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Battle of Waterloo, 1815 animated battle map

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Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher and the Duke of Wellington versus Napoleon Bonaparte: Faced by the greatest coalition of states to date, a French army under Bonaparte races to occupy the central position between Prussian army under Blücher and an Anglo-Dutch army under Wellington which Bonaparte plans to defeat in detail. Will Bonaparte’s subordinates prove capable of carrying out his orders or should he be more concerned with his own abilities? Includes the Battles of Quatre-Bras, Ligny, Waterloo and Wavre. Click on images below to view PowerPoint presentation. | Legend |

What is the significance of this campaign? The story is that following the defeat of Napoleon the tyrant and the end of perpetual revolutionary war, Europe was relatively peaceful for a century with few major wars, involving few great powers. This is too uncritical a position to adopt for such a transformative period of history. The “peace” that followed Waterloo was peace among states and hardly that. This peace ignores the brutal repression of the Revolutions of 1848 in which all great powers cooperated to maintain their sovereignty. This peace ignores the ruthless colonization of Africa permitted by the stability in Europe. This “peace” ignores the underlying social forces and tensions which culminated in World War I as if to make up for the lack of violence in Europe the previous century. Discourses and histories regarding what is war and what is peace are thus complicated by the intrinsic relation between the two concepts, evident in the period following the famous Waterloo Campaign.
It is important to remember that all of the mistakes, successes, failures and crises that characterize this battle are present in every battle. It is the immensity of detailed accounts of this battle that bring them to light so brilliantly. D’Erlon’s corps was not the first or last unit to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as a result of confused communications! The campaign showed illustrious heroics – Colonel Macdonnell and Sergeant Graham who closed the gates at Hougoumont – as well as mere realities of war – 10,000 of Wellington,s 68,000 simply ran away (Chalfont, 1979: 193). In addition, Waterloo’s “ultimate result cannot be attributed to any one particular cause – it was the product of a combination of factors, both tangible and intangible, as is the result of any battle” (Chandler, 1980: 187). What follows is a few, only a few, of the valuable lessons and explanations for explaining the campaign’s bloody conclusion at Waterloo.
For his defeat, Napoleon could blame the poor weather, which saved the Anglo-Dutch army on June 17th and made the ground soggy for cavalry charges and artillery richochets on June 18th; and his subordinates: “I would have crushed them at Ligny if my left had done its duty. I would have crushed them at Waterloo if my right had not failed me” (quoted by Champagne in Chalfont, 1979: 183). The former is much more excusable than the latter – even assuming Soult, Ney and Grouchy all performed poorly – for it is Napoleon who chose his subordinates.
For the war against the allied coalition, Napoleon needed to fill eleven high-level commands: six tiny observation “army” commanders from the Pyrenees to the Rhine, one army commander to suppress Bourbon sympathizers, one minister of war in Paris, two wing commanders for the main army and one chief of staff. Despite his immense talents, it is difficult to imagine another doing as much as Davout accomplished as vital minister of war although one may speculate as to what may have transpired if he and Napoleon switched roles. Chandler probably accurately speculates on which personalities would have been better suited for each role (1980: 53-57).
Soult’s talents as an army commander were wasted in his appointment as chief of staff and Suchet would have served Napoleon better in this role rather than command a relatively unimportant observation army. Soult could have commanded the left wing which faced Wellington, whom he was well-acquainted with after his exploits in Spain. Grouchy was a cavalry commander and had never commanded a force the size he did during the campaign, and never one so diverse in infantry, cavalry and artillery. The fact that his two subordinate corps commanders, Gérard and Vandamme, argued for an immediate march to the sound of the guns on June 18th suggests that either of them were better suited for the role of right wing commander. Rapp, commanding an unnecessarily large observation army (Becke, 1914: 1.37), proved his worth along the Rhine and may have also been valuable in the main theater.
Chandler speculates that Napoleon “needed a tremendous demonstration of success; he did not wish to share the laurels of victory with such able subordinates as Davout or Suchet” (1980: 57). If this has any validity, Napoleon was arrogant to assume he could achieve the impossible without his best subordinates. There are many reasons, but Napoleon’s hubris, arrogance and disrespect for his foes are likely the prime reason for his defeat: “he deprecated Wellington’s staying power, discounted Blücher’s loyalty to his ally and inveterate hatred towards himself” (Chandler, 1980: 189).
