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Siege of Bad Kreuznach
Part of the Thirty Years' War
View of the old bridge in Kreuznach.
Date9 September 1620
LocationKreuznach, Electorate of the Palatinate
(present-day Germany)
Result Spanish victory[1]
Electoral Palatinate Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
Unknown Spain Carlos Coloma
3 infantry companies
1 company of cavalry
(Exact number unknown)[1]
5,000 infantry
300 cavalry
4 cannons[2]
Casualties and losses
All forces surrendered[1] None[1]

The Siege of Bad Kreuznach or the Spanish capture of Bad Kreuznach took place on 9 September 1620, in Kreuznach, Electorate of the Palatinate, between the Spanish forces of Don Ambrosio Spinola, commanded by Don Carlos Coloma de Saa, 1st Marquess of Espinar against the forces of the Electoral Palatinate during the Palatinate campaign, in the context of the Thirty Years' War.[1] The Spanish troops stormed the city and obtained the surrender of the garrison. Later the town was released on a promise not to fight back against the Holy Roman Empire.[1][3]


The Thirty Years' War began in 1618 with the Bohemian Revolt, when the authorities of this kingdom offered their throne to the Protestant Frederick V of the Palatinate, who accepted, initiating a conflict between the Protestant Union led by Frederick and the House of Habsburg.[4] Two years after the outbreak of the war the situation had apparently stalled, but in reality the Habsburgs through its diplomatic maneuvers were able to isolate politically to Frederick, between whose hits highlighted Spain's entry into the conflict.[4]

Under the agreement with the Emperor, in August 1620, Don Ambrosio Spinola, commander of the Spanish army, crossed the Rhine at the head of an army of 22,000 men and invaded the Lower Palatinate.[5] Since the Elector Palatine had not yet begun hostilities against the Spanish Monarchy, Spinola decided to proceed to occupy, peacefully if was possible, the main towns of his state.[1] On 8 September Spinola marched with his army against the Palatine forces not far from Oppenheim. At midnight ordered to his Field Master Don Carlos Coloma, Governor of Cambrai, taking the town of Kreuznach, in command of two Tercios of infantry, numbering about 5,000 soldiers and 300 horsemen,[2] a town of some importance because had a bridge over the Rhine protected by walls on both sides of the river and a castle.[6]


Portrait of Don Carlos Coloma by Anthony van Dyck.

Don Carlos Coloma arrived with his troops at the gates of the town on the evening, 10 September, and sent emissaries to the authorities saying that if they surrendered to the obedience of Emperor Ferdinand II would be well treated.[6] Faced with an ambiguous response from the defenders, Coloma ordered to place the 4 cannons he had, and moved his troops to the foot of the walls, and the gate of the town to launch the assault.[6]

Don Ambrosio Spinola by Michiel Colijn.

The defenders of Kreuznach, whose forces consisted of three companies of infantry and one of cavalry, decided to act and fired their muskets from the castle overlooking the town. Then, the Spanish, in perfect formation, responded by opening fire with their cannons. Few minutes after, the garrison decided to surrender the town. The Spanish troops captured the horses and the weapons of the Palatine soldiers, and Coloma forced the Palatine troops to take an oath not to fight anymore against the Emperor.[6]


With the news of the fell of Kreuznach, Spinola continued the march with his army over the Palatinate to Alsheim, one of the main city of the region, and captured it in the same day.[7] Four days after, on 14 September, Spinola, with a great maneuver of distraction over Worms, captured Oppenheim, without too much difficulty, causing a severe blow to the Protestant forces.[8]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Ibarra p.361
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ibarra p.362
  3. Polišenský/Snider. War and society in Europe (1618-1648)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Guthrie p.57
  5. Ibarra p.354
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Francisco de Ibarra p.361
  7. Ibarra p.363
  8. Ibarra p.364


  • Guthrie, P William. Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen, 1618-1635 Greenwood Press (2001) ISBN 978-0-313-32028-6
  • Josef V. Polišenský/Frederick Snider: War and society in Europe (1618-1648). Bristol: Cambridge University Press, 1978. ISBN 978-0-521-21659-3
  • Francisco de Ibarra: Relación de las campañas del Bajo Palatinado. Published on L' Espagne au XVIe et au XVIIe siècle documents historiques et littéraires. Heilbronn: Henninger 1878.
  • Black, Jeremy European Warfare, 1494-1660. Routledge Publishing (2002) ISBN 978-0-415-27531-6
  • Spielvogel, J Jackson. Western Civilization: Volume II: Since 1500 Wadsworth Publishing (2006) ISBN 978-0-534-64604-2

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