7 coisas que você pode não saber sobre a batalha de Waterloo

7 coisas que você pode não saber sobre a batalha de Waterloo

1. Quando Napoleão conheceu seu Waterloo, ele não estava realmente em Waterloo.

Apesar de seu apelido, a batalha foi travada três milhas ao sul da cidade de Waterloo nas aldeias de Braine-l’Alleud e Plancenoit ao longo do Mont Saint Jean Ridge. Enquanto os franceses se referiam ao confronto militar como a "Batalha de Mont Saint-Jean", ele ficou conhecido na maior parte do mundo como a "Batalha de Waterloo" porque o duque de Wellington, que liderou as forças vitoriosas, estabeleceu seu quartel-general em a vila e a data escrita no relatório oficial que ele enviou de volta à Grã-Bretanha acabaram sendo vinculados à batalha pela memória popular. “Napoleão nunca pôs os pés em Waterloo - é um fato”, disse o historiador belga e ex-residente de Waterloo Bernard Coppens ao Wall Street Journal.

2. As tropas britânicas representavam apenas uma minoria das forças de Wellington.

O duque de Wellington pode ter sido britânico, mas o exército que ele liderou na batalha era uma força multinacional. As tropas britânicas representavam apenas um terço do exército de Wellington, e a maioria desses soldados eram irlandeses, galeses e escoceses. (O próprio Wellington nasceu na Irlanda e tinha ascendência anglo-irlandesa.) Aproximadamente metade das forças de Wellington vieram de estados alemães, e os soldados holandeses e belgas lutaram em números consideráveis ​​também. Além do exército de Wellington, mais de 50.000 prussianos sob o comando do marechal Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher chegaram ao campo de batalha no final da tarde e mudou o rumo da luta.

3. Um Napoleão derrotado considerado uma fuga para os Estados Unidos.

Após a Batalha de Waterloo, Napoleão retornou a Paris, onde foi forçado a abdicar em 22 de junho de 1815. Ele fugiu para a cidade costeira de Rochefort, de onde provavelmente pretendia navegar para os Estados Unidos, que havia acabado de concluir seu próprio guerra com a Grã-Bretanha. “Você deve ter ouvido falar da nova desgraça do imperador”, escreveu um dos parentes de Napoleão a outro após sua abdicação. “Ele está indo para os Estados Unidos, onde todos nos juntaremos a ele.” Navios britânicos, no entanto, haviam bloqueado Rochefort, e o ex-imperador não queria correr o risco de ser pego se escondendo a bordo de um navio. Com sua passagem para os Estados Unidos bloqueada, Napoleão se rendeu a um navio de guerra britânico em 15 de julho de 1815, e três meses depois foi exilado na remota ilha de Santa Helena, no Atlântico Sul, onde viveu seus últimos seis anos até sua morte em 1821. Joseph, irmão de Napoleão, o rei deposto da Espanha, conseguiu uma passagem segura para os Estados Unidos a partir de outro porto francês e viveu em Nova Jersey por 15 anos. Os bonapartistas em fuga também estabeleceram a curta vida da Vine and Olive Colony, no Alabama, como um porto seguro.

4. O tempo chuvoso causou um atraso fatal de Napoleão.

Uma forte chuva caiu sobre a região ao redor de Waterloo na noite anterior à batalha. A artilharia de Napoleão estava entre suas maiores forças, mas o imperador francês temia que as condições encharcadas e lamacentas atrapalhassem o avanço de seus homens, cavalos e armas pesadas. Esperando que o solo secasse, Napoleão esperou até o meio-dia para lançar seu ataque. O atraso seria caro, pois finalmente permitiu que o exército prussiano de Blucher se juntasse à luta antes que os franceses pudessem derrotar as forças de Wellington.

5. As hemorróidas podem ter sido o verdadeiro Waterloo de Napoleão.

Conforme detalhado no livro de Phil Mason "Napoleon's Hemorrhoids: And Other Small Events That Changed History", alguns estudiosos acreditam que o líder militar francês sofreu um doloroso surto de hemorróidas na manhã da Batalha de Waterloo, que o impediu de montar seu cavalo para pesquisar o campo de batalha como era seu costume e poderia ter contribuído para sua derrota. No entanto, o especialista em Waterloo Alasdair White disse ao New York Times que a história é "um mito absoluto" inventado pelos defensores de Napoleão porque eles "não podem acreditar que o grande homem perdeu, então deve haver algo errado com ele".

6. Os necrófagos colheram “dentes de Waterloo” de soldados mortos para fazer dentaduras.

Poucas horas após o fim da batalha, os moradores locais empregando alicates, bem como pequenos martelos e cinzéis começaram a remover os dentes da frente de dezenas de milhares de soldados mortos no campo de batalha. Com alta demanda por dentes humanos, os saqueadores venderam os dentes furtados para dentistas que os transformaram em dentaduras. De acordo com o Museu do Exército Nacional da Inglaterra, os dentistas ingleses não fizeram nada para esconder suas fontes, anunciando as dentaduras como "dentes de Waterloo" ou "marfim de Waterloo". Mesmo na época da Guerra Civil, os dentistas ingleses continuaram a fazer um comércio ativo importando os dentes dos soldados mortos, ainda conhecidos como "dentes de Waterloo".

7. O duque de Wellington embolsou um tributo considerável.

O tratado de paz firmado entre a França e as potências europeias em novembro de 1815 reduziu o tamanho do território francês e exigiu que o país derrotado pagasse uma enorme indenização ao longo de cinco anos. Em reconhecimento ao seu serviço, o Parlamento concedeu ao duque de Wellington 200.000 libras esterlinas, o equivalente a 15 milhões de libras esterlinas hoje, de acordo com o Royal Engineers Museum.


A London Necropolis Railway (LNR) foi construída na década de 1850 para ajudar a lidar com o problema de superlotação nos cemitérios de Londres, enquanto transportava corpos (e pessoas em luto) para o cemitério Brookwood em Surrey para enterros lá. Os trens funcionavam nas mesmas linhas que os trens da London and South West Railway, que saíam de Waterloo na época.

A estação de LNR de Londres ficava bem ao lado da estação de Waterloo e foi construída com salas de espera separadas para enlutados de diferentes classes sociais e crenças religiosas, para que não precisassem se misturar. Os corpos foram armazenados nos arcos da ferrovia enquanto aguardavam o transporte.

A estação LNR foi realocada para Westminster Bridge Road em 1902, para permitir a expansão da estação Waterloo. O novo local do LNR foi danificado em um ataque aéreo na segunda guerra mundial e nunca foi reaberto. A antiga entrada da primeira classe ainda pode ser vista em 121 Westminster Bridge Road hoje:

Foto: HoosierSands


15 fatos sobre Napoleão que você talvez não tenha ouvido antes!

Napoleão subiu ao poder com um objetivo, e certamente o alcançou tornando-se o imperador do Império Francês. Famoso por sua crueldade e habilidades estratégicas, Napoleão acabou matando muitos seres humanos em uma tentativa de ganhar mais poder e territórios. Muito poucas pessoas sabem que, apesar de sua mentalidade tirana, Napoleão tinha um senso de humor muito particular e um conjunto de outras características incomuns que podem ser estranhas, senão divertidas. A seguir estão alguns dos fatos desconhecidos sobre Napoleão que você pode não estar ciente.

  1. Napoleão tinha um apelido pelo qual, segundo consta, não gostava muito. A família de Napoleão e amigos próximos sempre se dirigiram a ele como ‘Nabulio’, embora tivesse alguma semelhança com seu nome real, Napoleão preferia não ser chamado por esse nome.
  1. Ao mesmo tempo o general mais temido e um tirano implacável, Napoleão tinha um medo muito peculiar chamado "Ailurofobia". Embora pareça tão assustador quanto o próprio Napoleão, essa fobia é o medo de gatos.
  1. Apesar de ser o General do Exército mais estratégico, com uma personalidade tranquila e ereta, Napoleão era "aquém" quando se tratava de sua altura. Ele foi ridicularizado entre seus rivais devido à sua estatura excepcionalmente pequena - 1,7 metros.
  1. Para superar seu complexo de altura, Napoleão sempre se cercou de soldados excepcionalmente altos e musculosos.

