Talk:Battle of Waterloo

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Good article Battle of Waterloo has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Date Process Result
March 30, 2007 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
September 21, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
May 10, 2008 Featured article candidate Not promoted
Current status: Good article

This article is selected for Wikipedia:Selected anniversaries/June 18

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Inclusion of citations to discredited historians[edit]

Both Hamilton-Williams and Hofschröer have been discredited as reliable historians. Both have also been judged (at least in Hofschröer's case in court) to have behaved discreditably in their personal lives, though this is not germane here. Both have been discovered to have falsified or distorted primary accounts, in the case of Hofschröer, he has been shown to have selectively translated passages from German, omitting any wording contrary to his viewpoint. As such the inclusion of many references to their work in the article cannot stand. If they claim something not backed by other authors their view cannot be included, where their assertions coincide with scholarship in general, then alternative sources should be sought. In short, as this is an encyclopaedia reliant on quality secondary sources, their works are so unreliable that they should, ideally, be removed in their entirety. Urselius (talk) 13:23, 22 June 2017 (UTC)

You're saying it, but you haven't supported it. Discredited by who, how, when and where? Provide evidence. Historians often dispute things, so let us see some reliable critics, and not a bunch of armchair historians ranting on forums or Amazon reviews that "paedophile = bad historian" (I read the one that implied this – Amazon reviews are not reliable) because that's not an argument; I don't care what his personal life amounts to, using unrelated court cases to discredit someone's ability to write a history book is disingenuous – recent history has proven that attack campaigns don't work, remember Corbyn the "IRA supporter". So even by mentioning that Hofschröer had a case in court you're preemptively loading the debate with subtext. I consider myself an unbiased person for the most part. I don't own and have not read any books written by Hofschröer as I'm aware that he has been named as a Waterloo-revisionist, although I am a bit curious I simply havent got round to consulting his theories. I was not aware until you removed mention of him in the article today of his criminal history, and to be frank: I don't care! If Wikipedia is a "reliable source" then pedophilia is, quote: "a psychiatric disorder" according to the cited DSM-V and ICD. I dispute that and have seen websites that rate the DSM-V as "unreliable" and full of invalid claims. And yet here we are... on a website that has an anti-WP:PEDOPHILE policy (rightly so, imo) yet professes that it is a "mental condition". So isn't Wiki being discriminatory against people who aren't in fact criminal perverts but really sick in the head? I only say this because your dislike for Hofschröer appears more like a subtext rather than a genuine dispute of his relevance as a Napoleonic historian. When you first removed the sentence about Hofschröer you originally made no mention of WP:UNDUE but instead said he was a "somewhat discredited historian". "Somewhat" is not a confident opinion. Let's say he has been discredited somewhere: and yet a search of that author produces a lot of title on Amazon, including a lot for Osprey. I also noticd that the very reliable late Richard Holmes (historian) credits this book as being "mightly impressive" and "well-researched", bearing in mind that Holmes was a great admirer of Wellington, wrote about him and made a TV series, "The Iron Duke", that's a positive remark. So has he actually been discredited as a "historian" or are you muddying the water by mixing his sexual behaviour with his books, simply because he's a controversial historian who sees the Battle of Waterloo very differently to how most historians see it? "History is written by the victors" is largely a true saying, and an article of this nature is going to attract more English-readers than not, and is probably subject to much cultural bias that plays down the Prussian role in the Allied victory. I feel that by writing out Hofschröer we may be witnessing a covert attempt to revise the article further away from a balanced opinion to a more Anglocentric POV. So let us see evidence of the "discredited" Hofschröer before we start changing things. As I said, Hofschröer has been cited 21 times. 21 of 199 references. By comparison, Barbero has 42 and this Hamliton-Williams that you mention has 10. I've heard of editors cherry-picking which sources they many to include in an article to create OR or a SYNTH POV, but removing citations based on nothing... that seems like cherry-picking in the other direction, and can't be allowed without presenting a strong argument, because you can't just remove references, you'd need to ming alternative sources... and to do that you either need to find a "reliable" historian saying the same thing (in which case, why bother?) or revise the claims being made by the cited historian with an alternative POV, which is a form of revisionism... and that can be challenged. You're treading dangerous ground by wanting to strip out 31 cited refs under a very ambiguous claim that "Hamilton-Williams and Hofschröer have been discredited as reliable historians". So again, discredited by who, how, when and where? And let's hear it without mention of court cases or what they did in their personal lives or how they conducted themselves on discussion forums, it doesn't even factor into this matter. Show us some reliable sources of critics and actual examples of that these two historians said that makes them factually unreliable. — Marcus(talk) 14:33, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
There was a court case, essentially concerning defamation, and Hofschröer lost it and had £10,000 damages to pay. It was part of a long-running dispute concerning the timing of Wellington's receipt of a message from the Prussian Generel Ziethen on 15 June 1815, and what the German historian Pflug-Harttung had written about it. This will take you considerable time to research, if you can get hold of the relevant publications, some of which are now out of print, please see [[1]]. It has been shown as definitively as it is possible to be that Hofschröer deliberately misrepresented what Pflug-Harttung had written and that some of his other supposed supporting primary evidence was entirely unreliable. Hofschröer claimed, and continued to claim throughout, that Wellington received the message in the morning, and therefore could have marched to the aid of the Prussians, but cynically chose to leave Bluecher to face the bulk of the French army alone. Even though Pflug-Harttung said the following: "Alles in allem war die preußische Berichterstattung an den englischen Feldherrn eine geringe, der Bedrohlichkeit der Sachlage kaum entsprechende. Der Grund hierfür dürfte ein doppelter gewsen sein: die unglückliche Verspäzung des Zietenschen Meldereiters, dem keine weiteren folgten, und der Entschluß des preußischen Hauptquartiers, am 16. die Schlacht gegen Napoleon anzunehmen, und zwar unter allen Umständen…." - essentially saying that Ziethen's message was of little account and that the Prussians were determined to give battle anyway. Pflug-Harttung also definitively rejects Ziethen's much later reminiscences as being entirely unreliable and wrong about the timing of the message.
Hamilton-Williams was found to have passed off secondary sources as being primary sources and of having invented a whole archive. [[2]] The reaction to his Waterloo book has been credited with the demise of his publisher - Arms and Armour.
Although the links I have given are to website conversation threads, some of the people commenting are Napoleonic scholars and authors and their comments are reflective of the Napoleonic warfare scholarly community in general. I myself had 3 articles published in First Empire (now sadly defunct) during the Pflug-Harttung controversy (unconnected to the controversy I hasten to add).
So, in short, you have two authors who are pariahs in their own scholarly community, both of whom have legal convictions for dishonest behaviour of one kind or another. I think you would have to fight very hard to support their continued inclusion as reliable sources in any Wikipedia article. Urselius (talk) 16:00, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
If there have been actual court cases there should be court documentation concerning the lawsuits and their outcome. I have no intention of taking a "considerable time to research" anything. The onus is on you to provide evidence that there was such a case. These are conversation threads, therefore they are unreliable. I don't need to fight hard at all to retain them as sources. You have not proved anything yet, it remains heresay. Where and when did these court cases take place? Who raised the lawsuit: Hofschröer vs who? To whom did he have to pay £10,000 in damages? Saying a Napoleonic society made some authors an outcast does not prove anything... they may have their own agenda. So, let us look at an example of a real critic. David G. Chandler is probably one of the most respected names in Napoleonic circles, a very notable figure. Here is a book review he wrote regarding 1815: The Waterloo Campaign: The German Victory. It concludes with the words: "All of these criticisms aside, Hofschröer has provided us with a great deal of new information, as well as some food for thought. His assertions, although sometimes biased, should not be ignored." This short review of Hofschröer's most controversial arguments hardly fails to "discredit" him.
