1708-07-11 – Battle of Oudenarde

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Battles and Encounters >> 1708-07-11 – Battle of Oudenarde

Allied decisive victory


At the beginning of the campaign of 1708, the Allies tried to conquer the Spanish Netherlands. The Imperialist troops led by Prince Eugène de Savoie should march from the Moselle along Rhine and, after making a junction with the Reichstruppen (troops from the Hereditary Countries) near Koblenz, effect as quickly as possible a junction with the British-Dutch army of the Duke of Marlborough.

However, the French army of the Duc de Vendôme initially seized the initiative and, by 5 July, had managed to capture Ghent and Bruges. It now threatened Brabant. Vendôme's next objective was the fortified city of Oudenarde, 55 km from Bruxelles. The capture of this place would deny the Allies the crossing over the Scheldt and the connection between Menin and Courtrai. Two French armies with 130 bns, 216 sqns and 120 guns were concentrated in the region of Mons.

On 8 July, during a war council, the Duke of Marlborough decided to send a strong reinforcement to Oudenarde. South of Bruxelles, there were British, Dutch, Hanoverian, Prussian, Hessian and Imperialist troops totalling 112 bns, 197 sqns and 113 guns. On the same day, the French were in front of Lessines.

On 9 July, Vendôme proposed to lay siege to Oudenarde but the Duc de Bourgogne decided to wait and see what the Allies would undertake after the junction of Marlborough's and Eugène's armies.

In the night of 9 to 10 July, the Duke of Marlborough's vanguard prevented Vendôme from crossing the Scheldt north of Oudenarde. A first attack led by Lieutenant-General de Chémerault with 3,000 men was repulsed.

On 10 July, the army of the Duc de Bourgogne set off from Lede and marched to Gavere and Schelderode and encamped along the Scheldt, establishing three bridges on this river. On the same day, Marlborough crossed the Dender River and established a new camp near Lessines. In the evening, he sent a large detachment towards Oudenarde.

Over 80,000 French under the command of the Duke of Vendôme and the Duc de Bourgogne and about 70,000 British and Dutch under the command of the Duke of Marlborough and Imperialists and Prussians under Prince Eugène were marching towards the Scheldt for battle.

The Duc de Bourgogne wanted to deploy his army on the left bank of the Scheldt in front of Oudenarde, secure the crossing points on the Scheldt at Gavere with entrenchments and advance with an army corps on Menin. Vendôme, however, insisted on crossing the Scheldt together to directly attack the Allies on the other bank.


Map of the Battle of Oudenarde – Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis
A March of the Allied Army
B Allied pontoon bridges on the Scheldt River
C Village of Eine occupied by 4 French bns
D 3 French bns that retreated
E March of the Allied cavalry right and left wings
F 8 Allied sqns which drove back 12 French sqns near the Auberge de L'Hopital of Oudenarde
G the 12 French sqns which had been driven back
H 5 Allied bns surrounding the village of Eine
I Allied Infantry deployed in order of battle
K Order of Battle of all the Allied Cavalry
L Hedges and villages occupied by French Infantry
M Franco-Bavarian Infantry
N French Cavalry
O March of the Franco-Bavarian Army
P Places where the French troops defiled to occupy the hedges, villages and plain
Q Hill where the French posted a battery at the start of the action to cannonade the Allied cavalry near the Mill of Hurne
R Allied Cavalry posted near the Mill of Hurne
S The two lines of the Franco-Bavarian Army, where they posted themselves after the battle
T French Cavalry that retired when the Allies approached
V Placed where a Franco-Bavarian corps remained during the whole action
W The Allied artillery
X Retreat of the Franco-Bavarian Army

All around Oudenarde the country lies in low, gentle undulations. The valley is wide; the ground is thoroughly cultivated; corn on the uplands; flax, clover, buckwheat and peas on the lower. Only on the few steep acclivities are woods to be found. Over towards Courtrai to the west, and up the Scheldt River towards the frontiers of France, there were forests, but around Oudenarde it was nearly all open. Low hedges divided the fields but there was nothing to impede the march of troops, even of artillery. The river runs about north-east through the old Flemish town, then sweeps around northwards. One or two castles and an old abbey were , with those inevitable windmills, the features of the rather uninteresting scenery. Marshes bounded both sides of the stream, but north of Oudenarde the ground rose; two little streams cut through the rise and reached the Scheldt about 2 km north-east of the town, and a larger creek, flowing nearly east, and bounded north and south by sloping banks, intersected this low plateau 5 km north of the town. It was called the Norken. The battle took place between this stream and the walls of Oudenarde.

Description of Events

On 11 July before daybreak, Marlborough's Army set off from the banks of the Dender River near Lessine and advanced towards Oudenarde.

At dawn, Major-General Cadogan was sent forward with a strong corps (16 bns and 30 sqns and 24 guns, for a total of approx. 11,000 men) to prepare the roads, construct bridges and make dispositions to cover the passage of the Scheldt downstream of Oudenarde for the main army.

