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a city in France, department of Ardennes; in the 16th to 19th centuries, a fortress.
Near Rocroi on May 19, 1643, during the Thirty Years’ War of 1618–48 there was a battle between the French Army (22,000–23,000 men) commanded by Louis II, duke of Enghien (from 1646, prince of Condé), and Spanish forces (26,000–28,000 men) commanded by F. de Melo, the Spanish vice-regent of the Netherlands, who was besieging the fortress of Rocroi. The decisive maneuvers of the French cavalry, which struck the enemy from the rear, led to a rout of the Spanish mercenary infantry, which had previously been considered invincible. The Spaniards lost 14,000 men and 24 guns. The victory at Rocroi opened the way to the Spanish Netherlands to the French forces and enabled them to take Alsace.