I believe what you're presenting is nothing short of a smear campaign that attacks these authors reputations and aims to discredit them based on old chit-chat (since yout two links date back to 2007 and 2008) and yet no-one in the past 10 years has thought to challenge these references earlier, when the so-called court cases were fresh? Sorry, but I remain skeptical of your motives.
I believe you should look at the 31 cited refs case-by-case and attempt to dispute their reliability in order to build up a case that Hofschröer and Hamilton-Williams are not reliable sources.
For example, refs [1] and [2] simply cite figures, that there were 73,000 French troops and 118,000 Alied troops on the field of Waterloo. Can these be disputed?
If necessary we can go through ALL 31 citations, detail exactly what they reference, and then ask the simple question – true or false? I think be boiling it down to the bones and looking at each citation one-by-one we'd get a much better look at whether the cited material is reliable or not, instead of drawing attention to court cases. Ultimately, even if you were to prove to me, or anyone else, that these authors were unreliable, you'd still have to go through the same process of assessing each and every citation to verify its merit. So we might as well cut to the chase now... I have around 150 Napoleonic books on my shelves, 11 of which are dedicated to the Waterloo Campaign User:MarcusBritish/Library#Hundred Days, so it's no skin off my nose to coniser each citation in determine that another historian maintains what is referenced. Or shall we stop the ball rolling here and agree that the whole matter is a facade and that it is more unlikely that you are going to get these two authors "banned" – since there is, as yet, no evidence of what the court cases determined, evidence that at least 2 notable critics consider Hofschröer's work of some importance, evidence that Hofschröer has produced a multitude of works on Waterloo and the Prussian Army (are we to believe they are all entirely "wrong"), and more importantly, I expect that to "ban" anything you would have to go via an RfC as was the case with the Daily Mail. I await more credible evidence of these authors being discredited. Are you aware that Hofschröer's two-volume work 1815: The Waterloo Campaign received the 1999 Napoleonic Society of America Literary Award? Has that award been revoked in light of any lawsuits against him? Here's a list of all of Hofschröer's works. Given the huge amount of articles on the Napoleonic Era on Wikipedia versus the tiny number of editors who focus on that period, do you really think a blanket ban would ever work, in practice? Who, exactly, do you propose is going to review, verify and, if necessary, replace every instance in which he has been cited? Unlike the Daily Mail issue, which is just a matter of finding alternative media, a lot of these titles are specialised or controversial, and that makes it far more difficult to find alternative sources easily. With that in mind, I do believe that it you who would need to fight very hard to effect their exclusion from Wikipedia, as any question of their inclusion has yet to be proven as harmful to the varacity of any article in which they are referenced.
  • 1984 – Prussian Light Infantry 1792–1815 – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 1984 – Prussian Line Infantry 1792–1815 – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 1985 – Prussian Cavalry 1792–1807 – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 1985 – Prussian Cavalry 1808–1815 – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 1987 – Prussian reserve, Militia & Irregular Troops 1806–15 – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 1989 – Hanoverian Army of the Napoleonic Wars – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 1993 – Leipzig 1813 – Osprey Campaign Series
  • 1998 – 1815: The Waterloo Campaign Vol. 1 (Wellington his German Allies and the Battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras) – Greenhill
  • 1999 – 1815: The Waterloo Campaign Vol. 2 (The German Victory, from Waterloo to the Fall of Napoleon) – Greenhill
  • 2001 – Lützen & Bautzen (1813) – Osprey Campaign Series
  • 2003 – Prussian Specialist Troops 1792–1815 – Osprey Men-at-Arms
  • 2004 – Wellington's Smallest Victory: The Duke, the Model Maker, and the Secret of Waterloo – Faber & Faber
  • 2005 – Waterloo 1815: Quatre Bras & Ligny – Pen & Sword
  • 2006 – Waterloo 1815: Wavre & Plancenoit and the Race to Paris – Pen & Sword
  • 2011 – Prussian Napoleonic Tactics 1792–1815 – Osprey Elite
For Hamilton-Williams I can only find two titles: Waterloo. New Perspectives. The Great Battle Reappraised (1993) and The Fall of Napoleon: The Final Betrayal (1994).
Again, we have an author who has decided to go against long-held beliefs and offer new perspectives, theories and controversial conclusions. Don't let it be said that such historians are unimportant; it is good that such people are willing to re-evaluate historical events and challenge established opinion. What is important is the manner in which they do it and their handling of the evidence. These people must know they will come under fire from other historians, and should be prepared to defend their position with integrity against critics. What normally happens, however, is that such people are vilified and subject to personal attacks for their beliefs, instead of being subject to unbiased scrutiny. Because these historians invest years in reasearching and writing their books they do, their works become a product which is sold and makes them an income. Competition is not unheard of between historians, and they will try to discredit each other by hostile means. Societies are no better, since they often try to uphold the status quo rather than remain impartial... so forum discussions between scholars aren't altogether reliable or neutral, because they're likely to be on the same bandwagon. — Marcus(talk) 23:37, 22 June 2017 (UTC)
Calling attention to the court case & then saying it's not germane, and doing it as your opening argument, does your position no favors, since it suggests you have nothing better. I agree with Marcus; his being a despicable human being doesn't mean he's a lousy or un-credible historiographer (contrary to what popular media might have you believe). Provided his misdeeds don't include falsification or plagiarism (& IDK if they do), I see no reason to reject him as a source. TREKphiler any time you're ready, Uhura 03:06, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
Both authors have been found to have deliberately falsified material: H-W cited a non-existent primary source archive (i.e. he fabricated it, see: "Were the Sibornes Frauds?" in First Empire # 23, "Waterloo New Perspectives & The Hanoverian Archives" in First Empire # 25 and "Waterloo New Perspectives & The Siborne Manuscripts" in "First Empire" # 26 - in the latter two articles the author examined the same set of papers as H-W and concluded that H-W had invented files numbers and referred non-existent documents to support his arguments) and PH is known to have selectively omitted passages in translating original sources from German. He has insisted that a 19th century German historian said one thing, when it is obvious that he said the exact opposite. This deliberate falsification was the cornerstone of his revisionist view that Wellington was an arch hypocrite who deliberately and maliciously induced the Prussian army to fight alone against the bulk of the French army at Ligny (see:[3] for details). The court case was brought by John Hussey OBE, a Napoleonic period historian of good repute, following a long campaign of quite horrible vilification by PH. This was triggered by Hussey's exposure of PH's manipulation of sources. The case judgement can be examined here: [[4]]. I strongly believe that the works of the two authors are not reliable for encyclopaedic purposes. Is all they have written unreliable?, clearly not. However, I do not consider that either you or I, or any Wikipedia editor, is qualified to decide which parts are reliable and which are not. On the whole, it would be better to cite authors whose books are reliable, from a simple viewpoint of prudence. At the very least all assertions citing the two authors should be supported by a citation to another author of unblemished repute. Urselius (talk) 07:49, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
I rather resent the intimation by User:MarcusBritish that I am interested in pushing the article into a more Anglo-centric direction. It is true that H-W wrote from a Dutch-Belgian revisionist viewpoint and PH from a pan-German revisionist stance, but it is hardly my fault that they did so, not by merely interpreting sources with a certain amount of bias (which is a legitimate scholarly device), but by the falsification of sources to lend support to their theses. Urselius (talk) 08:13, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