At 10:00 a.m., ignoring that the Allies were already advancing from Ninove, the army of the Duc de Bourgogne slowly marched towards Oudenarde, passing the Scheldt at Gavere.

At 10:30 Cadogan reached the Scheldt just above the village of Eine and on ascending the Iow heights above the river and looking westward, he saw before him a kind of shallow basin or amphitheatre, seamed by little ditches and rivulets, and broken by hedges and enclosures.

Around 11:00 a.m., as Biron with the French vanguard was lounging about the bridges at Gavere, Cadogan had reached Oudenarde and was urging his men to the completion of the four bridges he had to throw across just below Oudenarde. His corps crossed the Scheldt on these bridges. His artillery had been unable to keep up with the rest of the vanguard. Cadogan left 4 bns behind to guard the bridge.

Presently parties of French horse, belonging to the French vanguard under Lieutenant-General Duc de Biron, appeared on the ground to the north. They had crossed the Scheldt near Gavere, 11 km farther down the Scheldt, and were now moving across their front with foragers out, in happy unconsciousness of the presence of an enemy.

Around noon, when the head of the Allied cavalry columns reached the Scheldt River, none of the bridges had yet been completed.

Around noon, Cadogan's vanguard took position on the ridges of Bevere. From these heights, Cadogan noticed advanced elements of the French cavalry approaching. He swung his two brigades of infantry into position, facing north-east, on the ridges of Bevere and dashed in at the head of his squadrons, forded the little stream that cut the plateau in half, rode through the village of Eine on its north bank, whirling the foragers before him up the slopes to the plain of Heurne, taking some cavalrymen prisoners. The rest of the detachment managed to escape and alerted Biron, who commanded the French vanguard, to the presence of Allied troops on the west bank.

De Biron's cavalry (20 sqns) then charged Cadogan's cavalry (8 sqns). Cadogan retired in good order. De Biron pursued until he reached the bluffs above Eine and there came in sight of the infantry brigades in line of battle, the pontoon bridges down behind them on the Scheldt, and a huge clouds of dust rising skyward behind Oudenarde. In utter amazement de Biron realised that the whole Allied army was within gunshot of the plateau. The Allies were posted in an advantageous terrain forming a sort of amphitheatre surrounded by ravines, woods and hedges which they already occupied.

With the main body of the French army not within supporting distance, de Biron promptly sent back word to Gavere of the approach of the troops of Marlborough, and the presence of their vanguard, he then gallantly stood to his ground and seized the little village of Eine with the intention of fortifying.

At that very moment Marlborough and Eugène arrived at full gallop at the bridges, for Marlborough, uneasy while his advanced-guard was still in the air, had caught up a column of Prussian horse and galloped forward with it in all haste.

When the Duc de Bourgogne was informed of the march of the Allies, he hastened his march but it was too late. The French generals hesitated a certain time before deciding to deploy their army in order of battle. The Duc de Vendôme, who had reached the head of the army with the Maréchal de Matignon wanted to march to the enemy by his left but he was informed that there were an unfordable stream on that side (the stream was in fact fordable). He finally decided to march to a height on his right, facing Oudenarde. While he was contemplating an attack against the centre of the Allies, he was incorrectly informed that their centre was also covered by a stream and a marsh.

While French troops were deployed in order of battle as they arrived, the Duc de Bourgogne joined the Duc de Vendôme on the height facing Oudenarde. He informed Vendôme that he had ordered Biron's vanguard to attack Allied outposts deployed on their left and to occupy the village of Heurne.

Vendôme rode in this direction and found Biron's 7 Swiss bns (Pfiffer Infanterie, Villars-Chandieu Infanterie and Wolfgang Greder Infanterie) fighting and driving back the Allies. However, these 7 bns were pushed back and Vendôme had to rally them and joined them to 2 other brigades. Together, they pushed back the Allied outposts up to the hedges in front of their main army.

Before 1:00 p.m., it would have been a very easy matter for Vendôme to dash upon Cadogan and his comrade Rantzau, hurl them back on the river and seize and break up the pontoons, for, besides the vanguard, only the Allied cavalry was in sight.

General Pfiffer with the 7 Swiss bns had gone, not into Heurne, but, by some mistake in name, beyond it, and was now loopholing the walls of Eine, which Biron had so recently seized.

Already Cadogan and Rantzau saw their position threatened and began to cast anxious glances towards Oudenarde and the coming reinforcements; already Marlborough and Eugène, marking the massive advance of Vendôme's columns along the opposite plateau, were fearing for their vanguard, when suddenly the heads of their own columns appeared, some crossing the heights of Edelære, behind them, some winding around the southern base between the heights and Oudenarde, and at the same instant the French divisions sheered off to the north, and, by a rapid movement to their right flank, began the descent into the ravine of the Norken.

