Battle of Albert (1916)
The Battle of Albert, comprised the first two weeks of Anglo-French offensive operations in the Battle of the Somme. The Allied preparatory artillery bombardment commenced on 24 June and the Anglo-French infantry attacked on 1 July, on the south bank from Foucaucourt to the Somme and from the Somme north to Gommecourt, 2 mi beyond Serre; the French Sixth Army and the right wing of the British Fourth Army inflicted a considerable defeat on the German 2nd Army but from the Albert–Bapaume road to Gommecourt, the British attack was a disaster, where most of the c. 60,000 British casualties of the day were incurred. Against the wishes of General Joseph Joffre, General Sir Douglas Haig abandoned the offensive north of the road to reinforce the success in the south, where the Anglo-French forces pressed forward through several intermediate lines, until close to the German second position; the French Sixth Army advanced across the Flaucourt plateau on the south bank and reached Flaucourt village by the evening of 3 July, taking Belloy-en-Santerre and Feullières on 4 July and piercing the German third line opposite Péronne at La Maisonette and Biaches by the evening of 10 July.
German reinforcements were able to slow the French advance and defeat attacks on Barleux. On the north bank, XX Corps was ordered to consolidate the ground captured on 1 July, except for the completion of the advance to the first objective at Hem next to the river, captured on 5 July; some minor attacks took place and German counter-attacks at Hem on 6–7 July nearly retook the village. A German attack at Bois Favières delayed a joint Anglo-French attack from Hardecourt to Trônes Wood by 24 hours until 8 July. British attacks south of the road between Albert and Bapaume began on 2 July, despite congested supply routes to the French XX Corps and the British XIII Corps, XV Corps and III Corps. La Boisselle near the road was captured on 4 July and Caterpillar woods were occupied from 3 to 4 July and fighting to capture Trônes Wood, Mametz Wood and Contalmaison took place until early on 14 July, when the Battle of Bazentin Ridge began. German reinforcements reaching the Somme front were thrown into the defensive battle as soon as they arrived and had many casualties, as did the British attackers.
Both sides were reduced to piecemeal operations, which were hurried, poorly organised and sent troops unfamiliar with the ground into action with inadequate reconnaissance. Attacks were poorly supported by artillery-fire, not adequately co-ordinated with the infantry and sometimes fired on ground occupied by friendly troops. Much criticism has been made of the British attacks as uncoordinated, tactically crude and wasteful of manpower, which gave the Germans an opportunity to concentrate their inferior resources on narrow fronts; the loss of about 60,000 British casualties in one day was never repeated but from 2 to 13 July, the British had about 25,000 more casualties. From 1 to 10 July, the Germans had 40,187 casualties against a British total of about 85,000 men from 1 to 13 July; the effect of the battle on the defenders has received less attention in English-language writing. The strain imposed by the British attacks after 1 July and the French advance on the south bank led General Fritz von Below to issue an order of the day on 3 July, forbidding any more voluntary withdrawals after Falkenhayn had sacked General Paul Grünert, the 2nd Army chief of staff and Günther von Pannewitz, the commander of XVII Corps, for ordering the corps to withdraw to the third position close to Péronne.
The German offensive at Verdun had been reduced on 24 June to conserve manpower and ammunition. The Chief of the German General Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn intended to split the British and French alliance in 1916 and end the war, before the Central Powers were crushed by Allied material superiority. To obtain decisive victory, Falkenhayn needed to find a way to break through the Western Front and defeat the strategic reserves, which the Allies could move into the path of a breakthrough. Falkenhayn planned to provoke the French into attacking, by threatening a sensitive point close to the existing front line. Falkenhayn chose to attack towards Verdun over the Meuse Heights, to capture ground which overlooked Verdun and make it untenable; the French would have to conduct a counter-offensive, on ground dominated by the German army and ringed with masses of heavy artillery leading to huge losses and bringing the French army close to collapse. The British would have no choice but to begin a hasty relief-offensive, to divert German attention from Verdun but would suffer huge losses.
