NORDLINGEN, a town of Germany, in the kingdom of Bavaria, on the Eger, 40 m. N. of Augsburg by rail and at the junction of lines to Buchloe and Dombuhl. Pop. (1905) 8512. It was formerly a free imperial town, owning a territory 35 sq. m. in extent, and is still surrounded with walls and towers. The Evangelical church of St George is a Gothic structure erected in the 15th century and restored in 1880. It has paintings by Hans Schaufelein, who was a native of Nordlingen, and a tower 290 ft. high. The Late Gothic town hall has a collection of pictures and antiquities. The chief manufactures of the town are linen goods, soap, malt, and agricultural implements, and a brisk trade is carried on in cattle, grain and geese. From 898, when first mentioned, to 1215 Nordlingen was subject to the bishops of Regensburg, but about 1215 it became a free city of the Empire. It was annexed to Bavaria in 1803.
Nordlingen was the scene of two great battles in the Thirty Years' War (q.v.). In the first, which was fought on the 5th and 6th of September 1634, the hitherto invincible Swedish army, commanded by Duke Bernhard of Saxe Weimar and Marshal Horn, was defeated with great loss by a somewhat superior army of Imperialists and Spaniards under General Gallas, Horn and 3000 men being made prisoners and 6000 killed or mortally wounded. In the second battle, fought eleven years later (3rd August 1645), Conde (then duke of Enghien) and Turenne were the leaders on the one side, and Mercy and Johann von Weert, the dashing cavalry commander whose onset had decided the battle of 1634, on the other. The Germans were posted some 5 m. to the east of Nordlingen, about Allerheim, with their right resting on a hill and the left on a castle, the guns with an infantry escort being placed on these points, and the village itself in the centre being also garrisoned and entrenched. In rear of the village the plain was occupied by Mercy's army in the customary two lines, foot in the centre, horse in the wings. The French army, similarly arrayed, but with a few battalions attached to the cavalry wings, was more heterogeneous than the German, being composed of French, Hessian, German mercenaries, and Liegeois. After a cannonade in which it suffered more severely than its entrenched enemy, the French centre furiously attacked the village of Allerheim; the fighting here was very heavy, and on the whole in favour of the Germans, although Mercy was killed. The right wing of the French cavalry was swept off the field by Johann von Weert's charge, but the German troopers, intoxicated with success, dispersed to plunder. On the French left, meanwhile, Turenne saved the day. Fighting cautiously at first with his leading line to gain time for his second to come up, he then charged and broke up the hostile right wing of cavalry, while some battalions of infantry scaled the hill and captured the Bavarian guns. Unlike Weert the marshal kept his troops in hand, and swung round upon the Bavarian infantry behind Allerheim, who were at the same time cannonaded by their lost guns. A prolonged fight now ensued, in which the Bavarians had the worst of it, and Weert, returning at last to the field, dared not attempt to engage afresh. The armies faced one another all night with their sentries fifty paces apart, but in the morning the Bavarians were found to have retreated. Nothing was gained by the victors but the trophies and the field of battle, and the losses of both sides had been enormous. Enghien had only 1500 of his foot in hand next day. Nordlingen, therefore, is a classical instance of the unprofitable and costly bataille rangee of the 17th century.
See Beyschlag, Geschichte der Stadt Nordlingen (Nordlingen, 1851), and Mayer, Die Stadt Nordlingen, ihr Leben und ihre Kunst im Lichte der Vorzeit (Nordlingen, 1856).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)