Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Battle Of Waterloo

"Hard pounding, gentlemen. Let's see who pounds the longest."
- Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

196 years ago today, Napoleon Bonaparte made one last run at European domination, but it was not to be.

A coalition of British, Prussian, Hanoverian, Netherlanders, Nassauers and Brunswickers (aided by some timely inclement weather) called a halt to Le Petit Caporal at a valley just south of a Belgian village called Waterloo.

I had an interest in (some might say obsession with...) all things Napoleonic while at college. I've still got stacks & stacks of books on Wellington's Peninsular Campaign, pages and pages of notes researching the battles, and a giant 4' x 5' map painstakingly laid out by hand on hex paper over the course of a summer for the purposes of a grand game of the Battle of Waterloo. I've got counters for every unit over battalion size that was within a 100 mile radius of the battle.

Waterloo was the high water mark for smoothbore muskets & guns and armored cavalry warfare. Within a generation, rifled muskets and cannon would enter the battlefield, and the new technology married to 18th century tactics would lead to the bloodbaths of Balaclava, Antietam and Sedan.

So, if you've got a few hours to kill, show up with a six pack case of good beer and get me talking about Bl├╝cher's charge at Ligny, or the Black Watch at Quatre Bras.

Here's what happens when a French cuirassier catches a British cannonball: