Dated: August 10, 2008.
Malbrouck s'en va-t-en guerre....
On 11 July 1708 the European powers at the time and their enormous armies confronted one another in Oudenaarde. England, a number of German principalities, such as Prussia and Hanover, and the Seven United Provinces formed a Great Alliance against France, which claimed the Spanish crown.
Many battles were fought, among them the Battle of Oudenaarde in 1708. Almost 180,000 soldiers fought each other: about 80,000 Englishmen with their allies under the command of the Duke of Marlborough against approximately 95,000 Frenchmen under the Duke of Burgundy. About 6,000 were killed and 7,000 were wounded.
This conflict is known as the War of the Spanish Succession, which lasted from 1701 till 1714.
Flanders has been always one of Europe's battlefields, due to the rather flat terrain and of course the fertile lands able to support the needs of big armies. The city of Oudenaarde has made a great effort for the remembrance of the battle, with exhibitions, books, fireworks, an reenactment on 11-13 of July, with participants from all over Europe, over 200 infantry and 40 cavalry and about 40 gunners. More to read at www.oudenaarde1708.be
In the same period, another major, also largely forgotten war took place, the Great Northern War with mainly Russia and Sweden as major players. And Great Britain had it's Jacobite rebellions.
By Dirk Donvil, Belgium.
Many thanks to Mr. Donvil.
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