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"What if Napoleon had won battle of Waterloo" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2020 3:26 p.m. PST

"It is the evening of June 18, 1815 and an exultant Napoleon Bonaparte surveys the field after winning the Battle of Waterloo, planning his next conquest.

Within years his empire will stretch as far as China, French will be spoken across the continent, and in the 20th century a global war between the great powers will be avoided because of the stability his rule created.

These are some of the alternate histories that writers and experts have envisaged had Napoleon really been victorious in the battle 200 years ago, which actually ended in his humiliating defeat and exile at the hands of British and Prussian forces…"
Main page


Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2020 4:58 p.m. PST

Weren't there Austrians and Russians and more Prussians, and Slobbovians and Freemasons and … others, busily assembling even larger armies?

nsolomon9911 Sep 2020 5:09 p.m. PST

Hmmm … a lot of utter nonsense in this article. I recall we discussed it when it was first published back in June 2015 and agreed then that it was click bait.

Think this is a topic we've done to death and everytime it just provokes the trolls.

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2020 5:48 p.m. PST

Yes, I believe the technical term is Codswallop

Furthermore there is clearly no understanding of Napoeon's personality, or the extent of his ambitions

They would be speaking French on Alpha Centauri by now


42flanker Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2020 10:44 p.m. PST

But look what that did for space travel

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2020 11:19 a.m. PST



Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2020 3:21 p.m. PST

We sure as hell wouldn't have been reading any books about how it was a German defeat, that's for sure.

dibble12 Sep 2020 4:09 p.m. PST

Why do I get haunting visions of a 16inch multiple turret, A famous French Marshal in a long, curly black wig, thonged bodice and an urge to sing along to a Cher hit every time I read such rubbish?

YouTube link

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2020 12:21 a.m. PST

No.I give up. Pourguoi?

ReallySameSeneffeAsBefore13 Sep 2020 1:22 a.m. PST

4th Cuirassier. Well observed.

Gazzola13 Sep 2020 5:24 a.m. PST

Considering the allies had refused to budge until Britain had paid them to in 1815, I'm not sure how eager they may have been to engage Napoleon had he won at Waterloo. A victory would have given him more time to prepare his forces to meet them. They would also want to see what a defeated Britain would do next, and if they would continue to pay them to fight Napoleon? War being obviously very expensive.

Had the Russians and Austrians still advanced against Napoleon, like anyone else, he would have had no choice but to march to meet them and fight more battles.

We must also remember that in 1815 at The Congress of Vienna, the allies had made treaties with each other to come to their aid if they were attacked or threatened by one of their fellow allies. With such mistrust of each other, who knows what they may have thought or done had Waterloo been a French victory.

For us, as military and Napoleonic enthusiasts, an extended Napoleonic period may well have been very interesting. Of course, it may not if everyone had made peace and went about their business. LOL

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2020 12:38 p.m. PST

If Napoleon played his cards right – agreed to a truce and a return to pre-war borders with the goal of allowing his son an empire to inherit – he could well have stayed on the French throne. As Gazzola noted, the Allies wanted "the golden cavalry of St. George" and there was only so much the British taxpayer could bear; plus the Prussians, Russians and Austrians were not exactly best buddies

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2020 3:02 p.m. PST

Good points!…


Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2020 1:47 a.m. PST

The rent on La Haie Sainte would be quite a bit more, as it would be standing on the site of the Duke or Wellington's only defeat.

MiniPigs14 Sep 2020 6:14 a.m. PST

@"the golden cavalry of St. George"

I knew the British paid out a lot to other monarchies to keep them involved in the "Balance of Power" but I had no idea it was THAT much. Wow.

The rent on La Haie Sainte would be quite a bit more, as it would be standing on the site of the Duke or Wellington's only defeat.

We're assuming here that without Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo that anyone outside of the UK viewpoint would remember Wellington.

The only reason Waterloo is remembered is because Napoleon lost and lost a battle he should've won.

In addition, not much would've changed except of course there wouldn't have been a British Empire, which some believe might have been a good thing.

