How did Napoleon Bonaparte lose the battle of Waterloo?

It was the first time he had faced the Duke of Wellington on a battlefield and less than a third of the Dukes army were british vetereans,how did Napoleon lose exactly?

15 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Wellington had actually recced the area of Waterloo the previous year and remembered it, he actually thought at the time, this would be an excellent ground to defend against Napoleon. And yes Stig is correct the film Waterloo is excellent, even with the portrayal of a Royal Inniskilling fusilier (27th) stealing a pig, and in his best irish accent telling wellington he found the pig and was just helping him find his way home. The Skins lost almost every Officer at Waterloo and even when I was in the Royal Irish Rangers (27th (INNISKILLINGS)83rd and 87th) when celebrating Waterloo day the Sgts would take over commands of the companies due to the fact that during the battle the Sgts took over command and a neighboring English Bn offered some officers but the only one left said no I would not take away the honour from my Sgts who like to command.

    GI Jane, its BRITISH Soldier not English, Wellingtons troops were heavy with Scots and Irish, even the English Battalions who were stationed in Ireland for up to 30 years would have gone to Ireland as English and left topped up with Irish. Some English Bns were 30-40% Irish, Wellington said of the Inniskillings "They saved the center of my line at Waterloo"

    At Waterloo, where so many Regiments performed with high valour and endurance, none exceeded and few equalled the deeds of the Inniskillings, Ordered to hold an important crossroads, they were decimated by heavy cannon fire which carved bloody gaps in their squares, but the survivors stood firm, repelling determined cavalry charges. At the end of a terrible day, most companies were commanded by sergeants, and few could muster as many as 20 unwounded men. close by the crossroads 450 of the 700 Inniskillings who had marched into battle lay dead in their squares where they had fallen.

    There are so many contributing factors to why Napoleon lost, his age, illness, the weather the rain, the french split and sent some of his force to pursue the Prussians, the British facing him did not cave, there are so many variables that you can not put it down to just one thing alone.

    After the battle the 1st Foot Guards were given the title “the Grenadier Guards” to commemorate the regiment’s role in overthrowing the French Grenadiers of the Old Guard. All ranks were given the bearskin cap to wear.

    14th Foot: The 3rd Battalion of the regiment fought at Waterloo. The battalion had been newly raised and was awaiting disbandment, having seen no service, when Napoleon escaped from Elba. The battalion crossed to Belgium and won the battle honour for the regiment. Most of the soldiers were under 20 years of age.

    The Emperor Napoleon, some years before Waterloo, presented to each of his marshals a silver snuff box. Marshal Ney’s snuffbox was looted from his carriage after the battle by a British officer. Some years later the snuffbox was presented to the officers of the 19th Foot, the Green Howards, who used it in their mess for formal occasions.

    The 27th Inniskilling Fusiliers, in the course of Ney’s cavalry attacks was bombarded by a French horse battery. By the end of the battle the battalion had suffered 478 casualties from a pre-battle strength of 750. An officer from a nearby battalion, Captain Kincaid, commented that the 27th seemed to be lying dead in its square. Kincaid, a veteran of the Peninsular War, said “I had never thought there would be a battle where everyone was killed. This seemed to be it.”

    The Duke of Wellington spent his early army service as the lieutenant colonel of the 33rd Foot. After the Duke’s death Queen Victoria permitted the 33rd to adopt the title “the Duke of Wellington’s”, a fitting attribution for one of the army’s most persistently successful regiments of foot.

    79th Cameron Highlanders: As the French cavalry approached for the attack the regiment formed square. Piper Mackay marched around the square playing the pibroch “Peace or War”. The King subsequently presented Mackay with silver mounted pipes.

    In spite of their presence in the film “Waterloo”, the 88th Foot, Connaught Rangers, were not present at Waterloo. They were on the far side of the Atlantic fighting the Americans.

    The 95th had three battalions at Waterloo. After the battle the regiment was given the title of the “Rifle Brigade” in place of its number, which was reallocated to a newly raised infantry regiment.

    In the closing moments of the battle a cannon ball struck the Earl of Uxbridge as he rode with the Duke of Wellington. The Duke said “By God you’ve lost your leg.” The Earl said “By God, so I have.” The remains of the leg were amputated in a house nearby and the owner buried the leg in his garden where it was a place of interest for some years.

    Every year after 1815 the Duke of Wellington held a “Waterloo” banquet for his officers. The banquet is still held.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No they are still debating it, although the battle looks straight forward an approximately 6 hour battle,( their are so many different accounts of that battle ),but considering the only thing Napoleon was not short of and thats Cavalry ,surely the deciding factor was the absence of his veteran cavalry commander Murat (who won the day at such battles as Borodino) incapable of commanding an Army himself, he still did valuable service under the command of Napoleon. He Murat would have at least spiked the British guns they (the french cavalry)had overrun during their attacks during the day,he would have convinced Napoleon not to detach his horse Artillery away from him,and more importantly with a large number of Curraisser (Heavy Cavalry)regiments under his personal command he would have at least done better than Marshal Ney, and he might have broken Wellingtons centre,only my opinion.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wellington used his reverse slope defensive strategy he used so well in Spain,and despite the fact that most of Napoleons Marshals had fought against the Duke in Spain (and they did warn Napoleon),he still dismissed Wellington as an amateur, this was a serious mistake,he had a new chief of staff for the first time,his veteran cavalry commander Murat was not present and Marshal Ney commanded the cavalry with disastrous results.The ground was muddy so he did not attack until midday and his Artillery was lacking in numbers so he added all the horse artillery to build up the numbers with fatal results for his cavalry.So all of his legendary luck ran out for him that day.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Marshal Blucher saved the day for the Duke of Wellington,the Prussian Army attacking Napoleons right flank during the afternoon tipped the scales in favor of the allies.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Taking all matters in consideration: the main reason Napoleon lost was the bravery of the British soldier,as Napoleon himself commented 'they(the British) remain nailed to that ridge'.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Wellington was a clever defensive general who drew Napolean to a ground of his choosing.

    Napolean had around a third of his army persuing the Prussian's who managed to arrive at the battle in time to help Wellington defeat him.

    It was at the end of this battle when Napolean's "Old Guard" refused to surrender and British killed them and stole their bearskin hats. This is where the traditional head dress of the Guardsmen who stand outside Buckingham Palace originates.

    If you're interested buy / rent the film Waterloo starring Christopher Plumber. Good film and historically acurate.

    Source(s): Studied it, Seen the film, been to Battlefield
  • 1 decade ago

    Going for an afternoon nap in the middle of the Battle and the failure to stop the Germans under Gebhard von Blücher arriving to re-enforce the British.

  • 1 decade ago

    They are still debating it. I've read that the ground was so muddy, it was hard to move the calvary and the cannons around. I also read that the French soldiers were very sick so although he had the number, he didn't have the numbers to fight well.

  • 1 decade ago

    His arrogance caused him to lose. Like a lot of generals in history, he thought that nobody was able to beat his army. He also failed to choose when and where to attack. He had the advantage but didn't use it when the opportunity arose.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hey i know this one.

    Click this link and follow the episodes.

    Youtube thumbnail

    It was a thrill to watch and indeed Napoleon was very short.

    Source(s): GREAT STORY!
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