Rhine campaign (1713)

The Rhine campaign (1713) was a successful French campaign against the Holy Roman Empire, which was fought in 1713 after the refusal of the Holy Roman Empire to sign the Treaty of Utrecht. It led to the signing of the Treaty of Rastatt the next year.

Rhine campaign (1713)
Part of War of the Spanish Succession

Marshal Claude Villars
DateMay – November 1713
Location
Result French victory.
Belligerents
Holy Roman Empire Kingdom of France
Commanders and leaders
Eugene of Savoy
Duke of Württemberg
Marshal Villars
Marquis de Bezons
Arthur Dillon
Strength
115 squadrons
85 battalions
300 squadrons
240 battalions
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown

Prelude

On 11 April 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed between most participants in the War of the Spanish Succession : on the one hand Spain and France, and on the other hand Great Britain, Portugal, Savoy and the Dutch Republic. The Habsburg Monarchy and the Holy Roman Empire refused to sign the treaty and remained therefore at war with France.

Campaign

By 1713, both France and the Holy Roman Empire were militarily depleted, but France was able to raise the largest army : 300 squadrons and 240 battalions. The command of the army was given to Marshal Villars, the most successful French army commander of the war.
Eugene of Savoy moved all his forces from the Spanish Netherlands to the upper Rhine to cooperate with the armies of the other German states. Now that the subsidies of the Maritime Powers had ceased, these armies of the Holy Roman Empire were very much below strength. The combined army of Eugene of Savoy only reached 115 squadrons and 85 battalions, more or less one third of the strength of the French army.

The French army crossed the Rhine in June and the Marquis de Bezons started to besiege Landau on June 24. The city, defended by Charles Alexander, Prince of Württemberg, held out until August 26 before surrendering. In the meantime, Arthur Dillon had also taken Kaiserslautern. Villars then advanced to besiege Freiburg on September 20. The city of Freiburg surrendered on October 15 and the castle on November 17. Eugene of Savoy couldn't risk battle and was reduce to the role of passive spectator.

Louis XIV now asked to open negotiations, which was accepted by the Holy Roman Empire. Marshal Villars and Prince Eugene of Savoy met in the city of Rastatt in Baden-Baden and started a series of complex negotiations which lasted until 7 March 1714, when the Treaty of Rastatt was signed.

Sources

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