* some 1500-2000 of the horse mutineed before the battle and did not participate
in the battle of Fleurus
|Commander: Count Ernst von Mansfeld
Infantry: 5 000 – 6 000 men
Cavalry: 4 000 – 5 000* men
Artillery: 11 guns
losses: 5 000 – 7 000 men
|Commander: Gonzalo Fernández
Infantry: 6 000 men
Cavalry: 2 200 – 2 400 men
Artillery: ?? pièces
Losses > 1 000 men
Strategic Situation: After two years of disillusion,
Frederick V, the elector of Palatinat decided to re-conquer his land. He manages
to convince his Protestants allies to finance 3 armies, one commanded by
the Count Mansfeld, another by Christian of Brunswich and the last by the
Margrave of Bade-Durlach in total some 40 000 - 50 000 men. On the
catholic side we find tow main armies, the league army under the command of
the Count of Tilly and a Spanish army under the command of Gonzalo de Córdoba.
From April to June 1622 in a series of actions/battles on the Rhine valley
(Wiesloch, Mingolsheim, Wimpfen and Hoechst) the dream of Frederick
V failed and in august 1622 Mansfeld and Brunswich regroup the rest of their
army near Sedan in France. The objective of the protestant army was to reach
the Nederland passing through the Spanish Flanders. The march started
in Sedan and after passing Aubenton, Binche, Mariemont Mansfeld’s army arrive
the 27th august near the village of Mellet. In the south of Mellet the protestant
vanguard met the Spanish outpost which fought a delay action. The 29 of august
Mansfeld deploy his army at the east of Mellet facing the Spanish army.
Protestant army: Mansfeld divided his
army in three corps, on the right we find Streiff with some 1 000 –
1 500 horses, in the centre he place his infantry divided in 3 brigades (probably
on the Dutch practice with 9-12 hopen/battalions) and his artillery and on
the left flanck the core of his cavalry, some 3 000 horses at the order of
Christian of Brunswick. In total we find some 10 000 – 11 000 men
with 11 field guns.
Spanish army: this army is better known to us. Córdaba
place on the extreme right wing, 800 musketters from tercio of Verdugo
(commanded by the second official Sgt M Haynin) in a farm (ferme Chassart).
On the right wing we have the 5 squadrons of cavalry under the order of the
Colonel Gaucher. On the centre we have 4 infantry squadrons, the
first formed by troops from the Tercio of Ibarra, Tercio of Verdugo, Tercio
of Bucquoy and Tercio of Balançon, the second formed
by the regiment of Fugger, the third by the regiment of Isemburg
reinforced by free companies and the last one formed by the Tercio of Campolattaro
and Tercio de Spinelli (both Italian). The left wing had some 1 000
horses (4 squadrons) commanded by Felipe da Silva. In total some 6
000 foots and 2 200 – 2 400 horses.
Note: Infantry number was quite low in the Spanish army
because Córdoba had to dispatch several companies to reinforce temporally
local garrison and because some of the infantry companies did not arrive in
A) After a short exchange of canon balls, Mansfeld
ordered a general advance to attack the Spanish position.
B) On the right flanks, the protestant cavalry of Streiff hustles its Spanish
counterpart which finds refuge behind their luggage.
C) Streiff reorders his squadrons and with the help of the advancing protestant
infantry he attacks the Italian squadron of Campolattaro without success.
D) Meantime, on the left flank, Brunswick first attack is repulse by the
squadrons of Gauchers. The protestant General launches 2 more attacks before
being able to push back the Spanish cavalry.
E) Following his movement Brunswick attacks the Spanish infantry (squadron
Ibarra). During two hours, the protestant tried to break the Spanish infantry
but the stubborn resistance of the Ibarra squadron and the flanking fire coming
from the Chassart farm ruins these attacks
F) Also, on the centre and the right flank the numerous protestant attacks
failed to break the Spanish position
G) After several hours of fighting, Mansfeld orders an organised retreat
of his exhausted army
H) After a refresh pause, Córdoba launch his cavalry under Gaucher
to pursuit the enemy and attack him during his retreat. During the retreat
the protestant army lost his cohesion with the cavalry well ahead, leaving
the poor infantry behind. The next morning, Gaucher found the protestant infantry
causing them, heavy losses (some 2000 dead) and capturing 2 small guns.
Balance: The battle stopped with a tactical
victory for the Spanish side. Both armies suffered heavy casualty (some
1500 dead the same day + 2000 the next day) during the battles but the balance
was modified by the victory of Gaucher the nest day against an unsupported
infantry. A large part of the protestant army (mostly horses) was able
to reach Breda and join the Dutch force and participle in the operation around
the siege of Berg op Zoom.
For this article I could benefit from had the useful
help of Pavel Hrncirik who had a copy of the book from Louis
de Cornet, Histoire generalle des gverres de Savoie, de Boheme, dv Palatinat
et Pays-Bas, depuis l'an 1616. Iusques celuy de 1627. Inclus.(1628), DE ROUBAULX
DE SOUMOY, Bruxelles 1868-1869