1712, England deserts


The United Kingdom

When the official preliminaries between England and France had become public, Marlborough headed the Whigs in the House of Lords and gained a victory there on December 7 in a motion that insisted on Spain for Charles III. A similar motion was however defeated in the Commons.

Charges of malversations by Marlborough were then made, and Marlborough was sacked 31 December 1711. He was succeeded by James Butler duke of Ormonde. To overcome the lords Anne also created 12 new Tory Peers. The proceedings against Marlborough would eventually lead to a motion against him, but nothing more than that. Not because the Tories did not like to proceed, but primarily because they could not find grounds for a trial.

The United Provinces

The Dutch would soon be very disappointed in the English. For the moment they made Eugen commander of their forces.

The empire

Charles VI (III) did everything to support the English war party, even sending Eugen to London.


Louis now had high hopes of breaking up the coalition before being beaten. He thus ordered to stay on the defensive in Flanders.


On 14 February 1712 Queen Marie Louise died. On the advice of Des Ursins Felipe would marie Elisabeth Farnese. Elisabeth's first act was to throw out Des Ursins who left for Italy.

The conference of Utrecht

When the French proposals were laid before the congress it immediately became clear that the English had betrayed their allies by secret negotiations with the French giving them advantages at the cost of the allies. The English negotiators then said the allies could adhere to the treaty or be left on their own.

But now a row of deaths in the French royal family left only the then two year old future Louis XV between Philip of Spain and the French crown. This fact lead to a breakdown of negotiations and thus the allies reunited for the time and made ready for war.


Situation of the front in June 1712

In Flanders the allies had about 122,000 men consisting of battalions and squadrons under Eugen, with Ormonde as his equal. The French had 100,000 men consisting of battalions and squadrons under Villars.

The opening of the Flanders campaign of 1712

Eugen wanted to get Quesnoy in this campaign of deliver a victorious battle. Ormonde however got secret instructions from St. John that he was not allowed to take part in a siege or battle. St. John also let the French know this (but not his allies and his parliament). He thus committed a treason seldom seen in the history of alliances, counting that a desertion of the about 45,000 troops in English pay in the field would lead to the destruction of Eugen and the Dutch.

Luckily for the allies Eugen got wind of the English machinations and proposed an offensive to prove Ormonde's disloyalty. In the English parliament there was now talk of it too, but St. John and Harley denied the part or all of the instructions, and certainly did not mention the knowledge Versailles had of them.

Eugen now laid siege to Quesnoy. Ormonde told him the English would stay with the army if Eugen lifted the siege. Eugen then asked Ormonde to leave. Ormonde started to ask the foreigners in English pay to march away with him. Quesnoy surrendered unconditionally 1 July and when Eugen wanted to march on Ormonde declared that a cease-fire had been reached between England and France, and that he would leave. Only the national English troops, about 12,000 followed him. English troops occupied Dunkirk that the French had given them as a guarantee.

The Flanders campaign without the English:

Eugen now marched on Landrecies. Villars then fell on Albemarble who defended Denain with 8,000 men. Albemarble was defeated and his retreat blocked because most of the pontoon bridges had been taken away by Ormonde (there was also talk that Ormonde had given the French detailed intelligence of Albemarble's position). The allies suffered 5,000 casualties at Denain alone.

Villars now performed a campaign that saw him taking back a lot of the towns previously lost to the allies including Quesnoy and Douai, and destroying 57 allied batallions or one-third of their army. The campaing ended in a grand disaster for the allies and France was saved.

The Spanish Campaign

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