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Battle of Lauffeld
Aug 03, '21

The Battle of Lauffeld, variously known as Lafelt, Laffeld, Lawfeld, Lawfeldt, Maastricht, or Val, took place on 2 July 1747, between Tongeren in modern Belgium, and the Dutch city of Maastricht. Part of War of the Austrian Succession, a French army force of 80,000 under Marshal Saxe faced a Pragmatic army of 60,000, led by the Duke of Cumberland.

Marshal Maurice de Saxe and King Louis XV of France at the Battle of Lauffeldt 21st June 1747 in the War of the Austrian Succession

Under Saxe, arguably the most talented general of his generation, the French had conquered much of the Austrian Netherlands between 1744 to 1746. In the spring of 1747, Cumberland intended to retake Antwerp, but Saxe threatened to cut him off from his key supply base at Maastricht, forcing him to defend it.

Saxe exploited a series of mistakes by Cumberland, and only counterattacks by the Allied cavalry enabled the bulk of his army to withdraw in good order. Defeat ended Allied hopes of regaining lost ground, and the French captured Bergen op Zoom in September, then Maastricht in May 1748.

However, the cost of the war meant France's financial system was on the verge of collapse, while the British naval blockade caused severe food shortages. Their position worsened in October 1747, when the British naval victory of Second Cape Finisterre left them unable to defend their merchant shipping or trade routes. Both sides now wanted peace, leading to the October 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

Battle Ground

Lauffeld, 2 July 1747

The village of Lauffeld was a few miles south west of Maastricht. The 13th, brigaded with the 25th and 37th, and some Hanoverians occupied the village on the left of the line. The 1 July was spent in artillery exchange and skirmishes. On the 2nd the French advanced in a great column of 60 battalions against Lauffeld and Vlytingen. The Duke of Cumberland galloped up to give some encouragement to the men who were facing this multitude. The leading French brigade attacked under a barrage from their artillery, but this was repulsed with heavy enemy losses. A second wave of attack was also pushed back, followed by two more. Marshal Saxe was determined not to be thwarted, and because he had a large reserve of men to draw on he was able to wear the British/Hanoverians down. They were finally driven from the village but, reinforced by four more battalions they regained their lost ground. The fight continued for four hours until Cumberland ordered them to retire because of a danger of them being outflanked. They managed to cross the Meuse and reach Heer to the east, in good order. The 13th's losses were heavy; 30 men killed, 86 wounded and 57 missing. They returned to England in November.

War Game

Relighting the battle as a war game.


Aug 03, '21
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