The Devil Must have Carried Them: Oudenarde Part I

Weapons and Warfare

The Duke of Marlborough at the Battle of Oudenaarde, John Wootton

Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Duke of Vendome.

Louis, Duke of Burgundy.

The French were astonished to find themselves beaten in the race for Lessines. Vendôme was in favour of hurrying on to catch Marlborough before he could cross the Dender in strength, but Burgundy was more cautious, and wanted to get the Scheldt between him and the Allies. Accordingly, the French called off their operations at Oudenarde and sheered away for Gavre (Gavere), six miles below Oudenarde on the Scheldt. When it came within his reach, Chanclos hacked at their rearguard with Wallis’s Dragoons. Marlborough realised that if the French were able to bridge the Scheldt at Gavre they could then fall back towards the security of their frontier fortresses, and Berwick’s imminent arrival would bring the forces to near-parity. The French might lose Bruges and Ghent, but any…

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