Capture of Oppenheim

Capture of Oppenheim
Part of the Thirty Years' War
Wenceslas Hollar - Capture of Oppenheim.jpg
The Capture of Oppenheim by Wenzel Hollar.
Date14 September 1620
LocationOppenheim, Electorate of the Palatinate
(present-day Germany)
ResultDecisive Spanish victory[1][2]
Belligerents
Electoral PalatinateSpain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Joachim ErnstSpain Ambrosio Spinola
Strength
24,000 (Joachim Ernst)
1,000 (Oppenheim)[1]
22,000[3]
Casualties and losses
Few dead or wounded
800–1,000 captured[4]
Minor[4]

The Capture of Oppenheim or the Spanish capture of Oppenheim took place on 14 September 1620, at Oppenheim, Electorate of the Palatinate, between the Spanish army commanded by Don Ambrosio Spinola, Marquis of the Balbases, against the forces of the Electoral Palatinate led by Joachim Ernst, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach, during the Palatinate campaign, in the context of the Thirty Years' War.[1] The Spanish troops under Spinola, with a great maneuver of distraction over Worms, deceived the Protestant army of Joachim Ernst, and captured the important town of Oppenheim without too much difficulty, causing a severe blow to the Protestant forces.[4][5]

Background

In 1620 the Spanish Monarchy entered the Thirty Years' War with the intention of conquering the Electoral Palatinate. The Spanish saw this as necessary because the Palatinate lay on the route from Italy to the Spanish Netherlands (the Spanish Road). Also, Spain was Catholic, so they naturally supported the Holy Roman Emperor against the Protestants in the Thirty Years' War. In August 1620, Don Ambrosio Spinola, as commander-in-chief of the Army of Flanders, invaded the Palatinate from the Spanish Netherlands and advanced over Frankfurt.[6] The rapid relief introduced in this city by the Protestants dissuaded him from attack, and Spinola decided march to Oppenheim.[6] In early September the towns of Bad Kreuznach and Alsheim were captured by the Spaniards.[6]

The primary objective of Spinola was to occupy a city of some entity that would allow secure their supplies and ammunition, thus anticipating the arrival of winter.[6] The attention of the Marquis focused on Oppenheim, a town of strategic importance because their bridge guarded the entrance to the heart of the Electorate of the Palatinate. The town, however, was strongly garrisoned and was protected by strong fortifications, so an immediate assault was seen as an option inadvisable.[6]

Other Languages