Good morning everyone… I have quick question…, unfortunately, it needs a long-winded explanation.
I’m working on a chapter that needs some expert points of view, however, I must mention that my manuscript calls a spade a spade, while distancing the text from some incomprehensible Napoleonic terms and titles. Lol…, I can now hear the nails of historians as they scratch down the blackboard. (‘Jaws’) This book is being written by a former Guardsman for Guardsmen, and I don’t want them falling asleep.
Because of it, I do not use the term ‘half company,’ I use the word platoon. A ‘half company’ does not explain where they are or what they were doing…, whereas an assault platoon puts them up front and soon to be active, (like Lt. Cols. Dashwood and Wyndham) while their support platoons are in reserve to the rear, biding their time. (like Ensigns Standen and Gooch)
Anyway, INDEPENDENT of the terminology, my problem is the following. During the howitzer’s second volley from the great orchard while firing at the gardener’s house…, it only stands to reason that the French in the wood would have been keeping their heads down while regrouping, evacuating their wounded and prisoners, and replenishing ammunition.
Suddenly, having devastated the upper level of the formal garden and parts of the buildings, the gun stops firing. Automatically, this creates a situation where the Guards and Allies would find themselves regrouping while evacuating their wounded. (including Capt. Craufurd) And this tells us that the allied firepower from the buildings and the walls would have been seriously reduced. As a result, this allows the French to attack the Southgate. (Clay describes the gate as providing “stumps for firewood”)
Now here’s my problem…, and I know I will be criticized for relating Napoleonic tactics to those of a modern-day soldier…, nonetheless, the French in the wood were elite soldiers and were certainly not stupid. Meaning that this attack did not resemble a Zulu confrontation. (as depicted in many paintings with hand-to-hand fighting using the house as a backdrop – there were no Guards outside) Not one commanding officer of a French support platoon would have ordered his men to cross the Killing Ground, before their assault platoon would have gained entry to the Southgate passageway. Had they done so, they would have come to a halt near the crossroads, and while ‘waiting,’ they’d have been eliminated by the sharpshooters manning the loopholes in the SW corner stables.
On to my question… Would the French have attacked like the Zulus, or would they have waited until they could see daylight streaming through the passageway from the southern courtyard ?