If these defeats were not enough, Germany would attack both armies and end the western alliance for good. The unexpected length and cost of the Verdun offensive and the underestimation of the need to replace exhausted units there, depleted the German strategic reserve placed behind the 6th Army, which held the front between Hannescamps 11 mi south-west of Arras and St Eloi, south of Ypres and reduced the German counter-offensive strategy north of the Somme to one of passive and unyielding defence. On the Eastern Front the Brusilov Offensive began on 4 June and on 7 June a German corps was sent to Russia from the western reserve, followed by two more divisions. After the failure to capture Fort Souville at Verdun on 12 July, Falkenhayn was obliged to suspend the offensive and reinforce the defences of th
First Battle of Ypres
The First Battle of Ypres was a battle of the First World War, fought on the Western Front around Ypres, in West Flanders, during October and November 1914. The battle was part of the First Battle of Flanders, in which German and Belgian armies and the British Expeditionary Force fought from Arras in France to Nieuport on the Belgian coast, from 10 October to mid-November; the battles at Ypres began at the end of the Race to the Sea, reciprocal attempts by the German and Franco-British armies to advance past the northern flank of their opponents. North of Ypres, the fighting continued in the Battle of the Yser, between the German 4th Army, the Belgian army and French marines; the fighting has been divided into five stages, an encounter battle from 19 to 21 October, the Battle of Langemarck from 21 to 24 October, the battles at La Bassée and Armentières to 2 November, coincident with more Allied attacks at Ypres and the Battle of Gheluvelt, a fourth phase with the last big German offensive, which culminated at the Battle of Nonne Bosschen on 11 November local operations which faded out in late November.
Brigadier-General James Edmonds, the British official historian, wrote in the History of the Great War, that the II Corps battle at La Bassée could be taken as separate but that the battles from Armentières to Messines and Ypres, were better understood as one battle in two parts, an offensive by III Corps and the Cavalry Corps from 12 to 18 October against which the Germans retired and an offensive by the German 6th Army and 4th Army from 19 October to 2 November, which from 30 October, took place north of the Lys, when the battles of Armentières and Messines merged with the Battles of Ypres. Attacks by the BEF the Belgians and the French Eighth Army in Belgium made little progress beyond Ypres; the German 4th and 6th Armies took small amounts of ground at great cost to both sides, during the Battle of the Yser and further south at Ypres. General Erich von Falkenhayn, head of the Oberste Heeresleitung tried a limited offensive to capture Ypres and Mont Kemmel, from 19 October to 22 November.
Neither side had moved forces to Flanders fast enough to obtain a decisive victory and by November both sides were exhausted. The armies were short of ammunition, suffering from low morale and some infantry units refused orders; the autumn battles in Flanders had become static, attrition operations, unlike the battles of manoeuvre in the summer. French and Belgian troops in improvised field defences, repulsed German attacks for four weeks. From 21 to 23 October, German reservists had made mass attacks at Langemarck, with losses of up to 70 percent, to little effect. Warfare between mass armies, equipped with the weapons of the Industrial Revolution and its developments, proved to be indecisive, because field fortifications neutralised many classes of offensive weapon; the defensive use of artillery and machine guns, dominated the battlefield and the ability of the armies to supply themselves and replace casualties prolonged battles for weeks. Thirty-four German divisions fought in the Flanders battles, against twelve French, nine British and six Belgian, along with marines and dismounted cavalry.
