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"observation tower at Waterloo?" Topic

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green beanie16 Feb 2021 6:28 a.m. PST

I have seen a few drawings of a French observation tower at Waterloo. I have not read any where of one used at either La Belle Alaince Inn or Calliuo Inn.( hope I spelled those right) Was there one? Need your help.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Feb 2021 7:11 a.m. PST

Interesting post here:


Alcibiades16 Feb 2021 9:05 a.m. PST

Thank you Extra Crispy. I have read a lot on Waterloo but this is the first time I've heard of anything regarding an observation structure. Napoleon and consequently his staff seem to have been singularly focused on the centre/centre right of the battlefield neglecting, for the most part, the left flank. The inactivity of French cavalry on the left, allowing Hougomont to become a troop sink suggest a significant reconnaissance failure in that direction.

TMPWargamerabbit16 Feb 2021 9:28 a.m. PST

Could we be thinking of the Brye mill near Ligny here? Haven't seen details on a raised platform at Waterloo.

BillyNM16 Feb 2021 9:37 a.m. PST

There was tower used for surveying, it was there before the battle and as far as I recall no contemporary evidence that Napoleon used it…. just realised I'm wasting my time as Extra Crispy's link pretty much says it all.

Oliver Schmidt Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2021 9:59 a.m. PST

An 1816 book claimed this observatory was built "by the Englishmen", in order "to observe the movements of the enemy":


This means it had to have been hastily constructed on the 17th and given up the same day, which seems to be a kind of waste of time and energy.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2021 1:41 p.m. PST

As above

This is very well documented as a structure built by the Netherlanders as part of an Ordnance Survey type of exercise, well before the battle. It was a temporary structure therefore but noted at the time (well in the distance) and by earlier visitors to the battlefield. It seems generally accepted that it played absolutely no part in the proceedings of the battle, whatever the "legend".

dibble25 Feb 2021 7:21 a.m. PST

dibble25 Feb 2021 7:44 a.m. PST

A close-up of what the tower looked like depicted on a Chamberlain & Co. Battle of Waterloo commemorative plate 1816 From the same artist as the first picture above. Samuel Wharton

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