Woerth – Museum of the Battle of 6 August 1870

Battle of Woerth, 6 August1870. © BNUS

The Battle of Woerth took place on 6 August 1870. This serious French defeat forced MacMahon to retreat toward Reichshoffen.

The first French soldier fell on July 25th, 1870 in Alsace. The non-commissioned officer from the 12th regiment, Claude Pagnier, was killed in a clash with a patrol of Baden dragoons at Schirlenhof. From 3 August, the Third German Army, which was under the orders of the Prussian price Frédéric Guillaume, occupied Wissembourg and the River Lauter. On 4 August 1870, the first major confrontation took place in town and on the slopes of the Geisberg hill. The French army, under the command of General Mac-Mahon, was defeated for the first time; despite heroic resistance, the disadvantaged vanguard of General Abel Douay's Second Infantry Division succumbed to Prussian attack.

The Battle of Woerth-Froeschwiller on 6 August 1870. The German forces had set up on the east bank of the Sauer and those of the French army, in much smaller numbers, on the heights of the Froeschwiller Plateau, between Langensoultzbach and Morsbronn-les-Bains. Neither side intended to fight that day, but skirmishes near the river, at Woerth, triggered the hostilities. Froeschwiller was therefore an improvised battle. The armies were engaged in a violent battle all day long. Despite the strong resistance, the right wing of the French army was overrun at around 1 pm and the Germans conquered the village of Morsbronn.


MacMahon made a strategic mistake of launching the 2nd cuirassiers of the Michel brigade into highly unfavourable terrain, notably interspersed with hops plantations. The French troops were mowed down in the streets of the village of Morsbronn by Prussians snipers. The Germans continued to make progress, conquering Elsasshausen and then threatening the road to Froeschwiller. MacMahon then launched four regiments of the Bonnemain cavalry division against them at around 3.30 pm. But once again the result was a massacre. The 1st regiment of Algerian tirailleurs nonetheless managed to slow the German advance with a daring assault, but had to give in due to a lack of ammunition. The battle continued in the village of Froeschwiller, which suffered intense bombing and fell at 5 pm.


The results of the battle were disastrous: some 10,000 killed among the French and 10,640 among the Germans.
Many mass graves and tombs were dug; the populations of Woerth and Froeschwiller were requisitioned to bury the dead. The Museum of the Battle of 6 August, located in Woerth, is totally dedicated to this tragic battle that opened up the Vosges to the Prussian army.

 

Practical information: Access by lift for people with reduced mobility (except for the tower).
Car park at the Museum entrance, for buses less than 100 metres away - Boutique, - Guided tours in French and German in the Museum and outside on the battlefield.

Contact: Association des Amis du Musée et du Patrimoine de Woerth et Environs 2, rue du Moulin - 67360 Woerth
Tel.: +33 (0)3 88 09 30 21 - Fax: +33 (0)3 88 09 47 07 - E-mail: mus6aout@gmail.com

Guides are available for groups in the Museum and on the battlefield.
To organise a tour, send an e-mail to: ville.woerth@wanadoo.fr

  • Bataille de W?rth (retrait des Français sur Langensoultzbach), 6 août 1870. Photo et coll. de la Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg.

  • Mac Mahon à la Bataille de Woerth Gravure - Service historique de l'armée de terre.

  • Le monument au coq à Geisberg dédié aux soldats français morts le 4 août 1870.

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    Practical information

    Address

    2 rue du Moulin 67360
    Woerth
    03 88 09 3021

    Prices

    Plein tarif: 3,50 € Enfants (– de 15ans): 2,70 € Groupe (+ de 10 personnes): 2,70 € Handicapé et groupe scolaire: 2,30 €

    Weekly opening hours

    Du 1/02 au 31/03 et du 1/11 au 31/12: 14h-17h le samedi et le dimanche. Du 1/04 au 31/05 et du 15/09 au 31/10: 14h-17h tous les jours sauf mardi. Du 1/06 au 15/06 et du 1/09 au 15/09: 14h-18h tous les jours sauf mardi. Du 1/07 au 31/08: 10h-12h et 14h-18h

    Fermetures annuelles

    Le musée est fermé en Janvier, le 24, 25, 26, 31 décembre et jours fériés

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