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"Topographic map of waterloo" Topic

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Marc at work25 Feb 2018 1:38 p.m. PST

The best contour map of the waterloo battlefield I have seen is in Adkin. But where did he get his info. And was it "period" or modern. So, is there a high quality contour map of Waterloo available anywhere on line please? Preferably pre lion mound but beggars can't always be choosers


Fatuus Natural Inactive Member25 Feb 2018 2:12 p.m. PST

Would this do?


Mike the Analyst25 Feb 2018 2:15 p.m. PST

You might like to look at the map sold by Two Fat Lardies of Waterloo. The original is from 1815, this is in 1:8000 scale.

Fatuus Natural Inactive Member25 Feb 2018 2:16 p.m. PST

Well that didn't work. What I wanted was to insert a link to the map. I'll try again:

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian25 Feb 2018 5:36 p.m. PST

vic: 6537

Digby Green Inactive Member25 Feb 2018 6:59 p.m. PST

The map in Mark Adkins Companion book is as he says in his introduction pages taken from W.B. Craan in 1816.
He says it is the best topographical map available, but then goes on to say that it lacks properer contour lines

Siborne has some very good topographical maps in his books, I am not sure if they are available online. Many books have small copies of them. I have photo copies of the original maps taken from his 2nd edition.

Interestingly Mark Adkins says he has 40 maps in his book, and yet I cannot find the one you refer to, as there is no list of the maps in the contents page!

Digby Green Inactive Member25 Feb 2018 7:03 p.m. PST

@Fautus Natural

Your second url works
That is a good map, but it is of a very large area and is called Nivelles. The Waterloo battlefield is in the top right hand corner.

So its not really suitable for a Waterloo battle map or a campaign map, as it does not include Wavre etc.

dibble Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2018 8:05 p.m. PST

Here's some good un's:

Paul :)

dibble Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2018 9:46 p.m. PST

I knew I had it somewhere!

Paul :)

Prince of Essling26 Feb 2018 1:31 a.m. PST

To follow on from Dibble – Siborne Maps of Waterloo Campaign
Markus Stein published all maps of the very rare Siborne atlas on the 1815 Campaign as part of Napoleon Online in a reasonable resolution.
Just follow the link given below and click on the thumbnails to enlarge the maps. These maps are really detailed and especially the ground is printed nearly "3-D".

Wu Tian Inactive Member26 Feb 2018 2:37 a.m. PST

Highly recommend the Ferraris maps:


For the Waterloo battlefield, choose 78 Braine la Leud and 79 Nivelles

Marc at work26 Feb 2018 5:21 a.m. PST

Paul and PoE, those are lovely maps, but I was hoping to find something that shows more "modern" contour height lines.

Mike – I wasn't aware of the TFL map – have you seen it and, if so, does it show contour lines?

Sabre – sorry, what is "vic: 6537"?

FatNat – thanks, a good campaign map, but I am hoping to find something that supports those detailed contour line based maps in Adkin

Digby – "Interestingly Mark Adkins says he has 40 maps in his book, and yet I cannot find the one you refer to, as there is no list of the maps in the contents page!" – what one referred to is that?

Thanks all. To clarify, I am always hoping that I can find high quality contour based maps that I could recreate the battlefield with, rather than just do a generic "ridge line". I know that some of the contemporary prints show the approach to the crossroads beyond La Haye Saint as being a virtual ravine, and it is that sort if terrain I am looking to replicate, as I am sure that the changes in elevation had big impacts on teh tactical movements of troops that a standard "ridge line" table doesn't fully recreate.

Thanks all

Marc at work26 Feb 2018 5:33 a.m. PST


This is an example of the sort of heights that I often see in contemporary prints – not an insubstantial obstacle to formed troops and cavalry etc

Marc at work26 Feb 2018 5:43 a.m. PST


And the George Jones pictures, which are described as slightly accentuated, but clearly show cuttings and complex slopes.

All things that I would like to try and represent on teh table in some shape or form.



Allan F Mountford26 Feb 2018 5:48 a.m. PST

The Too Fat Lardies map has similar contour line detailing to the Adkins map, but nothing like the detail I feel you are looking for.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2018 6:59 a.m. PST

the TFL map:


Camcleod26 Feb 2018 7:32 a.m. PST

The Napoleon Series has this one from Fortescue's History of the British Army:


and others:

DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian26 Feb 2018 11:03 a.m. PST

I used a contour map for my topi game board shown here. Can't find original though. Work very well.


Prince of Essling26 Feb 2018 12:41 p.m. PST

The SPI game Wellington's Victory has an excellent contour map based on (I believe) the Fortescue map – unfortunately I cannot find a large image. Here is a small one from Amazon: –


A colourised version at:

it usefully has the hedgerows and which offer protection from different directions, also the game had excellent line of sight rules as well.

