Waterloo - Manual
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Log of War................................1
1. Loading The Game.........................2
1.3 Atari ST..............................2
2. Setting Up The Game......................3
3. Starting The Game........................4
4.1 Looking Around........................4
4.2 The Pointing Device...................4
4.3 Looking From Other Positions..........4
4.4 Moving The Headquarters...............5
4.5 Recognizing Units.....................5
5.1 Basic Orders..........................6
5.2 Battle Orders.........................6
5.3 Support Orders........................8
5.4 Report Orders.........................8
5.5 Transfer Order........................8
5.6 Strategy Orders.......................9
5.7 Attack & Defence Line Orders..........9
6. Historical Orders........................10
6.1 Historical Events.....................10
7. Aspects of Gameplay......................10
7.1 Troop Quality.........................10
7.2 Artillery Ranges......................10
7.4 Messenger Riders......................10
7.5 Officer's Initiative..................10
7.6 Excluded Game Aspects.................11
8. End of Game..............................11
9. Hints on Play............................11
Background & History..........................12
The Hundred Days............................19
The Campaign of 1815........................23
The Battle of Waterloo......................32
Appendix 1: Unit Strengths..................40
Appendix 11: Army Lists.....................40
Appendix 111: Orders........................41
Appendix IV: Command Examples...............42
Welcome to Waterloo, a new concept in computer wargaming. Unlike other
wargames you may have played, Waterloo dispenses with the rather unreal
"overview" normally given to wargame commanders, and gives the player the
same point of view as the commander in the battle. The commander must
wrestle with the difficult realities of pre-radio communications. and the
effects of orders passed through an elaborate chain of command. The
commander's orders, passed through generals and colonels of varying degrees
of intelligence and skill, are carried out with varying degrees of success.
The commander must even deal with the time delay between the occurrence of
events in the field and the relevant information being relayed back to
The Fog of War
In Waterloo, you are the Duke of Wellington, or the Emperor Napoleon, and
the price of such responsibility is high. Like them, you must suffer the
trials of a commander-in-chief of the Napoleonic era. Your view of the
battle will be limited by the point at which you stand. To see more you
will have to move around. Your battle orders, though written by you, will
be executed by your subordinate corps commanders who will, in turn, order
their divisional general to move their infantry, cavalry and artillery
units. At the lowest level, regimental colonels will make decisions over
which you will have little control.
At each level of command, it is possible that the various commanders may
ignore your orders, either as a result of better local knowledge, or a
surplus/deficit of courage or skill. Finally, all your own orders are
relayed by rider, involving a time delay between the issue of those orders
and their execution.
Waterloo is not so much a simulation of an existing wargame, as a
simulation of war itself.
Spelling Note: Waterloo was developed by Peter Turcan in England. Commands
are spelled in the British way as opposed to the American way; for example,
DEFENSE is spelled DEFENCE. If you have a problem entering a command,
compare your spelling with the spelling used in the Orders and Command
Examples in the rules and Appendices.
Your Waterloo game should include the following: this rule book, a color
map, and one disk (in the Amiga version) or two disks (in the IBM or ST
1. Loading The Game
Before beginning play, make a backup copy of your master disks using the
DOS DISKCOPY command. Put your master disks away and play off of your copy.
If you are playing off of floppy disks, use the DOS FORMAT command to
format a saved game disk. Refer to your DOS manual for information on how
to use DOS commands.
To copy the game to hard disk (C:)
* Place disk 1 in drive A.
* Type C:\ and press ENTER.
* Type MD WATERLOO and press ENTER.
* Type CD WATERLOO and press ENTER. Then type COPY A:*.* C:\WATERLOO and
* Place disk 2 in drive A and type COPY A:*.* C:\WATERLOO and press ENTER.
You must have a Microsoft compatible mouse driver installed before you
start the program to use the mouse with this game. In the game, disk 2 is
also referred to as the Data Disk.
To start the game
* Boot your computer with DOS version 2.11 or higher.
* If you are playing from a floppy disk, place disk 1 in drive A, type A:
and press ENTER.
* If you are playing from a hard disk (C:), type C:\ and press ENTER
* Type CD WATERLOO and press ENTER.
* Type WATERLOO and press ENTER.
* Follow the instructions on-screen.
Before beginning play, make a backup copy of your master disk using the
Workbench DUPLICATE or the Command Line DISKCOPY commands. Put your master
disk away and play off of your copy. If you are playing off of floppy
disks, use the Workbench INITIALIZE or Command Line FORMAT command to
format a saved game disk. Refer to your Introduction to the Amiga manual
for information on how to use Workbench or Command Line commands.
To copy the game to hard disk (dh0:)
* Place the disk in drive df0:.
* Double click on the Waterloo disk icon.
* Double click on the HDInstall icon.
To start the game
* Plug your mouse into port 1.
* Turn the computer on.
* To autoboot the game, insert the game disk into drive df0: in place of
the Workbench disk. The game loads and runs automatically.
Waterloo can run from the Workbench in computers with 1 meg of RAM or more.
To run the game from Workbench double click on the Waterloo disk or folder
icon and then double click on the Waterloo icon.
1.3 Atari ST
Before beginning play, make a backup copy of your master disks using the
GEM Desktop diskcopy routine. Put your master disks away and play off of
your copies. Refer to your GEM manual for information on how to use GEM
Desktop routines. If you are playing off of floppy disks, use the GEM
FORMAT command to format a saved game disk.
To copy the game to hard disk:
* Place disk 1 in drive A.
* Create a folder called 'Waterloo' on the hard disk.
* Open the Waterloo folder.
* Copy the file from disk 1 into the Waterloo folder on the hard disk.
* Place disk 2 in drive A.
* Copy the files from disk 2 into the Waterloo folder on the hard disk.
To start the game:
* Plug your mouse into port 1.
* If you are playing from a floppy disk, insert disk 1 into drive A.
* Turn your computer on.
* Open disk A or the Waterloo folder on your hard disk and double click on
the WATERLOO.PRG icon.
2. Setting Up The Game
Next, you will be asked a number of questions. If this is your first game,
the following should act as a guide.
(i) Human to play Napoleon, Wellington, or both commanders?
You may select either side. However, time is in Wellington's favor. He can
afford to sit tight at the very beginning of the battle, and the
defensiveness of his initial stance should allow you a little breathing
space while you try to guess the French intentions.
Whether playing solo against the computer, or against another person, a
useful way of learning the game is to give the computer control of both
sides so that you can watch how the game progresses.
(ii) Messages between generals to be displayed?
Although this would not be realistic it will be helpful to see how orders
are interpreted by the computer. Answer Y.
(iii) Player to be allowed to view battlefield from places other than the
For the purposes of familiarizing yourself with the battlefield, its
locations and how they are represented by the computer graphics, this is a
must. Realistically, of course, this would not be possible. For the time
being, answer Y.
(iv) Cannons Firing?
Answer Y to be able to see the puffs of smoke from cannons as they fire.
(v) Note on what the program is doing to appear at bottom of the screen?
(vi) Change historical orders?
At the start of the game both sides have been issued the same orders as the
actual battle. Until you have familiarized yourself with the game, it is
best not to change these, or you could end up in a mess. As a starting
point the historical orders are sufficient for most purposes. Answer N (see
section 6 when you wish to change them).
(vii) Save game every hour?
This is a precaution against the computer being accidentally switched off
and refers to a simulated hour of game play. Answer N.
3. Starting The Game With the game set up, you may now turn your attention
to the battlefield.
Game Time starts at 11:30 in the morning and will end at 9:30 that night.
Depending on which commander-in-chief you have chosen to play, your view
will either be from Wellington's start position looking south, or
Napoleon's looking north. An approximate map has been supplied indicating
the initial dispositions of both armies lined from east to west along
If you have selected to play Napoleon, you will be asked if you are ready
to issue your Orders. If you have chosen Wellington, you will have to wait
while the French move first. Before issuing any Orders, take this
opportunity to examine the view, to look around the screen, and familiarize
yourself with the battlefield.
Your initial view is from the commander's position (Napoleon or
Wellington). Your commander is always located at the bottom of the screen
no matter which direction he is looking in. You can see as far as one and a
half, to two miles in any direction, bearing in mind that the entire
battlefield is five miles from east to west, and four miles from north to
4.1 Looking Around
You may look in any one of four compass directions (North, South, East or
West) following the 'Order' prompt at the bottom of the screen. To do this
simply type LOOK and give the compass direction you require. Compass
directions can be abbreviated to their initial letters. For example: LOOK
EAST or LOOK E.
You will be given a perspective view of what the commander can see from his
4.2 The Pointing Device
A mouse acts as a pointing finger from this perspective view. Clicking on
the mouse when the finger is pointing at villages, terrain features, army
units etc, will return names of various locations, the names of generals,
unit types and also the range and direction. For a close up view (if the
view is obscured), just click the mouse on any obscured part and the whole
scene will appear.
On an IBM computer without a mouse, the function keys F1 through F5 are
used to move the pointer around the screen. F1 moves the pointer up, F2
moves the pointer right, F3 moves the pointer left, F4 moves the pointer
down and F5 selects the item to be viewed.
4.3 Looking From Other Positions
If, when answering the questions concerned with 'Setting Up The Game', you
answered Y to option (3), allowing you to Look from other positions, you
will also be able to see what is happening from other battlefield
To do this, type LOOK, the compass direction you want to look in, then
From, and the name or point of location you want to look from. For example:
typing 'LOOKS FROM HOUGOUMONT', will show the view south from the chateau
You could also type: "LOOK E FROM REILLE". This would show you that corps
commander's view east, though bear in mind that when viewing from another
general's position, you may only choose one from your own side.
4.4 Moving The Headquarters
One final way of altering what you can see on the battlefield is to move
your HQ. During your army's movement phase you will be asked if you wish to
move your HQ. If so, you will be asked the main compass direction you wish
to move it to and, having selected N, S, E or W you may use the mouse to
pick out the required direction.
The change of location will not take place immediately. Your HQ will, like
other troops, move as far towards your named destination as time allows.
You will then be able to view from your new position(s) .
Please note that you will not be able to move if you are caught up in a
disordered retreat, or are mortally wounded. For more on movement see
4.5 Recognizing Units
Units can be identified by their different uniforms. Point at a unit and
click the mouse to pick up details of what you can see. Each regiment is
represented as a block of units led by a colonel. Colonels can be
identified by their triangular flags. During the course of the game, units
will change formation and direction. The infantry, for instance, will form
into squares if threatened by cavalry, or guns will be seen to be towed, or
will be lined up to fire.
There will also be individual horsemen, either generals or riders
(messengers). Generals will be carrying a flag, riders will not. Senior
Generals are color coded and a square flag indicates a division, corps, or
You can type in your Orders in upper or lower case. Also, spelling
mistakes, incorrect sentences and semantic errors are picked up. In the
event of an error, the order is left on the screen with the cursor at the
word that the program thinks is out of place. The order can then be edited
using the cursor, backspace or delete keys.
A pattern matching routine will also allow words to be shortened to their
shortest identifiable sequence. For example: the form 'LA-BELLE-ALLIANCE'
can be entered as LA-BELLE, since no other words start with these letters.
There are 7 main Order types available to you. These can be typed in
following the 'ORLlER' prompt when it appears on the screen.
* Basic Orders
* Battle Orders
* Support Orders
* Report Orders
* Transfer Orders
* Strategy Orders
* Defence/Attack Line Orders
In game terms, the Orders that you issue will follow a strict chain of
command, starting with you, the Commander-in-Chief, and following down
through the military hierarchy; first to the respective Corps Commanders,
then to their Divisional Generals, then to the Regimental Colonels.
The Commander-in-Chief (you) can only order their Divisional Generals under
them, and so on. You will see how this works later in this section.
Both players are able to enter a maximum of 8 orders before the program
moves on to the next Turn and implements those Orders.
Each turn represents 15 minutes of simulated game time.
Whenever 'key' appears in red at the bottom right hand corner of the screen
either click the mouse, press any key, or wait for time-out (about 20
seconds), to go back to the 'Orders:' prompt.
The Orders that can be sent to your Corps Commanders are quite varied and
sophisticated, however, there are also a number of Basic Orders designed to
help players. These are detailed in the following section.
5.1 Basic Orders
Look - The LOOK order requires a compass direction, and can be combined
with FROM which is the location you wish to Look (compass direction) From
(place or name) - see section 4: 'Observations' for more details.
Name - This Order will detail the command structure of Corps Commanders of
Divisional Generals, depending on which name is typed in. The names of all
subordinates and the troop type they control (i.e. Infantry, Cavalry, etc)
will be shown, or simply type: CORPS.
Points - A running total of how well you are doing. Points are given
according to the current size of your army, the prisoners and casualties
you have caused, and the farms and villages that you control.
X or Esc - Stops the computer from waiting for more Orders, allowing the
program to move on to the next Turn, with less than 8 Orders submitted,
which it can then execute in the next 15 minute period of battle.
Pause - Freezes the game until you are ready to continue.
