Combat of Kamlach or Mindelheim, 13 August 1796

The combat of Kamlach or Mindelheim, 13 August 1796, was a minor victory for the extreme right wing of General Moreau's army during his advance into southern Germany in the summer of 1796. When General Moreau crossed the Rhine at Strasbourg he split the Austrian Army of the Upper Rhine in half. While Moreau turned north to deal with the main force (originally under Latour, then the Archduke Charles), General Pierre-Marie Ferino was sent south to deal with the isolated southern half of the Austrian army. On 14 July Ferino had pushed General Froelich out of his last positions in the Black Forest, and in the aftermath of that defeat General Wolf had evacuated the last Austrian position on the Upper Rhine, close to the Swiss border.

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

Over the next month the two forces retreated east. Froelich attempted to rejoin the Archduke's main army, but when the Archduke went onto the attack at Neresheim (11 August), Froelich was still some way to the south of Ulm, on the River Iller. Further south a French force under Generals Laborde and Tharreau pushed Austrian divisions under General Wolf and Saint-Julien east along the shores of Lake Constance, and then advanced to Kempten, from where they threatened the northern approaches to the Tyrol.

The main fighting on 13 August involved a force of French émigrés, under the command of the Prince of Condé. His infantry, under the duc d'Enghien, was posted at Mindelheim, facing a French division at Kamlach, just to the west. Apparently determined to prove that his retreat from the Rhine had been caused by timid Austrian generals and not by any fault on the part of the French noble infantry, Condé ordered d'Enghien to launch a night attack on the French. The initial émigré attack was a costly success. At the cost of 500 casualties they captured the village, but were soon forced to retreat.

While Condé was attacking at Kamlach Froelich was busy to the south, where he recaptured Kempten and rescued Wolf from a dangerous position.

These were the last engagements to involve the isolated French right. On 19 August Moreau crossed the Rhine just to the east of Ulm, and the two wings of his army were soon reunited. 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (16 February 2009), Combat of Kamlach or Mindelheim, 13 August 1796 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/combat_kamlach.html

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