Battle of Eckmühl summary
The Battle of Eckmühl (also known as "Eggmühl") fought on 21 April – 22 April 1809, was the turning point of the 1809 Campaign, also known as the War of the Fifth Coalition.
- The leading elements of the Austrian attack ran into Montbrun's determined cavalry, who managed to reduce the impetus of the charge thanks to hilly and wooded terrain. Austrian General Rosenberg displayed serious concern when he realized that Davout's troops were not moving to account for the ongoing battle, and rightly assumed that more French troops were on the way.
- Napoleon had set the French army into motion around 2 a.m. on the 22nd and had his men march 18 miles north in just a few short hours, meaning reinforcements for Davout would be arriving shortly.
- The vanguard of the assault were the German troops under General Vandamme, these soldiers stormed the bridge at Eckmühl and even captured the town's chateau after ferocious Austrian resistance.
- Davout launched his men against the Austrian center at the village of Unterlaichling and the woods to the north.
- The famous 10th Legere Regiment became involved in vicious fighting around the woods, but eventually was strengthened by Bavarians under Deroy and managed to capture the positions
- North of Unterlaichling, Davout's troops under Louis Friant and St. Hilaire steadily pushed back the defenders of Oberlaichling and the surrounding woods, overran a redoubt held by Hungarian grenadiers, and prompted Archduke Charles of Austria to order a general retreat.
- The struggle now devolved into a series of major cavalry clashes as the Austrians attempted to extricate their army without losing too many prisoners.
- he first phase of the retreat ended, but it was not over yet. The Austrians had found a chokepoint in the road and were instructed to stem the French tide.
- Three French cuirassier divisions supported by additional German light cavalry attacked and a swirling melee developed.
- The Austrians fought heroically but were heavily outnumbered and had to retreat. During this part of the conflict, more French cavalry struck in their flank and the remaining Austrian horse fled north.