|Part of the Seven Years' War|
|Result||Peace of Niesburg (Status quo ante bellum)|
| Brunant|| France|
| Pieter Heyes †|
The Franco-Brunanter War was a conflict lasting from 1756-1759 and is seen as a part of the Seven Years' War. Unlike the Brunanter Civil War, this was a much slower war involving many sieges, as well a the first was with multiple belligerents.
BackgroundEditBrunant was fearful of foreign occupation throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. When the Thirty Years wa rbroke out they began constructing several castles and forts, in preparation. More would follow around the time of both the Spanish and Austrian succession wars. At the time France was their biggest threat.
Then, in 1756, the French invaded Minorca. Soon Brunanter fortifications were being prepared for a possible invasion. On August 12, 3500 French soldiers were landed in Brunant Island, marking the start of the war.
On August 13, 1756 3500 French soldiers lay siege to Bitburg Castle and the town of Brunant. The use of unseen tactics (for the defenders) resulted in capitulation within 15 days. On August 16 there was a small skirmish north of Brunant, where 200 armed locals engaged 70 French soldiers. Though the Brunanters won, they were later defeated by a force of 300 soldiers sent from Castle Neyt. After this, the French commander on Brunant island, the Duc de Richelieu prepared his invasion of the main island. 2000 soldiers landed at Sint-Willemstad on August 22, who's citizens surrendered without a fight. By the 25th they were outside Donderstad and laid siege to Donderstad Castle. But, the castle was well armed and supplied and the French were under constant bombardment. A relief of the town and the arrival of 500 Brunanter soldiers (Sept. 12) forced a French retreat back to defensible Brunant. The Brunanters, who wanted to use the castle, laid siege to it but did not attempt to destroy it. The French repelled an invasion and both sides laid in waiting for the spring.
1757Edit1757 the French began a new campaign to subdue the Brunanters. On January 28, they laid siege to Grunbeck Castle in order to use the town's port. Grunbeck castle would not give way and over 2000 French soldiers were bottled up in their ships. The 600 defenders had kept the French at bay for 3 weeks but could not prevent a stealth landing of 700 soldiers the night of the 20th February. The town, which was largely abandoned, was taken, but the French were forced to retreat in the face of heavy artillery attack. On the 22nd the town was under French control, and soon all the soldiers had landed. A small force sent to relieve the force (on the 25th) was unsuccessful and had to return to Grijzestad. By early March the defenders were starving and on the 9th surrendered. After this, 1000 French soldiers were sent to subdue Grijzestad, which had a better and more accessible port. This would prove to be a challenging task. The walled city was guarded by a large citadel on an overlooking hill. This would prove to be the longest conflict in the war. The first attack on Grijzestad failed and on March 18th the siege began. Excellent defenses (and few French artillery) led to the town walls being breached in late September, after 5000 more Frenchmen were committed. And even then, the port and the citadel were in Brunanter control and were still being resupplied. Bombards and other large cannons in the Castle constantly harassed the French, and occasional naval attacks caused casualties in their ranks.
In 1757 the Libertan navy entered on the side of the French, due to economic and military pressure. Led by Pieter Heyes, they were involved in the bombardment of Grijzestad in mid-1757.
By then, there were over 10,000 French soldiers in Brunant; most of them were tied up in laying siege to Koningstad (Adriankastel), Donderstad, Brezonde and Sint-Markstad (Markstad Castle). Without eliminating these defenses, the French would not control the country. By then they were facing problems in their European and North American campaigns and had forced the invaders to move many troops out of Brunant. In an attempt to engage and defeat the Brunanter navy and prevent them from backing Brunanter defensive positions, the Libertan ships engaged the Brunanter navy in a deadlocked battle, which saw the defeat of the Libertan navy but also the crippling of the Brunanter one. Also, the king's brother in law (Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse Kassel) loaned him 5000 soldiers to help combat the French, a mutual enemy. On June 2, Grijzestad was finally relieved and the country would start to be "reconquered". On June 17 Markstad Castle was relieved (following the Battle of Niesburg), and on July 1 Donderstad briefly fell (along with the capture of 800 muskets. Brezonde fell in early July but by the end of the month the French had surrendered the city to an approaching Brunanter force. In Sint-Markstad they were having better luck and broke through, but there was fierce hand-to-hand combat in the streets. Donderstad Castle was quickly retaken by the French and a siege (to retake it) was lifted in November because of high casualty rates. In late December there were soon 12,000 Brunanter soldiers and 4000 Hessians besieging Donderstad again.
On January 3 there was a massive bombardment of the Donderstad castle's north wall. It was breached the next day and it surrendered, marking the end of the war.