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The Transitional War Of The Spanish Succession

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Chapter Summary

The efficient siege of Ath was the pinnacle of Vauban’s art. Unlike Louis’ earlier wars, the operational details of the War of the Spanish Succession have been narrated numerous times in several languages. The outcome of the operations in Flanders was due to numerous factors, but one thing that neither the generalship of Marlborough nor Allied numerical superiority could ignore was the theater’s fortifications. Bicoques may have been relatively simple to capture, but the stronger fortresses of Vauban’s northern border would challenge both Bourbon and Allied besiegers in the War of the Spanish Succession far more than Ath had challenged Vauban. Vauban’s rival Menno van Coehoorn would also leave most of the sieges in the War of the Spanish Succession to his successors. The death of the irascible Coehoorn’s in early 1704 may have removed a difficult personality, but it also deprived the Allies of their most experienced engineer.

Keywords: bicoques; Flanders; Menno van Coehoorn; Vauban; War ofthe Spanish Succession

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