After Ligny, Napoleon assumed the Prussian army was shattered beyond repair, explaining why he did not order an aggressive pursuit to ensure this. Napoleon then assumed he could crush the Anglo-Dutch army and its “sepoy general” at his whim, disregarding his subordinates’ warnings who had fought Wellington before in Spain. Napoleon felt he did not need to recall Grouchy to defeat Wellington; even if Blücher did come to his aid, Wellington would be long defeated by the time the Prussians engaged in force. Napoleon made all of these decisions under the belief that Wellington alone outnumbered him! Becke is particularly critical of Napoleon’s hubris at Waterloo, arguing that Napoleon – regardless of the wet ground – could have swept Wellington from the field by 2pm if he had attacked at 10am in desperation (1914: 2.145-6).
It is important to remember how vital Prussian assistance was at Waterloo. Despite christening the final engagement as the Battle of Waterloo to reflect a British victory, Wellington wrote in his dispatch, “I should not do justice to my feelings, or to Marshal Blücher and the Prussian Army, if I did not attribute the success of this ardous day to the cordial and timely assistance I received from them” (quoted by Chandler, 1980: 195). It is difficult to imagine Wellington’s line surviving had Blücher not drawn off the bulk of French reserves, three and a half infantry and three cavalry divisions. In addition, it was Ziethen’s Prussian corps which broke the French wing and made the victory decisive when the final French attack faltered. The psychological impact on the battle was also significant for the Anglo-Dutch knew that their allies were fighting the battle with them whereas the French were tricked into thinking the Prussian troops were French, simulating feelings of betrayal.
Napoleon never unhinged his enemies with an indirect approach as the unexpected Prussian approach affected his decision-making. Further reflecting his low opinion of his opponent, Napoleon’s plan was a sequence of massive frontal attacks, “hardly one of his most subtle schemes” (Chandler, 1980: 126). There was no attempt to outflank or outmaneuver Wellington, who admitted that maneuver was his army’s primary weakness (Becke, 1914: 2.222). Reserves were placed behind the French center and only committed against the Anglo-Dutch center. Seymour notices a change in Napoleon’s tactics over the years: “he had come to rely on heavy concentrations of force. Artillery was used for massive bombardments; columns of infantry were sent against the enemy, and when the enemy were sufficiently demoralized they were subjected to shock cavalry charges” (In Chalfont, 1979: 186). Napoleon did not commit the fullest force to achieve victory in such an attritional slugging contest.
Despite these shortcomings, Napoleon did almost win the day at Waterloo but a serious lack of command and control also contributed to his defeat. Napoleon was the commander-in-chief but granted Ney considerable leniency as to how to direct the battle. While it is easier to blame Ney, it is easier to ask why Napoleon did not merely conduct the battle himself or at least monitor its activities. Jérôme dragged nearly an entire corps against Hougomont; Ney attacked with cavalry and infantry separately; D’Erlon’s corps attacked in a completely ineffective tactical formation. As commander, Napoleon could have at least checked to ensure his soldiers were being used as properly as possible.
Instead, Napoleon became preoccupied with the fight in the east against the Prussians where Napoleon committed the bulk of his reserve. Napoleon failed to see the grand view of the battle as a whole and thus he and Ney waged separate battles on the same field. Despite Ney’s shortcomings at Waterloo, Napoleon robbed him of the chance of redeeming himself when, after seizing the ridge with skirmishers and artillery, he began to blast the Anglo-Dutch center away. Ney requested reinforcements, reserves, anything, to finish off the Anglo-Dutch center but was rebuked by Napoleon who snapped back, “Troops? Where do you expect me to get them from? Do you expect me to make some?” (Chandler, 1980: 155). At this time of course, eleven battalions of the Guard sat idle in a long line facing east in the unlikely event that the Prussians completely expelled the Guard’s comrades from Plancenoit and pushed on La Belle Alliance. At Waterloo, Napoleon granted his subordinate freedom of action but not enough resources or trust to achieve his objective. It is a shame that Napoleon and Wellington did not truly meet in battle.
With an abundance of Waterloo what-if scenarios out there, I will leave you with one of the more alluring options available to Napoleon. Becke describes what action Napoleon should have taken when Bülow’s Prussian corps was sighted approaching from the east on June 18:
Inasmuch as Napoleon must have recognized at 1.30 p.m. that Marshal Grouchy’s arrival at La Belle Alliance was, at any rate, problematical, was he wise to risk a pitched battle with such odds against him? By only one method could he effect a timely concentration with the French right wing; and that was by calling Marshal Grouchy’s detachment, and, at the same time, moving in the Marshal’s direction. To carry out this manoeuvre it was necessary for Napoleon to retreat from in front of Wellington. Of course it is true that although, by this means, Napoleon could effect his concentration with Grouchy, yet this move would not prevent Wellington and Blücher from joining hands; and then the Emperor could only oppose about 110,000 troops to their 160,000. But surely it would have been better to postpone a general action, than to continue it with the almost certain result that it would prove disastrous. Further, although Napoleon would slip away from Wellington, yet he might hope to score some success against the Prussians on June 18, as he marched to effect his concentration with Grouchy.
