Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | June 18, 2015


Battle of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo was fought 200 years ago today.

In this post, Anderson pushes back against the popular/conventional assertion that Waterloo was one of the “Great” or Decisive Battles of history:

The battle was a famous victory, but TBA opines it was neither decisive nor particularly interesting. Napoleon was gambling that he could bloody the Allies’ noses so badly with a defeat in detail (i.e., defeating separated elements of their army) that he could negotiate a return to power. But the Allies were done with him, and had been since 1814. There is no plausible scenario where they would’ve accepted Napoleon’s return. Had he swept the field at Waterloo, another coalition army would have been put together.

Nor, close-run thing tho it may have been, was Waterloo a great battle as, say, Austerlitz was a great battle: a tactical masterpiece. For whatever reason, Napoleon’s tactical genius abandoned him, and he spent the day hurling troops into a frontal attack on a strong Allied (less than half British) position.

But mainly, this anniversary gives me an excuse to offer this xckd comic:

Image Credits: (1) Wikimedia Commons; (2) Randall Munroe, xkcd (CC BY-NC 2.5).

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