Waterloo Tour | Battle
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Order of Battle | French
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Order of Battle | Waterloo
of the most decisive battles of the Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo
was fought in a small area (some 10km by 4km) on the main
road leading south from Brussels.
was the first clash of the Titans - Napoleon
Bonaparte versus the Duke
of Wellington - and it was a win all/lose all scenario.
Bonaparte had brilliantly outmanouevred both the Anglo-Allied
force of (77,000 approx) under Wellington and the nearby
Prussian army of Field Marshal
the allied forces easily outnumbered France's 72,000 men
(Bonaparte) and its detached right-wing corps of 33,000
(Marshal Grouchy), so
the French emperor surprised the two by getting in between
them and preventing their linking.
16 June, Bonaparte had beaten the Prussians at Ligny,
while at the same time Wellington had held a vital set of
crossroads at Quatre Bras
against an inept Marshal Ney.
his main strength towards the British, Bonaparte detached
Grouchy to keep the Prussians retreating and away from Wellington
emperor found the Anglo-Allied drawn up across a small ridge
at Mont St John, just south of the village of Waterloo,
and organised his troops for battle the next day as a massive
storm drenched the ground.
At dawn it was decided the ground was too boggy to launch
an immediate attack and so the armies faced off against
British position was linked with various strongpoints -
the chateau of Hougoumont, the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte
and the dwellings of La Haie and Papelotte - and while Wellington
knew his troops could hold the French for a time, he was
relying upon the promised arrival of Blucher on his left
flank to ensure victory.
began the battle at about 11.30am with salvoes from his
massed artillery and then sent an initial assault, intended
as a diversion to draw enemy reserves away, against Hougoumont
on the British right flank.