Napoleão entra em Alexandria em 3 de julho de 1798 por Guillaume-François Colson, 1800 [Via]

  1. Como todos os outros tiranos, Napoleão estava particularmente interessado em fazer mudanças peculiares nas terras que governava. Uma dessas mudanças foi a mudança do lado motriz da esquerda para a direita. No entanto, no Reino Unido não houve mudança, já que Napoleão nunca foi capaz de conquistar o Reino Unido.
  1. Napoleão e seus simpatizantes sempre se orgulharam de suas habilidades estratégicas incomuns, no entanto, ele já foi derrotado pelo "turco". Turk era uma falsa máquina de jogar xadrez que na verdade tinha uma pessoa escondida dentro, obviamente o "grande" Napoleão não sabia disso.
  1. Napoleão vagava pelas ruas de Paris vestido como um pobre sem-teto, fazendo perguntas às pessoas sobre si mesmo. Dessa forma, ele foi capaz de avaliar sua popularidade entre as pessoas comuns.
  1. Chame isso de amor ou superstição, Napoleão sempre carregava um retrato de bolso de sua esposa, Josefina, para todas as suas batalhas. Ele acreditava que o retrato de sua esposa lhe traria boa sorte e vitória.

Gravura britânica de 1814 em celebração do primeiro exílio de Napoleão e # 8217 em Elba no final da Guerra da Sexta Coalizão [Via]

  1. Antes de Napoleão, os exércitos contavam com uma variedade de maneiras diferentes de carregar comida. A maioria desses métodos falhou miseravelmente, especialmente em guerras longas. Napoleão foi o primeiro general que introduziu a ideia de comida enlatada entre os exércitos, dessa forma os exércitos podiam se alimentar e lutar por mais tempo.
  1. Segundo consta, Napoleão tinha um olfato muito agudo, semelhante ao de um lobo. Ele absolutamente odiava o cheiro de tintas.
  1. Um 'ritual' que as pessoas ao redor de Napoleão tinham que aprender era que qualquer um que viesse para ver Napoleão tinha que ter certeza de fechar a porta atrás de si. Napoleão tinha pavor absoluto de portas abertas e não conseguia se concentrar se alguma delas estivesse aberta.
  1. Ele comia bem rápido, como um remédio, e precisava de silêncio absoluto enquanto fazia as refeições, relata o India Today.

Retirada de Napoleão e # 8217 da Rússia, uma pintura de Adolph Northen [Via]


A batalha de Waterloo: 10 perguntas-chave respondidas

Foi uma das batalhas mais famosas e importantes do mundo, pondo fim às Guerras Napoleônicas e levando à abdicação final de Napoleão Bonaparte e décadas de paz internacional na Europa. Os historiadores e jornalistas Peter e Dan Snow contam a história da batalha de Waterloo - um dos encontros militares mais dramáticos da história ...

Esta competição está encerrada

Publicado: 21 de abril de 2021 às 10h11

A batalha de Waterloo é um dos encontros militares mais dramáticos da história. Aqui, os autores respondem a 10 perguntas-chave sobre o conflito que pôs fim às Guerras Napoleônicas ...

Por que Waterloo é importante?

UMA: Waterloo foi a batalha que finalizou de forma definitiva e decisiva a ambição do imperador francês Napoleão de dominar a Europa e moldou o continente durante cem anos de relativa paz até 1914. Ela pôs fim a uma terrível guerra que durou de vez em quando por mais de 20 anos.

A França havia perdido decisivamente a luta pelo domínio global, e uma Grã-Bretanha vitoriosa construiu o maior império que o mundo já viu.

O que causou a batalha?

UMA: No início de 1815, a Grã-Bretanha e seus aliados - Áustria, Prússia e Rússia - pensaram que Napoleão estava acabado: ele havia sido derrotado e forçado a abdicar um ano antes. Mas ele se recuperou do exílio em fevereiro de 1815 e surpreendeu os aliados ao avançar rapidamente em direção a Bruxelas, na Bélgica.

Quem foram os protagonistas de cada lado?

UMA: Os comandantes gerais em Waterloo foram dois dos maiores generais de todos os tempos. O duque de Wellington da Grã-Bretanha nunca perdeu uma batalha em 12 anos de guerra. Napoleão Bonaparte havia, em seu tempo, esmagado todos os exércitos da Europa, exceto o da Grã-Bretanha.

O exército do duque era todo britânico?

UMA: Apenas um terço do exército de Wellington era britânico. A maioria era dos estados alemães, com algumas unidades da Holanda.

Quem eram os homens e como foram tratados?

UMA: Os soldados britânicos recebiam cerca de £ 20 por ano, mas só recebiam cerca de metade disso. Eles eram alimentados com meio quilo de carne por dia e meio quilo de pão.

Eles recebiam uma ração diária de meio litro de vinho ou um terço de gim ou rum. A idade média que podemos calcular era de cerca de 27 anos - os soldados mais jovens tinham 17 e os mais velhos 44.

Que tipo de batalha foi essa?

UMA: A batalha foi uma das últimas grandes disputas travadas de perto. A principal arma em ambos os exércitos ainda era o mosquete. Ele tinha um alcance efetivo de pouco mais de 50 metros.

Como foi o desempenho de Napoleão?

UMA: Napoleão era uma sombra de seu antigo eu em Waterloo. Ele não estava com boa saúde e sua liderança era fraca.

Napoleão era baixo?

UMA: Não. Ele tinha na verdade 170 cm ou 5'7 ″, que era a altura média para um homem na época.

Devemos considerar Waterloo como uma grande vitória britânica?

UMA: Waterloo não foi apenas uma vitória britânica. O duque de Wellington teria sido muito pressionado para vencer sem o ataque oportuno dos prussianos do marechal Blucher ao flanco direito de Napoleão. Além disso, dois terços de seu próprio exército eram aliados do resto da Europa.

Quantas vítimas houve?

UMA: Foi uma batalha sangrenta. Uma testemunha ocular veterana disse que nunca tinha visto “carcaças tão empilhadas umas sobre as outras”. Algumas unidades perderam dois terços de seus homens.

No total, os britânicos perderam 17.000 mortos, feridos ou desaparecidos - cerca de um quarto do exército. Napoleão pode ter perdido até um terço de seus homens.

Peter e Dan Snow's A experiência da Batalha de Waterloo (Andre Deutsch) está disponível agora


Talvez minha culpa também

Napoleão após a batalha de Waterloo por François Flameng

Em meio a tais recriminações, Napoleão ocasionalmente concordava com seus próprios erros na campanha.

Se eu tivesse permanecido com o batalhão de minha Guarda à esquerda da estrada principal, poderia ter reunido a cavalaria…. Talvez quando me dei conta da imensa superioridade dos prussianos em Ligny, eu deveria ter ordenado antes uma retirada. Talvez devesse ter feito melhor se tivesse esperado mais um mês antes de abrir a campanha para dar mais consistência ao exército…. Devia ter montado granadeiros na reserva, seu encargo teria alterado o estado das coisas. (9)

De acordo com o almirante Pulteney Malcolm, que comandou o esquadrão do Mar do Norte que cooperou com o exército de Wellington durante a campanha de Waterloo, e que mais tarde se encontrou com Napoleão em Santa Helena,

Bonaparte disse que duas causas o fizeram perder a batalha - Grouchy falhou em controlar os prussianos e sua grande carga de cavalaria sendo feita meia hora mais cedo. (10)


Opinião dos consumidores

Principal crítica dos Estados Unidos

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"A Batalha" de Alessandro Barbero pode não ser exatamente a história definitiva da Batalha de Waterloo prometida no subtítulo, mas, no entanto, é uma entrada excelente e muito gratificante em um campo lotado. Barbero, um historiador italiano, oferece uma síntese da batalha que fornece uma cobertura incomumente igual de todos os participantes, sem tomar partido. A narrativa de Barabero varia da perspectiva dos comandantes aliados e franceses Wellington, Blutcher e Napoleão até o nível de soldados individuais, sem deixar que nenhuma perspectiva domine a história. O método de Barbero de recontar a Batalha de Waterloo também é único ao focar mais nas experiências de diferentes unidades e menos na divisão normal, mas arbitrária, da batalha em cinco fases. Este método enfatiza a continuidade do combate e destaca a incrível tensão que esta batalha de um dia durou sobre as unidades que estavam no auge da luta. Em particular, Barbero traz à tona o quão desesperadamente a linha aliada no Monte Saint Jean chegou de quebrar nas horas finais de Waterloo e como os prussianos superaram uma variedade de desafios para chegar ao campo de batalha. A síntese de eventos de Barbero deixa o leitor com uma sensação de puro horror que os sobreviventes devem ter sentido no que foi uma batalha incrivelmente sangrenta, mesmo para os padrões das guerras napoleônicas.

