Why was Waterloo important?

Defence-In-Depth

by DR HUW J. DAVIES

200 years ago, almost to the hour, the battle of Waterloo commenced. The dramatic final showdown of 22 years of war, Waterloo had all the makings of a swashbuckling drama. It was the only occasion when Wellington and Napoleon encountered each other. Having escaped from the tiny Mediterranean island of Elba in March, Napoleon gambled everything to restore himself to the glory he had lost when abdicated the year before. Wellington, as the allied commander, represented a union of the Great Powers that had sworn to remain in the field until Napoleon was permanently exiled.

This great battle has been feted by history as one of Britain’s greatest military victories. Napoleon’s attack on Wellington’s line on the ridge of Mont St Jean near the village of Waterloo on 18 June 1815 was indeed a close run thing. On several occasions, the ‘thin red line’ nearly…

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The Battle of Waterloo and its strategic context

An interesting perspective, but I’m not certain that a French victory at Waterloo would have had the same result if they got as far as Brussels.

Defence-In-Depth

DR TIM BENBOW

The Battle of Waterloo is a military victory well worth commemorating, even celebrating. The brilliant generalship of the Duke of Wellington and the fighting skill of his coalition army (with its German, Belgian and Dutch as well as British troops) together with their Prussian allies achieved a famous victory. It deserves its place in the historical memory of the Army and the country, as well as providing a fine example of multinational European cooperation. The events of 18 June 1815 and the few days preceding it provided a fitting finale for the Napoleonic Wars. There is always a need, however, to combine attention to individual battles with awareness of the wider war within which they had their context. For Britain, the Battle of Waterloo was the culmination of a successful maritime strategy – indeed, the road to Waterloo went through Trafalgar.

British strategy in the Napoleonic wars…

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The Battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras 16 June 1815

Well done.

War and Security

The first stage of Napoleon’s 1815 campaign was to concentrate the 123,000 men of his Armée du Nord just south of the junction of the Duke of Wellington’s 112,000 Anglo-Dutch Army and Prince Gerbhard von Blücher’s 130,000 Prussians.[1]

Napoleon’s plan was to position his army between his two enemies, preventing them uniting. He would then defeat one of them, making it retreat along its line of supply and leaving it unable to support its ally, which Napoleon could then turn on.[2]

Source: "Waterloo Campaign map-alt3" by Ipankonin - Self-made. Vectorized from raster image Flags from. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg#/media/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg Source: “Waterloo Campaign map-alt3” by Ipankonin – Self-made. Vectorized from raster image Flags from. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg#/media/File:Waterloo_Campaign_map-alt3.svg

The Emperor had an experienced army with high morale. but he made a number of ‘unsuitable appointments’ to high command.[3] His long serving chief of staff, Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier, had fallen from a window to his death on 1 June: whether…

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The Road to Waterloo

Defence-In-Depth

by Dr HUW J. DAVIES

‘Napoleon has humbugged me, by God; he has gained twenty-four hours’ march on me’. With these words, uttered in an anteroom at a ball famously hosted by the Duchess of Richmond three days before Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington, commanding an allied army composed of Dutch, Belgian, German, and British troops ordered his force to concentrate at a small strategic crossroads south of Brussels, called Quatre Bras.

Napoleon had, indeed, fooled Wellington. Over the days preceding, Wellington had received conflicting intelligence about French intentions. Napoleon was attempting to convince his enemy that he would attack through the town of Mons, and then outflank Wellington’s position on the right and cut off the British line of retreat to the channel ports of Antwerp and Ostend. This was Wellington’s greatest fear, but he also offered him an opportunity to act as the principal instrument of Napoleon’s demise.

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Clausewitz in Orbit: Spacepower Theory and Strategic Education

Probably overdue, though out of my zone.

Defence-In-Depth

BLEDDYN BOWEN

The politics of war and peace in space is an overlooked field. Space is a quiet and lonely place in war studies – despite space systems performing critical infrastructure roles in war, peace, politics, economics, and nuclear stability. In the mid-1990s John Sheldon and Colin Gray bemoaned the fact that there is no ‘Mahan for space.’ Neither writer apparently considered the possibility that they had answered their own plea, or in other words, that there is a Mahan for space: it’s Alfred Thayer Mahan. The 19th century navalist is one of a constellation of strategic theorists (such as Clausewitz, Castex, Corbett, to name the most prominent) whose work I am applying to create a spacepower theory intended to inform the diverse strategic problems conflict in this new medium might pose.

What are the grounds for analogy from terrestrial warfare to space warfare? How can universal principles about…

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“The Most Stunning and Decisive Blow in the History of Naval Warfare:” The Battle of Midway

Americans In WWII

Two American SBD's fly over a Japanese ship, presumably Mikuma, during the Battle of Midway. Two American SBD’s fly over a Japanese ship, presumably Mikuma, during the Battle of Midway.

Nearly six months after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific was not going well for the Allies. A terrible beating by the Japanese at the Battle of the Java Sea on February 27, 1942, resulted in the dissolving of the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) Command and the threat of a victorious Japanese fleet sailing for Australia and possibly Hawaii. The next major encounter between the Japanese and Allied fleet, in May, was a tactical Japanese victory at Coral Sea which in turn set the stage for the Battle of Midway, which occurred from June 4-7, 1942.

US code breakers had broken the Japanese Navy’s JN-25b code, and knew that a carrier strike force under Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was heading for the island of Midway…

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Warneford VC and the Destruction of Two Zeppelins on 7 June 1915

War and Security

The first raid on the United Kingdom by German airships took place on 19 January 1915. In February Kaiser Wilhelm II relaxed his previous ban on raids on London: military targets east of the Tower of London could now be bombed. L8 had to abandon an attempt to bomb London on 26 February because of high winds. She tried again on 4 March, but was hit by gunfire and wrecked on landing in Belgium. A number of attacks were made on other targets on the East Coast of England and in France, including Paris, in March and April.[1]

In April the German army received LZ38, the first of the new P class Zeppelins. They had a maximum speed of 60 mph, a cruising speed of 40 mph, a crew of up to 19, a defensive armament of 7 or 8 machine guns and a bomb load of…

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