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Thread: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

  1. #81

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    And by the way Barbero has been shown time and again to be a poor source, he makes so many mistakes.
    On the contrary, he applies a historian's filter to the often misleading first-person accounts and provides the most balanced account of The Battle available to English-speaking peoples. He's not as detailed as Hofschroer or some of the British historians, but his lack of an agenda makes his book invaluable.

    I'd take his numbers, for instance, as the best approximation for troop strengths available. And whatever Adkin says, those numbers _have_ to be an approximation.

    Oh, and Didz, dammit, it's Randall, not Ranald.

  2. #82

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    We already established a month or so ago that Barbero contradicted himself regarding the attack of d'Erlon's corps for example. Doesn't matter if he has no agenda, it's how thorough his research is. As I said above he appears to believe the Prince of Orange was still commanding on the field one hour after being wounded and carted off to the medics at the rear.
    Of course Adkin's figures are an approximation, no one can give you figures correct to the man!

  3. #83

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    We already established a month or so ago that Barbero contradicted himself regarding the attack of d'Erlon's corps for example. Doesn't matter if he has no agenda, it's how thorough his research is. As I said above he appears to believe the Prince of Orange was still commanding on the field one hour after being wounded and carted off to the medics at the rear.
    Of course Adkin's figures are an approximation, no one can give you figures correct to the man!
    I followed that thread, and I'm unimpressed. It looked to me as if you guys took one sentence from a 260 page book and chewed over it like a dog worrying an old shoe! The book is a goldmine of plain speak from an authority giving his reading audience a overall feel for Napoleonic warfare and Waterloo in particular. If you think objectivity isn't important, partner, honestly I'd have to doubt your worldview. Bias is everything, it's crippling to interested hobbyists trying to puzzle out how and why "stuff happened". Misplaced emphasis is the bugbear of nationalistic histories. If you don't agree that Barbero's lack of same makes his book invaluable, we're going to have to agree to disagree.

  4. #84

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    I'm not sure how, or who, has established that, pretty well or otherwise, but the issue Ranald and I were discussing was the suggestion that the guard advanced in square. Thus, for a start, there would have been no flank, 4th Chasseurs or otherwise.

    It was a this point that Colbourne' 52nd Light Infantry swung out of line right shoulder forward and begun to fire into the French formation from its flank. .
    I just realised you contradicted yourself. First you say there was no flank, then you say there was!

    Two other things, Barbero and Adkin appear to be at odds as to whether the Guard deployed skirmishers.
    There is also doubt that Wellington ever said "Now Maitland, it's your time". Adkin says he did, but there are accounts that say the words were never uttered.....

  5. #85

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    The book is a goldmine of plain speak from an authority giving his reading audience a overall feel for Napoleonic warfare and Waterloo in particular. If you think objectivity isn't important, partner, honestly I'd have to doubt your worldview. Bias is everything, it's crippling to interested hobbyists trying to puzzle out how and why "stuff happened". Misplaced emphasis is the bugbear of nationalistic histories. If you don't agree that Barbero's lack of same makes his book invaluable, we're going to have to agree to disagree.
    I never said objectivity isn't important Randall! I said
    Doesn't matter if he has no agenda, it's how thorough his research is
    I am saying that I believe his research to be full of holes, which bias or not undermines him as a source of information.

    Personally I find Adkin's Waterloo Companion to be a goldmine. It is extremely well laid out (though the index isn't complete!) and has a ton of information. Have you not read it?

  6. #86

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    I never said objectivity isn't important Randall! I said
    I am saying that I believe his research to be full of holes, which bias or not undermines him as a source of information.

    Personally I find Adkin's Waterloo Companion to be a goldmine. It is extremely well laid out (though the index isn't complete!) and has a ton of information. Have you not read it?

    Of course! But it's not the be-all, and one of the problems it has is that unlike Barbero, the author is just a wee bit too much of a "company man" and altogether too certain where certainty isn't warranted. I'd echo what this Japanese reviewer said (from Amazon.com) - history is an elusive field.