Barbero talvez passe rápido demais pelos combates preliminares em Quatre Bras e Ligny que prepararam o cenário para Waterloo. Sua alegação de que o desdobramento do corpo de Lobau para o flanco direito francês era em apoio de D'Erlon, e não em uma resposta ao avanço dos prussianos, é uma leitura plausível, embora diferente, dos eventos. Sua afirmação de que a Guarda Imperial avançou em quadratura em vez de coluna ou ordem mista durante seu assualt final na linha do Monte Saint Jean é ousada, mas aparentemente em desacordo com o exercício de batalha do dia e com as interpretações da maioria dos historiadores.

A prosa de Barbero flui suavemente. A tradução de John Cullen do texto para o inglês é quase perfeita. Este revisor observou apenas um punhado de passagens com fraseado estranho.

Este livro é altamente recomendado para o leitor casual de história e para o estudante dedicado das Guerras Napoleônicas. O leitor casual achará divertido e educativo; o estudante interessado encontrará uma perspectiva diferente sobre Waterloo que vale a pena ponderar.


Se Napoleão tivesse vencido a Batalha de Waterloo em 1815.

Se Napoleão tivesse vencido a Batalha de Waterloo em 1815,
wud que evitou a Primeira Guerra Mundial 99 anos depois,
a Segunda Guerra Mundial, em 1939
que foi baseado em abusos percebidos da Primeira Guerra Mundial,
e a Terceira Guerra Mundial, que foi baseada nas duas primeiras guerras mundiais
(o Kaisar usando Ulyanov para derrubar o Czar,
e os nazistas e comunistas que tentaram conquistar o mundo nas décadas de 1940 a 1990)?

O mundo ficou melhor com Napoleão?

Se Napoleão tivesse vencido a batalha de Waterloo, isso significaria simplesmente que ele provavelmente teria o que lhe foi oferecido no início de 1814, ou seja, a França com suas fronteiras "naturais". Essa teria sido a França moderna, com uma porção da porção noroeste da Itália, tudo o que agora é a Bélgica, uma porção da porção ocidental do que hoje é a Alemanha e a porção sul da Holanda. Basicamente, a França é limitada pelos Pirineus, o Mediterrâneo, os Alpes, o Reno, o Mar do Norte e o Atlântico.

Não há razão para supor que isso teria alterado de alguma forma as condições que levaram à Primeira Guerra Mundial, que começou nos Bálcãs. Na medida em que muitas outras coisas podem não ter acontecido como aconteceram, a natureza exata da Grande Guerra e o momento exato podem ter sido diferentes, mas é improvável que as causas subjacentes das três Guerras dos Bálcãs dentro de uma década (a o terceiro explodindo na Grande Guerra) teria sido alterado.

A reação da Europa monárquica a Napoleão foi a "Aliança Santa" das potências reacionárias - Áustria, Rússia e Prússia. Deixar de derrotar Napoleão definitivamente não teria alterado suas atitudes reacionárias (a derrota dos republicanos conservadores nas eleições de meio de mandato não diminuiu a retórica dos americanos reacionários - na verdade, só se tornou mais estridente).

A intenção dos austríacos de arrancar os Bálcãs da Turquia e impor seu próprio governo não teria sido diferente - Napoleão nada fez para mudar isso, suas pretensões e uso da superioridade militar da França apenas atrasaram o acerto de contas. Os idiotas nacionalistas da Sérvia que sonhavam com uma "Grande Sérvia" às custas de seus vizinhos não teriam mudado. A desavença que fez a Prússia e a Áustria suspeitarem da Rússia, e a ambição nua e crua que levou a Prússia a se impor à nação alemã não teriam mudado. O relativo liberalismo da Inglaterra e da França que os levou, embora relutantemente, a se aliarem para se opor aos reacionários da Santa Aliança não teria mudado.

Se Napoleão tivesse vencido em Waterloo, provavelmente só teria adiado o dia do acerto de contas. A ambição e sede de poder e glória de Napoleão eram uma doença que o consumia. Duvido que ele se contentasse apenas em governar uma França ampliada, e duvido que a nação francesa por muito tempo tivesse sustentado de bom grado uma nova rodada de guerras ruinosas. A Europa, basicamente, estava farta dele. A França havia sido admiravelmente organizada para fazer a guerra, mas isso não significa que eles continuariam desejando fazê-lo. A história da França de 1815 a 1830 foi um interlúdio ridículo de tentar impor novamente uma monarquia desprezada a um povo que não a toleraria por muito tempo. Os beneficiários da Revolução foram a burguesia - e eles não ficaram encantados com o retorno da monarquia Bourbon, e só o toleraram enquanto não prejudicasse seus interesses. A burguesia tolerou e participou da insurreição de 1830 que os livrou dos Bourbons porque não tirou proveito dessa monarquia, e justificadamente viu essa monarquia como um obstáculo ao desenvolvimento industrial e ao emprego de novos instrumentos financeiros e de crédito que tornaram possível a industrialização. A classe trabalhadora e os pobres estavam mais famintos em 1830 do que em 1789 - sua queixa era óbvia.

Suspeito que você gostaria de perguntar se o mundo teria ficado melhor sem Napoleão. É duvidoso que muita coisa tenha mudado. As Guerras da Revolução, antes mesmo de Napoleão chegar ao poder, já haviam exportado as idéias da Revolução para o povo de classe média da Alemanha e da Itália, que estava pronto para ouvir a mensagem. Os holandeses já haviam criado uma república de classe média mais de um século e meio antes da chegada dos franceses, que já desprezavam como seus inimigos tradicionais. A ascensão de Napoleão serviu para acabar com o Sacro Império Romano, e sua ganância e ganância flagrantes acabaram com qualquer ilusão de idealismo entre o povo da Alemanha e da Itália, mas o desejo da burguesia de assumir o controle de suas próprias vidas e de ponha de lado a oligarquia arcaica, gananciosa e obstinada já havia se enraizado antes mesmo de Napoleão aparecer.

Não sei por que você acha que qualquer coisa que aconteceu na França teria "evitado" a Primeira Guerra Mundial. Tudo começou nas ruas de Sarajevo, não em Paris.


HEXAPOLIS

Postado por: Dattatreya Mandal 26 de outubro de 2014

A história da humanidade está repleta de conflitos e guerras, tanto que um poucas culturas adaptaram-se às angústias & # 8216diariamente & # 8217 da guerra. No entanto, também existem casos raros em que vitórias militares foram alcançadas contra adversidades esmagadoras, sem a implicação de grandes estratégias ou exercícios majestosos. Em essência, muitas dessas batalhas singulares foram vencidas devido ao brilhantismo tático do comandante, ou ao uso hábil da topografia, ou apenas à coragem e determinação das tropas envolvidas. Portanto, sem mais delongas, vamos verificar dez dessas batalhas notáveis ​​da história que foram vencidas por forças, apesar de estarem em menor número além do elemento de conveniência convencional.

* NOTA 1 & # 8211 Essas 10 batalhas foram escolhidas para refletir diferentes forças e cenários da história e, portanto, pode haver outros bons exemplos de vitórias alcançadas contra probabilidades esmagadoras & # 8211, mas infelizmente tivemos que deixá-los de fora. Além disso, como o velho ditado sugere “vencer a batalha não significa vencer a guerra”, portanto, muitos dos incidentes mencionados aqui podem não ter levado a um domínio estratégico de longo prazo.

* NOTA 2 & # 8211 A maioria das figuras mencionadas nas batalhas são tiradas de fontes anteriores (algumas medievais) & # 8211 muitas das quais podem não ter sido totalmente precisas com os números. Ainda assim, tentamos nosso melhor apresentar estimativas moderadas imparciais de tais números.

