Friday, July 29, 2011

Waterloo Today

Unlike Quatre Bra & Ligny, Waterloo has been landmarked almost to death.  The poms just can't do enough gloating over their lucky victory.  The Lion monument not only spoils the view, but in getting the dirt for it they stuffed up the lie of the land in that part of the battlefield.  It is flanked by an ugly museum building and numerous restaurants of all sorts.  (I boycotted them all).  The field is also covered with monuments to regiments and general's legs.  Plenty of interpretation signs celebrating British heroics too - not that a serious wargamer needs them, we know Waterloo only too well.

Pic 2 is a view to the NE on the east side of Plancenoit.  The ground there is heavily wooded and very hilly.  There seems to be much more woodland than shown on battlefield maps.  Maybe there are more trees now, but even so it must have been difficult country for the Prussians to manouvre to the battle through.

La Belle Alliance - Napoleon's HQ.

View of the British centre from La Belle Alliance (click to enlarge).

View along the British left flank looking east.  The sunken road is not so sunken now.

View from the British position about 750m left of La Haye Saint.  La Belle Alliance is on the far right. 

View of the British rear area behind their left.  Note the dip where the troops would be out of sight of the French and 2nd ridge for a second line. 

From the British position just left of La Haye Saint.  La Belle Alliance is on the right over the valley.  This is where d'Erlon attacked and where the British cavalry ran amok.  Not sure if the manure piles were there in 1815.
La Haye Saint with the main road built right up against it and no footpath.  It's still a dangerous place.

View from the British right towards La Belle Alliance.  This is the way the Cuirassiers came.  The closest rise may have been higher before they built the Lion  mound (which is off pic to the left).


This is my second visit to Waterloo.  Not much has changed in 35 years.  It is undoubtably one of the best battlefields to visit.  It is defaced, but not as much as many others and you can certainly get the feel of it despite that.  It's a battlefield where the terrain, though not dramatic, is very important.  The subtle folds in the ground were vital to the British defence.  Wellington may have been lucky and saved by the rain and bad French command dice, but it cannot be denied that he knew how to pick his ground.

1 comment:

tiago-one said...

More photos ?