Moneuse route: the fall of a bandit, the birth of a legend - Quévy
So we’re in 1709 with the coalition forces led by the valiant British general Marlborough (Malbrouck in French) and Prince Eugene of Savoy, at the mercy of the Austrians who are preparing to attack Mons. Galvanized by their victory at Audenarde, Lille and Tournai, they intend to inflict a new defeat on the French.
On this sunny 11 September morning, they know the French army behind them and want to fight it in the plain of Quévy where their cavalry could be deployed easily...
However, French war leader Villars has set up his troops in the gap of Malplaquet between two woods, and events won’t be taking place as they’d imagined.
106,000 men must fight the 79,000 French soldiers facing them but the gap is too narrow for them to involve everyone. The battle gets bogged down. It’s a farcical sight and the losses are huge. The fighting lasting more than 8 hours. At 3pm, the French eventually retreat. They are losing the battle but the allies are far from victory. The losses are such (more than 20,000 victims) that they give up pursuing the French. To this day we don’t even know who won this battle!
Long etched in our memories, the battle of Malplaquet now features in a marked circuit: the Malbrouck circuit. From Pace de Blarégnies, head towards Aulnois and then towards the French border over the famous places of that terrible day. Between woods and countryside, the landscapes now seem calmer. The memorials and information signs allow you to understand what played out here three centuries ago. The fate of Europe. A few years later, in 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht finally put an end to the War of the Spanish Succession.