WATERLOO CAMPAIGN, 15 JUNE 1815

Napoleon's army crossed the frontier into the Netherlands on 15 June. He had received reports that both the Anglo-Allied and the Prussian armies were scattered, so his plan was to advance on Brussels, and drive a wedge between them. If he could move quickly and defeat each army in turn, before they could combine, he believed he could win the campaign and re-open negotiations with his enemies from a position of strength.  WATCH VIDEO

WATERLOO CAMPAIGN, 17 JUNE 1815

On 16 June, Napoleon defeated the Prussian army at Ligny, and sent his right wing under Marshal Grouchy in pursuit, to prevent the Prussians rallying and joining with Wellington's Anglo-Allied army at Waterloo. But Grouchy became entangled with the Prussian rearguard at Wavre, allowing the main force to slip past him and march to Wellington's aid. This meant that at Waterloo, Napoleon only had a few hours to defeat Wellington's army, before Prussian troops began to arrive on the battlefield. WATCH VIDEO

THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO, 11 AM

The Battle of Waterloo was fought 8 miles south of Brussels, on a battlefield chosen by the Duke of Wellington, commander of the Anglo-Allied army, for its defensive potential. The Anglo-Allied troops (RED) were deployed behind a gentle ridge, which offered protection from French artillery fire. Three farmhouses forward of the line, at Hougoumont, La Haye Sainte, and Papelotte, were fortified and garrisoned with elite troops. It was a deceptively strong position, but Wellington remained concerned that many of his troops were untested in combat. WATCH VIDEO

THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO, 7 PM

7pm on 18th June 1815 was the moment of crisis for both Napoleon and Wellington. Wellington's army had suffered significant losses from heavy French bombardment, and now the La Haye Sainte farmhouse in the middle of the battlefield had fallen to the French, threatening his centre. But Hougoumont still held out on the Anglo-Allied left flank. Napoleon knew he was running out of time, as the Prussian army (BLACK) was threatening his right flank. This was the moment when he decided to gamble everything by sending in the Imperial Guard, his elite reserve. WATCH VIDEO