Rare Seven Years War Map, showing the Battle of Quiberon Bay fought off Belle Isle on November 29, 1759, between the English, led by Admiral Hawke and the French, led by Hubert de Brienne, Comte de Conflans.
Quiberon Bay lies on the Biscay coast of France. On November 20, 1759, the English and French fought one of the more important naval battles of the 7 Years War.
In 1759, Comte de Conflans he was put in charge with landing troops in Scotland for an invasion of England organized by Louis XV, Nicolas René Berryer and the marshal of Belle-Isle, and named "le Grand Dessein de débarquement". Command of the expeditionary force was given to Emmanuel-Armand de Richelieu, duc d'Aiguillon.
After mustering the troops to attack the English, Conflans found himself blockaded in the Harbor of Brest by Admiral Hawke's forces. Finally, Hawke momentarily relaxed his blockade of Brest in order to avoid a storm and Conflans got out of Brest on November 14. Opposing currents diverted the marshal from his initial route and Conflans did not sight Belle Isle until the 20th. Meanwhile Hawke had been warned of Conflans's departure and moved to block his path.
On November 20, on a restless sea, Conflans sighted Duff's division fleeing and gave the order to attack it, but as victory seemed in Conflans's hands, Hawke's fleet sighted Conflans's. Duff then put about so that Conflans turn aside to chase him, thus allowing Hawke to bring his fleet into line of battle and begin pursuing the French fleet. Conflans decided to sail into Quiberon Bay, little known to the English, and engage Hawke there, even though Hawke had caught up with Conflans just as the French fleet began entering the bay. Hawke nevertheless joined battle and destroyed two French vessels and forced two others to strike their colors. Conflans moved to the safety of a ship in his rear, but night soon put a temporary end to the battle.
During the night, Conflans's flagship, the Soleil Royal ran aground, without his knowing, within only a few cable lengths of the English fleet. When dawn rose, he realized the danger that awaited him and sailed across the Croisic to embark on the French vessel Héros. He then burned his flagship after evacuating it.