1) Batalha de Carrhae (6 de maio de 53 a.C.) & # 8211

Começamos a lista com uma derrota romana & # 8211 e não foi qualquer derrota. A batalha marcou a morte do muito desprezado e provavelmente o romano mais rico de seu tempo & # 8211 Marcus Licinius Crassus (o mesmo general que subjugou Spartacus). Quanto ao conflito em si, foram os partas (do nordeste do Irã) que se opuseram aos romanos, na árida região de Carrhae, na Alta Mesopotâmia (hoje ao longo das fronteiras do leste da Turquia). Em termos de números, os romanos tinham sete legiões junto com sete mil forças auxiliares e mil cavaleiros de crack gaulês, que chegavam a um total de 45.000 a 52.000 homens. Por outro lado, os partos tinham cerca de 12.000 soldados com pelo menos 9.000 deles sendo arqueiros a cavalo recrutados do povo Saka e Yue-Chi, e 1.000 sendo catafratos (cavalaria superpesada).

Na verdade, o Batalha de Carrhae podem ser contados entre os primeiros casos em que os romanos se depararam com o poder da cavalaria pesada, o que certamente foi uma partida dos campos de batalha europeus dominados pela infantaria da era antiga. E, de muitas maneiras, a batalha provou a superioridade em mobilidade dos arqueiros a cavalo, pois eles dispararam uma chuva de flechas sobre as formações restritas das forças legionárias. O último & # 8216coup de grace & # 8217 foi entregue por 1.000 catafratas bem embalados no topo de seus poderosos cavalos de batalha Nicean & # 8211 quando eles romperam as fileiras dos desordenados romanos, que já estavam afligidos pelos esquivos arqueiros a cavalo das estepes. Sem surpresa, a derrota inesperada teve repercussões de longa data, com os romanos adotando muitas das táticas de cavalaria de choque de seus vizinhos orientais.

2) Batalha de Agincourt (25 de outubro de 1415 DC) & # 8211

Nós escolhemos o famoso Batalha de Agincourt nesta lista não apenas por causa dos números envolvidos. De muitas maneiras, o engajamento renomado da Guerra dos Cem Anos demonstrou a superioridade das táticas, topografia e tiro com arco sobre apenas armaduras pesadas & # 8211 fatores que eram obviamente raros durante as primeiras décadas do século 15. Quanto à batalha em si, ela optou por cerca de 6.000 a 9.000 soldados ingleses (com 5/6 deles sendo arqueiros de arco longo) contra 20.000 a 30.000 forças francesas, que tinham cerca de 10.000 cavaleiros com armaduras pesadas e soldados. A atitude arrogante da nobreza francesa que participou da batalha pode ser deduzida da declaração do cronista Edmond de Dyntner & # 8217s & # 8211 & # 8220ten nobres franceses contra um inglês & # 8221, que descontou totalmente o & # 8216 valor militar & # 8217 dos arqueiros de o exército inglês.

Quanto ao posicionamento tático, o exército inglês comandado por Henrique V, rei da Inglaterra, posicionou-se no final de um terreno recentemente arado, com seus flancos cobertos por densos bosques (que praticamente impossibilitavam as investidas de cavalaria lateral). As seções frontais dos arqueiros também eram protegidas por flancos pontiagudos de madeira e paliçadas que teriam desencorajado os ataques da cavalaria frontal. Mas em todos eles o terreno se revelou o maior obstáculo para o blindado exército francês, já que o campo já estava lamacento com as recentes ocorrências de fortes chuvas. Em uma ironia, o peso da armadura dos cavaleiros franceses se tornou sua maior desvantagem, com a massa de soldados lotados se atrapalhando e tropeçando na paisagem encharcada & # 8211 tornando-os fáceis de escolher para os arqueiros bem treinados.

E, quando os cavaleiros finalmente alcançaram as linhas inglesas, eles estavam totalmente exaustos, embora também não tivessem espaço para manejar com eficácia suas armas pesadas. Os arqueiros e homens de armas ingleses, ainda de pés ágeis, mudaram para marretas e martelos e desferiram um golpe esmagador em combate corpo a corpo nos exaustos franceses. No final, estima-se que cerca de 7.000 a 10.000 Soldados franceses foram mortos (entre eles, havia mais de mil nobres seniores), enquanto as perdas inglesas foram em torno de 400 insignificantes.

3) Batalha do Monte Vítkov (12-14 de junho de 1420 DC) & # 8211

Uma das maiores batalhas travadas durante a Idade Média, a Batalha de Vítkov Hill opôs 12.000 forças Hussitas sob Jan Žižka contra mais de 50.000 cruzados (algumas estimativas chegam a ultrapassar 100.000), que foram recrutados pelo Sacro Imperador Romano Sigismundo. As tradições hussitas em si relacionadas a um dos movimentos cristãos preliminares antes Reforma Protestante e, como tal, esses camponeses principalmente tchecos eram inimigos jurados tanto do papado quanto do Sacro Império Romano. Após a execução de seu líder Jan Hus, os hussitas travaram uma longa guerra de mais de 14 anos, que mais ou menos começou com muitas pequenas vitórias conquistadas sobre forças católicas desarticuladas após março de 1420.

Quanto a esta batalha em particular, as forças hussitas entraram triunfantemente na cidade de Praga & # 8211, mas logo se encontraram sob o cerco dos cruzados numericamente superiores. O líder hussita Jan Žižka (ou John Zizka em inglês) tomou uma decisão estratégica de defender um vinhedo que era protegido naturalmente no lado norte por um penhasco íngreme. O Monte Vítkov foi ainda fortificado com limites de madeira, pedra e argila, juntamente com fossos. Os soldados camponeses hussitas defenderam fanaticamente esses pontos com armas, manguais e até bastões pontiagudos & # 8211, que empurraram o exército das cruzadas para baixo do penhasco norte. O pânico resultante da & # 8216 queda & # 8217 levou à morte de mais de 300 cavaleiros, o que acabou por derrotar o exército. Os desmoralizados soldados católicos foram forçados a recuar de forma desorganizada, após o que alguns deles participaram de campanhas de guerrilha local contra os hussitas.

4) Segunda Batalha do Acentejo (25 de dezembro de 1494 DC) & # 8211

Lutou entre as 700 forças espanholas que invadiram a ilha de Tenerife e as forças nativas que somavam mais de 6.000, os Segunda Batalha do Acentejo foi um exemplo adequado que demonstrou a eficácia brutal das armas de fogo durante sua adoção inicial em grande escala nos campos de batalha da Europa. Curiosamente, no prelúdio desta batalha, houve outro confronto no mesmo local durante 31 de maio de 1494 e # 8211 que colocou os Guanches nativos contra uma aliança europeia e os Gunaches saíram vitoriosos matando quase mil soldados de uma força total de 1.120. Então, o Acentejo também era conhecido como La Matanza (& # 8220The Slaughter & # 8221) pelos espanhóis, e a primeira batalha foi a maior derrota sofrida pela Espanha durante sua fase de expansão do Atlântico espanhol.

No entanto, após quase 6 meses da derrota, os espanhóis sob o comando de Alonso Fernández de Lugo (que foi ferido, mas sobreviveu à primeira batalha) se reagruparam e assumiram posições vantajosas perto do local familiar. Eles também dividiram suas forças em duas linhas, em uma tentativa de tornar seus salvas de tiro mais eficazes. E eles foram eficazes, pois os espanhóis derrotaram os nativos em questão de apenas três horas. Após o triunfo importante, Fernández de Lugo estabeleceu uma ermida no local, enquanto um assentamento próximo com o nome de & # 8216La Victoria de Acentej& # 8216 também apareceu, comemorando a batalha.

5) Grande Cerco de Malta (18 de maio & # 8211 11 de setembro de 1565 DC) & # 8211

Voltaire disse uma vez & # 8211 & # 8216rien est plus connu que la siege de Malte & # 8217 (ou & # 8216nada é tão conhecido como o Cerco de Malta & # 8217). De muitas maneiras, a declaração resume o heroísmo e a pura força de vontade dos defensores da pequena nação-ilha de Malta contra a superpotência mundial & # 8217s durante esse período & # 8211 os otomanos. Quanto ao jogo dos números, as forças maltesas lideradas por Jean De Valette (o Grão-Mestre dos Cavaleiros Hospitalários) tinham cerca de 8.500 homens em suas fileiras, com apenas 2.500 entre eles sendo soldados profissionais (e o resto sendo civis armados e escravos). Por outro lado, os otomanos tinham cerca de 45.000 soldados bem treinados à sua disposição, com pelo menos 6.000 deles sendo janízaros & # 8211 a infantaria de elite dos turcos.

