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Battle of Avesnes-le-Sec

The Battle of Avesnes-le-Sec was a military action during the Flanders Campaign of the French Revolutionary Wars, between French forces under General Nicolas Declaye, and Imperial Austrian forces under Johann I of Liechtenstein and Count Heinrich von Bellegarde.[1] The Austrian cavalrymen made an overwhelming charge against the French and severely defeated them.


  • Background 1
  • Battle 2
  • Aftermath 3
  • References 4


In the year 1789, French uprisings to destroy the French Government under Louis XVI. The rebel French stormed the Bastille in Paris, starting the French Revolution. The French Rebels besieged the Bastille, and it fell to rebel hands on the same day, July 14. Louis fled the capitol, and begged for support from other European countries. In late 1792, the First French Republic declared war on the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia.


The regent of Liechtenstein, Johann I of Liechtenstein, commanded an army of 2,000 cavalrymen and was sent south from the Austrian Netherlands. French General Declaye commanded an army of 7,000 infantrymen, and he was determined to halt the invasion of northern France. The two men and their armies met at Avesnes-le-Sec in the modern-day region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Liechtenstein led 2,000 cavalry in an "outstandingly effective cavalry action" at Avesnes-le-Sec on 12 September 1793. During this battle he defeated 7,000 French troops, inflicting losses of 2,000 killed and wounded while losing only 69 men. In addition, 2,000 soldiers and 20 artillery pieces were captured.[2]


The Prince of Liechtenstein also participated in many other battles. Soon after being promoted to General-Major in June 1794, he fought at the Battle of Fleurus. He commanded a mixed cavalry-infantry brigade in Anton Sztaray's division at the Battle of W├╝rzburg on 3 September 1796.[3] After this action he was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill, 1998.
  3. ^ Smith, p 122

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