Siege of Prague (1742)

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Siege of Prague
Part of the War of the Austrian Succession
Date June–December 1742
Location Prague, Bohemia
Result France successfully defends the city but withdraws on 18 December
 Austria[1]  France
Commanders and leaders
Habsburg Monarchy Count Lobkowitz Kingdom of France Duc de Belle-Isle
Kingdom of France Duc de Broglie
70,000 25,000

The 1742 Siege of Prague was an extended blockade of the Bohemian capital during the War of the Austrian Succession.


French forces first under the command of de Broglie were surrounded by a large Austrian army in June 1742. A French relief column forced the Austrians to partially lift the siege in September, at which time de Broglie escaped from the besieged city, leaving it under the command of Belle-Isle. When the Austrians renewed the siege after halting the advance of the French relief, conditions in the city became quite difficult, but the Austrians failed to maintain a tight cordon around the city. On 16 December, Belle-Isle led 14,000 troops out of the city on a ten-day march to the French-held city of Cheb. In wintry conditions, Belle-Isle succeeded in fending off Austrian scouting parties until the army reached the Bohemian Forest four days later.

The Austrian command did not learn of the French departure until 18 December, but believed they had successfully cut off all the routes of escape when Belle-Isle boldly led his army off the road and into the mountains. After a difficult crossing in which weather and disease took a marked toll on the French army, they reached Cheb on 26 December. The 6,000 men, mostly wounded and sick, that Belle-Isle left in Prague afterward successfully negotiated a withdrawal from the city with the honours of war.[2]


  1. ^
    • "The Austrian imperial standard has, on a yellow ground, the black double-headed eagle, on the breast and wings of which are imposed shields bearing the arms of the provinces of the empire . The flag is bordered all round, the border being composed of equal-sided triangles with their apices alternately inwards and outwards, those with their apices pointing inwards being alternately yellow and white, the others alternately scarlet and black" (Chisholm 1911, p. 461)
    • "The imperial banner was a golden yellow cloth...bearing a black eagle...The double-headed eagle was finally established by Sigismund as regent..." (Smith 1975, pp. 114–119)
  2. ^ Browning 1995, pp. 120-128.


  • Browning, Reed (1995). The War of the Austrian Succession. St. Martin's Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-312-12561-5. 
  • PD-icon.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Flag". Encyclopædia Britannica. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 454–463. 
  • Smith, Whitney (1975). Flags through the ages and across the world. England: McGraw-Hill. pp. 114–119. ISBN 0-07-059093-1.