Save - Saves the current situation at the end of the next period of battle,
but continues with the game. Players willing to Save the game after every
round could, if they wished, play 'Waterloo' by mail; one player making his
moves, and then mailing the disk to his opponent who likewise issues his
Orders, saves the data and mails the disk back.
Quit - Abandons game.
5.2 Battle Orders
All Orders are merely sentences containing instructions for your Corps
Commanders. These are typed into the computer and acted upon by your units
in the following turn. The sentence that you type in must contain certain
instructions for it to be understood. Battle Orders, and every other type
of Order described in the following sections, consist of 2 components.
For your Battle Orders you have a choice of 6 Battle Actions. These are:
* Stay in Reserve
('Shell' means the firing of artillery batteries, the rest should be
self-explanatory.) These 'Actions' are the commands that concern the
movement and combat of your units. Once you have chosen a desired Action
for your Battle Order, you must then determine the 'Order Conditions' that
will affect how, and by whom, it will be carried out. For this, you will
use some or all of the following available Order Conditions:
* All Corps
Order Conditions determine your troops' targets and objectives. Let us
assume that you wish an entire Corps to move to a specific location.
First, state to whom your Orders are addressed (this must always be the
name of a Corps Commander), then the time at which you wish them to Move,
the Battle Action they must perform (in this case they must Move), and the
place they must move to. So, for example, you could type in:
(Who) (Time) Action) (Place)
'REIILE AT 12:30 PM MOVE TO POSPOL'
When stating who is to follow an order, remember that you may issue direct
Orders to Corps Commanders only. If you want a specific unit to follow an
order, you must first type in a Corps Commander's name, telling him to
Order the unit for you.
The place need not be a named village or farm - it could be a General, or a
description of some terrain feature or enemy force, or simply a distance
and direction relative to one of these names. To give a relative position,
type in a distance, then a direction (one of 8 compass directions) then the
place. For example '1 1/2 Miles East of Plancenoit.' The time of an action
is optional, it is merely when you may want the Order to take effect. Also,
there is the duration, also optional. Its form is:
* 'for (x) hours (y) minutes,' or
* 'for (x) hours, or
* 'for (y) minutes'
A particularly powerful and useful Order Condition is 'all corps',
especially when combined with some of the Order types you will come to
later, for example the Battle Report Order, as in:
* 'ALL CORPS SEND ME YOUR BATTLE REPORT'
There are a vast number of possibilities and all the Order Conditions could
apply to the 6 Battle Actions. But you may wish to be more specific. You
may, for instance, only wish for a Corps Commander to use a specific type
or number of his troops.
In that case, you must instruct him to 'Order' the Divisions or troop types
of his Corps with which you are concerned. Let us assume you wish one of
your Corps Commanders to hold a hill with only two infantry divisions. Your
instruction might be:
* 'D-ERLON AT 1:15 PM ORDER 2 INFANTRY DIVISIONS TO DEFEND 1 MILE SOUTH OF
Remember that it was necessary to use the word 'Order' in the sentence
because specific divisions were concerned. It would be the same if you
move the Division under the command a General Donzelot. Because Donzelot is
subordinate to Corps Commander d'Erlon, it would be necessary to state:
* 'D-ERLON AT 1:15 PM ORDER DONZELOT TO DEFEND 1 MILE SOUTH OF YOU'
* 'D-ERLON MOVE DONZELOT 1 MILE SOUTH', would be illegal.
If, in your Orders to a Corps Commander, you do not specify any forces, he
will select one or more of his own choice. He will, at the same time, be
acting on his own initiative, issuing his own Orders within the bounds of
the strategy he is working in, and any attack/defence line that may have
Here are some examples of a range of Battle Orders, using a number of
Battle Actions and Order Conditions:
* D-ERLON ORDER YOUR ARTILLERY TO MOVE 1/2 MILE NORTH
* REILLE MOVE TO MON PLAISIR
* LOBAU SHELL MONT-ST-JEAN FARM FOR 3 HOURS
* DROUOT SHELL THE ENEMY CAVALRY 1 MILE NORTH OF YOU
* D-ERLON ORDER YOUR INFANTRY TO MOVE TO THE HQ
* REILLE AT 2:30 PM RETREAT
5.3 Support Orders
When a Corps Commander supports another, he transfers his own divisions to
the Corps he is supporting when requests for assistance are received.
Support Orders tell a Corps to give, take, stop giving, or stop taking
support from another Corps Commander.
There are 4 Support Actions:
* Give Support To
* Take Support From
* Stop Giving Support
* Stop Taking Support From
If a Support Action is taken, the corresponding Action is sent back
automatically. So that if the Order: 'LOBAU GIVE SUPPORT TO REILLE', is
entered, then the commander's staff sends the Order:
'REILLE TAKE SUPPORT FROM LOBAU'
The Conditions listed in 5.2 (Battle Orders) also apply to Support Orders.
As with Battle Orders, you must state which Corps Commander should perform
the Action and you have the option of stating the time when it should
Added to the list of available Conditions previously given in section 5.2
is: (Assign Corps) which is the Corps a Commander will give support to. You
may give support to more than 1 corps.
Here are some examples of Support Orders:
* LOBAU GIVE SUPPORT TO REILLE
* LOBAU STOP GIVING SUPPORT
* DROUOT AT 6:30 PM GIVE SUPPORT TO REILLE, D-ERLON AND MILHOUD
5.4 Report Orders
A Report Order requests the Corps Commander to ask all subordinates for
details of men, guns, casualties, prisoners etc, and to pass that
information back to you, the Commander-in-Chief.
The Report Action is:
* Send Me Your Battle Report
* D-ERLON SEND ME YOUR BATTLE REPORT
* ALL CORPS AT 8:30 PM SEND ME YOUR BATTLE REPORT
5.5 Transfer Order
This tells a Corps Commander to Transfer one or more of his divisions to
another Corps Commander.
There is only one Action to the Transfer Order and that is, of course:
To the previous Conditions is added:
To Transfer a division to another Corps Commander, you may type in the name
of its General, or its type, and a specified or unspecified number of
divisions. If you are not using the name of the division's general, you
must indicate its type, e.g.: infantry, etc.
Here are some examples of Transfer Orders:
* LOBAU TRANSFER DOMON TO REILLE
* LOBAU TRANSFER YOUR CAVALRY TO REILLE
* LOBAU AT 6 PM TRANSFER 2 DIVISIONS OF INFANTRY TO D-ERLON
5.6 Strategy Orders
Corps Commanders will operate on one single strategy. This order will
probably only be issued at the beginning. There may also be a need to use
it if things go very well, or very badly.
The Strategy Actions are:
* Change Your Strategy to Attack
* Change Your Strategy to Defend
* Change Your Strategy to Stand-by
* Change Your Strategy to Reserve
* Change Your Strategy to Retreat
Also, if you wish to minimize the level of control a Corps Commander has
over his divisions, in order to take direct control of them, change the
Corps Commander's Strategy to STAND.
* D-ERLON AT 1 PM CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY TO ATTACK
* REILLE AT 7 PM CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY TO DEFEND
5.7 Attack & Defence Line Orders
This is a Strategic Order to those Corps Commanders who are to make up the
front line. It is important that the front line is complete, as it is in
the historical Orders both armies start with by default.
A Corps Commander on the front line is given two places to form a line
between and two Corps Commanders' names to link with at these places.
Alternatively, a flank can be specified that does not require a place or
general to be named.
This Order need not be issued if you wish to use the historic Orders - the
Corps Commander will adjust the line specified to ensure a firm link with
the named Commanders. If a defence line is specified, the Commander will
make the best use of the surrounding terrain and buildings, and an attack
line will be pushed forward.
Your Choice of Strategies is:
* Form An Attack Line From
* Form A Defence Line From
Additional Conditions are:
* the West Flank
* the East Flank
* REILLE FORM A DEFENCE LINE FROM THE WEST FLANK TO LA-BELLE-ALLIANCE
LINKING WITH D-ERLON
* D-ERLON FORM AN ATTACK LINE FROM LA-BELLE-ALLIANCE LINKING WITH REILLE TO
FRICHERMONT LINKING WITH LOBAU
* LOBAU FORM A DEFENCE LINE FROM l/2 MILE SOUTH OF FRICHERMONT LINKING WITH
D-ERLON TO THE EAST FLANK.
6. Historical Orders
Obviously, the Orders you send are the key to the game. However, assuming
that in the Set-up phase you answered N to the question 'Change historical
orders?', then the Corps Commanders and their Generals will have already
received the Orders they were historically given. Fighting will start even
if no new Orders are sent.
If you choose to change the initial Orders, you may enter up to 30 new ones
for either side. The Corps Commanders will keep their historical Orders
unless you change them, so there is no need to re-enter Orders a Commander
already has. Your new Orders, if any, will take immediate effect.
6.1 Historical Events
Note that this simulation represents events as they were in history. For
that reason, the French will be unable to recall Grouchy's Corps which was,
on the day, fighting some distance away, in Wavre. This also means that the
Prussians will arrive in the afternoon/early evening.
7. Aspects of Gameplay
The game works along basic Napoleonic principles. The various movement and
combat results are calculated according to extremely detailed rules,
similar to those found in the more complex of tabletop wargames. The
following are an indication of the more important aspects of play
represented within the simulation.
7.1 Troop Quality
Logically enough, the best units on either side are in the guard units.
Line and Light units are regarded as professional soldiers with appropriate
training, whereas Landwehr or Militia are hastily assembled forces, and not
full time soldiers.
7.2 Artillery Ranges
Artillery Range is about 1/2 mile.
A battery of guns can only fire at a target it can see.
The artillery officers in the field select the most effective ammo types
according to the range and target.
Units may be forced into disorganized retreats or temporary routs, and a
retreating unit can spark several units into a major retreat. Militia and
Landwehr units have a fairly brittle morale, while others can sustain more
punishment before breaking. Some routed units will eventually reform,
though their morale is likely to be shaky still.
7.4 Messenger Riders
The horsemen carrying messages are treated as units themselves. They can,
therefore, get shot, or caught up in routs and lost.
7.5 Officer's Initiative
All commanders interpret their orders. There are 3 levels of 'Intelligence'
below the Commander-in-Chief; at Corps, Divisional and Regimental level. A
Commander will attempt to use the terrain features to his advantage and he
may not obey an Order if he considers it suicidal, out of date, or
irrelevant to the local situation. Corps Commanders have a high degree of
flexibility and can advance, retreat, support each other, and make similar
decisions without consulting with the Commander-in-Chief.
The regimental commanders will order infantry into the optimum formation
for their relevant situation, i.e. forming square when faced by enemy
cavalry, line to maximize firepower, column for heavier impact, when
7.6 Excluded Game Aspects
A few aspects of Napoleonic Warfare have been excluded. These are: smoke
blocking the line of sight, the breaking down of Regiments into long lines
of skirmishers, and promoting and demoting of staff.
8. End of The Game
The battle ends at 9:30 pm. Full battle reports will become available and
the result assessed. You are also given the option of looking around the
9. Hints on Play
One very important aspect when issuing Orders is to be aware of the time
delay that ensues while riders carry your messages to the relevant
commanders, and those commanders attempt to carry them out. If you see a
crisis develop on the battlefield think twice before acting upon it. Be
sure that what you are attempting can be achieved in time to be of some
use. Perhaps the General in command will be able to sort it out anyway.
Don't waste good troops sending them off on hopeless mercy dashes that will
weaken your army's cohesion.
Make your Orders clear: 'LANCEY MOVE TO LA-HAIE' is vague. How many
divisions do you want to move to La-Haie? Unless you want Lancey to make
the decision you'd best be more specific:
* 'LANCEY ORDER 2 INFANTRY DIVISIONS AND YOUR CAVALRY TO MOVE TO LA-HAIE'
Don't use the 'Strategy' or 'Form Attack/Defence Line' Orders until you are
sure of what you're doing. These Orders have a major effect on how the game
Be sure to use option (v) in section 2 - 'Setting up the Game' - which
allows you to see a note on what the program is doing, especially when you
Be sure to fully exploit the 'Shell' order. Units behind hard cover may be
difficult to dislodge without an initial artillery barrage. Don't waste
potential gunpowder on targets on the edge of their l/2 mile range. Make
sure your firepower is as effective as possible. You may consider massing
the fire of many batteries against 1 target. Try to ensure that you support
infantry or cavalry attacks with artillery.
Keep 'Looking' at every opportunity. Never forget that the battle is going
on all around you, and in places you can't see. Make sure you ask for
reports every hour or so.
'ALL CORPS SEND ME YOUR BATTLE REPORT' is well worth giving a sensible
schedule time, say, at halfway through the day.
Don't try to do too much at once. It's very easy to get in a muddle. Set
yourself an objective and an overall strategy, and try not to let
unexpected events distract you from your purpose.
