Combat of Haslach, 14 July 1796

The combat of Haslach (14 July 1796) was a French victory that pushed the Austrians out of most of their remaining positions in the southern Black Forest in the early stages of General Moreau's invasion of southern Germany. The French had crossed the Rhine at Strasbourg on 23-24 June, and had quickly split the Austrian army on the Upper Rhine in half. Moreau had then concentrated on the more important northern part of that army, pushing it back in battles at Renchen (26 June 1796), Rastatt (5 July) and Ettlingen (9 July), leaving General Férino to watch the Austrians to the south. After the victory at Ettlingen Moreau sent General Duhesme's division as reinforcements, and ordered Férino to clear the Austrians from the Kinzig Valley and the plains of Breisgau, around Frieburg on the eastern bank of the Rhine.

War of the First Coalition - Rhine Front 1796
War of the First Coalition
Rhine Front 1796

The Austrians were spread out on a line that ran from the Swiss border to the Kinzig valley in the Black Forest. General Froelich commanded the left, which ran from a point just north of Basle up to Ettenheim, twenty five miles to the south of the original French crossing point. The Prince of Condé was in the Austrian centre, on a line that ran from Ettenheimmünster (just east of Ettenheim) east across the mountains to the Kinzig Valley. Count Gyulai, with a force of Swabian troops, made up the Austrian right, which stretched along the valley from Haslach im Kinzigtal to Hornburg (roughly seven miles to the south east or well over ten miles along the valley floor). 

On the morning of 14 July Férino attacked all three of these positions. Férino himself attacked the Austrian left at Ettenheim and Herbolzheim. General Abattuci, commanding the French centre, drove Condé out of Ettenheimmünster and Schweighausen (five miles to the east). Condé retreated east across the mountains to Villingen, where he was joined by Froelich.

On the left general Jordy captured Haslach after three hours of fighting. Giulay retreated up the valley to Hornberg. Another French column, under General Duhesme, advanced through the mountains to the north east of the Kinzig, capturing the village of Wolfach. By the end of the day General Laval had captured all of the high ground between the Kinzig and the Neckar (which runs north along the eastern side of the Black Forest).

The only Austrians troops west of the Black Forest were now a small force under General Wolf, at the south-western corner of the forest close to Switzerland. On 16 July General Laborde crossed the Rhine, and Wolf retreated east across the mountains to Stühlingen.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 February 2009), Combat of Haslach, 14 July 1796 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_haslach.html

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