Battle of Sinsheim
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The Battle of Sinsheim took place on 16 June 1674 during the 1672-1678 Franco-Dutch War. An Imperial force commanded by Aeneas de Caprara was marching towards Heidelberg, in order to join their main army under Alexander von Bournonville. It was intercepted just outside Sinsheim by the French commanded by Turenne; the Imperialists repulsed the first two French assaults but were eventually forced to retreat.
|Battle of Sinsheim|
|Part of Franco-Dutch War|
The Battle of Sinsheim; Turenne's command post
|Kingdom of France||Holy Roman Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Turenne||Aeneas de Caprara|
3,500 infantry |
1,500 infantry |
|Casualties and losses|
|1,500 killed or wounded||
2,000 killed or wounded|
In the 1667-1668 War of Devolution, France captured most of the Spanish Netherlands and Franche-Comté, before the Triple Alliance of the Dutch Republic, England and Sweden forced them to relinquish most of these gains in the 1668 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Angered by what Louis XIV viewed as Dutch ingratitude for previous French support, in May 1672 French forces invaded the Dutch Republic.
They initially seemed to have achieved an overwhelming victory but by late July, the Dutch position had stabilised and they received support from Brandenburg-Prussia, Emperor Leopold and the Spanish Empire. After this was formalised by the August 1673 Treaty of the Hague, a new front opened in the Rhineland and Turenne appointed French commander.
At the end of 1673, French troops withdrew from the Dutch Republic; the main objectives for 1674 were to retake Franche-Comté and key fortresses along the French border with the Spanish Netherlands. Turenne was tasked with preventing the Imperialists entering Alsace but decided the best way to do that was to attack. On 14 June, he crossed the Rhine near Philippsburg, seeking to intercept an Imperial force under Aeneas de Caprara before it could link up with Alexander von Bournonville. On 16 June, Turenne caught Caprara outside Sinsheim and brought him to battle.
Caprara aligned his infantry along the hedgerows and gardens at the entrance of the village.
Turenne deployed his infantry and his dragoons on foot. They forced the outposts, crossed the Elsanz and entered Sinsheim. The Imperials retreated through the village and fell back on the plateau behind the village.
To reach the plateau, the French had to climb a narrow passage. Turenne positioned infantry and dragoons in the hedgerows flanking the narrow passage, as well as in the castle and in the vineyard. The French cavalry could then advance through the passage.
An enemy counter-attack was stopped by the covering fire of the French infantry. The Imperials were repelled from the plateau and withdrew. Turenne immediately left Sinsheim to monitor the bulk of the Imperial army, stationed on the Moselle.
There were 2,000 to 3,000 deaths, according to sources. The city was completely destroyed.
The battle was only a limited success for Turenne, because both enemy forces succeeded in uniting near Heidelberg. On 1 July the Elector of Brandenburg also took up arms against France, and the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg declared war.
Turenne again crossed the Rhine and ravaged the Palatinate (July 1674), depriving the Imperials the resources to attack the Alsace.