Included in the following pages is some background on the nature of
Napoleonic warfare, the composition of its armies and the tactics they
actually employed in battle. Obviously it will help if you know something
about how a Napoleonic army was led and how it fought. The section entitled
'The Hundred Days' traces the events that led up to Waterloo and includes
an account of the battle itself, all of which should be of some help.
BATTLEGROUND & HISTORY
"Make war offensively; it is the sole means to become a great captain and
to fathom the secrets of the art." - from Napoleon 's Correspondence.
The methods and nature of Napoleonic warfare was, in its essential form,
much the same as previous centuries; the General's maneuver of large,
drilled bodies of infantrymen, supported by artillery and cavalry, wielded
in concert in an attempt to achieve some predetermined objective.
Napoleon's approach to warfare, the one that so dazed and confused his
opponents for such a long time, was wholly geared towards bold offensive
actions aimed at seizing the initiative.
On a strategic level, Napoleon made great use of speed and mobility. Unlike
many of his opponents still operating on the rather leisurely principles of
18th century warfare, Napoleon's armies were no longer dependent on slow
moving supply trains but instead, would live off the land they passed
through by foraging. One of Napoleon's innovations was the 'Corps d'Armee'
system, where each corps that made up the whole of his force was a
miniature self-supporting army in itself, containing infantry, cavalry,
artillery, plus all engineer and support units. The policy of living off
the land, combined with his self-sufficient army corps, usually deployed
within at least a day's march of each other for rapid support, allowed the
formations to be able to concentrate with deceptive speed on the allotted
battlefield of Napoleon's choice.
For Napoleon, every strategic campaign maneuver was made with the final
battle in mind. He fused maneuver and battle into one, and his phenomenal
sense of timing, combined with his attention for detailed planning and a
thorough knowledge of the terrain he moved upon, made for devastating
consequences when he eventually joined battle with his intended victim in
It is often in the system of campaign that one conceives the system of
battle," Napoleon once said.
For him, the concept of all out attack aimed at ending a war in one blow
was his strategic as well as his tactical ideal. Even when he was
strategically on the defensive, as in his campaign of 1814, when the allies
invaded France, we find his solutions to be offensively based. The French
victory of Austerlitz, where it appeared that the French were waiting for
an allied attack, was only an attacking tactic of infinite subtlety, for
after creating an illusion of weakness and indecision, Napoleon lured his
opponents into making their mistakes.
However, though Napoleon preferred to attack, it was those of his enemies
that stayed most determinedly on the defensive that suffered the least
against him as, for example, at Eylau, Borodino and Waterloo itself.
Napoleon was most successful when he goaded his opponents into
ill-conceived, or ill-timed counter attacks.
Of great importance to Napoleon was achieving an envelopment of his enemy.
He preferred, if possible, to do this on a strategic level, with an
independent force arriving on his enemy's flank after, say, a forced march
from elsewhere. This force, if sufficiently large, would preferably arrive
to cross his opponent's line of retreat. The psychological, or morale
effect of this was often decisive in itself. However if there were
insufficient troops available, Napoleon would resort to an 'outflanking'
maneuver on the battlefield with a force that was part of his army's
battleline. If successful, this would have the effect of forcing the enemy
to change front, or to redeploy their line, with a subsequent disruption
that could be exploited. But always, success depended on timing. For
Napoleon, this sense of timing was applied to all aspects of an engagement:
the sequence of initial concentration, the appearance of the outflanking
force, the massed shelling of the crucial enemy sector, and the ordering of
the final devastating attack.
Leaving aside the grand strategic concepts over which Napoleon was master,
let us look at the battlefield tactics he employed. There were three basic
types of Napoleonic battle: the frontal attack the double battle, and the
enveloping battle. The frontal battle was much like most 18th century
conflicts. Two armies faced each other in a rigid formation, bludgeoning
each other with fire and shock until one side was defeated. This was a
tactic that Napoleon only used as a last resort. Not much more than a
battle of attrition, it was wasteful of lives and usually failed to arrive
at a conclusive result, since the defeated army was still able to retreat
along its line of communication.
Then there was the double battle. This often occurred when the form of the
battlefield was divided in two by some geographical feature, like a river.
Alternatively, a double battle might
ensue for some strategic reason, or simply because the size of the armies
made it necessary, as in Borodino where the fighting around the village of
Borodino, and along the north bank of the River Kalatsha was declared a
secondary action, to be fought by Eugene's IVth Corps. Later in the battle,
half of the IVth Corps were brought to the south bank to participate in the
main battle focused upon the 'Great Redoubt'.
Napoleon's undisputed favorite was the enveloping attack, or 'strategic
battle', designed to break his opponent's nerve, and to lure him to weaken
his battle line at a predetermined point. The aim was to pin the enemy
frontally, while an enveloping force stole, preferably unknown to the
opponent, onto a flank. This maneuver achieved, a signal would be given for
the enveloping force to advance. As the enemy turned to face this new
threat, a hinge would be created in his lines. This was the moment to
unleash the 'masse de decision' with a massed artillery barrage against
this weak hinge, and hordes of conserved fresh troops, with which to
deliver the fatal blow and punch a hole through which cavalry could pour,
causing confusion, disorder and panic. The climax would be the pursuit by
the light cavalry, harrying the reeling foe, and assuring the complete
defeat of the enemy.
There were counters to these tactics, of course, and Wellington at least
was able to discover them. For example, a decisive move against the initial
'planning' force, made with all possible strength, would be sufficient to
stop the envelopment tactic in its tracks. And of course, at Waterloo, the
arrival of the Prussians on Napoleon's flank had exactly the effect of an
Wellington, in many ways, was the perfect foil to Napoleon, for the 'Iron
Duke' was a master of defensive warfare, and the dramatic shock attacks of
the French were perfectly countered by the steadfast cool of his English
soldiery. His tactics were of a defensive-offensive nature, in which he
encouraged the enemy to attack. Wellington would then use the confusion of
the charge, or the rapid advance, as the cover under which he could counter
attack. He was a master at utilizing terrain, and commonly made use of
reverse slopes to shield his troops from artillery. Though it may seem
obvious, he was the only commander of this period to do so.
The truth is that much of the time, Napoleon's opponents were only
moderately skilled, and hopelessly dogged by the legacy of outdated
military theories and attitudes. Few came near to understanding the depth
of his strategic and tactical grasp, and the precision of the military
machine that he had built. There were counters to the Napoleonic methods of
war, but they had to be exercised with much skill and cunning to succeed.
The basic organization of the armies of the Napoleonic period was roughly
the same for all nations, with the army consisting of three main elements:
Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery.
The backbone of armies of this period was the Infantryman and his principle
weapon, the musket. The basic tactical unit of the infantry was the
battalion. The infantry battalions were grouped together to form Regiments.
A Regiment could contain anywhere between 2 and 10 battalions, but 3-4 were
most common. The Regiments were formed into brigades and eventually a
division, consisting of 4 or more Regiments.
The main distinction in infantry types was between Line and Light. Light
Infantry were generally better marksmen and more agile, their role geared
towards more mobile operations such as skirmishing. In many ways, the Light
Infantry was very similar to the infantry of the line, although its more
specialized training did tend to give it a better 'esprit de corps'. The
Light Infantry of the various nations were known by different names: the
French Voltigeurs, the Russian, Austrian and Prussian Jaegers and the
British Rifles, for example.
The elite of the infantry were the guard units, chosen for their veteran
status, better ability, or some other distinguishing quality. Guard units
were, in general, better equipped and better fed than Line Infantry. The
most famous of all guard units was Napoleon's Old Guard, the cream of the
imperial army, recruited from men of the line regiments with ten years'
When line infantry was in short supply, commanders often had to make use of
militia units, largely untried formations of conscripts, or reservists,
like the Prussian 'Landwehr' which, while being built around cadres of
experienced officers, consisted of many boys aged under 17, or older men
above 45. The lack of training, and inexperience of such units tended to
make them something of an unknown quantity.
There were four main types of cavalry, Lancers, Hussars, Dragoons and Heavy
cavalry. They were variously known as Cuirassiers, Horse Guards etc,,
although some armies made little distinction between these types.The main
distinction was between Light and Heavy Cavalry.
The most common type of cavalryman was the Dragoon. Dragoons were armed
with sabres and carbines, or musketoons, their main attribute being their
versatility as a kind of mounted infantry. Depending on circumstances, they
were able to perform as Light or Heavy cavalry on the battlefield and, on
campaign, acted as the reconnaissance troops acting in advance of the main
army. On occasion, Dragoons were used dismounted, but this was only a last
Usually the largest group of the cavalry army was the Light Cavalry, the
most common being the Hussars; dashing young men in flamboyant uniforms,
expected to maintain the highest standards of courage and bravado. Other
Light Cavalry were the Lancers, or Uhlans who, armed with the striking
power of a lance, were able to combine the shock effect of Heavy Cavalry
with the mobility of the Hussars. Due to the specialized training required
to handle the lance, they were never as numerous a component of the Light
Cavalry as the Hussars. The chief role of the Light Cavalry was as pursuit
troops, or for reconnaissance. The Light Cavalry was there to exploit
successes, to prevent fleeing troops from reforming, or to cover a retreat.
The Heavy Cavalry were an army's shock troops. The main type of Heavy
Cavalrymen were the Cuirassiers; big men on big horses, wearing steel
helmets and breastplates, and armed with long straight swords and a pair of
pistols. The slower Heavy Cavalry were usually kept in reserve, their
primary role was in battle, where their size and weight allowed them to
ride down their adversaries and punch holes in enemy lines for other troops
The basic unit of cavalry was the squadron, consisting of around 100 men.
The squadrons were grouped into Regiments or Brigades of 2-4 or more
squadrons each. These Regiments either acted as auxiliaries to an army
corps or, as is the usual case with Heavy Cavalry, massed into Divisions.
Although not used at the time, the term Field Artillery is the best way of
distinguishing guns generally used on campaign, from those used for
garrison duties or sieges.
Usually grouped into batteries of four or more guns, there were three types
of English Private - Life Guards artillery: Foot, Horse and Reserve. The
guns were distinguished according to the weight of the shot they could fire
(i.e. 4 pounder, 8 pounder, etc.) or by their caliber. The most common type
was the Foot Artillery Battery, which consisted of six or more guns. These
were the medium 6, 7, 8 or 9 pound cannon, frequently augmented by at least
two howitzers capable of firing shells.
Horse Artillery was made up of smaller 3, 4 or 6 pounders whose crews were
mounted, or rode on the limbers. This enabled the batteries to keep pace
with rapid cavalry advances, or to supply fast infantry support where
needed. Although their range was shorter, their increased mobility allowed
them to ride up within close range of their targets with a margin of
Reserve Artillery consisted of the bigger 12 pound cannon and 8 inch
Howitzers. These were usually grouped into massed batteries and used to
pour a concentrated fire on specific areas prior to an assault. Reserve
artillery was generally placed with the army reserve corps.
"The fate of the battle is a question of a single moment, a single
thought...the decisive moment arrives, the moral spark is kindled, and the
smallest reserve force settles the matter." - Napoleon Bonaparte.
Although in Waterloo your subordinate commanders will be making the
decisions regarding the tactical formations your troops will employ, a
brief word is given here on those tactics, for those unsure of the methods
used on the battlefield, or just interested in knowing more.
The battles of this period were still dominated by the movements of massed
infantry formations. Three formations are of note: Column, line and square.
Infantry most often formed into columns (for speed) and then into line (in
order to maximize firepower). Although the musket was ineffective at long
range, massed volleypower, withheld until the target was within 50 yards
range, could be devastating. To achieve maximum effectiveness, it was
necessary for the infantry to be deployed into lines, usually three ranks
deep. The idea of the third rank was that the men could load for the other
two but, without great discipline, this only led to confusion.
Unlike the French, Prussians, Russians and Austrians, the British infantry
deployed into two ranks, having found they were able to reload as quickly
in two ranks as in three.
The favorite tactical formation of the French was the mobile battalion
column in divisions. Its rapid mobility was due to its narrow frontage,
which made it far easier for the men to line up their ranks. Each column
moved at 150 yard intervals to allow the column to deploy into line when
necessary. A favorite tactic of Napoleon's was l'ordre mixte formation, in
which one battalion deployed in line with two column battalions on each
flank. The line battalion allowed for effective firepower, while the
columns were capable of shock effect. Thrown in front of this formation
would be a screen of skirmishing light infantry. Bigger column formations
would have whole regiments of light infantry fulfilling this role.
In earlier years of the Napoleonic period, the use of these skirmishers
worked to great effect as they harried and hindered the deployment of the
less flexible, linear formations of the allied armies. But in the latter
period, most of France's enemies had countered this tactic in kind, the
British making especially good use of their own light infantry to counter
skirmishing sharpshooters, after their experiences in the American War of
The flaws of Napoleonic tactics were not wholly uncovered until Napoleon
met with Wellington, who had perfected the optimum counter to French shock
tactics. In keeping the bulk of his infantry behind reverse slopes,
Wellington achieved a twofold benefit.
