1709 – Siege of Mons
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The siege lasted from 19 September to 23 October 1709
In early September 1709, the Allies captured Tournai. They then moved against Mons. Louis XIV ordered the Maréchal de Villars and Maréchal de Boufflers to prevent the loss of this important place. On 11 September, Villars attempted a diversionary manoeuvre by engaging the battle in the plain of Malplaquet, about 20 km south of Mons. The Allies won this sanguinary battle, suffering heavy casualties, and then turned their attention on the Fortress of Mons.
The fortifications of Mons were very impressive: a wall with 18-20 ravelins, several lunettes, flèches as well as hornworks and crownworks; the walls were surrounded by a double ditch, which was fed by the rivers Trouille and Haine. The fortifications of Mons were second only to the fortifications of Lille.
Furthermore, it was partly located on a hill and a plain protected by swamps, and a system of lock allowed the garrison to flood the vicinity of the place. However, the place was not well prepared to sustain a siege.
The Fortress of Mons had been placed under the command of General Grimaldi, who commanded about 4,000 men (mostly Spaniards). The garrison was much too small for the size of this huge fortress. In addition, the inhabitants were not well disposed towards the Franco-Spanish garrison.
On 6 and 7 September, an Allied corps under the Hereditary Prince of Hesse occupied the roads leading to Mons.
On 11 September, the Allies defeated the French relief army in the Battle of Malplaquet.
On 19 and 20 September, the Prince of Orange invested the City of Mons.
On 24 September, the Prince of Nassau attacked the outworks of the fortress
|Did you know that...|
|The French term Battre la chamade designated an audible signal produced by the beating of a drum (beating the chamade) or by the sound of a trumpet (sounding the chamade) to warn the opposing party that a truce was requested for negotiations. The sound signal being often covered by the din of battle, it was doubled by a visual signal: the white flag.
Acknowledgement: Dinos Antoniadis
On 25 September, Prince Eugène de Savoie arrived before Mons with with the siege corps.
In the night of 25 to 26 September, the Allies opened the trench before the Bertamont Gate and Havré Gate.
In the night of 26 to 27 September, the Allies launched an attack from two sides against the fortress. However, in the darkness, many soldiers got lost. The garrison of Mons did not notice the approach of the Allies before the moon illuminated the scene. The defenders fired from the ramparts, killing 3 officers and 54 soldiers.
The Allies then began to build the parallels and trenches, but were hindered by heavy rain and constant shelling by the defenders. The rain forced them to stabilize the ground with fascines and to create drainage trenches to drain the water into the Trouille River. The defenders attempted a sortie with 300 men, who engaged a British regiment before being driven back by reinforcements.
On 20 October, the redoubt was finished and breaching batteries had been established. Around noon, before the Allies could launch an assault, the commander of Mons beat the chamade.
On October 23, the Franco-Spanish accepted the terms of capitulation and the 1,500 men left the fortress with flying colours. One part went to Maubeuge, another part to Namur.
During the siege, the Franco-Spanish had lost 2,500 men.
After the fall of Mons, the French were forced to evacuate the region between the Sambre and Meuse rivers. The place returned to the Spanish Netherlands after having been occupied by the French since 1691 and the States of Hainaut recognized the sovereignty of King Charles III of Spain aka Archduke Charles.
The capture of Mons put an end to the campaign of 1709, because the French were still too weakened by their defeat at Malplaquet to consider any offensive actions.
Order of Battle
Allied Order of Battle
The position of each individual unit during the siege is pretty clear from the following map. They are listed counter-clockwise from the southern bank of the Trouille River to the southern bank of the Haine River.