Os malteses tinham a vantagem de impor fortificações, enquanto os otomanos eram conhecidos por sua perícia na remoção de fortificações. And the vicious tone of stubborn defense and heavy cannon-fire was set by the first engagement of the siege – the capture of St. Elmo fort by the Turks, which cost them more than 6,000 men, including half the elite Janissary forces. Many of such mini-sieges and bottle-necked engagements followed after that, which ultimately drained the Ottomans of their initiative as well as moral. In the ensuing end result – the Turks suffered in the range of 10,000 – 30,000 men (from both combat actions and disease) the ‘successful’ defenders lost one-third of their men while it is estimated that there were 130,000 cannonballs fired during the entire course of the Great Siege.


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Waterloo Dioramas: A Collection - 1st Post

If you've read my first post on this blog you'll know that the Battle of Waterloo was a kind of entry-portal to wargaming and military history for me. One thing I didn't mention in that first post was that, at some point (I've no idea exactly when), I was given or bought myself an Eagle Annual. To be precise, this one:

Why I picked out this particular annual, and whether it was because of a prior interest, or whether it seeded that interest, I'm unsure. But, either way, it was the 1963 Eagle Annual, a publication nearly a decade older than me! The cover feature was a Waterloo-themed piece on Ensign Ewart's capture of the Eagle of the 45e Régiment de Ligne. Charles Ewart was a Scotsman, serving in the Royal North British Dragoons, usually known as the Scots Greys, who formed part of the Union Brigade, and whose charge is depicted in Siborne's 'Small Model' (at the Leeds Armoury: see my previous post on this).

Anyway, all that is just a bit of preamble. This is my first post in a quest to locate, share information on, and ultimately visit and admire as many Waterloo themed dioramas as I can. Hopefully by the anniversary of the battle itself this will have become a useful and interesting resource for those interested in such things.

Before posting this I aware of just four. I'm sure there must be many more. If you know of any, please let me know. I'm primarily interested in dioramas that depict large chunks or the whole of the battle, but I'd also be happy to share any smaller scenarios wargamers, modellers and diorama makers might want to share.

The four I knew of already are:

1) Siborne's Large Model: The complete field of Waterloo, including Plancenoit, as things stood at around 7pm. Located in the National Army Museum in Chelsea. Sadly the NAM is currently closed. But the goo news is that the Museum is being renovated/refurb'ed, so hopefully will be even better on re-opening.

2) Siborne's Small Model: the action around La Haye Sainte, on the Brussles-Charleroi road, with D'Erlon's Division attacking uphill towards the Brussels-Wavre road (which runs along the length of the diorama). This includes masses of French Infantry moving towards the British lines, with the Union Brigade and some wildly excited Highlanders ploughing into their ranks. This is a truly amazing diorama, and considering its vintage, it's even more gob-smackingly spectacular. Currently my favourite Waterloo diorama.

3) André Rudolph's Prince August Waterloo diorama. Featuring 15.000 figures, all cast specifically for the model. In that latter respect this is not unlike Siborne's great works, although Siborne's figures were also specially designed for the diorama, as opposed to Rudolph's use of the pre-existing Prince August range. Prince August have a Facebook page dedicated to the diorama with lots of lovely pics. André also has his own website.

4) Green Jackets Museum Waterloo diorama: this museum, in Winchester, has a large Waterloo diorama which was made, I believe, predominantly using Airfix figures. I don't know much about this one yet, but plan to visit it ASAP. I'll post pictures and more info once I've done so.

Other Waterloo Dioramas

As I've worked on this post I've become aware of a number of other Waterloo dioramas. Here are a few links to some pages with tantalising pics. There are undoubtedly loads more, and I'd love to hear about them.

5) A guy calling himself deadhead has posted some amazing pics of a very impressive looking diorama. Who can tell me more about this one?

6) Then there's this one, which I can only find active stuff on as recently as 2011. Posted by someone going under the of Waterloo, aptly enough.

7) A guy posting as Igor13 in Belgrade also has a smaller diorama, which you can see some pics of here.

8) A fellow called Hill de Gooyer in the Netherlands, with help from his sons, is apparently building one. Images can be viewed here.

9) Here's one from Utah, in the good ol' US of A: the pics are on a site (there's a whole gallery of excellent pictures) billed as 'History Live, with the diorama, on a '12 X 12 foot table showing the west 1/3 of the battlefield', in a room emblazoned 'Waterloo: The legend'! The diorama and the whole History Live multimedia experience are, amazingly, a 'travelling show'!

I'm not sure if this one is already amongst those listed above, but it looks great, and is by Hans Slaager. Typing Waterloo diorama in the YouTube search window brings up loads of stuff, but much of it isn't very clearly explained, as to who made it, what it depicts, the scale used etc. I'm hoping this and subsequent posts on this theme might remedy that!

There was aslo a link on one of the sites I found to a diorama in Canada, at a place called Miniature World, which appears to be a whole building given over to dioramas, with a military section called Fields of Glory. A look at this site suggests that currently on display are ACW, AWI, WWI and WWII dioramas, but not Waterloo. If they still have one, surely it'll come out in 2015?


Community Reviews

Cornwell does nothing new here. And he even asks himself the essential question: why another book on Waterloo?

His answer is simple: he wants to tell the story himself. There’s no shortage of books written on it, and he has even written a fiction novel centred on it, but he wants to cast his voice out there to examine the facts. Cornwell has previously written only historical fiction, no non-fiction, so I was excited to see him try his hand and something a little bit different. And it’s a terrif Cornwell does nothing new here. And he even asks himself the essential question: why another book on Waterloo?

His answer is simple: he wants to tell the story himself. There’s no shortage of books written on it, and he has even written a fiction novel centred on it, but he wants to cast his voice out there to examine the facts. Cornwell has previously written only historical fiction, no non-fiction, so I was excited to see him try his hand and something a little bit different. And it’s a terrify foray into the genre. I’d love to see him do it again, perhaps on Arthurian Britain.

I digress here, but the point is Waterloo was a terribly important battle that shaped much of the nineteenth century. Imagine if Napoleon has won. How different would the world have been. It’s an interesting concept. So I really enjoyed reading about how close the battle was, how easily it could have been turned in Napoleon’s favour or how he most certainly would have triumphed if the Prussian’s didn’t arrive to back the British. I find Napoleon an immensely interesting historical figure, and I would have liked the narrative to focus on him a little more though I think that’s my own bias speaking. Next year I intent to read Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts which I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into.


-Napoleon at Waterloo

Cornwell’s skill as a novelist came through when he was piecing together the narratives and journal entries of common soldiers together, told side by side with the larger scale details of the battle. And as such it felt like a full image of the battle was captured here. The illustrations are also fantastic and really help to bring everything to life. It’s a fantastic looking book, I recommend the hardback version because it looks and feels so much better.

So this is worth reading if you don’t know much about the details of the battle (like I didn’t) but I couldn’t imagine that someone who knows a lot about it would find much interest here. Unless they’re looking for debate and discussion over the battle’s possibilities, though I personally wouldn’t want to read another book about the battle after reading this one. Ones enough for me. . mais

An engaging and well paced book that has the hallmarks of Mr Cornwell&aposs ability to construct stories against one of Europe&aposs most famed and important battles.

In essence this is a book only about the battle: the armies and the three battles over the four days. The background and lead-in is brief but enough for most readers who then are taken into the camps of the three armies and their movements as they build into clash of armies.

For the seasoned Waterloo student or Napoleonic expert Mr Cornwell&apos An engaging and well paced book that has the hallmarks of Mr Cornwell's ability to construct stories against one of Europe's most famed and important battles.

In essence this is a book only about the battle: the armies and the three battles over the four days. The background and lead-in is brief but enough for most readers who then are taken into the camps of the three armies and their movements as they build into clash of armies.

For the seasoned Waterloo student or Napoleonic expert Mr Cornwell's book probably adds little new. However, for readers such as myself who have only dipped in lightly this is a good starter s events, characters and outcomes are all placed and described well. I would also suggest for those who perhaps have little understanding or experience of military formations it is also easy to get to grips with as Mr Cornwell recognises not every reader will be a "Sharpe" aficionado or military buff.

