Friday, 15 September 2017

The War of the Spanish Succession: The Battle of Oudenarde July 11th 1708 (Part 3) O' Fortuna

There then came to the matter of a small village. They, the French had it, and we sir wanted it and that was the matter of it. The men in scarlet advanced, there was disorder all round and the smoke of battle made the scene quite intense (see below, the French and British infantry come to grips with one another):

For a moment the French looked to have the better of it as they regained their order and pressed forwards (see below, the British are stalled and the French battalion has regained its initial composure and a fresh new French brigade of infantry can be seen advancing menacingly):

At this moment John Churchill (Allied C-in-C) stepped forwards and commanded a column of mounted Dragoons to come timely at the gallop and charge the French infantry while they disposed in line and vulnerable to such a swift move. The French infantry in local command were entirely focused upon their British infantry they were too late in coming to aware of this new danger. They broke and fled back into the village whence they first came (see below the action of the charge):

Although the local danger had passed and one jaw of death had been averted the fresh French infantry brigade posed a second jaw even more dangerous (see below the French infantry battalion is scattered but the British line is in disarray):

With the dexterity of a great captain of antiquity Marlborough straitened his lines, withdrawing his cavalry to a useful reserve position but despite his best efforts the "L" of the Allies looked very vulnerable. The whole defensive position depended upon a garrisoned village of Groenewald holding its nerve in teh battle to come (see below, if Groenewald falls [in the centre of the battlefield] the flanks of both Allied brigades would be mercilessly exposed )

It is at this very point the French Commander hurls the fresh French infantry newly arrived on the battlefield. The smoke of battle once again engulfs the field of play (see below, without the expedience of time for a softening up barrage with artillery the French go in):

This gentlemen is warfare in "The Age of Reason", mathematical but more the bloody for its application.

Next: The Dark Heart of the Matter

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