Since their great victory at Blenheim in 1704, the Duke of Marlborough and his Allied Anglo-Dutch army in the War of the Spanish Succession had been stuck in relative stalemate. In 1706, believing Marlborough was going to capture Namur, Duke François of Villerois’s army intercepted the Allies at Ramillies. The French army positioned themselves on a high ridge, but spread themselves thin along the long front. Marlborough feigned attack on the left, prompting Villerois to move central reserves and troops from the right to help, but Marlborough called off the assault because the marshy ground was unsuitable for cavalry. Marlborough then advanced on the depleted right which, despite strong resistance, became overwhelmed. With the French line in disarray, Marlborough attacked in the centre and the French retreated. Marlborough ordered a close pursuit, during which the most French casualties occurred. Marlborough’s conclusive win gave the Allies control over the northern and eastern Spanish Netherlands.
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