The Battle of Gembloux marked a terrible defeat for the Protestant rebels fighting against Spain in the Eighty Years' War. On 31 January 1578, an advance force of 1,200 cavalrymen from the main Spanish army of 20,000 men attacked the retreating Dutch army of around 20,000 men. The Dutch had about 7,000 men more than the Spanish, but the quality of the Dutch troops was too low to deliver the Spanish more damage. The small force under Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza succeeded in creating a panic and destroyed the Netherlandish army at Gembloux. Local resistance was crushed and the region pacified shortly afterwards.