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dogtail11 Jan 2020 5:37 p.m. PST

to specify my question: I mean a planning before the 15th of june, and I do not talk about the meeting of Wellington and Blücher at Bussy

42flanker12 Jan 2020 2:33 a.m. PST

The strategic significance of the position appears therefore have been well understood.

I believe some British troops took up positions at Mont St Jean as the allied situation began to unravel after the debacle at Fleurus just down the road in June 1794

dibble12 Jan 2020 8:18 a.m. PST

ConnaughtRanger:

But still too brilliant for General Bonaparte?

Yup! Old Napoleon had all the advantages but still manages to wreck his army and see his vaunted guard treated like any other unit…Beaten and beaten bad…

Handlebarbleep12 Jan 2020 1:32 p.m. PST

@42flanker

The whole area of southern Belgium and northern France is known as the 'cockpit of Europe'. It is an obvious corridor, so there are several positions. Malplaquet is just 50mins or so down the E19 for example.

Handlebarbleep12 Jan 2020 1:40 p.m. PST

@dogtail

Allied planning took place at several meetings, contact was closer between Wellington and Blucher than you would think. Blucher attended Wellington's cavalry revues for example.

It's probably true though that most of the planning was around going on to the offensive and invading France in concert with the other allies. However, there was certainly a contingency plan so Wellington would have been aware that it would be the Prussian's intention to concentrate on Sombreffe.

42flanker13 Jan 2020 2:37 a.m. PST

"50mins or so down the E19"

- not in 1815…

Stoppage13 Jan 2020 5:55 a.m. PST

The main roads in the area are strikingly straight – were they Roman?

Does anyone know when the Pave was actually laid?

Handlebarbleep13 Jan 2020 1:57 p.m. PST

42flanker

so 1905 then

Gazzola16 Jan 2020 5:21 p.m. PST

Handlebarbleep

Good try, but no, it wasn't allied planning. How could it have been planning when Welly had no idea that the Prussians had been beaten. He was stuck at Quatre Bras not knowing what had happened. But once he got the bad news he had to retreat. He had no choice. And any choice he could have had was taken away from him by Napoleon and the French because they defeated the Prussians and forced them to retreat. The allies did not have a plan in which they decided that the Prussians will be beaten and Welly will be stranded at Quatre Bras, then they will both retreat. LOL

42flanker17 Jan 2020 3:42 a.m. PST

"so 1905 then"

pushing it!

Handlebarbleep19 Jan 2020 4:52 p.m. PST

Gazzola,

But it was always the allied plan that the two armies would cooperate. Ultimately it was Wellington's and Blucher's commitment to that scheme of manouvre that was the instrument of Napoleon's misfortune

dogtail20 Jan 2020 3:05 a.m. PST

The most astonishing fact about the whole campaign in my opinion is the commitment of Blücher to keep on fighting in support of Wellington. It would have been so easy to blame Wellington for a lack of support on the 16th, and take the easy way out.
Must have been crazy that old guy…

42flanker20 Jan 2020 4:15 a.m. PST

He was a gentleman

Handlebarbleep21 Jan 2020 6:18 a.m. PST

42flanker

In an age of gentlemen

Gazzola23 Jan 2020 8:39 a.m. PST

Handlebarbleep

Their plans never involved being forced to retreat. Napoleon's defeat of the Prussians and Ney preventing Welly from advancing anywhere, did that.

I would suggest that Napoleon's 'misfortune' was to rely too much on the abilities at the time of Grouchy and Ney. But no commander can predict how their subordinates may act and in this case, fail to act and carry out the tasks given to them. But such is life, history is what it is. No matter if you admire or hate Napoleon, the result will never change.

Gazzola23 Jan 2020 9:13 a.m. PST

dogtail

Or if you think of it another way, his decision is not so surprising. If he had not sent troops to save Welly, after the shame of being defeated on the 16th and forced to retreat, he may not have wanted the whole blame for the possible failure of the campaign to fall on Prussian heads only. Better to send troops and if they had still failed to defeat the French, it would have been seen as an 'Allied' defeat, rather than just a Prussian one. And we must remember he had no idea that Grouchy would fail to block his way, so nothing was planed or certain. Every battle and campaign is a gamble. Some work, some don't and some partly work, as in Napoleon's case in 1815.

Handlebarbleep23 Jan 2020 4:52 p.m. PST

Gazzola

No one plans to be forced to do anything. Commanders adopt a scheme of manouvre, and then military planners make contingencies. The default plan was to invade France, with some contingency plans to cover being attacked in the meantime.

Blaming Ney and Grouchy goes all the way back to St Helena. A dead man who can't answer back and a subordinate who claimed to be following your orders.

dogtail24 Jan 2020 4:13 p.m. PST

Gazzola
Actually, Blüchers decision to keep on fighting is hardly surprising for someone who has any knowledge of his personality. He surely was not a gentleman, but as a prussian officier a man of his word. His temper forced him to fight on, and he surely was not interested in blaming others or to avoid beeing blamed for a defeat. Blaming is for people with weak charakter (`allo Monsieur Buonaparte!)