You'll have to forgive my "intimation"; it was my interpretation of your undertones that caused it. Interpretations, as you know, can easily be wrong or misleading. Having just read the legal case I have identified another example of interpretation. You see, this case makes no mention of what Hofschröer specifically posted om the forums. The judgement ordered Hofschröer to post an apology for attacking another historian, some John Hussey. What a man writes on a forum is totally different to what he writes in a book. It's chalk and cheese. Take Trump's Tweets as a modern example. Social media is not a formal publication, so it's not comparable to judge the quality of a publication. I cannot accept that Hofschröer has been wholly "discredited" as a historian simply because he went on a crusade against some other historian on a forum. There is nothing in this hearing with regards to the material in Hofschröer's books. Furthermore, if Hofschröer offended a historian on perhaps you'd care to explain why that website still maintains this review, again of 1815, The Waterloo Campaign: The German Victory which concludes with "This book is a must read for those who are interested in Napoleonic history!" That's the third positive criticial review I've identified for someone so "discredited". And still I'm waiting for hard evidence that he has actually been discredited for anything specific. The court case simply documents a civil case that he slandered another historian. That doesn't relate to his works or competence as a writer in the slightest, it just shows that he behaved like a dick toward someone and that it got out of hand. Been there, done that... I still think you're reaching, since the court case was summarised in 2007, relating to incident in 2005, and yet he continued to write books to 2011. You seem to be implying that by writing one badly researched book his entire catalogue of titles suddenly and automatically become invalid. I have a major problem with this conclusion. I still have a problem with you telling us what these two authors supposedly did wrong, without supporting it clearly. I do not believe the analysis by Gregory Pedlow was designed to discredit Hofschröer, but was written to compare the accepted historical POV with Hofschröer's theory and set the record straight. It appears to me that you're trying to weaponise it to discredit Hofschröer, ignoring one key fact: Hofschröer knowingly offers an alternative narrative of the Waterloo Campaign, openly rejects the consensus and, from what I understand, the theory does not even originate from him, but from 19th Century Prussian historians. I also gather that the only thing really being disputed is the time a message was received. So you want to discredit a historian and his entire works over a time, and the theory he based it on? That's not discrediting... that's a witch hunt. It has no substance, no logic. The Pedlow article says that Hofschröer and Hussey used different sources and research methods, and that caused a dispute. At most, Hofschröer has been debunked, but not discredited. That doesn't justify what you propose. I still don't accept that Hofschröer is "unreliable". As a historian who presents an alternative history he should be taken with a pinch of salt in terms of his conclusions, but even a revisionist can't ignore the main facts and common knowledge about the events they're challenging. I don't think your conclusion that any editor on Wikipedia is qualified to validate a source is acceptable. I've been writing an article on Napoleon's military career for some time, and I don't just read one book and source it – I can have as many as 5 or 6 biographies, and I go over the same period or events I'm writing about in all of them and determine the consensus, cite one or two exmaples, and then I go through the specialised books and identify other less-common information I can incorporate into the article. That way I build a bigger picture and am not biased towards any one historian. I consider myself very competent in determining the quality of my sources and the historians who write them. I know who has anti- and pro-Bonaparte views and am cautious when they start to praise or rebuke his actions. I can do just the same with Hofschröer – read his claims, compare them with 2 or 3 other Waterloo historians, filter out theory and conjecture. And I am known to look through the bibliography of historians and purchase titles they may have used. I don't do online research... I have ~150 books on the topic and think I'm well-equipped to determine (not decide) which parts are reliable and which are not. That's what historians are supposed to do. If a historian is incapable of reading a book and understanding how the author has drawn his conclusions, well, to be frank... he's not a very good historian and should probably stay away from Wikipedia, since he is probably incapable of efficiently sourcing material. I won't apply that directly to you, just be clear that my conclusion came from your own words, so it's up to you whether you eat them or not. I'm confident in my ability to research impartially. In fact, I ordered Hamilton-Williams two books from Amazon just a few hours ago, since I'm curious what he has to say. — Marcus(talk) 09:51, 23 June 2017 (UTC)
You are right about how historians operate. They need an 'angle', something novel or contrary to received wisdom, then they need to argue their case. I have done it myself, I wrote an article running exactly contrary to an assertion made in at least two of David Chandler's books. Brave or foolhardy, I know. However, all my quotations from sources were accurate, any omissions of words or phrases were unambiguously indicated, all my citations checkable and accurate, and any extrapolations, approximations or personal opinions were overtly flagged as such. This is how real scholarship should be undertaken. This is not what H-W and PH were consistently doing, they both put pushing their 'angle' above probity or or even honesty. Urselius (talk) 09:33, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Perhaps that is the "angle" of a revisionist. I see method that as the "angle" of anyone writing books about Creationism in order to be anti-Evolution. How about people who write for or against Climate change... don't they have angles and make intentional omissions? What about all the books once written about Dinosaurs that are now considered inaccurate... yet at the time they were written the authors must have gone for an angle to maintain their once-thought-true claims. How about books on wormholes or life on other planets... surely those scientists have an angle. I think of most historians as accepting of the general consensus, which has been built around the best evidence and data available. But revisionists are subversive and don't see the picture that is painted, so they work to create their own image. And to do that they look at alternative forms of evidence and interpret data differently. Does that make them wrong, per se, or simply less accepting of established facts? There have been so many revisions to what we thought we knew about certain periods of history, that it's really not necessary to discredit anyone for having an alternative angle, so long you can admit that you don't accept their findings, methods or beliefs, for whatever reason. — Marcus(talk) 10:39, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I admire your self-confidence at least, I have had 5 articles on Napoleonic warfare published (one won an international prize) and I do not hold myself capable of separating gold from dross in this case. I caveat this, ' without undertaking a huge amount of research' - which I am definitely unwilling to undertake. I have H-W's Waterloo book, you will find that it is a good read. However, do not believe anything he says about Sibourne, or any assertion he makes backed up solely by 'primary sources'. The greatest irony is the PH did the most to highlight the shortcomings of H-W's handling of sources! Pots and kettles come to mind. PH's books I have not and will not purchase. I thought his thesis and his motivation highly dubious from the start, but having witnessed his frankly unhinged attacks on Hussey and Pedlow I would not touch anything he has written with a barge-pole. Of course, you will not find anything in Pedlow or Hussey's writings that directly accuse PH of dishonesty, because both are scholars and write as dispassionately as scholars should. However, read every refutation of PH's assertions, citing the same sources as his, and the conclusion that he acted dishonestly as a scholar is inescapable. Urselius (talk) 10:17, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think that in this case it is worth quoting what Richard J. Evans had to says about Irving in the David Irving v. Penguin Books Ltd. and Deborah Lipstadt trial: "Not one of his books, speeches or articles, not one paragraph, not one sentence in any of them, can be taken on trust as an accurate representation of its historical subject. All of them are completely worthless as history, because Irving cannot be trusted anywhere, in any of them, to give a reliable account of what he is talking or writing about" (Evans: 6. General Conclusion § 21). As I understand it this is basically the position that Urselius is taking. We can not trust Smith and Hofschröer, because we do not know if what they wrote in a specific case is true, so their citations need to be backed up with another. If we do that, then we may as well drop the former.

