The Battle of Blenheim
(referred to in some countries as the Second Battle of Höchstädt
) was a major battle of the War of the Spanish Succession
fought on 13 August 1704 King Louis XIV
sought to knock Emperor Leopold
out of the war by seizing Vienna
, the capital of the Holy Roman Empire
, and gain a favourable peace settlement. The dangers to Vienna were considerable: the Elector of Bavaria
and Marshal Marsin
’s forces in Bavaria
threatened from the west, and Marshal Vendôme
’s large army in northern Italy posed a serious danger with a potential offensive through the Brenner Pass
. Vienna was also under pressure from Rákóczi
’s Hungarian revolt
from its eastern approaches. Realising the danger, the Duke of Marlborough
resolved to alleviate the peril to Vienna by marching his forces south from Bedburg
and help maintain Emperor Leopold within the Grand Alliance.
Blenheim has gone down in history as one of the turning points of the War of the Spanish Succession. The overwhelming Allied victory ensured the safety of Vienna from the Franco-Bavarian army, thus preventing the collapse of the Grand Alliance. Bavaria and Cologne were knocked out of the war, and King Louis’ hopes for a quick victory came to an end. France suffered over 30,000 casualties including the commander-in-chief, Marshal Tallard, who was taken captive to England. Before the 1704 campaign ended, the Allies had taken Landau, and the towns of Trier (Trèves) and Trarbach on the Moselle in preparation for the following year's campaign into France itself.
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Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
1 May 1769 – 14 September 1852), was an Anglo-Irish
soldier and statesman
. He was one of the leading military and political figures of the nineteenth century.
Born in Ireland to a prominent Ascendancy family, he was commissioned an ensign in the British Army in 1787. Serving in Ireland as aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland he was also elected as member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons. A colonel by 1796, Wellesley saw action in the Netherlands and later India where he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War at the Battle of Seringapatam. He was later appointed Governor of Seringapatam and Mysore.
Wellesley soon rose to prominence as a General during the early Napoleonic Wars. In the Peninsular Campaign he led the Allied forces to victory against the French and after the Battle of Vitoria in 1813, was granted a Dukedom and promoted to the rank of field marshal. Serving as the ambassador to France following the exile of Napoleon, he returned to fight Napoleon's forces after the Hundred Days. This culminated at the Battle of Waterloo, which saw the defeat of the French Emperor and a decisive coalition victory.
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