The Battle of Waterloo
Napoleon was just recently made emperor again in France in 1815. And his enemy’s had already formed an alliance against him. He only had one way to stay emperor and that was to fight his way through it. He had one main goal in his grand strategy to win the war and that was to isolate the allied and Prussian armies, and annihilate each one separately. This was a great strategy in theory because if he could destroy the coalition forces before they were reinforced then he might be able to drive the British back to the sea and knock the Prussian’s out of the war. This ended up leading to the strategy proper of the war because Napoleon knew that the British and Prussian armies were trying to meet up so he marched his army to a spot where he was in between them. Once his army was in the middle he ended up hitting the British on the west side and the Prussians on the east side. When Wellington saw how fast the French were moving he knew he had to act fast so he concentrated most of his troops at Quatre-Bras so that he could hold a tenuous position against the soldiers of Ney’s left wing. The grand tactics come in when Napoleon wants Ney to take the crossroads of Quatre-Bras so that way he can go reinforce him if needed. This led to the battle against the British there, where the French were being held off pretty well. But while this was happening the French attacked the Prussians at Ligny and were able to defeat them which made holding Quatre-Bras for the British untenable. So the British retreated and marched north parallel to the Prussians retreat. These precursor battles affected the culminating campaign battle because a lot of men were lost and a portion of Napoleons’ army was off searching for the retreating Prussians at the time of Waterloo.
There were many battlefield maneuvers that impacted the outcomes of the battles. One was when Wellington had ordered in reinforcements for Quatre-Bras. This was good because they were starting...
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