The Cycle of Battle

Weapons and Warfare

large_orig_blenheim_nebelThe Battle of Blenheim, 1704 – Original Painting by Graham Turner Ref: GT133

Battles usually start when both sides agree to fight. Sometimes there can be a ritual to them. The Battle of the Spurs (1513) resembled the fights of the New Guinea Stone Age tribesmen, where many insults are exchanged, and perhaps a few spears and arrows are thrown, until someone gets hurt and the proceedings end. If one side withdrew there could be no battle. For instance, on the morning of 4 May 1704 at Dursburg Hill, Sergeant Millner remembered that the French advanced, but after coming within allied cannon range pulled back. The two sides stood staring at each other until four o’clock, when the enemy withdrew, ‘leaving us the Honour of the day,’ the sergeant bragged.

As both sides approached each other they would send out scouts, usually cavalry, to discover the other’s position and strength…

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