Louis XIV’s expansionist attacks on the Netherlands provoked hostility from other European states, and the armies of Austria and Brandenburg under Friedrich-Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, posed a threat in the upper Rhine. In 1674, therefore, Vicomte de Turenne was tasked with preventing invasion in Alsace. His first campaign saw success at Sinzheim and the subsequent laying to waste much of the Palatinate. When Strasbourg capitulated to the Imperial army, Turenne undertook a surprise attack at Enzheim. He then manoeuvred in the Vosges in the depths of winter, surprising and defeating the opposition at Mulhouse. A final attack took place at Turkheim where Freidrich-Wilhelm’s troops were outwitted by Turenne’s tactics. Utilizing the terrain, he took the town of Turkheim and resisted a counterattack. The Imperial army retreated and, with their winter quarters at Colmar under threat, were forced to leave Alsace. Turenne, with his surprise manoeuvres, strong leadership and strategic skills, is regarded as one of the great captains in military history.
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