Wellington chooses the field of battle
Wellington had earned the reputation of being a great defensive tactician. Mont-Saint-Jean provided a ridge behind which he could hide much of his forces and thereby conceal their movements from Napoleon.
Lying in front of the ridge were three positions exposed to the enemy but that could be fortified so as to break up advancing columns: Hougoumont Farm on Napoleon’s left, La Haye Sainte Farm in the centre and the hamlet of Papelotte on the right.
On the day, Wellington’s army consisted of 68,000 men and 156 cannon, compared to Napoleon’s army of 72,000 men and 246 cannon, massed along a 4.5km front.
Napoleon throws the dice