Battle of Wimpfen

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Battle of Wimpfen
Battle of Wimpfen, contemporary oil painting by S. Vrancx
Battle of Wimpfen , contemporary oil painting by S. Vrancx
date April 26, 1622 Jul. = May 6, 1622 greg.
place south of Bad Wimpfen
output Catholic victory
consequences since 1594, managed by the line of Baden-Durlach Markgrafschaft Baden-Baden is again the line Baden-Baden Baden awarded the house by the emperor and thus the upper Badische occupation ended
Parties to the conflict

Catholic League (Germany) .svgCatholic League Kingdom of Spain
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg

Flag of The Electoral Palatinate (1604) .svg Electoral Palatinate (Protestant)


Johann t'Serclaes of Tilly ,
Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba

Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach

Troop strength
21,000 2 500 cavalry
9 700 infantry
300 artillery
12 500 total

450 dead,
1,200 wounded,
100 prisoners

600 dead
1 300 wounded
250 captured
Army smashed

Information according to Reitzenstein; in the literature there are also strongly deviating information

The Battle of Wimpfen on May 6, 1622 was an important battle in the first phase of the Thirty Years' War , the Bohemian-Palatinate War . It was beaten between Wimpfen , Biberach , Obereisesheim and Untereisesheim and ended with the victory of the Catholic, Bavarian and Spanish troops under Tilly and Córdoba over the Lutheran margrave Georg Friedrich von Baden-Durlach .


Elevation of the troops

Tilly had lost the battle at Mingolsheim on April 27 and withdrew with his 15,000-strong Catholic army across the Kraichgau in the direction of the Neckar crossing at Wimpfen . The almost 70,000 strong Protestant army initially followed Tilly's troops, but then separated at Schwaigern . Mansfeld moved to the North Palatinate, the Baden Margrave Georg Friedrich held 13,000 men, according to other sources there were 20,000, still in touch with Tilly's Catholic troops, who plundered the country on their way. On May 5th, the Baden troops moved from Schwaigern via Kirchhausen and Biberach, which was plundered by Tilly, in the direction of Wimpfen to attack the Catholic troops there.

On the evening of May 5, 1622, the Baden army, coming from the south-west, crossed the flood-leading Böllinger Bach near Obereisesheim and stood in battle order over a front length of around 2 kilometers: the infantry in the Heilbronner Klinge , the cavalry on the Rosenberg and the guns at the vineyards of the Böllinger Hof . Tilly's troops took up positions north of it in and around the Obereisesheimer Dornetwald . The western wing was formed by the Spanish troops under Córdoba. Tilly's headquarters were in the Cornelienkirche in Wimpfen , not far from where he had the Altenberg ski jump built. A painting in the Dominican Church in Wimpfen , which was Tilly's arsenal, shows the general in prayer in front of the Seated Madonna , who was then still in the Cornelienkirche , while the battle is already raging in the background.

The first outpost skirmishes took place in the evening, but they subsided when it got dark.

Course of the battle

Merian Theatrum Europaeum Battle of Wimpfen 1622.jpg
Depictions of the battle in an engraving by Merian (1635) and a woodcut by MC Lundorp (1627)

In the early morning of May 6, 1622, Tilly's artillery opened the battle. The superior Baden artillery responded and was unsuccessfully attacked by Bavarian cavalry as it was thrown back by the Margrave's cavalry. The battles for mutual attrition lasted until around 11 a.m. Córdoba was still holding back, because the Catholic-League side still expected that Mansfeld's army could intervene in the battle behind them. Margrave Georg Friedrich, on the other hand, was not aware of the presence of Córdoba's troops, and he bet on waiting for Tilly to attack his strong wagon castle. Both sides initially lacked the will to attack vigorously and the fighting came to a standstill. Reports that Tilly formally requested a ceasefire have not been confirmed. In any case, there was no significant fighting between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. While Tilly's associations recovered, the Margrave regrouped his units during this time.

In the early afternoon Tilly's troops surprisingly attacked the right wing of the margrave, whose Lorraine horsemen then fled towards Neckargartach . At about 5.30 p.m. a cannon hit in the open powder car of the margrave's troops exploded their ammunition dump. Part of the margraves' army panicked and fled, which enabled Tilly's troops to advance further and further south and east. Around 6 p.m., Duke Magnus von Württemberg fell , who had led his cuirassier regiment on the side of the margrave. Shortly afterwards, Tilly's troops succeeded in taking the margraves' wagons and their guns. At around 8 p.m., the margravial crew from Obereisesheim surrendered. The local population had fled across the Neckar in the afternoon.

The defeated margrave troops, which were besieged by Tilly from the north and west, were enclosed in the east by the Neckar and in the south by the swollen Böllinger Bach. The margrave, presumably confident in his own victory, had not considered an escape route for his troops. Only a single bridge at the Böllinger mill led over the Böllinger Bach, in front of which the fleeing people jammed and were overtaken and massacred by Tilly's cavalry. According to some sources, by the evening there should have been a total of around 5,000 deaths, including around 4,000 on the battlefield and 600 in the surrounding area.

After their victory, the league troops devastated Obereisesheim and killed the residents who had not been able to escape. The Spaniards under Córdoba moved into quarters near Neckargartach and devastated it. Since the residents of Obereisesheim had fled, the thousands of fallen soldiers on the battlefield were not buried until May 12th and 17th, 1622 by people from the nearby imperial city of Heilbronn .

Tilly and Córdoba tried in the further course of the Bohemian-Palatinate War to prevent the unification of the remaining Protestant armies under Mansfeld and Christian von Halberstadt . Halberstadt was captured on June 20 in the battle of Höchst and badly beaten.

The parties

Troops of the Electoral Palatinate

Title page of a print from 1622 about the Baden guns captured in the Battle of Wimpfen

For Frederick V of the Palatinate , only the troops raised and recruited by Georg Friedrich were involved in the battle, the armies of Mansfeld and Christian of Braunschweig could not intervene.

On the one hand, Georg Friedrich had mobilized Landwehr regiments from his dominion. The regiment recruited from the Baden Unterland was referred to as the White Regiment , and the Pforzheim contingent also belonged to it, around which heroic legends were based in the tradition.

On the other hand, there were also mercenary associations recruited outside Baden among the margrave's troops. Wilhelm and Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar brought two regiments to them, and so did Duke Magnus of Württemberg . These mercenaries were u. a. recruited in Thuringia, Westphalia, Lorraine and Switzerland.

Georg Friedrich had equipped his troops with an extraordinarily powerful artillery consisting of around 40 guns of different sizes. In the Turkish Wars, the imperial army had carried many armored wagons with them to protect them against rapid attacks by horsemen, which both offered protection during marches and could be assembled to form wagon castles. Georg Friedrich also wanted to use this defensive tactic and carried around 70 so-called spit wagons with him. These very agile chariots were armed with iron spikes (hence the name) to deter enemy cavalry. The wagons were armed with small swiveling howitzers .

The entourage consisted of 1,800 wagons which, in addition to provisions and ammunition, also transported siege equipment and even a ship's bridge.

Individual evidence

  1. Reitzenstein, p. 191 rather suspects an accident caused by “careless handling of loose powder”.
  2. These Landwehr regiments comprised mostly foreign mercenaries who had reported at the advertising space in Baden, the local portion had not been drawn, but consisted of subjects who were also recruited. The term Frei Fähnlein is also used for them.
  3. s. Pflüger, p. 382


Historical drama

Web links

Commons : Battle of Wimpfen  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 49 ° 11 ′ 50 ″  N , 9 ° 10 ′ 20 ″  E