Battle of Menin, 13 September 1793

The battle of Menin (13 September 1793) was a second victory in five days for the French army of General Houchard, and saw the French defeat the Dutch army under William V, prince of Orange, briefly knocking them out of the war. On 8 September Houchard defeated an Allied army at Hondschoote, forcing the Duke of York to abandon the siege of Dunkirk, and retreat east to Furnes (Veurne), just inside Belgium.

This left the 13,000-strong Dutch army under the Prince of Orange dangerously exposed between Menin and Lannoy. Houchard had 30,000 men available to attack the Dutch, and decided to attack from two directions. One attack, from Poperinghe, hit the northern end of the Dutch line while a second attack, from Lille, attacked the centre of their position.

The Dutch were overwhelmed, with the loss of 3,000 men and 40 guns. The French captured Menin, while William retreated back towards Bruges and Ghent. The French success would be short-lived. Two days later an Austrian army, under General Beaulieu, attacked west from Courtrai, routed the French and recaptured Menin. On the previous day the Austrians had won an impressive cavalry victory at Avesnes-le-Sec, destroying one of Houchard's infantry divisions. This combination of defeats help bring about Houchard's downfall, and eventual execution.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 January 2009), Battle of Menin, 13 September 1793 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_menin_1793.html

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