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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Head cam Waterloo200.

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Head cam Waterloo200.

Postby Josh&Historyland » May 11th, 2016, 1:01 am

Ran across this nifty hour and a half show. One of the Royal Scots Light Company shot this footage during the 2015 reenactment and it's fairly instructive, In many ways. Firstly not to denigrate the fellows doing the show, they created a nice feel and it does show certain aspects of warfare that are recognisable. Yet I feel I must point out some things I noticed.

On the whole I might have called it, "How to get yourself destroyed" as it is an admirable use of all arms by the French, and a seeming ignorence of reality from the British.
So first off, surely they are opening fire much too soon? When the open order stuff is going on the enemy are not even really in plain view before they were opening up.
Then when the lines close we find two French battallions approaching, one to the front, the other on the left. Any commander not tied to a script must surely withdraw at this point and seek support, or send for the cavalry. We may notice a stolid battery enfilading the French on the flank, which should in reality have put paid to them, and why no one made allowances for that is rather perplexing either way. Nevertheless as the French (who have seemingly brought a company of Norwegians along, forgivable because the British have brought the Austrians and Swedish) at first decide that this is just a nuisance they continue to threaten the flank, eventually closing to extreme musket range. But before that happens someone (for the second time) calls cavalry! Shock horror, it's not as if the first time someone shouted about cavalry the horses in question were half a mile off. This time the French ponies do put in a word. And why shouldn't they? The British are just standing there, not really caring that they have just been obliterated. Two battalions have fixed them and cavalry have forced them into square. Game over.

Not so! The organisers decide what happens and that means the French cavalry politely ride around, the infantry charge and then March off to attack that pesky battery they left in their rear. Now follows some more volleying, seemingly by platoons these fellows are averaging one round every 12 seconds or so, in a dramatically cut down procedure that cuts out ramming. Just as well because there's often great lapses in military discipline to be seen as soldiers weave in and out of ranks, scramble madly each time they have to move or change formation and fall back in the face of the enemy with as much order and precision as a sack of potatoes. At one point someone yells form square, most of them rush willy nilly to wheel inwards while one chap fumbles to fix his bayonet before the order is given and before the evolution is complete.

So by know the French are losing, though Lord knows how, or why they rightfully should. Oh yes, it's waterloo (I don't know what the enemy will make of these men... Etc). And now except for jittery people confusing the Brunswick hussars as Frenchmen we kindly fire intermittent volleys (careful not to shoot down the stray wandering officers and women roaming around the field, and curiously huddling together to the left flank as the cavalry Attack), as the French March sedately off into the distance to prepare for the final Attack. Which we don't get to see. Shame as it looked as if the French were about to wipe the floor with them, such numbers don't auger well for that galloping Wellington chap who plays to his audience so happily. One assumes however the French (and Norwegians) were seen off in the same, clumsy old style as before. We won't go into the fact that someone is using a Revolutionary war metal canteen rather than a wooden one, or that I swear I saw a three band French musket being used by someone, nor the lack of attempt to replicate speech or officer like behaviour towards the men, all suspiciously modern looking, especially that crack about being the back end of the bus.

Nice uniforms, creditable show, nice atmosphere and truly a good lesson in what not to do and how well they could do it back in the day. Despite my waspishness, it was a fun video and of course made better by being flawed so I could moan about it like all happy historical pedants like to do. Well done the French. (And Norwegians)

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Re: Head cam Waterloo200.

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » May 11th, 2016, 3:25 pm

Thanks Josh. :shock:

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Re: Head cam Waterloo200.

Postby Mark » May 11th, 2016, 7:04 pm

Very interesting video! Thanks for sharing, Josh!

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