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Eddie

Wellington vs the Devils advocate

Here's is a little topic which might provoke some response  especially as our thoughts are all Waterloo at the moment !

It is often said that Napoleon was ill and not on his best form at Waterloo and I am going to walk into the lion's den and suggest that the noble Duke had an off day as well!


The film Waterloo has a line something like 'Wellingtons just sat there on his arse - well we'll  move him off it"

A few starting points :

The defence of Quatre Bras was nothing to do with his initiative but that of Saxe Weimar and Perponcher.


The Cavalry charge which stopped D'Erlon  was down to Uxbridge - French accounts assert they had crossed the road, over ran the batteries and had taken much of the crest. The left wing was near broken. WHERE WAS WELLINGTON?

The attack of the Imperial Guard - it was Colborne who on his own initiative who ordered the 52nd to wheel out. No mention was made of Colborne in the Waterloo dispatch. It was a Dutch commander -  Detmer? who hit another column of the Garde that was crumpling up British regiments.

As far as I can see there was no great tactical planning apparent  and no obvious brilliance of Generalship from Wellington. He sat and slogged it out yes and  perhaps 'it would not have done if I had not been there' sort of thing  but at crucial times the day is saved by other people  - let alone the Prussians.

Waterloo - how the hell the Allies won that day I can't understand - but did the Victory have much to do with Wellington ?

There ya go -' Cat among the pigeons' as they say.................
The Sarge!

The fog of war my friend.

A general cannot order everything. However he can have a plan.  The plan was to hold to allow the Prussians to join. Very simples and Wellington knew it would cost lives. However he posted the brigades to his plan and knew his officers and left them to command.

Many commanding officers of that day received honours, so by no means lost out.

But get the idea of where you are coming from and Wellington was very good at ensuring he looked good, the game of the day. And the victor gets to write history.
OJM

I've always found Wellington a bit overrated as a general.

Language and culture plays in as English works on the Austrian, Russian and Prussian generals have not become available until recently, and are probably less popular than another rehash of what people want to hear/need to adulate national icons.

Wellingtons impact on military development after 1815 is minuscule, if any at all, while Scharnhorst, Gneisenau et al. spawned Clausewitz and doctrine still debated today.

But to be fair, nobody in their right mind would have risked offensive warfare with the motley crew that was the anglo-dutch-belgian-german army in 1815, they could only be the anvil to the Prussian hammer.
Eddie

Although I put this on to prompt a response I do genuinely wonder what Wellington was doing when D'Erlon's corps came up that slope - OK a commander cannot be everywhere but he is hardly likely to overlook about 20,000 French troops marching to engage troops that at Quatre Bras a few days before had already suffered a mauling.
The 1st Rifles 'retire' and the much maligned Bylandt gets pushed back. Picton seems to be late coming up as the French are already overrunning the batteries on the road and in some places have gained the crest - British cavalry officers confirm that - and if it was not for Uxbridge ordering the charge I think we would lost the battle there and then.
Where was Wellington?

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