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History Buffs: Waterloo

History Buffs: Waterloo
hello and welcome

history

buffs

my name is Nick Hodges and you may think of a bit of a hipster for saying this but they don't make him like they used to I am of course talking about

Waterloo

if you're like me and you're getting sick and tired of this oversaturation of CGI in our Hollywood movies then boy do I have a film for you

Waterloo

is without a doubt one of the greatest historical war films you will ever see in your entire life may 2 1970 by Soviet director sergei bondarchuk
history buffs waterloo
this is an extremely faithful on-screen adaptation of the Battle of

Waterloo

and when I say faithful I mean exactly that like right off the pages of

history

and presented on screen are the real engagements formations cavalry charges and the tactics used by the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte's this is a film that even the most hardcore

history

buff can enjoy and the amount of work that went into it is nothing short of astonishing shot entirely in the Ukraine the filmmakers used
16,000 soldiers from the Soviet Red Army as background extras so that means every single soldier you see on the screen at any given time is a real person this is the largest and most accurate re-enacted battle you will ever see from the Napoleonic era this is

Waterloo

after 20 years of almost constant warfare the first French Empire was on its very last legs by March 1814 the combined armies of Great Britain Austria Prussia and Russia had invaded France and were almost at the very gates of Paris
and yet only two years before Napoleon Bonaparte's Empire was at its very height almost all of Western Europe was on his total Dominion as he ruled the lives of our sixty million subjects not since the days of the Roman Empire had such a thing ever been achieved at every turn Napoleon's military genius had crushed the most powerful nations in Europe the only one that continued to defy him was Great Britain and his original plans of invading the stubborn island nation was scrapped after a
spectacular defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar with much of his Navy having been destroyed the French Emperor chose to go instead after his bitter rival with a very different weapon economics Napoleon introduced the very unpopular Continental System which was a foreign policy that forbade all conquered and allied nations to France to trade with Great Britain the idea behind this was either Great Britain would eventually sue for peace or suffer an economic collapse and would be weak enough to be
invaded at a later time however this embargo approved to be more disruptive to the economies of France and her allies in comparison it was largely ineffective against British trade the reason for this was that trade was still coming into the continent once also through Spain and Portugal which of course helped set off the Peninsular war and by 1810 Russia had also reopened trade with Great Britain this actor defines to be Napoleon's primary incentive in making the gravest mistake in his
career against the advice of his friends and loved ones he declared war on Russia do not go to Russia of your glory from Portugal to Poland almost all Europe is yours you rule over the destiny of all the 60 million men on the 24th of June 1812 Napoleon's Grand Army invaded Russia with over 600,000 men aside from a few battles for the French the Russian army focused on a treating and applying a scorched-earth tactics of burning crops towns and villages denying Napoleon's army the ability
to live off the land and to rely solely on their overextended supply line as the French were lured further and further into Russia they finally caught up with the Russian army at Borodino a small town 70 miles from Moscow this was to be the biggest and bloodiest battle of the Napoleonic war so far Russian resistance was fierce and Napoleon tan relies so much on his usual brilliant military strategy as much as just funneling more and more French soldiers into the slaughter both sides were taking
massive casualties until finally the Russian army retreated once again was able to slip away in the night although Napoleon had taken Borodino he had achieved the decisive victory he desperately needed after the battle the Grand Army pushed on to the city of Moscow but found it almost completely abandoned and the streets were eerily silent later that evening as the Polian and his army rested after months of marching and bitter fighting hundreds of arsonist set fire to the city not even the holy
capital was exempt from the Tsar scorched earth policy two-thirds of the city would burn to the ground proving to Napoleon but the Russians would never give up and a decisive victory was nowhere in sight the grand army was forced to retreat and began the long march back to France then things only went from bad to worse as the Russian winter came in temperatures plummeted well below freezing and the French died by the thousands as they froze and starved to death of the 600,000 men who went into
Russia only 28,000 returned this was to be the beginning of the end for Napoleon's Empire as Prussia and Austria would declare war once again Napoleon would fight a losing defensive campaign for the next two years until finally the armies of Great Britain Austria Prussia and Russia were now on French soil and this is where the movie begins were the once mighty Grand Army being virtually destroyed Napoleon's generals stated that the situation was hopeless and the only choice now was to
abdicate the throne we are defeated sir but 20 years we followed you you're made a road of glory through Europe we cannot even say the suburbs of Paris the Austrians there in Versailles a context are watering the horses in the same they can hear the pressure in Canada more map there are four nations four armies for France against us abdicate your enemies will allow you to retire to the island of elba with a personal guard of a thousand men it is an honorable exile sire Napoleon begrudgingly
history buffs waterloo
signed the treaty renouncing the throne at a heartfelt ceremony Napoleon hand-picked his most loyal soldiers from the old guard and said his goodbyes to the rest soldiers of my old guard after 20 years I have come to say goodbye Frances fallen so remember me though I love you all I cannot embrace you all and so on May 1814 the Emperor of France left on a British warship become the Emperor of a tiny island in the Mediterranean to live out the rest of his life in isolation this really should have
been the end of his story but by one of the most dramatic swiss of fate in