Again, it may be accepted as a general principle, that whenever a commander finds himself in a critical position, the best course usually to pursue is to slip out of the toils. By acting in this way he will upset the enemy’s plans, which have been laid with forethought and care to meet the especial case; and it is most difficult at a moment’s notice for the foe to modify his arrangements so that he can meet an unexpected development in the campaign. In the case under consideration, the Prussian plans (already in course of execution) were clearly based on the hypothesis of a battle being waged at Mt. S. Jean, between Napoleon and Wellington on June 18; or, if Napoleon remained quiescent in his position until June 19, then a joint attack was to be delivered on the French position at La Belle Alliance on the latter date. But, by declining wager of battle and slipping away on June 18, Napoleon must have disarranged the Allied plans; and he might have made it difficult for them to avoid taking some serious risk, or even making a bad mistake.
Also the Anglo-Dutch Army were standing on the defensive, and they had taken up their position as to await the French onslaught; therefore they could not have passed over rapidly to an offensive attitude; such a manoeuvre is one of the most delicate of all warlike operations, also in this especial case it would have taken considerable time to carry out; and Wellington’s Army, in particular, was singularly ill-adapted to carry out this difficult and delicate manoeuvre with nicety and speed. The manoeuvring power of the Anglo-Dutch Army, and particularly their manoeuvring power in attack, was not to be compared with the splendid defensive qualities which this army possessed.
Therefore, in all probability, Marshal Ney, in command of Napoleon’s first line – the I and II Corps – and supported by Kellermann’s Cuirassiers, would have sufficed to hold back the Anglo-Dutch Army, and delay, control, and regulate their advance in pursuit of the retiring French Army; this the Marshal would have effected by fighting a series of combats en retraite (yielding fights). The Marshal Prince of the Moskowa would have been able to dispose of some 45,000 men to hold back the Duke of Wellington’s 67,000; and this bore a greater proportion to Wellington’s strength, than the force which the Marshal had in hand at Quatre-Bras on the evening of June 16. Further, Marshal Ney was a master in the art of rear-guard fighting, and of the tactics which it was necessary to display to compel and enemy to consume an hour in time in advancing over every mile of ground; he would have shone in this manoeuvre. Marshal Ney would have had to keep the essential in the problem before him; he would have had to avoid rushing at the foe, or opening a precipitate retreat, or being drawn into a general action. But he would have sought to gain his end by the employment of the most skillful rear-guard tactics.
 Meanwhile Napoleon would have moved off the remainder of the Armée du Nord, via Plancenoit and Maransart, and at Mousty, on the Dyle, he would have met Marshal Grouchy’s detachment, whom he would have summoned thither. Thus by 6 p.m., on June 18, the French concentration on the Dyle would have been effected; and then Napoleon could have disposed of at least 60,000 men, and thus he would have been in a position to have attacked any Prussian troops, whom he might have located between the Rivers Lasne and Dyle.
If the Emperor advanced on Wavre, he could have been opposed only by Pirch I and Thielemann, with about 40,000 men. But these two Prussian Corps he would have annihilated; and the case would not have been altered, had Bülow attempted to support the two corps in question. Meanwhile, Marshal Ney would have continued his retrograde movement towards Genappe. Doubtless at so early an hour as 1.30 p.m., on June 18, Napoleon could not be expected to know all the Prussian movements accurately; but it was logical to think that Bülow would not have marched to support the Anglo-Dutch Army alone; at least one other corps would have been pushed up to strengthen Wellington’s left. Merely by upsetting this combination, the chance for delivering a telling blow might arise.
At the worst, during the evening, the French Army could retire across the Dyle at Mousty and Ottignies, and then effect their concentration with Marshal Ney on June 19; so that, on that date, the whole army would be reunited once more – having carried out a retrograde movement. But the suggested movement gave to Napoleon the opportunity of dealing powerful blows, such as no ordinary retreat could have afforded.
To have manoeuvred, in this way, would not have been a proof that Napoleon was lacking in intepridity. Granting that the first duty of a general who gives battle is the glory and honour of his country’s arms, and that the preservation of his men can only rank second; yet this was an extraordinary situation, and an extraordinary manoeuvre was required to save the situation, and to save – France.
Further by manoeuvring in this way, no chance of disaster was involed; and very dexterously Napoleon would have avoided the mortal would which the two Allies must deal him, directly they effected their battle-field concentration. (1914: 2.149-152)

