1704 - Blenheim - Turning Point for Europe

galteeman

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
2,198
Sodom and Begorrah
#11
Could the loss of 30,000 troops as opposed to 15,000 really have that much of an impact on the course of European history.
Why couldn't such a powerful French monarch not simply raise more armies?
One battle couldn't have been that decisive there must have been other stuff going on?
 

Belisarius

Forum Staff
Jun 2006
10,359
U.K.
#12
Could the loss of 30,000 troops as opposed to 15,000 really have that much of an impact on the course of European history.
Why couldn't such a powerful French monarch not simply raise more armies?
One battle couldn't have been that decisive there must have been other stuff going on?
It's not the numbers, it's the 'fallout' from the battle. Austria was beleagured by a Hungarian uprising in the East and the defection of Bavaria supported by France in the West. Had Blenhiem been a defeat for the Alliance, Vienna itself was the next target. So yes Blenheim changed the course of European history.

Louis could and did raise many more armies and they were destroyed by Marlborough. The French class Oudenarde as a strategic victory because they managed to preserve their last available army between Marlborough and Paris, from destruction.
 
#13
Could the loss of 30,000 troops as opposed to 15,000 really have that much of an impact on the course of European history.
Why couldn't such a powerful French monarch not simply raise more armies?
One battle couldn't have been that decisive there must have been other stuff going on?
I think one of the main reasons this was so decisive is that it made the point, quite forcefully, that the French army was no longer unbeatable. They had lost no major engagements for a long time and standing on a battlefield facing an invincible foe must have been no easy task. The French army was beaten at Blenheim even though they were in a good defensive position and had larger numbers. The message this sent to all the heads of Europe was that this was a new game with new rules. Louis could no longer expect the continued expansion of France to go largely unchecked.
I've seen it mentioned that Louis said at this moment that he wanted no more of war but I've thus far been unable to track down a contemporary source for this.
The other outcome of this battle was that Bavaria (a real danger to Austria) was mostly taken out of the reckoning. The Bavarian army did still exist but it was now in exile in the Low Countries. Bavaria itself was now occupied by the allies.
 
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