history

napoleon had one more fight left in him this would take place in a field near

Waterloo

when Napoleon abdicated the throne the Allied Coalition wasted no time in restoring the old French monarchy placing louis xviii as king at first the french people welcomed the peace as they were quite frankly fed up by that point of napoleon's endless wars but eventually king louie became extremely unpopular with many of the
changes he had made such as demobilizing the army raising taxes to help resolve france's poor economy and the Royalists were threatened to rescind many of the political reforms made during the revolution but in quite possibly the greatest comeback of all time on February 26th 1815 Napoleon and his personal guard fled Elba and sailed to France he had figured correctly that his return would be immediately welcomed and supported by the French people once again King Louie immediately ordered
field marshal ney to stop Napoleon on his march to Paris on the 14th of March Field Marshal neighs regiment confronted Napoleon and his personal guard just as fighting was about to kick off Napoleon ordered his men to lower their arms and something incredible happened if you want to kill your Emperor Here I am Wow it's unbelievable I know but this is exactly what happened and not just this one time when King Louie heard that marshal ney and his men deserted him he would send more troops and
the exact same thing would happen again and again Napoleon's numbers swelled from a few regiments to an entire army all of them marching towards Paris eventually King Louie figured out in the end that it was probably not a good idea to stick around and he fled the country Napoleon's gamble had paid off and he had retaken France all without firing a shot the people welcomed back their old Emperor with open arms when news reached the rest of Europe the old allies of Great Britain Austria
Prussia and Russia was stunned initially Napoleon sent letters to each and every one of them asking for peace they of course rejected it because they knew their pony was only buying time and that it was simply not yet ready to fight so instead they sent him their polite response well they've done it declared me an enemy of humanity all Europe has declared war against me not against France but against me they dignify us a by making your nation no how badass do you have to be to have an
entire continent declare war against you so anyway Napoleon knew that he had little time before the old allies had mobilized a new coalition against him whilst they just had to organize their armies together Napoleon had to practically build one from scratch and within three months he had raised nearly 200,000 men however the Allies he would face had mustered over half a million who were getting ready to attack France from multiple directions so Napoleon being Napoleon decided the best defense
was a good offense he hopes that if he was able to take on each allied army individually before moving on to the next then his request for peace would have to be accepted and so in June 15 1815 Napoleon crossed the Belgian border with nearly a hundred and thirty thousand men to reach the Allied armies near Brussels there were the Prussians led by marshal Blucher and the Anglo allied army led by Sir Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington Napoleon had to make sure they didn't join and
overwhelm him with their greater numbers at first his strategy of divide and conquer seemed to be working on June 16th he crushed a small Prussian force sending them on a complete retreat she you take 30,000 minutes 30,000 men one-third of my army you take them in and you pursue you understand you pursue Blucher you don't let them regroup you don't let them consolidate and above all you don't let them rejoin with the Prussian army seemingly out of the way Napoleon focused next and
reaching the British allies on June 17th Wellington had set his army on top of a Ridgeline overlooking a valley near the village of