The concept that Napoleon's defeat saved Europe is a UK and ancien regime monarchical one but really doesn't bear any validity outside of British national fear and a need to depict Napoleon as a Hannibal who was both at the gates and worthy of contempt at the same time.

It is not dissimilar to a series like "Hogan's Heroes" where the German military are depicted as bumbling oafs because it reassures terrified, brutalized viewers who deep down know the opposite is the case.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Sep 2020 7:36 a.m. PST

One thing that is often overlooked in this scenario is that 1816 was the "Year Without a Summer" due to a volcanic eruption in Indonesia. There was frost in every month and crop failures and famine in Europe. Not exactly the best time to run a military campaign. If Napoleon could have held off the Allies for the rest of 1815, he might have been able to get some sort of peace treaty in 1816.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2020 10:49 a.m. PST

Beat me to it ScottWashburn.

Michael Westman14 Sep 2020 11:27 a.m. PST

Abba would have had a different song title. Maybe something like Laon. It might not have been as catchy.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2020 12:02 p.m. PST

With the Royal Navy blockading France and war with the fest of Europe preventing food imports by land, crop failure in 1816 would have brought him down.

Bill N15 Sep 2020 6:31 a.m. PST

We sure as hell wouldn't have been reading any books about how it was a German defeat, that's for sure.

That would be silly. There was no "German" army at Waterloo. There were armies from different German states.

I do not understand the British reluctance to acknowledge it wasn't just a victory by the British army. When speaking of the Spanish Succession the role of Eugene is usually recognized along side of Marlborough, while their opponents at Blenheim are recognized as the Franco-Bavarian army. Referring to the Siege of Yorktown as an American victory brings justified condemnation, even though Washington was the Commander in Chief of the land forces. Can you imagine the indignation if Americans was used to refer to the western allies fighting in France, the low countries and western Germany, even though an American, Eisenhower, was in charge and for most of the campaign in the west there were more American forces on the ground.

The reality is that troops from the British Isles amounted to less than half the forces under Wellington at Waterloo. Even if we use "British" to refer to all subjects of George III of Britain you still have three other nations serving under Wellington amounting to roughly a third of that army. Once the Prussians fully arrive the George III contingent drops to under half.

Bill N15 Sep 2020 6:38 a.m. PST

Interesting scenario Scott. However the most likely starting point for the 1816 campaign would have allied armies in France and Belgium. These would almost certainly be drawing from French sources for their subsistence which would affect French ability to continue fighting more than it would the allies. Plus with British blockades the allies could bring in resources from elsewhere, an option not available to the French.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 8:20 a.m. PST

@ Bill N

Please give examples of "the British reluctance to acknowledge it wasn't just a victory by the British army".

Bill N15 Sep 2020 9:24 a.m. PST

I would direct you to previous threads on this forum where people were arguing it was proper to refer to Waterloo as a British victory, or belittled those who wanted to call it an Anglo-Prussian, Anglo-Prussian-Dutch or other more expansive definition. If you want more examples here are a few that I located from the page one list of a quick Google search: From Independent "That's why it was lucky that it was the British who won". From Yorkshire Post "the Duke of Wellington led the British Army to victory". FromTthe Guardian "Just as the jingoists annually turn the evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940 into a sentimental mish-mash ("wars are not won by evacuations," Churchill dryly observed at the time) so it currently presents Waterloo as a purely British victory".

Lapsang15 Sep 2020 10:18 a.m. PST

Perhaps you could direct with a little more detail. As I recall, there are previous threads where individual posters claim that British Historians inevitably write up Waterloo as a purely British victory. Then they are challenged (often by 4th Cuirassier, and formerly by Sparker) to name some names…and they are unable to do so.

There is also at least one rather famous (or should that now be 'notorious') example of a Historian claiming that the battle was a German Victory, entitled "Waterloo – the German Victory"

And if approximations of Newspaper headlines now count as evidence – well, the first Newspaper reference I found under Google was from the Guardian (again) – 'Waterloo: A German Victory?'

