Monday, 7 August 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 1) Opening Moves

The battlefield devoid of troops. Marlborough is trying to steal a march on his French opponent. This is an encounter battle with both sides feeding troops in piecemeal (see below):

The Allied deployment, the British Infantry Brigade (middle right) and supporting Cavalry Brigade (bottom left). The enemy (a battalion of Swiss in French pay annoyingly also wearing "red") lie astride the road and must be pushed aside. Far behind them is a force of French (actually Bavarian) Cavalry (see below):

The French deployment as seen from the Bavarian Cavalry looking as the Swiss who are all out on their own (see below):

A small matter of some Swiss (on the right) standing in the way of the Allied Army, or rather British, (on the left). The battle gets off to a hectic start (see below, as stated before the Swiss are confusingly also wearing red uniforms too):

The firefight starts, a whole Allied (British) Brigade of four infantry battalions against one small Swiss unit (a single battalion) in a village (see below):

As the firefight rages Marlborough deploys his "horse" in a wide movement to secure his flanks against the French "horse" he knows about (see below):

To the relief of Marlborough the The Swiss are quickly "routed". Speed is of the essence if the French are to be stymied in their deployment (see below):

The Swiss can be seen running away, the British in pursuit and more units of the Allied army (Hanoverian) deploy (see below):

The cavalry formations square off, two "impact cavalry" regiments aside position themselves just outside of mutual charge ranges. A Mexican standoff as neither sides wants to lose the advantage of being the "charger". The British "fan out" into extended line while the Bavarian has the more compact supported line. The canny Allied Commander tries the ruse of sending his Dragoons to dismount and take position in the village to enfilade the French (aka Bavarian) in order cavalry to precipitate the French to charge home disadvantaged (aka disrupted) into his extended formation (see below):

The drawback is that the British have to commit to come into range of the enemy cavalry first.

Next: First Blood


Ian Robinson said...

The Swiss fought for the French Armies from at least Louis XIV to the fall of the Bastille

See here for their uniforms in the Seven Years War - very similar to those in the WotSS period.

Ian Robinson said...

ps, Sir you were a worthy opponent.

At the end of the battle I echoed Cadogan, on hearing of the fall of Malborough.

'As to the rest I shall do as people at sea when the violence of the storm obliges them to abandon the helm and cut down the masts, I commit myself to the mercy of the winds and waves. Whether they force me to split on rocks, or whether my good fortune may throw a plank in my way to carry me ashore, I am grown so insensible or so resigned as to be no longer in pain about.'

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

The day was long but well worth it ;)
Looking forward to the next one already