Same with blaming the Prussians for not informing Wellington (which is counterfactual) as a defence for a wrong assessment of a situation by Wellington. In war a commander gets a lot of information, and if Wellesley does not move his whole army without confirmation by a higher ranked officer like he did, it is just a case of "friktion" as Clausewitz would call it. He got humbugged by Napoleon, not by the Prussians.
BTW Blücher did not lose 4 corps before the 18th, that is just BS.

MiniPigs24 Jan 2020 11:03 p.m. PST

ConnaughtRanger:

But still too brilliant for General Bonaparte?

Dibble says: Yup! Old Napoleon had all the advantages but still manages to wreck his army and see his vaunted guard treated like any other unit…Beaten and beaten bad…


Napoleon was grossly outnumbered, fighting a battle on two fronts which he had to traverse on soggy ground against the British and still came within a whisker of winning. How did he have all the advantages?

Incidentally, the British army suffered a shellacking too and they couldn't pursue but had to leave it to the Prussians.

Your comments about this battle are the sort one would expect of someone only casually acquainted with the events of the campaign. Do you have legitimate historians who claim Waterloo was a forgone conclusion? From everything I have read, the fascination lies with how Napoleon almost pulled a very difficult challenge off and that some 9 times out of 10, he would have won.

MiniPigs24 Jan 2020 11:42 p.m. PST


dibble:

just two examples from your list:

"The allies got lucky at Ligny when Blucher was unhorsed. He was able to escape. Had he been captured, who knows if the Prussians go to the aid of their Allies?"

But he wasn't.

"The Armee du Nord of 1815 was not the Grand Army of 1807"

And neither was Wellington's army the Army of 1813.

'Whatiffs' are a bad argument.

Always chase the facts and real history. Not hearsay, myths, conspiracy and yes, 'whatiffs'

Although you're terribly mistaken and what ifs are mostly what make the campaign and the hobby endlessly fascinating, I dont believe you really mean this. Rather, I think you mean that speculations that you dislike are to be dismissed. Somewhat shocking on a forum which is supposed to support an exchange of ideas.

Now, if you want to repeat "Wellington won, Napoleon lost, end of story" that is your right but I hardly think you should be telling the rest of us what we can and cannot discuss.

42flanker25 Jan 2020 2:57 a.m. PST

Napoleon was grossly outnumbered, fighting a battle on two fronts which he had to traverse on soggy ground against the British and still came within a whisker of winning…

some 9 times out of 10, he would have won.


I am really not sure what that last bit means.


As it is, if Napoleon was grossly outnumbered, taking into account both Wellington and Blucher's forces, then the Prussian role on the west flank is a given, and Bonaparte was always going to be defeated.


"If you find yourself in a fair fight, you haven't planned your mission properly."

It also seems worth pointing out that both the main French infantry attacks on the Mont St Jean position where Napoleon had numerical superiority, 'coming on in the old way' were broken and repelled by the allied defenders (the shellackng they had receiveed notwithstanding).

As for coming within a whisker of winning, given Napoleon's passive state for much of the battle, what credit could he really claim for any approximation to success?

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2020 4:28 a.m. PST

blaming the Prussians for not informing Wellington (which is counterfactual)

Nothing "counterfactual" about it. The force masking the Brussels road was Prussian. It abandoned the road and left it uncovered. The only communication Wellington had about what was happening was one written at 9am and describing the situation south of Fleurus. This Wellington received about 4pm then nothing till midnight. e didn't get "a lot of information" – he got none.

The Prussian I, II and III Corps were all heavily defeated on 16 or in the latter case 18 June. That left Blucher with one intact corps and needing to be rescued by Wellington.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2020 4:31 a.m. PST

the British army suffered a shellacking too

You mean the Anglo-allied army, right? If it was the British army that suffered worst it takes you into admitting who did most of the fighting, which is a bit off-message.

dogtail25 Jan 2020 5:28 a.m. PST

That left Blucher with one intact corps and needing to be rescued by Wellington.

Could you please retract this statement? It is ridonkeyulous. Really. I will quote passages from Sibourne concerning the 15th after my knee surgery, so you have ample time to look into Sibourne by yourself. "Give me night or give me Wellington" is not a quote I ever heard of.

dibble25 Jan 2020 4:15 p.m. PST

I seem to have rattled a cage (or Pigsty)

Minipigs:

Your comments about this battle are the sort one would expect of someone only casually acquainted with the events of the campaign

Haaaa! As Manuel of Fawlty Towers fame said: "I know nutting"

Now, if you want to repeat "Wellington won, Napoleon lost, end of story" that is your right

Wellington won Napoleon lost…Smashed his Guard, destroyed his cavalry made his army flee. the gain for Nappy all day was a little farm complex, with a duck pond, held by a few hundred Jerries with 60 rounds each…end of story…There, fixed it for ya'

but I hardly think you should be telling the rest of us what we can and cannot discuss.