The French right wing being now engaged, Vendôme asked the Duc de Bourgogne to advance with the infantry and cavalry of the left wing against the cavalry of the right wing of the Allies, which was isolated from the rest of the Allied army by a stream. The dissensions in the French headquarters became flagrant when the Duc de Bourgogne decided to entrench the left wing (50 bns, 180 sqns) instead of advancing.

To the rage of Vendôme, to the wonderment of Marlborough, and the unmixed delight of himself and Eugène, the faint-hearted Duc de Bourgogne had abandoned the whole plateau, and was falling back with the left wing to the line of low heights behind the Norken, marked by the villages of Lede and Huysse.

Pfiffer's 7 bns were thus left isolated in Eine under the plateau.

Around 2:00 p.m., the head of the Allied infantry columns reached the Scheldt and began to cross by the pontoons.

Marlborough's cavalry was crossing the bridges. Part of this cavalry passed through Oudenarde to take advantage of the town bridge.

By 2:30 p.m., the head of the Allied infantry columns began to arrive on the battlefield. The one battery that had managed to struggle forward with the horsemen was posted on the slopes commanding the ground towards the village of Diepenbeck. The moment the Allied infantry came up, Cadogan's brigade of foot left to guard the bridges was relieved and sent across to join him.

At 3:00 p.m., Cadogan had 12 bns and Rantzau's Hanoverian dragoons, facing Pfiffer's 7 Swiss bns, backed by a few of de Biron's horse, utterly isolated, abandoned by the blundering stupidity of the Duc de Bourgogne.

Cadogan swooped down with his whole force, Sabine's Brigade of British infantry in front supported by his 2 other brigades, while Rantzau's horse splashed through the rivulet higher up to take the position "in reverse." The fight was sharp, short and bloody. The Swiss bns were soon driven out. Pfiffer and 3 bns were taken prisoners on the spot and the rest, attempting to retreat across the plateau towards the Norken, were surrounded, shot or sabred, and a number more taken prisoners out near the old windmill.

The French cavalry, far from coming to Pfiffer's support, attempted to slink off towards its supports.

Rantzau attacked 4 sqns of the Maison du Roi led by Colonel de la Bretèche, which were posted near the windmills. However, Rantzau's cavalry soon came under the fierce fire of the French guns established at the western edge of Huysse and was forced to retire.

De La Bretèche then rallied his sqns and counter-attacked. The Elector of Hanover with the 'Leibschwadron of Bülow Dragoons stopped the pursuing French sqns. The elector had his horse shot under him in this encounter.

Once Rantzau had rallied his cavalry, de La Bretèche's cavalry was driven pell-mell across the Norken and up among their own comrades on the other side. De La Bretèche was taken prisoners, his detachment lost three pairs of kettle-drums and 12 standards.

During these combats, Marlborough's and Prince Eugène's troops passed the bridges on the Scheldt and took position on the ridges near Heurne. Natzmer with 39 sqns crossed the Eine creek and stopped near the village of Eine. Bülow received the order to deploy his wing on the ridges of Heurne to – if necessary – support Cadogan. The latter sent Colyear and Grumbkow bns to Groenvelde.

As yet Marlborough's infantry was not in line ; some of the divisions were still crossing the bridges, but fast as they came up they moved up the slopes near the hamlet of Bevere, and out towards the castle of the same name, where they extended their lines to the left, and halted , facing north along the slope of the rivulet which flowed between them and the circular mound of Diepenbeck.

Meanwhile, the right wing of the French army reached the ridges left of the Norken stream, part of the the cavalry deployed on the right behind Lede, the infantry behind Mullem, from Huysse to the road leading from Oudenarde to Ghent, the rest of the cavalry deployed on the left, on the other side of the road. The front of the French right wing was covered by the Norken stream.

Advance of the right wing of the French army

Nearly all the French cavalry were drawn up across the Norken on the west end of their line

At 4:00 p.m., the right wing of the French army crossed the hills. The Maréchal de camp Marquis Grimaldi with 16 sqns swept down across the Norken stream and forward towards Diepenbeke to "test" the Allied position, but at sight of the silent lines of infantry 2 km away, Grimaldi concluded to come no farther, but halted at the mill of Hoyegem, over on the second plateau. However, enough had occurred to lead Marlborough to see that the French meant to attack speedily, so Eugène rapidly crossed the little stream at the head of the Prussian horse, and deployed them, facing the French on the plain, back of Heurne in support of Cadogan, where 12 bns were thrown forward into the hedges of Grænevelde directly in front of the French centre.

Even as the Allied cavalry was trotting into position, the French right centre (including the Du Roi and Poitou infantry brigades) quickly advanced down the slopes of the Norken, crossed the farther plateau on which Grimaldi had halted, dipped down again into the circular ravine which swept around the plateau of Diepenbeke, and then came gallantly down upon Cadogan's vanguard in the hedges.

Grimaldi's cavalry and the supporting infantry advanced to Herlegem and drove the bns of Colyear and and Grumbkow out of the village.

Vendôme supported the two infantry brigades with Picardie Infanterie and Piémont Infanterie and soon 30 bns of the right wing of the French army stood on the flat heights between the Groote creek and Diepenbeke. Due to their hasty advance, the French troops were disorganised.