My friends and I used the map to produced a proper scaled battlefield and adapted the rules for use with 5mm figures. We spent many happy hours refighting the battle…
Edit – just found a large sale segment of the map at link


Hougomont section at


La Haye


Marc at work26 Feb 2018 12:48 p.m. PST

I have that, blown up to A0 size – it's a great map but the creases sometimes obscure details and some of the contour heights get lost. But is a great map.

Marc at work26 Feb 2018 12:54 p.m. PST

PoE – I think I have that game – must try and dig it out

Duke – did you use a historic map or a "modern" road map?

But thanks all again. Some great ideas. Still seems like a (relatively) contemporary contour line map may be the missing holy grail.

Marc at work26 Feb 2018 1:00 p.m. PST

Dave. Thanks for the TFL link

dibble Supporting Member of TMP26 Feb 2018 1:06 p.m. PST

Siborne's maps:

Paul :)

Prince of Essling26 Feb 2018 1:06 p.m. PST

Though this will not be of use to you as it is hachured, thought the following might be of general interest – from the Waterloo200 Education Team;

"This is the original map used by the Duke of Wellington and his staff to plan and fight the Battle of Waterloo. It was carried on the battlefield by the British Quartermaster General, Sir William Howe De Lancey, who was mortally wounded by a cannonball near the end of the battle."

Mike the Analyst26 Feb 2018 3:12 p.m. PST

See also


Mike the Analyst26 Feb 2018 4:42 p.m. PST

Again not in fine detail but this is worth checking if you are using the Ferraris maps.

Capitaine undertook a set of maps of Belgium in 1796 so this can give more recent information about the woods when compared with the 1777 maps.

See link

Digby Green Inactive Member26 Feb 2018 9:02 p.m. PST

Does anyone know how big the Ferrais or Capitaine maps that the French army used were (in cm or inches)

Digby Green Inactive Member26 Feb 2018 9:06 p.m. PST

@ Marc At Work

Digby – "Interestingly Mark Adkins says he has 40 maps in his book, and yet I cannot find the one you refer to, as there is no list of the maps in the contents page!" – what one referred to is that?

I was asking you which is the one you were referring to in your opening post. You said it was the best contour map you have seen.

Prince of Essling27 Feb 2018 2:13 a.m. PST

You can download the whole Atlas as a pdf or each page as a jpg.

On the left of an image for example link to the Acciones box and click on "Descargar/Imprimir"

On the new page Select either:

PDF (Versión imprimible)
Imagen JPG

Then either:
El documento entero (82 páginas)
Una selección

Then click:

On each map there is a scale which appears to be 8.5 inches per 5,000 toises (1 toise = 6.395 English feet)

Mike the Analyst27 Feb 2018 3:36 a.m. PST

Digby, Capitaine, one catalogue entry describes the size as 27,5 x 44,8 cm, another 1 map on 68 sheets ; sheets 35 x 53 cm or smaller.

These refer to the published atlas. I suspect these were the same for the army if these maps were printed from engravings.

Mike the Analyst27 Feb 2018 3:49 a.m. PST

Out of interest has anyone located an online version of the de Bas Supplement to La Campagne de 1815 aux Pays Bas; d'après les rapports officiels néerlandais

Allan F Mountford27 Feb 2018 4:15 a.m. PST

@Mike the Analyst

I have three volumes downloaded. Is the 'Supplement' the third volume?

Allan F Mountford27 Feb 2018 4:22 a.m. PST

@Mike the Analyst

'Tome III Annexes et Notes' is online. If you are having difficulty finding it email me at allan dot mountford @ outlook dot com.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2018 5:18 a.m. PST

If you do stand at the Gordon Monument you would think twice about trying to descend directly to the Brussels Charleroi Road still. It is quite a substantial drop and is the only bit that was not flattened to produce that daft Lion Monument. It does give some idea of just how "hollow" was the Chausee at that and several other points. The north side of the Ohain road, west of the cross roads, still has a bank up to five to six feet high in places, but nothing left on the side that matters!

It is not just the creation of the Mound, farmers tend to level land with time. The hollow way to Hougomont seems to be almost obliterated and buried to judge by the depth of recent excavation.

The sandpit, of course, went with the creation of the long-lost Tramway running along the east side of the main road (if only that still existed).

Marc at work27 Feb 2018 5:51 a.m. PST

Ah ha Digby – sorry, I was referring to all of them rather generically. Up to his book, there were very few contour based maps floating around, and none at the level of detail his show. Which is what made me wonder how reliable his were.

Liam – EXACTLY! the artists' pictures show some impressive banks, which must have impacted on the troop movements/deployment, but all too often I fear wargamers play on open ground. And I am guilty of that.


DukeWacoan Supporting Member of TMP Fezian27 Feb 2018 10:04 a.m. PST

I think mine was a modern redrawing of the map above shown by
Camcleod. I'm still trying to locate it in my game room, sometimes referred to as the Black Hole. A buddy of mine bought it for me at the store at the battlefield during a tour.