I had never intended to animate the battle, let alone the entire campaign; I had already animated the Six Days’ Campaign and figured that would satisfy my own and others’ interest in Napoleon for some time. Requests piled up, no animation larger than seven sequences had been completed in almost eight months and The History Channel had removed its own fairly decent animation of the Battle of Waterloo so I upped the ante. I was extremely thrilled when I began this massive project – but that faded quickly. Bogged down in contradictory numbers and an information overload of detail, the project was much more difficult than anticipated. For awhile, when friends asked how I was spending any given summer evening, I could only say, “Working on Waterloo . . . No, not the song by Abba.” Five months later, my most time-consuming project ever was complete, encouraging me to aspire towards even greater ones. As I write this, I have vague plans to animate the entire Eastern Front – during World War I.

Please do not get too hung up on any specific numbers given for any army or formation because they are problematic because there is no definitive, consistent set of answers to the questions I sought to answer. I owe the overall strengths of the three armies at the theater level to Esposito who makes it painfully evident how defeat may force as many men to desert as were lost in the engagement (1965: 160). Lawford (1977) provides the exact numbers in each specific formation and the opposing sides at Quatre-Bras and Ligny because this work is the only one to be consistent with my overall numbers and cover all three armies. Not that it is of great importance, but I project 72,000 French against 68,000 Anglo-Dutch at Waterloo rather than the other creditable estimate of 70,000 French against 71,000 Anglo-Dutch.

For each of the four battles, each unit loosely represents a specific brigade or division although it is not explicitly stated which is which, with the exception of Waterloo. Each unit was “labeled” during the planning stages to be as accurate as possible in detailing actions down to a lower level. The Ligny battle sequences each represent up to 90 minutes whereas the Waterloo battle sequences each represent between 45 and 60 minutes, giving these animations a more precise timescale.

My aside regarding the significance of this campaign is somewhat different than others I have written for others. While there are plenty of critical interpretations of history, I direct my most avid viewers – those that actually scroll down to read my thoughts – to Foucault’s lectures in book form, Society Must Be Defended, in which he reinterprets Hobbes’ war of all against all, all the time, to deconstruct war and peace as polar opposites.
– Jonathan Webb
Works Consulted

Becke, Archibald Frank. Napoleon and Waterloo: The Emperor’s Campaign with the Armée du Nord, 1815. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1914. 

