An Il­lus­trated Guide to the Bat­tle of Water­loo

By Mark Sim­ner

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE -

(Am­ber­ley, 96 pages £ 9.99) On 18 June 1815, 200,000 men fought over a tinyt Bel­gian bat­tle efield guard­ing the roadr to Brus­sels.

The Frenchh Em­peror Napoleon, re­cently es­caped from ex­ile, was try­ingng to re­store his pres­tige by de­stroy­ing the army of the Duke of Welling­ton. He’d beaten the Prus­sians ear­lier but they promised to come to Welling­ton’s aid; now Welling­ton had to hold on un­til the two armies joined forces.

It was an epic bat­tle of cavalry charges, close-quar­ter in­fantry vol­leys and mas­sive ar­tillery fire. Grad­u­ally, Welling­ton’s army was worn down but clung on un­til the Prus­sians ar­rived late in the day. By dusk, the French were ut­terly de­feated.

Many older his­to­ries, writ­ten mainly from the Bri­tish per­spec­tive, ig­nored the huge con­tri­bu­tion made to the vic­tory by Welling­ton’s Dutch and Ger­man troops and, of course, the Prus­sians. They are prop­erly recog­nised here.

Con­cise but not sim­plis­tic, this short book cov­ers the whole cam­paign and the phases of the bat­tle it­self. With many con­tem­po­rary il­lus­tra­tions, fea­tures on the com­man­ders, maps and sug­ges­tions for fur­ther read­ing, it’s a great in­tro­duc­tion to this most im­por­tant of bat­tles.

Phil To­maselli is a mil­i­tary

fam­ily his­tory ex­pert

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