You should be telling the rest of us that I told you all no such thing…

Although you're terribly mistaken and what ifs are mostly what make the campaign and the hobby endlessly fascinating,

The hobby is wargaming. History is history, fantasy or 'whatiffing' isn't

But if Korvessa or you insist. If Napoleon can bring a Waterloo army of 1807 veterans, then in this fantasy of yours it's only right that Wellington has his 1813 veterans. Or do you insist on pinning only Wellington's O.O.B to historical fact?

I don't believe you really mean this. Rather, I think you mean that speculations that you dislike are to be dismissed. Somewhat shocking on a forum which is supposed to support an exchange of ideas.

Oh, I do mean exactly what I posted. Problem is with 'whatiffers' is that they like pinning their nemesis (in this case the allies and especially the Bastard that beats the French) to history whilst allowing their/your hero free hand in second-guessing and righting mistakes.

But you are 'whatiffing' so carry on whatiffing if it makes you feel good. A nice warm feeling in the stomach instead of the pitiful empty feeling you get after you read the facts.

Oh! the rain fell and the mud clung to all the combatants on the retreat to umm! What's its name?… Umm! Mont St Jean. So that excuse is largely rubbish where the French are concerned. Seeing as I only have a passing interest on the campaign, I will not misinform you as to some of the reasons Nappy failed to attack before 'when was it? Umm, about 11-11:30 perchance?

I posted and will post again that; 'Yup! Old Napoleon had all the advantages but still manages to wreck his army and see his vaunted guard treated like any other unit…Beaten and beaten bad…' because this statement is 100% correct.

The British and allies took heavy casualties yes! But Nappy's hoards got squished and most all the squishing was done by Arty's army which was exhausted so left it up to the Prussians to chase them away.

I'll also reiterate that (with a bit of adjustment) Napoleon and his Guard was akin to an ornate chocolate fire-guard. As soon as it got too hot, it melted away.

Gazzola26 Jan 2020 8:18 a.m. PST

Handlebarbleep & dogtail

I suggest the fact that Napoleon 'slightly' messed up their plans by 'somehow' managing to get his one army between the two allied armies, an action which 'forced' them to have to react. They had no plans worked out beforehand that involved Napoleon suddenly appearing between them.

No one is blaming anyone, as some people like to cry so often if anyone dares mentions Napoleon's commanders making mistakes or failing to carry out the task given to them. But it is a fact that Grouchy failed to stop the Prussians reaching the Waterloo battlefield. That is not saying Napoleon lost Waterloo because of that, it is saying that the result may (or may not) have been different, had Grouchy managed to stop them. The same with Ney, had he not prevented the troops ordered to Ligny from continuing their march, again, who knows what may have happened.

These are facts, not arrows of blame. I would suggest it is silly and weak minded for anyone to ignore them, just so they can throw all the blame for losing against Napoleon, and equally weak to ignore the mistakes made by the allies that allowed Napoleon to manoeuvre so successfully.

I'm not sure why some people seem to get so upset by these facts. The result will still be the same so they've no need to shed any tears.

MiniPigs26 Jan 2020 1:20 p.m. PST

I seem to have rattled a cage (or Pigsty)

Minipigs:

Your comments about this battle are the sort one would expect of someone only casually acquainted with the events of the campaign

Haaaa! As Manuel of Fawlty Towers fame said: "I know nutting"

Now, if you want to repeat "Wellington won, Napoleon lost, end of story" that is your right

Wellington won Napoleon lost…Smashed his Guard, destroyed his cavalry made his army flee. the gain for Nappy all day was a little farm complex, with a duck pond, held by a few hundred Jerries with 60 rounds each…end of story…There, fixed it for ya'

but I hardly think you should be telling the rest of us what we can and cannot discuss.

You should be telling the rest of us that I told you all no such thing…

Although you're terribly mistaken and what ifs are mostly what make the campaign and the hobby endlessly fascinating,

The hobby is wargaming. History is history, fantasy or 'whatiffing' isn't

But if Korvessa or you insist. If Napoleon can bring a Waterloo army of 1807 veterans, then in this fantasy of yours it's only right that Wellington has his 1813 veterans. Or do you insist on pinning only Wellington's O.O.B to historical fact?

I don't believe you really mean this. Rather, I think you mean that speculations that you dislike are to be dismissed. Somewhat shocking on a forum which is supposed to support an exchange of ideas.

Oh, I do mean exactly what I posted. Problem is with 'whatiffers' is that they like pinning their nemesis (in this case the allies and especially the Bastard that beats the French) to history whilst allowing their/your hero free hand in second-guessing and righting mistakes.

But you are 'whatiffing' so carry on whatiffing if it makes you feel good. A nice warm feeling in the stomach instead of the pitiful empty feeling you get after you read the facts.

Oh! the rain fell and the mud clung to all the combatants on the retreat to umm! What's its name?… Umm! Mont St Jean. So that excuse is largely rubbish where the French are concerned. Seeing as I only have a passing interest on the campaign, I will not misinform you as to some of the reasons Nappy failed to attack before 'when was it? Umm, about 11-11:30 perchance?