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R10RT5Q...R10RT5QSXW3285

    start review:

    "While this book is still very interesting to own and is far from being a piece of "garbage"(see above praises), after reading different writings about the battle of Waterloo, different analysis, I am not confident anymore about the exactitude of its content. In spite of all the chrome, there is simply better material out there that goes deeper into the analysis and avoids the pitfalls of secondary data.

    This mix of good material with data that can be challenged certainly shakes the confidence I had in the book. While it is a good book, its usefulness in my library will be limited.

    I would recommend to read in parallel "The Battle: A New History of Waterloo" by Barbero (The Battle: A New History of Waterloo) which offers a slightly different perspective and challenges through careful analysis of first hand accounts and data some of the more common knowledge.

    History is a very elusive field, not easy to address. The Waterloo companion lost a bit its way. "

    end review.

    Of course, I picked the review that called out Barbero's book, because I'm biased.
    Last edited by Randall Turner; January 05, 2010 at 04:51 PM.

  7. #87
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    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Shouldn't this thread be in the historical section?

  8. #88

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    I would recommend to read in parallel "The Battle: A New History of Waterloo" by Barbero (The Battle: A New History of Waterloo) which offers a slightly different perspective and challenges through careful analysis of first hand accounts and data some of the more common knowledge. .
    I will but from what I have seen and had reported on here it sounds garbage, he gets so much wrong.

    What do you mean by "company man"?

  9. #89

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    I will but from what I have seen and had reported on here it sounds garbage, he gets so much wrong.

    What do you mean by "company man"?
    Sticks to the company line. Take, for example, the situation we were discussing earlier, the Imperial Guard advance on the Anglo-Allied line. Barbero throws out the British first-person accounts of the French advancing in column and takes the position that they were advancing in hollow square. He also goes to some lengths to point out that the units that actually engaged were not Old Guard, but Middle Guard, and that in name only - they were line troops just a few weeks ago, and weren't cohesive units, ie, were newly formed. Adkin sticks to the conventional British accounts, and doesn't feel obligated to discuss the relatively ad-hoc nature of the attacking French units. That sort of thing completely outweighs any transposition of battalions that might or might not have occurred in his account.

    Perhaps you can enlighten me on what other points you feel that he gets wrong? I'm willing to go out on a limb and bet they're nit-picks. I've no doubt his book has been raked over by British hobbyists in an attempt to discredit his less-flattering depiction of the British. Not that he's overly critical, mind - he's fair. But too many British hold Waterloo as a distinctly British national treasure and don't take kindly to what others may see as more even-handed accounts. It seems to me that in their protestations of Brit-bashing they don't realize that by glorifying their part in The Battle, they're denigrating the contributions of other participants. And look, I'm not ethnically French - "Turner" is English as the day is long. But the blatant bias in other works (not specifically Adkin) simply gets old, and worse, it makes it impossible to put together a coherent picture of how things worked. Which is what's really important to us, right?

  10. #90

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    Sticks to the company line. Take, for example, the situation we were discussing earlier, the Imperial Guard advance on the Anglo-Allied line. Barbero throws out the British first-person accounts of the French advancing in column and takes the position that they were advancing in hollow square. He also goes to some lengths to point out that the units that actually engaged were not Old Guard, but Middle Guard, and that in name only - they were line troops just a few weeks ago, and weren't cohesive units, ie, were newly formed. Adkin sticks to the conventional British accounts, and doesn't feel obligated to discuss the relatively ad-hoc nature of the attacking French units. That sort of thing completely outweighs any transposition of battalions that might or might not have occurred in his account.

