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Duc de Tallard and Elector of Bavaria versus Duke of Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy: A Franco-Bavarian army under Tallard and Elector awaits an attack by an Allied army under Marlborough and Eugene. Will a successful defence of the marshy stream and counterattack ensure victory though? Also known as the Battle of Second Hochstadt or Blindhem.
Blenheim is the turning point of the War of Spanish Succession and is credited with preventing French domination of Europe.
The key to this battle was cooperation between dual commanders. Elector and Tallard offered each other little to no mutual support other than fighting together while Eugene and Marlborough coordinated both an offensive and defensive strategy. Offensively, Eugene pinned down a larger force with persistent, costly attacks so that Marlborough could launch the decisive attack by concentrating superior force against a smaller force. Defensively, Eugene answered Marlborough’s call for aid, sending cavalry to contain Marsin’s attack. If Marlborough and Eugene did not possess the mutual trust and proper command structure, Marsin’s attack would have cut the Allied army in two and decided the battle.
This is the set-piece battle military students drool over and wish still existed in recent wars with continuous fronts and modern wars with no front at all. Anyone who has checked out my suggested readings will note that I am abusing Goodenough’s Tactical Genius in Battle for battle ideas. Marathon, Leuctra, Daras, Mohi Heath, Blenheim, Leuthen, Warsaw, and France are all featured in Tactical Genius in Battle.
– Jonathan Webb
Belloc, Hilaire. The Tactics and Strategy of the Great Duke of Marlborough. Bristol: Arrowsmith, 1933.
Dupuy, Trevor N. The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present, Fourth Edition. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.
Falkner, James. Great Glorious Days: Marlborough’s Battles. Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2002.
Goodenough, Simon. Tactical Genius in Battle. Oxford: Phodian Press, 1979.
Nicholson, G.W.L. Marlborough and the War of Spanish Succession. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1955.
Allied soldiers: http://www.fmft.net/archives/001862.html
Duc de Tallard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_d%27Hostun,_duc_de_Tallard
Duke of Marlborough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Churchill,_1st_Duke_of_Marlborough
Elector of Bavaria: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_II_Emanuel,_Elector_of_Bavaria
Eugene of Savoy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_of_savoy
French soldiers: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?t=114993&page=5
Map of Europe: http://h2g2.com/approved_entry/A21630359
Map of the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections
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