Falkenhayn reconsidered German strategy over the winter, because Vernichtungsstrategie and a dictated peace against France and Russia had been shown to be beyond German resources. Falkenhayn intended to detach Russia or France from the Allied coalition by diplomatic as well as military action. A strategy of attrition would make the cost of the war too great for the Allies, until one made a separate peace; the remaining belligerents would have to negotiate or face the Germans concentrated on the remaining front, which would be sufficient to obtain a decisive victory. On 9 October, the First German offensive against Warsaw began with the battles of Warsaw and Ivangorod. Four days Przemyśl was relieved by the advancing Austro-Hungarians and the Battle of Chyrow 13 October – 2 November) began in Galicia. Czernowitz in Bukovina was re-occupied by the Austro-Hungarian army on 22 August and lost again to the Russian army on 28 October. On 29 October, the Ottoman Empire commenced hostilities against Russia, when Turkish warships bombarded Odessa and Theodosia.
Next day Stanislau in Galicia was taken by Russian forces and the Serbian army began a retreat from the line of the Drina. On 4 November, the Russian army seized Azap. Britain and France declared war on Turkey on 5 November and next day, Keupri-Keni in Armenia was captured, during the Bergmann Offensive by the Russian army. On 10 October, Przemysl was surrounded again by the Russian army. Keupri-Keni was recaptured by the Ottoman army on 14 November, the Sultan proclaimed Jihad, next day the Battle of Cracow began and the Second Russian Invasion of North Hungary commenced; the Second German Offensive against Warsaw opened with the Battle of Łódź. The Great Retreat was a long withdrawal by the Franco-British armies to the Marne, from 24 August – 28 September 1914, after the success of the German armies in the Battle of the Frontiers. After the defeat of the French Fifth Army at the Battle of Charleroi and the BEF in the Battle of Mons, both armies made a rapid retreat to avoid envelopment. A counter-offensive by the French and the BEF at the First Battle of Guise (29–3
Battle of Armentières
The Battle of Armentières was fought by German and Franco-British forces in northern France in October 1914, during reciprocal attempts by the armies to envelop the northern flank of their opponent, called the Race to the Sea. Troops of the British Expeditionary Force moved north from the Aisne front in early October and joined in a general advance with French troops further south, pushing German cavalry and Jäger back towards Lille until 19 October. German infantry reinforcements of the 6th Army arrived in the area during October; the 6th Army began attacks from Arras north to Armentières in late October, which were faced by the BEF III Corps from Rouges Bancs, past Armentières north to the Douve river beyond the Lys. During desperate and mutually costly German attacks, the III Corps, with some British and French reinforcements, was pushed back several times, in the 6th Division area on the right flank but managed to retain Armentières; the offensive of the German 4th Army at Ypres and the Yser was made the principal German effort and the attacks of the 6th Army were reduced to probes and holding attacks at the end of October, which diminished during November.
From 17 September – 17 October, the belligerents had made reciprocal attempts to turn the northern flank of their opponent. Joffre ordered the French Second Army to move from eastern France to the north of the French Sixth Army from 2–9 September and Falkenhayn ordered the German 6th Army to move from the German-French border to the northern flank on 17 September. By the next day, French attacks north of the Aisne led to Falkenhayn ordering the Sixth Army to repulse French forces to secure the flank; when the Second Army advanced it met a German attack, rather than an open flank on 24 September. By 29 September, the Second Army had been reinforced to eight corps but was still opposed by German forces near Lille, rather than advancing around the German northern flank; the German 6th Army had found that on arrival in the north, it was forced to oppose a French offensive, rather than advance around an open northern flank and that the secondary objective of protecting the northern flank of the German armies in France had become the main task.
By 6 October the French needed British reinforcements to withstand German attacks around Lille. The BEF had begun to move from the Aisne to Flanders on 5 October and reinforcements from England assembled on the left flank of the Tenth Army, formed from the left flank units of the Second Army on 4 October; the Allies and the Germans, attempted to take more ground after the "open" northern flank had disappeared, the Franco-British attacks towards Lille in October, being followed up by attempts to advance between the BEF and the Belgian army by a new French Eighth Army. The moves of the 7th and the 6th Army from Alsace and Lorraine had been intended to secure German lines of communication through Belgium, where the Belgian army had sortied several times during the period between the Franco-British retreat and the Battle of the Marne. In August British marines had landed at Dunkirk. In October a new 4th Army was assembled from the III Reserve Corps and the siege artillery used against Antwerp and four of the new reserve corps training in Germany.