I posted and will post again that; 'Yup! Old Napoleon had all the advantages but still manages to wreck his army and see his vaunted guard treated like any other unit…Beaten and beaten bad…' because this statement is 100% correct.

The British and allies took heavy casualties yes! But Nappy's hoards got squished and most all the squishing was done by Arty's army which was exhausted so left it up to the Prussians to chase them away.

I'll also reiterate that (with a bit of adjustment) Napoleon and his Guard was akin to an ornate chocolate fire-guard. As soon as it got too hot, it melted away.

This is perfectly stated.

I had thought there was this non existent group of anti-intellectual, xenophobic, ultra-nationalists against Napoleon and the French; filled with primitive, irrational rancor. Not here to really discuss history but to assert some long lost golden age as proof of value today.

However, your post has gone a long way towards dispelling that misconception on my part. You should be the poster boy for cool-headed, objective analysis.

It's a wonder you have not published a pop-up book on Waterloo.

dibble26 Jan 2020 3:17 p.m. PST

Minipigs

I had thought there was this non existent group of anti-intellectual, xenophobic, ultra-nationalists against Napoleon and the French; filled with primitive, irrational rancor. Not here to really discuss history but to assert some long lost golden age as proof of value today.

However, your post has gone a long way towards dispelling that misconception on my part. You should be the poster boy for cool-headed, objective analysis.

Well, I do so hate to fly in the face of public opinion. :)

It's a wonder you have not published a pop-up book on Waterloo.

Well, there's an idea! Perhaps I will. I could call it: 'The Whatif Waterloo Pop-up Book for Sour Nappy Fawners'. A specialist publication…Free Cadburys chocolate fireguard included.

As an Additem:

Gaz' and I rarely if ever agree on anything, but on this occasion, where 'whatifs' are concerned, I agree totally with what he is saying.

42flanker26 Jan 2020 6:12 p.m. PST

"this non existent group"

Dibble is, I believe, one of a kind. and I believe has a touch of the rhino-sinus transgressive about him.

"Speak roughly to your little boy
And beat him when he sneezes!
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases!"

Handlebarbleep26 Jan 2020 7:18 p.m. PST

Gazzola,

There was a plan for the invasion of France, coordinating the plans that were due to go into execution a moth or so later.

There was a plan already being executed to provide overwatch of then border, and covering things like boundaries between forces and limits of exploitation.

As part of this plan were contingencies for concentration if they were attacked first. From then on their actions would be rely on those of their enemy. Not being privy to Napoleon's plans, this can only take the form of an agreed scheme of manouvre. That was to concentrate, react and collaborste. It is that scheme of manouvre which dictated Wellington's actions "They have gone back, so we must go back" just about sums it up. In other words, we must be good allies and conform to the pre-arranged scheme.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2020 3:32 a.m. PST

@ dogtail

Could you please retract this statement? It is ridonkeyulous.

It's supported by the facts. On the 16th the Prussians started with 84,000 men and are usually reckoned to have suffered 24,000 casualties including 8,000 who deserted or retreated the wrong way. This is a 29% loss rate, but it wasn't evenly distributed. The losses fell disproportionately on I and II Corps, the former of which had also been roughly handled on the 15th. So on or by the 17th, these two Corps had probably lost something like 35% of their strength apiece. Ligny was a major Napoleonic victory.

A unit which takes that level of losses and then retreats headlong through the night is not going to be fit for action the day after that.

The Prussians knew this. This is why, although I and II Corps were closest to Waterloo on the 18th, they were not sent there first. They could have intervened hours earlier, but instead they followed IV Corps there. Why? Because despite three days of exhausting force-marching and being two-thirds Landwehr, IV Corps was in better fighting shape by the 18th than the rest of their army and the only one still capable of intervening effectively. If I or II Corps had been thrown into more streetfighting in Plancenoit against fresh French troops, it would have gone exactly like Ligny two days before, and that would have been it.

The whole "the Prussians staged a miraculous recovery from defeat through their impressive staff work" schtick is just revisionist guff. It's beloved of Wikipedia editors and Anglophobes, but it has zero basis in fact. The Prussians did not regroup within a day of Ligny then march to Wellington's rescue. The corps that fought at Waterloo was the one that had not been defeated at Ligny. Those who had been either turned up at Waterloo later, or (III Corps) spent the 18th getting defeated again, at Wavre. The impressive Prussian staff work of the 16th to 18th consisted of telling Bulow to march north-west instead of south-west, and not to stop when he got to Wavre.

"Give me night or give me Wellington" is not a quote I ever heard of.

German historians have been very, very reluctant to admit the immense extent of Prussia's debt to Wellington. It has never been possible to assert the opposite truthfully. Yet funnily enough it's always British who are accused of not sufficiently acknowledging the Prussian contribution – even though nobody can ever cite a British historian who fails to do so. German-centric writers who fail to concede that Wellington saved their army's bacon get a totally free pass.