I have one of I have on of Peter Hofschröer books Waterloo 1815 ~ Wavre, Planceniot and the Race to Paris. I bought it when writing/transcribing the article Waterloo Campaign: Ligny through Wavre to Waterloo, principally to check modern place names against those used by Selborne, but also to get another perspective, and it seems to me that there are few modern English texts that detail the Prussian retreat on the 17th and the advance by the Prussians from Wavre to Waterloo. I found some of Hofschröer's thoughts on the campaign interesting, because usually the are the same as Selborne's, but sometimes he expresses the ideas in a form that is easier to cite. Having said that, I agree with Urselius where we can and should replace both Smith and Hofschröer with other sources.

Map of the Battle of Waterloo on which is marked La Belle Alliance, "Maison de Coster" (House of Decoster) and Rosseme Farm.

In this specific case, for other reasons, I have in my sandbox a section called User:PBS/sandbox#End of the battle in which I have a list of the articles by the lead characters in the "Crisis of Waterloo" exchange that took place in the 1830s.

The article that sparked the controversy was:

  • Major [George] Gawler (1833), "The crisis and close of the action at Waterloo", The United Service Magazine, pp. 299–310 

In it Gawler wrote:

The 52nd, 71st, and the head of the Prussian columns met just beyond the farm of Rosomme, and at the same moment the Duke of Wellington and Marshal Blucher riding up together, from La Belle Alliance, the Prussians were ordered to continue the Pursuit.

Now this was written about 18 years after the fact and its accuracy could be questioned however Lord Vivian responded with his own publication, that is in my opinion a well written account (based on his own diary and notes) in part criticising Gawler:

  • Vivian, Hussey (1833), "Reply to Major Gawler on his 'Crisis of Waterloo", The United Service Magazine, pp. 310–324 

Vivian quotes that passage and adds in his own details (not repudiating but semi-confirming it). He states that were several cases of what are now called friendly fire incidents, between Prussian and British troopers between La Belle Alliance and Rosomme Farm. It was on the other side of the road from Rosomme where Vivian met Wellington—at a place where the road to Genppe could be seen and where he received orders from Wellington to leave the pursuit to the Prussians. So Vivian confirms that Wellington road a far as Rosomme and had liaised with the Prussians over the pursuit. The worries about friendly fire are not usually given as the reason for no British pursuit, but if that was a major concern (more so than tiredness) it makes sense that of the only Anglo-allied cavalry given permission to continue the pursuit after that point were the German speaking Black Brunswickers.

I have stayed off the specific point. According to these primary sources, written about 18 years after the event, Wellington and Blucher met near La Belle Alliance and road together along the high-road to Rosomme Farm. In other words, it is not that Hofschröer is wrong—they could after all have met slightly to the south of La Belle Alliance towards Decoster's house—but that he for his own reasons chooses to emphasise that possibility. -- PBS (talk) 16:03, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

The following near contemporary source to the two primary sources, I have used but draws a similar conclusion as Hofschröer "on the road to Genappe" (suggesting that Wellington and Blucher met at Rosomme), but an editor note to that point tends to support my interpretation of the sources:

  • "Popular errors respecting the Battle of Waterloo", The United Service Magazine, 1839, pp. 199–200 

-- PBS (talk) 16:36, 23 June 2017 (UTC)