First, his men were shielded from artillery and skirmish fire, and second,
the officers leading the attacking French columns were unable to pinpoint
the exact location of their foe, with the result that they remained in
column until they reached the very crest of the slope. They were unable to
deploy into line themselves, ready for the point of contact. The murderous
volleys of close range musketry that they subsequently suffered were
sufficient to bring the French to a reeling standstill. Into the confusion,
the British were then ready to deliver a rousing charge that would send the
shattered column in flight. It was just this that happened to the famous
grenadiers of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo who, after following an
incorrect line of approach, came under Wellington's infantry before they
expected to. The fire they received was so devastating that it prevented
them from changing formation and they were thrown back into retreat.
When faced by the threat of a massed cavalry charge, the only real defence
left to the infantry was to form a square formation, at least three ranks
deep, and bristling with corners The infantry square presented a barrier
that no horse would attempt to charge down. The Artillery crews would often
man their guns up to the last minute before leaving their pieces and
falling back to the sanctuary of the square, around which the frustrated
cavalry would swarm.
However, infantry that had formed square made of themselves stationary
targets that any well deployed artillery could decimate from close range.
On their own, cavalry were at a disadvantage when set against firm infantry
that was sure to form square, given the time. Wheeling around bristling
walls of bayonets, and subjected to close range fire, the unsupported
cavalry were powerless. Although squares that had suffered casualties or
loss of morale had been known to break, it was not common, especially in
the case of the British. For effective use, it was important that the
cavalry be used in concert with the rest of the army, with infantry and
The main cavalry tactic was the shock action of the massed charge, which
could be delivered in line or column, though column was preferable for
cavalry charging infantry, and line was preferable when attacking other
cavalry. The beginning of a charge usually advanced at a trot for about a
third of the distance to be covered to the target, moving up to a canter,
then to a full gallop for the last thundering 50 yards.
A cavalry regiment in a battle order usually deployed into a column of
squadrons, with a 4 troop frontage in 2 ranks, each squadron following each
other in waves. A regiment with its squadron deployed this way could then
attack in line, in column, providing a sufficient gap was maintained
between the squadrons, or in an echelon of squadrons. If charging in
column, the gap between squadrons was most important in ensuring that if
the first squadron was repulsed, it did not reel back and disorder the one
coming behind. In many cases, echelon was the best formation because it
enabled successive waves of shock to hit the enemy line. The difficulty of
the cavalry charge was maintaining control. If the horses are allowed to
reach a gallop too soon, they would arrive at their objective
blown, and if the excitement of the moment was allowed to get out of hand,
the cavalry squadrons might charge beyond their target, leaving them
struggling to rally when at their most vulnerable to a counterattack.
Light cavalry, apart from their campaign roles of reconnaissance and
screening, also acted with rear and advance guards. Where contact was made
with an enemy, they were expected to engage in pinning movements, inhibit
enemy maneuver, and prevent him from occupying favorable ground. For real
light cavalry effectiveness, they would have needed to be able to change
formation quickly, and be well skilled in those maneuvers that allowed them
to change front and fall upon an enemy's flank. At the end of a battle,
their role would be to engage in the pursuit that exploits a victory,
preventing the reforming of broken enemy units, or to cover the retreat of
their own side.
The heavy cavalry, such as the Cuirassiers, were best utilized for riding
down enemy cavalry, or to exploit gaps created in enemy lines by artillery.
Due to the very high cost of training and equipping heavy cavalry and, to a
large extent, other types, cavalry were not normally used wastefully,
though in light of the unsupported charges of Kellerman and Milhaud's
cavalry this was not the case at Waterloo.
"Cavalry is useful before, during and after a battle," Napoleon once wrote,
"General Lloyd asks what is the use of large amounts of cavalry. I say that
it is impossible to fight anything but a defensive war, based on field
fortification and natural obstacles, unless one has practically achieved
parity with the enemy cavalry; for if you lose a battle, your army will be
For Napoleon, artillery had a number of roles on the battlefield. First,
the divisional and corps artillery had to support the infantry and bombard
the enemy's weak points. Ideally, this would lower morale. Then the
artillery reserve, led by the horse artillery, would be rushed to the front
to commence a mass shelling of a selected weak point in the enemy's line,
prior to the main attack. All divisional and corps artillery would join in
this, in an attempt to make a breach into which the main thrust could
attack. Lastly, in pursuit or retreat, the horse artillery would support
the light cavalry, filling in gaps in the line where necessary.
Napoleon placed great reliance on massed batteries, sometimes containing as
many as 100 guns. The guns were also quite boldly handled, with the corps
and divisional artillery moving in advance of the infantry and unlimbering
at close range with the enemy for maximum effect. However, the weather
could defeat Napoleon's intentions, as it did at Waterloo, where the
previous night's rains prevented the use of ricochet fire, due to the soft
ground. Otherwise its effectiveness would have been far more noticeable.
Wellington, on the other hand, placed less reliance on mass batteries, not
only because he rarely had sufficient numbers of them, but also because his
line tactics required even distribution of artillery throughout the army.
The Hundred Days
The Devil Unchained
February 26th, 1815, off the coast of the tiny Mediterranean island of
Elba, a tiny invasion force sets sail. Its destination - France. With a
strength of only 1,000 men, 4 cannon and his closest companions, the
'Corsican Ogre,' Napoleon Bonaparte, whose genius and tyranny had held most
of Europe in his
warlike grip for more than a decade, left behind the isle of his enforced
exile to challenge the allied forces of Europe once more.
Three days later, Napoleon stepped upon the shores of France once more,
near Cannes, in the south. The previous year, on April 6th, 1814, with the
Allies occupying Paris, and his most local Marshals deserting, or openly
refusing to obey orders, the Emperor Napoleon had been forced to abdicate,
unconditionally, at the palace of Fontainebleau. But as he left
Fontainebleau, bound for HMS Inconstant, the British brig-of-war that would
carry him off to Elba and exile, some had heard him mutter that he would be
back in France in time to see the violets bloom. True to his promise, he
had indeed returned.
'The devil is unchained,' was the news from Sir Neil Campbell, Commissioner
on Elba, and the first to learn of Napoleon's disappearance. Yet the
response to the news that the scourge of Europe was, once more, on the
move, was received with restraint and indecisiveness.
The French people remained calm and uncommitted. The veteran Marshal
Massena, based not far away in Marseilles, made no move, and Napoleon,
taking advantage of the general hesitation, immediately began to travel
north, for Paris and the throne of France. During his exile, Napoleon had
kept abreast of news in France and was aware of the discontent that grew
there. The Bourbon regime of Louis XVIII, newly restored to the rule of
France by the allied powers of Europe, had rapidly lost the confidence of
the people. Louis himself, although well intentioned, was an ailing and
unremarkable man who could never have matched the dynamics of his
Dissent had grown in many quarters. One of the most important, as far as
Napoleon's bid for recognition was concerned, was a peasantry that,
naturally enough, was suspicious of the hordes of returning French nobility
that now flocked to the reinstated Bourbon court. Despite reassurances to
the contrary, they feared for the land they had acquired after the
Revolution. And they were not the only faction with grievances. France's
veteran soldiery had, in the main, been left without a place in the new
French society after huge reductions in the size of her armies.
And finally, the Congress of Vienna, comprising the Allied powers of
Britain, Austria, Bourbon France, Prussia and Russia, were in dispute as to
how the frontiers of Europe should be restored. Into this confusion then,
Napoleon had stepped, and the world breathlessly waited.
The Road To Paris
It took four days for news of Napoleon's arrival to reach Louis XVIII in
Paris, and a further five to reach Britain's representative at the Congress
of Vienna, the Duke of Wellington, causing him to cancel a hunting trip.
In retrospect, international reaction to Napoleon's return was strangely
restrained. It seemed that the general opinion was that this would be a
temporary intrusion into their newly gained stability. Once more,
Napoleon's opponents underestimated him. His former favorite, Marshal Ney,
set out for the south, declaring that he would bring Napoleon back 'in an
All the while, Napoleon was moving inland towards Paris, to face the first
real crisis in his attempt to regain the reins of power, near Grenoble, at
the Laffrey Defile. Here he and his small army were confronted by the 5th
Regiment of the Line, a dense line of muskets drawn up to bar his way.
With typical bravado, Napoleon stepped forward, pulling aside his famous
'redignote grise' the greycoat he always wore on campaign and, bearing his
breast to his old soldiers said:
"Soldiers of the 5th, you can shoot your Emperor if you dare! Do you not
recognize me as your Emperor? Am I not your old general?"
The line wavered.
"It is not ambition which brings me among you," he lied, "The forty-five
best heads of the Government of Paris have called me from Elba and my
return is supported by the three first powers of Europe."
Napoleon's old magic was, it seems, impossible to resist. Ignoring their
officers, the soldiers broke rank shouting, "Vive l'Empereur!" as they ran
to him. French Chasseur a Cheual
Napoleon entered Grenoble to rapturous acclaim. The following day the 7th
of the line acted similarly, and the old tricolor sashes were brought out
once more to replace the Bourbon insignia.
With this moment, Napoleon knew that he was, once more, a force to be
reckoned with. And on he marched, addressing the populace at every
opportunity, and promising whatever would please them; security of land
ownership, new reforms, a new age of peace. He seemed unstoppable. On the
17th of March he was joined by the 14th Regiment of the line, at Auxerre,
and the following day, Marshal Ney, at the head of 6,000 men, was unable to
resist the old charisma of this phenomenal leader of men.
In Paris, the Bourbon government watched its hold on the country slip away.
Napoleon's march on Paris had become a triumphant procession with cheering
crowds to line the way, and every French soldier defecting to his side. One
Parisian wit even wrote an imaginary letter supposedly addressed to Louis
XVIII, from Napoleon; "My Good Brother," it read, "there is no need to send
any more troops; I already have enough." With the Paris mob shouting
revolutionary slogans in the streets, the Bourbons knew it was time to
leave, silently, and in the secrecy of the night of March 19th, returned to
exile in Belgium. On March 20th Napoleon reached Paris and seized power
once more, only three weeks after arriving in France. His reign was only to
last a hundred more days.
War and Peace
France was a nation already sick of the depredations of war. She had, after
all, supported more than twenty years of conflict, spelling a disastrous
legacy for her economy and had suffered a shocking drain on her manpower in
accumulative casualties throughout Napoleon's earlier campaigns -
successful and unsuccessful. Napoleon, therefore, had at least to go
through the motions of pursuing peace even if it is assumed that he found
the prospect unlikely and possibly undesirable. Also, he had to buy time,
for the army left behind by the Bourbons numbered only 200,000.
Potentially, the allies could muster many times that number. So Napoleon
made a number of peaceful gestures, avoided (for the moment) re-introducing
conscription, and attempted a dialogue with the allies in the hope that the
rest of Europe would accept him as the ruler of France.
It is hard to imagine that he was much surprised to find that the allies
were unimpressed. He is known to have regretted returning so soon, when a
few more months might well have allowed him the disunity inherent in the
Congress of Vienna to fragment Europe more completely. With a Europe
divided against itself, he might well have been able to fight the major
nations singly picking them off one by one, as he had attempted in the
past. Instead, his sudden and dramatic return caused them to put their
differences behind them, and to band together into the 'Seventh Coalition',
whose express ambition was to rid Europe of Napoleon forever. In fact, a
full week before he had even reached Paris, Napoleon had been denounced as
Preparing For War
The allies of the Seventh Coalition determined to raise five armies with
which to destroy the 'Corsican Ogre': an Anglo-Dutch Army of 90,000 under
the Duke of Wellington, victor of the Peninsular Campaign against the
French in Spain, plus 117,000 Prussians under the veteran Prussian general,
Blucher, both based in Belgium; an Austrian army of 210,000 under
Schwarzenburg on the Upper Rhine; a Russian army of 150,000 under Barclay
de Tolly on the Middle Rhine; and an Austro-Italian army of 75,000 under
Frimont in Northern Italy. Their plan was simple enough - to destroy
Napoleon by sheer force of numbers. Wellington, Blucher, and Schwarzenburg
were to march on Paris, the Russian army acting as a reserve should any of
the other three fall into difficulties; Frimont was to move on Lyons.
Wellington was to command all forces in Belgium, and the French frontier
was to be crossed by all by July 1st.
On May 3rd, Wellington met with Blucher at Tirlemont. Here they agreed
that, should Napoleon assume the offensive, something they both doubted,
both their armies should concentrate along the line of the Crossroads of
Quatre-Bras, and Sombreffe.
The following day, Blucher moved his HQ west from Liege to Namur. His 1st
Corps, under Ziethen, was moved to
Fleurus; the IInd, under Pirch, to Namur, the IIIrd, under Thielemann, to
Huy; and the IVth, under Bulow, to Liege. Wellington established his HQ in
the Belgian capital, Brussels, along with his reserve. His Ist and IInd
Corps, consisting of a mixture of British, Germans, Hanoverians,
Dutch-Belgians, Brunswickers and Nassuaers were, by the beginning of June,
strung out in scattered groups from Ghent, on the coast in the north, as
far south as Mons, near the French border.
