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  • Date: 18 June 1815
  • Location: Waterloo (in modern-day Belgium)
  • Campaign: Napoleonic Wars (1803-15)
  • Combatants: A coalition of the armies of Britain, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick, Nassau and Prussia against France
  • Protagonists: The Duke of Wellington, Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher; The Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Outcome: Coalition victory

27 comments

Chris Heyland
15 October 2014, 7.36pm

The Major also my ggg

The Major also my ggg grandfather. We have met the relatives at Ballintemple. We are descended from Alfred who was a General serving in the Crimea. Family all going to the celebrations next year. Still trying to find out the whereabouts of his Waterloo Medal but Google only throws up "at the bank".

Roger H Fox
6 September 2014, 2.29pm

Re #1 Arthur Rowley Heyland.

Re #1 Arthur Rowley Heyland. He was also my gX3 grandfather, vis his eldest daughter, May Anne (orMariana) Kyffin H. A direct male line descendant supplied a page to british-cemetery-elvas.org. He will have lots of information. Also try ancestry.co.uk. Barbara Anstie has researched this also. I believe that there may still be descendants living at Ballintemple.

Arthur Heyland
14 June 2014, 2.53pm

My g.g.g.grand father (Major

My g.g.g.grand father (Major Arthur Rowley Heyland) was killed during the final hours of the battle in command of the 40th Foot and has a tomb in the Waterloo Museum. I have a brief history of his life in Ireland, schooling, career during the twenty years war, apart from what's on Google. But would appreciate any more information on his life.

arthur mcclench
19 March 2013, 9.30pm

Drummy 1945: Those French

Drummy 1945: Those French "Grenadiers" were in fact 'Chasseurs' of the Garde Imperiale who also wore bearskin caps which by that date denoted 'elite' rather than simple grenadier status. Not that many people on the ridge that day would have known or gave a fig by that time.

Since, after driving back one body of Chasseurs, the 2nd Bn, 1st Foot Guards had to fall back when caught over extended by another column coming up, it might have been fair also to award bearskins to Colborne's 52nd Regiment who caught that column in flank and precipitated the retreat of the Imperial Guard in that quarter of the field. Wellington, however, seems to have been annoyed with Colborne for some reason.

The Chasseurs were, technically, light infantry. The "First, or Light Infantry, Regiment of Foot Guards"? H'm. The 52nd, of course, were Light Infantry already.

"When the legend become history, print the legend."

arthur mcclench
19 March 2013, 8.43pm

"Waterloo inaugurated a

"Waterloo inaugurated a general European peace that, apart from the brief interruption of the Crimean War (1854-56), lasted until 1914."

Er-
1830 Belgian 'War of Independence. Constitutionalist 'Revolutions': France, Switzerland.
November uprising,Poland
1833-1839 First Carlist War Spain
1848 'The Year of Revolutions: France, Germany,Poland, Italy, Hungary
1848-51 First Schleswig War
[1854-56 Crimean War]
1859 Italian War of 1859 (Franco-Austrian) : Magenta, Solferino
1864 2nd Schleswig War
1866 Austro-Prussian War: Konigratz/Sadowa
1870 Franco-Prussian War: Worth, Mars-le-Tour, Gravelotte-St. Privat. Sedan Siege of Paris
March on Rome
1872-1876 Third Carlist War- Spain
1878- Russo-Turkish War- Bulgaria
1885- Serbo-Bulgarian War

Also fog in channel on numerous occasions. Continent cut off.

malachy cooke
19 March 2013, 10.16am

I believe this expression of

I believe this expression of the Waterloo engagement was straight to the point and explains where we are at present.

MARTINSMITH
2 March 2013, 12.34pm

Baker does put some good

Baker does put some good points but seems to miss the most obvious. The reason the British stood and fought was because WELLINGTON was in command. The reason that the British line was not devastated by the opening French artillery barrage was because Wellington had previously reconnoited the area and had deliberately chosen the terrain in which he positioned his army. By having the ability to position his troops behind the ridge he enabled Ney to mistakenly believe the British were retreating. This precipitated his decision to destroy what he thought was the allied withdrawal..