    Perhaps you can enlighten me on what other points you feel that he gets wrong? I'm willing to go out on a limb and bet they're nit-picks. I've no doubt his book has been raked over by British hobbyists in an attempt to discredit his less-flattering depiction of the British. Not that he's overly critical, mind - he's fair. But too many British hold Waterloo as a distinctly British national treasure and don't take kindly to what others may see as more even-handed accounts. It seems to me that in their protestations of Brit-bashing they don't realize that by glorifying their part in The Battle, they're denigrating the contributions of other participants. And look, I'm not ethnically French - "Turner" is English as the day is long. But the blatant bias in other works (not specifically Adkin) simply gets old, and worse, it makes it impossible to put together a coherent picture of how things worked. Which is what's really important to us, right?
    Err Randall you've not been reading the same book mate because Adkin goes to great lengths to state that the Middle Guard attacked, not the Old. He also states the British were wrong in thinking they were in column, they were in squares. He gives a great amount of credit to the Prussians, Dutch, Belgians and Germans and does go into great detail about the quality and/or lack of in the French army.

    I suggest you re-read it!

    My nit-picks with Barbero? If it is true that he thinks the Prince of Orange was present at the Guard's attack, that is a big boo-boo.
    I don't recall the exact details but I remember Didz stating that Barbero's account of d'Erlon's attack was contradictory. A historian contradicting himself, doesn't sell me on being accurate, call me a sentimental old fool.........

    I think this is what I was referring to
    Well its seems that D'Erlon's formation was not quite so consistent as Barbero initially suggests. I notice that its one of the features of Barbero's writing style that he makes a grandiose universal statement and then proceeds to contradict himself in the later detail of the chapter, and the issue of D'Erlons attack formation is no exception
    with respect to Didz
    Last edited by emperorpenguin; January 05, 2010 at 06:36 PM.

  11. #91

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    Err Randall you've not been reading the same book mate because Adkin goes to great lengths to state that the Middle Guard attacked, not the Old. He also states the British were wrong in thinking they were in column, they were in squares. He gives a great amount of credit to the Prussians, Dutch, Belgians and Germans and does go into great detail about the quality and/or lack of in the French army.
    I didn't mean to imply he misrepresented the engaging units as Old Guard. But..

    I don't recall Adkin reference to advancing in hollow square, but it's not in front of me, I'm at work. I also don't remember him discussing the "raw" nature of the Middle Guard units in any detail. Can you double-check those for me? I'd have to recheck it out from the library.

    I also don't remember Barbero referring to Prince Billy being present at the I. Guard attack, but see "at work" above.

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    call me a sentimental old fool..
    You can't be much older than me, partner. I think Didz and I are both 55.

  12. #92

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    I didn't mean to imply he misrepresented the engaging units as Old Guard. But..

    I don't recall Adkin reference to advancing in hollow square, but it's not in front of me, I'm at work. I also don't remember him discussing the "raw" nature of the Middle Guard units in any detail. Can you double-check those for me? I'd have to recheck it out from the library.

    I also don't remember Barbero referring to Prince Billy being present at the I. Guard attack, but see "at work" above.


    You can't be much older than me, partner. I think Didz and I are both 55.
    Pages 419-420 are specifically about the formation of the Guard. All the maps show the Guard in square formation. Pages 391-404 are about the Guard's attack and there are numerous references to their square formations.

    Pages 205-206 detail the deficiencies in the Middle Guard.

    I'm younger than you both but I feel old Anyway it was a quote of Billy Connolly

  13. #93

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    Pages 419-420 are specifically about the formation of the Guard. All the maps show the Guard in square formation. Pages 391-404 are about the Guard's attack and there are numerous references to their square formations.
    What the.. Hey, Didz, it's your job to keep track of Waterloo stuff, howcome you were so surprised at Barbero's hollow squares if Adkin also references them?

    I do need to re-read this, iirc I got it to check something else re: Ney's attack back when. I distinctly remember it as Anglocentric, but maybe it's run together with another book.

  14. #94

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    As Didz says above that is NOT what he said. You were told that the infantry of Bachelu and Tissot were commited, just too late to be of use. Had they been committed earlier the attack may have succeeded.

    Not sure what you are talking about regarding the summary but I have the actual book mate and those are Adkin's figures....
    Through this thread I made a dozen main arguments and a dozen minor arguments analyzing the performance / quality of the British army during Napoleonic wars.

