The last place we visited in June was Rocroi. This is an old garrison town on the Franco-Belgian border, which has seen its share of war. The city is best known for the battle fought in 1643 between French and Spanish forces, in which the legendary Spanish army of Flanders was decisively defeated. The Spanish army never really recovered and, consequently, French historiography has elevated this battle as the turning point for the beginning of France's century of greatness. Viggo Mortensen has immortalized this battle in the Spanish film "Captain Alatriste", which I urge everyone to watch: Rocroi battle scene
The city itself is built in the form of a star fortress, which has changed very little since the early 17th century. The walls and many of the military buildings are still intact and the parapets can be accessed freely. The layout of the city can be seen in the model below.
|A view from one of the bastions|
|Demi-lune (outer defences)|
|The scarp of one of the bastions|
|The fossé is a good place for a football field|
One of the guard houses contained a small museum. The curator very nicely took the time to give us a tour and there was a nice film about the battle of 1643. The best part about the museum though were the huge number of miniatures it housed.
|Storming a breach|
|28mm miniature version of the battle of Rocroi|
|Condé and the French high command contemplate their battle plans|
|A stunning set-up of a Swedish and Imperial army of the Thirty Years War facing each other. There must have been several thousand 20-30mm miniatures in this display.|
|Francisco de Melo surrendering to the Great Condé|
|Storming of a fortified town during the Thirty Years War|
|The naked lady seems a bit out of place|
|Protestant cavalry charging Imperialist infantry|
One of the things I liked most in the museum were the diorama representations of famous woodcut drawings by Jacques Callot (c. 1633).
Attack on a coach:
|Myself near the position of the tercios viejos|
|The point of Spanish surrender|