Monday, May 30, 2011

Battle of Blenheim / Blindheim 1704



The advantage of Prague as a city of residence is the easy reach of many famous battlefields, and equally fine military museums both in Bohemia, and neighbouring lands. Thus on a recent trip with a good friend from Cork, I managed to get to the Blenheim battlefield. Now admittedly  this is not exactly a quick drive from Prague (it took 4 hours)), and it was taken in during a short tour around Bavaria.

Below is the original Blindheim church where the French right wing under  Clérambault were surrounded and eventually surrendered. The Danube river originally flowed quite near to the village, initially providing the French with a natural flank, against which they were eventually trapped. The course of the river has since moved considerably to the South-east


Apart from a slight sprawl from the village of Blindheim, the battlefield is largely intact. Stretching four odd miles or so from the hills of the Swabisch Jura to the Danube, the topography is fairly flat. The picture below is by the Nebel, looking North-east towards the British centre (and in the distance the village of Wolperstten

Running through the middle of the battlefield, is the Nebel, which is now nothing more than a small stream and ditch, though which at the time of the battle was a wider, and much marshier large stream.

 

The pictures were taken from Marlborough's centre, where he launched his main attack against the weak dividing point between the French and Bavarian wings of the Franco-Bavarian Army. Below is the view from the British centre towards the French left wing. The village of Blindheim has grown a fair bit to the north since the days of the battle, and where the houses are now would have been open fields. The original Blindheim church (which is pictured above), can be seen in the distance on the left of the photograph.

Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit the museum in Hochstadt, where there is an excellent diorama of the battle. You can see it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Battle_of_Blenheim_Diorama.jpg

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