MiniPigs27 Jan 2020 8:19 a.m. PST

"this non existent group"

Dibble is, I believe, one of a kind. and I believe has a touch of the rhino-sinus transgressive about him.

That would be my hope but sadly I think this type is rather common. I spent some time on sports message boards and saw oceans of the inane and impenetrable never once suspect that their own emotions and actual, considered opinions traveled down two separate ducts.

In any case, as amusing as our resident dibble is, the issue is that some people think the British are the good guys and saved the world from the naughty Napoleon.

Not sure the British have always been so selflessly courageous; defending Europe from an out-of-control tyrant. I grew up on movies depicting the British in other people's countries getting very military and self righteous vs. the natives and it never occurred to me that they were completely out of line. Now that I know better, I can still enjoy those movies but find it hard to believe the British mantra was to save the meek from the "baddies".

In any case, we're wasting time, no one is more written about more than Napoleon except Jesus and no battle written more about than Waterloo. And, I hardly think Waterloo is written about so much both because Napoleon is unimportant and because the battle was a foregone conclusion; even if a dozen members of a non-existent group here want to collectively bang their foreheads on the table otherwise.

dibble27 Jan 2020 4:55 p.m. PST

MiniPigs

That would be my hope but sadly I think this type is rather common. I spent some time on sports message boards and saw oceans of the inane and impenetrable never once suspect that their own emotions and actual, considered opinions traveled down two separate ducts.

I care not a jot where my opinions go. I draw a line in the soil and I argue and debate from it. I also give good advice, information both written and visual as well as solid sources and references. I suggest you look at my posts in the archives if you think otherwise and perhaps you may even be inclined to drag items out for debate or even dismantlement. You never know, I may agree with some of your findings.

Not sure the British have always been so selflessly courageous; defending Europe from an out-of-control tyrant.

To be sure that Louis XIV, Louis XV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler all had an unconquerable foe in common.

But It was Britain that did for Napoleon. Without Britain, who would have beaten him? Had Napoleon 'with the help of the god of impossibilities' invaded and knocked Britain out, who would have stopped him apart from his cancer of the stomach? The British soldier was and is second to none. In the Napoleonic wars, was the best on the field even if some of their commanders weren't.

I grew up on movies depicting the British in other people's countries getting very military and self righteous vs. the natives and it never occurred to me that they were completely out of line. Now that I know better, I can still enjoy those movies but find it hard to believe the British mantra was to save the meek from the "baddies".

The fantasy of the silver screen will get you and your knowledge nowhere.

In any case, we're wasting time, no one is more written about more than Napoleon except Jesus and no battle written more about than Waterloo. And, I hardly think Waterloo is written about so much both because Napoleon is unimportant…

So err! where do you get the idea that Napoleon wasn't important from? Is that another baseless accusation like your last?:

but I hardly think you should be telling the rest of us what we can and cannot discuss

Oh, look…

and because the battle was a foregone conclusion;

…there's another.

even if a dozen members of a non-existent group here want to collectively bang their foreheads on the table otherwise.

The only people who do the head-banging are those who can't accept reality. Prime examples for source material in the real world are Deleted by Moderator

MiniPigs29 Jan 2020 6:54 a.m. PST

I care not a jot where my opinions go. I draw a line in the soil and I argue and debate from it. I also give good advice, information both written and visual as well as solid sources and references. I suggest you look at my posts in the archives if you think otherwise and perhaps you may even be inclined to drag items out for debate or even dismantlement. You never know, I may agree with some of your findings.

I have no doubt that your very being is all about never being wrong. I wont be looking up your archival wisdom; my time is far too valuable.


To be sure that Louis XIV, Louis XV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler all had an unconquerable foe in common.

Yes, and somehow like people who think because they are related to some historical personage also believe they've inherited that ancestor's characteristics, you think that via nationality you've inherited this global guardian of virtue role? Alright, that is relatively harmless.

But It was Britain that did for Napoleon. Without Britain, who would have beaten him? Had Napoleon 'with the help of the god of impossibilities' invaded and knocked Britain out, who would have stopped him apart from his cancer of the stomach? The British soldier was and is second to none. In the Napoleonic wars, was the best on the field even if some of their commanders weren't.

Sorry, Britain didn't beat Napoleon single-handed. Second, the continental allies had already defeated him once. I have no problem with the British army and both like and admire it.

However, Napoleon's strategy in 1815 was something of a gamble to give the allies a black eye and then use their pause for thought to sue for peace. It wasnt like Britain stopped Napoleon in his prime at Waterloo and yet, Napoleon came within a whisker of pulling off a master stroke. Wellington did a good job but he was more like a doorstop than a fencer against a general who in some way had no choice but to attack him.

In any case, it is unlikely Napoleon would've survived the million or so men coming to get him.

Your love of facts seems to be both selective and abridged. If say a man declines a fight because he doesn't want to get a arrested and see his family go without, then according to your concept of "facts" he lost the fight end of story. However, it ignores the pressures, the reasons and the differing goals of the parties.