Napoleon now knew that he would have to fight to survive, and that, with
the appropriate propaganda, he could make the allies appear the aggressors,
allowing him to re-introduce the hated conscription, and to fully mobilize.
He was faced by two strategic options: to wait while his armies could be
rebuilt, or to initiate a swift, and hopefully unexpected attack before the
whole of the Allies' might could be brought to bear against him. A defeat
of Wellington's Anglo-Dutch force, and Blucher's Prussians, the only armies
actually operational, before the Austrians and Russians were able to come
to the field, could have many desirable repercussions.
Firstly, a swift victory would serve to anchor public opinion behind him
also the pro-French Belgians were likely to revolt should the Anglo-Dutch
army fall, creating a new resource of recruits for future campaigns.
Additionally, there was the chance that the disgracing of Britain's
foremost commander, the Duke of Wellington, might have led to the downfall
of the Tory government of the time, to be replaced by the more pacifist
Whigs. But in the face of Britain's longterm opposition to all of France's
post revolutionary ambitions, and her position as Napoleon's most
implacable foe, this was open to question. If the defeat of Wellington and
Blucher did not end the war, Napoleon next visualized uniting with the Army
of the Rhine, under Rapp, in Alsace, with which to fight the Austrians and
Russians. Lastly, a war on foreign soil appeared infinitely more preferable
to fighting upon French lands only recently ravaged by the campaign of
1814, which had precipitated Napoleon's exile.
Besides, any student of the principles of Napoleon's previous strategies
could have in little doubt as to which choice Napoleon would make,
especially in the light of the over-extended positions of the Allies, he
knew they would not be ready to move against him before July.
And so, early in June, the first of Napoleon's army began to secretly move
towards the Belgian frontier.
The Campaign of 1815
The Campaign of Napoleon's military prowess in his latter days of power has
often been discussed. Indeed, his failure at Waterloo is frequently
attributed to this. Yet there can be no doubting the subtlety and depth of
his initial strategy at the start of the campaign.
The essential heart of his plan was to exploit the weakness of the Prussian
and Anglo-Dutch lines of communication and supply. Although united by their
desire to be rid of Napoleon, political differences between the two had led
to both armies using separate lines of communication; the Anglo-Dutch
running away from Brussels to Ostend and the English Channel, while the
Prussian went away from Liege and into Central Germany.
Napoleon envisioned placing a wedge between the likeliest point of
convergence between the two armies. If one or both could be compelled to
retreat they would have to move along their own lines of communication,
creating an ever-widening gap between the two. Using local superiority of
Napoleon would then be able to defeat each army in turn, utilizing the
strategy known as that of the 'Central Position' which is, in brief,
designed to defeat two opposing armies which would have superiority in
numbers when joined. A part of the army, a corps, say, advances to make
contact with one of the two opponents while the bulk of that force
continues as fast as its speed of maneuver allows to defeat the other. If
successful, the rest of the army is free to fall upon the remaining enemy.
Obviously, there are numerous variations on this theme.
By the end of May Napoleon had at his disposal an active army of 284,000
men which included many disbanded veterans and returned prisoners of war;
though in both armies, a proportion of these men were unconfirmed figures
of the registers. From the active army Napoleon formed L'Armee du Nord (The
Army of the North) consisting of approximately 120,000 men whose task it
was to bring his surprise strategy about.
The crux of Napoleon's gamble lay in the size of L'Armee du Nord, for it
comprised approximately half of his effective manpower. The remainder, left
to guard the French frontiers, were thinly stretched, to say the least. The
success of Napoleon's plans, therefore, depended on those old military
essentials, 'speed' and 'surprise.' Napoleon needed to seize the vital
lateral route that formed the main communication between Wellington and
Blucher's armies, so as to prevent them from concentrating against him.
Extraordinary measures were taken to ensure the secrecy of the moves. From
June 7th, all possible means were imposed to prevent communication and
movement across the French frontier. The mail was suspended and civilian
traffic carefully controlled. On June 12th, the bulk of his force was
concentrated on a front extending from Maugeuge, and running southeast to
Rocroi, opposite the Franco-Belgian border. Inside a week, the initial
moves of L'Armee du Nord were completed, so that it was gathered around
Beaumont on the night of the 14th. With the Allies having scarcely any idea
of what was about to occur, they remained in their various scattered
On the night of June 13th, the Prussian patrols of Ziethen's Ist Corps,
along the line of the River Sambre, had reported sighting the French
campfires around Beaurnont. Mindful of the support promised by Wellington
in their agreement at Tirlemont the previous May, Blucher, on receipt of
this information on the 14th, ordered his IInd, IIIrd and IVth Corps to
concentrate at Sombreffe, and cover the important lateral road, instructing
Ziethen to cover this concentration and, if pushed back, to retire to
Wellington spent the 13th attending a cricket match, accompanied by a young
lady, blissfully unaware of all that was taking place. In fact, it was not
until the 15th, when the French had already begun their assault, that
Wellington knew what was happening. Even then, his responses were entirely
wrong, due, in part, to a number of probing attacks ordered by Napoleon, by
troops based around Dunkirk and Lille, which led Wellington to believe that
Napoleon was attempting one of his most well-known strategies, that of a
strategic envelopment' aimed at isolating Wellington's forces, and cutting
hem off from the Channel.
The net result was that Wellington initiated a set of orders that moved his
forces westward towards the outer flank, when the true crisis was occurring
on the inner flank. Despite his agreement with Blucher requiring a movement
by the Anglo-Dutch army towards the Prussians, Wellington was moving away.
Yet it is hard to imagine how he could have thought that Napoleon would
have wished to move Wellington and Blucher closer together. Still, if
Wellington can be blamed for Falling for the traps laid for him by
Napoleon, Blucher can hardly be perceived to have been conducting his army
in any less foolhardy a manner. For in the meantime, he was attempting one
of the most dangerous of military maneuvers, that of a forward
concentration within striking distance of a strong opponent.
Since the early hours of the morning of the 15th, the French had been
moving towards the Sambre River, one wing bound for Fleurus, the order to
occupy the town of Charleroi on the Sambre itself. This general advance was
not without its problems, for the army was attempting to advance on a
The worst of these problems concerned the IIIrd Corps commanded by
Vandamme, who, deprived of their orders, failed to move as required, with
the result that to the rear, VIth Corps, under Lobau, was seriously
hindered in its advance. To avoid this confusion, Gerard, in command of
IVth Corps, was diverted east towards the bridges at Chatelet, only to
discover that the general of his leading division, Bourmont, had deserted
to the enemy. Predictably, morale was shaken and confusion ensued.
Furthermore, General de Bourmont was able to reveal to the Prussians
Napoleon's orders and strength.
But to this intelligence Blucher remained impervious, leaving his HQ in
Namur to arrive at Sombreffe at 4 pm, intent on giving battle.
Due to the delay affecting Vandamme's IIIrd Corps, scheduled to be in the
outskirts of Charleroi by 10 am, but who arrived there much later that
afternoon, Napoleon was compelled to send a detachment of the Guard who,
with customary ease, forced the Prussians out of Charleroi and secured the
vital bridges across the unfordable Sambre River.
Fortunately for the French, the Prussians had not thought of destroying the
bridges. If they had, the very success of Napoleon's campaign might have
been significantly hindered.
At noon, Napoleon entered Charleroi, to be joined later by Marshal Ney, who
was promptly given command of d'Erlon's Ist Corps, and Reille's IInd Corps,
supported by the Guard Cavalry division of Lefebvre-Desnouette. "Go and
pursue the enemy," Napoleon told Ney, the 'bravest of the brave,' and
favoured Marshal of many campaigns. Napoleon must have issued more detailed
orders than this, though controversy surrounds the exact nature of those
orders and Ney's subsequent failure to carry them out to Napoleon's
satisfaction. According to an Imperial
Aide-de-Camp, Gourgaud, Ney was ordered to sweep the enemy off the
Charleroi-Brussels road and occupy Quatre-Bras. What Ney actually achieved
we shall come to shortly.
The other wing of the army, consisting of the IIIrd and IVth Corps, plus
the cavalry divisions of Pajol and Exelmann, was entrusted to Grouchy, a
skilled cavalry general who had nevertheless never commanded a whole army
corps, let alone a wing, before. Grouchy was told to push the Prussians
back to Sombreffe. Facing the bulk of Ziethen's retiring forces, Grouchy
made slow progress until Napoleon, who rode forward in person, urged
Grouchy's wing on to greater efforts. The subsequent improvement brought
the IIIrd Corps to the outskirts of Fleurus, where they halted for the
Ney, in the meantime, led his wing up the Brussels road, west of Grouchy's
advance, initially making much faster progress. Prussian forces were
flushed out of Gosselies by later afternoon, but when French cavalry,
probing further up the road, reached Frasnes, they came under fire by a
detachment of Dutch-Belgians from Prince SaxeWeimar's Nassau brigade. An
infantry battalion was sent forward in support of the cavalry but, due to
the failing light, Ney hesitated to advance further. With uncharacteristic
caution, Ney was wary of Wellington's reputation for concealing troops,
regarding the high standing corn nearby as the ideal site for such a
tactic. Consequently, at 8 pm, he halted his force for the night. An hour
later, Napoleon was back in Charleroi where he rested, having been in the
saddle since 3 am. At midnight he rose to tell his plans for the 16th to the
recently arrived Ney. Despite Ney's failure to take Quatre-Bras, Napoleon
had good reason to be pleased with all that he had accomplished. L'Armee du
Nord was firmly in possession of the desired 'Central Position', and poised
to exploit its successes on the morrow.
Wellington, on the other hand, was totally unprepared for the situation
that had developed. He had spent the evening of the 1 5th at the Duchess of
Richmond's Ball, though his presence there was not as entirely frivolous as
might appear. Rumors abounded throughout Brussels it is likely that
Wellington wished to give a show of outward calm.
Earlier that evening, having received a dispatch from Blucher indicating
his intended concentration on Sombreffe, Wellington's response was to
continue to concentrate his units away from the Prussians. He appeared to
think the French attack would come much further west. He was, it seems,
still preoccupied by the idea of a threat to his right flank. Around
midnight, with the ball still in progress, Wellington received an urgent
message. Aware of many eyes upon him, he did not react immediately but, a
short while later, he rose and bid goodnight to those assembled, whispering
as he did to the Duke of Richmond to inquire whether he had a good map in
the house. Wellington was ushered into another room where he shut the door
and said: ~Napoleon has humbugged me, by God! He has gained twenty-four
hours march on me.'
When asked what he intended to do he replied: "I will order the army to
concentrate at Quatre-Bras; but we shall not stop him there and if so, I
must fight him here."
As he spoke he indicated a point on the map soon to be the site of
history's most famous battles: Waterloo. By 7:30 am Wellington had set out
for Quatre-Bras, having ordered all units on a forced march for that place.
At Charleroi, Napoleon considered his position, becoming more positive that
Blucher must retire from his exposed position at Sombreffe and, on that
basis, deciding that it was with Wellington that he must first join battle,
occupying Brussels before turning the entire Armee du Nord against the
Concerned that Blucher might attempt to send support to Wellington by use
of his lateral road, Napoleon decided to initiate some action against
Blucher with Grouchy's wing against Gembloux and Sombreffe. At 6 am,
Napoleon had finished dictating two letters. The one for Grouchy said that,
should the Prussians be at Sombreffe or Gembloux, he would attack them and,
having taken Gembloux, free his reserves to Ney to operate against
Wellington. This he repeated in his letter to Ney, ordering him to make
ready for a march on Brussels once the reserves had joined him. In the
meantime, Ney was to advance a portion of his forces north to Quatre-Bras,
while still holding Quatre-Bras itself with 6 divisions, and a division at
Marbais to link up with the left of Grouchy's wing.
Ney, despite his reputation for bravery and ability to lead men, was not
considered the cleverest of men. For that reason, Napoleon saw fit to
"For this campaign I have adopted the following general principle. I shall
divide the army into two wings and a reserve. Your wing will consist of Ist
(d'Erlon) and IInd (Feille) Corps, two light cavalry divisions and two
divisions of the Cavalry Corps. This should not be far short of 45-50,000
men, and Marshal Grouchy, on the right wing shall have about the same. The
Guard will form the reserve and I shall bring it to either wing as
circumstances may dictate... Also, according to the circumstances, I shall
draw troops from one wing to strengthen my reserve."
However, throughout all of the morning of the 16th May Ney did not act,
despite having failed to take Quatre-Bras the previous day. Unknown to Ney,
the important crossroads of Quatre-Bras was only being held by the single
brigade of Nassauers from General Perponcher's division led by Prince
Saxe-Weimar, who had been acting on his own initiative, and in direct
disobedience of Wellington's orders when he held his ground and opposed the
French Cavalry, before withdrawing to Frasnes, south of Quatre-Bras. In
fact, Ney's force of 50,000 men had come across just 4,000 infantry and 1
battery of guns.
