Battle of Gravelines (1558)

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Battle of Gravelines
Part of the Italian War of 1551–1559
Pieter Snayers Siege of Gravelines.jpg
The Siege of Gravelines by Peter Snayers. Oil on canvas. Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Date13 July 1558
Result Decisive Spanish victory [1]
Pavillon royal de la France.svg  Kingdom of France Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Spanish Empire
Commanders and leaders
Pavillon royal de la France.svg Paul de Thermes Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Count of Egmont
12,000 infantry
2,000 cavalry
15,000 infantry
3,000 cavalry
Casualties and losses
12,500 dead, wounded, or captured [ citation needed ] 300 dead or wounded [ citation needed ]

The Battle of Gravelines was fought on 13 July 1558 at Gravelines, near Calais, France. It occurred during the twelve-year war between France and Spain (1547–1559).

Gravelines Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Gravelines is a commune in the Nord department in Northern France. It lies at the mouth of the river Aa 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Dunkirk. It was formed in the 12th century around the mouth of a canal built to connect Saint-Omer with the sea. As it was on the western borders of Spanish territory in Flanders it became heavily fortified, some of which still remains.

Calais Subprefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Calais is a city and major ferry port in northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's prefecture is its third-largest city of Arras. The population of the metropolitan area at the 2010 census was 126,395. Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km (21 mi) wide here, and is the closest French town to England. The White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day from Calais. Calais is a major port for ferries between France and England, and since 1994, the Channel Tunnel has linked nearby Coquelles to Folkestone by rail.

The battle resulted in a victory by the Spanish forces, led by Lamoral, Count of Egmont, over the French, led by Marshal Paul de Thermes.

Lamoral, Count of Egmont General and statesman in Flanders

Lamoral, Count of Egmont, Prince of Gavere was a general and statesman in the Spanish Netherlands just before the start of the Eighty Years' War, whose execution helped spark the national uprising that eventually led to the independence of the Netherlands.

Paul de Thermes Marshal of France

Paul de La Barthe de Thermes (1482–1562), also Paul de Terme or Maréchal de Thermes, was a French Army Marshal ("Maréchal") who led the French effort in the Invasion of Corsica in 1553. The Ottoman fleet supported the French by ferrying the French troops under Marshal de Thermes from Siennese Maremma to Corsica. The Ottoman fleet of Dragut was at that time party to a Franco-Ottoman alliance.

Following the dominance of the Spanish forces, led by Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, at the Battle of St. Quentin, Henry II of France prepared his revenge. He recruited a new army in Picardy, which he put in the hands of Louis Gonzaga, Duke of Nevers. He asked the Ottoman Sultan for naval support and encouraged the Scots to invade England from the north. Francis, Duke of Guise, seized the port of Calais from the English and moved to the city of Thionville (on the border between Flanders and France), a city that had been overtaken by the duke's army on 22 June 1558. Marshall de Thermes invaded with another army consisting of 12,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, armed with a considerable amount of artillery. After crossing the Aa River at its mouth, de Thermes commandeered his army to conquer both Dunkirk and Nieuwpoort, consequently threatening Brussels. It is reported that a Spanish army was to later intercept the duke's army at the Aa River.

Battle of St. Quentin (1557)

The Battle of Saint-Quentin of 1557 was fought at Saint-Quentin in Picardy, during the Italian War of 1551–1559. The Spanish forces under Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy defeated a French army under the command of Duke Louis Gonzaga and Duke Anne de Montmorency.

Henry II of France 16th-century King of France

Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536.

Picardy Region of France

Picardy is a historical territory and a former administrative region of France. Since 1 January 2016, it has been part of the new region of Hauts-de-France. It is located in the northern part of France.

Development of the battle

The Duke of Savoy and Philip met an army of 15,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, giving the command to the Count of Egmont. Surprised by the speed of the Spanish maneuver, Thermes had to do battle because he had the river behind him, the sea on his left, and his right completely blocked by the baggage column of his own army. He deployed his army on the left bank of the river, creating a double line with the cavalry and artillery in one row and the infantry in a second row behind them.

Sighting the French positions, Egmont placed his troops in a crescent, with the light cavalry on the flanks and the Spanish troops, together with the German and Flemish units, in the center.

The French used their artillery, and a chaotic battle was fought between the cavalry of both sides. The Spanish arquebusiers, who were better armed and trained, peppered the French cavalry. They then shot at the infantry sheltered behind the baggage train, creating great confusion among the French ranks. Egmont, at the head of his horsemen, decided to attack the French center with his cavalry. Biscay and English ships bombarded the French rear, causing numerous casualties. The outcome of the battle could not have been worse for the French: only 1,500 men had managed to flee; the rest lay dead or were taken prisoner. The lord of Thermes was taken prisoner. The French were forced to retreat to the border.

This defeat, coupled with the loss at the Battle of St. Quentin (1557), forced Henry II of France to make peace with Philip II in the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis of 1559. It was because of this treaty that Philip II married Elisabeth of Valois, daughter of Henry, while Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy married Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry, sister of Henry and daughter of King Francis I of France.

Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy Duke of Savoy from 1553 to 1580

Emmanuel Philibert was Duke of Savoy from 1553 to 1580, KG. He is remembered for the Italianization of the House of Savoy, as he recovered the savoyard state following the Battle of St. Quentin (1557) and subsequently moved the capital to Turin and made Italian the official language in Piedmont.

Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry daughter of King Francis I of France

Margaret of France, Duchess of Berry was the daughter of King Francis I of France and Claude, Duchess of Brittany.

Francis I of France King of France of the House of Valois-Angoulême

Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death in 1547. He was the son of Charles, Count of Angoulême, and Louise of Savoy. He succeeded his cousin and father-in-law Louis XII, who died without a son.

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  1. Potter, David: Renaissance France at War: Armies, Culture and Society, C.1480-1560. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 2008. ISBN   1843834057, p. 12

Coordinates: 50°59′14″N2°07′42″E / 50.98722°N 2.12833°E / 50.98722; 2.12833

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.