The armament of the Lille fortress zone in 1914 consisted of 446 guns and 79,788 shells, 9,000,000 rounds of rifle ammunition and 12 × 47 mm guns from Paris. During the Battle of Charleroi, General d'Amade garrisoned the area from Maubeuge to Dunkirk with a line of Territorial divisions; the 82nd Division held the area between the Escaut and the Scarpe, with advance posts at Lille, Deûlémont and Tournai, just over the Belgian border. The Territorials dug in but on 23 August, the BEF retreated from Mons and the Germans drove the 82nd Territorial Division out of Tournai; the German advance reached Roubaix and Tourcoing before a counter-attack by the 83rd and 84th regiments, that reoccupied Tournai during the night. Early on 24 August, the 170th Brigade organised the defence of the bridges over the Escaut but around noon, the Territorials were forced back by a German attack; the Mayor of Lille requested that Lille be declared an open city and at 5:00 p.m. the Minister of War ordered the garrison to leave the city and move between La Bassée and Aire-sur-la-Lys.
On 25 August, the German 1st Army reached the outskirts of Lille and General Herment withdrew the garrison. Maubeuge to the south was defended by 45,000 men and the Belgian army was still defending Antwerp to the north. On 2 September, German detachments left three days later. After the German retreat from the Marne and the First Battle of the Aisne, the northward manoeuvre known as the Race for the Sea commenced and on 3 October, Joffre formed the Tenth Army, to reinforce the northern flank of the French armies; when the XXI Corps arrived from Champagne, the 13th Division de-trained to the west of Lille. On the morning of 4 October, Chasseur battalions of the 13th Division moved to positions north and east of Lille; the 4th Chasseur Battalion advanced towards the suburb of Fives but was caught in small-arms fire as it left the Lille ramparts. The Chasseurs drove the Germans back from the railway station and fortifications, taking several prisoners and some machine-guns. North of the town, the French met more German patrols near Wambrechies and Marquette and the 7th Cavalry Division skirmished in the neighbourhood of Fouquet.
The new Lille garrison consisting of Territorial and Algerian mounted troops, took post to the south at Faches and Wattignies, linking with the rest of the 13th Division at Ronchin. A German attack reach
Life Guards (United Kingdom)
The Life Guards is the senior regiment of the British Army and part of the Household Cavalry, along with the Blues and Royals. The Life Guards grew from the four troops of Horse Guards raised by Charles II around the time of his restoration, plus two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards, which were raised some years later; the first troop was raised in Bruges in 1658 as His Majesty's Own Troop of Horse Guards. They formed part of the contingent raised by the exiled King Charles II as his contribution to the army of King Philip IV of Spain who were fighting the French and their allies the English Commonwealth under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in the Franco-Spanish War and the concurrent Anglo-Spanish War; the second troop was founded in 1659 as Monck's Life Guards. The third troop, like the first troop was formed in 1658 from exiled Royalists and was known as The Duke of York's Troop of Horse Guards; the fourth troop was raised in 1661 in England. The first troop of horse grenadier guards was formed in 1693 from the amalgamation of three troops of grenadiers.
The second troop of horse grenadier guards was raised in Scotland in 1702. These units first saw action during the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672 and at the Battle of Sedgemoor during the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685; the 3rd and 4th troops were disbanded in 1746. In 1788, the remaining 1st and 2nd troops, along with the two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards, were reorganised into two regiments, the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. From on, rank and file were formed of commoners, the bulk of the gentlemen-troopers were pensioned off. In 1815 they were part of The Household Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo under Major-General Lord Edward Somerset. In 1821, the Life Guards under the command of Captain Oakes fired upon mourners trying to redirect the funeral procession of Queen Caroline through the city of London. Two civilians were killed. Though charges of manslaughter and murder were brought back on them, no guardsmen were prosecuted. In late 1918, after much service in the First World War, the two regiments gave up their horses and were re-roled as machine gun battalions, becoming the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Guards Machine Gun Regiment.