    The way you decided to challenge my views is to take two of my comments which support only one minor argument and ignore the other 25plus. Moreover, proving that my comments are wrong doesn’t not invalidate my point that Napoleon was outnumbered. Pathetic challenge but I will respond here as well.

    Ok. So it was the timing as per Didz which failed Ney’s attack. This doesn’t invalidate my point that Napoleon was outnumbered. Oopss. You didn’t like the website I gave you supported by 7 references ?!? –Ok. I already gave you another three references with one of them being a book, another ne being the summary of your own book and another one being on of the most respected websites. You still don’t like it? Ok – never mind- I accepted your source and used your own source for a simple calculation to ask you who was outnumbered and still got a reply from you saying that you have the whole book rather than a summary.

  15. #95

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kolyan View Post
    –Ok. I already gave you another three references with one of them being a book, another ne being the summary of your own book and another one being on of the most respected websites. You still don’t like it? Ok – never mind- I accepted your source and used your own source for a simple calculation to ask you who was outnumbered and still got a reply from you saying that you have the whole book rather than a summary.
    I have no idea what you are talking about.

    Why are you giving me an online summary of a book I own? I already posted the figures. I suggest you read it yourself rather than relying on a flawed website.

    If you wish to discuss a salient point I shall but I'll not get bogged down in arguing with your rabid anti-British views.

  16. #96

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Koylan is the biggest Britain-Basher and much of what he says is wrong, exxadurated or just made up! By Viitoria, there were over 50,000 British troops in Spain. Earlier, ther had been around 25,000, which made the victories at Rolica and Talavera even more impressive. Wellington also often had to put up with incompetent and arrogant Spanish commanders who turne d up late for battle and their lazy, disorganised Spanish troops. Only later in the war when Spain had been given British trainng, money, weapons and powder, did they start to become an more effective fighting force.
    The guerillas helped Wellsely more than the regular Iberian troops ever did, and they got much of their weapons, supplies and help from GB.

    And in fact French troops in the Penninsula were usually good quality troops, under experienced and very able French commanders, who had beaten the Prussians, Russians, Austrians and whoever else countless times. They just werent good enough to beat Wellington and the British.

    The British did definately NOT avoid big battles. Just go and read any account of the War, and you see the battles.
    Nor were they afriad of taking losses. At Badajos in 1812, The British stormed breaches in the fortress walls and captured the city, taking over 5000 losses, mostly in the two breaches. Badajos was probably the strongest fortres in the whole war, and it was taken by British blood, bravery, and a refusal to be beaten. And that was just one of the many seiges. So dont EVER assume that Britain was afraid of takind losses or big engagements.

    Dont underestimate the effect of British money and supplies to the other countries. If not, then they all would have been utterley conquered and defeated, without Britians money and supplies to keep their armies going. And can i point out, that none of the loans from Britain were ever paid back.

    So not only did Britain fund the war for Russia and Austria and Prussia, it drove the French back from Lisbon in Portugal to Toulouse in France, helped by a few Spanish and Portugeese regular troops (trained, led, supplied and paid for by Britain) and a lot of brave guerillas (supplied, armed and paid by Britain).

    There is no...British propaganda about the Napoleonic War. In fact, the Army's massive contribution is often overlooked and forgotten, as the Royal NAvy gets much of the credit for Trafalgar and all the other engagements. So GB gets far less credit than it deserves for the Napoleonic War, even from itself, and definately not from the other Aliied countries, who would have been conquered if not for British money and support, and a second front opened by the British in Spain.

    Here is some more proof that Wellington was a first-rate genral: At the battle of assaye, in 1803, 14,000 British troops and Sepoys under the IEC defeated over 100,000 Maratha troops. Britain had 19 small cannons, the Marathas had over 100 heavy guns. Wellesly was hopelessly outnumbered in every way. But he advanced his excellent Highland infantry, up a slope, under fire from all the Marathas heavy guns, and into the hordes of Maratha infantry, who where annihalated by the Scots. So Wellington beat over 100,000 Marthas with over 100 heavy guns with 14,000 Scots and Sepoys and 19 pea-shooters. Skill or what.