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 10:18 a.m. PST

In which threads on this forum were people "arguing it was proper to refer to Waterloo as a British victory"?

MiniPigs15 Sep 2020 11:56 a.m. PST

Bill N doesn't have to come up with authors who state "Waterloo was a British victory" because it is apparent in much of the UK literature on the battle. Thus, there's no need for British viewpoints to utter a talismanic phrase that the British won Waterloo because that is part of the beauty of an indoctrinated assumption.

Most of the British authored books Ive seen about Waterloo only cover Wellington and the British contributions. Thus, we can deduce where the body of UK research on the battle emphasizes importance by the absence of books and mentions about the Dutch and the Prussians. If we are wrong, then let us know about all these British based books on Waterloo we are missing such as "Waterloo: How Bluecher saved the Duke's Bacon" or "Man, did them Dutch soldiers contribute a lot, let's examine their unit histories." It would be a refreshing list of titles to all the stories about the 95th regiment using their rifles like the Harlem Globetrotters to off French cuirassiers hiding behind trees.

As far as I have seen, the vast majority of British works on Waterloo cover only the British experience and as enjoyable as many of these historians are (And I do enjoy several of them myself) it is an egocentric viewpoint which has the effect of lessening other contributions of their allies and even sometimes the cleverness and valor of their opponents.

By the way, this holds true for most of the Napoleonic Wars, not just Waterloo. A neophyte checking into a British Authors only library on the subject would come away with the idea that without Britain, the world would've been sucked by Napoleon into a Cthulu-esque vortex.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 1:13 p.m. PST

"I would direct you to previous threads on this forum where people were arguing it was proper to refer to Waterloo as a British victory"

But really, Bill- which threads?

I submit that inaccurate or ignorant newspaper straplines (No real surprise there) are really beside the point.

Is it possible that a search in similar vein might turn up examples in the French press that overlook the brave Poles, Bavarians, Dutch, Swiss or Westphalians (etc, etc) who contributed to French victories under Napoleon?

Be that as it may be, you mentioned previous threads on TMP "where people were arguing it was proper to refer to Waterloo as a British victory." Presumably you had certain threads in mind. Showing a sample taken from interested and informed parties would demonstrate the extent of the syndrome you have identified.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP15 Sep 2020 1:20 p.m. PST

Thus, there's no need for British viewpoints to utter a talismanic phrase that the British won Waterloo because that is part of the beauty of an indoctrinated assumption.

@minipigs- you might need to unpack that a little.

I would add that simply saying something is apparent, doesn't in fact make it, as it were, apparent

MiniPigs15 Sep 2020 1:48 p.m. PST

It looks like the first rule of Waterloo Club is you dont talk about Waterloo Club.


Based on 10 years of research, the author has uncovered huge coverups by British politicians, military commanders and regimental authorities.

Bill N15 Sep 2020 4:25 p.m. PST

@42flanker, I don't think you can casually dismiss "ignorant newspaper straplines". If it wasn't for talk like that would we have Peter Hofschröer's book published calling Waterloo a "German" victory, or would we have debated it here? One problem with the internet is that it isn't always obvious whether a statement such as 4th Cuirassier's is sarcastic or serious.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 2:11 a.m. PST

@ Bill "If it wasn't for talk like that….?"

Not quite sure what you mean there: talk like what; from whom?

If you mean the press, when it comes to popular history they are there for getting things wrong. Like midges and nasal hair they have their appointed role in the universe. I don't see how citing their fumblings adds to a discussion of this 'British reluctance..'(etc.) in any serious sense, particularly as expressed on these pages- which was the point you were invited to clarify.

As for 4th Cuirassier, I'd say 'fairly obvious,' – Appropriate emoticon.

Be that as it may, it would be useful to see those threads for reference.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 2:15 a.m. PST

The problem with Hofschroer's long-discredited book is exactly that he totally fails to justify its title. He, too, is wholly unable to cite any source that supports his assertion that the British think Waterloo was a British victory. Literally not one. He likewise doesn't stand up his claim that it was a "German" victory.