Prince Saxe-Weimar had not been alone in his disobedience, for it was the
Prince of Orange's chief-of-staff, General Constant de Rebecque at Ist
Corps HQ who, after hearing of the engagement between Saxe-Weimar and the
advanced guard of Ney's wing, ordered General Bylandt's Brigade to the
Nassauer's support. It was then that Wellington's initial misconceived
order reached Ist Corps HQ, ordering Perponcher's entire division to
Nivelles, more than 9 miles away. Fortunately for Wellington, Perponcher
decided to ignore his order on the grounds that he possessed knowledge his
commanding officer did not. This act of insubordination probably saved the
campaign for Wellington. The act of occupying and reinforcing Quatre-Bras
And still through the morning Ney made no move towards the crossroads of
Quatre-Bras, obeying to the letter an ambiguous phrase in Napoleon's 10 am
dispatch which seemed to imply that he await the Reserve's arrival. In the
meantime, Napoleon had received a message from Grouchy reporting columns of
Prussians sighted at Sombreffe. Napoleon, unable to believe that Blucher
was pursuing a major bat-
tle in such an exposed position, refused to believe it. However, when he
arrived at Fleurus at 11 am and reconnoitered the enemy position, the
disposition of Ziethen's Corps convinced him that this was no rear guard,
but a force covering a general advance on the Sombreffe to Quatre-Brasroad,
the only road Wellington could use if he was to send aid. Napoleon could no
longer ignore the evidence of the allies' forward concentration. Around 1
pm Gerard's Corps began to arrive, and Napoleon decided to wait until it
was present in full strength before he attacked.
Overjoyed, Napoleon watched Pirch and Thielemann arrive and begin to deploy
and, since he now knew he had more than one corps to deal with, decided to
make the Prussians his primary target and to try conclusions with Blucher
Napoleon's plan was to engage in a frontal attack of the Prussian right and
center intended to force Blucher to commit his reserves. In the meantime,
Napoleon planned to call down Ney from Quatre-Bras to appear on the rear of
Blucher's right wing while the guard tore through the Prussian center.
Napoleon expected to destroy as much as two-thirds of the Prussian army and
force the survivors back to Liege and away from Wellington. At 2 pm Ney was
informed that Grouchy would attack at Sombreffe at 2:30 pm and he was told:
"It is his majesty's intention that you also will attack whatever force is
in front of you, and after having vigorously pushed it back, you will turn
in our direction so as to bring about the envelopment of that body of the
enemy's troops whom I have just mentioned to you."
Napoleon then turned to Gerard, commander of the IVth Corps and said: "It
is possible that three hours hence the fate of the war may be decided. If
Ney carries out his orders thoroughly, not a gun of the Prussian army will
get away... "
At 2:30 pm, Vandamme, Girard and Gerard attacked, while Grouchy's cavalry
held Thielemann. But the Prussians offered stiff resistance. Partly due to
the lack of their orders to emphasize speed, both wings moved too slowly,
with the result that the French found themselves faced with larger forces
than they had expected. Napoleon, with Grouchy's wing, found that he faced
84,000 Prussians and that they were determined to fight. Incredibly, it was
overlooked that Lobau's Corps remained at Charleroi without orders, and so
Napoleon demanded troops from Ney who now, due to the time he had wasted
that morning, faced Wellington himself, who had arrived by 1 pm with 20,000
men of his still-gathering forces. When Napoleon heard of the numbers Ney
faced at Quatre-Bras, he realized that it was out of the question to expect
Ney to bring all his forces east onto Blucher's flank.
According to most accounts of the battle, Napoleon hastily scrawled another
order in pencil, requiring Ney to send only d'Erlon's Ist Corps against the
And all the while, the battle of Ligny continued. Blucher found himself so
hard-pressed on his right that he was forced to draw on his reserves
repeatedly, until by 5 pm they were nearly exhausted. Of the 68,000 troops
that Napoleon had brought onto the field, he had used no more than 58,000
of them to hold Blucher's 84,000.
It was time, Napoleon judged, for the masse decision. Calculating that he
could hear the cannon of d'Erlon's Ist Corps in the rear of the Prussian
wing, he prepared to unleash the guard. But at 6 pm, just as the order to
advance was to be given, General Vandamme arrived to report that an
unidentified column of troops, perhaps 20,000 strong and presumably
hostile, had appeared on the French left flank. A scout's unchecked report
had unnerved Vandamme, and his men were growing anxious.
At such a critical moment in the battle, Napoleon dared not take any risks
and suspended the attack of the guard sending a division of the Young Guard
to bolster Vandamme's men, and an aide-de-camp to discover the identity of
the column. In the easing of the pressure on the Prussian line that this
pause brought about, Blucher struggled to reform his ragged line. The
confusion in the French ranks allowed the Prussians to launch a vigorous
assault upon Vandamme's Corps. Had it not been for the presence of the
Young Guard it is possible that the whole corps might have fled.
By 6:30 pm it was confirmed that the mysterious column of soldiers was, in
fact, d'Erlon's Corps. Another aide-de-camp was then sent to urge d'Erlon's
Corps to its objective with all haste, arriving only to discover that just
the leading division remained, the rest of the corps retiring under Ney's
Ordering another counter march would have been pointless. There wasn't time
for the entire corps to reach their objective before dark.
The situation had begun to stabilize but time had been lost, for it was not
until 7:30 pm that Napoleon was ready to launch his assault. With darkness
not very far away, Napoleon knew that while he could be reasonably sure of
victory, it was unlikely to be decisive.
As dark clouds began to fill the sky, the storm broke. With thunder that
drowned the sound of the cannon, and rain that fell in driving sheets, the
guard advanced at the charge, since the rain made firing impossible, and
swept the Prussians out of Ligny.
The defeated Blucher suffered 16,000 casualties and lost 21 guns. He
himself was unhorsed and ridden over, and was consequently missing from his
HQ for some hours. The Prussian army lost a further 9,000 deserters from
the ranks of its militia, or Landwehr. The strange marching and
counter-marching of d'Erlon's corps that day which, as a result saw no
action on either wing, came about first after Napoleon's demand for troops.
One of Napoleon's aides-de-camp had caught up with d'Erlon's corps while it
was still moving towards Net at Quatre-Bras. Using the convention that
allows an aide-de-camp to speak with the authority of his general, he had
ordered d'Erlon to Ligny, both he and d'Erlon neglecting to inform Ney.
The hot tempered Ney, on finding that the rear corps on which he was
depending for his breakthrough at Quatre-Bras was marching away, fell into
a raging temper. He sent a peremptory order to d'Erlon demanding his
return, while berating another of Napoleon's aides-de-camp who had just
arrived, to such an extent that he forgot to deliver a letter from Napoleon
"Direct your march on the heights of Brye and St Armand (the Prussian right
flank) so as to co-operate in a victory that may turn out to be decisive."
The consequence was that d'Erlon's only contribution was to panic
Vandamme's corps on the left wing when his men, clad like Prussians in blue
uniform and bell-topped shakos, arrived unannounced in the French rear.
Ney, fighting with only Reille's IInd corps, was held to a draw at
Quatre-Bras, a hard fought battle which, by 6:30 pm, had seen the level of
Wellington's reinforcements reach 36,000 men and 70 guns, a decided
advantage over Ney and Reille. Casualties had been relatively heavy, but
not as bad as those suffered at Ligny. The French lost 4,000, the Allies
about 4,800, though Wellington had been given the time to achieve his
belated concentration of men. In overall terms the advantage lay with the
French. Blucher had been beaten, Wellington held, and Napoleon was in a
position to reinforce Ney and destroy Wellington's army. Unknown to
Napoleon, important developments were taking place through the night of the
16th-17th, especially with the Prussians.
With Blucher still missing, it was left to General Gneisenau to determine
the direction of the Prussian retreat, and a point where the broken
Prussian units could rally and reform. Not kindly disposed to the British
as a whole, and of the opinion that Wellington had in some way let his
allies down, his idea was to retreat away towards Liege. Late in the
evening, with still no sign of Blucher, a harassed Gneisenau had to face up
to the realities of the Prussian position. They had already been pushed
beyond the Nivelles-Namur road, the shortest route to Liege, and it seemed
advisable to fall back to Louvain to regroup in the north. Experiencing
difficulty in reading the place names on their maps by the light of their
camp fires, the town of Wavre was the only one marked sufficiently clearly
for them all to see. While the officers were engaged in setting their men
on the right roads, Blucher eventually appeared. Despite pressure to head
back to Liege via Wavre, Blucher felt, for prudent reasons as well as a
matter of honor, that the Prussians should prepare to support Wellington.
As a result of Gneisenau's fortunate choice for a rallying point and
Blucher's determined loyalty to his ally, the Prussians decided to support
Wellington at Mont-St-Jean, 12 miles east of Wavre. But for that,
Wellington would certainly have been defeated on the 18th. But on the 17th,
the following day, Napoleon was so convinced that he had driven the allies
apart and that he had only Wellington to deal with, that he relapsed into a
kind of lethargy for the day.
Napoleon was convinced that the Prussians were retiring in disorder towards
Liege and, though he had heard nothing from Ney overnight, he had assumed
that Ney was in control of Quatre-Bras, with Wellington falling
back to protect Brussels. No cavalry patrols were sent out at daybreak to
confirm the Prussian line of retreat and he did not even think to send an
aide overnight to Quatre-Bras to see how Ney had fared. When a cavalry
patrol was sent out, the intelligence Napoleon received was of a horde of
Prussians heading for Liege, which served to confirm Napoleon's conviction
of a Prussian retreat in that direction, but these were only deserting
Prussian militia men making good their escape.
When word arrived that Wellington was still in place at Quatre-Bras,
Napoleon believed it unlikely that he would renew his stand, now that the
Prussians had been pushed back. The French reserve was within easy marching
distance of Quatre-Bras if Wellington should make the attempt and so,
instead of ordering Ney to re-open the engagement immediately to pin
Wellington until the reserve could move up on his flank, Napoleon issued
belated orders instructing Ney to occupy Quatre-Bras only if held by a rear
Napoleon's slowness on the morning of the 17th lost him the chance of
attacking Wellington while he was isolated. He did not awaken to reality
until 11 am when Ney's full report of the previous day's action coincided
with the return of cavalry probes sent towards Quatre-Bras. The information
confirmed that Wellington was holding his ground. Only then did Napoleon
realize the opportunity that presented itself.
Galvanized into action, Napoleon immediately ordered Grouchy to take both
of his corps and move to Gembloux, there to keep tabs on the Prussians.
Lobau's Reserve and Drouot's Guard were sent to threaten Wellington's flank
and Ney was ordered to attack at once. French Imperial Guard Horse
Unlike Napoleon, Wellington had sent out patrols in the early hours of the
morning to discover the outcome of Ligny. On receipt of the news of the
heavy Prussian defeat and retreat to Wavre, Wellington remarked:
"As he has gone back, we must go back too. I suppose in England they will
say we have been licked. I can't help it; as they have gone back we must
Orders for the evacuation of the wounded and the preparation for a general
withdrawal were at once issued. When confirmation was received of Blucher's
intention to give Wellington his support, the Duke's mind was made up. A
message was sent to Blucher saying that Wellington would stand and fight at
Mont-St-Jean if Blucher could provide the assistance of two corps.
This was the significance of the retreat to Wavre. Instead of retreating
away from Wellington, the Prussians had begun regrouping within range of
Mont-St-Jean, with the River Dyle to protect their left, and reasonable
roads for their march. Napoleon's lethargy on the morning of the 17th had
served to increase the chance of an Anglo-Prussian concentration rather
than to prevent it.
By midday, the British began to thin out and march back to Mont-St-Jean.
Covered by a thunderstorm which made pursuit across country impossible, the
last of Wellington's rear guard evaded Napoleon's pursuing cavalry that had
recently arrived, but arrived too late.
Wellington's army, numbering barely 68,000 with 154 guns, had, by 6:30 pm,
reached the safety of the ridge at Mont-St-Jean. During the night the Armee
du Nord arrived on the ridge south of them, 72,000 strong, with 246 guns
and 33,000 men engaged in the pursuit of the Prussians.
The Battle of Waterloo - 1815
Both armies spent a miserable night of heavy rain on June 17th, 1815. At
his recently established headquarters at the farmstead of Le Caillou,
Napoleon read a dispatch from Marshal Grouchy, indicating that part of the
defeated Prussian army seemed not to be retiring to Liege as Napoleon had
thought, but to Wavre. Grouchy indicated that if it were so, he would
maneuver to prevent the Prussians from moving towards either Brussels or
Wellington. Possibly still considering the Prussians a spent force,
Napoleon did not reply at once. Yet the Prussians were even then, marching
on Wavre, strengthened by their meeting of a fresh corps commanded by Bulow
that had been unable to reach Ligny in time for the battle there on the
The morning dawned clear and cloudless and by 9:00 am Napoleon met with his
generals to discuss the coming battle. Napoleon was feeling confident, in
contrast to some of the opinions expressed by his subordinates who had
suffered at the hands of Wellington in the Spanish Peninsula Wars. Marshal
Soult, Napoleon's chief-of-staff and a veteran of the Spanish wars, advised
that Grouchy's force of 30,000 men be recalled. Angrily, Napoleon turned to
"Because you have been beaten by Wellington you consider him a good
general, but I tell you that Wellington is a bad general and the English
are bad troops. The whole affair will not be more serious than swallowing
It was perhaps this underestimation of Wellington that led to some of the
grave errors committed by the French that day. It would, perhaps, also
account for Napoleon's delay in beginning the battle, although he also gave
due consideration to the state of the ground, which was still too wet to
allow the artillery to employ ricochet fire, or for his artillery and
cavalry to be fully mobile.
