The 20th of September 1703, a French-Bavarian army under Marshal Villars met an Imperial Army led by Field Marshal Count Styrum a unique encounter as Count Styrum, fought not one but two battles over the same ground.
Margrave of Baden-Baden
A fortnight earlier, an Imperial Army led by the Margrave of Baden-Baden crossed the Danube and seized Augsburg in the attempt to stop the Elector of Bavaria from joining Marshal Villars. The plan was a bold one, but for one fact, in doing so the Margrave had split his own force to execute his plan. The remaining Imperial forces on the left bank of the Danube under Count Styrum moved his force to Höchstädt to await the Margrave’s return. Marshal Villars seized the opportunity to engage this force and ordered d’Usson, situated near Dillingen to attack Count Styrum from the rear.
Those readers wishing to look deeper into the historical events leading to and around the battle these are nicely covered at the blog, Iacta Alea Est. Scroll to the bottom to find a nice power point presentation.
There are a number of challenges presented here as the sources I have found are not in agreement as to the strength of both sides, the time of the first battle and the arrival of Marshal Villars to the field.
I selected Iacta Alea Est as a reference as the maps used were taken from German sources.
At the start, the Imperial-Prussian forces are deployed behind the River Schwenenbach anticipating the arrival of the French-Bavarian forces under Marshal Villars. Both sides are near even in strength, 17,000 under Villars against 16,000 under Styrum’s command. The smaller French command under d’Usson is given as 7,000. The French-Bavarian total 24,000 vs. 16,000 Imperial-Prussian or using a 3:2 ratio easily equates to three commands to two.
Distribution of forces.
Marshal Villars (CinC) 14 elements
The Elector of Bavaria 12 elements
D’Usson at Höchstädt 10 elements
Marshal Styrum (CinC) 12 elements
Prince Anhalt-Dessau 12 elements
Map (from Iacta Alea Est)
Next, the battle.