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Blenheim by David Green
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Blenheim

by David Green

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The political and strategic options facing the Duke of Marlborough at the outset of his 1704 campaign are set out somewhat baldly. Marlborough’s boldness - bordering on recklessness - in making his march to the Danube from the Low Countries is emphasised. He was astute in making good provision for his soldiers and his order that they not ransack the countryside through which they marched but pay for any food they required was unusual for his times as were his pains to provide care for his wounded. It was his talent for misdirection, both strategic and tactical, - even to the extent of misleading his allies - which marks him out as an outstanding general, though.

The Battle of The Schellenberg at Donauwörth which preceded Blenheim is presented by Green as an example of Marlborough’s decisiveness as, rather than institute a long siege, he ordered an immediate assault on the fortification, which, though bloody, succeeded. The remainder of the opposition’s local forces being reluctant to fight Marlborough then ordered the plundering of his Bavarian enemy’s lands to force the issue, but this did not succeed in its aim and the French Marshal Tallard eventually arrived to link up with the Elector of Bavaria. But Marlborough’s decision to close battle early caught them off guard. His handling of the conflict also drew them into false conclusions about his intent.
 
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