Blenheim

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There are several meanings of Blenheim in English. All derive more or less directly from the battle. (The name Blenheim - usually pronounced 'BLENN-im' (IPA: /ˈblɛ nə (or ɪ) m/) is an Anglicized version of the German name Blindheim ('blinnd-hime', IPA: /blɪnd haɪm/), a village on the left bank of the river Danube near Höchstädt an der Donau, and between Munich and Stuttgart, in the German Land of Bavaria.).

  • The battle of Blenheim was fought in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession. It was a crashing victory for the forces of the Grand Alliance against Louis XIV's expansionist aims, under the leadership of the Duke of Marlborough. Margrave Louis of Baden and Prince Eugène of Savoy, commanding the Austrians, were the other Allied leaders. They not only prevented Louis's planned invasion of Austria, but routed the French army under the overall command of Marshal Count Camille de Tallard, with Bavarians under Marsin and the Elector, Maximilian II. According to Robert Foley ('Spanish Succession, War of the') in Holmes (2001)), Blenheim was "the most crushing defeat suffered by France during the war. The French and Bavarians lost 38,600 men, including 6,000 dead and 14,000 prisoners and Tallard himself was taken prisoner. The Alliance armies suffered 4,500 dead and 7,500 wounded. With this battle, the safety of Vienna was assured and the French armies were driven from Germany. Maximilian was forced into exile and his state was annexed by the Austrian empire." In German, the battle is known as the [second] battle of Höchstädt.
  • The country voted to reward Marlborough with a great estate. Here the architect Sir John Vanburgh built Blenheim Palace, one of the finest English country houses. 'Capability' Brown added a great lake, and other landscape features, to the grounds. Winston Churchill, a descendant of the first Duke of Marlborough, John Churchill, was born here in 1874.
    • Two varieties of apple are associated with the estate: the Blenheim Orange and the Blenheim Pippin.
    • A variety of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, one with rich chestnut markings on a white background, is known as Blenheim. Its predecessor was first bred by John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. In some dogs there is a chestnut spot in the middle of the forehead called the "Blenheim" spot.

Two items of military equipment owe their names to the battle.

  • The Bristol Blenheim was a warplane which served with the RAF during the Second World War, as a light bomber, fighter and night fighter. It had a gun turret mounted aft of the cockpit. It was first produced in 1937, and used until 1943 and beyond, with 1,351 being built in all.
  • The Royal Navy, as part of a long tradition of naming ships after aggressive successes in British history, has had several HMS Blenheims.
    • A 90-gun second rate ship of the line built in 1761, and lost in 1807 off the Cape of Good Hope, with Admiral Troubridge on board. She had taken part in the Battle of Cape St Vincent (1797).
    • A 60 gun ship of the line built in 1813. She was originally laid down as 74-gunner. She was broken up in 1865.
    • A Blake class armoured cruiser that served from 1890-1926.
  • A street in Hull (in the 'Dukeries', with Belvoir, Clumber, Thoresby and Welbeck Streets), is named after the Palace. Its local pronunciation is 'blen-EEM' (IPA: /blə ˈniːm/) street.