Setting a precedent for the blog today by posting twice in the same 24 hour period. The occasion I believe, merits a different approach at least for this week anyway.....
|Walking to our seats this is the view of the reenactment field.|
Having had a sleep I can write a little more about yesterday's action. The re enactment took place on the ground between the sunken road and the initial jump off position of D'Erlon's Corps.
|On the very ground held by Bijlandt's Brigade|
Effectively about one sixth to an eighth of the total ground area of the battlefield and with about 5% of the actual troops involved. Estimates were 7,000 re enactors. Lots of Napoleonic groups were roped in. I saw Swedish, Finish, Westphalian, Italian, Austrian, Swiss units plus 60th Rifles etc.
|Bijlandt's Belgian Line infantry|
No matter, that was all lost in the scale. The Allies had plenty of guns which seemed to be greater in number than the French. If anything, it appeared there were more Allies than French. Cavalry was thinner on the ground but even with perhaps no more than 100 - 150 per side they still filled a lot of ground and moved fast.
|Wellington surveys the deployment|
I watched cavalry pickets skirmishing with each other and they covered the ground between the armies swiftly and were up close within a couple of minutes.
|The 92nd Foot Gordon Highlanders march onto the field|
The buildings they fought around were temporary wooden structures erected in one of the many depressions between both positions. The red 'brick' one represented Hougoumont and the whit one La Haye Sainte. In one of the shots you can see the real Papelotte in the background.
|Grand Battery fire and Bauduin's skirmishers move against Hougoumont|
Our view was from Grandstand Z which was roughly positioned in front of La Haye Sainte. One of the biggest bonuses of the day was to be able to legally walk all over the land which is usually of limits when you visit the field.
|Smoke from 5 or 6 Allied batteries early in the battle|
To get to our seats we walked down from Picton's position (or VIP Champagne Tent was actually on the ground Pack's Brigade defended!), back across the route of retreat of Quiot's Division.
|Long lens view across the field.. Wargamers.. TAKE NOTE PLEASE!!!|
When the action started it was chaos, but beautiful chaos. The commentators were trying to make it understandable in three languages but I am unsure if anyone was actually listening to them.
It seems a little churlish to criticize what was perhaps one of the stand out moments of my life but they could have made it a little better with some extra thought.
|Traver's Cuirassiers attack at La Haye Sainte|
Suggestions from our group after included: a parade of the units around the field with public announcements of who they were at the beginning, large rock concert screens erected in key corners of the field (there were dozens of camera crews everywhere including hiding inside Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte!) and a 'Vive Le Empereur!" ride by Napoleon at the beginning which may have happened but we didn't see it.
|Grand Battery line|
|Bauduin attacks Hougoumont|
This gripes are very, very insignificant. The spectacle was on a scale so spectacular as to make any criticism sound like the whining of the worst pedant.
|Ready to go!|
Enjoy these pics. There are hundreds more. We are off again today. May be the same show but I believe our seats are different so the pix may well be too!
|Beautiful uniforms .. but who are THEY??|
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