Friday, 26 June 2015

Waterloo 2015: The Battle

To finish off my review of Waterloo 2015, here are some pictures of the actual re-enactment of the Battle. You can get an idea from the first picture of how big the 'arena' was. There were over 5,000 re-enactors and it was big enough to give an authentic feel of confusion.  It wasn't easy to really follow what was happening and there was quite a lot of smoke; I understand there was even more smoke the next night as there was very little wind then.

Mostly of these were taken with my telephoto lens, but even so the action still looks quite 'far-away'. I will no try to give a narrative; it did not follow the historic battle exactly. From where we were sitting could you see any not Prussians (or  French starting positions or artillery). 

It was though pretty epic; not something I will forget in hurry. Enjoy...

No doubt you will have spotted the stunt La Haye Sainte and Hougomont but just for good measure here are a couple of photos of the real ones and one of the Lion Mound at night (after the end of the re-enactment).

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Waterloo 2015: Allied Bivouac

After looking around the French bivouac on Friday, we spent time in the Allied one on Saturday. There  was less drilling going on here and the atmosphere here seemed a bit less hectic; perhaps that's because they had done the battle once...

The first few pictures are from a remembrance parade, including a very heartfelt two minutes silence which we came across. A very impressive display.

I confess the guys in blue & yellow are a bit of a mystery to me ...

You get some sense of how big the encampment was in this pic and the next one.

Cavalry in informal conference

Horse stabling (Prussian)

On Parade - a brigade in line

This soldier was commended for his bravery as they formed square the previous night.

formed in column to leave the parade

Brunswick artillery

Guarding the general's tent

Prussians marching into town


Wellington is entertained to lunch by Blucher

Table service for the generals

Prussian council of war

An Austrian interloper!
The only cannonballs I saw - made of chocolate  

More pictures soon of the battle itself...

Monday, 22 June 2015

Waterloo 2015: French Bivouac

As some of your will know already, I spent last weekend at the Waterloo 2015 re-enactment event. This was a truly spectacular event with more than 5000 participants who had come from all over the world. There were plenty of spectators too - we are told about 60,000 on each of the two days (including us). Here are some pictures from the French bivouac which we visited on Friday. 

There was much drill practice going on here as people worked together in preparation for the battle later that evening but also plenty of camp life too. One thing I did take away from this was how complex the whole drill thing was. It isn't easy changing from line to column and back again. 

As for cavalry, you'll see some pictures further down.

Grenadiers of 8eme ligne (I think) 

Drill practice changing formation...ligne

et colonne


Chef de battalion

from the voltigeurs

45eme ligne, IIRC - these guys were English!

Note the pheasent!

Limbered artillery en route to the battlefield

The OG had their own bivouac - here they are on duty

...and relaxing playing cards (mostly)

Napoleon was not easy to photograph - mostly he was surrounded by 'paparazzi'

Napoleon & Soult?
Mostly the French cavalry kept themselves hidden behind screens (presumably because of safety concerns with the horses). However we were very fortunate to see the column of  more than 100 cavalry walking from the bivouac to the battle; there were all sorts of cavalry here including the L'Empereur himself. This was a real treat...

Finally we saw the band of the guards playing in town on Saturday

Pictures from the allied bivouac to follow soon, I promise...