Chandler, David. Waterloo: The Hundred Days. New York: MacMillan, 1980.

Esposito, Vincent J. and John Robert Elting. A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars. New York: Praeger, 1965.
Fuller, J.F.C. The Decisive Battles of the Western World Vol. 2. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1956.
Lawford, James Philip. Napoleon: the Last Campaigns 1813-1815. New York: Crown, 1977.
Seymour, William, Jacques Champagne and E. Kaulbach. Waterloo: Battle of Three Armies. Edited by Lord Chalfont. London: Sedgwick & Jackson, 1979.
Siborne, William. The Waterloo Campaign, 1815. Westminster: A. Constable, 1895.

Allied soldiers:
Duke of Wellington:,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington
French soldiers:
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher:
Napoleon Bonaparte:

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  1. 19 Comments to “Battle of Waterloo, 1815 animated battle map”

  2. Yeah I’m first…

    Excellent presentation, as always; the level of detail was astonishing.

    I guess you could say that Napoleon kind of lost his talent; in the early 1800’s for example, he would never have clogged up his army like he did, early in the campain. Also, his decision to attack a such a hill at Waterloo was, an keep attacking was uncharacteristc of Napoleon; he would never attack over and over again, where the ennemy expected him to strike.

    There is an interesting battlefield simulation of Waterloo here, for those who are interested; you could win the battle before the Prussians arrive by striking East, going around Hougoumont and striking there; maybe that’s what he should have done…

    Thanks again for those battles, Mr.Webb

    By Benjamin Alcaide on Nov 19, 2010 at 5:03 am

  3. A masterpiece of military history! Thank you! I like the way you shifted blame from the french sub-commanders to Napoleon himself, indeed it would appear he was not at his best during the campaign…I found some moments difficult to follow like the massed attacks and manoeuvres at Ligny but otherwise was a very enjoyable campaign.

    By Sir Beaulieu on Nov 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

  4. Amazing- It is the word that comes to my mind. The vast scale and the detailed description only goes to prove the herculean effort made by you and the wait endured by us. M still going through the ppt slide by slide – more comments later.

    By SunSky on Nov 22, 2010 at 5:32 am

  5. I’m glad the responses for this animation are mostly positive as it take a great deal of time and effort. After awhile, if there are points I can improve this animation, I will look it over again and tweak it as this animation is one of the jewels of this site and will be up for a long time.

    I can already see that the way I’ve framed this campaign has said much about how I view this campaign. My comments will be very long and detailed to match the size and scope of the animation; hopefully they will help support why I chose to narrate/animate this campaign in the way I did. Until then, thank you for your support.

    By Jonathan Webb on Nov 22, 2010 at 6:57 pm

  6. I am not saying that Napoleon “lost his talent”. But he did make mistakes that he did not make in the past. True in 1814, he was brillant, despite defeat (but he could hardly be blame facing experienced commanders and overwhelming numbers); but in 1813, he was surprinsingly on the defensive, and let a huge ennemy army assemble before him, without attacking.

    Even in this campaing, he made mistakes that he otherwise would not have made. He is not the only one who made mistakes in this campaing, Ney certainly proved incompetent as a corp commander.

    However, he would never have let his army be clogged up like this in 1805, or 1807. That is his responsability. The attacks on Mount St-Jean were made against an army that was in a solid defensive position, protected from French Artillery. Attacking over and over there simply did not work, but he stuck to it until it was too late.

    Bonaparte was truly a great commander. But he grew somewhat negligent after his victories in Europe. And only when facing desperate crisis, was he able to stop this.

    By Benjamin Alcaide on Nov 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm

  7. And yes, Ney directed the attack. But Napoleon did not stop him; Ney was incompetent in his way of directing the attack. Napoleon could have attack elsewhere to draw reserves away from Mount St-Jean. He attacked once Hougoumont, but Wellington never felt threatened, because it was a fortified position but not key in his deployement.

