Fought during the War of the Spanish Succession, the Battle of Blenheim saw the first major defeat of the French army in over 50 years. The Duke of Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy led British, Dutch and Austrian troops in a surprise attack on the French on the Danube in south Germany. Consisting of two sections – one under Marshal Tallard, and one led by Maximillian II Emanuel, elector of Bavaria – the French army’s position had a weak spot at the centre. While Eugene created a diversionary attack, Marlborough assaulted Blenheim, forcing Tallard to bring more reserves to help in its defence. This enabled Marlborough to cross the River Nebel, attack through the further weakened French centre and divide the enemy. Tallard’s troops were forced into the Danube and around 18,000 men were drowned, killed or wounded, plus a further 13,000 captured. The Allies lost 12,000 men, but Bavaria was forced out of the war, Vienna was safe from French invasion and the French army were no longer unbeaten.
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