Smith and Hofschröer? We were talking about Hamilton-Williams and Hofschröer. Who is Smith? — Marcus(talk) 01:23, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Hamilton-Williams is not his original name, David Cromwell appears to be one name he has used, David Palmer another. H-W claimed to be a baronet, untrue, claimed to have a number of degrees from certain universities, untrue, and used the coat-of-arms of a real Welsh baronet. The latter was a friend of the Marquess of Anglesey (direct descendant of the Earl 0f Uxbridge), who wrote the foreword for the Waterloo book. The Marquess was very displeased, it is said. BTW you can get H-W's second book for £0.01 on Amazon, should you wish - eloquent testament to its worth. Urselius (talk) 08:25, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Got it, came this morning... waiting for his first book to arrive also. I won't be getting any of Hofschröer's books anytime soon, they are very pricey second-hand. I won't buy brand new copies because I don't want to support someone currently in jail for downloading 36,000 child porn images. — Marcus(talk) 12:10, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
In this day and age of authorities and politicians horribly misusing their powers, I wouldn't readily believe every criminal charge laid or court conviction is valid or not a targeted set-up on citizens innocent of state-made accusations. There's more than meets the eye in PH's own case.Joey123xz (talk) 04:39, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Have a look at the Waterloo book by H-W, it contains no biographical information about the author whatsoever. I would say that this is very unusual. Fishy? Urselius (talk) 19:41, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Not really... not all non-fiction books include biographical information, and most are just a blurb in the dustcover. Question is, whose choice is it to include a bio. – the author or the publisher? Funnily enough the copy of The Fall of Napoleon that I received today has been signed and says: "For Margaret and Fred, my friends, my son's godparents and two of the nicest, kindest human beings I have been privileged to know. David C. Hamilton-Williams. 3rd Nov 1994. Copy Number One." I wonder, it if really is the first copy he ever signed, if that makes it valuable. — Marcus(talk) 23:09, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm not buying this thing about Irving being a prime example of what User:Urselius is saying. What you're saying is that some guy called Evans took David Irving (who I am aware of) to court over Holocaust denial and proved that he was a bad historian, and that we should apply the same principle to Hofschröer. That's not presenting evidence that Hofschröer is also a bad historian, that's a Strawman argument, using Irving as a substitute to attack Hofschröer from an obscure angle. Holocaust denial is a crime in some countries and is often the result of anti-Semitic ideals. Not agreeing that Wellington should take credit for beating the French at Waterloo, and arguing that the Prussians played a bigger role in the battle than historians care to admit is not a hate-crime issue; not even if the evidence he presented is supposedly manufactured. Sorry, but the Irving case isn't even relevant... and is completely out of proportion to whatever Hofschröer has apparently done. — Marcus(talk) 01:33, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Just to set the record straight: it was Irving who took Penguin and Lipstadt to court because of defamation (that he was a holocaust denier and a bad historian who distorted evidence), and in one of those peculiarities of the British legal system it is then not the complainer who has to prove the defamation accusation, but the accused who has to prove that what (s)he has written/published is indeed the truth. Penguin and Lipstadt then used Prof. Evans as an expert witness to sift through Irving’s work and then after 2 years work Evans presented evidence of Irving's misrepresentations, including evidence that Irving had knowingly used forged documents as source material. The court ultimately ruled that Irving's claim of libel relating to English defamation law and Holocaust denial was not valid because Lipstadt's claim that he had deliberately distorted evidence had been shown to be substantially true. -- fdewaele, 9 July 2017, 15:15 CET.
Marcus, I am puzzled by your apparent zest for appearing to act as an apologist for historians whose documented misuse of sources makes them unreliable at best. You have quoted glowing reviews of their work made well before their abuses of scholarly method were known. The reviews signify nothing, the reviewers would have assumed that both H-W and PH were acting in good faith. It is only through the active checking of sources and the persistence of a number of scholars that the unscrupulous activities of both were discovered and made public. Urselius (talk) 08:44, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Apologist? How can I be an "apologist" for them when I haven't read their books yet (and from what you said, neither have you)? The term you're looking for is "unbiased" as I believe your claims are somewhat biased and lacking in substance. You keep suggesting there is evidence of foul play, but I have yet to see it. Ambiguous mentions of "other scholars" but you don't drop any names, details or links to material which actively discredits anyone. All we get are vague references to past demerits. If you were writing an article about their misdeeds it would tagged as "lacking references" or quickly deleted. Perhaps you should step up your game and start producing hard facts, because until I see anything substantial I'm going to remain in opposition to "banning" any author. As I said, I'm not biased, I don't act based on my feelings, because I don't have any – there is simply no evidence being presented that any of the 31 references from the two historians in this acticle, or any other article on Wiki, are inaccurate. Please, feel free to challenge the validity of the 31 citations... I'm happy to consider any objections you have on a case-by-case basis, but sweeping generalisations really don't cut it. You can't pull accusations out of the air or from forums archived a decade ago and expect people to jump on the bandwagon. They might do that on some Napoleonic Society sites, but this is Wikipedia, we don't have closed-gate communities, we collaborate. Collaboration means presenting facts and figures to prove something, not acting on rhetotic and speculation. There is no "zest" on my part, I did not start this campaign to remove them from Wikipedia willy-nilly, you did. I simply oppose it with very good reason: you haven't supported your demand/request with anything that actual proves they behaved inappropriately enough to discount them as completely unreliable sources. Don't take it personally, I simply do not believe you present a strong enough argument. Yet I remain open to considering anything you find, but so far it has mostly been irrelevant; court cases dealing with personal disputes and papers debunking their revisionist theories do not amount to "discrediting" them or their entire works. You need to show something that says in black and white how they knowingly falsifed evidence, and even then it might only mean one of their books is unreliable, not everything they wrote. If certain "scholars" have actually proved their "unscrupulous activities", as you maintain, where has this been documented with evidence so that it can be reviewed? — Marcus(talk) 10:07, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
This is not a court of law. It is supposed to be an encyclopaedia, and an encyclopaedia that overtly relies on trustworthy secondary sources. The untrustworthiness of authors does not require courtroom levels of proof in order for their work to be rendered unsuitable in the context of an encyclopaedia. The opinion of other scholars, expressed in published articles and in recorded public conversations, is quite sufficient to cast enough doubt on the accuracy of their work to make them inadmissible, or at the very least inadmissible without external corroboration, as support for assertions within Wikipedia articles. As editors, we are obliged to follow Hippocrates' dictum and "Do no harm"; I think that there is, and please read all the articles I have quoted and read all the online conversations available, quite sufficient evidence that the inclusion of unsupported assertions based on the writings of either man may do harm. Urselius (talk) 11:08, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I don't give a hoot about Hippocrates' dictum, and am not obliged to consider it. Besides which, that applies to healthcare and we don't make oaths here, it's a website not Boy Scouts. This is not a hospital and there is nothing that can be harmed. We are only obliged to follow the five pillars, policies and guidelines that describe how editors should behave. You really are grasping for straws by citing poetic nonsense instead of focusing on the issues. It is not my or anyone's responsibility to take your claims for granted and go digging round for evidence that these historians are unscrupulous – the onus is on you to present your argument here with evidence, otherwise it's little more than libellous remarks against people who have had a range of books published. You cast the aspersions, the burden of proof is on you. No one with sense will take your word for granted... I don't really care how many articles you had published in Napoleonic magazines or how many societies who were once of that makes you close to the issue. Attacking the reputation of sources and being unwilling to support your claims is paramount to original research. I have read everything you have posted to date, it did not make any difference to my opinion because it does not prove squat. Please don't try to deflect the issue by prattling on about this not being a court of law. You still require evidence if you want to have any historians banned, under the claim that they are "discredited". In order to successfully ban a source editors can't take your claims as "fact". You're getting into the realm of pretentiousness now, quoting dictums just sounds desperate. I asked for the names of these illusory scholars who discredited two historians... again, you haven't named them. I've seen better answers on PMQs than you're willing to offer. Are you sure there isn't a conflict of interest going on here, because I'm not so certain anymore that you're not taking this far too personally. — Marcus(talk) 11:24, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Ironically, Hofschroer did much of the work to discredit Hamilton-Williams, alongside David Hollins and others. Prof. Gregory Pedlow and John Hussey, and others, did the same for Hofschroer. Really, what sort of proof do you need? H-W is a publically exposed fantasist and Hofschroer a mendacious felon, subject to a criminal conviction, sectioning for mental aberration and subject to an extradition process. If you would not buy a used car from either of them, why would you 'buy' a historical opinion from either of them? Urselius (talk) 19:36, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
With searches from a location in Europe, Google (and some other search engines) may not return all the sources about people, because biography searches with Google return with the endnote "Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe...". Richard J. Evans was (as his Wikipdia biography states) Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge from 2008 until his retirement in 2014 (Unless they receive a peerage, this is about as establishment approved as it gets for historians in the UK). His area of expertise is World War II, so he was qualified to tackle Irving. But enough about that. The point is that for academics, there are two major issues that will get you discredited, one is plagiarism and the other is misusing sources (see for example Ward Churchill). The issue here is: in the opinion of experts did Hofschröer, or Hamilton-Williams, or both, deliberately misinterpret sources? If they did then they are not objective historians, and we should use other references to support this article. -- PBS (talk) 11:35, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
If... — Marcus(talk) 11:43, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Just going to chime in here and say, so far it's just accusations of wrongdoing. Which is the same as somebody saying the Russians interfered in the American election. Unless I show up with proof that there was shenanigans going on, it's just smoke. Marcus is asking for substantial proof, because as of right now Urselius is just telling us that we should take his word that these people are bad historians. Maybe Urselius is a great guy, even Jesus come again, but even Jesus made it rain fish and manna. So let's see some sources stating that they are bad historians otherwise we've reached an impasse. Llammakey (talk) 17:37, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Look at all the sources I have referred to already - might be a start. Urselius (talk) 19:36, 24 June 2017 (UTC)

A break[edit]

I've stayed out of this argument because I know Peter and have for decades. I don't know what you say for a Friend that has erred other that to say that I am sorry for him and for those that he has transgressed. However, when it comes to his works the only thing that should be considered is if he has or has not misrepresented the facts. I am asking, all other considerations aside, has he done so? If not this is starting to look like a witchcraft trial and I've had enough of the kangaroo court antics. Put up the proof and let this be judged on those facts alone.Tirronan (talk) 12:50, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

I have looked for real sourced evidence in the “evidence” that Urselius provided and must conclude there is little to none that proves that PH is a falsificator. Which doesn’t mean that PH is cleared of the charges but only that the accuser doesn’t provide convincing evidence. Urselius points to messageboard transcripts but those have to be discarded due to Wiki policy of only accepting trustworthy and verifiable sources. Messageboards are simply not that. As to the legal case Hussey v Hofschroer, that doesn’t prove anything either. It was a case initiated by Hussey due to his claim of Hofschroer defaming him (which was ironically one of Hofschroer's accusations against Hussey which lead tot he defamation suit, that Hussey was apart of a defamation campaign against him). In British law it’s the accused who has to prove his innocence of the libel charge, which is often a high bar, and not the accuser who has to prove the libel. For this reason the UK is often used as avenue to launch libel suits because the onus lays with the accused and not the accuser. However, nowhere in the document Urselius provided is the quality of PH’s own work discussed. It’s only PH acceding to the libel charge because he could not prove his own allegations against Hussey. Conclusion: nothing is proven either way, so in my humble opinion unless some real proof of PH’s bad historical intent comes to light, there is no need to erradicate the article from PH references.-- fdewaele, 9 July 2017, 15:54 CET