Cadogan stuck to his hedges, without yielding ground, and received the French with a fierce artillery fire. Most of the French cavalry could not intervene because of the difficult terrain, and the French infantry was left on its own.

Vendôme now wanted to advance the cavalry and infantry of the French left wing, but the Duc de Bourgogne declared that the stream would be difficult to pass and that the left wing should entrench itself. So it happened that the 60 bns of the French left wing were not used at all. Only the infantry of the right wing, the Maison du Roi, the Gendamerie and the two cavalry brigades could participate in the fight.

The Duke of Argyll hurried forward with the first infantry column (20 British bns, 6 Hanoverian bns led by Major-General Bernstorff and some regimental guns) to support Cadogan. Then the combined Allied commands proved too strong for the French infantry; which fell back across the rivulet, and formed on the slope of the Diepenbeke plateau; their front following the course of the stream and showing a complete semi-circle with the convex side toward the Allies.

Around 5:00 p.m., Marlborough and Prince Eugène arrived. They let Cadogan's and Argyll's infantry advance from Heurne to support the two isolated bns of Colyear and Grumbkow, which were posted along the Eine stream. These troops stopped the French attack.

Cadogan lapped around towards the French leſt with his own flank dangerously threatened by attack across the Norken, while Argyll swung completely around from their centre to their right, and thus it happened that the mound of Diepenbeke became the vortex of the fight. The French sprang forward to reinforce their vanguard.

Around 6:00 p.m., General Lottum arrived with the rest of the Allied infantry (Prussians and Hanoverians), just at the moment when the French were trying to turn Argyll's left wing. Lottum, covered by the Allied cavalry, attacked the French.

The infantry battle swayed back and forth several times. The cavalry of the left wing of the Allies was delayed for two hours as the bridges at Oudenarde, because a bridge had collapsed twice.

Encirclement of the French extreme right wing

When the third Allied infantry column (18 Dutch and Hanoverian bns) reached the battlefield, it was sent to the extreme right wing, where the toughest combats were taking place. The French resisted vigorously, but finally the Allies crossed the creek and came as far as Diepenbeke. Now the troops of the fourth Allied infantry column (20 Danish and Dutch bns) as well as some cavalry were used to envelope the French right wing near Oycke.

Prince Eugène hurried with the reinforcements received from Lottum to the extreme right wing to support Cadogan. Together, they managed to break through the French lines. The cavalry of Lieutenant-General Natzmer and Bülow then advanced against the French. Dense clouds of dust now obstructed the view so that Allies cavalry was fired upon by its own infantry.

The French found themselves bent backward into a circular line of battle around the plateau of Diepenbeke as a centre, while across the rivulet which marked their front, strong lines of Allied infantry closely invested them.

At 6:00 p.m., Marlborough and Eugène, who had hitherto been watching and directing the conflict from the plateau back of Heurne, now separated. Eugène was assigned to the command of the right wing, while Marlborough galloped back across the stream to direct operations on his own centre and left. Here, with their backs towards Oudenarde and facing Diepenbeke, the Prussians and Hanoverians were stoutly engaged with the dense masses of the French; but the heaviest fighting was still going on over to the north and eastern sides of the central mound, and thither Marlborough sent most of his infantry. Eugène had some 60 bns at his disposal, while Marlborough had 20 bns.

Meanwhile, the whole left of the French right wing had crossed the Norken and thrown itself on Prince Eugène; and Cadogan, well out to the front, was now assailed front, right and rear, and had to drop the hedges near Herlehem whither he had worked his way, and face this new attack. Then on his right there came to support him a grand charge of Prussian cuirassiers, led by General Natzmer, which broke the first line of Vendôme and sent many of his battalions scurrying down into the ravine of the Norken, whence they rallied, however, and swept the squadrons with a heavy fire of musketry.

Being charged in turn by the French Maison du Roi and himself severely wounded, Natzmer had to retreat with considerable loss ; but he had saved Cadogan, and when Vendôme again urged forward his infantry, the Allies were ready and received them with a withering volley that drove them again to cover.

Meanwhile, Marlborough, with the Hanoverian and Dutch infantry back of Oudenarde, charged the French lines along the rivulet and drove them up the reverse slope.

The fourth Allied infantry column led by Field Marshal Nassau-Ouwerkerk and the whole cavalry of left wing had just crossed the bridges and was deploying upon the extreme left of Marlborough's line. Marlborough galloped over to where Nassau-Ouwerkerk was deploying his lines, pointed out the plateau of Oycke, quickly explained the great advantage to be gained, and then as quickly gave his orders. Nassau-Ouwerkerk sent in his right division to sweep the enemy out of the ravine near the castle of Bevere. Nassau-Ouwerkerk's first line, General Wenck with the Hollandsche Gardes te Voet and the Nassau-Woudenberg infantry brigade drove the French back behind the Diepenbeke creek and occupied the Castle of Bruan.