They reverted to their previous roles after the end of the war. In 1922, the two regiments were merged into The Life Guards. In 1928, it was re-designated The Life Guards. During the Second World War, the Life Guards took part in the Normandy landings and the advance through France to liberate Brussels. In 1992, as part of the Options for Change defence review, The Life Guards were joined together with the Blues and Royals in a'Union', not an amalgamation, forming the Household Cavalry Regiment and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. However, they maintain their regimental identity, with distinct uniforms and traditions, their own colonel. In common with the Blues and Royals, they have a peculiar non-commissioned rank structure: In brief, they lack sergeants, replacing them with multiple grades of corporal. Names used by the regiment were as follows: From 1788, 1st Regiment of Life Guards and 2nd Regiment of Life Guards The following troops were reorganised into 1st Regiment of Life Guards 1st Troop of Horse Guards 1st Troop, Horse Grenadier Guards and the following troops were reorganised into 2nd Regiment of Life Guards 2nd Troop of Horse Guards 2nd Troop, Horse Grenadier Guards From 1877, 1st Life Guards and 2nd Life Guards From 1922, The Life Guards From 1928, The Life Guards On ceremonial occasions the Life Guards wear a scarlet tunic, a metal cuirass and a matching helmet with a white plume worn bound on the top into an'onion' shape.
In addition, the Life Guards wear their chin strap below their lower lip, as opposed to the Blues and Royals who wear it under their chin. On service dress the Life Guards Officers and Warrant Officer Class Ones wear a red lanyard on the right shoulder, as well as a Sam Browne belt; the Life Guards, as part of the Household Division, does not use the Order of the Bath Star for its officer rank'pips', but rather the Order of the Garter Star. The battle honours are:: Dettingen, Waterloo, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882, Relief of Kimberley, South Africa 1899–1900 The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Messines 1914, Ypres 1914, Passchendaele 1917'18, Somme 1916'18, Arras 1917'18, Hindenburg Line and Flanders 1914–18 The Second World War: Mont Pincon, Noireau Crossing, Amiens 1944, Neerpelt, Nijmegen, Bentheim, North-West Europe 1944-45, Baghdad 1941, Iraq 1941, Syria 1941, El Alamein, North Africa 1942–43, Advance to Florence, Gothic Line, Italy 1944 Wadi al Batin, Gulf 1991, Al Basrah, Iraq 2003.
Afghanistan war The Colonels-in-Chief of the regiment were: 21 May 1922 – 1 February 1936: Field Marshal HM King George V 1 February 1936 – 10 December 1936: Field Marshal HM King Edward VIII 10 December 1936 – 6 February 1952: Field Marshal HM King George VI 6 February 1952 – present: HM Queen Elizabeth II The Regimental Colonels were: 1922: Maj-Gen. Hon. Sir Cecil Edward Bingham 1922: F. M. Sir Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (from 1st Life Guards.
Battle of Poelcappelle
The Battle of Poelcappelle was fought in Flanders, Belgium, on 9 October 1917 by the British and German armies, during the First World War and marked the end of the string of successful British attacks in late September and early October, during the Third Battle of Ypres. Only the supporting attack in the north achieved a substantial advance. On the main front the German defences withstood the limited amount of artillery fire managed by the British after the attack of 4 October; the ground along the main ridges had been damaged by shelling and deteriorated in the rains, which began again on 3 October, turning some areas into a swamp. Dreadful ground conditions had more effect on the British, who needed to move large amounts of artillery and ammunition to support the next attack; the battle was a defensive success for the German army. The weather and ground conditions put severe strain on all the infantry involved and led to many wounded being stranded on the battlefield. Early misleading information and delays in communication led Plumer and Haig to plan the next attack on 12 October under the impression that a substantial advance had taken place at Passchendaele ridge, when most of the captured ground had been lost to German counter-attacks.
