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Since July of 1838 the German army had been advancing through southern Jutland, defeating the retreating Danish army at the Siege of Kiel. The heavily fortified Danish position at the Danevirke was quickly assaulted by the main German army. After several days of constant sieging,Christian Julius de Meza was forced to order a retreat from the ancient defenses, falling back to Dybbøl.
Dybbøl and the nearby city of Sønderborg were bombarded constantly by German artillery and naval support. The main German force attacked from the northwest under heavy Danish small arms fire. After several thawed attempts the Germans take the fortress, defending against several counter attacks from Danish cavalry.
The major defeat for the Danish left their last main line of defenses shattered, leading to the full occupation of Jutland.