100 Days (Waterloo) Campaign 2


Bonaparte attacked the Prussians at Ligny on 16 June and ordered Ney to advance towards Quatre Bras and do the same if Wellington's forces came within reach.

The struggle for Ligny was a brutal affair and the day long struggle ended with the Prussians losing 16,000 killed and wounded and a further 9000 through desertion. Although the Prussians fled the field, the French had also suffered heavily with up to 12,000 casualties.

At Quatre Bras, Ney mishandled his command and allowed a small contingent of Anglo-Allied troops to hold up his force long enough for reinforcements to arrive. By the time the French made a serious attack the defenders, now under Wellington himself, were able to hold him off.

Casualties were high, 4000 French and 4800 Anglo-Allies, but Ney's inability to take the vital crossroads had fatally injured Bonaparte's campaign.

With both Wellington and Blucher retreating on parallel courses the chance to force them away from each other had gone, but Bonaparte now set his sights on smashing the British who had retreated just south of Waterloo.

Sending a corps under Marshal Grouchy to pursue the Prussians, Bonaparte caught up with Wellington and on June 18 the battle of Waterloo began.

In another horrendously bloody clash, the French launched attack after attack upon the Anglo-Allies, but were unable to breakthrough. Casualties were high on both sides and when the exhausted troops of Wellington seemed on the verge of breaking, Blucher's Prussians entered the fray and Bonaparte was doomed.

Waterloo cost Wellington 15,000 dead and wounded, and Blucher some 7000. For Bonaparte, the price of the battle was 25,000 dead and injured, 8000 prisoners and his crown.

On the same day as Waterloo was the battle of Wavre where Grouchy defeated a small Prussian covering force.

Fleeing for Paris, Bonaparte was urged by Marshal Davout to fight on - for French armies on other fronts had beaten off Austrian forces - but an exhausted emperor abdicated a second time on June 22.

Ahead, for the man who had conquered most of Europe, was exile on a tiny Atlantic island called St Helena.


Waterloo Campaign
Battle of Waterloo


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