Finally, the publisher must also take great credit*. The colour prints, almost all of paintings of the commanders, men and battles, as of superb quality. This provides excellent visual material throughout at the end/start of each chapter but also allows one to then review scenes and passages the author has just delivered.

In short then, if you are looking for a balanced, informative and easy to read one-volume account of this most notable of battles you will do well to start with Mr Cornwell's account.

*My copy was the first edition hard back. . mais

I was loaned this book a month or so back, by a colleague who knows that I like reading about history.

I’ve actually been to the site of Waterloo. Many years ago I caught a train from Brussels to Braine l’Alleud and walked to the site from there. That was over 30 years ago though, so I don’t recall that much of my visit. I would have also gotten more out of it if I’d read a book like this beforehand.

With an author like Bernard Cornwell, you know you are guaranteed a great story, even when he writ I was loaned this book a month or so back, by a colleague who knows that I like reading about history.

I’ve actually been to the site of Waterloo. Many years ago I caught a train from Brussels to Braine l’Alleud and walked to the site from there. That was over 30 years ago though, so I don’t recall that much of my visit. I would have also gotten more out of it if I’d read a book like this beforehand.

With an author like Bernard Cornwell, you know you are guaranteed a great story, even when he writes non-fiction, and a great story is exactly what he delivers. The book was captivating, and I finished the whole thing in just a few days. The description of the charge of the British heavy cavalry on Count d’Erlon’s corps was as memorable as anything I’ve read, as was the description of the last attack by Napoleon’s Imperial Guard. Cornwell makes extensive use of first hand accounts and some of these are superbly eloquent in describing the emotions of that day. For those who were at Waterloo and survived, the experience was the most intense of their lives, something that set them apart from others.

The author comes to clear conclusions about the various commanders that day. Napoleon seems to have played a surprisingly passive role, largely leaving Ney to handle the battle. I was left wondering whether Napoleon saw his role as strategic rather than tactical, although that’s not the image generally projected of him. Cornwell is quite critical of Ney’s tactics, both at Waterloo and the earlier clash at Quatre Bras. By contrast Wellington is portrayed as competent, but as someone who found it difficult to delegate. Cornwell is most impressed by the Prussian commander Blücher, who he describes as “a splendid man” although is he critical of Blücher’s Chief of Staff, Gneisenau, viewing him as an Anglophobe whose unwillingness to cooperate with the British could have wrecked the alliance.

I like an author who is clear about their conclusions, but I suppose I would want to read another book about Waterloo before accepting those of a particular author. I’ve learned over the years not set too much store by a single account. This is a great read though, and the hardback edition I read is superbly illustrated.

This is the second book of basically the same title written by Bernard Cornwell. The first is #20 in the Richard Sharpe series. Cornwell is one of the most respected writers of historical fiction. But here, he is a true historian looking at this pivotal battle in European history.

Unlike many of the Napoleonic Era battles, Waterloo was basically a hastily constructed battle between Napoleon Bonaparte (who desperately needed to his return to the French throne). And, the Allies, led by the Duke of This is the second book of basically the same title written by Bernard Cornwell. The first is #20 in the Richard Sharpe series. Cornwell is one of the most respected writers of historical fiction. But here, he is a true historian looking at this pivotal battle in European history.

Unlike many of the Napoleonic Era battles, Waterloo was basically a hastily constructed battle between Napoleon Bonaparte (who desperately needed to his return to the French throne). And, the Allies, led by the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian Prince Blucher, who could not let Napoleon clear Europe of the only forces that could hold him in check.

Albeit an extemporaneous battle, Waterloo, was a massive encounter using the three elements of that era’s military: cavalry, artillery, and infantry. In a world where millions can be killed by a single bomb, it is hard to put the battle losses in proper perspective. About 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded and the majority of these were in close fighting. This was about 25% of all those engaged in the battle.

Cornwell is a master of the battle’s details and he is meticulous in responding to the previous military historians who have offered their opinions. His take is not a unique one, but he marshals many facts in support of it. Wellington is not an altogether sympathetic leader. His connection with his troops was not an intimate one, but it is one where his example was sufficient to inspire his troops to follow him anywhere. There has been much criticism of Napoleon and an equal amount of rationalization. Cornwell does as good a job as I have seen in winnowing the wheat from the chaff. The same may be said of the wide variety of historian opinion about the Prussians under Blucher.

This is a book for the true battle nerd. I am not sure I rise to that level. Yet, I wish I had read the book before actually touring the battlefield. On the other hand, I enthusiastically recommend Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Waterloo (#20), a novel that captures the historical elements and weaves them into an exciting narrative. . mais

With his first nonfiction book, novelist Bernard Cornwell has done an admirable job of telling the story of the Napoleon’s ultimate defeat. While breaking no new ground, the author does an excellent job of telling the story of the campaign, including the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny that were fought immediately prior to Waterloo.

In telling of the battle of Quatre Bras, Mr. Cornwell does a good job of telling why Quatre Bas was important and why Wellington decided to defend it. It was a cros With his first nonfiction book, novelist Bernard Cornwell has done an admirable job of telling the story of the Napoleon’s ultimate defeat. While breaking no new ground, the author does an excellent job of telling the story of the campaign, including the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny that were fought immediately prior to Waterloo.

In telling of the battle of Quatre Bras, Mr. Cornwell does a good job of telling why Quatre Bas was important and why Wellington decided to defend it. It was a cross road that allowed quick communication between Wellington and Blucher. He illuminates the mistakes the Napoleon and his field commander Marshal Ney made that allowed Wellington to successfully withdraw his forces to their positions at Waterloo.

In his telling of Ligny, I think Mr. Cornwell does the weakest job of the three battles. Even then, he does a good job of explaining Napoleon’s mistakes and why his failure to pursue and destroy the defeated Prussian army enabled his subsequent defeat at Waterloo.

In his telling of the battle of Waterloo itself, I thought Mr. Cornwell did an excellent job of explaining the Rock/Paper/Scissors nature of Napoleonic warfare and how that affected the flow of the battle. He also does an excellent job of explaining the tactics and weaknesses of the various formations used by the armies. In addition Mr. Cornwell does a good job of highlighting the different leadership styles of Napoleon and Wellington. Wellington kept on the move and always seemed to be where he was needed to buck up morale and provide the needed decisions and leadership. Napoleon on the other hand stayed in the same spot the entire battle. He also does a good job of expounding on the inadequecies of the Dutch Crown Prince, William of Orange who was Wellington's second in command.

In additon to the various generals, I felt he author did an excellent job of telling the story of common soldiers who made up the armies. He uses the diary accounts of the participants very well and gives good accounts of the main parts of the battle, ie the battles for Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte, the cavalry charges, and the final assault by the Imperial Guard.

Finally, the illustrations are fantastic. There are 4 or 5 pages following each chapter and many are in full color. I feel they are probably the highlight of the book, almost coffee table book quality. All in all I found this a very good one volume look at the battle that can reasonably be said changed history. It certainly ended an era. This was a solid 4 star read for me. . mais

For a non-fiction title, this was a riveting and moving read that was not only not dry, but actually managed to transport me like fiction to that shudderingly brutal time and place. As much as there are various military terms and jargon that were confusing to me (not surprisingly), that didn’t take away the enthralling effect the book had on me.

Cornwell’s lucid description of the terrain of the battlefield at the beginning gives a presentiment of what might later prove to be obstructive or facil For a non-fiction title, this was a riveting and moving read that was not only not dry, but actually managed to transport me like fiction to that shudderingly brutal time and place. As much as there are various military terms and jargon that were confusing to me (not surprisingly), that didn’t take away the enthralling effect the book had on me.

Cornwell’s lucid description of the terrain of the battlefield at the beginning gives a presentiment of what might later prove to be obstructive or facilitating to the British/Dutch army and the Prussian and French armies. The actual battles were fought from July 15 (Thursday) to July 18 (Sunday), 1815, and the minute details of the armies’ strategies and engagements are mostly told from vivid eyewitness accounts, interwoven with the author’s own views of “what-ifs”.