"Urselius points to messageboard transcripts but those have to be discarded due to Wiki policy of only accepting trustworthy and verifiable sources." The policy WP:SOURC is only for citations in article space, it does not cover usage on talk pages. The only polices we need concern ourselves here are "Wikipedia:copyright" and the content covered by "Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons" in particular WP:BLPTALK. -- PBS (talk) 15:31, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
The point is that he wants to discard proper citations in the article because he disputes their author, content and worth but does not provide concrete evidence as to why they should be removed... And as it is a direct attack on an historian/person, without a proper source that won’t pass WP:BLPTALK with regards to Non-article space. Mere claims/attacks on a message board carry little weight to undo the validity of those citations, and the content of the court document he linked to doesn’t support his claim that HP’s a falsificator. – fdewaele, 9 July 2017, 18;28 CET.
[A later comment] I think you have missed " and not related to making content choices should be removed" in WP:BLPTALK -- PBS (talk) 09:34, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
For the record, I’m not taking sides in this dispute as to HP’s worth as an historian. I’m neutral on that issue, my beef is whether the point (that he is a proven falsificator) is proven/provided by the sources that were provided fort his event. The claims against him could very well be true, but in my opinion they are simply not (yet) backed up by credible sourcing. – fdewaele, 9 July 2017, 18:35 CET.:
Look at the journal articles that I have cited! Many of the people commenting here seem to suffer from selective vision, I have pointed to many journal articles, as well as to online conversations and court cases. Taken in mass the journal articles point to PH having deliberately misrepresented Pflugk-Harttung's writings (look at other journals I have cited for H-W's 'sourcing peccadilloes' being made public). PH consistently claimed that Pflugk-Harttung supported his own views, when the Prussian historian most definitely said quite the opposite. PH continued make his claims even when other authors had proven in black and white, in published articles that Pflugk-Harttung had said the opposite. It has also been shown that PH distorted the meaning of translations of passages from German sources. This is not a trial of any description, neither is anyone setting out to burn books. However, as any Wikipedia article is fundamentally dependent on the veracity of sources, the sources used have to be reliable. I fondly imagined that any taint of unreliability would render the work of any author claiming to be an objective historian invalid. Apparently, I am wrong; please yourselves! I have drawn attention to the situation, it is a situation very well-known within the Napoleonic military history community. If Wikipedia cares to ignore it, so be it. I will not communicate anything further on this matter, or enter into any further discussion on this topic. Urselius (talk) 17:09, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

I have given a list of articles concerning H-W somewhere above, for discussion of Hofschroer's treatment of sources see:

Hussey, “The Significance of a Wellington Memorandum of May 1815”, JSAHR 76 (1998) 58-62.

Hussey, “Müffling, Gleig, Ziethen, and the ‘Missing’ Wellingtonian Records: The ‘Compromising’ Documents Traced”, JSAHR 77(1999) 250-268.

David Miller, “Reply to ‘Old Myths Die Hard’”, Age of Napoleon 36 (2002) 42-43.

John Hussey, “At What Time on 15 June 1815 did Wellington Learn of Napoleon’s Attack on the Prussians?,” War in History 6 (1999) 88-116.

Hussey, “Towards a Better Chronology for the Waterloo Campaign,” War in History 7 (2000) 463-480.

Hussey, “Evening and the Waterloo Despatch” (Note 1611), JSAHR 79 (2001) 336-338.

Gary Cousins, “A Belle Alliance … The Battle about Books About the Battle”, First Empire 67 (2002)

Hussey, “Messages on the Morning of 15 June 1815: A Prussian Expert’s Conclusions”, Note 1660, JSAHR 81 No 325 (Spring 2003) 62-63.

Cousins, “A Note on Zieten’s Supposed Early Message to Wellington”, Note 1728, JSAHR 82 (2004), 361-362.

Gregory W. Pedlow, “Back to the Sources: General Zieten’s Message to the Duke of Wellington on 15 June 1815”, First Empire 82 (2005) 30-35. Urselius (talk) 18:34, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

From what I can tell "JSAHR", "First Empire", "War in History" and "Age of Napoleon" are all specialist historian and war-gamer magazines. You've selected articles that practically nobody here has access to. Furthermore, do these actually qualify as "reliable sources" given that the articles you speak of in those magazines could be op-eds? Are their authors reliable, do they cite sources, or do they all attack Hofschroer's point-of-view simply because his books were controversial? There's a difference between proving someone actually abused sources and having a polarised view to their analysis of historical events. It's very hard to assess your list when none of us has access to the entire content of it, and that alone is a wall that prevents this matter going very far in your favour. I certainly am not fishing out money for magazines just to verify your claims, and having seen the prices of some 2nd-hand copies on ebay, I think I'll stick with buying reliably authored books. Though to be frank, I question the neutrality of these magazines, as I fid this "list" all-too-conveniently available and potentially cherry-picked... seems like John Hussey especially has a bone to pick with Hofschroer – isn't he the one Hofschroer libelled and got sued £10,000 by? I think Hussey's obvious dislike for Hofschroer disqualifies him – he clear has a personal conflict of interest – it's hard to trust any historian who goes out his way to repeatedly attack another historian by publishing articles in, not one but three magazines – he appears to bear a grudge that makes him an unreliable witness, IMO. Also, you've left out anything regarding Hamilton-Williams. Maybe your magazines have metered out some "social justice" material there too, that noone here can reach. — Marcus(talk) 19:56, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Whatever, as I said this is not a trial, it should be an examination whether, on balance, two historians have had sufficient doubt cast upon their honesty as historians to make them unreliable in a Wikipedia context. The magazine articles are a mix of formal academic articles, complete with footnotes etc., and 'letters to the editor' pieces replying to specific assertions made by Hofschroer. Do you imagine that disputes over Napoleonic warfare sources are conducted in The Times, or Nature? Of course they are conducted in specialist Napoleonic history and warfare journals. Do I think that John Hussey hates Hofschroer's guts? Yes I do. However, I am equally sure that when Hussey first set pen to paper to point out Hofschroer's mistakes and distortions he held no personal animosity for Hofschroer whatsoever. You are factually wrong here, I did mention the following in regard to H-W earlier in the discussion: "Were the Sibornes Frauds?" in First Empire # 23, "Waterloo New Perspectives & The Hanoverian Archives" in First Empire # 25 and "Waterloo New Perspectives & The Siborne Manuscripts" in "First Empire" # 26. I am really disheartened by this discussion, and the bizarre pseudo-legalistic tone it has taken. The article can go to Hell in a handcart for me. I am taking it off my 'watchlist'. Urselius (talk) 07:58, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
I am really disheartened by this discussion, and the bizarre pseudo-legalistic tone it has taken. If I may, here are some of your previous comments... starting with your very first opening post to this conversation:
  • Both have also been judged (at least in Hofschröer's case in court) to have behaved discreditably in their personal lives...
  • There was a court case, essentially concerning defamation, and Hofschröer lost it and had £10,000 damages to pay.
  • have two authors who are pariahs in their own scholarly community, both of whom have legal convictions for dishonest behaviour of one kind or another.
  • H-W is a publically exposed fantasist and Hofschroer a mendacious felon, subject to a criminal conviction, sectioning for mental aberration and subject to an extradition process.
You started this conversation by invoking legal cases, and have continued to do so throughout, so you can only blame yourself for influencing the "pseudo-legalistic tone" the debate has taken. Hofschröer's "sex offences" are immaterial to this debate and his other case, libelling a historian on forums is irrelevant to the content of his published books. You use terms like "pariah", "exposed fantasist", "mendacious felon" and later pursue the "mental ... criminal ... subject to extradition" avenue. Again, this case is irrelevant here and relates to his offences and criminal behaviour in Austria regarding threatening/slandering a judge, owning illegal firearms and possession of child porn. Despite the fact you know that Hofschroer's history has nothing to do with the content of his books, you present the following conclusion, which amounts to a Strawman argument: If you would not buy a used car from either of them, why would you 'buy' a historical opinion from either of them? – proving that you're unable to objectively seperate their personal behaviour from their published research. These kind of views could be considered a smear campaign.
You've made it clear that you have an axe to grind. You said I think you would have to fight very hard to support their continued inclusion as reliable sources in any Wikipedia article. But I didn't need to fight. The onus was on you to present evidence that each historian was proven irresponsible and is therefore unreliable. I looked at all your online sources, refuted your claims, challenged your droll "they're criminals" stance, questioned your choices of "evidence" because they are inaccessible. You were left with no arguments. That really concludes this discussion because you have been unable to assert or maintain your position that either historian should be striken from the books as "reliable". And I've done it by being patient, civil, and unbiased... and confident in my views. I have appreciated your concerns, but one fact remains: the two historians set out to be controversional, to be revisionists, to challenge established ideals, to offer alternative points of view. IMO the Napoleonic community is full of snotty, pompous and pretentious historians who treat the entire topic as a "specialised subject" for their own inner-circle, whereas something like WWII is seen as the common man's subject. I've seen reviews on Amazon by historians which are underscored with aggressive competitive tones rather than critical opinions, but reek of "civility". Some of these Napoleonic Society forums are no better. Where you see historians being discredited and choose to side with the detractors, I see tit-for-tat between petty historians and I choose to side with noone, especially when much of it is one-sided because the person they're slating has been banned and is unable to offer a response to any allegations. It would be like me gagging you then calling you a cheat or a crook. The list of magazine articles you listed are probably one-sided too, that they choose to publish is selective and probably biased in favour of their audience. It's that lack of balance that makes this entire case against these historians unmerited. Wiki isn't a kangaroo court, editors weren't born yesterday. I'm thankful that a few other editors commented above and agree that the "evidence" you offer is questionable and doesn't really prove anything. — Marcus(talk) 16:15, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree with you Tirronan,.... Peter's works as sources should not be witch-hunted. The reality is that we today have no problem using the sources of Napoleon's age - particularly his relatives, genenerals, staff, household and family as well as a zillion acquaintances and strangers who all knew him to various degrees. And many of those writers were harsh critics of Napoleon or his greatest admirers; as such they would tend to warp history; and fierce debates and attacks on each other's accounts and opinions would swirl in back and forth critiques [ ie, Grouchy's role in the campaign ]. And then there were the self-bloated British writings of the campaign at that time which skewered facts regarding opponents and 'foreign allies' and the Prussian arrival's impact. The point being nobody trashes those writers as untrustworthy totally invalid sources - rather we crosscheck facts and skip past specific controversial, prejudiced, and erroneous statements they may have made while accepting the remaining material as 'source-worthy'. And so it should be with PH's contributions which is largely good work. Joey123xz (talk) 04:26, 5 August 2017 (UTC)