The only way it is possible to make such an assertion is if the "British" person involved is Joe Blow off the street, who's heard the Abba tune and been to Waterloo station and that's it. Of course, such a person doesn't know anything about Waterloo at all, and would readily admit it. Anyone who has read one book, any book at all, about Waterloo is fully in the picture.

He and you have also failed to consider the obvious control, which is whether anyone who's not British also thinks Waterloo was a British victory. If you did the same Google search of French, German, and Italian sources, what would you find? I can tell you that if you Google "victoire anglaise Waterloo" (Waterloo English victory) you get a million hits, if you Google "victoire britannique Waterloo" (Waterloo British victory") you get 773,000 and if you Google "victoire allies Waterloo -alliance" ("Waterloo allies victory", the -alliance to remove spurious references to La Belle Alliance), you get 523,000.

So if we're relying on Google hits it is clear that on balance the French think it was an English or maybe a British victory, with allied victory a long way behind either. Do you understand the French reluctance to acknowledge it wasn't just a victory by the British army?

What is baffling is why people are so exercised about what they imagine the man in the British street thinks about Waterloo. He thinks the same as the man in every street. Yet every know-nothing with an opinion on Waterloo starts by asserting breathlessly that it wasn't a British victory, as though anybody's asserting that it was.

Does anyone do this with other campaigns? Do we get people who triumphantly claim that Gazala wasn't a German victory as all Germans claim because Rommel commanded more Italians than Germans? Does anyone claim Stalingrad was an EU defeat because the side that lost came from countries that 60 years later were all in the EU?

I think one can reasonably claim that the British contribution to Waterloo was the decisive one, in that Britain provided the commander whose efforts did most to secure victory. The Prussian army, as in 1813-1814, lost all the battles its ally wasn't at, and was indeed losing at Plancenoit until Wellington broke the French on the ridge. This is all uncontroversial factual stuff and not the same as saying it was a British victory.

von Winterfeldt16 Sep 2020 2:23 a.m. PST

downplay of German and Belgian / Dutch units in Wellington's army for sure, in case of battle field crises they are blamed for that, Hougomont a classic, did anybody know that substantial defenders were Germans???

So in case Nabulieone would have won, an English defeat for sure, Nabulieone wasn't interested in boasting victories against Germans, he did achieve quite a few, but against the English?? There his propaganda machine would have been in full swing.

Also the French speak again also almost only fighting against the English at Belle Alliance, they couldn't acknowledge that the Brunswick, Nassau, Hanoverian, Dutch and Belgians played an ever so crucial part in the battle.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 2:43 a.m. PST

Curiously, in an article cited on TMP today, Robert Bruce (no relation) a former US Marine and history lecturer, and also a declared Napoleonicist as evidenced in his paean to Michel Ney, having referred to the 'Anglo-allied army' until dawn of June 18th, 1815, abandons that term and apart from one last reference to allied infantry breaking under artillery fire, refers solely to the troops at Mont St Jean as 'British.'


'At the forward edge of the battle Ney saw British troops falling back'

'..the British were on the verge of breaking.'

'…to break through the weakened British forces.'

'…not a broken army but British infantry battalions'

'Ney's attack had pierced the British gun line'

'but the British would not break.'

'Ney regained his feet amid the British guns'

'a well-coordinated attack against the weakened British lines'

'At that point the British truly began to waver'

'They were met by more than 20,000 British infantrymen' {no, really}

Interesting, I thought.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 3:04 a.m. PST

@ 42flanker

If I were a woke snowflake I would seize on the unconscious racism there, because almost all the uses of "British" are in a discreditable context: break through the British center (sic), British reinforcements continued to arrive, bled the British for every step they advanced, British on the verge of breaking, weakened British, pierced the British gun line, British beginning to waver, Ney attacked the weakened British lines and captured the farmhouse, and "20,000" British against the plucky Guard.

But yes, it's very noticeable. He's obviously on a mission to overstate the British contribution and steal history, so he must be British.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 4:03 a.m. PST

Oh, now I'm confused.