Additionally, you tend to throw in moral values which really arent part of the "facts" you claim to follow. In our example above, you might for instance add that the man who declined the fight was "cowardly" or "afraid". It is this second category of assumptions that I generally find problematic and beyond the realm of "facts".

Now, whereas you are free to state what you want and believe what you like, you are not entitled to respect from people who do want to analyze and engage in "what ifs". Additionally, as much as it isnt nice for me to point out your cognitive limitations, you are not entitled to tell other people they are somehow lesser if they want to speculate.

It's that sports fan analogy again. Some people just care whether their team won or lost but others dont care AS much about the winning or the losing, as long as they are entertained and feel a real emotional connection to their team. I suppose it is bottom line vs life style.

The fantasy of the silver screen will get you and your knowledge nowhere.

It aint just me that thinks this way:

British Empire Early Films
As art forms within the imperial experience cinema and television were relatively recent inventions. As latecomers they only started to have an impact on the culture of the empire as the empire itself began its decline. At first, attempts were made to use film for crude propaganda purposes – especially in the 1920s and 1930s. The Europeans tended to be the heroes and the natives were shown as the 'baddies' or as inferior peoples who needed the benevolent protection of the white man. It is interesting that Adolf Hitler cited his favourite film as the Lives of the Bengal Lancer – no doubt it conformed to his Social Darwinist world view (he was also keen on Western films for the same reason).

link

In any case, we're wasting time, no one is more written about more than Napoleon except Jesus and no battle written more about than Waterloo. And, I hardly think Waterloo is written about so much both because Napoleon is unimportant…

I stand by this and I thought you also liked facts?

So err! where do you get the idea that Napoleon wasn't important from? Is that another baseless accusation like your last?:

It's not baseless, this is the sense I get from certain "persons" on here. I think Napoleon was important. I think Wellington was important too. What I dont do is bang the table for one over the other.

but I hardly think you should be telling the rest of us what we can and cannot discuss

Yes, I am afraid I see you as Deleted by Moderator

Oh, look…

and because the battle was a foregone conclusion;

…there's another.

I dont recall saying this in the context you are implying. Going forward, I wont respond to inartful manipulations on what I write.

Minipigs said: even if a dozen members of a non-existent group here want to collectively bang their foreheads on the table otherwise.

The only people who do the head-banging are those who can't accept reality. Prime examples for source material in the real world are Deleted by Moderator

Yes, well this is again perfectly said and entirely how I see this viewpoint; something a bit like the stepfather in the film Kingsmen.

Robert le Diable29 Jan 2020 7:51 a.m. PST

I've been following this thread/these discussions since just after Christmas, and have found it all most interesting, even reading a couple of contemporary passages for the first time (my thanks to those who posted so extensively and thoroughly) and finding the various analyses of the familiar events, and the extant communications, lively and engaging. However, things have moved into territory not unfamiliar in this "Department" of TMP, a verbal skirmishing only tangentially related to the principal subject, and with as little prospect of anyone engaged in this kind of action changing his position as there was of moving Wellington's forces from the ridge of Mont St Jean. Sometimes, as we might recall, this kind of escalation involves Counter-Battery fire…

dogtail29 Jan 2020 3:56 p.m. PST

@4thcuirassier
I never stated something about the recovery of the Prussian army, nor am I aware that somebody else here did. If you find something that is not accurate, could you please state it?
On the 1/27 you explained with an abundunce of words that the First and Second Prussian Corps were not fit to fight. Historical fact is that Zieten Corps fought at Waterloo, it strenghten the left wing of Wellesleys army. So the contemporary commander (Blücher)sent his troops into a battle, he knew much more than anybody else alive about his troops and their abilities. But you as an armchair general boast that because of the losses at Ligny those troops were written off:
Quote from 12/28

As a result, by day 4 of the campaign, Blucher was down to one intact corps out of five, the other four having been written off.

So maybe by believing your own words you came to the false conclusion that Wellingto had to save the Prussians, as you stated on the 01/25 about Blücher

…and needing to be rescued by Wellington.

Major-General Sir Hussey Vivian, commander of the 6th British Cavalry Brigade, wrote: In truth, I care not what others may say, we were greatly indebted to the Prussians, and it was their coming on the right and rear of Napoleon that gave us the victory of Waterloo.

Field, Andrew. Waterloo: The French Perspective

dogtail29 Jan 2020 4:07 p.m. PST

@Robert le Diable
Why was there no chance of moving Wellingtons troops from the ridge of Mont St-Jean?
Some dude thought he has lost the battle and asked for Night or Blücher (to rescue him). After the battle he called it a close-run thing.
Fact is that the allied army maintained its position. Saying that there could not have been a different result is astonishing.

Robert le Diable29 Jan 2020 8:08 p.m. PST

Oh, Dog! I was only being a bit silly, the main point being the intractability we all encounter from time to time with regard to long-held, favoured positions (in the sense of "opinions"); I had originally thought of writing "as little chance of forcing the Guards ( and the Nassauers) out of Hougomont". If that's still too potentially controversial, then how about, "as little chance of getting Napoleon to listen to advice", or "as little chance of getting Gordon Highlanders to surrender"?

