A disputed succession to the Austrian throne led to general war between the leading powers of Europe in 1740, with France, Spain and Prussia on one side, and Britain, Habsburg Austria and the Dutch Republic on the other. While fighting occurred across the globe, the bloodiest battles were fought on the European continent, with none more costly than the battle of Fontenoy in 1745.
Fearing an encirclement of France by a resurgent Habsburg-controlled Austria, the French commander Marshall Saxe planned to overrun the Austrian Netherlands, thereby dealing a decisive blow against their enemy's ability to wage war. Saxe's army, the cream of the French military, invaded and set up a defensive position at Fontenoy, near Tournai – daring his enemies to knock him off his perch. This title, beautifully illustrated with full colour plates, is an in-depth study of the British Duke of Cumberland's attempt to assault Saxe's position. It focuses on the inability of allied leaders to coordinate their attacks and how Cumberland came within a whisker of achieving a major victory.