Nassau-Ouwerkerk's centre and left divisions (FZM Prince Nassau-Oranien-Dietz and Lieutenant-General Oxenstierna with the remaining infantry), supported by the 2,000 Danish horse of G.d.C Count Tilly, moved up on the plateau of Oycke, and then, finding no enemy there, “changed front forward on the right” – a movement which brought them at right angles to their old line, and enveloping and enfilading the right flank of the French. It was the decisive move of the battle. The army of the Allies now formed one vast semi-circle around the right wing of the French.

At 7:00 p.m., Vendôme, commanding the left of the French right wing along the Norken, now made a desperate effort to cut his way through to the rescue of the surrounded right. Dismounting from his horse he led forward his lines from the hedges of Mullem and attacked the rear of the Prussian infantry and Danish guards, but were repulsed. The rest of Vendôme's troops confronted Prince Eugène and the long, serried ranks of British squadrons on the plateau. The attempt was fruitless and Vendôme's troops recoiled before the mere threat of attack, and once more took refuge in the ravine.

Eugène ordered his cavalry to hold them there and to charge if a single battalion again attempted to show front on the plain. He galloped in toward his left, to complete the encirclement of the French right wing. Cadogan's division, having shaken off Vendôme's assault now changed front forward to the left and lapped completely around the north-eastern front of the plateau of Diepenbeke. It was growing dark, and the ruddy flashes of the musketry alone served to determine the position of the contending lines. Still the French fought gallantly, desperately, hoping to be extricated from the trap.

Around 8:00 p.m., Tilly's 12 sqns advanced on Royegem, followed by the infantry of the Prince Nassau-Oranien-Dietz and Oxenstierna. Tilly attacked the Maison du Roi and the Gendamerie and drove them back to the mills of Royegem. After the retreat of the Maison du Roi, the remaining French troops fell into hopeless confusion.

Eugène, fearful that, as his own right and Nassau-Ouwerkerk's left were now in juxtaposition, they might mistake one another for enemies, Eugène caused his own lines to halt and cease firing, and this being imitated by Nassau-Ouwerkerk, the battle practically ended here.

Around 9:00 p.m., as night fell, Marlborough ordered to stop the fight. The French fled in different directions to Tournai, Lille, Ypres and Deynze. Under the cover of darkness at the Castle of Bruan, some of them managed to break through the Allied lines and flee by way of Courtrai to the border of French Flanders.

After the collapse of the French right wing, Vendôme held a council of war with the intention of continuing the fight (half of the army, 50 bns and 180 sqns had not yet been involved in any fighting). However, after seeing the catastrophic state of the army, he ordered the retreat.


Around 1:00 a.m. on 12 July, Saint-Hilaire left the battlefield with the French artillery, some troops had received their orders too late and retreated only during the following morning. This was the case of Lieutenant-General du Rosel's cavalry.

In this battle, the Allies lost

  • infantry: 55 officers and 764 men killed, 182 officers and 1,976 men wounded
  • cavalry: 35 officers killed and 361 men wounded.

The exact losses of the French are not known, they are estimated at 6,000 killed or wounded and 8,000 men taken prisoners.

The Allies captured 25 guns, 32 standards and 46 colours an 12 pairs of drums.

On 12 July, the Duc de Berwick arrived with reinforcements for the French army. His arrival prevented the Allies from exploiting their victory Allies but the way south to France was open.

The French camped behind Canal of Bruges, Vendôme's headquarters were in Lovendegem

The Maréchal de Boufflers was able to throw 15,000 men into Lille, which would surrender after a long siege on 22 October. The citadel resisting until December.

Order of Battle

Allied Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Duke of Marlborough

Right Wing under Captain General John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough and General Prince Eugène de Savoie

Vanguard under Quartermaster-General William Cadogan

Major-General John Campell, Duke of Argyll's Command

Major-General Philip Karl, Count Lottum's Command

  • Major-General Tettaus's Divison
  • Lieutenant-General Dedem's Division
    • Maj. Gen. Dönhoff's infantry brigade
      • Prussian Lattorf (1 bn)
      • Prussian Grumbkow (1 bn)
      • Prussian Varenne' (1 bn)
      • Prussian Erbprinz (1 bn)
    • Brigadier General Burd's briagde of Foot
      • Prussian Dönhof (1 bn)
      • Prussian Dohna (1 bn) ?Alt or Jung-Dohna?
      • Prussian Lottum (2 bns)
    • Brigadier General Truffel's infantry brigade
      • Prussian Markgraf Albrecht (1 bn) ?already mentioned in the vanguard?
      • Prussian Garde Füsiliere (1 bn)
      • Prussian Kronprinz (3 bns)