At 10:00 am Napoleon moved his HQ to Ronsomme Farm where he dictated his
orders to Grouchy, making his first mistake of the day. For these orders
were neither a definite instruction of recall, or of independent action.
Grouchy was ordered to Wavre:
" .. in order to draw near us, and to place yourself in touch with our
operations, and to keep up your communica-
tions with us, pushing before you those portions of the Prussian army which
have taken this direction and have halted at Wavre..."
The failure to recall Grouchy and the delay of the opening of the battle
were some of Napoleon's most fatal decisions for to have begun his attack
that morning would surely have led to Wellington's defeat, since Blucher
would have arrived too late to affect the outcome.
A distinguishing feature of the battlefield of Waterloo was its small area.
The shallow valley between the two ridges occupied by the opposing armies
ran for some 1,500 yards. The battle area was only 5,000 yards wide from
the Chateau of Hougoumont in the west to the town of Papelotte in the east.
Crossing the ground between both armies, the Brussels-Charleroi highway ran
from the center of the French position at the hamlet of La Belle Alliance,
to Wellington's forward position at La Haie Saint, and over a crest down
the reverse slope toward Mont-St-Jean.
The French deployed almost every man they had in full view of Wellington's
army, intending to gain as much of a psychological advantage as possible.
West of the Brussels road stood Reille's IInd Corps and to the east,
d'Erlon's Ist Corps. Behind these were placed much of the French cavalry;
Kellerman and a division of Guard cavalry in position behind Reille,
Milhaud's Cuirassiers and Lefebvre-Desnouette's Guard light cavalry behind
d'Erlon. To the center and rear of these formations was Lobau's
VIth Corps of 10,000 men, two more cavalry divisions, and behind them, the
Across the valley, Wellington's men awaited the French attack. The Duke's
position had been carefully chosen, with the advantages of the terrain in
mind. The bulk of the army was deployed north of the Chemin d'Ohain, a
narrow road following the line of the Mont-St-Jean crest. East of the
Brussels highway was quite lightly held in anticipation of the promised
arrival of the Prussians.
As was his custom, Wellington had placed the majority of his army behind
the reverse slopes of Mont-St-Jean for protection. Much of Lord Hill's IInd
Corps was drawn up between the village of Merbraine and the Nivelles Road,
with General Chasse's Division from the Ist Corps (placed under Hill's
command for the day) holding Braine l'Alleud to the west.
To their forward left were four Brigades, drawn from Clinton and Colville's
Divisions, in a second line position. The Prince of Orange's Ist Corps
formed the center, along with part of the Reserve Corps. East of the
Brussels highway stood the Reserve Division of General Picton and two
brigades of VIth division.
Ahead of Wellington's main line he had strengthened three strong points:
the Chateau of Hougoumont garrisoned by troops from the Guards Division,
plus some Nassauers, some Luneburgers and Hanoverians; La Haie Saint by a
detachment of the King's German Legion, with
part of the 95th Regiment manning a sandpit a little to the north and west
of the Brussels highway; and the area of Papelotte, La Haie, and
Frischermont manned by part of Perponcher's division, the Nassau Brigade
commanded by Prince Saxe-Weimar. The purpose of these defensive outposts
was to break up any French advance.
As with Napoleon and Grouchy, Wellington had a large force that did no
enter the day's battle, 17,000 men and 30 guns under Prince Frederick
stationed 10 miles west of the battlefield. These were placed as a
precaution against any attempt by Napoleon to strike westward, though when
battle was joined it was an oversight on Wellington's part not to recall
Thus both armies deployed. And at 11:00 am, after a tour of the French army,
Napoleon issued his general order of attack. Surprisingly, given Napoleon's
proven skills as a tactician, it was a relatively unsophisticated plan of
the frontal attack variety.
A number of initial diversionary attacks were planned, to be followed by a
single massive offensive. No provision was made for the appearance of the
Prussians, and the actual handling of Napoleon's plans was entrusted to
Marshal Ney, whose performance in the previous days of the campaign had
shown him to be unreliable in command.
Nevertheless, at 11:30 am the first cannon bombardment thundered in support
of Prince Jerome's division of Reille's IInd Corps, the first of Napoleon's
intended feints. The attack was directed at Hougoumont. Infantry in the
woods and orchard around the buildings were driven back, but the attack
faltered at the stone perimeter walls, manned by just 4 companies of the
Guards Brigade. Despite the fact that this was meant only as a diversionary
attack, Prince Jerome, Napoleon's brother, determined to take his objective
regardless of cost. Jerome was, perhaps unsuccessfully, trying to emulate
the military reputation of his brother, for, against the advice of his
staff, he then launched a series of desperate assaults against the strong
allied position. Enraged at the stiff resistance of the defenders, Jerome
proceeded to call up more reinforcements. Eventually, much of Reille's
Corps were to be tied up there.
This serious tactical error threatened French success from the outset, for
although Wellington released successive units of the Coldstrearn Guards to
reinforce Hougoumont, he resisted the temptation to commit his reserve to
the support of the Chateau and thus his general disposition was not
affected, while most of Reille's Corps were tied down for the rest of the
Meanwhile, Napoleon was massing an 80 gun battery to the front of his front
center, ready to blast a hole in the Allied center before d'Erlon's Corps
began the frontal assault. The battery opened fire at 1:00 pm, though
without causing sufficient damage, since the soft earth prevented ricochet
fire and much of Wellington's force was protected by the reverse slopes of
the Mont-St-Jean ridge.
While d'Erlon's Corps formed, Napoleon sighted movement north-east of the
battlefield. There were suggestions that it might be Grouchy, but these
hopes were soon dashed by the information of a cavalry patrol. It was soon
realized that the Prussians were indeed headed for the battle. Instead,
Lobau's Corps and the cavalry of Domont and Subservie were ordered to guard
the French right flank.
At 1:30 pm the French drums beat the 'pass de charge' and d'Erlon's entire
corps of four divisions advanced up the ridge towards Wellington's left
center. Despite the usual French tactic of preceding an infantry attack
with a cavalry attacked aimed at forcing the enemy infantry into squares
that lessened its frontal firepower, almost no cavalry support was ordered.
In the face of devastating artillery fire the French moved doggedly on,
Durutte capturing Papelotte and Frischermont on the right of the advance,
and to the left, Quiot's division surrounding a detachment of troops of the
King's German Legion at La Haie Saint. This was the only sector of the
French assault to have cavalry support, and when Wellington moved a
battalion of Luneberg militia men in support of La Haie Saint, they were
caught by a regiment of French cuirassiers and smashed.
In the center, Donzelot and Marcognet's Divisions crested the ridge,
routing a unit of Belgians and forcing the British to evacuate the sandpit.
If adequate cavalry support had been allocated to the attack, Wellington
might have been smashed with this first onslaught as Napoleon had intended.
Even without this support, the situation was critical.
Then brigades from Picton's Division advanced to meet the threat. Only
3,000 strong and faced by two divisions of d'Erlon's Corps (some 10,000
men), it was a desperate moment, and though Picton was killed, the defence
All the while, Wellington watched as the French became more disordered as
they pressed their attack. At precisely the right moment he launched a
charge of heavy cavalry, wreaking havoc amongst the French. First came the
Household Cavalry led by Lord Uxbridge, crashing into the Cuirassiers,
still reforming after their charge against the Lunebergers, and on into the
infantry sending the cuirassiers and part of Quiot's infantry into flight.
Riding hard behind came Ponsonby's Union Brigade, so-called because it
comprised the Scots Greys, the Innerskillings and the Royal Dragoons. The
first ranks of the cavalry forced their way into the midst of Donzelot and
Marcognet's stunned men, sending them reeling, some fleeing, some doggedly
fighting on as they retreated. All this was too much for the Scots Greys,
meant to wait in a supporting role, and they rode forward passing the 92nd
Highlanders of Picton's Division. They greeted them with a cry of "Hurrah,
92nd! Scotland forever!", and some grabbed hold of the stirrups to be borne
into the fray.
Gathering speed, the horsemen rode headlong at the French, shattering the
divisions of Marcognet and Donzelot. Napoleon's first attack had foundered.
The Greys, carried away by their success, were deaf to calls for them to
rally, carrying on across the valley to charge the French gun batteries,
silencing 30 guns, and on into the heart of Napoleon's position. Out of
formation, their horses blown, the Greys failed to rally in time and were
attacked by French cuirassiers, who cut them to pieces.
Wellington had, however, survived the first Feat crisis of the day.
By mid-afternoon, apart from the bitter fighting around Hougoumont, the
action slackened. Then the French re-opened their bombardment, causing
Wellington to order his troops back behind the protection of the reverse
slopes in response to mounting casualties. Ney, mistaking the movement for
a withdrawal, rashly decided on a bold move, ordering a brigade of
Milhaud's cuirassiers to
charge. But what began as a small cavalry charge escalated into a major
engagement. as more and more cavalry, many without orders, were drawn into
the attack. Lefebvre-Desnouettes followed Milhaud's corps and soon 5,000
cavalry went sweeping up the ridge. Wellington looked on, astonished. Not
only did this move obscure part of the great French battery's line of fire
but also Ney, in his haste, had neglected to order up infantry and horse
Wellington formed his infantry into 20 battalion squares in echelon. As the
resplendent cuirassiers mounted the crest they were greeted by the grim
spectacle of the allied infantry squares, tightly packed with bristling
bayonets. In the path of the approaching cavalry, the allied infantry fired
a constant and deadly cannonade upon their unforgettable target, waiting
until the last moment before the gunners retreated to the safety of their
squares. The cavalry hurled themselves at the squares, only to be repulsed
by volleys of muskets at short range. Again and again, the cavalry came at
them, each time to be repulsed and fired upon by the artillery as they
retired and formed for another charge.
As British losses mounted, Wellington could be seen moving from square to
square encouraging the men and urging them to stand firm. Conditions within
the squares became unbearable, with piles of dead and dying, and
suffocating smoke. But the French could not break them.
Napoleon, from his new command post near La Belle Alliance, regarded these
events with concern, saying: "This is a premature movement that may lead to
In order to extricate the 40 squadrons already in action, Napoleon saw no
option but to commit the remaining French cavalry in an attempt to break
Wellington before Blucher arrived in force. By 5:00 pm 10,000 cavalry
charged over the ridge only to be turned by intense defensive fire.
Realizing at last that he needed infantry support, Ney, who by now had lost
4 horses killed under fire, galloped back to Hougoumont, where 8,000 men,
the one and a half divisions not tied down by the fighting around the
Chateau, were led into the fray. By now the cavalry was a spent force and
the infantry, greeted by a mass of Allied infantry and artillery fire, lost
1,500 men in ten minutes, understandably retiring.
Napoleon moved up and down the line of his tiring men, regarding
Wellington's positions. Once more he saw how vital the position of La Haie
Saint was and ordered Ney to take it. Just after 6:00 pm Ney advanced with
reformed units from Donzelot's division, some cavalry and a handful of
Finally using the correct tactical method, he was successful, and the
farmhouse, its adjoining buildings and the sandpit, fell into his hands.
From here, Ney was able to site a battery only 300 yards from the Allied
center and unleashed a devastating barrage. A dangerous gap appeared in
Wellington's line and Ney appealed to Napoleon to
send up more infantry to exploit his considerable gains.
Wellington faced the second and greatest crisis of the day, for his center
But Napoleon's attention was focused or Lobau's desperate holding action
against the Prussians, who were entering the field in ever growing numbers
and were now threatening to encircle him.
Already Napoleon had committed the Young Guard to aid the outnumbered
Lobau, who had pushed the Prussians out of Plancenoit only to be routed in
turn. Napoleon had to think carefully. His final reserve, 8 untouched
battalions of the Old Guard and 6 of the Middle Guard, were all the
infantry he had left. Both Lobau and Ney were calling for aid, Ney claiming
that he needed only 6 or 7 of these battalions to clinch victory. But the
previous errors of the day had done little to convince Napoleon of Ney's
judgement and, accordingly, 11 Guard battalions were sent east to form a
line of defensive squares facing Plancenoit and shielding the whole right
flank. Two more were then sent to retake Plancenoit, leaving only one to
guard the HQ. Ney watched as his chance of victory began to ebb away, while
the 2 battalions of the Old Guard seized Plancenoit, forcing 14 battalions
of Prussians to retreat.