Waterloo

in the valley were the two chateaus googa more and LaHaye saw these two fortified farmhouses would be occupied by British and allied sharpshooters their objective was to delay any French advance of the main army now with these two defensive positions the ridgeline giving him a natural shelter from French artillery fire all Wellington had to do was hold his
ground and wait for the Prussians as the French army had positioned themselves during the night Wellington expected that the battle would start by daybreak much to a surprise though the French made no such movement as the hours began to drag the reason for this was that the previous heavy night's rain had made the ground too muddy to put any cannons into position Napoleon had no choice but to wait until the ground dried costing him valuable time the longer he waited the more time Wellington
history buffs waterloo
had in receiving reinforcements when the battle finally kicked off it was already past 11:00 the French army started by attacking ogre ma a Wellington's right flank this was only a faint though Napoleon hoped that Wellington would send his reserves for support and in the process we can his center where the main attack was coming but Wellington had predicted this move since he had studied many of Napoleon's victories in the past and was not gonna fall for his trap what the master seems to
intend and what he does will be as different as White Knight to black Bishop we do quickly move the ninety-fifth down sir I do not intend to run around like a wet hen lugar mole saw some of the most intensive and continuous fighting throughout the battle however the Allied garrison didn't buckle despite being heavily outnumbered when a Polian saw that Wellington had not taken the bait he ordered an all-out artillery barrage after softening them up he sent in its infantry to smash through the
Allied centre despite being heavily bombarded earlier the British line was able to hold on and inflict heavy casualties against the marching French columns as the French retreated the British heavy cavalry charged after them but in the heat of battle the Scots Grey's had charged too far and were pounded by French cannon fire before being counter-attack themselves by French cavalry they were able to make it back to the ridge had suffered terribly at this point thousands of lives had already
been lost but neither side had gained ground meanwhile Marshall grew she was still chasing after the Prussians my god sir the kanima calling us much to the sound of the guns we have a third of the army our duties de do not presume to teach me my duty general Gerard my orders from the Emperor were precise to keep my sword in Booker's back what grew she hadn't realized yet was that his force had been chasing after the Prussian rearguard and the rest of Blucas army had given him the slip
lebesgue well yes what's more than they're just going date date olya I'm sorry I had to do that just to check if you're paying attention no it's not Berlin Ted it's of course the Prussians it's not necessary that's not necessary as the Prussians but as far as you and I are concerned and the army they're on the moon is that understood yes sir this Wellington wages war in a new way he fights sitting on his ass where we'll have to move him off it later on
field marshal ney saw the Allies move behind the ridge line thinking that they were retreating he ordered a massive charter 12,000 cavalrymen hoping to cause a rout amongst Wellington's wavering army what he didn't know though was that the Allies were waiting for them on the other side of the ridge and had laid a trap nay in his overeager attempt when glory on the battlefield had made a terrible mistake without infantry and artillery support his men were easy targets this is because the
British square formations were the perfect defense against cavalry the reason for this was because horses simply refused to charge into a line of men holding bayonets and muskets they will instead ride around the squares leaving them vulnerable to musket fire from other square formations without being able to break through the squares they had no choice but to retreat Napoleon by this point was desperate as the Prussians had finally arrived were closing in on his armies right flank he sent
troops to slow the Prussians down and ordered an infantry attack on LaHaye Somme who has been defended by the Kings German Legion despite their courageous efforts they were overwhelmed by the French have been taken the Chateau napoleon was now free to commence his final attack that would finish the Allies off now the old guard were Napoleon's best soldiers they were all veterans and throughout the Napoleonic Wars had never surrendered or been defeated in battle however that's probably
because Napoleon didn't like to use them very much just their presence on the field was a huge morale boost to the rest of the army normally he didn't want to test the myth of the invulnerability but on this occasion he had no choice the old guard marched towards the allied center and with LaHaye saw safely in French hands there appeared to be very little standing in their way but Wellington had one last trick up his sleeve those first volleys were devastating at point-blank range wiping
out 20% of the old guard in one go and this amount of firepower would prove to be too much first the old guard began to retreat but when the rest of the french army saw the myth of their invulnerability shatter the retreat caused the entire army to panic and rout damn the expert if I ever saw 30,000 men run a race before the whole line will advance in which direction your grace my straight ahead to visual any semblance of order in the French army evaporated us both the Allies and the Prussians
bear down on them Napoleon had to accept the truth that he had been beaten and he fled on the carriage back to Paris after nine hours and close to 70,000 dead on both sides the Battle of

