Battle of Blenheim, 1704

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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 preview 1

Significance

Blenheim is the turning point of the War of Spanish Succession and is credited with preventing French domination of Europe.

Analysis

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.

blenheim preview 2

Notes

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

Works Consulted

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.

Images

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

 

If you enjoyed the Battle of Blenheim 1704 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:

Battle of Poltava 1709, the next battle chronologically on the site:

poltava preview 1

Battle of France 1940, another battle featuring successful use of the penetration of the center maneuver:

france preview 1

Battle of Fornovo 1495, another battle featuring an attack across a marshy stream:

fornovo preview 1Thank you for visiting The Art of Battle: Animated Battle Maps.

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. great job, keep going

  2. Iain Gale’s book ‘Man o Honour’ covers this battle nicely from viewpoint of a participant

  3. buy wiki links June 6, 2012 @ 9:09 pm

    Magnificent items from you, man. I have take into account your stuff previous to and you are just too magnificent. I really like what you’ve acquired right here, certainly like what you’re stating and the best way in which you assert it. You are making it enjoyable and you continue to take care of to stay it sensible. I can not wait to learn far more from you. That is really a terrific website.

  4. The first zoom in the animation (the one on the earth’s map) seems quite inacurate, it zooms somewhere into Balkan rather than Bavaria… thousand kilometers or two not a problem?
    Other than that, nice… 🙂

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