Blenheim, battle of

views updated May 29 2018

Blenheim, battle of, 1704. In early 1704 the French and Bavarians in the War of the Spanish Succession were threatening the imperial capital of Vienna. The duke of Marlborough marched from the Low Countries to the Danube to link up with his allies and force battle on the enemy. On 19 May 1704 Marlborough's multi-national army set off from Bedburg. He kept his objective secret, to deceive both the enemy and also his Dutch allies, who might have objected to such a risky strategy. The ploy worked and the Anglo-Dutch army united with the armies of the margrave of Baden and Eugene of Savoy. On 13 August 1704 Marlborough attacked the 60,000-strong Franco-Bavarian forces under Marshal Tallard at the village of Blindheim (or Blenheim) in Bavaria. Marlborough and Eugene attacked on the flanks of the enemy position, forcing Tallard to weaken his centre. A major French counter-attack was beaten off with the aid of Eugene's cavalry. The battle was decided by a major blow against Tallard's centre, which gave way as Eugene pushed forward on the right flank. The Franco-Bavarian force lost 38,000 men while the victors lost 12,000. The threat to Vienna was lifted and Bavaria fell to the allies.

Gary Sheffield

Blenheim, Battle of

views updated May 14 2018

Blenheim, Battle of (1704) Decisive battle in the War of the Spanish Succession. The Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugène of Savoy defeated the French at Blenheim in Bavaria. Vienna was saved and Bavaria taken by the anti-French allies. Marlborough was rewarded with a royal manor near Oxford, where he built Blenheim Palace, birthplace of his descendant Winston Churchill.