Michael Westman29 Jan 2020 10:37 p.m. PST

Gazzola – "I would suggest that Napoleon's 'misfortune' was to rely too much on the abilities at the time of Grouchy and Ney. But no commander can predict how their subordinates may act and in this case, fail to act and carry out the tasks given to them. … And we must remember he had no idea that Grouchy would fail to block his way, so nothing was planed or certain. … But it is a fact that Grouchy failed to stop the Prussians reaching the Waterloo battlefield. That is not saying Napoleon lost Waterloo because of that, it is saying that the result may (or may not) have been different, had Grouchy managed to stop them. The same with Ney, had he not prevented the troops ordered to Ligny from continuing their march, again, who knows what may have happened."

Grouchy had no chance to block the Prussians. By the time Napoleon sent him on his way just after 11:30 on the 17th, the Prussian I and II Corps were already near Wavre and the III Corps had been at Gembloux since 9:00 am. Grouchy didn't push his pursuit very hard, but Napoleon's orders to him didn't have a sense of urgency either. Grouchy was to march to Gembloux and determine which route the Prussian army was taking, in the direction of Namur or Maestricht, and to pursue them. In addition he was to ascertain if the Prussian army was separating from the Anglo Allied army by moving southeast towards Namur or would move northeast towards Maastricht to attempt to link up with Wellington and make a stand, probably in the vicinity of Tirlemont. Napoleon believed that the size of Grouchy's force was "sufficient enough to overthrow the Prussian rearguard in all the positions it would take, to press the retreat of the vanquished army and to contain it."

I believe the mindset of both Grouchy and Ney were probably influenced by Napoleon's orders early in the morning on June 16. Napoleon intended to march with the right wing that day towards Sombreffe and Gembloux and, if a Prussian corps were at either of those locations, attack it. Ney was to occupy the crossroads at Quatre Bras and send a division forward to Genappe. Napoleon then intended to pick up the reserve at Fleurus and march to join Ney that evening and march for Brussels that night. He clearly believed that neither army was intending to fight a strong battle that day, and it looked like he was hoping to capture Brussels by a quick movement before the two armies had joined.

dogtail29 Jan 2020 11:53 p.m. PST

@Robert le Diable
yeah, you are right. Internet communication has some disadvantages.
Now give me back my tail, wuff!

Robert le Diable30 Jan 2020 12:14 a.m. PST

@ dogtail

Very glad that we managed to clear that up so readily; I'm equally sure you would accept with the good humour characteristic of Man's Best Friend an apology for an apparent hint of the cruel practice of "docking" (even worse, they used to trim some dogs' ears to make them look more "alert"; Boots complains about this in Kipling's "Thy Servant a Dog", if memory serves). In fact I was being a bit silly again, with an intended joke along the lines of Torres Vedr…. sorry, can't help it …. along the lines of (1) "OMG, I've offended someone" and (2) the obvious address to your goodself. Dulce est desipere in loco. Good Luck!

Probably the worst example of (very short, like some animals' tails) "thread drift" ever perpetrated on TMP. R le D.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2020 4:02 a.m. PST

@ dogtail

Ziethen's corps initially attacked Wellington's troops and thereafter was useful mainly in enabling troops from Wellington's flank to reinforce his centre. Pirch followed Bulow to Wavre and was mainly involved in the pursuit after Wellington and Bulow had defeated the French. In both cases, I and II corps clearly supported the efforts of intact formations.

The fact that the Prussians gracelessly denied their debt to Wellington doesn't mean there wasn't one. This exact accusation against unnamed British historians has been behind 25 years of revisionism that claims Wellington owed the Prussians and didn't admit it. That's long been debunked, including the examples you've given yourself, but let's apply the same standards to the Prussians for consistency.

Also this isn't Wikipedia where nothing is acceptable unless it's everyone else's published opinion. I'm pointing out that the Prussians would have been utterly screwed without Wellington, especially given their disastrous mishandling of the campaign from 14 to 16 June. I really don't understand why mentioning this out loud is such a problem, especially when the reverse is the first thing everyone has to say about the battle.

dogtail30 Jan 2020 5:44 a.m. PST

yeah, trashtalking the prussians and then asking what´s the problem.
The Prussian did not mishandle the campaign as bad as you describe it, their retreat from Charleroi was a necessary cause the troops there were attacked by superiour forces. It was not their job to keep the road to Quatre-Bras occupied. The prussians informed the allied troops in the vicinity and the British headquarter.
The forward deployment of the Prussian troops was planned, British assistance expected. Your recommendation from 12/30 of a retreat to Wavre doesn`t make sense, cause supporting Wellingtons position at Mt St Jean could be blocked easily. The Nivelles-Namur road was the best available link between the two allied armies. Wellington was just to slow, he was humbugged as he called it.

dibble30 Jan 2020 9:41 p.m. PST

MiniPigs

I have no doubt that your very being is all about never being wrong.