Handlebarbleep16 Sep 2020 6:00 a.m. PST

I suppose people get exercised by a simple availability bias. Predominently monoglots Brits tend to use English language sources. This leads to the 'story of Waterloo' being told through English speaking eyes. People of that time were not 'woke' and all sides openly believed in national and racial superiority.

MiniPigs16 Sep 2020 6:29 a.m. PST

Because racism haas been brought up.

An approach which parallels and might help expose some unconscious rationalization similar to racism would be the 1619 project. A series of historical studies which seek to partly celebrate African, African-American and black contributions to the USA.

This 1619 project has been dismissed out of hand for several reasons but one of the more relevant reasons is the idea that there is no need for this "revisionist history" because there are no serious authors who put down or denigrate the black achievement in the USA.

While this might be technically true (You wont find serious books saying black people didnt contribute to the development of this country), the 1619 project authors rebut that neither are there many of those authors who underline and celebrate those contributions.

Therefore, compare this stance to the "double dare" about providing british sources that claim Waterloo was solely a British victory. You wont find a lot of that but neither will you see much effort about celebrating the Dutch, Prussian and other Germanic contributions.

In many ways, the various Germanic soldiers of Waterloo are the overlooked African-Americans of that time and place.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 6:41 a.m. PST

German and French writers also use English language sources, interestingly. It's only writers in English who are instructed by the woke not to do so.

I'm unaware of any German historian being scolded for using German sources.

Lapsang16 Sep 2020 7:12 a.m. PST

Hamilton-Williams? Really?

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2020 2:01 p.m. PST

In many ways, the various Germanic soldiers of Waterloo are the overlooked African-Americans of that time and place."

Minipigs- really?

As for a 'double dare' stance about providing British sources, whatever that might mean, the state of play is simple.

A poster, Bill N, expressed incomprehension at "the British reluctance to acknowledge it wasn't just a victory by the British army."

Asked to give some examples, Bill directed us to threads on TMP, "where people were arguing it was proper to refer to Waterloo as a British victory, or belittled those who wanted to call it an Anglo-Prussian, Anglo-Prussian-Dutch or other more expansive definition," and cited some newspaper strap-lines

Bill was then asked if he could specify the threads he had in mind. We are still waiting on a sight of them.

4th Cuirassier has summed up pretty well, I think, the 'Two World Wars and One World Cup' syndrome prevalent in some quarters of British culture (coupled with a history syllabus that tends to consist of "Tudors, World War One, er… that's it' and a belief that British regiments went around with cap feathers dipped in blood), but anyone who is genuinely interested in, y'know, the history, "reluctant to acknowledge it wasn't just a victory by the British army…." as I say, we await examples to discuss.

dibble16 Sep 2020 2:01 p.m. PST


Hamilton-Williams? Really?

If it holds out a redeeming quote to the Napoleon fan-base, they grab on to it for dear life.

Bill N16 Sep 2020 4:22 p.m. PST

That is not an accurate description 42flanker. I responded to 4th Cuirassier's statement which had the clear implication there was something wrong with Germans claiming that Waterloo was there victory. Certainly this is a legitimate conclusion coming from someone who once wrote "There is a certain body of opinion that, for some reason, has a great deal of trouble accepting the critical significance of British participation in the wars against Napoleon, and constantly tries to minimise it. The trend over the last 20 years or so to overstate the value in 1815 of every contribution other than Britain's is the most laughable example. The ineluctable fact is that in 1815, the only army that won every battle it fought was that led by the British commander-in-chief." So I challenged it.

You asked for sources where British claimed Waterloo was a British victory. I provided some, and also said I had seen it said here. That you dismiss the comments of your own countrymen is irrelevant. That you don't want to go through prior Waterloo posts to find examples of what I am talking about should not mean I have to. I shouldn't have to play your game.