Lieutenant-General Prinz von Holstein Beck's command

  • Major-General Bernsdorff's Division
    • Brigadier General Gauvain's infantry brigade
    • Brigadier General Keppel's infantry brigade
      • Dutch Keppel (1 bn)
      • Dutch Dohna-Ferrassières (1 bn)
      • Dutch Salisch (1 bn)
      • Hessian Prinz Maximilian (2 bns)
      • Münster Schwartz (1 bn)
    • Brigadier General Wertmüller's infantry brigade
      • Prussian (Prussian) Kroonprins van Pruissen (1 bn)
      • Dutch (Walloon) Fournier (1 bn)
      • Dutch (Swiss) Albemarle (1 bn)
      • Dutch (Swiss) Chambrier (1 bn)
    • unkown commander's infantry brigade
      • Dutch (Swiss) Mestral (1 bn)
      • Münster Elvervelt (1 bn)
  • Lieutenant-General Dubislav Natzmer's Divison
    • Brigadier General Spaan's cavalry brigade
      • Prussian Katte Horse (2 sqns)
      • Prussian Heiden Horse (2 sqns)
      • Prussian Schlippenbach Horse (3 sqns)
      • Prussian Kronprinz Horse (3 sqns)
    • Brigadier General Hadeborn's cavalry brigade
      • Prussian Leib-Regiment zu Pferde (3 sqns)
      • Prussian Wittgenstein Dragoons (4 sqns)
      • Prussian Ansbach Dragoons (4 sqns)
      • Prussian Leib-Regiment Dragoner (4 sqns)
  • Lieutenant-General Henry Lumley's Divison
  • Lieutenant-General Bülow's Divison
    • Major-General Bauditz
      • Brigadier General Chanclos's cavalry brigade
        • Dutch Chanclos Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Dutch Obdam Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Holstein van der Nath Dragoons (4 sqns)
    • Major-General Bothmer
    • Major-General St. Laurent

Left Wing under Field Marshal Nassau-Ouwerkerk

Count Tilly's Command

  • Lieutenant-General J. Rantzau's Division
  • Lieutenant-General Oostfrise's Divison
    • Brigadier General Baldwin's cavalry brigade
      • Dutch Tilly Cavalry (2 sqns)
      • Dutch Oyen Cavalry (1 sqn)
      • Dutch Vittinghoff Cavalry (1 sqn)
      • Dutch Baldwin Cavalry (2 sqns)
    • Brigadier General Rechteren's cavalry brigade
      • Dutch Rechteren Cavalry (2 sqns)
      • Dutch 's-Graevemoer Cavalry (2 sqns)
      • Dutch Driesbergen (2 sqns)
    • Brigadier General Posern's cavalry brigade
      • Dutch La Tour d'Auvergne Cavalry (1 sqn)
      • Dutch Erbach Cavalry (2 sqns)
      • Dutch Dompré Cavalry (2 sqns)
    • Brigadier General Mauritz's cavalry brigade
      • Dutch Garde te Paard (2 sqns)
      • Dutch Garde du Corps (1 sqn)
      • Dutch Karabinier (4 sqns)
    • Brigadier General Schmettau's cavalry brigade
      • Anspach-Bayreuth Schmettau Dragoons (4 sqns)
    • Brigadier General Schlippenbach's dragoon brigade
      • Dutch Garde Dragonders (5 sqns)

Lieutenant-General Heukelom's Command

The Prince of Orange's Command

  • Major-General Hompesh's Cavalry command
    • Major-General Vittinghof's Divison
      • Brigadier General Dewitz cavalry brigade
      • Brigadier General Grovestine's cavalry brigade
        • Dutch Grovestine Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Dutch Friesland Garde du Corps (1 sqn)
        • Dutch Oranje-Frisland Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Dutch Nassau-La Leck Cavalry (2 sqns)
      • Brigadier General Württemberg's cavalry brigade
        • Dutch Cralingen Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Dutch Württemberg Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Westphalian Hühnerbein Cavalry (2 sqns)
    • General Prinz von Hessen's Division
      • Brigadier General Starkenburg's dragoon brigade
        • Palatine Carabiniers (3 sqns) aka Venningen, Pfenningen
        • Dutch Hessen-Homburg Cavalry or Hessian Aueroch Dragoons (3 sqns)
      • Brigadier General Lubbert van Eck's cavalry brigade
        • Dutch Eck Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Dutch Athlone Cavalry (2 sqns)
        • Dutch Oost-Friesland Cavalry (2 sqns)
      • Brigadier General Erbach's dragoon brigade
        • British (Walloon) Walef's Dragoons (4 sqns)
        • Dutch Dopf Dragoons (4 sqns)

Lieutenant-General Oxenstierna's Infantry command

  • Lieutenant-General Oyen's Division
    • Brigadier General Gobeder's infantry brigade
  • Major-General Gauther's Division
    • Ranck's infantry brigade
      • Dutch (Swiss) Stürler (2 bns)
      • Dutch Ranck (1 bn)
      • Dutch Soutelande (1 bn)
      • Dutch Fagel (1 bn)
  • Major-General Johan Wernder van Pallandt's Divison
    • Brigadier General Berner's infantry brigade
      • Dutch van der Beke (1 bn)
      • Brandenburg-Ansbach Castell-Remlingen (1 bn)
      • Brandenburg-Ansbach Seckendorff-Gutend (1 bn)
      • Dutch Dedem (1 bn)
      • Holstein-Gottorp Aderkas (1 bn)
      • Holstein-Gottorp Berner (1 bn)
    • Major-General d'Auvergne's infantry brigade
      • Danish Württemberg-Oels (1 bn)
      • Dutch Slangenburg (1 bn)
      • Dutch (Swiss) Albemarle (1 bn)
      • Dutch (Scots) Murray (1 bn)