The attack being prepared by the British Third Army at Cambrai for late November, the troubles in the French Army stemming from the Nivelle Offensive in April and the forthcoming French attack on the Aisne, made it important that the British kept the initiative in Flanders, whence large numbers of German divisions had been drawn from the French front. At Verdun on 20 August, the French had achieved a substantial success. There was no German counter-stroke or counter-offensive as the local Eingreifdivisionen had been sent to Flanders. By October 1917, many German divisions on the rest of the Western Front had been engaged in Flanders, some more than once. After the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October, the first of the Black Days of the German Army, Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, believed that the German forces opposite Ypres were close to collapse, due to the large number of Germans taken prisoner and encouraging intelligence gleaned from the battlefield.
On 28 September, Haig met General Herbert Plumer to explain his intentions. After the victories of 20 and 26 September, the fine weather, the disarray of the German defenders and the limited prospect of German reinforcements from the Russian front, Haig decided that the attack on 4 October would conclude the period of limited advances; the following step would be a deeper advance, with provision made for exploitation. Haig wanted reserve formations of infantry, artillery and tanks to be ready to extend a successful attack. Gough and Plumer replied over the next couple of days, that they felt that Haig's proposals were premature and that exploitation would not be feasible until Passchendaele ridge had been captured from Passchendaele northwards to Westroosebeke. Gough and Plumer thought that this would take two more steps at three-day intervals and another four days to repair roads over the captured ground. Haig considered that although a collapse of the German defence was a condition for exploitation of the attack due on 10 October, not guaranteed, he desired that arrangements be made.
If the German defences did not collapse, the preparations for exploitaion would be available for a date. At another conference on 2 October, Haig announced that operations at Ypres would continue for as long as the weather permitted, that six fresh divisions were being moved from quiet fronts to the Fifth Army and that the Canadian Corps was being moved to the Second Army; the arrangements to be made for immediate exploitation, should the attack intended for 10 October be as successful as hoped, were that each attacking division was to keep its reserve brigade equipped and accompanied by two 60-pounder batteries, two 6-inch howitzer batteries and four field artillery brigades. If the infantry brigades conducting the morning attack reported a big success, their reserve brigades would continue the advance in the afternoon; the reserve brigades of the attacking divisions of I and II Anzac corps were to reach Drogenbroodhoek in the south, 3,000 yd beyond Broodseinde, Passchendaele station on the Morslede road in the centre and gain touch with the Fifth Army on the Westroosebeke road north of Passchendaele.
A reserve division of each corps was to be ready behind the front, which the Director-General of Transportation, Major-General Philip Nash, undertook to have on the battlefield in 3 1⁄2–4 hours, if given three hours' notice. The divisions in corps reserve would be ready by the following morning to advance beyond the reserve brigades, if German resistance crumbled. A cavalry division was given to each army to operate with the reserve divisions, two tank battalions were attached to the Second Army and a tank brigade to the Fifth Army to exploit the firmer going, should the advances take place. In the early morning of 4 October, news arrived at British Headquarters of the great success of the attack. Brigadier-General Charteris, Chief Intelligence Officer at General Headquarters, was sent from Haig's Advanced HQ to the Second Army HQ to discuss a possible exploitation. Plumer did not agree that exploitation was possible, because eight more uncommitted German divisions were behind the battlefield and there were another six beyond them.
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in Belgium, part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands at the time. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: a British-led allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, a Prussian army under the command of Field Marshal Blücher; the battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Upon Napoleon's return to power in March 1815, many states that had opposed him formed the Seventh Coalition and began to mobilise armies. Wellington and Blücher's armies were cantoned close to the northeastern border of France. Napoleon chose to attack them separately in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other members of the coalition. On 16 June, he attacked the bulk of the Prussian army at the Battle of Ligny with his main force, while a portion of the French army attacked an Anglo-allied army at the Battle of Quatre Bras.
