The last great battle of the Duke of Marlborough in the War of the Spanish Succession, the Battle of Malplaquet saw the French attempt to stop the Allies from reaching Paris. As Anglo-Dutch-Austrian forces under Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy besieged Mons, the French army, under Marshal Villars tactically took up position at nearby Malplaquet, to distract the besiegers. Before the battle began, the French were well positioned to curtail Marlborough’s famous battle tactics. The Allied advance on the French left met heavy fire; attacks on the French right met heavy resistance. A failed counterattack on the Allied right gave way to a faltering French line and left flank so Villars moved in some central reserves. Marlborough then struck with his signature approach, sending thousands of cavalry through the weakened French centre. Villars was injured so Marshal Boufflers coordinated the French retreat. This bloodiest of battles left 12,000 French wounded or killed, but the Allied victory came at the greatest cost with 21,000–24,000 casualties, including Prince Eugene.
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