What is surprising is to find that DOB likes something/someone who is British
So far I remain to be persuaded. DOB.. over to you.. what have you got???
Well where do I start? Probably by agreeing with Barry that in the LOA Marlborough(Churchill) didn't do much but then again nobody really did. It's such an obscure little war at the arse end of the century that even amongst wargamers it and it's characters are virtually unknown, virtually no battles of note except a minor clash somewhere in Ireland but ask any wargamer and most punters about the Duke of Marlborough and they can usually make some comment about it so you can hardly argue like with like.
To complain about the period being named after the top man is also a bit rich, it's not as if he came up with the name and it was only many years later that the title came into general use. I've never heard Barry complaining that the 'Napoleonic' period is named after his hero the Corsican upstart
When it comes to his ability as a commander I think his record speaks for itself. Never fought a battle he didn't win, never beseiged a town he didn't take, not even 'the beast' could make that claim and once his military career was over he was feted all over Europe and lavished with awards and titles which is hardly what would have happened to someone who was over rated.
What makes his record even more amazing is that not only was he competing against the enemy he was also having to argue, conjol and persuade his lackluste allies to actully do anything constructive. When you read all his letters to and from allied generals and the Dutch authorities it's a wonder he managed to get anything done which is one of the major problems in a multi-national force where his troops were in the minority. Barry, I will lend you my two volumes (if you're extremely careful) of Lediard's 'The life of John Duke of Marlborough' published in 1736 which contains most of his correspondence over the campaigns and makes fascinating reading. In these letters he acknowledges the efforts and abilities of his subordinates, particularily Eugene who was French not Italian and the fact that later historians don't take this into account again is not Marlborough fault.
You acknowledge his ability at Blenheim as a great victory which it was but tactically not his best and also helped by French incompetence. I feel his battle at the Schellenburg was much more important in this campaign and just added further surprise to a campaign that totally flat footed his enemy and took them by surprise at every point. I can't think of any commander of that period that could have organised the march of their army from the Netherlands up to Bavaria with such supreme skill and confidence and then defeat the enemy in every time they clashed.
I would put forward Ramillies as his greatest victrory and his skill of switiching forces from one flank to another during the battle behind hidden terrain on interior lines was majestic and even Nappy would have been proud of that one. Apart from the four major battles you mentioned I would put crossing the Brabant Lines and Ne Plus Ultra as some of his greatest achievements where he completely wrong footed his enemy as well as his allies to take these supposedly impregnable fortifications with minor casualites is again something that would never have been thought of or attempted by his contemporaries.
For the whole of the WSS Marlborough stands head and shoulders above everyone else for his military ability, his organisational skills and probably even more important his political skills in persuading his lack lustre and flat footed allies (their commanders, not their troops) to actually do something constructive and take the war to the enemy.
I also hope that Barry hasn't done a 'Ratner' and rubbished his rules thereby putting off lots of gamers who might have been tempted to use the for the 'Marlburian' period, sales will tell I suppose.
The defence rests M'Lud!