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The Battle of Blenheim Written for Children: A Necessary Victory for Britain

The Battle of Blenheim occurred during the War of Spanish Succession. It was a key battle where a victory by the Great Alliance of England, the Habsburg Empire, the Dutch republic, Portugal, Spain and the Duchy of Savoy, was needed to help get the holy Roman Empire out of the war and capture Vienna. It was a battle where the Great Alliance vastly overpowered and outsmarted its enemy to reach a victory in the end.

The Basics of the Battle

The Battle of Blenheim was fought by the Great Alliance members England and Austria, led by John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy, and the allies of France and Bavaria, led by Duc de Tallard and Ferdinand de Marsin. England and Austria went into battle with 52,000 soldiers and 60 guns. France and Bavaria went in with a slight advantage of 56,000 soldiers and 90 guns.

The battle was fought on 13 August 1704. The battle took place on the banks of the river Danube near the Bavarian village of Blenheim, hence the battle's name. The battle was all for the sake of getting control over the city of Vienna, so that the Holy Roman Empire was no longer able to participate in the War of Spanish Succession. It was a pivotal move initiated by French King Louis XIV and could have changed the whole outcome of the war if France and Bavaria had been successful in the battle.

The Battle

The Duke of Marlborough planned to keep the French and Bavarian armies from reaching Vienna by launching an attack on the Danube. He moved his army in only five weeks to get in the best position between the enemy and the city he sought to protect.

The French and Bavarian armies lined the river banks and had secured the village of Blenheim. Marlborough order an attack on the city, which was unsuccessful in actually getting control over the city, but played an important role in the battle, possibly even being the turning point where the English and Austrian armies got the upper hand. These attacks unnerved the commander of the French army and caused him to make a premature move.

He sent his troops into the village without the reserve forces. He was greatly outnumbered. Marlborough realized the mistake and immediately took action order an attack. He was able to secure the French troops in the village where they could not continue on with the battle.

At the same time the remaining troops of the English and Austrian armies were fighting against a strong Bavarian army. They were losing, but Marlborough continued his attack on the French and was able to finally get the French and Bavarians to retreat.

The Results

After the Battle of Blenheim, there were 4,542 troops lost for England and Austria with 7,942 wounded soldiers. France and Bavaria had 20,000 lost and wounded troops with 14,190 soldiers captured. The most important aspect of this battle was that it kept Vienna secure, while also making it clear that King Louis XIV did not have armies that were indestructible, as was so widely believed. The battle was important in the war and was a direct reason for the Great Alliance's victory in the War of Spanish Succession.

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

One in a series of articles of articles about British history written for children.

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