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Location address: Deutschland, Heidelberg
Number of texts: 1
The Battle of Handschuhsheim or Battle of Heidelberg saw an 8,000-man force from Habsburg Austria under Peter Vitus von Quosdanovich face 12,000 men from the Republican French army led by Georges Joseph Dufour. Thanks to a devastating cavalry charge, the Austrians routed the French with disproportionate losses. The fight occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. Handschuhsheim is now a district of Heidelberg, but it was a village north of the city in 1795.
In early 1795 many of France’s enemies made peace, leaving only Austria and Great Britain in opposition. In September, the French government ordered the armies of Jean-Charles Pichegru and Jean-Baptiste Jourdan to attack the Austrian armies on the Rhine River. The French scored early successes, capturing two key cities and crossing the river in force. Pichegru sent two divisions to seize the Austrian supply base at Heidelberg, but his troops were bloodily repulsed at Handshuhsheim. Afterward, the Austrian commander François Sébastien Charles Joseph de Croix, Count of Clerfayt turned on Jourdan’s army, driving it back across the Rhine. The Austrians later won the battles of Mainz, Pfeddersheim and Mannheim, forcing the French armies back onto the west bank of the Rhine.