Yet since you asked, in the same 2019 thread I wrote "Without the forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Nassau and Brunswick Wellington's Army is over 20,000 men smaller. Without Blucher's army Napoleon can employ not only Lobou's corps and the Young Guard, he would also have Grouchy's troops. My money says Wellington would not even have fought at Waterloo under those conditions." To that the response was "*shrugs* And how does it look for Napoleon in 1809 or 1812 without all his Germans, Poles, Italians and all the other bits?" TMP link Then there was this one from 2010 that I wasn't a part of: "Apart from turning up late at Waterloo when it was all over bar the shouting, the only thing late era Prussians are known is their rubbish uniforms." TMP link That's two from British posters in about 15 minutes of searching.

Two quick searches that you could have done as easily as I did and probably consumed maybe 10-15 minutes total turned that much up. Writing this post took longer.

Sitting on the other side of the ocean I have no side in this fight. I get that "British Army" or "Wellington's Army" is a convenient shorthand for the Anglo-Dutch Army and its Prussian allies, just as "French Army" is a convenient shorthand for The Grand Army of Napoleon, Emperor of the French and King of Italy. When it comes to Waterloo though sometimes the comments seem more possessive than simply descriptive. The few books I read on the campaign as a youth limited comments about non-British involvement to the mistakes that the Prince of Orange made and how unreliable Dutch-Belgian horse panicked and road off to Brussels, with the Prussians showing up at the end. Chandler was the first British source I read that was more even handed.

I am now out of here. The last word is yours.

dogtail16 Sep 2020 9:04 p.m. PST

Does Hofschroer actually claim that Waterloo is a german victory or is he writing about the Waterloo campaign (assuming that 4th Cuirassier is talking about Mr Hofschroer)?

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 1:59 a.m. PST

Thank you Bill for that courtesy, never say never, and thank you for that reference from 2019 (I am afraid the 2010 link went AWOL).

I know I shall be 'addressing the hand' but no matter. I amy as well pursue my line of thought.

You seem indignant that I- we?- should have asked you for examples of the threads you had in mind, and that you had to waste time trying to find some (I wonder what search terms you used).

Your protest- "That you don't want to go through prior Waterloo posts to find examples of what I am talking about should not mean I have to. I shouldn't have to play your game, " is frankly bewildering. What game can you mean?

I think my summary was fair. You made a sweeping statement (always risky) you were invited to give examples to illustrate. This seems to have vexed you. How was that response unreasonable?

Having now read that not entirely enlightening exchange of views from 2019, brightened considerably by 'Holdit's' acute observations(in every sense), I am inclined to borrow his retort :
"I see.. a cunningly worded invitation to do a huge amount of research so I can make your point for you. I'll pass."

I was amused at your reference to my 'dismissing the comments of my countrymen.' You already know my opinion of the press in that regard, in which I assure you I am not alone. That you should dismiss that as irrelevant is your own business but inevitably limits your perspective on the subject. I recognise as much in common with those straps as I would with a Gilray cartoon. I would only add that three hack sub-editors a nation do not make.

I admit, I missed the essence of your objection to 4th Cuirassiers oblique reference to the Hof's book (you yourself didn't seem too sure as to his point) but whatever else he may have opined in the thread you cited, I didn't find 4thC or anyone else who asserted "it was proper to refer to Waterloo as a British victory, or belittled those who wanted to call it an Anglo-Prussian, Anglo-Prussian-Dutch or other more expansive definition."

I saw plenty of paeans to the allied commander at Waterloo, to be sure, and certainly more bile than was entirely helpful in 4thC's thesis on the Prussians (which I confess, not being a student of Waterloo or the Prussian army, I find thought-provoking if overstated); much debate as to the weight and nature of the British contribution to the downfall of Napoleon and, to be frank, moments when I wasn't sure which side we were of the line between rough play and foaming jingoism, but nowhere could I find anyone insisting that Waterloo should be called a ‘British victory.' There was a lot of hot air to waft so perhaps I missed something.

As for describing Waterloo as a ‘German victory', which I understand was Hof's claim, it seems deliberately obtuse. For my money, surely the key phrase with regard to the fight at Mont St Jean should be that it saw the ‘allied defeat of Napoleon.' Any other tack seems to spiral away with remarkable speed into locker-room bluster as to 'who was best.'

