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Battle of Denain
Part of the War of the Spanish Succession
Villars a Denain1.jpg
Marshal Villars leads the French charge at the Battle of Denain. Oil on canvas, 1839.
Date 24 July 1712
Location Denain, present-day France
Result Decisive French victory
 Dutch Republic


France France
Dutch Republic Earl of Albemarle

Holy Roman Empire Eugene of Savoy

France Claude de Villars
10,000[1] 30,000[2]
Casualties and losses
6,500 killed or wounded
(inc. 4,100 captured)[3]
2,100 killed or wounded

The Battle of Denain was fought on 24 July 1712, as part of the War of the Spanish Succession, and resulted in a French victory under Marshal Villars against Austrian and Dutch forces under Prince Eugene of Savoy.



Eugene had crossed the Scheldt with 105,000 men intending to force a battle with Villars' 120,000 troops. He quickly marched to the town of Denain and occupied it, receiving high ground and the Denain as his supply base. However, the sudden withdrawal (on secret orders from London) of British troops, recently placed under the Duke of Ormonde, led to the allied army being halted.

The battle

Villars took advantage to launch a bayonet attack on a portion of Eugene's army. First, he gave the Austrians and Dutch a taste of his 12-pounders. Next, he filled the field with snipers, and Eugene's troops were devastated. Villars launched his attack, and the French troops descended upon the enemy. Thousands fell to the bayonet and chaos filled the scene. Eugene was outnumbered and smoke was covering his troops and they were firing among themselves. Austrians on the right flank were cut to pieces and slaughtered. The Dutch had the worst fate. There was a terrible carnage in their lines and the French splintered into them, with heavy casualties. The attack however, was repulsed by the reserves and the battered remains of the main army. The attack was followed by three counterattacks by the Austrians. They were torn apart, and the French advanced, pushing them into the river.


  1. ^ Lynn: The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714, 353-54
  2. ^ Chandler puts the figure at 24,000
  3. ^ Chandler: Marlborough as Military Commander, 305


  • Chandler, David G. Marlborough as Military Commander. Spellmount Ltd, (2003). ISBN 1-86227-195-X
  • Lynn, John A. The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667–1714. Longman, (1999). ISBN 0-582-05629-2



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