France dominating Europe



When Emperor Charles VI died, his daughter, Maria-Theresa, mounted the imperial throne, in accordance with the Pragmatic Sanction enacted twenty-seven years earlier; it was at once challenged and unable to resist both the hegemonic claims of Charles-Albert, the Elector of Bavaria, or the territorial ones of Frederick II, the new King of Prussia. The opening campaigns saw the fortunes of war change sides several times.

In 1745, operations engaged by France sought to finalise the conquest of the Austrian Low Countries and isolate the United Provinces from the coalition which had created the Pragmatic Army. After a crafty diversionary movement, the French army commanded by Maurice de Saxe, threw itself at Tournai which it invested then besieged. Under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, the Allies gathered their forces then advanced towards the town with the intention of lifting the siege and destroying the French army.



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