Despite holding his ground at Quatre Bras, the defeat of the Prussians forced Wellington to withdraw north to Waterloo on the 17th. Napoleon sent a third of his forces to pursue the Prussians, who had withdrawn parallel to Wellington in good order; this resulted in the simultaneous Battle of Wavre with the Prussian rear-guard. Upon learning that the Prussian army was able to support him, Wellington decided to offer battle on the Mont-Saint-Jean escarpment across the Brussels road. Here he withstood repeated attacks by the French throughout the afternoon of the 18th, aided by the progressively arriving Prussians. In the evening, Napoleon committed his last reserves, the senior battalions of the French Imperial Guard infantry; the desperate final attack of the Guard was narrowly beaten back. With the Prussians breaking through on the French right flank, Wellington's Anglo-allied army counter-attacked in the centre, the French army was routed. Waterloo was Napoleon's last. According to Wellington, the battle was "the nearest-run thing you saw in your life."
Napoleon abdicated four days and coalition forces entered Paris on 7 July. The defeat at Waterloo ended Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French and marked the end of his Hundred Days return from exile; this ended the First French Empire and set a chronological milestone between serial European wars and decades of relative peace. The battlefield is located in the municipalities of Braine-l'Alleud and Lasne, about 15 kilometres south of Brussels, about 2 kilometres from the town of Waterloo; the site of the battlefield today is dominated by the monument of the Lion's Mound, constructed from earth taken from the battlefield itself. On 13 March 1815, six days before Napoleon reached Paris, the powers at the Congress of Vienna declared him an outlaw. Four days the United Kingdom, Russia and Prussia mobilised armies to defeat Napoleon. Critically outnumbered, Napoleon knew that once his attempts at dissuading one or more members of the Seventh Coalition from invading France had failed, his only chance of remaining in power was to attack before the coalition mobilised.
Had Napoleon succeeded in destroying the existing coalition forces south of Brussels before they were reinforced, he might have been able to drive the British back to the sea and knock the Prussians out of the war. Crucially, this would have bought him time to recruit and train more men before turning his armies against the Austrians and Russians. An additional consideration for Napoleon was that a French victory might cause French-speaking sympathisers in Belgium to launch a friendly revolution. Coalition troops in Belgium were second-line, as many units were of dubious quality and loyalty, most of the British veterans of the Peninsular War had been sent to North America to fight in the War of 1812; the initial dispositions of British commander Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, were intended to counter the threat of Napoleon enveloping the Coalition armies by moving through Mons to the south-west of Brussels. This would have pushed Wellington closer to the Prussian forces, led by Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, but may have cut Wellington's communications with his base at Ostend.
In order to delay Wellington's deployment, Napoleon spread false intelligence which suggested that Wellington's supply chain from the channel ports would be cut. By June, Napoleon had raised a total army strength of about 300,000 men; the force at his disposal at Waterloo was less than one third that size, but the rank and file were nearly all loyal and experienced soldiers. Napoleon divided his army into a left wing commanded by Marshal Ney, a right wing commanded by Marshal Grouchy and a reserve under his command. Crossing the frontier near Charleroi before dawn on 15 June, the French overran Coalition outposts, securing Napoleon's "central position" between Wellington's and Blücher's armies, he hoped this would prevent them from combining, he would be able to destroy first the Prussian's army Wellington's. Only late on the night of 15 June was Wellington certain that the Charleroi attack was the main French thrust. In the early hours of 16 June, at the Duchess of Richmond's ball in Brussels, he received a dispatch from the Prince of Orange and was shocked by the speed of Napoleon's advance.
