The Waterloo Campaign 1815

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It is 1815. On 1st March the ex-Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte, has landed in France, with a tiny force of grenadiers, from his exile on the island of Elba. The French are already tired of their restored Bourbon king, Louis XVIII, and soon the army declares for Napoleon once more and Louis is in flight.

But the Allies, gathered for the peace conference at Vienna, sink their disagreements and the four great powers, Great Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia, each agree to put an army of 150,000 men into the field and keep it there, with a subsidy of 5 million a month from Great Britain, until Napoleon is finally defeated. By June, Napoleon has gathered an army of about 160,000 Frenchmen.

A British-Netherlands army of 110,000 under Wellington, and a Prussian army of 117,000 under Blücher, are gathering in Belgium and are waiting for the Austrians (210,000) and Russians (150,000) to reach the Rhine about 1st July, when the invasion of France is to begin. (See Map 1.)

What should Napoleon do?

Await the invasion and fight a defensive campaign?

Attack the armies waiting in Belgium?

Advance against the Austrians and Russians?

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