    Let me give you a quote of Napoleon "Give me control of the (English) Channel for 6 hours, and I shall rule the world." Britain was more important than Russia, as it was funding the rest of the allies, and it was blockading France. In the end, it was British troops, skill, ships and money, not anything else, that playd the biggest part in defeating France, KOYLAN.
    .


    "Peccavi" or "I have sinned"

    Message from British General Charles Napier to the Governor General of India, to inform him of his capture of Sindh, (I Have sinned/Sindh).

  17. #97

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    Most Historians. As I said Adkin, Roberts, Nofi, and many others. Of course maybe they are all wrong...
    Well in fact it would only take one to be wrong, because historian's all copy each others work. So if one gets it wrong they all jump on the same band-wagon. Its very rare that a historian like Hofschroer actual does some original research and comes up with a different perspective and twist in the tale, and when that happens the usual reaction from the others is to try and tear his reputation to shreds and show he's wrong.
    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    If you had been discussing the formation of the Guard then you should have been aware that the British reported the Guard to have advanced in column and not the squares which we know they actually used.
    I think its rather amusing when you read Barbero's account of the Imperial Guard attack, because having made the bold statement that the Imperial Guard attacked in square, not in column, right at the start of his narrative, he obviously has trouble reconciling this statement with the events and testimony that happen afterwards. He constantly refers to the French as being in column, and the British and Dutch as attacking those columns in the flank, and then when he thinks the reader might have forgotten his faux pas he reverts to referring to them as in square again. Its actually quite amusing.

    As to the question of whether they were in square or not, I am still waiting for someone to tell me where this information comes from. Barbero doesn't give any sources for this assumption, though I'm assuming it must be from the French testimony as the allied eyewitnesses are unanimous in their claims that they were in column.

    Personally, I remain unconvinced. I still maintain that infantry cannot advance in square, therefore, the nearest the guard might have been to being in square is some sort of hollow column as depicted in Lachouque's book 'Waterloo'. The problem I see with this idea is that the advantages of using that formation over a standard column are so trivial as to be pointless, whilst the disadvantages are obvious, and I find it hard to see why the French would bother.

    However, it might explain why upon cresting the ridge, none of the French battalions were in a position to make a bayonet charge
    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    You see this even in Colbourne's own quotation. Therefore the British believed they were flanking the Chasseurs and received a nasty surprise when the "flanked" unit fired and inflicted ~150 casualties.
    Possibly, although there is a much more plausible explanation for those who have walked the battlefield. That is that the last and most westerly column in the attack was probably following the line of the cart track from La Belle Alliance to the Nivelles road. Its the most logical route to take across the open ground if you want a guide through the battle smoke leading to the main British position opposite and most French assault forces used it as a path across the battlefield. The problem is that when it reaches the spur that juts out of the centre of the British ridge it avoids the steepest part of the slope by veering to the west and skirts the foot of the slope until it mounts the plateau at a slighter incline behind Hougoumont. I firmly believe that this is the feature of the battlefield that many French writers refer to as 'the valley', because when you walk along it, it certainly feels like you are walking along a valley, with the steep sides of the spur on your right, and the rising ground on which the Chateau and estate of Hougoumont would have stood on your left.

    When Ian Fletcher and the rest of us walked into this Valley, he was following the path taken by the 3rd Chasseurs and so to our surprise he veered off the track to the right and climbing over a fence proceeded to scramble up a quite steep slope into the positions which would have been occupied by Maitlands Brigade. I found I had to use my hands to support myself when clambering up this slope, and I wasn't carrying a musket and a 60 lb pack, it was certainly much steeper than I expected it to be from what I had read.

