Andrew Field joins me to talk about what Grouchy did, and didn't do during the Waterloo campaign, explaining his failings, as well as his successes, and why the 'march to the sound of the guns' myth is rubbish.
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While I have not that real interest about the campaign itself I was always fascinated what was made out of it and all those propaganda stories so well entreched as to be taken as face value, there are endless amounts. I had always my doubts that Grouchy was the culprit of Boney's well deserved defeat - but recent years made it at least for me pretty evident that he was victim of another vicious character assasination by Boney and worse, by his fawners. Already Bernard Coppens - Waterloo - Les Mesonges, pointed that and many other slanders well out. Andrew Field is discussing this topic very well, and no Grouchy didn't do a stellar performance other than saving his miliary command fully intact and conducting a skillfull retreat after Wavre, as well as trying to lie to cover his back, he was no saint.
I am always surprised about Boney's decissions to create wings, or armies - operating more or less under his directive, it failed in 1812, it failed in 1813 and in 1815 as well. How could those guys, even such experienced military men like Ney, run all of a sudden a multiple corps army, whithout having an experienced staff doing this job all before?
About the "gagner" story, I have my own views - the battle at Belle Alliance won already at 13:00 - in my view, even a bit like armchair general like, is that plausible - and wouldn't engaged sound more plausible by such experienced generals like Grouchy? But then again, the stress of the moment, to make decissions on the spot - must have been incredible diffult - reflecting at my own decission making, I could have done always better some hours, days, months later.