Battle of Fleurus (1690)

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Battle of Fleurus
The Battle of Fleurus, painting by Pierre-Denis Martin
The Battle of Fleurus, painting by Pierre-Denis Martin
date July 1, 1690
place Fleurus
output French victory
Parties to the conflict

France Kingdom 1792France France

Republic of the Seven United ProvincesRepublic of the Seven United Provinces United Netherlands Emperor and Empire Spain England
Holy Roman Empire 1400Holy Roman Empire
Spain 1506Spain 
England kingdomKingdom of England 


France Kingdom 1792France François-Henri de Montmorency-Luxembourg

Republic of the Seven United ProvincesRepublic of the Seven United Provinces Georg Friedrich zu Waldeck

Troop strength
40 battalions of infantry, 80 squadrons of cavalry
altogether 45,000 men
33 infantry battalions, 44 cavalry squadrons
altogether 37,000 men

4,000–6,000 dead and wounded

6000 dead, 5000 wounded, 8000 prisoners

In the Battle of Fleurus on July 1, 1690, French troops won a victory over Allied troops from the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Great Britain under the command of General Georg Friedrich zu Waldeck in the War of the Palatinate Succession under François-Henri de Montmorency-Luxembourg .


In the Palatinate War of Succession , the parties saw Flanders as a decisive theater of war, so that strong military forces marched there. After the defeat in Walcourt in 1689, Louis XIV appointed Marshal François-Henri de Montmorency-Luxembourg as Commander-in-Chief in Flanders at the beginning of the 1690 campaign . On the opposite side, Count Georg Friedrich zu Waldeck commanded the allied Dutch, Spanish and Imperial troops.

The Allies invaded Hainaut in mid-June . Thereupon the French army, which had meanwhile been strengthened, marched under Luxembourg to the river Sambre and arrived there on June 28th. Luxemburg decided to seek a battle before the allies could be reinforced by Brandenburg and Liège troops.


The allies took up battle position at Fleurus on July 1st. As was customary at the time, the troops were set up in two long lines of infantry units, protected by the cavalry. The right wing leaned against Heppignies , Fleurus lay in front of the front . The Omre River prevented a frontal attack on the center. The place was not occupied. The left wing was behind St. Amand. The 60 guns were placed in ten batteries in front of the front.

At daybreak, Luxemburg had the positions of the enemy explored and formed his army for battle. The left wing and the center stood in two meetings between Baulet and the castle of Ligny . The right wing, commanded by Luxemburg itself, consisting mainly of cavalry units, he posted hidden behind Ligny.

Marshal Luxemburg intended to use the left wing and the center to tie up the opponent's forces until he had bypassed the opponent's left wing with his right wing and could attack it effectively from there. In splitting its forces, Luxembourg was taking a great risk; because of the terrain, however, the marshal could hope to be able to carry out this movement unnoticed. In particular, he could count on Waldeck not expecting such a risky undertaking.

The French center and left wing marched on Fleurus and put some gun batteries in the place. Finally, they positioned themselves on a plateau facing the opposing right wing.

During this maneuver, the French troops were heavily exposed to enemy gunfire. From the reserve 30 guns were assigned to this area, whereupon a violent artillery duel broke out. In addition, the cavalry attacked. The enemy continued to withstand these attacks.

In the meantime, Marshal Luxemburg had crossed the Omre River on pontoon bridges. After he had completed his evasion maneuver unnoticed, he attacked the Allies from two sides, on their flank and in their rear. At the same time, the other French troops started attacking against heavy gunfire.

The Allies did not withstand the attack from two sides; at seven o'clock that evening Waldeck ordered the retreat. Under the attacks of the French cavalry it soon degenerated into the wild flight of most of the army. Waldeck could only hold together fourteen battalions. After the remnants of the Allied cavalry had also been defeated, the infantry fended off two French attacks before they too fled.


Although the Allies suffered heavy losses in the battle, they did not decide the war. Waldeck succeeded in withdrawing to Brussels and rebuilding his army mainly from Spanish and German troops. Together with the Brandenburg troops, the Allies had 50,000 men in Flanders in August 1690. After the victory on the River Boyne in Ireland, Anglo-Dutch forces joined in 1691 and King William III. took command.


  • Cathal J. Nolan: Wars of the age of Louis XIV, 1650-1715. An encyclopedia of global warfare and civilization. Greenwood Press, Westport 2008, ISBN 0313330468 , p. 150.
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  • Bernhard von Poten : Concise dictionary of the entire military science. Volume 3, Leipzig 1877, pp. 314-315.