Siege of Kaiserswerth

The siege of Kaiserswerth (18 April – 15 June 1702), was a siege of the War of the Spanish Succession. Prussian and Dutch troops numbering 38,000 men and 215 artillery pieces and mortars under the command of Imperial Field Marshal Walrad, Prince of Nassau-Usingen, besieged and captured the small French fortress on the Lower Rhine, which the French had occupied without resistance the previous year. The Dutch regarded the capture of this fortification as more important than an advance into the French-held Spanish Netherlands.[1]

Siege of Kaiserswerth (1702)
Part of the War of the Spanish Succession
Belagerung Kaiserswerth 1702.jpg
The Allied siege plan
Date18 April – 15 June 1702
(1 month and 4 weeks)
Kaiserswerth, Germany
51°17′56″N 6°44′28″E / 51.299°N 6.741°E / 51.299; 6.741Coordinates: 51°17′56″N 6°44′28″E / 51.299°N 6.741°E / 51.299; 6.741
Result Allied victory

 Holy Roman Empire

 Dutch Republic
Commanders and leaders
Prince of Nassau-Usingen Marquis de Blainville
38,000 men
80 guns
59 mortars
6 howitzers
70 hand-mortars
5,000 men
30 artillery pieces and mortars
Casualties and losses
2,800–9,000 killed and wounded 350 killed and wounded


Without the presence of the Dutch siege expert Menno van Coehoorn, the siege was time-consuming, poorly conducted and casualty-intensive. The Germans did not have enough gunpowder and shot available. They had little in the way of siege artillery and engineers and the Dutch supplied them to the Prussians. The advance of the Dutch siege lines was too fast for the Prussians and the heavy resistance of the garrison, the need to coordinate the advances, bad weather and the arrival of French troops under Camille d'Hostun, duc de Tallard on west bank of the Rhine forced the Dutch to repeatedly postpone the storming of the fortress throughout May. The trenches were opened on 18 April and the Dutch intended to take the counterscarp after one week, but the storm was launched only on 9 June.[2][3]

The French commander of the fort Jules-Armand Colbert, Marquis de Blainville, informed Marshal Louis-François de Boufflers on 10 June that the Allied assault forces were cut down on the glacis like grass before the mower's scythe. The French engineer in charge of the fort's defenses was Vauban's assistant Louis Filley. The garrison capitulated on 15 June.


It cost the Allies 2,800 killed and wounded on 9 June alone, of which 2,101 were Dutch, and 2 months to capture a place that Vauban had called a "hole". Bodart estimates Allied losses at 9,000.[1] After its capitulation, the French garrison was allowed to march out to freedom with full military honours.[4][3]


  1. ^ a b Bodart 1908, p. 125.
  2. ^ Ostwald 2006, p. 141.
  3. ^ a b Ostwald 2006, p. 243.
  4. ^ Ostwald 2006, p. 187.


  • Bodart, G. (1908). Militär-historisches Kriegs-Lexikon (1618-1905). Vienna: C.W. Stern.
  • Ostwald, J. (2006). Vauban Under Siege: Engineering Efficiency and Martial Vigor in the War of the Spanish Succession. Brill. ISBN 978-9004154896.