Battle of Grandreng

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Battle of Grandreng
Part of War of the First Coalition
Grand-Reng JPG01.jpg
Flax field in countryside near Grand-Reng in 2007
Date 12–13 May 1794
Location Grand-Reng, Belgium
Result Austro-Dutch victory
Habsburg Monarchy Habsburg Austria
Dutch Republic Dutch Republic
France Republican France
Commanders and leaders
Habsburg Monarchy Graf von Kaunitz France Louis Charbonnier
27,000 33,000
Casualties and losses
2,800 4,000, 12 guns

The Battle of Grandreng or Battle of Rouvroi (12–13 May 1794) saw a Republican French army commanded by Louis Charbonnier attempt to advance across the Sambre River against a joint Habsburg Austrian and Dutch army under Franz Wenzel, Graf von Kaunitz-Rietberg. After winning a crossing over the Sambre at Merbes-le-Château on the 12th, the French were defeated the next day at Grand-Reng and forced to retreat. The battle marked the first of five attempts by the French armies to establish themselves on the north bank of the Sambre. The action happened during the War of the First Coalition, part of the Wars of the French Revolution. Grand-Reng is part of the village of Erquelinnes, Belgium, lying close to the border with France. Rouveroy (Rouvroi) is situated 3.8 kilometres (2.4 mi) north. Grand-Reng is located about 33 kilometres (21 mi) southwest of Charleroi.

The spring of 1794 saw intense and continual fighting in the Austrian Netherlands between the French and First Coalition armies. Swollen by masses of conscripts, the French armies launched repeated offensives against their adversaries. After his defeat at Grand-Reng, Charbonnier tried one more time to breach the Coalition defenses at Erquelinnes on 20–24 May. The French would make three additional attempts to cross the Sambre at Gosselies on June 3 and Lambusart on 16 June before emerging victorious in the pivotal Battle of Fleurus on 26 June 1794.


After the Coalition success in the Siege of Landrecies in April 1794, French strategy changed. On the left wing of the Army of the North, Jean-Charles Pichegru with 70,000 troops would capture Ypres and Tournai. Meanwhile, Jacques Ferrand with 24,000 men would hold the center of the line near Maubeuge, Avesnes-sur-Helpe and Guise. The right wing of the Army of the North under Jacques Desjardin and the Army of the Ardennes under Louis Charbonnier with a total of 60,000 men were directed to assemble at Philippeville. From that town their combined forces would cross the Sambre River near Thuin and move northwest toward Mons. Pichegru, who commanded the Army of the North, did not assign a single commander to direct the right wing. Historian Ramsey Weston Phipps noted that Pichegru's failure to ensure unity of command was in "defiance of common sense", all the more so because his own success depended on cooperation between the different wings of his army. In fact, Pichegru usually allowed Joseph Souham and Jean Victor Marie Moreau to direct the activities of his left wing! In this curious situation, Charbonnier, Desjardin and the representatives on mission Louis Antoine de Saint-Just and Philippe-François-Joseph Le Bas maintained joint command over the right wing.[1]


In one incident of the 13 May battle, Oberst (Colonel) Michael von Kienmayer charged at the head of four squadrons of the Barco Hussar Regiment Nr. 35, broke one of Charbonnier's columns and drove it into the Sambre.[2]


  1. ^ Phipps, Ramsay Weston (2011). The Armies of the First French Republic: Volume II The Armées du Moselle, du Rhin, de Sambre-et-Meuse, de Rhin-et-Moselle. USA: Pickle Partners Publishing. pp. 145–146. ISBN 978-1-908692-25-2. 
  2. ^ Smith, Digby; Kudrna, Leopold (2008). "Austrian Generals of 1792-1815: Kienmayer, Michael von". Retrieved 3 May 2014. 


Coordinates: 50°20′N 4°4′E / 50.333°N 4.067°E / 50.333; 4.067