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why napoleon lost at waterloo

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  • why napoleon lost at waterloo

    I contend that napoleon lost due to the tactical inadequacies of marshal Ney. To repeatedly attack infantry squares without infantry or artillery support was complete idocy.

  • #2
    Napoleon wouldn't have lost if Grouchy had interposed himself
    between Wellington & the Prussians. Also, at the time Ney thought Wellington was retreating! No wonder Napoleon lost!


    • #3
      Grouchy is a good point, and most of France agrees with you, however, the battle was lost before the prussians arrived, they just helped to mop up.


      • #4
        I agree that Ney squandered Napoleon's cavalry. If they had still been available later in the day maybe they could have delayed the Prussian reenforcements from getting to the field...
        Lance W.

        Peace through superior firepower.


        • #5
          The major reason

          I am knew to this site and saw your posting. The reason I believe Napoleon lost Waterloo, was just one word...


          That is why Napoleon lost Waterloo.

          Before the battle it was raining and when the battle started Napoleon could not place his artilery where he wanted to (on certain hills around Waterloo). The soldiers struggled to move the field pieces around, and they took too much time to get the pices in place.

          Napoleon used his artilery, like a boxer uses a jab. By the time the ground was dry enough to move the pieces the die was already cast


          • #6
            Good point on the rain, maybe it could help account for the lack of horse artillery in the cavalry attacks.
            Another point worth mentioning is jerome Bonapartes wasteful attacks on hougomont, it contained no artillery or cavalry so could safetly be bypassed and should have been.

            Any thoughts on that point?


            • #7
              the attack on hougomont was supposed to be just a feint to draw in british reinforcements but ended up pulling in most of the french left wing.

              and on the point of the rain, solid shot does the most damage when it is allowed to roll on the ground. If the ground was signifintly muddy the cannonballs would not have been as effective as napoleon wanted.


              • #8
                Weather, terrain and time were all against Napoleon at Waterloo. These are not insignificant enemies and Wellington used them as his allies very well.
                Lance W.

                Peace through superior firepower.


                • #9
                  Napoleon lost at Waterloo for a number of reasons. First of all by the time of Waterloo he was past his prime and was not making good command decsion any more. His health was also declining and he was fairly sick on the day of the battle. Secondly, the weather played an important part, the rain made ground muddy and the French artillerly was limited in its effect because of this. Thirdly, his refusal to throw in the Old Guard until it was too late. In his later years as Emperor Napoleon became very protective of the Old Guard and used it less in combat. Ney was also one of the main reasons he lost at Waterloo, the cavalry should not have been wasted like it was. Napoleon's inability to pick good commanders was important to his defeat as well. He should have goten rid of Ney, Grouchy and Jerome years before Waterloo. Terrain was important to his defeat and further limited the effectiveness of his artillery barrage. As British soldiers just stayed down behind the ridge running through battlefield and were mostly covered from Artillerly . Something to think about: Did Waterloo really matter? If Napoleon decisvely defeated British and Prussians would he have been able to hold onto power? What of the Russians and their massive army. The Austrians may have joined Napoleon but that is not certain.
                  There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. -Henry Kissinger


                  • #10
                    You all overlook the key point:

                    He almost won.

                    He and Wellington were the same age at Waterloo.
                    Age isnt an excuse.

                    Napoleon refused to listen to his doctors. Who's fault then if
                    he gets ill.

                    Davout was in Paris, making sure there was no counter-revolution. He peformed that job quite well.

                    Napoleon turned down Murat, and Murat was the best Cav commander in Europe.

                    What cost Napoleon that battle was Habit and Inertia.
                    He achieved strategic surprise. He knew it, so did everyone else.
                    What he failed to do was follow thru. You can blame Ney,
                    But who gave Ney his command?
                    His orders to Grouchy were vauge.

                    But more important, the spectre of treason stalked that army.
                    They ALL knew, that they may not be legitimate.
                    Napoleon had legally given up his Crown.
                    He was legally a usurper.
                    If they lost, they could all be hanged for treason, and they knew it.

                    But the real problem was the absence of Berthier.
                    The age old problem of C3 came and bit Napoleon in the ass.
                    Junot was a fine field commander, but he totally sucked
                    as a Staff liason.

                    Berthier was held in contempt by many, maybe w/o cause.


                    • #11
                      I thought Soult was his Chief of staff, and Davoult would have been more use at the front.
                      Napoleon didn't want to be shown up like he was at Jena-Aurstadt.
                      If he won at Waterloo, a negotiated peace was a possibilty, remember in 1814 his farther in law tried to talk him into one
                      but he wouldn't give up Italy.
                      As for Murat, he was an imbecile, he only knew how to attack, Lasalle was far superior unfortunatly he died.


                      • #12
                        Ok then Soult.

                        I dont agree about Davout. Napoleon needed some BOTH capable
                        AND loyal.

                        Remember what happened in 1814 when Paris essencially


                        • #13
                          why napoleon lost at waterloo

                          IMHO I think the reason Napoleon lost at Waterloo was:

                          His failure to successfully repeat his trademark ability to exploit the Central Position combined with the tactical and operational mistakes made on the battlefield and in the area of operations.

                          Added to this was Wellington's proper handling of his army (No mistakes for Napoleon to exploit, however, given his decline, he may not have been able to do anyway).

                          Waterloo was the exact opposite of the battles Napoleon successfully fought in his earlier years. Instead of an ambitious and innovative general exploiting new techniques on an old-style enemy who could not adapt to these new methods, he was now an aging and tired general using now predictable methods against a general who knew how to counter them.



                          • #14

                            Nappy had the hemorrhoids something awful.

                            True story...i read a book called "Napoleon's Hemorrhoids" so it must be true.

                            he was dealing with his ass so he was detached from the battle and seemingly unable to make decisions....

                            'rrhoids hurt, too and he didn't have any preparation h.....they hurt like every nerve in your body is linked directly to "the sphincter"....

                            The Empire fell because Nappy's bung was inflamed!
                            Givin' you the scoop, the poop, the skinny and the scuttlebutt since 1969!


                            • #15
                              Ney should not be blame for Nap's mistakes. Yes, there was the serious problem of wet ground but the instructins that lead to the blood bath at Hougomont was wrong headed. Nap's total disrepect for Wellington's well known battle field methods is shocking. Nap's allowed another blood bath on the hill slope behind Hougomond by marching infantry into the teeth of the Brits musket and cannon fire. Next Wellington had his army reposition itself on the reverse slope which is his well known behavior from his prior assignment in Spain where he slaughter so many Frenchman fools. Poor old Ney saw this and wrongly judged the Brits were leaving the field. Ney is a typical dashing cavalry commander who was doing what they alway do when the enemy appear to be retreating from the field. He would have been the French hero if the Brits had been retreating in disorder for he would have sweep them away and then Nap could get ready to receive the Prussians. Unfortunately, he reacted without confirming a Brit withdrawal and apparently he never knew Wellington's methods of reverse slope. Ney needed to wait his horse artillery units but he believed the Brits were finished.


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