Regarding the aforesaid comment from 4thC that excited your attention:

We sure as hell wouldn't have been reading any books about how it was a German defeat, that's for sure.

- the essence of that remark (fairly sarcastic, and I think fairly clear) was that he doubted the advocates of the 'German victory school' would be as eager to own an allied defeat at Mont St Jean as they seemed to be to claim the victory; defeat being an orphan,' and all that.

From your last post, I take it you don't deny that a 'German victory' school of thought exists (‘German' being Hof's choice of words, as I understand it). As for 4thC not having much time for that thesis himself, well, thought is free and he is evidently not alone.

Nowhere in that short post do I see or infer a claim that Waterloo was ‘just a victory by the British army' Surely, 4thC was commenting on the diametrically opposite view.

Whether you agree with his opinion on the latter, is another matter.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 2:05 a.m. PST

@ Bill N

thanks for linking to this thread TMP link
- I have nothing to add to what I wrote there.

Then as now, no sign of any historian, not even one, who overemphasises the British contribution. I couldn't care less what newspapers say. They're not history. I once met an American who didn't realise Europe has electricity. Are all Americans therefore ignorant?


It's years since I read Hofschroer, because why would you? It would be like reading David Irving. But his claims that "German" is a nationality, that "German" participation is understated by British historians, and that "Germans" won the campaign are all unsubstantiated. The first two are asserted but not backed up in any way, and the third is based on headcount and distances marched, without any recognition that the headcount and the marching were mostly involved in defeats.

von Winterfeldt17 Sep 2020 4:23 a.m. PST

Did anybody read Hofschröer's books, two volumes, a history about the 1815 campaign, he did something outrageous – translating so far unpublished German sources, to make the English reader aware of another point of view.

He put the context right, that without the invention of Blücher – and as well as the German troops in Wellington's army – the battle would not even have happened.

To downplay Prussians – and German units is trendy and cool, see 4th Cuirassier – on stifle now – I just read Andrew Field – Waterloo the French perspective, and what did the French say? That the Prussian intervention was the most decisive action in the battle, they had no problems pounding the Dutch – Belgian – German – Anglo Army.

I stated my opinion more often than once and here again, it was an Allied victory and both Allied commanders did much better to acknowledge the support of each other than seemingly a lot of readers have difficulty with.

Neither Wellington – nor Blücher alone – could have defeated the Armée du Nord, despite the serious and continuous blunders in leadership and operational art of war of Nabulieone.

Both Allied commanders were able to out general Nabulieone to the greatest extend and causing a crushing defeat to him.

The rest is history.

I will move on.

MiniPigs17 Sep 2020 4:34 a.m. PST

To continue the parallel with racism it is interesting to observe that sources and authors who do break with a certain orthodoxy are attacked, degraded, marginalized. The bottom line is that these sources are not to be considered ab initio. The supercilious dismissal is a sort of force-field against having to examine the orthodoxy. Many people and viewpoints are resistant to change but when inflexibility becomes complete rigidity, it tends to become brittle and shatter completely.

And it is always the same, it isnt because the author is black and female, it's because it is "non history" and the writer is a journalist or they haven't paid their parking tickets; investigations that never seem to take place when the author provides an acceptable viewpoint which doesn't rock the boat. Never mind that white author who writes well and in a manner that is attractive to the wargaming community is also a journalist, that hypocrisy gets swept under the carpet.

Personal logo 4th Cuirassier Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 5:46 a.m. PST

without the invention of Blücher – and as well as the German troops in Wellington's army – the battle would not even have happened.

Without Blücher the needless battle of Quatre Bras would not have happened, neither would the needless Prussian defeats of Ligny and Wavre, and neither would Waterloo have been close-run, as Napoleon would not have been able to steal a 24-hour march.

Wellington would have concentrated on Waterloo without a prior battle, the Prussians likewise on Wavre, and the French attempt to defeat the allies in detail would have been stillborn.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2020 6:11 a.m. PST



That's me shouting, that is.



Talk about bleeding strawmen (No no please don't!) Manning the orchard at Holy Hedge, I shouldn't wonder.


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