In what battle did Napoleon die

Waterloo - Why Daredevil Napoleon's troops lost

Which is why the troops of Daredevil Napoleon lost

The defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte on June 18, 1815 changed Europe. He fled the battlefield in Waterloo with his white horse. The French troops lost for a reason.

On the 40 meter high cone of earth with the lion monument, which the Dutch erected after the battle in honor of their victorious troops, tourists look out over the fields. You can almost hear the drum roll and "Vive l’Empereur" calls of the 74,000 French who attacked from the south, while 70,000 British, Dutch and Germans awaited them with fearful silence.

On June 16, 1815, Napoleon's troops had repulsed the troops of Wellington and the Prussian field marshal Blücher near Ligny and Quatre-Bras - but without pursuing them further or defeating them decisively. That was Napoleon's first mistake. His second mistake was to put Marshal Grouchy with 33,000 men, but with a misleading order, to pursue the Prussians. Then there was the bad weather. Heavy rain showers turned the fields south of Waterloo into a quagmire on June 17th. The morning after, Napoleon waited two hours until the ground was dry enough to advance his powerful artillery.

Napoleon lets attack

The French lacked this time in the afternoon when the swaying battle was about to be decided. Napoleon's plan was to do away with the British and then tackle the Prussians. It was the only chance given the pan-European superiority: armies from Austria, Russia, Italy and Spain marched up behind the British and Prussians against the emperor who had escaped from Elba.

Napoleon therefore had to take out the individual armies one after the other. But on June 18, the daredevil waited too long. Only after 11 a.m. did he let the storm blow on the British hidden behind the ridge of the hill. 260 French cannons - Napoleon's "beautiful daughters" - bombarded Wellington's troops for hours to wear them down; For hours the cavalry of several thousand men ran against the British infantry under Marshal Ney. The latter defended their “Carrées” with muskets and bayonets, as if they were defending their entire island kingdom.

The Prussians are coming

This battle could not end in a draw. One of the armies had to be destroyed. The merciless hitting and stabbing lasted into the evening hours. “The slaughter was terrible. Our horses trampled over corpses, the wounded screamed, ”reported the French Colonel Bro de Comères, one of the countless later Waterloo chroniclers. With tremendous commitment and despite huge losses, the attackers came closer to victory.

But now Napoleon was missing the two hours. Just before the British were down, the Prussians appeared in the east. They had fooled Grouchy and stabbed Napoleon's core forces in the rear. When they finally hewed the undefeated, even invincible Imperial Guard to pieces, panic broke out in the French ranks. Napoleon's army disbanded and fled.

A mound of bones

The results were terrible: 50,000 dead, wounded and missing were shared by both sides. The Prussian monument, today located near a neat single-family house settlement on the edge of the battlefield, stands on a five-meter-high hill because the bones beneath it towered so high. The injured British had to wait three to four days for a stretcher on the battlefield and were pillaged or killed by local residents if they resisted.

The French were usually operated on by their army surgeon Dominique Larry on the battlefield. Although he only had vinegar or brandy left as a disinfectant, he was soon sawing off an arm or a thigh per minute. Then the amputees were allowed to limp away again. Napoleon escaped. But four days after Waterloo he abdicated, and the British finally disposed of the Corsican on Saint Helena in the South Atlantic. It was a turning point for Europe: the French domination since Louis XIV was followed by the British Empire of the 19th century and Prussia replaced the Habsburg dynasties.