The Battle of Dahlen was fought on April 23, 1568, between a Dutch rebel army led by Jean de Montigny, Lord of Villers, and a Spanish army commanded by Sancho Dávila y Daza. As a part of William of Orange's planned invasion, the Dutch rebels were trying to conquer the town of Roermond when the arrival of the Spanish force compelled them to withdraw. Dávila pursued the retreating force and inflicted a defeat upon Villers near the small town of Dahlen . The survivors of this encounter sought refuge under the walls of Dahlen, where the Spanish infantry finally defeated them. This battle is sometimes considered the official start of the Eighty Years' War.
In 1568, William I of Orange, stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, and other noblemen dissatisfied with the Spanish rule in the Netherlands, the Geuzen, were determined to expel Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, and his Spanish troops from the country. William, based in Dillenburg, designed a triple attack upon the Netherlands by his rebel followers and foreign mercenary forces. An army of Huguenots and Netherlander refugees would attack Artois across the French border; another, under William's brother Louis, would try to raise the province of Friesland in arms against the Spanish; and a third one, under Antoine II de Lalaing, Count of Hoogstraten, would operate in the Meuse-Rhin area.
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