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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

May 19th, 1643 - The Battle of Rocroi

Conflict: Thirty Years' War

Combatants: French vs. Spanish

Location: France

Outcome: French victory

In the 26th year of war, the young French commander Louis II Conde (Duc d'Enghien) marched to the aid of the besieged Rocroi in northern France. Though facing a larger and more elite army under command of Fransisco de Melo, Conde routed the Spanish cavalry on the right wing, wheeled his horseman around trapping the Spanish foot soldiers, and dispatched cavalry on the left wing in a pincer movement with the French infantry. The Spanish lost 8,000 men killed and 7,000 captured out of a force of 18,000 infantry. The French suffered only 4,000 casualties.

La Bataille de Rocroi by Sauveur Le Conte

Points of Interest:

  • The Spanish tercios were considered some of the most highly trained infantry of that time period, but never fully recovered after Rocroi.

  • The Thirty Years' War began as a conflict between Catholics and Protestants but, as was so often the case, morphed into a secular power struggle; in this instance, against the Habsburgs.

Louis, Grand Condé by Justus van Egmont
Franciscus de Melo comes de Azumar Belgarum et Burgundiae Gubernator by an unknown artist



Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

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