1705 – Siege of Haguenau

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Sieges >> 1705 – Siege of Haguenau

The siege lasted from 25 September to 5 October 1705

Introduction

While the main Allied army under the Duke of Marlborough was conducting operations against French in the Spanish Netherlands, a French army under Maréchal Claude de Villars captured Wissembourg in Alsace in early July and attempted to dislodge the Imperialists from their position near Lauterbourg; but the attempt was beaten off by the Imperial Field Marshal Johann Karl von Thüngen, who had taken over from the ill Ludwig Wilhelm, Margrave of Baden-Baden.

On 27 July, a French detachment captured Homburg, the Palatine garrison agreeing to retire to Mannheim. On 28 August, the Imperialist forces, now commanded by the Margrave of Baden and reinforced by 16,000 Prussian and Palatine troops (10 Prussian bns and 20 sqns), breached the Lines of the Moder, a French line of field fortifications, advanced into Lower Alsace and laid siege, first to Drusenheim and then, on September 27, to Haguenau.

Map

Map of the siege of Haguenau in 1705 – Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis

Haguenau (Alsatian: Hàwenau or Hàjenöi; German: Hagenau (and historically in English: Hagenaw) is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department of France.

Haguenau was founded by German dukes and, over the centuries, has swapped back and forth several times between Germany and France, with its spelling altering between "Hagenau" and "Haguenau".

In 1648, the Treaty of Westphalia ceded Alsace to France, which had repeatedly invaded and looted the region in the past. In 1673, King Louis XIV had the fortifications as well as the remains of the king's palace razed in order to extinguish German traditions. Haguenau was recaptured by German troops in 1675, but was taken again by the French two years later, when it was nearly destroyed by fire set by looting French troops.

After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, Haguenau was ceded to the new German Empire. It was part of the German Empire for 48 years from 1871 to 1918, when at the end of World War I, it was returned to France. This transfer was officially ratified in 1919 with the Treaty of Versailles.

Description

The French garrison of Haguenau, under the Marquis de Pery, numbered about 1,500-2,000 men with 26 artillery pieces. According to a list of officers there were the following infantry regiments in Haguenau during the siege:

  • Lachau-Montauban
  • Chalmazel
  • Rosen
  • Surbeck.

On 27 September, covered by the main Imperialist army, Thüngen’s Corps invested Haguenau from both sides of the Moder River. This corps comprised:

  • Infantry (21 bns)
    • Prussian Infantry (10 bns) under Lieutenant-General Georg Abraham von Arnim
    • Saxon Infantry (5 bns, for a total of 3,000 men) under Lieutenant-General August Kristoffer von Wackerbarth
      • Seiferitz Defension-Regiment (8 militia coys) equivalent to 2 bns
      • Wackerbarth Infantry (8 coys) equivalent to 2 bns
      • Weissenfels Infantry (4 coys) equivalent to 1 bn
    • Württemberg Infantry (6 bns), probably
      • Stehrenfelt Infantry (2 bns)
      • Hermann Infantry (2 bns)
      • Reischach Infantry (2 bns)
  • Cavalry (17 sqns)

On the night of 29 to 30 September, Thüngen opened the trench some 200 m. in front of the palisades of Haguenau.

On 1 October, Thüngen’s artillery (20 cannon) opened fire against the walls of Haguenau.

On 5 October, the walls of Haguenau were breached in three locations. M. de Péry, the commander of the French garrison, asked to capitulate but the Thüngen refused to grant free withdrawal to the defenders.

In the evening of 5 October, Péry led a sortie from the Saverne Gate with all the garrison (approx. 2,000 men) with the exception of 400 men under M. de Harlin, left in the covert ways, and the sick and wounded left in the place. Péry surprised two cavalry detachments (approx. 60 men each) and continued his march towards Saverne.

In the night of 5 to 6 October, General Thüngen detached 2,000 horse to locate Péry’s force but they could not find it.

During the same night, the remaining 400 men of the garrison under M. de Harlin managed to escape too. The Margrave of Baden was outraged by this failure.

On 6 October at daybreak, Péry reached Saverne. M. de Harlin soon followed him.

The same day (6 October), what remained of the French garrison (100 sick or wounded) easily agreed to capitulate. The Imperialists occupied Hagenau.

Aftermath

On 8 October, M. de Péry marched to Strasbourg with the former garrison of Haguenau (for their conduct, Péry would be promoted to lieutenant-general and Harlin, to brigadier).

The sieges concluded the campaign season. Later in October, the opposing armies withdrew to their winter-quarters. With the capture of Haguenau, the Imperialists had established a bridgehead on the left bank of the Rhine.

References

Jany, Curt. Geschichte der Preussischen Armee vom 15. Jahrhundert bis 1914. Vol. 1, pp. 484, 487

Oderint dum Probent – Siege of Hagenau, 28 Sept - 5 Oct 1705

Pelet and François Eugène de Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la Succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV, Vol. 5, pp. 381-550, 801-806.

Wikipedia – Siege of Haguenau (1705)

Wikiwand – Haguenau

Acknowledgements

Dinos Antoniadis for the research, the map and the initial version of this article.