Waterloo (2)

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Far from sucking in Allied men, the battle for the chateau would rage all day and would tie up more than 10,000 French troops in a bitter struggle against 2000 British Guardsmen.

At 1.30, following a half-hour bombardment, D'Erlon's I Corps moved against the central bastion of La Haye Sainte.

Already hammered by the shelling and having suffered considerable casualties while holding off the French at Quatre Bras, the Dutch-Belgians under Bylandt were ordered to withdraw as more than 18,000 French bayonets advanced towards them.

The advancing blue coats then overran the orchard and garden at La Haye Sainte, forced a detachment of 95th riflemen out of a strong position in a gravel pit near the farmhouse, and then a small force separated and set to capturing the main building, which was being defended by the King's German Legion.

The remaining men under D'Erlon pushed on towards the small ridge the British were formed behind.

As the French moved from column to line formation the British 5th Division, under General Picton, stood up and fired a devestating volley into the surprised attackers. Then, before they could recover, Picton ordered a bayonet charge but was shot through the head and killed while leading it.

Continuing to advance, the British were threatened by cuirassiers, formed square and immediately found themselves cut off and under attack from infantry as well as horsemen.

Seeing the impending disaster, the British cavalry commander Lord Uxbridge ordered his heavy cavalry into action and the famous Charge of the Scots Greys began.

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