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Troops under Lottum advance to the south of the Wood if Sars

Troops under Lottum advance to the south of the Wood if Sars.

You will remember just before the Xmas break we had just started the Battle of Malplaquet update. The Allies were attacking on both flanks, while the centre under the command of Churchill, Duke of Marlborough stalwartly advanced into the teeth of the French defensive positions. The two large woods had been fortified with several abatis throughout and French troops dug in. The Blairon Farm on the French right wing was fortified and under the due care of the troops from the Gardes Francais.

Troops advance into the French right wing

Troops advance into the French right wing.

Preliminary bombardment was uneventful and the Prussians under Schulenburg had already been repulsed in the Sars wood. General Withers had been sent by Marlborough to flank General Goesbrand on the French left, but he wasn’t on the field yet. The volleys from the French centre were crashing into the advancing men of Orkney, Lottum and Schulenburg, the Swiss Mercenaries under Goesbrand being engaged heavily just to the south of the Sars wood.

Blairon Farm defences.

Blairon Farm defences.

The British Cavalry reserve had engaged the French cavalry reserve east of Lainieres wood and a huge cavalry melee had developed. The British Horse put in several spirited charges into the Maison du Roi and were repulsed, only to rally and charge in again!

Troops from Orkney's command advance toward Boufflers men.

Troops from Orkney's command advance toward Boufflers men.

Time passed and the Allied centre held it’s fire mostly until they were into effective range then let the French defenders have the all important first volley. Some got within short range. The French troops suffered casualties at an alarming rate, but the Allies suffered a lot more!

The Prussians assaulted the French line in the Sars wood, the word was coming of firing being heard beyond the wood in the direction of Withers appearance. This lifted the depleted Prussians and they attacked with renewed vigour. To the North East of the Sars wood the horse from Withers began firing into the rear of some of the French infantry, troops from the French centre were hurried across to meet this new threat. The French centre began to weaken and the Allied centre knew it, forward! The order was given and the drums beat, only a few of the British battalions moved off again, their German allies blazing away despite the remonstrations of their Officers and NCO’s.

Boufflers men north of Blairon Farm

Bouffler's men north of Blairon Farm.

The British Troops under Orkney were ordered to move through Lainieres Wood only to be confronted by more of the abatis defending French infantry. Time was ticking by and the Allied casualties were mounting, will they press the attack?

More tomorrow.