Battle of Rocoux

Battle of Rocoux
Part of the War of the Austrian Succession

The Battle of Roucoux, 1746
Date11 October 1746
LocationRocourt, Prince-Bishopric of Liège, Holy Roman Empire
Result French victory
 Habsburg Empire[1]
 Great Britain
Province of Hanover Hanover
 Dutch Republic
Commanders and leaders
Habsburg Monarchy Charles of Lorraine
Kingdom of Great Britain John Ligonier
Dutch Republic Prince of Waldeck
Kingdom of France Maurice de Saxe
80-97,000[3][4] 120,000[4]
Casualties and losses
4,000-5,000 dead[5]
3,000 captured[4]
30 cannon[6]
Maurice de Saxe

The Battle of Rocoux (11 October 1746) was a French victory over an allied Austrian, British, Hanoveran and Dutch army in Rocourt (or Rocoux), outside Liège during War of the Austrian Succession. The result was a major French victory but not the crushing blow Maurice had hoped to inflict.[8]

Preliminary maneuvers

The French army was commanded by Marshall Saxe and the army of the Pragmatic Allies by Prince Charles of Lorraine of Austria and the British General Sir John Ligonier. Saxe had nearly completed his campaign to take Flanders and was threatening to invade the Netherlands. The allies took up a position next to Liège with the Dutch under Waldeck on the left from Liège to Rocoux, the British and Hanoverians in the center and the Austrians on the right almost to the River Jaar

Map of Battle of Rocoux

The battle

The French main attack went against the Dutch portion on the left of the allied line between Liege and Rocoux. Heavily outnumbering the Dutch, the French defeated them on the third assault.[9] The Dutch were forced to withdraw behind the British and Hannoverian lines. In the face of a general French advance the allied line began to give way. The Austrians on the allied right were not engaged and made no attempt to take the initiative and advance against the French left flank. Ligonier's cavalry and some British, Hanoverian and Dutch infantry formed a rear guard that held off the French as the army withdrew. The French were victorious, although the allied army escaped from destruction. The French captured Liège.


This was the second great victory of three for Saxe, after Fontenoy and prior to Lauffeld. The French were victorious, immediately capturing Liège and breaking Austrian control over the Austrian Netherlands for the remainder of the war.


    • "The Austrian imperial standard has, on a yellow ground, the black double-headed eagle, on the breast and wings of which are imposed shields bearing the arms of the provinces of the empire . The flag is bordered all round, the border being composed of equal-sided triangles with their apices alternately inwards and outwards, those with their apices pointing inwards being alternately yellow and white, the others alternately scarlet and black" (Chisholm 1911, p. 461)
    • "The imperial banner was a golden yellow cloth...bearing a black eagle...The double-headed eagle was finally established by Sigismund as regent..." (Smith 1975, pp. 114–119)
    • "...the standard of France was white, sprinkled with golden fleur de lis..." (Ripley & Dana 1879, p. 250).
    • On the reverse of this plate it says: "Le pavillon royal était véritablement le drapeau national au dix-huitième siecle...Vue du chateau d'arrière d'un vaisseau de guerre de haut rang portant le pavillon royal (blanc, avec les armes de France)" (Vinkhuijzen collection 2011).
    • "The oriflamme and the Chape de St Martin were succeeded at the end of the 16th century, when Henry III., the last of the house of Valois, came to the throne, by the white standard powdered with fleurs-de-lis. This in turn gave place to the famous tricolour"(Chisholm 1911, p. 460).
  1. Skrine, Francis Henry.Fontenoy and Great Britain's Share in the War of the Austrian Succession 1741-48. London, Edinburgh, 1906, p.311: "24,000 British, Hanoverians and Hessians...49,000 Austrians. The left wing, of 24,00 Dutch troops..."
  2. 1 2 3 R. McNally, Marshal of France: The Life and Times of Maurice de Saxe, p. 192
  3. Gentleman's Magazine Vol. XVI 1746 page 542, Copy of a Letter sent from Sir John Ligonier to the Earl of Sandwich at Breda, relating to the Action on the 11th Inst. Dated from the Camp of Losser, Oct. 12
  4. Smollett, Thomas. The History of England from the Revolution to the Death of George II. London, 1848, Vol. II, p. 509
  5. Skrine, Francis Henry.Fontenoy and Great Britain's Share in the War of the Austrian Succession 1741-48. London, Edinburgh, 1906, p.313.
  6. Reed, p. 285
  7. Gentleman's Magazine Vol. XVI, 1746, page 542. Extract of a Letter from a Dutch Officer, Relating to the Action near Liege. "The affair that we had yesterday with the French begun in the evening. The fire which the enemy made upon us from their mask'd batteries, and otherwise, was one of the most terrible ever seen, and it look'd as if hell had opened her mouth to swallow us up. As I was of the rear-guard, and among the hindmost of my troop, in retiring from the field of battle, 'tis a miracle I escaped. As the stragglers come in, we hope to make some abatement in the number said to be lost.",


Coordinates: 50°40′33″N 5°32′46″E / 50.67583°N 5.54611°E / 50.67583; 5.54611

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