One interesting observation the author makes is the similarity of natural circumstance between the Battle of Azincourt (1415) and the Battle of Waterloo (1815), that is, the rainy weather that turns the battlefield into a big muddy quagmire in both cases. Also, as noted by the author, in both of these fate-changing battles for France and England, the French Army’s outnumbering their enemy is of no help to the former, implying superhuman valiance of the latter. I happened to have earlier read Cornwell’s Azincourt, and understood what he meant. But I was well aware of the fact that history is written by the victor.

Reading this book reminds me once again how little men had learned from history, and how men had always tragically chosen animalistic violence over compromise and mediation in cases of disputes, repeating their ancestors’ mistakes over and over again. . mais

Only buy the hardback edition--this is a gloriously handsome book with at least 50 color plates/maps. Don&apost even think of buying in electronic form.

Such "Saxon Tales" storytelling of a Napoleonic battle isn&apost for everyone--marred upon occasion by over-dramatic storytelling hardly necessary for the most consequential land battle of the first half of the 19th Century (and perhaps the entire Century). But it is a good basic introduction, with more maps than most modern works provide, and far more c Only buy the hardback edition--this is a gloriously handsome book with at least 50 color plates/maps. Don't even think of buying in electronic form.

Such "Saxon Tales" storytelling of a Napoleonic battle isn't for everyone--marred upon occasion by over-dramatic storytelling hardly necessary for the most consequential land battle of the first half of the 19th Century (and perhaps the entire Century). But it is a good basic introduction, with more maps than most modern works provide, and far more color (excuse me, colour) plates -- thirty three, not counting maps -- than similar works. Including this beauty, though Cornwell explains it is inaccurate:

My prior familiarity with Waterloo came in two or three bios of Napoleon. So I'll have to read another to see whether the pattycake approach obscured fact. For me, the key insight was Cornwell's "scissors, paper, stone" analogy ("rock, paper, scissors" in North America) to Napoleonic land warfare: cavalry could attack infantry, whose defense was the square, which was vulnerable to artillery--but to win, the timing of the attack had to be perfect. Napoleon's and Marshal Ney's wasn't.

I have a feeling this book will annoy more knowledgeable readers (and I see Aussie Rick already found a factual error). But a great into, and a wonderful reference for those of us old enough to have bookcases.

"They had expected a swift victory over the ragged armies of Revolutionary France, but instead they sparked a world war which saw both Washington and Moscow burned."

"A few weeks before Waterloo [the Duke of Wellington] was walking in a Brussels park with Thomas Creevey, a British parliamentarian, who rather anxiously asked the Duke about the expected campaign. A red-coated British infantryman was staring at the park's statutes and the Duke pointed at the man. 'There', he said, 'there. It all depends upon that article whether we do the business or not. Give me enough of it, and I am sure."

French officer Captain Pierre Cardon was summoned along with all the infantry regiment. The stood in two ranks "asking each other what was going on? What was there? In the end we were filled with worry. [Then, his Colonel appeared] holding in his hands, what? You would not guess in a hundred years. . . Our eagle, under which we had marched so many times to victory and which the brave Colonel had hidden inside the mattress of his bed. . . At the sight of the cherished standard cries of 'Vive l'Empereur' could be heard soldiers and officers, all overwhelmed, wanted not only to see, but to embrace and touch it this incident made every eye flow with tears of emotion… we have promised to die beneath our eagle for the country and Napoleon."

"So Napoleon believed he could shove the Prussians further away, then switch his attack to the British. It was all going to plan and the Emperor would take breakfast in Brussels's Laeken Palace on Saturday morning.

Except Ney had still not captured Quatre-Bras."

"[T]he Emperor, alarmed, delays that attack until he can discover the identity of these newly arrived troops. They are his own men, but in the wrong place, so a messenger rides to d'Erlon ordering him to turn northwards and assault the Prussian flanks, but just then yet another courier arrives, this one from Narshal Ney, demanding that d'Erlon return to Quatre-Bras immediately.

D'Erlon assumes that Ney is in desperate trouble and so he turns his Corps around and sets off a second time for Quatre-Bras. The Emperor has launched his great attack, but by the time he realizes d'Erlon is not engaged, the 1st Corps has vanished. Thus did those 22,000 men spend that Friday, marching between two battlefields and helping at neither. D'Erlon arrived at Quarte-Bras at sundown and his powerful Corps, which could have swung either the battle at Ligny or the fighting at Quatre-Bras, had achieved nothing. It is the French equivalent of the Grand Old Duke of York, except d'Erlon spend his day halfway between two fights, neither up nor down, and his prevarication denied Napoleon the crushing victory he expected."

"[The Duke of Wellington] was not loved as Blücher was, nor worshipped like Napoleon, but he was respected. He could be sharply witty long after the wars were over, some French officers pointedly turned their backs on him in Paris, for which rudeness a woman apologized. 'Don't worry, Madame,' the Duke said, 'I've seen their backs before.'"

"At Ligny the Emperor had set a trap for Blücher, hoping that Ney or d'Erlon would fall like a thunderbolt on the Prussian right flank. The trap had failed.

Blücher had hoped that Wellington would come to Ligny and so attack the French left flank, but that trap had also failed.

Now a third trap was set. Wellington was the bait, Napoleon the intended victim and Blücher the executioner.

It was dawn on Sunday, 18 June 1815,"

"Macdonell realized that the most important task was not to kill Legros [the French Sous-Lieutenant who axed-open the door to Hougoumont] and his companions, but to close the gate so that no more Frenchmen could enter. He led a small group of men past the intruders and together the forced the big gates shut, they heaved against the pressure from outside, some men shot through the slowly closing gap, and they ignored Legros's men who were fighting behind them. . .

Wellington once remarked that closing the gates [at Hougoumont] was the decisive act of battle and, later, when an eccentric clergyman wanted to arrange an annuity for 'the bravest man at Waterloo' and requested the Duke to make such a difficult judgement, Wellington chose Macdonnell. Macdonnell, in turn, insisted on sharing the money with Sergeant James Graham, an Irishman who had been at his side in those decisive moments, the pair did receive the annuity for two years before the generous clergyman lost his money, but it is significant that Wellington, forced to make a decision, nominated Macdonnell and, by association, Graham."

"Napoleon now faces a dilemma. He has Wellington's army in front of him, but he must have known that a heavy force of Prussians was approaching to his right. He will be greatly outnumbered, yet he still insisted that he had a good chance of winning the battle. 'This morning we had ninety chances of winning,' the Emperor told Soult, 'we still have sixty.'"

"French cavalry threatened, French infantry was on the ridge's crest and Marshal Soult was surely justified in thinking that victory was imminent. Duthilt's men might have been in disorder, but there were more battalions stacked behind his and sheer weight of numbers would push the redcoats back. And those redcoats were in line, and infantry in line was red meat to cavalryman, as the cuirasses had already proved on the Hanoverians whose slaughtered bodies lay thick close to La Haie Sainte. The British battalions would have to form square and, while that would protect them from cavalry, it would make them horribly vulnerable to French infantry volleys. Scissors, paper, stone.

And then the cavalry charged.

Only it was the British cavalry."

"[T]hat was the great disadvantage of the formation the French had chosen to use. A column made of successive battalions in line looked magnificent and, given the chance, might have spread into a formidable line to give devastating volley fire, but it would take a battalion in a three-rank line a lot of time to form square,and they would be hammered by the battalions in front and behind while they did. There was neither space nor time to form square. Major Frederick Clarke, who charged with the Scotland Greys, reckons the enemy was trying to form square, but 'the first and nearest square had not time to complete their formation, and the Greys charged through it.' So the British heavy cavalry drove into the panicking columns and [Louis] Canler tells what happened: ' A real carnage followed. Everyone was separated from his comrades and fought for his own life. Sabres and bayonets slashed at the shaking flesh for we were too close packed to use our firearms.' . . .There was no time to form square, so his unit was cut to ribbons."

"At first Ordener probably thought Ney was doing the right thing because, as his horse breasted the British-Dutch ridge, he saw 'the enemy baggage and massed fugitives hurrying along the road to Brussels,' and he saw abandoned artillery through which the horsemen had passed 'like lightning,' but then he saw something else.

