In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Grouchy's Waterloo: a review


Grouchy's Waterloo: the Battles of Ligny and Wavre by Andrew W. Field, Pen & Sword Books Ltd. 2019.

This was a fascinating read. Most accounts that I've found of the Hundred Days focus on the politics, Napoleon and the march to Waterloo. Or they're anglocentric and focus on Wellington. I've read so much about Waterloo itself as a youngster that I started avoiding the subject. But this book, detailing the right wing of Napoleon's campaign is quite fascinating. 

This is part of a trilogy examining the campaign. A companion volume explores Ney and the Battle of Quatre Bras. This book is also unique to me in that it examines events from the French perspective. In depth analysis of the battles of Ligny and the pursuit to Wavre and the battle of Wavre itself are a big part of the book.

He concludes with an analysis of the facts as they were known to the participants at the time. A lot of ink has been spilled saying what Grouchy or Napoleon or Ney ought to have done, but those are all talking with the benefit of hindsight and arrive at very unjust criticisms. The composition of Grouchy's force is also looked at to give insight into its mission. 

But the clear analysis of Napoleon's orders and appreciation for the fact that Napoleon did not approve of initiative or independent action by his Marshalls are the most convincing. Grouchy did what he was told to do. The fault is entirely Napoleon's. 

Field is a very good historian and more importantly a very good writer. 

Highly recommended. 

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