Wellington's Command

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'Wellington's Command' book cover.

George E Jaycock makes a nuanced assessment of the Duke of Wellington's generalship, acknowledging his weaknesses as well as exploring his strengths.

The Duke of Wellington's victory at Waterloo in 1815 cemented his reputation as a great general. Much subsequent writing on his career has taken an uncritical view of his talents. Yet little has been published that fully pins down the reality of Wellington's leadership.

Questions have routinely been posed about the army he led, suggesting his subordinate generals were unskilled and lacking in initiative and that the troops were often deficient. Wellington's strength of personality and military genius are regarded as the prodigious ingredients that generated success.

This talk asks whether Wellington alone moulded these ineffectual forces into an indomitable army. It reassesses his success as a commander, the competence of his subordinates, and the qualities of the troops he led. The events may not change, but how we perceive them can.

GE Jaycock has had a lifelong interest in military history and has made a particular study of the wars of the 19th century. He is the author of 'Wellington's Command'.

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