Battle of Jemappes
The Battle of Jemappes took place on November 6, 1792 in the area around the village of Jemappes (now in Belgium). The French under Charles-François Dumouriez , who won the battle, fought against the Austrians under Duke Albert von Sachsen-Teschen and Count Clerfait .
Between September 25 and October 7, the imperial army under the Duke of Saxe-Teschen, with insufficient strength, besieged Lille without success and had to withdraw again. The Duke had to send several detachments , the division of the Prince of Württemberg was in the Tournai area .
French revolutionary troops under Dumouriez advanced from Valenciennes via Quarouble to Mons to invade the Austrian Netherlands . His right wing was covered by the Corps of General Valence, the left by the Corps of La Bourdonnaye . The advance was aided in the last days of October by the end of a rainy season. The Austrians were concentrated around Mons , where by the evening of November 4th the troops of Count Clerfayt's corps marching from Verdun arrived as reinforcements.
Duke Albert and the remaining troops took up a permanent position near Jemappes to await the promised reinforcements. After the French avant-garde were initially beaten off at Thulin and Boussu on November 3, the Austrians were pushed back to Quaregnon the following day . After the occupation of Saint Ghislain, the vanguard established itself on the heights before Boussu. The main force of the French army advanced over the Honelle and the Elouges while the corps under Valence was still behind and could not take part in the battle of the following day. With around 40,000 men, the French army outnumbered the 26,000 Austrians by far.
Duke Albert waited for the attack in well-prepared positions, the right wing stretched from Jemappes, which was heavily entrenched, to the groves. The heights before Jemappes and Cuesmes were held by troops under Count de Clerfait . The left wing under Lieutenant Field Marshal Beaulieu stood on the heights of Bertaimont and Cuesmes. The towns of Wasmes and Guaregnon were in front of the front, and light troops held the village of Siply.
On the morning of November 6, the French attacked after they had developed against the opponents between Siply, Frameries and Wasmes. Dumouriez's infantry comprised thirteen battalions of volunteers as a core from 1792, while most of the leading commanders were either former royal soldiers or aristocrats. The most obvious example of this was the commandant in the center, which was occupied by General Egalité , formerly Duke of Chartres . The right wing was led by General Pierre de Riel, Marquis de Beurnonville and the left wing by General Jean Henri Becays Ferrand . The troops under Beurnonville were to open the attack by cannonade against the enemy positions on Cuesmes. According to Dumouriez's plans, the corps under General d`Harville had to bypass the left wing of the Austrians and gain the heights of Nimy, then prevent the opposing retreat from Mons to Brussels. General Ferrand was to take the lost Quaregnon back and embrace the opponent's right wing. In the center, the Duke of Chartres' troops were not to storm Jemappes until success was evident on both wings.
The fight began with cannonade that lasted several hours, and the French infantry did not advance until around 10 a.m. While Dumouriez himself accompanied Ferrand's attack on Quaregnon, the Thouvenot and Drouet brigades stormed the enemy redoubts . The Beurnonville corps attacked the heights of Cuesmes with Dampierre's division . The French in the center seized the entrenchments and the hill in front of Jemappes, which was tenaciously defended by grenadiers under the young Archduke Karl . Duke Albert threw his cavalry reserves in the middle and on the left wing of the battle line to stop the French. Around noon, however, the first French columns reached the right wing of the imperial and threatened their flank. After the Duke of Chartres stormed the village of Jemappes in the center, the French victory was decided. D'Harville had not occupied the Mont Panisel and the heights near Nimy as planned, so the orderly retreat of the imperial could not be prevented.
The Austrians withdrew via Mons with the loss of 7,000 men and eight cannons . The victors lost 4,000 men. As a result of the battle, the Austrian Netherlands came completely under French control, and Brussels fell on November 14th. Even if the battle was not of outstanding military importance, it brought about the first great conquest of the young republic and was described by Jules Michelet as a great moral success against old Europe.
The Département de Jemappes , newly formed in 1795 , was named after the battle.
- Claude Sorgeloos: Jemappes et la première occupation française - 6 novembre 1792-18 mars 1793 . Université de Mons-Hainaut, Mons 1992, ISBN 978-2-87325-003-4 .
- Jules Michelet: History of the French Revolution . tape 1 . Two thousand and one, Frankfurt a. M. 2009, ISBN 978-3-86150-956-1 , pp. 1024-1036 (French, reprint of the edition Eichborn Verlag 1988.). Page 1036