Claude Louis Hector Villars

Villars, Claude Louis Hector


Born May 8, 1653, in Moulins; died June 17, 1734, in Turin. French general.

Villars became marshal general in 1733 and was created duke in 1705. He was born into a diplomat’s family.

Villars joined the army in 1671 and commanded a cavalry regiment in 1674. During the War of the Spanish Succession, while in command of a corps, he defeated the troops of the margrave of Baden at Friedlingen in 1702 and at Hochstadt in 1703, a victory for which the soldiers proclaimed him marshal and the king confirmed him in this title. In 1709 he restored the fighting efficiency of the French troops in Flanders. Heavy wounds prevented him from leading the troops, and they were defeated at Malplaquet. In 1712, Villars inflicted a severe defeat on the Austrian troops of Eugene of Savoy at Denain. In 1715 he was appointed chairman of the war council and member of the regency council, and in 1723 he be-came state minister. In 1732-34, while commanding the French Army in the War of the Polish Succession, he led a successful campaign in northern Italy.