24 April, 1794
with the British army under the Duke of York, Austria's
General Peter Ott undertook a personal reconnaissance of
a reported French force near Cambrai.
only 300 British and Austrian light cavalrymen he ran into
a strong force of French cavalry at Villers-en-Cauchies.
was the most sensible option, but then Ott discovered his
emperor Francis I was
close by and in imminent danger of capture.
his men on to the attack, Ott scattered the first French
opponents but then ran into formed French infantry backed
stopping to think about the almost-suicidal position against
some 12,000 men, the Allied cavalry continued their assault
over-running the guns and breaking both the infantry and
its supporting cavalry.
followed was a 12-kilometre pursuit that left some 1200
Frenchmen killed, wounded or captured.
stunning victory came at a cost of 66 casualties.