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The Battle of Málaga (or Vélez-Málaga) was the largest naval battle in the War of the Spanish Succession. It took place on 24 August 1704, south of Málaga, Spain.

Battle of Málaga
Part of the War of the Spanish Succession
Battle of Malaga, 1704.jpg
The Battle of Malaga by Isaac Sailmaker. Oil on canvas, 1704.
Date 24 August 1704
Location near Málaga, Spain
36°42′15″N 4°22′10″W / 36.704293°N 4.369526°W / 36.704293; -4.369526Coordinates: 36°42′15″N 4°22′10″W / 36.704293°N 4.369526°W / 36.704293; -4.369526
Result Inconclusive
Spain Bourbon Spain
 United Provinces
Commanders and leaders
Kingdom of France Comte de Toulouse
Kingdom of France Victor-Marie d'Estrées
Kingdom of England George Rooke
51 ships of the line
6 frigates
6 fireships
28 galleys
(3,577 guns)
24,275 men[1]
53 ships of the line
6 frigates
7 fireships
2 bombships
(3,614 guns)
22,543 men[1]
Casualties and losses
3,239 killed or wounded[1] 2,718[1]
787 killed
1,931 wounded


The battleEdit

Less than a week after the Capture of Gibraltar, Admiral George Rooke received intelligence that a French fleet under the command of Toulouse and d'Estrées was approaching Gibraltar. Leaving half his marines to defend the newly won prize, Rooke immediately set off with his combined Anglo-Dutch fleet to engage the French.

The outcome of the action that followed, the Battle of Vélez-Málaga, was indecisive. Not a single vessel was sunk or captured on either side but the mutual battering left many ships barely seaworthy and casualties on both sides were high. As the French and the British approached each other two days later, on 26 August, they finally decided not to engage each other. Considering the British had a significant number of casualties and highly damaged ships, particularly their masts, the French mistakenly interpreted the British fleet's prudence as an overall victory. Byng's squadron, having expended so much ammunition in the previous bombardment of Gibraltar, was obliged to quit the line.

The French had returned to Toulon claiming victory. The reality was, however, that by retreating to Toulon the French turned what had been a tactical stalemate into an Anglo-Dutch strategic victory, because after the Battle of Vélez-Málaga the French Navy never again emerged from Toulon in full strength.[2]

Ships involvedEdit

England/Netherlands (George Rooke)Edit

(90-gunners and above were 3-deckers)




The rear division comprised the Dutch element of the Anglo-Dutch fleet.

  • Graaf van Albemarle (64, flag of Lieutenant-Admiral Gerard Callenburgh) - blew up on 27 August on the way back to Gibraltar.
  • Unie (90, flag of Vice-Admiral J. G. van Wassenaer)
  • Gelderland (72, Capt. P. Schrijver)
  • Dordrecht (72, Capt. van der Pot)
  • Katwijk (72, Capt. J. C. Ockersse)
  • Wapen van Vriesland (64, Capt. C. Middagten)
  • Wapen van Utrecht (64, Capt. Bolck)
  • Bannier (64, Capt. J. W. van Ghent)
  • Leeuw (64)
  • Vlissingen (64)
  • Nijmegen (54, Capt. H. Lijnslager)
  • Damiaten (52)



3614 guns, 22543 men

France (Toulouse)Edit


  • Éclatant (66, Capt de Bellefontaine)
  • Éole (62, Capt Marquis de Mons)
  • Oriflamme (62, Capt de Châteaurenault)
  • Saint Philippe (92, flag of CdE Marquis d'Infreville de Saint-Aubin)
  • Heureux (72, Capt Colbert de Saint-Mars)
  • Rubis (56, Capt de Benneville)
  • Arrogant (56, Capt Desherbiers de l'Étanduère)
  • Marquis (56, Capt de Patoulet)
  • Constant (68, Capt Comte de Sainte-Maure)
  • Fier (90, flag of LG Philippe, Marquis de Villette-Mursay)
  • Intrépide (84, Capt Jean du Casse)
  • Excellent (60, Capt Rochalar, ainé)
  • Sage (58, Capt Montbault)
  • Écueil (68, Capt Darigay)
  • Magnifique (90, flag of CdE Jean de Belle-Isle-Érard)
  • Monarque (84, Capt Chabert)
  • Perle (52, Capt Le Mothure)


  • Furieux (58, Capt Marquis de Blénso)
  • Vermandois (60, Capt Comte de Béthune)
  • Parfait (74, Capt Marquis de Châteaurenault)
  • Tonnant (90, flag of LG Comte de Coëtlogon)
  • Orgueilleux (72, Capt de Beaussier)
  • Mercure (50, Capt Chevalier de Lannéon)
  • Sérieux (60, Capt de Champmeslin)
  • Fleuron (54, Capt Chevalier de Grancey)
  • Vainqueur (86, flag of CdE Bailli de Lorraine, Chevalier d'Armagnac)
  • Foudroyant (104, flag of Vice-Admiral Comte de Toulouse, with Capt Comte d'Estrées)
  • Terrible (102, flag of CdE Comte de Relingue)
  • Entreprenant (58, Capt Comte d'Hautefort)
  • Fortuné (54, Capt de Bagneux)
  • Henri (66, Capt de Serquigny)
  • Magnanime (74, flag of CdE Baron de Pointis)
  • Lys (88, Capt Comte de Villars)
  • Fendant (58, Capt de La Luzerne)


  • Zélande (60, Capt de Serville)
  • Saint Louis (60, Capt Chevalier de Beaujeu)
  • Admirable (92, flag of CdE Comte de Sébeville)
  • Couronne (76, Capt de Champigny)
  • Cheval Marin (44, Capt de Pontac)
  • Diamant (58, Capt Darogue)
  • Gaillard (54, Capt Chevalier d'Osmond)
  • Invincible (68, Capt Marquis de Rouvroy)
  • Soleil Royal (102, flag of LG Marquis de Langeron)
  • Sceptre (84, Capt Chevalier d'Alby)
  • Trident (56, Capt Chevalier de Modène)
  • Content (60, Capt Chevalier de Phélypeaux)
  • Maure (54, Capt de Sainte-Claire)
  • Toulouse (62, Capt Duquesne-Mosnier)
  • Triomphant (92, flag of CdE Comte de La Harteloire)
  • Saint Esprit (74, Capt Duquesne-Guiton)
  • Ardent (64, Capt d'Aligre)


  • 6 frigates
  • 6 fireships
  • 28 large galleys
  • 5 tenders


3577 guns, 24275 men


  1. ^ a b c d Clodfelter 2017, p. 70.
  2. ^ Richard Harding, Seapower and Naval Warfare, 1650-1830, (Taylor & Francis, 1999), 119.


  • Clodfelter, M. (2017). Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015 (4th ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0786474707. 

External linksEdit

  • "The Battle of Malaga". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2014-06-29.