Monday, 7 August 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 2) Blood is Spilled

The dismounted Dragoons do their bit and give the Bavarian's a nasty surprise (see below):

All is going to plan the Bavarian's are discomforted but have extended out to match the British frontage. A rather ominous brigade formation of French Infantry can be seen in the distance. It has emerged having crossed the French held river bank and is the first sign of French reinforcements (see below):

The Bavarian's charge home with half their force in disorder (see below):

The first round of combat merely serves to disorder the furthest British unit, but a ripe chance is missed to rout the disordered Bavarian unit (a disordered unit that loses a melee routs). The dismounted British Dragoons try and cause 'insult to injury' as the Bavarian cavalry continue with the second round of melee home, but "aim high" (see below):

The swirling melee results in the disordered cavalry of both sides being routed. The "Hinge Factor" here being the remaining British unit is disorder but not the remaining Bavarian. The British unit finds itself in mortal peril (see below):

It all hangs in the balance as a third round of cavalry combat ensues as the British Infantry relentlessly pursue the retreating Swiss who fall back to a French Battalion holding the next hamlet (see middle right of photo). The Allied Hanoverian Brigade can be seen (bottom of the photo) in column and deploying in line to form the centre of the Allied line of battle. The French reinforcements, fresh cavalry and infantry, are clearly visible in the top of the photograph. (see below):

John Churchill (Marlborough) is keen to press the advantage and orders and immediate attack. The resulting firefight checks the first British Infantry battalion. The Swiss meanwhile rally from rout and disorder and form a second line behind the French Infantry (see below):

These early battles are setting the scene as Marlborough (me) is keen to push forward risking gaps and flanks to gain the advantage of a faster rate of deployment, while the wily French general is happy to 'play for time by trading ground and shortening his lines of communication' and slow the British down hoping they will "over extend themselves".

Next: Feeding the Fire

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