Siege of Lochem (1582)
|Siege of Lochem|
|Part of the Eighty Years' War & the Anglo–Spanish War|
Liberation of Lochem from the Spanish in 1582. Etching by Frans Hogenberg
| Dutch Republic
|Commanders and leaders|
| Count of Hohenlohe
| Francisco Verdugo
Juan Baptista de Taxis
|Casualties and losses|
The Siege of Lochem also known as the Relief of Lochem was a siege that took place in the Dutch city of Lochem during the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo–Spanish War. The city was relieved by a States army composing of English and French Huguenot troops under Count Philip of Hohenlohe-Neuenstein and William Louis of Nassau-Dillenburg and John Norreys on September 24, 1582. This marked the end of the Spanish siege of the city by the Spanish general Francisco Verdugo.
In the summer of 1581 Francisco Verdugo had been sent by the Duke of Parma to replace the Count of Rennenberg after his defeat by Anglo Dutch forces under John Norreys at Kollum. Verdugo was able to defeat Norreys at at Noordhorn his attempt to seize Niezijl was foiled by stout resistance, mutiny and bad weather in the autumn of 1581. The following year Verdugo instead turned his attention to Lochem, a city in Guelderland, where Johann Baptista von Taxis had built a sconce around the walls of the town. Taxis joined forces with the Baron van Anholt, Lieutenant-colonel of former Rennenberg's regiment of foot, and laid siege to the town, believing it would be easy to capture as it was short of food. Verdugo had not given orders to start the siege and deemed it too risky because Lochem was easy to relief. Nevertheless, after Anholt brought to Groningen news of the siege, he decided to take command of the operations in order to keep his good reputation as a commander. Moreover, with Lochem taken Verdugo would then have an easy chance to advance and take the cities of Zutphen and Deventer.
By July 22 Lochem was under siege by 4,000 Spanish troops and 400 cavalry. In Lochem itself after a month of siege they had managed to hold out but conditions inside the town were appalling. Starvation took hold and many citizens had resorted to eating their own horses. The weather had been poor and the countryside was flooded; hampering conditions for both besieged and besieger.
Philip Hohenlohe had sent some Frisian companies on an offensive in the northern provinces, hoping to lure the Spanish commander Verdugo away from Lochem, but this failed. Hohenlohe then organised a relief force whilst in Deventer in late August. He gathered an army of 2,500 infantry and 1,500 cavalry which included fourteen companies of English and Scots troops (three companies were cavalry) under John Norreys. Hohenlohe had with him four heavy pieces of artillery and was expected to join up with more forces on his way.
On September 21, 1582 they left Deventer and joined together with the army of William Louis, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg between Zutphen and the Castle Van Dorth. The size of the army grew to 5,000 soldiers and 2,500 cavalry including 1,800 newly arrived French Huguenot soldiers. This force also carried large quantities of food and supplies to meet the hungry population of Lochem.
Relief & Aftermath
On sighting the relief army from nearby Wildenborch castle the Spanish seeing they were outnumbered there decided to retreat. The allied force immediately occupied the castle, constructed a sconce and then built a bridge over the moat. The rising waters of the small river Brekel caused by mills in Zutphen stopping the water meant that for Verdugo it was now impossible to prevent the city from being resupplied. In the night Hohenlohe gained access to the city and at once provided some food, evacuated the sick and wounded as well as replacing the garrison with fresh troops. Verdugo on the other hand managed to launch an assault, and in confused fighting managed to drive Hohenhole's French troops from a sconce and destroyed them. The success for Verudgo however was only temporary, the following morning the combined allied force mounted an attack on the besiegers. The assault was a success and many guns were captured, and realising the siege was over Verdugo retreated to the wooded Lochemse hill further South of the town. His rearguard under the command of van Anholt suffered heavily protecting the Spanish retreat and lost five ensigns as a result, whilst van Anholt was severely injured.
With the Spanish finally gone Lochem was completely free, and food provided to near starving citizens and soldiers.
Bronckhorst-Batenburg was taken to Bredevoort Castle where he later died, while Verdugo retreated to Groenlo. Taxis with his detachment however headed North and captured the fortress city of Steenwijk, the key to the north-east of the Netherlands that had defied Rennenberg.
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