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Usually, when two armies of different nations are in close proximity to each other, it is for good reason. For example,

  1. They are at war with each other;

  2. There are tensions between their nations and they are massing at their borders in case of war with each other;

  3. They are allied with one another (perhaps they are at war with a common enemy; perhaps they are exercising together, etc.); or

  4. Even if they are not allied, they are at war with a common enemy.

I'm curious to hear about historical instances where, by contrast, two armies just happened to be near each other by coincidence, especially if they were each at war with different enemies.

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    I'm a newbie here and I could use some clarification on what kind of "focus" my question lacks. Is it generally considered bad practice around here to ask for a list of examples of some phenomenon? Where I come from (mathoverflow), we would just make such a question community wiki. Is it considered bad practice to ask questions not about one specific historical context or something? Is it considered bad practice to ask for examples of "coincidences" because they are not of intrinsic historical interest or something? Any help would be appreciated. – Tim Campion Mar 30 at 13:03
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    Suggest you move the comment to meta. "list" questions are not popular here - it is difficult to generate authoritative answers, and for reasons I don't fully understand, "community wiki" is not popular. Also seems that questions that include multiple subquestions tend to get closed. Finally, questions that don't include preliminary research tend to get closed. (just some potential thoughts on why). Appreciate the request for feedback. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 30 at 13:23
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    The question is a hypothetical - as evidenced by "* I could imagine, for example, a large Spanish army traipsing by a French military encampment ....*" History is neither D&D nor LARP. Armies are and were expensive to mobilize, and destructive of the terrain they marched through. They don't just encounter each other with no state of war existing. If you want an answer, convicne us it's not a hypothetical, and not a list quesstion. – Pieter Geerkens Mar 30 at 13:31
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    Thanks for understanding. I know some people have rephrased the question as "Is there an example of..." I've rephrased your question as such. (the Liechtenstein invasion of Switzerland might come to mind). I think it is unlikely for any other than an edge case because it is expensive to field a large army, and the should have scouts out, but... – Mark C. Wallace Mar 30 at 14:03
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    This situation may have occurred during first phase of the French Revolutionary Wars where some of the local Kingdoms were reluctant to join in with the others against France. – Mark Johnson Mar 30 at 14:25

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