Commander-in-Chief: Prince of Orange
Summary: 36 bns (including 6 bns deployed from the coast of Gelein), 33 sqns for a total of 10,000 men
- Würzburger Tastungen (1 bn)
- Palatine Iselbach (1 bn)
- Palatine Sachsen-Meiningen (1 bn)
- Württemberg Herman (1 bn)
- Holsteiner Dobrokoffsky (1 bn)
- Osnabrück Beveren (1 bn)
- Hessian Spiegel (1 bn)
- Hessian Leibgarde zu Fuss (1 bn)
- Saxon Fürstenberg (1 bn)
- Württemberger Schwartz (1 bn)
- Danish Württemberg-Oels (1 bn) aka Bonar
- Danish Sjællandske (1 bn) aka Donop
- Dutch Colyear (1 bn)
- Hessian Prinz Wilhelm (1 bn)
- Dutch Ockinga (1 bn)
- Dutch Alberti (1 bn)
- Dutch Crassaw (1 bn)
- Prussian Markgraf Albrecht (1 bn)
- Dutch Amama (1 bn)
- Dutch Villegas (1 bn)
- ??? Ras Cavalry (1 coy)
- British Cadogan's Horse (1 coy)
- British John Hill's Foot (1 bn)
- British Owen Wynne's Foot (1 bn)
- Dutch (Scot) Strathnaver (1 bn) should be designated as Campbell in 1709
- ??? Gram (1 bn)
- Hanoverian Croix de Fréchapelle Cavalry (4 coys)
- Hanoverian Hahn Dragoons (2 coys)
- Hanoverian Ranzow (1 bn)
- Hanoverian Diepenbroick (1 bn)
- Hanoverian Ranzow (1 bn) mentioned twice
- Prussian Ansbach Dragoons (4 coys)
- Prussian Heiden Cavalry (3 coys)
- Prussian Grumbkow (1 bn)
- Prussian Alt-Dohna (1 bn)
- Prussian Markgraf Albrecht (1 bn)
- Dutch Tilly Cavalry (6 coys)
- Dutch Nassau-La Leck Cavalry (6 coys)
- Dutch Graaf van Erbach Cavalry (6 coys)
- Holstein-Gottorp Bauditz Dragoons (3 coys)
- Dutch Oranje-Friesland Cavalry (6 coys)
- Württemberg Dragoons (2 coys)
- ??? Fellen Cavalry (2 coys) maybe Imperial Vehlen Dragoons
- Imperial Pálffy Cuirassiers (2 coys)
- Imperial Mercy Cuirassier (2 coys)
- Palatine Hatzfeld Cuirassiers (3 coys)
- British Prendergast's Foot (1 bn) among the 6 bns under Major-General du Trossel
- Dutch Amelisweerd (1 bn) among the 6 bns under Major-General du Trossel
- Palatine Haxthausen (1 bn) among the 6 bns under Major-General du Trossel
- unidentified hussar unit (2 coys)
- Hessian Erbprinz Friedrich Dragoons (2 coys)
- Hessian Boyneburg Horse (3 coys)
- Palatine Carabiniers (3 coys) aka Venningen
- Danish Cheuses Cuirassiers (3 coys)
- Danish 2nd Jyske Cuirassiers (3 coys) aka Brockdorff
- Dutch Prins van Brandenburg (1 bn) aka Donhof or Denhof among the 6 bns under Major-General du Trossel
- Dutch Baron van Dongen ter Klencke (1 bn) among the 6 bns under Major-General du Trossel
- Württemberger Grenadier Battalion Sternfels (1 bn) among the 6 bns under Major-General du Trossel
- the six bns under Major-General du Trossel did not take part in the siege
- also present at some point during the siege were the Dutch (Liège-Walloon) regiments of Delsuperche and Caris which are specifically mentioned by Quincy Vol. 6, p. 211
Franco-Spanish Order of Battle
Commander-in-Chief: General Grimaldi
Summary: 4,000 men (mainly Spaniards)
Wikiwand - Belagerung von Mons (1709)
Connaître la wallonie - 20 octobre 1709 : Prise de Mons par les armées alliées
Kartensammlung Moll - Plan du siège de Mons
Phenix UMons - Siège de Mons en 1709
Royal Collection Trust - Plan du Siège de Mons by Eugène Henri Fricx, published in 1710
Dinos Antoniadis for the initial version of this article and the accompanying map
Jörg Meier for additional information on the order of battle of the Allies