Author Topic: Waterloo + 200 years (merged)  (Read 16254 times)

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Offline Loachman

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2015, 11:07:59 »
I have even on occasion watched 155mm rounds on the last seconds of their trajectory.

From the blunt end, one presumes.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2015, 11:16:32 »
I believe I have read accounts that describe that.
....

I concur.  I too have seen accounts of standing in line, watching the ball come, bouncing and then taking out the file next to the observer.

Jack Tar's battle of the era was a different one.  He was most likely to be killed or maimed by flying wood spalled from the hull as he served the guns blind and deaf because of the smoke and the blast.  That is, if he didn't drown when his ship sunk.

Nasty way to earn a living ....
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2015, 11:19:29 »
From the blunt end, one presumes.

Actually at the OP while adjusting fire.

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2015, 11:34:28 »
Actually at the OP while adjusting fire.

Geeze, what did daftandbarmy do to deserve that kind of treatment?   ;D

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2015, 11:36:51 »
If you haven't read 'The Face of Battle' yet, I recommend it.

Keegan equates the casualty rate at Waterloo to 'a full jumbo jet crashing every 15 minutes' or something cheerful like that.

Some extracts...

http://homepage.eircom.net/~odyssey/Quotes/History/Keegan_Battle.html#Waterloo
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2015, 11:43:17 »
For the most part, you don't see the incoming anymore. Here is perhaps the most remarkable war image I have ever seen: recovered from a shot down Iraqi MiG during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, it shows the incoming missile from the American F-15 just moments before it strikes:

As for Waterloo, has anyone read WATERLOO; The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell?
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Online FJAG

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2015, 12:02:14 »
. . .
As for Waterloo, has anyone read WATERLOO; The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell?

I have and, quite frankly, am of the view it is a poor effort. A principal weakness is a lack of footnoting and a decidedly short and one sided bibliography.

In many ways he tells a history in much the same way that he writes a historical novel except that he leaves out the fictitious characters. If you've read Sharpe's Waterloo then you've got the general gist of the new Waterloo book.

My biggest complaint is that he follows the narrative of Waterloo based on the heavily biased reports which came from the British participants of the conflict. These put their Belgian/Dutch allies into an inferior and distinctly second light. Similarly the coverage of the Prussians and the French is distinctly superficial.

In short as a British oriented executive summary of the campaign/battle it is barely adequate. As a serious historical study it is far short of the mark.

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Offline Larry Strong

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2015, 19:20:07 »
Makes you wonder what kind of a man it takes to stand there and let it happen....better men than me, as I would flinch.........



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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2015, 23:32:40 »
Makes you wonder what kind of a man it takes to stand there and let it happen....better men than me, as I would flinch.........



cheers
Larry


Same as the reason Sgts' & WOs' stand in the supernumerary rank today. Back then, they would be at the back, and if someone in the ranks got cold feet or decided they really wanted to farm turnips, they would be shot by their Sgts' & WOs'.

It's nice to see we are still the disciplinarians, but with a somewhat, more subdued view on how to make people do what we want, but make them think it's their idea. ;)
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Online FJAG

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2015, 13:37:10 »


Same as the reason Sgts' & WOs' stand in the supernumerary rank today. Back then, they would be at the back, and if someone in the ranks got cold feet or decided they really wanted to farm turnips, they would be shot by their Sgts' & WOs'.

It's nice to see we are still the disciplinarians, but with a somewhat, more subdued view on how to make people do what we want, but make them think it's their idea. ;)

Back in the days of the American Civil War the position was called "file closer". The main authority for this is Casey's: Infantry Tactics see: http://64thill.org/drillmanuals/caseys_infantrytactics/volume1/.

Starting at article 19 it provides that a company has 1 Capt, 3 Lts, and 5 Sgts. In line of battle, the Cpls are distributed amongst the front rank, The Capt is positioned on the right flank of the first rank, the company's first Sgt immediately behind the Capt and all the Lts and Sgts 2 paces behind the second rank as "file closers". Looks to me like after a battle there'd be a good opportunity for promotion from Pte to Cpl but not so much Cpl to Sgt. Sucks to be a Cpl.  ;D

Haven't quite found such a definitive source for Napoleonic Brit infantry but this site: http://www.napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.atspace.com/foreigners_British_army.htm#britisharmy0000
suggests a Brit line company had 1 x Capt, 2 x Lt, 2 x Sgts, 3 x Cpls 1 x drummer and 85-100 ptes. I've seen pictures with the Capt on the right flank and would thus suppose that the Lts, Sgts and Cpls would form the "file closers" while all the ptes were in the line.

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« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 14:01:57 by FJAG »
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Offline jeffb

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2015, 14:12:15 »
And don't forget an Ensign who would be in the colour party.

It is very easy to see modern artillery projectiles as they leave the muzzle for quite a distance so long as the observer is standing behind the gun. It is much harder standing beside it. I suspect that if one were looking up directly in line with the ballistic trajectory of an incoming projectile today, it would be clearly visible although I have not personally experienced this. I have no doubt that as round shot bounced across the field it would be very visible to anyone standing in front of it especially after a bounce or two as the velocity would fall off precipitously.