    It also felt wrong, as though we had veered off course. The natural thing would have been to continue to follow the track up valley, where a much more gentle slope rises to the crest of the allied ridge just behind Hougoumont. Indeed I'm convinced that many of the cavalry squadrons which attacked that section of the British line did just that, attacking up the valley, isolating Hougoumont from the main allied line and then circumventing the chateau along the Nivelles Road to rejoin the assault.

    So, it wouldn't be beyond the realms of plausiblity if the left most column of the Imperial Guard, having seen its predecessor mount the steep slope to the right of the valley didn't continue to follow the line of the cart track up the valley and follow the same line taken by their cavalry earlier. Perhaps, they planned to swing right and move up alongside the 4th once they had made some ground, but the net result would have been that as the 52nd put right shoulder forward and swung into line across the cart track they would not have been swinging across the flank of the 3rd but actually across its path.

    Just a theory, but a bit more plausible than the square idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    I can see no debate as to the role of the 52nd, I don't know why you have doubts once again Didz! I think your mistrust of historians borders on paranoia!
    I don't have doubts that the 52nd engaged the Imperial Guard, the issue was whether they helped to defeat the same column as Maitlands Brigade did. From Barbero's account it seems that Maitland engaged and defeated the 3rd Chasseurs on their own. However, they were caught in disarray by the appearance of the 4th Chasseurs and were stumbling back up the slope to their original positions when the 52nd swung into action, how much part Maitlands Brigade took in defeating the 4th Chasseurs is less certain, it depends on how long it took them to restore order.
    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    And by the way Barbero has been shown time and again to be a poor source, he makes so many mistakes. For instance you say Barbero credits the Prince of Orange with organising the defence against the Guard, when he was in fact wounded over an hour earlier ~6.15 near La Haie Sante and was at a medical station (according to eye witnesses) in the rear when the Cumberland Hussars rode past before 7.30, the time of the Guard's attack.
    Well there you go....and then you wonder why I mistrust historians. The fact, is that they get things wrong, and because they all copy each others work rather than using primary sources even an obvious mistake like the one you higlight gets repeated until it becomes part of the myth.

    Again, I have no idea what Barbero's source is for the Prince of Orange story, possibly its 'silly billies' personal journal. Perhaps he imagined that this was what he would have done, had he not been wounded earlier, or perhaps one of the officers of the Nassau Regiment thought that the mounted officer leading them was the Prince of Orange. Who knows, but it does go to show how wrong historians can be over quite simple things.

    Assuming of course that he is wrong, its just as likely that the historian who claimed that the Prince of Orange was wounded at 6:15 was wrong, and that everyone has just accepted it as fact ever since.
    [On a more general note - I'm always a bit doubtful about any historian who starts quoting times of events during the battle. As far as I know very few officers, and even fewer soldiers had watches at Waterloo, and every eyewtiness account I've read has described the timing of events in relation to other events, so the only way to get a feel for the sequence is actually to plot them on a chart and cross-reference when things happened in relation to each other. Trying them to put times on these events is even more hit and miss and tends to rely upon the one or two occassions when Wellington consulted his watch.

    To use your event as an example, we seem to be expected to beleive that as the Cumberland Hussars quit the battlefield, one of them noticed the Prince of Orange sitting in the aide station and decided it would be a good idea to get his watch out of his pocket and make a note of the time just in case someone asked later.

    As a case in point according to the evidence of Captain Seymour at the court-martial of Colonel Hake the commander of the Cumberland Hussars. He was sent by Uxbridge to persaude the Colonel not to quit the field at 5 pm, not 6 pm, therefore either the Prince of Orange was wounded an hour earlier even than you were told, or the Cumberland Hussars took an hour to gallop 400 yards.]
    Last edited by Didz; January 06, 2010 at 06:59 AM.