Artillery (8 large guns and 12 light guns) only 4 were taken into action

French Order of Battle

Commander-in-chief: Louis de France, Duc de Bourgogne, overall commander and commanding the left wing, and the Duc de Vendôme, commanding the righ wing

Summary: 70 bns, 132 sqns 70 artillery pieces for a total of 62,000 men)

Establishing the French order of battle for Oudenarde
There are a number of orders of battle for the French Army about the time of the battle but so far we have found only one which claims to be the French order of battle on the day of the battle itself: Digital Archive Marburg – Ordre de battaille du Duc de Bourgogne proche de Oudenarde, 1708.

The other sources either precede the battle by about two months or reflect the state of the French army after the battle.

The present order of battle is this based on that found in the Digital Archive Marburg. Fortunately there are a number of documents which allow us to verify the information given in this order of battle. First we have a list of infantry regiments in Pelet (État des batallions qui ont combattu le 11 Juillet 1709, Pelet/Vault, p.385) which were engaged during the battle. This list seems consistent with the order of battle available in the Digital Archive Marburg.

Then we have Vendôme's report of the battle, also in Pelet (p.390). Vendôme mentions four brigades led by himself and Grimaldi during a counterattack on the Allied forces. That these brigades are adjacent to each other in the order of battle of the Digital Archive Marburg again supports the claim that the latter source is rather accurate.

Last we have some information of remnants of regiments taking refuge in Lille after the battle, where they became part of the units defending the city during the siege. Again these units are among those mentioned in the order of battle of the Digital Archive Marburg, where we find them in centre of the second line.

Most interesting is the order of battle in Pelet for 3 August 1708 (Projet de l'order de bataille de l'infantere; 3 August 1708, p.412) as it shows the reduced number of many battalions in some regiments. Thereby indirectly confirming which regiments were present and most heavily engaged.

Acknowledgement: Jörg Meier for this research

First Line Second Line Reserve
Right Wing
Peseux's Brigade
  • Mestre de Camp Général Dragons (3 sqns)
  • Belabre Dragons (3 sqns)
  • Pézeux Dragons (3 sqns)

Villiers's Brigade

  • La Reine Dragons (3 sqns)
  • Lesparre Dragons (3 sqns)

May's Brigade (Maison du Roi)

  • Chevau-légers de la Garde (1 sqn)
  • Gendarmes de la Garde (1 sqn)
  • Mousquetaires de la Garde (2 sqns)
  • Grenadiers à cheval (1 sqn)
  • Gardes du corps (8 sqns)

Beauvau's Brigade

  • Gendarmerie de France (8 sqns)

Vidanie's Brigade

  • Bourgogne Cavalerie (3 sqns)
  • Saint-Aignan Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Fontaine Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Rosen's Brigade

Mineur's Brigade
  • Spanish Egmont Cavalry (2 sqns)
  • Matignon Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Dauphin Etrangers Cavalerie (3 sqns)

d'Anblestin's Brigade

  • Harcourt Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Belaccueil Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Cologne Dobbelstein Cavalry (2 sqns)
  • La Bretauche Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Barentin's Brigade

  • Marteville Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Cajeux Cavalerie (2 sqns) unidentified unit
  • Barentin Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Dauphin (3 sqns)
Pourrières's Brigade
  • Vassé Dragons (3 sqns)
  • Pourrières Dragons (3 sqns)

Uzès's Brigade

  • Royal Pieémont Cavalerie (3 sqns)
  • Tarente Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Uzès Cavalerie (2 sqns)
Infantry Centre
Selve's Brigade

Arpignon's Brigade

d'Urbaville's Brigade

Mouche's Brigade

Lamarck's Brigade

Albergotti's Brigade

Montpeza's Brigade

  • Gardes Françaises (6 bns)
  • Gardes Suisses (3 bns)
  • Cologne Gardes (2 bns) or with the Reserve

Steckenberg's Brigade

d'Ettevil's Brigade

Isenghien's Brigade

Nanges's Brigade

Vasse's Brigade

Vitré's Brigade

Bodvan's Brigade

Saint-Pierre's Brigade

Rheingraff's Brigade

  • Nice (2 bns)
  • Italian Saint-Segond (1 bn)
  • Spanish Rheingraff (1 bn)
  • Spanish Tilly (1 bn) unidentified unit

Swiss Brigade

Antin's Brigade

Courrière's Brigade

  • Spanish Laerne (1 bn)
  • Spanish Courrières (1 bn)
  • Spanish Nassau (1 bn)
  • Condé (2 bns)
  • Spanish Wemmel (1 bn)