Waterloo

was finally over normally when I make these videos historical accuracy is always at the forefront of my mind in fact it pretty much dominates my reviews however doing my research of

Waterloo

it has been pretty difficult in fact you could say they've been wonderfully frustrated just how accurate this
movie is a one hand I love this movie for that but it gives me very little to work with as a writer for the most part what you see on the screen is pretty much exactly how it all went down now of course there are some inaccuracies here and there but nothing that compares to what we usually get in other historical movies a point of view of them as examples but to be honest they really don't bother me like for example

Waterloo

shows us the famous Duchess of Richmond's ball that really did
take place on June 15th in Brussels so what's the inaccuracy here it didn't take place in a lavish ballroom like we see in the movie but something more like a converted coach house or a barn so yeah I couldn't care less about that I mean as far as inaccuracies goes that's pretty tame another one is when we see British soldiers sing a song about Napoleon reason why this song is inaccurate because it's a song that details the entire life story of Napoleon from his early school
days to

Waterloo

and his exile to st. Elena it was actually written in the 1820s and could have been sung in

Waterloo

born he was sent away away away in st. Elina yet again in accuracy such as these don't really bother me unlike some other ones it's round the only other big inaccuracy in the movie that can think of that I didn't miss anyway is the awesome badass scene with the British ask the old guard to surrender his grace the Duke of Wellington invites you to save your lives will
you agree to surrender now so the guy who shattered melt is the historical figure Pierre can brown he allegedly shattered merde which means in French or he said please excuse my poor French a leg up minister hump bar which means the guard dies and does not surrender this was reported by a journalist called Rougemont however Pierre did not die at

Waterloo

like he's shown in the movie he was taken prisoner and stated until his dying day that he never said either statement but what's
really funny is that when Pierre died the French just ignored him and slapped it on his statue anyway it was like they were saying no no no no no you said it look see we put it on you statue it's set in stone now so once again this doesn't bother me because it's a really cool scene I love the fact that even the inaccuracies are somewhat based on

history

it just shows you how much the filmmakers cared about this time period and for the most part accurately bring it to life I
don't think we will ever see this much care and attention put into a historical film again from a production standpoint it's insane to recreate the battlefield they bulldoze two hills planted 5,000 trees rebuilt of Morton LaHaye song and laid down five miles of road and by using the 16,000 soldiers from the Soviet Army they spent months teaching them Napoleonic drill formations how to march accurately which a lot of films don't bother with by the way and teaching them how to load and
fire muskets and cannons if this was made today all of this would be CGI and would look like crap nothing can compare to the real thing little tiny details with the sunlight glinting off an Army's weapons wouldn't even occur to computer animators and what ultimately sad in the end is that they will never make a film like

Waterloo

again in the past 46 years I have seen no other film that has come close to what this one has achieved that's why

Waterloo

has such a special place in my
heart it even inspired me to come up with the concept of

history

buffs

the Scots great charge is one of my favorite paintings and when I saw it being recreated on film it always stayed with me it was like seeing

history

come to life well that about wraps it up my name is Nick Hodges and thanks for watching

history

buffs

and remember if you like the show help the channel grow don't forget to hit that like and subscribe button and let me know in the comment section what you thought about

Waterloo

and of course what historical movie should I review next in the meantime check out this trip past Twitter and Facebook pages for new updates until then I'll see you next time you