  18. #98

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    Oh, and Didz, dammit, it's Randall, not Ranald.
    Oops! sorry mate, I've corrected it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    I followed that thread, and I'm unimpressed. It looked to me as if you guys took one sentence from a 260 page book and chewed over it like a dog worrying an old shoe!
    I also have to say that as far as I was concerned the debate about the attack of D'Erlon's Corps was inconclusive. It hinged eventually on the very simply question of who the Inniskillen Dragoon's charged, and so far I've been unable to find any primary evidence to confirm it either way.

    If as some accounts claim the Inniskillen charged Quiots Brigade, then clearly they were not attacking La Haye Sainte as many historians claim, and Barbero is probably right.

    If on the other hand Quiots Brigade were attacking La Haye Sainte, as most historians seem to agree, then who the hell were the two columns that the Inniskillen claim they charged between the Royals on their right who hit the 105e and the Greys on their left who hit the 45e. Perhaps, if Trooper Penn had kept hold of the eagle he captured then we would have had some clear proof one way or the other, but so far it seems that none of the Inniskillen came away from their charge with any trophies to prove who they were fighting.
    [QUOTE=emperorpenguin;6546870]I just realised you contradicted yourself. First you say there was no flank, then you say there was![/quoted]
    The contradiction really lies in the history of the event, so I'm merely quoting it. Clearly if the guard were in square then there was no flank to be attacked, on the other hand most historians seem agreed that the 52nd attacked the 4th Chasseurs in the flank.

    Its just one of those inconsistencies that historian's seem willing to completely overlook.
    Quote Originally Posted by emperorpenguin View Post
    Two other things, Barbero and Adkin appear to be at odds as to whether the Guard deployed skirmishers. There is also doubt that Wellington ever said "Now Maitland, it's your time". Adkin says he did, but there are accounts that say the words were never uttered.....
    It would be extremely unusual if the guard did not deploy skirmishers, but it probably hinges once again on the issue of what formation they were really in. The other oddity about the sqaure thing is of course that when in square all officers and NCO's are positioned inside the square in its centre. And yet, we know that the guards advance was actually led by its officers, and there are eyewitness accounts of the French columns being preceded by scampering officers including their Generals urging them to charge. Its a minor point but odd nevertheless.

    As for the 'Now Maitland, now is your time!' issue, my understandiing was that the doubts were centred on the whether Wellington shouted 'Up Guards and at 'em' rather than a personal piece of advice offered to a sub-ordinate officer. I've had a look through Siborne and certainly Wellington was with Maitland at the moment the French were advancing up the slope, so it seems unlikely that nothing was said between them at the time. (Letter 105) but Maitland does not mention what was actually said. (Letter 106) Lt-Colonel Lord Saltoun 1st Foot Guards mentions the 'Up Guards and at 'em' question but says that he never heard Wellington say it, nor has he ever met anyone who did, but he suggests that Siborne leaves it in the account as it sounds good. Funnily enough (Letter 109) Captain Powell 1st Foot Guards actually attributes Lt. Colonel Lord Saltoun with shouting 'Now's the time my boys.' as the signal for the 1st Foot Guards to advance with the bayonet. So, it seems that some encouragement was shouted but probably not by Wellington, and not quite as quoted.
    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Turner View Post
    What the.. Hey, Didz, it's your job to keep track of Waterloo stuff, howcome you were so surprised at Barbero's hollow squares if Adkin also references them?
    I'm not surprised, just a bit doubtful. What I'm missing in all these accounts is the evidence, I've yet to discover why these historian's are convinced that the guard attacked in a hollow column/square. Tactically, it makes little sense, it doesn't fit in with the eyewitness accounts, nor does it match the detail of the events which occurred during the attack. e.g. skirmishers being out, and formations being led by their commanders. I'm not prepared to argue that Adkin and co are wrong, I'm just curious why they believe it to be the case. To me historical accounts have to make sense, and this is one detail that simply doesn't make sense at the moment, possible because I don't have enough information. The other issue was of course the formation of D'Erlon's Corps, which without doubt Barbero over stated in his account. I'm certainly prepared to accept that some of D'Erlons columns were actually nested battalions in line, but by his own tesimony in the detail is clear that not all of them were, the question then becomes which were and which weren't and he doesn't actually resolve this point.

