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Sunday June 18, 1815

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Sunday June 18, 1815 is as significant as June 6 1944, on that day Napoleon was defeated and his army broken never to rise again. Napoleon had risen from a lowly low-ranking officer to the Emperor of France and Conquer most of Europe all before his fortieth birthday. Even though a collation of European nations had already defeated him once before and forced him to abdicate in 1814. His return from exile and command of armies of France terrified the other nations of Europe and they quickly mobilized and marched to face him in battle.

Napoleon’s army was larger than any other single army in the field, but not larger than the combined British and Anglo-allies armies. Seeking to defeat the opposing forces separately Napoleon amassed his forces near the town of Waterloo in modern-day Belgium, not far from the border of France. The French waited until 11am to make the first move. The battle raged for 10 hours, with the British fending off repeated attacks from the French. Unexpectedly Marshal Blücher arrived at the head of a Prussian army. Napoleon believed that force would not be able to reach Waterloo in time to join the fray. The intervention of Anglo-allies stretched Napoleon’s force thin.

This gave Wellington the chance to counter-attack and force the Frenchman to yield the field. His army in disarray from defeat and many of his best troops dead Napoleon could no longer defend his position in France. Napoleon would once again be exiled never to return to the continent that he had once ruled, while Waterloo is seen as a crushing defeat; in retrospect Wellington later admitted it was 'the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life'.

Trains and Toy Soldiers, hopes you have enjoyed this video about the battle of Waterloo and encourages you to browse the W Britain excellent toy soldiers depicting this period here


 

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