- Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies
Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies
French Revolutionary Wars
April 24, 1794
First French Republic
combatant2=flagicon|Holy Roman Empire
flagicon|UK|1606 Great Britain
commander2=General Peter Ott
casualties1=1,200 killed, wounded or captured, 5 cannons
casualties2=95 killed, wounded or missingIn the Battle of Villers-en-Cauchies, fought on
24 April 1794, a small Anglo-Austrian cavalry force routed a vastly more numerous French division during the French Revolutionary Wars. Villers-en-Cauchies is 15 km south of Valenciennes.
During the 1794 campaign in Flanders, Allied forces led by the Prince of Saxe-Coburg and the Duke of York sparred with the French Army of the North (Armee du Nord) under
Charles Pichegru. When Austrian General Peter Ott found that a French force was threatening Landrecies, he took two squadrons of the Austrian 17th "Archduke Leopold" Hussars and two squadrons of the British 15th Light Dragoons to scout the movement.
Ott soon found himself facing a superior force of French cavalry with only 300 horsemen. At this time, the Austrian leader heard that Emperor Francis was nearby with a small retinue. To save his sovereign from capture, Ott determined to attack the French cavalry, who were deployed in line between Villers-en-Cauchies and a wood. When the Anglo-Austrians charged, the French cavalry wheeled aside, revealing a line of infantry with cannons in support. [Chandler "Dictionary", p 465]
Despite being drawn into a trap, the allied horsemen charged home and broke through the six battalions of French infantry, who belonged to Major-General Chapuis's command. [Smith, p 74] When the eight squadrons of French cavalry regrouped and counterattacked, Ott's horsemen routed them also. The allied horse pursued the fleeing Frenchmen for 8 miles in the direction of Bouchain.
The French admitted a stunning 1,200 killed, wounded and captured [Chandler "Dictionary", p 465. Chandler gives 66 total Allied casualties.] out of a force of 7,000 men. They also lost 5 cannons. The Austrians lost 10 killed and wounded and 10 missing. British casualties were 58 killed and 17 wounded. [Smith, p 74. Smith also gives 800 killed, 400 wounded and 150 captured. The number of dead is ridiculous and may be a misprint. The British killed-to-wounded ratio also looks suspicious.]
Emperor Francis awarded all Allied officers in this action a special gold medal. Among the recipients were Lieutenant-Colonel
Charles Craufurd, Ensign Robert Thomas Wilsonand Captain William Erskine.
During the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars, the French cavalry was particularly weak compared to the cavalry of their enemies. Historians blame this weakness on the loss of many aristocratic cavalry officers who fled France during the Revolution. [Chandler "Campaigns", p 69] In addition, the French infantry was filled with raw conscripts who were still learning their trade. Soon, the quality of the French cavalry and infantry would greatly improve as the officers and soldiers absorbed hard lessons at the hands of their enemies.
The next major engagement would be the Battle of Tourcoing on 17-18 May.
* Chandler, David. "The Campaigns of Napoleon." New York: Macmillan, 1966.
* Chandler, David. "Dictionary of the Napoleonic Wars." New York: Macmillan, 1979. ISBN 0-02-523670-9
* Glover, Michael. "The Peninsular War 1807-1814." London: Penguin, 2001. ISBN 0-141-39041-7
* Smith, Digby. "The Napoleonic Wars Data Book." London: Greenhill, 1998. ISBN 1-85367-276-9
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Naval Battle of Genoa (1795) — Naval Battle of Genoa Part of the French Revolutionary War Ça Ira fighting … Wikipedia
Naval Battle of Hyères Islands — Part of the French Revolutionary War Date 13 July 1795 Location Hyères Islands, French Mediterranean Result … Wikipedia
French Campaign in Egypt and Syria — This article is about the land campaign. For the naval campaign and wider strategic setting, see Mediterranean campaign of 1798. Egyptian Campaign Part of the French Revolutionary Wars … Wikipedia
War in the Vendée — Part of the War of the First Coalition … Wikipedia
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans — Louis Philippe Joseph Duke of Orléans Spouse Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon Issue Louis Philippe I Antoine Philippe, Duk … Wikipedia
Ancien Régime — For the history of France in this period, see Early modern France. Kingdom of France Structure … Wikipedia
Antoine Lavoisier — Lavoisier redirects here. For other uses, see Lavoisier (disambiguation). Antoine Lavoisier Line engraving by Louis Jean Desire Delaistre, after a design by Julien Leopold Boilly … Wikipedia
Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen — Archduke Charles of Austria redirects here. For other uses, see Archduke Charles of Austria (disambiguation). Archduke Charles Duke of Teschen Tenure 1822 1847 Predecessor … Wikipedia
Denis Diderot — Diderot redirects here. For the lunar impact crater, see Diderot (crater). Denis Diderot Diderot by Louis Michel van Loo, 1767 Full name Denis Diderot Born 5 October 1713(17 … Wikipedia
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen — Not to be confused with Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen of 1793. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was approved by the National Constituent Assembly of France, 26 August 1789. The Declaration of the Rights of… … Wikipedia