Well thought I would break off the historian's debate and bring up the subject that we don't mention in this section we don't mention the Battle of Wavre and the actions that kept another 33,000 French troops off the Waterloo battlefield. An additional 2 divisions of troops would have made quite a difference to Napoleon on that day. I wanted it brought up for discussion and consensus before inserting it.Tirronan (talk) 12:41, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Because it already has its own article, we should limit this to one or two paragraphs. Where do you propose to insert it? Wdford (talk) 16:43, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I simply wish a couple of sentences, not even a full paragraph at the bottom of the section. Two issues need to be highlighted there. The 1st is that Napoleon and Grouchy thought that both armies were retreating to offer battle in front of Brussels. The second is the effect of leaving Grouchy and the six hour delay in the relay of orders. It lends more scope to the battle itself.Tirronan (talk) 15:45, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
Sounds fine to me. Give it a go, and we can always tweak it later if needed. Wdford (talk) 18:50, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I am removing the text that was recently added:

Napoleon's made a decision to leave Grouchy with 33,000 sorely needed troops to follow the Prussians from their retreat from the Battle of Ligny. This left the formation on the wrong side of the river with the Prussian army between Grouchy and Napoleon. A position from which Grouchy could not reach Napoleon, Was a clear mistake. Grouchy would win the Battle of Wavre fourteen hours too late to matter. This was a major cause of the defeat.

I wouldn't say Grouchy's deployment was a major cause of the defeat as much as his static tardiness early on the 18th and Napoleon's own late start on June 17th in sending Grouchy to pursue the Prussians with specific orders to stay in the back of the beaten Prussians as opposed to what would have been more sensible orders to stay in a flank march mode between Napoleon's advance and any reformed Prussian threat. With the Prussians assembling so far north of Grouchy at Wavre, and Grouchy's very lax start to attack on the 18th there was no chance very early on that he could intervene between Blucher and Wellington joining up. On the 17th Napoleon had intended to smash Wellington without Grouchy but imagine his amazement seeing his wily long time foe Blucher pull another unbelievable stunt in regathering his beaten army and precariously moving away from his line of supplies and pushing his exhausted troops to march through hideously soggy terrain and then ferociously assault Napoleon's right flank. If space would ever allow, I would have emphasized the roles Generals played on all sides impacting the battle's outcome; Wellington's allied generals were conspicuously brave, Blucher's generals were magnificently disciplined and perceptive, Napoleon's chief generals were off their game in extraordinary ways each. I would therefore agree that related to Waterloo, Wavre's only impact was making sure the slim hope of Grouchy coming to the sound of the guns was nullified..... he had started moving to battle at Wavre much too late on the 18th. The Prussian arrival at Waterloo had the impact of drawing away around 25% of Napoleon's army to his right flank - and it seems Napoleon for this reason held his Old Guard in tactical reserve rather than committing them to join the Middle Guard's under-strength attack.Joey123xz (talk) 04:10, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

For several reasons. The first is that it is an analysis and an opinion and as such must be in-text attributed to an expert (along with an in-line citation). Also there are other problems with it:

  1. The absence of Grouchy was in part compensated by his tying down of 17,000 infantry and 48 guns of Thielmann's Prussian corps.
  2. If one mentions Grouchy absence as a "clear mistake", what about Wellington's reserves under Sir Charles Colville at Hal? Was that a mistake?

This leads to an after battle analysis which rapidly becomes very complicated and as Winston Churchill said "the terrible ifs accumulate". It is easy to publish a fact such as how may French soldiers were with Grouchy (even if it has to be a range), but giving appropriate weight to "what if" analysis, and opinions on that analysis, is much more difficult to do elegantly within the restrictions of Wikipedia's POV rules.

Such analysis sections can easily become bloated. It is probably better to simply add facts and let them speak for themselves:

Some forces were less than a days march from the battlefield, but did not take direct part in the battle. A mixed Anglo-allied force of about 15,000 were stationed at Hal. The right wing of the French army under the command of Grouchy (about 33,000 men with 80 guns) fought the Prussian rearguard under the command of Thielmann (17,000 men and 48 guns of the I Corps) at the Battle of Wavre.