He hastily ordered his army to concentrate on Quatre Bras, where the Prince of Orange, with the brigade of Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, was holding a tenuous position against the soldiers of Ney's left wing. Ney's orders were to secure the crossroads of Quatre Br
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, although British reinforcements reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought them to terms; the war under-prepared. The Boers were well armed and struck first, besieging Ladysmith and Mahikeng in early 1900, winning important battles at Colenso and Stormberg. Staggered, the British fought back. General Redvers Buller was replaced by Lord Kitchener, they relieved the three besieged cities, invaded the two Boer republics in late 1900. The onward marches of the British Army, well over 400,000 men, were so overwhelming that the Boers did not fight staged battles in defense of their homeland; the British seized control of all of the Orange Free State and Transvaal, as the civilian leadership went into hiding or exile.
In conventional terms, the war was over. The British annexed the two countries in 1900. Back home, Britain's Conservative government wanted to capitalize on this success and use it to maneuver an early general election, dubbed a "khaki election" to give the government another six years of power in London. British military efforts were aided by Cape Colony, the Colony of Natal and some native African allies, further supported by volunteers from the British Empire, including Southern Africa, the Australian colonies, Canada and New Zealand. All other nations were neutral, but public opinion was hostile to the British. Inside the UK and its Empire there was significant opposition to the Second Boer War; the Boers refused to surrender. They reverted to guerrilla warfare under new generals Louis Botha, Jan Smuts, Christiaan de Wet and Koos de la Rey. Two years of surprise attacks and quick escapes followed; as guerrillas without uniforms, the Boer fighters blended into the farmlands, which provided hiding places and horses.
The UK's response to guerilla warfare was to set up complex nets of block houses, strong points, barbed wire fences, partitioning off the entire conquered territory. In addition, civilian farms and live stock were destroyed in the scorched earth strategy. Survivors were forced into concentration camps. Large proportions of these civilians died of hunger and disease the children. British mounted infantry units systematically tracked down the mobile Boer guerrilla units; the battles at this stage were small operations. Few died during combat, though many of disease; the war ended in surrender and British terms with the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. Both former republics were incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910, as part of the British Empire; the conflict is referred to as the Boer War, since the First Boer War was a much smaller conflict. "Boer" is the common term for Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans descended from the Dutch East India Company's original settlers at the Cape of Good Hope.
It is known as the Anglo-Boer War among some South Africans. In Afrikaans it may be called the Anglo-Boereoorlog, Tweede Boereoorlog, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog or Engelse oorlog. In South Africa it is called the South African War; the complex origins of the war resulted from more than a century of conflict between the Boers and Britain, but of particular immediate importance was the question as to who would control and benefit most from the lucrative Witwatersrand gold mines. The first European settlement in South Africa was founded at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, thereafter administered as part of the Dutch Cape Colony; the Cape was governed by the Dutch East India Company until its bankruptcy in the late 1700s, thereafter directly by the Netherlands. The British occupied the Cape three times during the Napoleonic Wars as a result of political turmoil in the Netherlands, the occupation became permanent after British forces defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806. At the time, the colony was home to about 26,000 colonists settled under Dutch rule.
A relative majority still represented old Dutch families brought to the Cape during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Cleavages were likelier to occur along socio-economic rather than ethnic lines and broadly speaking the colonists included a number of distinct subgroups, namely the Boers; the Boers were itinerant farmers who lived on the colony's frontiers, seeking better pastures for their livestock. Many Boers who were dissatisfied with aspects of British administration, in particular with Britain's abolition of slavery on 1 December 1834, elected to migrate away from British rule in what became known as the Great Trek. Around 15,000 trekking Boers followed the eastern coast towards Natal. After Britain annexed Natal in 1843, they journeyed further northwards into South Africa's vast eastern interior. There they established two independent Boer republics: the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. Britain recognised the two Boer republics in 1852 and 1854, but attempted British annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 led to the First Boer War in 1880–81