If you have an example of me being wrong, please post it…

I wont be looking up your archival wisdom; my time is far too valuable.

I gathered you would say that. Which is why you post such an assumed ignorance of my knowledge of the battle.

Sorry, Britain didn't beat Napoleon single-handed.

More of your usual misquoting. You are beginning to sound like Deleted by Moderator

Second, the continental allies had already defeated him once.

Umm! Not from 1799 to 1814 they hadn't and certainly not in 1805. Had Napoleon defeated Britain, who would have stopped him in 1806 or 1807? what reason would he have had to invade Portugal through Spain? Why would he have need of a continental system? What would invading Russia achieve?…Lebensraum?

Britain fought and triumphed over Republican/Napoleonic France because of her political, strategic and military policies. Without them and Perfidious Albion, Napoleon would have been master of all (probably the middle-east too) but his cancer.

I have no problem with the British army and both like and admire it.

There's a shocker!

It aint just me that thinks this way:

Well, there's another shocker.

I stand by this and I thought you also liked facts?

And yet again you try insinuating and repeating something I never posted…Remember this by me?

"So err! where do you get the idea that Napoleon wasn't important from? Is that another baseless accusation like your last?"

Yes, I am afraid I see you as Deleted by Moderator

I see you as Deleted by Moderator It's up to you to argue salient points or not.

I dont recall saying this in the context you are implying. Going forward, I wont respond to inartful manipulations on what I write.

Hmm! Just about all your posts are 'full of it'

Yes, well this is again perfectly said and entirely how I see this viewpoint; something a bit like the stepfather in the film Kingsmen.

Fantasy is strong in this one. "The fantasy of the silver screen will get you and your knowledge nowhere"

dibble30 Jan 2020 11:02 p.m. PST

Major-General Sir Hussey Vivian, commander of the 6th British Cavalry Brigade, wrote: In truth, I care not what others may say, we were greatly indebted to the Prussians, and it was their coming on the right and rear of Napoleon that gave us the victory of Waterloo.

Field, Andrew. Waterloo: The French Perspective

Of course it's in black and white and in Siborne's Waterloo letters tome but the quote should also be posted in full by adding the last sentence:

"We might have held our ground, but we never could have advanced but for the Prussian movement"

So he's not saying that they would have lost.

Vivian (whom I admire the most concerning British cavalry commanders, also wrote this on June 18th, 1830. Siborne's Waterloo letter No 72:

"In saying that it is not my objective to take from the merit of the conduct of Sir J. Vandeleur's Brigade. That brigade had been much exposed and had suffered severely and behaved gallantly early in the day, whilst mine was comparatively in security.

It was fair and right therefore, that the brunt of the battle at last fall upon me, and having so fallen it is equally fair and right we should have credit for it.

Truth is history, and history without truth does not deserve the name; and I am anxious for the sake of the gallant men I commanded, that one day at least the truth might be known."

As an aside: It's not hard for anyone to see that the Prussians were pivotal but it also lays the myth of Wellington saying 'Give me the night or give me the Prussians/Blucher' as by 17:30 hours when he was meant to have uttered the words, the Prussians were already in combat with the French. Vivian and Vaneleur were able to be moved over to the right a little later on because of the Prussian growing presence.

Volleyfire01 Feb 2020 4:28 a.m. PST

'Shakes head'.
It never ceases to amaze me how much rancour there is on the Napoleonic discussion board, especially when compared with other eras and certain other popular, nay infamous even, personalities.
I sometimes wonder why?

holdit01 Feb 2020 4:41 a.m. PST

It never ceases to amaze me how much rancour there is on the Napoleonic discussion board, especially when compared with other eras and certain other popular, nay infamous even, personalities.
I sometimes wonder why?

Nationalism

Supreme Littleness Designs01 Feb 2020 5:38 a.m. PST

Not so much nationalism, I'd say, but an historical bias towards commentary written in English.

dogtail01 Feb 2020 6:55 a.m. PST

For my person I can honestly say that I don´t have a bias towards english literature, it doesn´t even make sense to say something like that. Clausewitz commentary about the Waterloo is available in English, does it male it bias? When Andrew Fields writes about the French perspective, is he bias cause it´s in English? There is an awful lot of cheap literature about Waterloo, it is easier to read than german literature in Fraktur letters, even though I am from the capital of Germany.
https://www.waterloo-campaign.nl is in English, highly critical of the Prussians at Ligny.
Everybody knows that the truth is hard to find, especially in war. And in war and sports it holds merits to be kind of arrogant. But trashtalking should be over after the game/ the battle, especially when all participants are long dead.

Handlebarbleep01 Feb 2020 9:17 a.m. PST

@holdit and @dogtail

Although nationalism may well contribute, but I don't think that's the only reason. Hero worship also plays it's part. Whether it's the cold but invincible Wellington or the tragic genius Napoleon. The latter's adherents can be particularly enthusiastic, bearing in mind his role as head of state, law-giver etc.

Blucher and Gniesenau, although in some ways the more fascinating from a military point of view, are just not that appealing on a personal level.

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