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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2015, 15:46:27 »
I experienced the receiving end view of a 105mm round in the Lawfield Impact Area, once. I was at the Op, but there was a charge error at the gun and I had the unique experience of seeing the round pass about 75m to the right of our Op and watching it impact about 50m behind us (we paced it off). It failed to function, thankfully, so I lived to tell the tale.

So, yes, you can watch a modern round in flight.

Online Blackadder1916

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2015, 15:58:15 »
Haven't quite found such a definitive source for Napoleonic Brit infantry but this site: http://www.napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.atspace.com/foreigners_British_army.htm#britisharmy0000
suggests a Brit line company had 1 x Capt, 2 x Lt, 2 x Sgts, 3 x Cpls 1 x drummer and 85-100 ptes. I've seen pictures with the Capt on the right flank and would thus suppose that the Lts, Sgts and Cpls would form the "file closers" while all the ptes were in the line.

There appears to be a good description of British battalions at Waterloo in The Waterloo Companion (Mark Adkin) as can be seen on Google books.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=4tTYCLqjwj8C&lpg=PT171&ots=ba7oAfG_Zc&dq=british%20battalion's%20establishment%20waterloo&pg=PT171#v=onepage&q=british%20battalion's%20establishment%20waterloo&f=false

He, apparently, took previous losses in the rank and file to come up with his typical ORBAT so the number of ptes seems low.  Cpls appear to be in the ranks (probably as right markers).


Same as the reason Sgts' & WOs' stand in the supernumerary rank today. Back then, they would be at the back, and if someone in the ranks got cold feet or decided they really wanted to farm turnips, they would be shot by their Sgts' & WOs'.

Other than the fact that if a Sgt discharged a firearm in the age of muskets he had the time consuming task of reloading before he could deal with the next man, it seems an inefficient way of discipline.  British Army disciplinary practices of the time were brutal enough that summary execution by NCOs was likely not required.  Additionally, British Serjeants of that era did not usually carry muskets/rifles (save those in light companies).  Their weapon of office was the spontoon (half-pike).  A six or seven foot long stick with a one foot sharp pointed end was sufficient and likely served the same as the more recent pace stick/drill cane (i.e. stick, privates, for the beating of).
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2015, 21:04:18 »
1807 Drill Manual - courtesy of the Glengarry Light Infantry

http://glengarrylightinfantry.ca/drillmanual.pdf

And here is the 1794 version of Rules and Regulations for the formations, field-exercise and movements of His Majesty's Forces.

As to Cornwell on Waterloo, I agree with FJAG. - Frankly I think his "Sharpe's Waterloo" was better history. At least it was better written and better edited.  At points I found it virtually unreadable.  I am a big Cornwell fan but I think he did himself a disservice with that "history".  It wasn't worth the cash.

There are many better histories out there.

Edit: Directly to the use of "Supernumaries" - from the 1807 manual

Quote
Use of the fourth or supernumerary rank.

The fourth rank is a three paces distance when halted, or marching in line. -
When marching in column, it must close up to the distance of the other rank. -
The essential use of the fourth rank is to keep the others closed up to the front
during the attack, and to prevent any break beginning in the rear. On this
important service, too many officers and non-commissioned officers cannot be
employed.


Which is why Sergeants were equipped with Spontoons, or Halberds, like this



Which were used like this portrayal of a Sergeant at Fontenoy (1745)



Link
« Last Edit: March 07, 2015, 21:35:56 by Kirkhill »
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Online FJAG

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2015, 21:33:12 »
There appears to be a good description of British battalions at Waterloo in The Waterloo Companion (Mark Adkin) as can be seen on Google books.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=4tTYCLqjwj8C&lpg=PT171&ots=ba7oAfG_Zc&dq=british%20battalion's%20establishment%20waterloo&pg=PT171#v=onepage&q=british%20battalion's%20establishment%20waterloo&f=false

Darn fine book that. A little pricey but its going onto my birthday/Christmas wishlist. Thanks for pointing it out.  :salute:

Milpoints inbound.

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2015, 23:12:37 »
Rifleman Harris dictated an excellent account of his service history to Captain Curling, leaving a first class impression of the Napoleonic period:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Recollections_of_Rifleman_Harris

Too bad the Canadian Army doesn't do the same more often these days.
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #41 on: March 08, 2015, 17:15:43 »
Another favourite of mine is "Twenty Five Years with the Rifle Brigade" by William Surtees.  He joined the army in 1795, the Experimental Corps in 1802 and retired as a Quartermaster in 1827.

My favourite part was his jaunt across Denmark in 1807 in charge of his battalion's baggage.  Losing contact with the battalion he cut across country independently to arrive at the designated RV ahead of his battalion.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Why we must remember the bloody cost of Waterloo
« Reply #42 on: March 08, 2015, 19:30:46 »
Geeze, what did daftandbarmy do to deserve that kind of treatment?   ;D

Must have had my mess bill paid up for a change, meaning they had nothing left to lose...  ;D
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon