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Waterloo - 6/18/1815

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  • Waterloo - 6/18/1815

    Guys, we're looking at the 189th anniversary of Waterloo, tomorrow. Any thoughts? What cost the French the battle? Was Wellington superior to Nappy? Was it the Duke's army (hodgepodge as it was)? Was it Ney's cavalry charge? Was it the vacuum that Hougomont had become, sucking in French troops that were needed elsewhere in more necessary areas?
    I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

  • #2
    A few things in my opinion:

    1. The weather turned the terrain into mud
    2. This in turn caused the French artillery to loose it's effectiveness as the cannon ball would burrough into the mud prior to exploding
    3. Ney's cavalry charge wasn't well planed or coordinated
    4. Ney panicked and became confused
    5. Napoleon wasn't the Napy of the early campaigns. He stayed behind and more or less let Ney run the battle
    6. The Imperial Guard was made to advance up terrain and once on the crest were met by British volley fire which devastated their ranks.
    7. Seeing the Imperial's retreat saying "Sauve qui peut!" was enough to cause a rout.
    8. The choice of terrain was Wellington's choice and an excellent one also.

    All in my opinion of course.
    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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    • #3
      Earlier this year i decided to do my history paper on this subject. i came to the conclusion that most of the errors were made by Napoleon's subordinantes before the battle. Ney had ample time to destroy the small british force at Quatre Bras and helped to completed the destruction of the prussians at Ligney.

      Even though i still think this is true, i cant overlook Napoleon's arrogance. Before the battle,“ This battle will be no more difficult then eating ones breakfast”.

      Last point, the battle was very close. Had thing been slightly different, European history would be different.

      P.S- I got a A on my paper!

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      • #4
        "Sauve qui peut!"
        I thought it was "la Guard Recule"

        oh well, i dont know any french

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        • #5
          I think Danny has the main cause of the French defeat there.

          The intense rains on the 17th made the ground impossible to manuever arty on. Napoleon was a gunner and waited until 11:00 am to commence the battle when the ground was dry enough to manuever his arty batteries.

          Had the battle commenced at say 8:00 even if everything else had gone the same way: Neys blunders, the disastourous attacks against Hougomant, and La Hay Sainte and the destruction of D' Orleons Corps by the charge of the two British Haevy Cavalry Brigades, the battle still would have been over some three hours before Blucher arrived.

          Wellington's battered army just wouldn't have been able to hang on. He probably could have withdrawn his troops and regrouped with the Corps he left holding his right flank near Brussels but I doubt he would have been in shape to fight again on the 19th or even the 20th.

          That would have left Napoleon victorious on the field at days end with the night to reorg his army and face Blucher on the 19th. How that one would have gone is anyones guess.

          The French would have been tired but morale would have been high. The Prussians after a day's hard marching would also have been tired and there was also Gruchy's Corps on their flank to consider.
          What God abandoned, these defended,
          And saved the sum of things for pay.

          A.E. Housman
          [ 1859-1936 ]

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          • #6
            There is also the fact that the battle may never have happened had Ney had his act together on the 16th at Quatre Bras.

            He first failed to take the cross roads when there were practically no Allied troops there. Then he allowed Wellington to reinforce his position. Finally he allowed Wellington to withdraw his battered army in good enough order to regroup north of there at Mont St Jean/Waterloo.

            Finally a whole French Corps, D'Orleans (4 Divisions strong) spent the entire day marching between the battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras and back and not taking part in either battle. They may have made a difference in either engagment.
            What God abandoned, these defended,
            And saved the sum of things for pay.

            A.E. Housman
            [ 1859-1936 ]

            Comment


            • #7
              I am of the opinion that what led to Nappy's defeat was the approach of Bluecher. That forced him (and/or his subordinates) to launch an attack in bad weather before they were fully prepared.

              JS
              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


              "Never pet a burning dog."

              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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              • #8
                Originally posted by NapoleonRocks
                I thought it was "la Guard Recule"

                oh well, i dont know any french
                La Garde Recule = The Guard is retreating.

                Sauve qui peut! = Those who can flee! ( rough translation)
                http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dannybou
                  La Garde Recule = The Guard is retreating.

                  Sauve qui peut! = Those who can flee! ( rough translation)
                  Pepe le Peu = This place stinks!

                  JS
                  Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                  Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                  "Never pet a burning dog."

                  RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                  http://www.mormon.org
                  http://www.sca.org
                  http://www.scv.org/
                  http://www.scouting.org/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Janos
                    Pepe le Peu = This place stinks!

                    JS
                    http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                    Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Perhaps one of you chaps can help me with something else. When I was young I read that when the Old Guard was asked to surrender at Waterloo, they replied "The Guard can die, but cannot surrender", or it was translated into English. According to another source, the original was "Merde", so the English translation was a little lose, if accurate .

                      What did the Guard say at Waterloo, when asked to yield?

                      JS
                      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                      Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                      "Never pet a burning dog."

                      RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                      http://www.mormon.org
                      http://www.sca.org
                      http://www.scv.org/
                      http://www.scouting.org/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Janos
                        Perhaps one of you chaps can help me with something else. When I was young I read that when the Old Guard was asked to surrender at Waterloo, they replied "The Guard can die, but cannot surrender", or it was translated into English. According to another source, the original was "Merde", so the English translation was a little lose, if accurate .

                        What did the Guard say at Waterloo, when asked to yield?

                        JS
                        Wait one, Over!!
                        http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                        Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          When called on to surrender by either General Maitland or Colville, "Brave Frenchmen will you not surrender?"

                          General Camerone who commanded the last square of Middle and old Guard replied "Merde."
                          What God abandoned, these defended,
                          And saved the sum of things for pay.

                          A.E. Housman
                          [ 1859-1936 ]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DANJANOU
                            When called on to surrender by either General Maitland or Colville, "Brave Frenchmen will you not surrender?"

                            General Camerone who commanded the last square of Middle and old Guard replied "Merde."
                            Thanks DAN, couldn't easily find their reply.
                            http://canadiangenealogyandresearch.ca

                            Soviet and Canadian medal collector!

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                            • #15
                              Waterloo

                              Napoleon was warned never to attack a position selected by Wellington. The piece of ground that Wellington choice to defend was well suited to his purposes. Wellington's Army was not very good. He had many troops that had been fighting for Napoleon a year earlier. Therefore, Wellington selected a position where most of his troops were under cover.

                              Napoleon was not at his best on the day of the battle. In addition, the Napoleonic system for selecting generals did not place a premium on operating indepentently. He left Davout in Paris to run the War Ministry. If Davout had commanded at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, I think the result would have been much different.

                              However, losing the Batlle of Waterloo would probably not been the end of the world. First of all, the French Army was weak in calvary. This meant that a vigerous pursuit was unlikely. Second, three other armies were approaching France. Even if Napleon drove off Prussia and the Anglo-Dutch Army, the other armies would have invaded France. Chances are that Napleon would not have stayed in power.

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