I find your remarks "Had they not stubbornly remained even when outnumbered and outclassed" highly offensive to the memories of those BRITISH soldiers. Outnumbered yes outclassed? By the way there were Scots Irish and Welsh as well as Allied troops there..

I also find your "Without wishing to resort to a rather hackneyed "lions led by donkeys" style of argument" also highly derogatory to the Commanders and Officers of the British Army that fought that day. You only have to look at the casualty figures among this group of men to see that a more appropriate "Lions led by Lions would be a better representation.

The courage of Wellington Uxbridge Picton and the Colonels of the various regiments is without question. Wellingtons tactical genius also.. You can only fight a battle with what you have and at a time of your opponent or your own choosing. Considering that to be the case. Wellington had the choice of fighting or retreating. Wellington chose to stand and fight with what he had Outnumbered but with the promise that Blucher would come to his aid.

You say that the British allowed their enemy to make mistakes rather than coming up with a decisive idea of their own. Surely in this situation like in a boxing match. You can either go all out for a knockout or soak up punishment and then counter.

karen gorrigan
1 March 2013, 7.59pm

I have been fascinated with

I have been fascinated with Waterloo for over 40 years and as it's the only battle that I have in depth knowledge about I have to say that Waterloo was the greatest battle. I do wish though that voters would get their facts straight. The Congress of Vienna was not as a result of the battle of Waterloo; it was during the Congress that news of Napoleon's escape from Elba became known and 'Ney' was not Napoleons chief of staff. Marshall Soult was.

Roy Hatch
27 February 2013, 5.55pm

Waterloo was pre-eminent in

Waterloo was pre-eminent in the list of engagements because it resulted in the congress and treaty of Vienna, which settled the political landscape for over a mainly peaceful century afterwards. No other battle on the list had such impact.

H C Harding
26 February 2013, 4.37pm

Wellington's attachment to

Wellington's attachment to Assaye reflects its place in his career: having distinguished himself in actions during the advance on Seringapatam he had suffered the debacle of the Sultanpetah Tope affair before showing his capability again as commander of one of three columns in the subsequent storm; but having then been appointed to a senior administrative role in the captured territory over the heads of others through his brother's patronage, the Mahratta war was his first opportunity to show that his promotion was justified and that he could handle an army in the field. Assaye shows Wellington using the lessons he had learned from his previous military experience, using personal reconnaissance and collated intelligence to plan an attack, responding to circumstances to revise those plans and redirect his forces as necessary, and seizing the moment to press on to a successful outcome.

Had Wellesley failed at Assaye, he would be a footnote in history. But his success there, and the new lessons he learned from it, became another block in the wall that Bonaparte's armies battered without success in Spain and Portugal and that the Emperor himself failed to breach at Waterloo, even though (as others have noted) by then Wellington was commanding a very different army. That is one of the reasons why Waterloo deserves my vote - the allied armies may have included reactionaries anxious to re-establish monarchies and reverse the years of revolution, but they equally included people who had experienced first hand the cost of Bonapartism through taxes, levies, and the economic destruction and social disruption that accompanies invading and occupying armies abd bureaucracies.

Wellington put his experience at the service of the rest of Europe and ensured that his force held the road to Brussels until the Prussians could deliver the coup de grace to Bonaparte's reign. Europe has faced other tyrannies since - they have come on in the old way and Europe United has seen them off in the old way. But it was those few days in June 1815 showed that it could be done.

So Waterloo - or rather, the Waterloo campaign - gets my vote as Britain's greatest battle in terms of the detail of the action and the consequences of the outcome. It didn't happen in Britain, but the role of British forces was critical and it freed us from more than 20 years in a state of war on land and sea.

Was it Wellington's greatest battle? It depends on what makes a battle 'great'. I can see why he was proud of Assaye, and Salamanca is a brilliant demonstration of seeing a chance and taking it, but I'd go for another...

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