The Young Guard re-occupied Plancenoit and, though the two Old Guard
battalions were eventually forced back, the French right flank stabilized
and several Guard battalions were recalled to the reserve.
For Wellington, the situation in his fragmenting center was growing worse.
The chance of victory was quickly passing when Napoleon returned his
attention to the center. With 9 battalions of the
Imperial Guard returned to him, Napoleon decided to make one last desperate
attempt to break Wellington. At 7:00 pm the Guard advanced. But by now
Wellington had received support from Ziethen's Prussian corps on his left,
allowing him to draw other units into his weakened center.
Wellington knew the coming assault must fall between Hougoumont and La Haie
Saint and he carefully adjusted his positions. His battle line, four ranks
deep, took what cover it could from the French artillery and waited.
One of military history's most celebrated events was about to take place.
At 7:30 pm the Guard approached. One battalion had been left as Napoleon's
bodyguard, two battalions faced west to create a defensive flank, while the
remainder marched impressively into the gathering dusk. As each part of the
attack crested the slope in turn it encountered a fierce reception. Near La
Haie Saint the Ist/IIIrd Grenadiers defeated a contingent of Brunswick
troops only to be halted and decimated by Allied artillery and General
Chasse's musket fire. Further west the French IVth Grenadiers and VIIIrd
Chasseurs succeeded in winning the crest of the ridge, where Maitland's
Guards Brigade waited, lying behind a low bank.
When the tall, red plumed bearskin helmets of the Guard appeared over the
top of the hill, Wellington called out, "Now Maitland! Now is your time!"
With that, the British Guards rose and loosed a hail of fire into the
astonished faces of the French elite. Forced to fall back, the stunned
Imperial Guard were chased from the ridge by a well-timed bayonet charge.
At the foot of the hill the French Guard reformed and advanced up the hill
again. Once more the British troops were ready. As the French crested the
slope, they found Adam's Light Brigade drawn up behind a screen of high
As the firing began, the 52nd Regiment turned and occupied a parallel line
to the French approach, sending a company forward to snipe at the column's
flank. The French halted to retaliate and lost their momentum. Disordered
by another volley of fire and another bayonet charge, the Guard fled for
the first time in its history.
Retreating in disorder and harried by cavalry, panic seized the remainder
of Napoleon's forces. Wellington ordered a general advance and the cheering
Allied forces fell upon the dazed ranks as more and more Prussians poured
onto the field of the Armee du Nord. The cohesion of the French army
snapped and unit after unit dissolved into a swarm of fugitives. The
victory had been won.
Napoleon did all he could to check the panic but the situation was out of
hand. Forming 3 squares from the shattered and retreating column of the Old
Guard, he attempted to cover the flight of his army. But the fleeing troops
pressed against the squares, forcing them to withdraw once more. The Old
Guard continued to cover the flight of the French army and of Napoleon
himself and, when called to surrender, refused several times, and
eventually were shot down.
"A damned near-run thing" Wellington called it. He and Blucher, whose
belated arrival had been the guarantee of success, met at 9:00 pm at the
aptly named La Belle Alliance.
French casualties were estimated at 25,000 killed and seriously wounded.
The Allies lost 15,000 on Mont-St-Jean, and more than 7,000 of the 45,000
Prussians that were eventually involved in the battle were also lost.
Napoleon reached Paris on the 21st of June, and the following day,
abdicated. Hoping to escape to the United States of America for sanctuary,
Napoleon set out for Rochefort where he believed a French frigate waited at
his disposal. On arrival, he found a British Navy squadron off the port. In
the days that followed, many plans and schemes were discussed, but after
being warned that the returned Louis XVIII had ordered his arrest, Napoleon
agreed to board HMS Bellerepheron and threw himself on the charity of the
British Prince Regent, still hoping to the last that his adversaries would
allow him to sail to America or settle in England.
The Prince Regent and the government of Lord Liverpool felt otherwise,
however, and before long Napoleon was bound for the remote island of St.
Helena in the South Atlantic, where he remained until his death in 1821.
Appendix I: Unit Strengths
Unit strengths are as follows:
1 Infantry Regiment 1000 men
Cavalry Brigade 600 horsemen
1 Artillery Brigade 400 crew and 16 guns
Prussian Brigades are approximately the size of British or French
Divisions. The terms Regiment and Brigade can be applied to Infantry or
The Prussian Landwehr are the equivalent of Militia.
Note: If you are familiar with the events of Waterloo you may notice the
absence of Marshal Ney on the French Army List. Those wishing to play the
French are possibly quite relieved! Since Napoleon gave Ney the role of
battlefield commander, charged with acting out Napoleon's commands, he
might possibly be leading any French units into battle. He has not been
listed as any particular Corps commander, to reflect his semi-independent
status as Napoleons righthand, as it were.
Appendix II: Army Lists
FRENCH ARMY - COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF: NAPOLEON
Ist Corps - d'Erlon
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Quiot Ist Infantry 4 Line Regiments
Donzelot IInd Infantry 3 Line 2 Light Regiments
Marcognet IIIrd Infantry 4 Line Regiments
Durutte IVth Infantry 4 Line Regiments
Jacquinot Ist Cavalry 2 Light Brigades
Desales Corps Artillery 2 Foot 1 Horse Batteries
IInd Corps - Reille
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Bachelu Vth Infantry 4 Line Regiments
Jerome VIth Infantry 3 Line 4 Light Regiments
Foy IXth Infantry 3 Line 2 Light Regiments
Pire IInd Cavalry 3 Light Brigades
Pelletier Corps Artillery 2 Foot Batteries
VIth Corps - Lobau
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Simmer XIXth Infantry 4 Line Regiments
Jeanin XXth Infantry 3 Line 1 Light Regiments
Domon IIIrd Cavalry 2 Light Brigades
Subervie Vth Cavalry 2 Light Brigades
Noury Corps Artillery 2 Foot 1 Horse Batteries
IIIrd Reserve Cavalry Corps - Kellerman
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Lhernier XIth Cavalry 3 Heavy Brigades
d'Hurbal XIIth Cavalry 3 Heavy Brigades
Tancarville Corps Artillery 1 Horse Battery
IVth Reserve Cavalry Corps - Milhaud
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Alphonse XIIIth Cavalry 3 Heavy Brigades
Delort XIVth Cavalry 2 Heavy Brigades
Chasseriau Corps Artillery 1 Horse Battery
Imperial Guard - Drouot
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Duhesme Young Guard 4 Guard Regiments
Friant Grenadier 4 Guard Regiments
Morand Chasseur 4 Guard Regiments
Leleovre Light Cavalry 3 Guard Regimems
Guyot Heavy Cavalry 3 Guard Regiments
Saint-Maurice Guard Artillery 4 Foot 2 Horse Batteries
ALLIED ARMY - COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF: WELLINGTON
Ist Corps - Orange
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Cooke Ist Infantry 3 Guard Regiments
Alten IIIrd Infantry 6 Line 1 Light Regiments
Perponcher IInd Dutch-Belgian 4 Line 1 Light 2 Militia
Chasse IIIrd Dutch-Belgian 2 Line 1 Light 3 Militia
Macdonnel Hougoumont 2 Guard 2 Line Regiments
Gunkel Corps Artillery 3 Foot Batteries
IInd Corps - Hill
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Clinton IInd Infantry 3 Line 2 Light 2 Militia
Churchill IVth Infantry 1 Line 1 Light
Egerton Corps Artillery 1 Foot Battery
Army Reserve Corps - Lancey
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Picton Vth Infantry 4 Line 2 Militia
Lambert VIth Infantry 2 Line 3 Militia
Kruse Nassai Contingent 2 Line 1 Militia
Offermans Brunswick 2 Line 2 Light 1 Guard
Cramm Brunswick Cavalry 1 Light Brigade
Wood Reserve Artillery 2 Foot 1 Horse Battery
Cavalry Corps - Uxbridge
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Somerset Ist Cavalry Brigade 2 Guard Regiments
Ponsonby IInd Cavalry Brigade 2 Heavy Regiments
Dornberg IIIrd Cavalry Brigade 2 Light Regiments
Vandeleur IVth Cavalry Brigade 2 Light Regiments
Grant Vth Cavalry Brigade 2 Light Regiments
Vivian VIth Cavalry Brigade 3 Light Regiments
Arenschildt VIIth Cavalry Brigade 2 Light Regiments
Estorff Hanoverian Brigade 1 Light Regiment
Collaert Dutch-Belgian 4 Light 2 Heavy Regiments
MacDonald Corps Artillery 3 Norse Batteries
PRUSSIAN ARMY - COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF: BLUCHER
Ist Corps - Ziethen
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Steinmetz Ist Infantry 2 Line 1 Light Regiments
Treskow Ist Cavalry 3 Light Regiments
Hollzendorff Corps Artillery 1 Foot 1 Horse Battery
IInd Corps - Pirch
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Tippelskirsch Vth Infantry 2 Landwehr 3 Light
Brause VIIth Infantry 2 Landwehr Regiments
Bose VIIIth Infantry 2 Landwehr 4 Light
Sohr IInd Cavalry 2 Light Regiments
Rohl Corps Artillery 1 Foot Banery
IVth Corps - Bulow
GENERAL DIVISION COMPOSITION
Hake XIIIth Infantry 4 Landwehr 2 Light
Funck XIVth Infantry 5 Landwehr 2 Light
Losthin XVth Infantry 4 Landwehr 2 Light
Hiller XVIth Infantry 4 Landwehr 2 Light
Schwerin Ist Cavalry 3 Light Regiments
Waltzdorf IInd Cavalry 1 Light Regiment
Sydow IIIrd Cavalry 3 Landwehr Cavalry
Appendix III: Orders
LOOK Look (direction)
NAME Command structure of named commander or type: CORPS
X-ESC Advance game with less than 8 Orders entered
Stay in Reserve
Give Support To
Take Support From
Stop Taking Support From
Stop Giving Support To
Send Me Your Battle Report
Change Your Strategy To: Attack/Delend/Standby
Who Name of Corps Commander being addressed
Time When order takes effect (optional)
Place Village/farm/terrain feature/enemy
Assign Corps The 1 or more corps to receive support
All Corps All Corps to perform Order
Division Name or type of division Linking with East/West Flank Joining
of Front line units in attack/defence line
Note: On an IBM computer without a mouse the function keys F1 through F5
are used to move the pointer around the screen. F1 moves the pointer up F2
moves the pointer right F3 moves the pointer left F4 moves the pointer down
and F5 selects the item to be viewed.
* DROUOT MOVE TO LA-HAIE
* DROUOT ORDER GUYOT TO MOVE TO LA-HAIE
* DROUOT ORDER GUYOT TO MOVE 1/2 MILE NORTH OF DESALES
* DROUOTAT 12:30 PM ORDER GUYOT TO MOVE TO LA-HAIE
* DROUOT ORDER 2 DIVISIONS OF INFANTRY TO MOVE TO LA-HAIE
* DROUOT ORDER YOUR ARTILLERY TO MOVE TO LA-HAIE
* DROUOT ORDER YOUR INFANTRY AND YOUR CAVALRY TO MOVE TO LA-HAIE
* DROUOT ORDER GUYOT TO ATTACK HOUGOUMONT
* DROUOT ORDER GUYOT TO ATTACK THE ENEMY INFANTRY 1/2 MILE NE OF HOUGOUMONT
* DROUOT ORDER FRIANT TO DEFEND 1/2 MILE NE OF HOUGOUMONT
* REILLE AT 12 PM ORDER PELLETIER TO SHELL HOUGOUMONT FOR 2 HOURS
* DROUOT ORDER GUYOT TO STAY IN RESERVE AT LA-BELLE-ALLIANCE
* DROUOT ORDER GUYOT TO STAY IN RESERVE 1 MILE SOUTH OF LA-HAIE
* DROUOT GIVE SUPPORT TO D-ERLON
* D-ERLON TAKE SUPPORT FROM DROUOT
* DROUOT STOP GIVING SUPPORT TO D-ERLON
* D-ERLON AT 2 PM STOP TAKING SUPPORT FROM DROUOT
* ALL CORPS SEND ME YOUR BATTLE REPORT
* D-ERLON SEND ME YOUR BATTLE REPORT
* DROUOT TRANSFER GUYOT TO D-ERLON
* DROUOT TRANSFER 2 DIVISIONS OF INFANTRY TO D-ERLON
* DROUOT AT 2 PM TRANSFER FRIANT TO D-ERLON
* DROUOT AT 3 PM CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY TO ATTACK
* ALL CORPS CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY TO RETREAT
* REILLE FORM AN ATTACK LINE FROM THE WEST FLANK TO LA-BELLE-ALLIANCE
LINKING WITH D-ERLON
* D-ERLON FORM A DEFENCE LINE FROM LA-BELLE-ALLIANCE LINKING WITH REILLE TO
THE EAST FLANK
Provided by THE SOUTHERN STAR for M.A.A.D.