Montmorency's Brigade

  • Italian Grimaldi (1 bn)
  • La Sarre (2 bns)
  • Walloon Pantoka (1 bn)
Laporte's Brigade

Croy's Brigade

Left Wing
Piousac's Brigade
  • Villeroy Cavalerie (3 sqns)
  • Duras Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Livry's Brigade

  • Orléans Cavalerie (3 sqns)
  • Livry Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • La Mothe Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Nill's Brigade

  • Desmarets Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Forsat Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Courcillon Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Cloys's Brigade

  • Rozel Carabiniers (1 sqn)
  • De Cloys Carabiniers (2 sqns)
  • L'Estange Carabiniers (3 sqns)

Dauley's Brigade

  • Rouvray Carabiniers (4 sqns)
  • Verneuil Carabiniers (5 sqns)
  • Anlézy Cavalerie (2 sqns)



  • Carabiniers (6 sqns) the carabinier brigades are already
    mentioned elsewhere, could be Royal-Cravate

Aquaviva's Brigade

  • Rohan-Chabot Dragons (3 sqns)
  • Spanish Aquaviva (2 sqns)
  • Saint-Chamond Dragons (3 sqns)

Nautaff's Brigade

  • Le Roy Dragons (3 sqns)
  • Cologne Notthafft Dragoons (2 sqns) aka Gardes Dragons
  • Maine Cavalerie (3 sqns)
  • Béringhen Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Lacatoire's Brigade

  • Chérisey Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Roye Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Spanish Lacatoire Cavalry (2 sqns)

Acosta's Brigade

  • Esclainvilliers Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Tarnault Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Spanish Acosta Cavalry (2 sqns)

Chamfleur's Brigade

  • Paon Cavalerie (2 bns)
  • Saint-Phal Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Spanish Gaetano Cavalry (2 sqns)
  • Chamfleur Cavalerie (2 sqns) unidentified


  • Bavarian or Cologne Arco Cuirassiers (2 sqns)
  • Alzeau Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Royal-Etrangers Cavalerie (3 sqns)
Cano's Brigade
  • Spanish Cano Cavalry (2 sqns
  • Bellefonds Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Condé Cavalerie (3 sqns)

Nugent's Brigade

  • Irish Nugent Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • La Tour Cavalerie (2 sqns)
  • Ligondèz Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Mortendre's Brigade

Cruckenberg's Brigade

  • Royal-Allemand Cavalerie (3 sqns)
  • Biron Cavalerie (2 sqns) unidentified
  • Braque Cavalerie (2 sqns)

Pasteur's Brigade


This article incorporates texts from the following books, which are now in the public domain:

  • King, Captain Charles: Famous and Decisive Battles of the World or History from the Battle-Field, Philadelphia: McCurdy, 1884, pp. 339-352
  • Pelet and Vault: Mémoires militaires relatifs à la succession d'Espagne sous Louis XIV; extraits de la correspondance de la cour et des généraux, Vol. 8, Paris, 1848, pp. 35-38, 377-379, 385, 408-412
  • Abtheilung für Kriegsgeschichte des k. k. Kriegs-Archives: Feldzüge des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen, Series 1, Vol. 10
  • Fortescue, J. W.: A History of the British Army, Vol. I, MacMillan, London, 1899, pp. 496-501
  • Kane, Richard: Campaigns of king William and queen Anne, from 1689 to 1712, London: J. Millan, 1745, pp. 74-75
  • Treuenfest, A. v.: Geschichte des k. k. Infanterie-Regiments Nr. 20 Friedrich Wilhelm, Kronprinz von Preussen, Vienna 1878

Other sources

Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 20, 1705-1706

Digital Archive Marburg

Projet de l'ordre de bataille de l'infanterie de l'armée de Flandre, 16th May 1708, Pelet/Vault, p.377f after Archives du dépôt de la guerre, pièce originale, vol. 2080, no. 169.

Quincy, Charles Sevin de: Histoire Militaire Du Règne De Louis Le Grand, Tome V, Paris, 1726, p. 486

Scott, Christopher: Oudenarde, Leigh-on-Sea, 2008, (Oob by Chr. Scott and Nick Dorrell)

Susane: Histoire de la cavalerie française

  • Vol 2, p.189f (for the Carabinier Brigades)
  • Vol. 3, p. 258, 291f

Velden, Henk van: De infanterie regimenten van het Nederlandse leger

Velden, Henk van: De cavalerie regimenten van het Nederlandse leger

Vial, Jean-Louis: Liste ou établissemens de tous les Corps qui composent les 20.000 hommes dont la Reine de Grande Bretagne et les États Généraux sont convenus d'augmenter leurs troupes en 1703



Harald Skala for the relation of the battle, Dinos Antoniadis for the map and Jörg Meier for the orders of battle of the Allies and Franco-Spanish

Richard Couture for the integration of King's and Pelet & Vault's works