Prince of Essling27 Feb 2018 1:48 p.m. PST

Siborne's "Waterloo letters" has a contour map of a thin strip of the theatre of war from the Forest of Soigne in the North to the South of Quatre Bras PDF link

It also has the maps from the later post by Dibble plus detailed hachured map around Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte etc

Also see "Campagne et bataille de Waterloo / d'après de nouveaux renseignemens et des documens complètement inédits" Author : Vaulabelle, Achille de (1799-1879) at link which has a contour map which unfortunately has the Lion Mound…

Marc at work28 Feb 2018 6:09 a.m. PST

PoE – that last link is wonderful – I will have to compare the two versions – pre and post LM, to see if the impact is noticeable. The map does show the cuttings quite nicely

Good find. Many thanks

dibble Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2018 7:06 p.m. PST

This Is the oldest map I could find in my library.

It comes from:

'The Battle of Waterloo by a Near Observer -1815- With circumstantial details, Previous, during and after the battle. From a variety of authentic and original sources.'

Paul :)

Marc the plastics fan09 Mar 2018 2:09 p.m. PST

Just got "the lie at the heart of Waterloo" and found two really interesting colour prints of the ridge line and what the author describes as "the tongue". Shows a really quite pronounced rise, again nothing like the smooth crest-line war gamers tend to deploy. Attributed to Charles Turner from drawings made by captain George Jones, published in 1816

Prince of Essling12 Mar 2018 12:41 p.m. PST

Bernard Coppens & Patrice Courcelle publication "Waterloo 1815 Les Carnets de la Campagne" contain quite a few illustrations of the terrain/buildings circa 1816 and later. The volumes are:
Part 1 Hougomont
Part 2 Le Chemin d'Ohain
Part 3 La Haye Sainte
Part 4 Pappelotte
Part 5 Cavalry charges
Part 6 Plancenoit
Part 7 Belle Alliance 1
Part 8 Belle Alliance 2
Part 9 Belle Alliance 3
Part 10 Le Caillou
Part 11 Genappe

Allan F Mountford13 Mar 2018 5:53 a.m. PST

This is as close as I could represent the contemporary contours at 1" to 80 yards:


The spur projecting from the centre of the allied line is apparent, but had little effect on the replay we fought.

Marc at work15 Mar 2018 5:30 a.m. PST

Allan – I like that. What impact do contours have on the movement of troops?

Also, the latest tome I'm reading suggests that the guard went left to avoid their own artillery fire beside LHS

Allan F Mountford15 Mar 2018 8:40 a.m. PST

@Marc at work
The contours had no effect on movement due to gradient, but I did have a turn record chart that recorded a progressive drying out of the ground on a contour by contour basis.
'Wet' ground = all troops at one-third move rate
'Drying' ground = two thirds
'Dry' ground = normal move rate

Allan F Mountford15 Mar 2018 8:47 a.m. PST

@Marc at work
The turn record chart:


Prince of Essling23 Mar 2018 4:09 p.m. PST

Modern contours can be seen from Belgian Topographical Maps at link

matthewgreen Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2018 11:16 a.m. PST

I do agree that modern contour maps are very useful in understanding topography. And some minor details can make a difference. At Waterloo the visibility of LHS and Hougoumont is not as easy as many assume – they are in hollows.

But the problem with Waterloo as I understand it is that the construction of the monument and mound significantly changed the topography of the ridge behind Hougoumont, as that's where they took the earth from. So what is needed is a modern contour map based on pre-monument observations.

This is what Adkin is attempting. I often use the Fortescue maps – but I don't how accurate his is for Waterloo.

Marc the plastics fan25 Mar 2018 3:04 a.m. PST

Exactly Matthew – and that is what I am attempting. And the pictures from the period show quite interesting contours so I want to get as close as I can to them to try and see how they influence a tabletop game

Then the challenge will be to decide what vertical scale to use. I aim for a 1mm to 1m ground scale, but obviously the vertical scale needs to be fudged between ground and figure – into a "what looks right" approximation

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2018 5:33 a.m. PST

matthewgreen, you make a really good point, that is only appreciated by visiting the field itself.

Unless, of course, you walk it using Google Earth. It is brilliant. It will take you from La B Alliance across to the ridge North West, for example. As you "walk" the muddy track, see how often LHS appears and disappears again, to your right. Hgmt is almost invisible (unless you know where to look) and that is with the dense forest/ orchards etc all cleared for farmland.

Again, even on your PC, you can stand on "Picton's ridge" and see that there are two mounds ahead of you and any attacker will disappear for a while as he approaches.

You cannot beat actually walking the site. You will understand why PLHS to the East was simply a no go area. If you stand on the Gordon Monument site and even think about trying to descend to the road 20 feet below (I did not) you will realise just how sunken the Chaussee was back then. Even now despite the soil shifting for that daft structure, the lateral road (Ohain to B l'Alleud) still has a four to six foot bank to its north side. When it was just a lane, much narrower in early photos, the south bank must have been even higher.

Truly "They have destroyed my battlefield", but actually the clues are still there

Prince of Essling25 Mar 2018 12:51 p.m. PST

You may find these photographs of circa 1880 of interest: link

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