British squares. The British were not running away. Wellington was not disengaging and trying to withdraw his forces. Yes there were men and wagons on the road, but most of the British-Dutch army was still on the ridge and they were ready to fight. . . So it was horsemen against Infantry, and every cavalryman must have known what Captain Duthilt had written, that 'it is difficult, if not impossible, for the best cavalry to break infantry who are formed in squares', so while at first the cavalrymen seemed to have pierced the British-Dutch line, instead they were faced with the worst obstacle a horseman could encounter. The wide plateau of the ridge top was packed with squares, at least twenty of them, in a rough chequer pattern so that if a horseman rode safely past one square he was immediately faced with another, and then encountered more beyond. And each square bristled with bayonets and spat musket fire."

"'The best of all France possesses,' General Foy said, watching in amazement as the cavalry rode again and again to its doom. 'I saw their golden breastplates,' a French infantry officer said of the curassiers, 'they passed me by and I saw them no more.'"

"Marshal Ney's cavalry assault had been brave and hopeless, hurling horses and men against immovable squares.

Those squares could have been broken by artillery if Ney had managed to bring more guns close to the line, or he could have destroyed them with infantry. That was the scissors, paper and stone reality of Napoleonic warfare. If you could force an enemy to form a square you could bring a line of infantry against it and overwhelm it with musket fire, and very late in the afternoon Marshal Ney at last tried that tactic, ordering 8,000 infantry to attack the British squares. . . Their task was to deploy into line and then smother the British squares with musketry, but the British would only be in square if the cavalry threatened and the French cavalry was exhausted. They had charged again and again, they had shown extraordinary courage and too many of them were now dead on the hillside. There was no charge left in them."

"British infantry firepower had again shown its effectiveness and again the line had overcome the column. Eight thousand men had been defeated in seconds, blasted off the ridge by concentrated musket volleys and shredded by canister. The survivors fled down that terrible slope that was slick with blood, thick with dead and dying horses, and with dead and wounded men. It was littered with breastplates discarded by unhorsed cuirassiers running for their lives, and with scabbards because many of the French cavalry had pointedly thrown away their sword scabbards to show that they would not sheathe their blades until they had victory."

"Meanwhile, a furious argument was raging between Lieutenant Colonel von Reiche, one of von Zieten's staff officers, and Captain von Schnarhorst. Von Reiche wanted to obey the original orders and go to Wellington's assistance, despite the report of the Duke's defeat, but von Schnarhorst insisted that Blücher's new orders [to turn south and join the main Prussian body] must be obeyed. 'I pointed out to him', von Reiche said: ' that everything had been arranged with von Müffling, that Wellington counted on our arrival close to him, but von Schnarhorst did not want to listen to anything. He declared that I would be held responsible if I disobeyed Blücher's orders.'. . . The troops had paused while this argument had raged, but then General Steinmetz, who commanded the advance guard of von Zieten's column came galloping up, angry at the delay, and brusquely told von Reiche that Blücher's new orders would be obeyed. The column dutifully continued marching eastward, looking for a smaller lane that led south towards Plancenoit, but just then von Zieten himself appeared and the argument started all over again. Von Zieten listened and then took a brave decision. He would ignore Blücher's new orders and, believing von Müffling's assurance that the Duke was not in full retreat, he ordered his troops onto the British-Dutch ridge. The Prussian 1st Corps would join Wellington after all."

"The Imperial Guard was trying to deploy into line, but once again, as had happened so many times in the Peninsula, they had left it too late. The Brigade of Guards outnumbered and overlapped them, the musket balls were coming in front and from the sides, and when they tried to spread into a line they were beaten back by those steady, relentless volleys. . . Raw, badly trained troops oft n opened fire at far too long a range and then had a tendency to shoot high, but not the Brigade of Guards. They were shooting at a range where a musket could hardly miss, and their enemy, if he wanted to reload, had to halt, and then the ranks behind pushed him on, and so the Chasseurs fell into confusion and still those relentless volleys struck them and more men died. They were obstructed now by their own dead and wounded, and the Bregade of Guards was still firing until Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander, Lord Saltoun, shouted them forward. . . 'Now's the time, my boys!', he shouted, and the Guarde leveled bayonets and charged. 'At that moment, Captain Reeve', another Peninsular veteran recalled, 'we charged them, they went to the right about and fled in all directions.'"

"[Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Colborne] took the 52nd out of line. Half Colborne's men were Peninsula veterans, and they knew their business. Sir John marched his battalion forward, then wheeled it round so that his men faced the left flank of the Guard Chasseurs. . . They began firing volleys into the French flank so that the Imperial Guardsman were being attacked from their front and from their left. It was merciless. The Unbeaten were being killed by the Unbeatable. . . They did not just retreat, they broke. They had been beaten by British volleys and they fled that terrible musketry and when they fled so did the rest of the guard.

And when they broke, so did the hopes of France."

"Wellington rode back towards the centre of his line. Leeks had seen him just before the 52nd marched out of line to destroy and Emperor's dreams. The Duke's clothes, Leeke said, 'consisted of a blue sur tout coat, white kerseymere pantaloons, and Hessian boots. He wore a sword with a waist belt, but no sash.' The plain blue coat and black cocked hat made Wellington instantly recognizable to his men, and now, as the French began to flee, he watched from the ridge's centre fro a few moments. He saw an enemy in panic, a retreating enemy that was dissolving into chaos. He watched them, then was heard to mutter, 'In for a penny, in for a pound'. He took off his cocked hat and men say that just then a slanting ray of evening sunlight came through the clouds to illuminate him on the ridge he had defended all day. He waved the hat towards the enemy. He waved it three times, and it was a signal for the whole allied army to advance."

"[It was about 10pm on June 21, in London when socialite Mrs Boehm 'walked up to the Prince, and asked whether it was his Royal Highness's pleasure that the ball should open. The first quadrille was in the act of forming, and the Prince was walking up to the dias on which his seat was placed, when I saw everyone without the slightest sense of decorum fishing to the windows, which had been left wide open because of the excessive sultriness of the weather. The music ceased and the dance was stopped for we heard nothing but the vociferous shouts of an enormous mob, who had just entered the square, and were rushing by the side ota post-chaise and four, out of whose windows were hanging three nasty French eagles. In a second the door of the carriage was flung open, and, without waiting for the steps to be let down, out sprung Henry Percy -- such a dirty figure! with a flag in each hand, pushing aside every one who happened to be in his way, darting up stairs, into the ball-room, stepping hastily up to the Regent, dropping on to one knee, laying the flags at his feet, and pronouncing the words "Victory, Sir! Victory!" . . .

Of course, one was glad to think one had beaten those horrid French, and all that sort of thing but still, I shall always think it would have been far better if Henry Percy had waited quietly till the morning, instead of bursting in upon us, as he did, in such indecent haste.'"

"The battle of Waterloo was an allied victory. That was how it was planned and that was how it turned out. Wellington would never have made his stand if he thought for one moment that the Prussians would let him down. Blücher would never have marched if he thought Wellington would cut and run. It is true that the Prussians arrived later than Wellington hoped, but that probably contributed to the battle's success. If Blücher's forces had arrived two or three hours earlier then Napoleon might have disengaged his army and retreated, but by the time that the Prussians intervened the French army was almost wholly committed to the fight and disengagement was impossible. The Emperor was not just defeated, he was routed."

"An easier question to answer than 'who won the battle?' Is 'who lost the battle?', and the answer must be Napoleon. The Duke and Blücher both offered leadership, but Napoleon left the conduct of the battle to Marshal Ney, who, though braver than most men, did little more than hurl troops against the most skillful defensive general of the age. The French had the time and the men to break Wellington's line, but they failed, partly because the Duke defended so cleverly, and partly because the French never coordinated and all-arms assault on the allied line. They delayed the start of the battle on a day when Wellington was praying for time. They wasted men in a time-consuming assault that lasted much of the afternoon. And why Napoleon entrusted the battle's conduct to Ney is a mystery Ney was certainly brave, but the Emperor damned him as 'too stupid to be able to succeed', so why rely on him? And, when the French did achieve their one great success, the capture of La Haie Sainte, which enabled them to occupy the forward slope of Wellington's ridge, the Emperor refused to reinforce the centre and so gave the Duke time to bring up his own reinforcements. Finally, when the Imperial Guard did attack, it was too few and too late, and by that time, the Prussians were on the French flank and threatening their rear." . more


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