Detailed plan of the French defences during the 1742 siege of Prague

1742 

Plan de l’Attaque de la Ville de Prague en 1742.

Europe Eastern Europe
  • Publication date: 1742.
  • Physical description: Manuscript plan with fine original hand-colour, dissected and mounted on linen, title and key to right border.
  • Inventory reference: 2708

Notes

Detailed plan of the French defences during the 1742 siege of Prague.

The Austrian trenches are clearly marked in yellow to the left of the plan together with the position of their artillery. A key to the right provides information upon Prague’s fortifications and the Austrian’s offensive lines.

The 1742 Siege of Prague was an extended blockade of Prague during the War of the Austrian Succession. French forces first under the command of de Broglie were surrounded by a large Austrian army in June 1742. A French relief column forced the Austrians to partially lift the siege in September, at which time de Broglie escaped from the besieged city, leaving it under the command of Belle-Isle. When the Austrians renewed the siege after halting the advance of the French relief, conditions in the city became quite difficult, but the Austrians failed to maintain a tight cordon around the city. On 16 December, Belle-Isle led 14,000 troops out of the city on a ten-day march to the French-held city of Cheb. In wintry conditions, Belle-Isle succeeded in fending off Austrian scouting parties until the army reached the Bohemian Forest four days later. The Austrian command did not learn of the French departure until 18 December, but believed they had successfully cut off all the routes of escape when Belle-Isle boldly led his army off the road and into the mountains. After a difficult crossing in which weather and disease took a marked toll on the French army, they reached Cheb on 9th March. 

Provenance

From the Library of the Dukes of Luynes.

Charles Louis d’Albert de Luynes (1717–1771) was a French nobleman and member of the House of Albert. He was the fifth Duke of Luynes as well as Duke of Chevreuse.

He took part in the war in 1733 in the War of the Polish Succession. He also took part in campaigns in 1735 and 1745, the latter in the War of the Austrian Succession, and was injured in combat at Sahay at the head of the Dragoons. He participated in the attack of Prague in 1742, and also assisted in various sieges and battles of the era.

In 1754, he was created a Colonel General of the Dragoons. From 1757 to 1771, he was the Gouverneur de Paris (Military governor of Paris), an ancient and prestigious rank representing the king in the capital. He also was created a Knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit at Versailles on 2 February 1759.

He died in Paris in his Hôtel. He was buried at the Chapelle de Saint Jean l’Évangeliste at the Église Saint-Sulpice, Paris.