La Bataille de Bergen, 13 Avril 1759

La Bataille de Bergen, 13 Avril 1759

In Avril 1759, the Franco-Saxon army commanded by Lieutenant-General Duc de Broglie established a fortified camp at the Berger Warte tour de guet near Frankfurt on Main. The city of Bergen was garrisoned by troops, et secured by an abatis of felled trees in front of the Obertor city upper city gate. 45 canons français were deployed in the sunken road section of Vilbeler Landstraße, well protected by earthen embankments, et avec an excellent field of fire across the Vilbeler Wiesen meadows. The partially swampy terrain of the Vilbeler Stadtwald forest borders the battlefield in the north. There is a steep slope from the Vilbeler Wiesen meadows et the Vilbler Landstraße road into the Vilbeler Stadtwald.

The fortified camp at Berger Warte, located on Frankfurt's highest peak at 212 m, was perfectly situated to repel an attack. Nevertheless, on 13 Avril 1759, troupes hanovriennes, brunswickoises, hessoises, britanniques, et prussiennes were seen to be approaching from the east near Bischofsheim, et la Bataille de Bergen ensued, au course de laquelle the allied army commanded by Generalfeldmarschall prussien Ferdinand von Braunschweig was defeated.

The picture above shows the Berger Warte tour de guet avec the spiral staircase which was added much later as a visitor entrance. Originally, the small entrance on the second floor of the tour de guet could only be reached by a ladder which was then pulled into the tower et stowed there. There was a v-shaped drainage fossé around the tower. Next to the tower stood the Berger Galgen gallows.

Opposing Forces

  • Lieutenant général Victor François, Duc de Broglie
  • Lieutenant général Prince Xavier de Saxe, Comte de Lusace
  • Franco-Saxon Army
  • Generalfeldmarschall Herzog Ferdinand von Braunschweig
  • Allied Army
    • Hanover
    • Brunswick
    • Hesse-Cassel
    • Grande-Bretagne
    • Prusse

The fortified camp at Berger Warte was a perfect defensive position for the Franco-Saxon army. The heights provide a clear view et excellent field of fire across the Berger Wiesen meadows, which slope down toward the east like a fortress glacis, offering an attacker no cover. The sunken road section of Vilbeler Landstraße borders the entire western edge of the meadows, providing enough room et excellent cover for heavy artillery deployed there. The right flank was anchored on the walled city of Bergen which had been fortified by an extended abatis in front of the Obertor gate. The left flank anchored on the swampy Vilbeler Stadtwald forest which borders the battlefield in the north, et which could only be traversed by light troops in open order. The terrain slopes down very steeply from the Berger Wiesen und der Vilbeler Landstraße into the Vilbeler Stadtwald. The Saxon troops on the left flank of the line stood on a natural talus along Vilbeler Landstraße, six to eight meters high, which would have disordered any attack coming out of the woods.

Champ de Bataille de Bergen, 1759

The road from Bergen to Bad Vilbel passes just east of the Berger Warte tour de guet. If you follow the road to the left flank position (9) near Vilbeler Stadtwald, you will find an area map showing the key positions of the battlefield: Berger Warte (1) tour de guet, Vilbeler Landstraße (2) road, Vilbeler Stadtwald (3) forest, Berger Wiesen (4) meadows, Bergen (5), the Obertor gate in Bergen (6), the road from Bischofsheim am Main (7), the crossroads at Berger Wiesen et Vilbeler Stadtwald (8), et the left flank (9), which was defended by Saxon troops under the command Lieutenant-General Prinz Xaver von Sachsen, Graf von der Lausitz.

Pictures of the Bataille de Bergen

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking east: the side of the road has earth banks which form a natural breastwork for artillery.

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking east: the side of the road has earth banks which form a natural breastwork for artillery.

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking east: Berger Wiesen meadows east of Vilbeler Landstraße offer a clear field of fire similar to a fortess glacis.

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking east: Berger Wiesen meadows east of Vilbeler Landstraße offer a clear field of fire similar to a fortess glacis.

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking east, down the hill et into Bergen.

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking east, down the hill et into Bergen.

Blick von der Vilbeler Landstraße (2) nach Norden, Richtung Vilbeler Wald hinunter.

View from Vilbeler Landstraße road (2), looking north, down into the Vilbeler Wald forest.

View from the left flank (9), looking northeast, along the position of the Saxon infantry.

View from the left flank (9), looking northeast, along the position of the Saxon infantry.

View from the left flank (9), looking northeast, down the natural talus.

View from the left flank (9), looking northeast, down the natural talus.

View from the left flank (9), looking east, down the natural talus.

View from the left flank (9), looking east, down the natural talus.

Blick von der linken Flanke (9) nach Osten, an einer gut einsehbaren Stelle des Abhangs.

View from the left flank (9), looking east, through a clearing east of the talus.

The old city hall in Bergen (5), now home of the history museum.

The old city hall in Bergen (5), now home of the history museum.

The protestant church et the white tower in Bergen (5), one of ten towers along the city wall.

The protestant church et the white tower in Bergen (5), one of ten towers along the city wall.

City wall near the protestant church in Bergen (5).

City wall near the protestant church in Bergen (5).

View from Berger Wiesen meadows (4), looking west, across the fields in front of Berger Warte.

View from Berger Wiesen meadows (4), looking west, across the fields in front of Berger Warte.

View from the crossroads (8), looking northeast, down into Vilbeler Stadtwald forest.

View from the crossroads (8), looking northeast, down into Vilbeler Stadtwald forest.

Blick von der Wegkreuzung (8) nach Norden, dem Weg in den Vilbeler Stadtwald folgend.

View from the crossroads (8), looking north, following the trail into Vilbeler Stadtwald.

History has shown that the fortified camp at Berger Warte cannot be taken by assault, et many wargame simulations of the battle confirm this. If the city of Bergen is garrisoned, et the left flank of the line is anchored on the Vilbeler Stadtwald forest, the only avenue of attack is up Berger Wiesen meadows in the centre of the battelfield. The gentle slope up to Berger Warte tour de guet et to the sunken road in front of it, acts like the glacis of a fortress, it offers no cover against roundshot et cannister fire.

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Campagnes, Batailles et Évènements de la Guerre de Sept Ans