-- PBS (talk) 09:11, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Ok so here are my thoughts on this. I've read the response and obviously don't totally disagree. I know this is a shock but not all Wikipedia editors refuse to do anything but argue. So, yes this was a reach on the basis of strict encyclopedia standards. However it does not change the facts and more importantly the causes behind the facts. This battle results reflects the fact that the Army of the North marched against the Anglo-Allied army that was almost equal in size. The French army was short on infantry to begin with and heavy on cavalry. When boiled down to its essence, the two armies were furiously fighting a stalemate. Both armies were using up precious reserves to restore setbacks in the battle. I use as an example the crisis in the Anglo-Allied center. When an army, any army, has competent commanders, as both sides did, reserves are moved into place and the battle proceeds, as it did. The Prussian contributions started early when Grouchy was trapped on the wrong side of the Dyle river.
Napoleon would later use Grouchy as a scapegoat for his defeat at Waterloo, there was never a good road between the two battlefields. Both Ziethen and Bulow (they were using two separate roads) were repairing roads trying to get to the Waterloo. The best road was the road traveling through Quarta Bras and Ligny to Grouchy's south. As can be seen in the reported times by French sources of the time of issuance of Napoleon's Orders to Grouchy and Grouchy's receipt of the order being about six hours. This time was by single couriers on horseback. Moving 33,000 men would take at least twice as long. All this to say the only route for Grouchy to Waterloo lay through Ziethen's 3rd Corps. The Prussian 3rd Corps was deliberately left behind the rest of the Prussian army as a blocking force and proceeded to dig in.
As to why Grouchy's placement was a mistake? Let's go back to the 1st paragraph. No matter which section of the French line failed first and this happened in three separate sections of the French line within minutes of one another, none were retrievable. Ziethen had ruptured the French line between La Have and Frishchermont, he deployed his artillery to pound the flank of the French units on the British right with effects out of all proportion to its effect. The entirety of 1st Corps cavalry was pouring through the breech. Most importantly, there were no reserves left to plug the breech. This isn't a mistake in tactics because Napoleon had exactly two battalions of the Guard to his use as a reserve. The same can be said of the Anglo-Allied assault in its center, or the push through Plancenoit by the 4th and 2nd corps of the Prussian army. At the point of time of the breeches, take a look at the map, The French army was in a long narrow horseshoe. Make no mistake any of these breeches was fatal to French hopes for this battle. Three breeches was catastrophic and beyond hope of any sort of salvage. This wasn't a result of clever tactics this was a result of lack of reserves. Just reviewing the numbers tells the tail, 73,000 French, 68,000 Anglo-Allied, and 45,000 Prussians (yet more were on the way 72,000 Prussians was the total put in motion but the rest hadn't reached the battlefield yet) leaves us with this result. The Coalition had reserves to meet reverses, the French did not.
As to the placement of reserves at Hal, they were placed to prevent a march of the French on the British port that was supporting both the Anglo-Allied army and ended up adding support to the Prussian Army (Loans were provided by Wellington's office to help a dirt poor and broke Prussia. So assertions of Wellington's hate for Prussia rather falls on deaf ears here). It was a sever threat and Napoleon had a history of doing exactly this sort of thing. However that being said, Wellington had ample notice of where the French army was and where its axis of advance laid. He left those forces there instead of summoning them at once. So the question remains how valuable would 17,000 troops have been when his center was pressed? Please do not take this as an attack, there wasn't a commander in any of the armies that didn't make mistakes, they all did.
So finishing up, I state that none of this made it into the article and my stance is that it should have. We note how and where units were deployed we do not note how this drained off ever available reserve until collapse was inevitable. This is my point and I invite discussion and other views.Tirronan (talk) 16:20, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
I don't strongly disagree with you analysis. But as Wellington said it was "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life", the crises in the centre of Wellington's line was caused because he had no deployable reserves left. If Wellington had broken then Napoleon may have still lost the battle, but he might not have done .... However this is not a forum to game play what ifs, and if we are going to put in any analysis of the sort you suggest we have two problems. The first is finding a agreed POV about these things and a matter of space, this article is already too large and needs to become a summary article. If there space issue can be dealt with, there is something from the analysis in the section Waterloo Campaign#Interlude (17 June) that can be used in this article. -- PBS (talk) 11:10, 20 July 2017 (UTC)
Actually just to clarify, what I was stating was not a what if. Wellington defended his center, and was able to reinforce due to the arrival of Zeithan's 1 Corps on his far left at Le Have. So to the point additional forces allowed him to move forces and create a reserve at his center. This is not a what if and I agree that what if's don't have a place in the article.Tirronan (talk) 15:07, 21 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm tending to disagree with dear-fellow PBS about the point of 'no deployable reserves left'. Wellington had Gen.Chasse's division in strategic reserve and had brought them up just in time to smash one half of the French Middle Guard attack. He also had General Adam's largely intact brigade that I would argue was relatively fresh in a somewhat tactical reserve role that could have been shifted from its left center position to the crumbling center.. I do think this is a great forum for game-playing what-ifs. I'm delighted at having been in the company of you and others here for many years - alongside many other experts and enthusiastic thinkers in this historical saga. I agree we have to remind ourselves to keep the article brief as possible but let's keep the talk section vibrant with new thoughts and what-ifs - stagnation kills return visits and this place was empty for quite a while recently.Joey123xz (talk) 04:10, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
See also Waterloo_Campaign: Ligny through Wavre to Waterloo#Napoleon's errors at this time. As to Zeithan's 1 Corps "what if" he had obeyed orders and advanced to his left front instead of reinforcing Wellington's line on his right front? This was discussed in detail in some detail in Talk:Battle of Waterloo/Archive 12#Prussians arrive in force. -- PBS (talk) 12:10, 22 July 2017 (UTC)
If nothing else the balance of forces when the collapse happened should be noted. It gives the reader a much better idea of what was going on. I think we should use the pre-battle figures as calculation of the actual forces would be iffy at best.Tirronan (talk) 21:46, 8 August 2017 (UTC)
In some ways the Blucher's position reminds me of Patton's comment just before he attacked the Germans' southern flank in the Battle of the Bulge "Brad, this time the Kraut's stuck his head in the meat grinder, and I've got hold of the handle". -- PBS (talk) 22:54, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
Yeah that got me laughing! All too true. Napoleon's gamble only worked if the Prussian's ran. Blucher wasn't the type to run. Have we reached concenus?Tirronan (talk) 20:20, 27 August 2017 (UTC)

Animated map of battle[edit]

I'm just going to leave this link here for anyone who is interested. It's an animated map of the full battle, step-by-step, in high-speed, without any narration or analysis. The labels are in French, but it can still be easily understood. It's very simple but well made.

— Marcus(talk) 22:16, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

Very nice. Thanks - gives me inspiration to try and get my own planned version up.Joey123xz (talk) 03:22, 5 August 2017 (UTC)

Old Issue Still To Be Corrected; Aftermath section[edit]

re; Aftermath section -second from last paragraph; →Maitland's 1st Foot Guards, who had defeated the Chasseurs of the Guard, were thought to have defeated the Grenadiers, although they had only faced Chasseurs of the newly raised Middle Guard.[184] They were nevertheless awarded the title of Grenadier Guards in recognition of their feat and adopted bearskins in the style of the Grenadiers.

Some time ago in a previous topic I started I mentioned a couple of errors in this particularly tidbit info. It regarded errors stated about who Maitland's Guards beat from the Imperial Guard and subsequent mistake in the uniform attribution. The mistakes were partially corrected but still not completely. In the last sentence besides being given the title of Grenadier Guards, the last pat of the sentence should read they were in fact adopted the bearskin bonnets in the style of the Chasseurs of the Imperial Foot Guard [ who the Brit. Gds beat. The French Grenadier Foot regiments of the Imperial Guard had distinctive brass front plates on their bonnets while the Chasseurs did not have that; as per British grenadier guard model of bonnets.Joey123xz (talk) 17:29, 19 August 2017 (UTC)

Coalition commanders[edit]

@user:MarwanDwyer you made this change Revision as of 23:18, 25 August 2017 to this article and several others what makes you think that William I of the Netherlands should be added as an Coalition commander? -- PBS (talk) 11:47, 31 August 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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