Capture of the Dutch fleet at Den Helder

Capture of the Dutch fleet at Den Helder
Part of the War of the First Coalition
Helder Morel-Fatio.jpg

Capture of the Dutch fleet by the French forces
Date23 january 1795
LocationDen Helder, Netherlands
Result Capture of the Dutch fleet
Prinsenvlag.svg  Dutch Republic Flag of France.svg First French Republic
Commanders and leaders
Prinsenvlag.svg H. Reintjes (POW) Flag of France.svg Jean-Guillaume de Winter
Flag of France.svg Louis Joseph Lahure
14 ships of the line (850 guns in total) One hussar regiment
One infantry battalion
Casualties and losses
14 ships captured None

The capture of the Dutch fleet at Den Helder by the 8th Hussar and the 15th Line Infantry Regiment of the French Revolutionary Army occurred during the night of the 23 January 1795, during the French Revolutionary Wars.

General Pichegru was commanding the autumn 1794 campaign during which the conquest of Netherlands occurred. The French Army entered Amsterdam on the 19 January 1795 to stay there over winter.


Well informed, the general found out that a Dutch fleet was anchored at Den Helder, approximately eighty kilometers north from Amsterdam. The ongoing winter was extremely cold, so much so that the rivers and seashores were frozen solid. Brigadier general Jean-Guillaume de Winter was ordered by Pichegru to take the head of a squadron of the 8th Hussar. This Dutchman was fighting along with the French since 1787, and would later command the Dutch fleet in the Battle of Camperdown. He arrived at Den Helder with his troops during the night of the 23 January 1795. The Dutch fleet was there as planned, trapped by ice. Each Hussar had brought on his an infantryman of the 15th Line Infantry Regiment.

Texel 1.jpg
Prise de la flotte Anglo-Batave, arrêtée par les glaces dans les eaux du Texel pendant l'hiver de 1795. by Charles Louis Mozin.

After a very careful approach to avoid awakening the Dutch sailors, lieutenant-colonel Louis Joseph Lahure launched the assault. The ice did not break up, and the Dutch ship were boarded by the cavalry that managed to get on the decks.


The French Army captured 14 ships of the line and 850 guns. It is the only time in known military history to have seen a fleet captured by a cavalry charge.[citation needed]


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