Battle of Bregenz

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Battle of Bregenz
Part of: Appenzell Wars
Bregenz, copper engraving by Matthäus Merian, around 1650
Bregenz, copper engraving by Matthäus Merian, around 1650
date January 13, 1408
place Bregenz
output Victory of the Swabian Knight League
consequences End of the Appenzell Wars
Peace treaty April 4, 1408 and 1410
Parties to the conflict

Ritterbund Sankt Jörgenschild Diocese of Constance Diocese of Augsburg Habsburg
Coat of arms of the Diocese of Konstanz.svg
Coat of arms diocese Augsburg.svg
Coat of arms of the archduchy of Austria.svg

Bund above Lake Appenzell City of St. Gallen Schwyz
AppenzellRI-coat of arms.svg
Coa stgallen.svg
Coat of arms of the canton Schwyz.svg


Duke Ulrich von Teck

Captain Kupferschmid



The Battle of Bregenz or the Battle of Bregenz was an armed conflict between the Land of Appenzell and the federal government over a lake against a Habsburg noble coalition during the Appenzell Wars . It took place on January 13, 1408 near Bregenz in what is now the state of Vorarlberg in Austria .


After the Battle of the Stoss 1405, which was victorious for the Appenzell, and its warlike spread over the next two years in the adjacent areas in Thurgau , in the Rhine Valley and Vorarlberg, the Swabian nobility founded the Knight League Sankt Jörgenschild against the Bund ob dem See, which was established by Appenzell, to stop the goings-on. The federation was soon expanded to include the Lake Constance cities, the dioceses of Constance and Augsburg and the House of Habsburg, making the Appenzell people a strong opponent. The people of Schwyz , who had previously instructed and supported the Appenzell people militarily and politically, began to become estranged from them towards the end of 1407.


On September 22nd, 1407, associations of the Appenzell and Feldkirch families began to siege the city of Bregenz and the castle on Gebhardsberg . They brought in throwing machines and rifles. Despite intensive bombardment and severe economic damage, the Bregenz citizens held out. The Appenzeller had only a few sympathizers in Bregenz who had already left the city by that time. The citizens of the city did not think of going over to the enemy.

The too weak artillery of the federal government failed to break the city walls on the lake. The reinforcement of the federal army with an Appenzell contingent and twelve Schwyzers and the capture of Maurach Castle did nothing to change the situation. According to tradition, the Appenzell attack plan is said to have been overheard by an old woman named Guta and thus thwarted. The federal army above the lake in front of Bregenz was already showing signs of disintegration due to the severe winter.

In the early morning of January 13, 1408, a strong relief army from Appenzell's main opponent Constance and the Knight League Sankt Jörgenschild moved towards Bregenz under the command of Duke Ulrich von Teck. This army was put on its feet with great effort and financial difficulties, as the Swabian nobility feared that if Bregenz fell, the war would spread to the areas bordering north of Lake Constance and the destabilizing effect would spread even further.

The decisive battle occurred in the so-called Klause near Lochau between Lake Constance and Pfänderstock. The aristocratic army defeated the relatively weak opponent under Appenzell captain Kupferschmid quickly and completely. The soldiers remaining before Bregenz fled before the surrender of the besieged, leaving behind the guns and the camp.


The losses of the federal government above the lake were given as between 38 and 50 dead. The battle was by no means decisive militarily, but politically momentous. The defeat was enough to destroy the reputation of the Appenzeller's invincibility. They had to retreat to their home country, and all the conquests they had made were lost in the process. The conflict was reduced to the contrast to the prince abbey of St. Gallen that triggered the Appenzell Wars .

The defeat also resulted in the dissolution of the Confederation on April 4, 1408 through an arbitration ruling by the head of the Reich, King Ruprecht, in Constance . Before that, the Vorarlbergers , namely Feldkircher , Bludenzer , Walgauer and the Montafoner, had already held special negotiations with the Chur bishop Hartmann against the will of the city of St. Gallen . Then St. Gallen asked Schwyz what to do; the Schwyz recommended them to join the royal arbitration and the traditional federation of Lake Constance cities, which they did a little later with royal permission. The extensive phase of the Appenzell Wars was thus over.

The Appenzellers themselves managed to prevent the earlier conditions only with difficulty. The actual rescue came about in 1411 through a castle and land rights contract with seven of the eight old towns of the Old Confederation , which granted them certain rights of their own. The contract did not include the city of Bern , whose interests in eastern Switzerland were not particularly great, since the policy of this city was basically more oriented towards the west; and Bern was not exactly suited to the Appenzell uprising anyway.
In this first treaty, Appenzell was a place of lesser law. One of the restrictive requirements was that the Appenzell people were not allowed to wage wars of their own. After the Appenzell defeat in the battle at the Letzi near Herisau in 1428, the Peace of Constance in 1429 and the treaty of November 15, 1452 aimed at more rights did not change anything despite the participation in the Old Zurich War (→ Battle of Wolfhalden ); there was also a general ban on alliances, making Appenzell a de facto protectorate of Switzerland. Appenzell only received full authorization as a federal location in 1513.

See also


Peter Dürrenmatt : Swiss History. Schweizer Druck- und Verlagshaus AG, Zurich 1963