    If he had, let’s say, marched west, in a flanking attack, with D’erlon or Jerome’s Corp, he could have drawn away reserves from the center. But let’s not re-write history. The fact is, Napoleon directed most of the action on the English center; which is my criticism for the battle of Waterloo; because it the English might have been vulnerable elsewhere…

    By Benjamin Alcaide on Nov 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm

  8. One last point, while Napoleon is one of my favourite commander, the main critisism I have against his is that he did not trained his marshalls properly, to think independantly. Some of his marshalls were military Genius (I’m thinking of Davout), but except in Spain, Napoleon did not provide enough opportunity to train them to do battle and think by themselves enough; Grouchy, newly promoted to his post, was the best exemple of this: he did hear gunshot at Waterloo, but because he could not grasp the situation, he stuck to his order of pursuing Blucher. (he was tricked, and pursued a diversion); in comparaison, in the Second campaign of Italy, Dessaix, while he was in pursuit of an Australian column, decided to turn back, hearing gunshot. He saved the day, as Napoleon was on the verge of defeat.

    By Benjamin Alcaide on Nov 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm

  9. When I say that it was on the defensive in 1813, I am talking before the actual fighting began; when the actual campaing started there I agree, the allies focused on the marshalls an avoided Napoleon. But he allowed them to gather strenght and organize before attempting any movement. Second, many great commanders in history had good generals serving under them: Lee had Jackson and Longstreet, Grant had Shermann, Washington had Greene… Napoleon did also had very qualified commanders under him. But the only defense to allies attacking his marshalls was to hav qualified marshalls under hin. Neither Grouchy nor Ney were qualified, and yet they commanded huge part of the army. And training someone to be good would have avoided him some defeats ad given him freedom to focus elsewhere. Napoleon was a genius, but he was just one man. If he had trained Ney to evaluate correctly and to show good initiatives, and not stubornly stick to a flawed attack, then many casualties would have been avoided; the British army was excellent in defense. Focusing on where they expected an attack is, and I maintain it, a huge mistake
    As for Grouchy, he was in the army yes, but not as marshall. He was promoted to marshall just before te campaing. A marshall commands the most troups, after Napoleon, This is a great responsability; too much to bear.
    And teaching your successor to succeed is not foolish, it is rather thinking in the long-term.
    As fr nobody could have done better, this is not true. You don’t know that, nobody knows. You must admit that he did mak some mistake. As for reaching the central position; this is true it had worked before. But I hve two criticism to nake to that statement. First, using the same tricks as before shows lack of creativity and second, it gives the ennemy time to come with countermeasures. In 1808, against the Prussian army, he divided his army in three separater roads, and went between 2 Prussian armies. Letting his army getting clogged up is a mistake, because it instantly revealed his intention, and got them to move. Napoleon was efficient enough to inflict heavy casualties, despite this heads-up; but it eventually backfired.

    Marching west would not necessarly push the ennemy together. But for the sake of the argument, let’s say it does. Catching some of the British army unware, pushing them away from their position, then sendingNey in pursuit with his cavalry. This is what Lee would have done, and it could very well have worked. And if Waterloo could not be won, then why did he stuck there and tried to win? He could have fainted a retreat to draw the ennemy apart once again. True,there were other allied armies coming in, but in a short few days, he could have won.

    As for Napoleon losing because of things that he could not control; that is not a valid argument. Yes there were things he could not control; but there were many things that could have been done. We cannot rewrite history. we can at least assess what could and should have been done.

    And Samir Tabikha, you seem to think that I don’t like Napoleon. That is not true. He is one of the finest commander in history; I don’t think he is the best, but I understand why one might think he is. Yes he was a genius, and yes he made less mistake than many other commanders would have made; but he made mistakes that he would not have made earlier in his life. That is the point I am trying to make. He was not as well served by his staff as before, and one of my point is that he did appoint or train his staff properly. Napoleon could have done it once again.

    By Benjamin Alcaide on Nov 27, 2010 at 8:22 pm

  10. I would like to clear up some stuff about this campaign. Napoleon was not sick as some would pretend. His personal servant said he was well. He had however lost his spirit, grown chubby and too old to be impeteous. The strategies that he used in his youth were swept aside for a more direct, frontal assault that could either quickly win the battle at great cassualties of trigger a stalemate.

