The defeat of Napoleon’s French army by the combined forces of Wellington and Blücher at Waterloo on 18 June 1815 was a turning point in world history. This was the climax of the Napoleonic Wars, and the outcome had a major influence on the shape of Europe for the next century and beyond. The battle was a milestone, and it cannot be properly understood without a detailed, on-the-ground study of the landscape in which it was fought – and that is the purpose of David Buttery’s new battlefield guide.
In vivid detail, using eyewitness accounts and an intimate knowledge of the terrain, he reconstructs Waterloo and he takes the reader – and the visitor – across the battleground as it is today. He focuses on the pivotal episodes in the fighting – the day-long struggle for the chateau at Hougoumont, the massive French infantry assaults, repeated cavalry charges, the fall of La Haye Sainte, the violent clashes in the village of Plancenoit, the repulse of the Imperial Guard and rout of the French army.
This thoroughgoing, lucid, easy-to-follow guide will be a fascinating introduction for anyone who seeks to understand what happened on that momentous day, and it will be an essential companion for anyone who explores the battlefield in Belgium.