight days later. Furthermore, 300 artillerymen arrived from Prussia to operate the siege artillery.

Thüngen blocked the approaches to the city and encamped his troops on the Kuhberg and Michelsberg. The cavalry stood on the other side of the Danube, against the bridgehead.

On 2 September, Thüngen opened the trench in front of Ulm.

On 8 September, once the batteries had been built, the bombardment of the fortress began.

On 10 September in the morning, Lieutenant-General Bettendorf asked to surrender. Hostages were exchanged and the capitulation signed on the same day.

On 11 September the 300 Prussian artillerymen occupied the arsenal and the garrison left the fortress with military honours with 5 guns.

The Bavarian soldiers were released home, the French were escorted by 50 horse by way of Hornberg to Strasbourg. The wounded and sick of the garrison remained in Ulm and were placed in the care of their own doctors and clergy.

According to the capitulation, France had to pay back the 17,000 guilders extorted from the inhabitants by the Marquis de Blainville in the winter of 1703-1704. Colonel Argeles of Languedoc Infanterie and Captain Plancy of the Gendarmes remained hostage in Ulm until the money was repaid.

From the Bavarians, a few hundred men entered imperial service. Another 615 were hiding in the city. After swearing not to fight the emperor again, they were released to their homeland.

General Bettendorf with 300 men wished to be escorted to Bruxelles, but most of them deserted on the way.

On 13 September in the afternoon, the Allies entered the city under the sound of the guns. The same day, Thüngen's cavalry set off for Philippsburg, the infantry followed on the next day. Four bns under Colonel von Tessin remained as garrison in Ulm.


After the capture of Ulm, Prince Eugène turned his attention to the 1704 – Siege of Landau, confiding the operations to FM Thüngen.

Orders of Battle

Franco-Bavarian Order of Battle

Commander-in-Chief: Lieutenant-General Philipp Ludwig Baron von Bettendorf

Summary: 9 Bavarian bns, 3 French bns for a total of approx. 4,000 men

Imperialist Order of Battle

Commander-in-Chief: Field Marshal Johann Karl von Thüngen

Summary: 23 bns, 19 sqns

Infantry (23 bns)

  • Imperial Baden Infantry (2 bns)
  • Imperial Salm Infantry (2 bns)
  • Imperial Tollet Infantry (2 bns)
  • Imperial Converged Grenadiers (2 bns)
  • Upper Rhine Bibra Infantry (2 bns)
  • Würzburg Fuchs Infantry (2 bns)
  • Franconian Erffa Kreisinfanterie (2 bns)
  • Swabian Schnäbelin Infantry (2 bns)
  • Franconian Boyneburg (2 bns)
  • Swabian Reischach Infantry (2 bns)
  • ??? Bevern Infantry (1 bn) unidentified unit
  • Westphalian Bernsdorff Kreisinfanterie (1 bn)
  • ??? Toste Infantry (1 bn) unidentified unit

Cavalry (19 sqns)

  • Imperial Darmstadt Cuirassiers (6 sqns)
  • Swabian Fugger Cavalry (3 sqns)
  • Swabian Öttingen Dragoons (2 sqns)
  • ??? Erbprinz Württemberg (3 sqns) several candidates
  • Westphalian (Münster) Nagel Cavalry (2 sqns)
  • Palatine Venningen Carabiniers (2 sqns)
  • Nierderrheinisch Hachenberg Cuirassiers (1 sqn)


Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 6, Vienna 1879

ÖMZ 1842, book No. 2, pp. 183-188


Harald Skala for the initial version of this article.