    Likewise, reading the various accounts of the attack of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo its pretty clear that at various times during the day specific battalions of the guard did form square, at various points. But I've yet to read any primarly evidence that confirms that they chose this formation to attack in. The other thought that occurs to me is that even if they didn't attack in square, there would have been plenty of reason for them to adopt a square formation once they were in contact anyway. From reading the first hand accounts it sounds like the position they found themselves in on cresting the ridge was pretty damned confusing with enemy infantry and artillery appearing and disappearing in a seemingly random series of attacks from multiple directions. The knee-jerk reaction of any battalion under such stress would almost certianly be to form square, and I beleive I read at least one account of the 4th Grenadiers being ordered to form square on the crest of the spur in the centre of the allied position.

    Personally, I'm prepared to be convinced either way but I want to know what evidence there is, rather than accepting some historians word for it. From what I've read the situation during the guards attack was far more complicated and chaotic that most historians are prepared handle, and most have dumbed it down to make it easier to record, unfortunately, as always the 'devil is in the detail' and I don't think anyone has actually got to the truth yet.
    Last edited by Didz; January 06, 2010 at 08:32 AM.

  19. #99

    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    As to the question of whether they were in square or not, I am still waiting for someone to tell me where this information comes from. Barbero doesn't give any sources for this assumption, though I'm assuming it must be from the French testimony as the allied eyewitnesses are unanimous in their claims that they were in column.
    Remember, Didz, when we were investigating this a few months ago, it was from a comment by a French general (whose name I have forgotten). We dug it up out of the "Napoleon Series" forums, where they were having this same debate. The comment was rather vague, though, if I remember corrrectly. I can live with "not sure". <shrug> Actually, I'm okay with "not sure" on a lot of issues, you guys as a group seem more intent on dotting every "i". I feel it's more important to get the overall gestalt.

    Edit: looking back through our PM's you can get the url to the relevant thread, and you decided this was the pertinent passage (by Petit):

    "Il était 7 heurs du soir environ, les corps de la garde avaient horriblement souffert, lorsqu'on fit marcher les 4e et 3e régiments de Chasseurs et les 4e et 3e régiments de Grenadiers. Ils passéront sur la gauche de la route oů ils formés en carrés sur bataillon ŕ l'exception des deux 4e régiments qui, vu leur faiblesse, ne firent que chacun un carré."
    Last edited by Randall Turner; January 06, 2010 at 09:02 AM.

  20. #100
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    Default Re: What if Napoleon won Waterloo and the battles after that...

    Wellington also often had to put up with incompetent and arrogant Spanish commanders who turne d up late for battle and their lazy, disorganised Spanish troops. Only later in the war when Spain had been given British trainng, money, weapons and powder, did they start to become an more effective fighting force.
    The guerillas helped Wellsely more than the regular Iberian troops ever did, and they got much of their weapons, supplies and help from GB.

    ...helped by a few Spanish and Portugeese regular troops (trained, led, supplied and paid for by Britain) and a lot of brave guerillas (supplied, armed and paid by Britain).
    This garbage has been debunked already so many times that it hurts to see how people who pride themselves in their historical knowledge bungle this up again and again.
    Its surprising how people debate about wether this or that regiment should have done this or that in some odd battle when the most basics are still rim filled with XIX Century Chauvinistic crap passed as "history". Cowards, lazy, heroic guerrillas, no good regulars, etc, etc... Those fellow would do good to read even once in a wgile a good book about that conflict instead of parroting these steroypes.

    Not more coward, lazy or unprepared than the loosers of Jena, Austerlitz or Wagram and then without surrenders and armistices.

    Between Koylan and HMS we still have a long way to go.
    Read a napoleonic first hand account of a Hessian serving under the french flag

    Athenians: For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretenses - either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us- and make a long speech which would not be believed;.......... since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

    Part of the Melian Dialogue in The History of the Pelopenessian War by Thucydides.

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