    Napoleon saw Ney charging, but did not stop because he wanted to see how the british would react, he did however refuse to send reinforcements when they were requested.
    Furthermore, all Napoleon could have done was shattering the coalition and hope the austrians and russians would give up and ask for peace. I really doubt that he had the energy to keep on fighting another war. His first exile had exhausted his mind, but even before that, during the campaign of Russia, he was already showing signs of indecisions, reflecting on his path and considering his moves more carefully.
    He quickly got over that during 1813-1814 by *putting back his general’s boots* but I seriously doubt he could keep on fighting forever.
    PS: The movie waterloo as well as Sharpe are not good sources of information as they are either outright wrong or innacurate >.>

    By Seimour on Feb 18, 2011 at 4:02 am

  11. Somebody necessarily help to make critically articles I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to make this particular submit extraordinary. Magnificent process!

    By Comment on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

  12. I was pleased to see someone else is using PowerPoint for animated battle maps. I teach courses in military history at the University of Dayton’s Lifelong Learning Institute (courses for people over 50). I have been using animated battle maps in my courses since since PowerPoint 2007 came out. I teach two semester courses on both the civil war and WWII and have simulated most of the major battles in both of those conflicts. I also do a course on Napoleon contining fairly detailed simulations of both Austerlitz and Waterloo. I have included sound in my presentations (combat sounds, vehicle sounds and even galloping horses). I show combat losses by increasing the transparancy of the affected unit. The students repeatedly express their appreciation of this type of simulation.

    By Mark Cannon on Dec 6, 2012 at 11:07 pm

  13. This site is so unique and cool at the same time. I commend you on your site it contains a lot of quality information and is well done.

    By Gerald on Jun 9, 2013 at 6:19 pm

  14. Excellent Job! Helps me tremendously preparing a Battlefield Tour. Many thanks.

    By Erik Jellema on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

  15. Erik: Good to know! You could load the ppt on to a tablet and show it during? Visiting Waterloo is still one of the things I need to do some time soon.

    By Jonathan Webb on Dec 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

  16. This must be the best animation of Waterloo on the net, and the detail is amazing. For those already familiar with the battle, this is a great way to go into more depth. Certainly so much easier to understand this way than those black and white maps which make “War and Peace” seem an easier way into the subject.
    A couple of things did make it difficult for me to get to grips with the animation, as someone only acquainted with the battle in outline. I found the font for the descriptions too small for the line length and got bogged down by it before I dared press the button to reveal the animated action – I understand a difficult compromise between detail and clarity.
    At the very beginning I was a little frustrated, as I tried to make sense of the larger field of conflict. The rivers and main towns were not labelled. In particular showing the locations referred to in the text would help. The colouring for the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian Armies were very similar. It would help if they were, respectively, lighter and darker. Also, as each battle i.e. Quatre Bras, Ligny and Waterloo, is presented, there are no headings. I wasn’t entirely sure which battle I was looking at on first view. For those unfamiliar with military battle plans, it would help to have a key for cavalry/infantry symbols – basic I know, but I’m sure many of us got interested in military history at a young age and appreciate it would help anyone new to the subject.
    Please don’t take this the wrong way, maybe this site is mainly for the already thoroughly initiated – but definitely the best out there!

    By Tim Mercer on Jun 21, 2015 at 8:04 am

  17. Tim: You give some excellent feedback, both positive and negative. You will be very happy to know that I am in the process of upgrading animations, based on similar feedback I have received over the years, to make them more accessible to everyone, easier to navigate, and overall better quality.

    As of writing this, only animations created in last 6 months are in this upgraded format, as well as France, Yarmuk, Gaugamela, Alesia, Hydaspes River, Gallipoli, Marathon, and Thymbra. The upgrade will take place in stages over time, starting with the most popular animations and I am hoping this process is complete by this time next year. Waterloo is next on the list so check back in a few weeks and tell me what you think!

    By Jonathan Webb on Jun 26, 2015 at 4:00 pm

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