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The weather of the Waterloo campaign 16 to 18 June 1815: did it change the course of history?

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The Battle of Waterloo began at 1120 h (all times given are local) on 18 June 1815 when French artillery opened fire on the mixed British, German and Dutch forces of Wellington’s army. At the close of the day, over 47 000 soldiers had been killed or wounded, all within a horrifyingly small area of 6.5 km by 3.5 km (Fig. 1). Victory lay with Wellington and his Prussian ally, Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher, and the outcome set the seal on European history for much of the nineteenth century. Yet Waterloo is not a battle in isolation, it was part of a three-day engagement that ebbed and flowed across the rolling countryside of southern Belgium.

To enquire into the contribution of weather and geography to its outcome is not, however, to presuppose that battles are determined by the elements alone. In all conflicts both sides have to contend with the same conditions, and the outcomes are partly determined by the commander who more readily appreciates the conditions under which engagement is made, and adapts his tactics accordingly. Winters (1998) provides a good account of such considerations.  Weather is but one element of many. In the case of Waterloo, popular speculations concentrate on the consequences of the heavy rainfall of the 17th and early hours of the 18th. Most commonly it is asked, did the wet ground delay the start of battle, and did this, in turn, give the Prussian Army the time to reunite with Wellington’s forces and inflict the final critical blow in a delicately balanced struggle between tiring forces? Neumann (1993) places great, arguably undue, importance on the role of the weather. However, there can be no more widely-read advocate of this theory than Victor Hugo. In the novel Les Misérables (Hugo 1982), the commentator observes:

“Had it not rained on the night of 17th/18th June 1815, the future of Europe would have been different … an unseasonably clouded sky sufficed to bring about the collapse of a World.”

This paper attempts to cast a fresh light on the issue by reconstructing the weather of those three fateful days, drawing upon firsthand climatological data and information

waterloo.pdf

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WATTSUPWITHTHAT.COM

Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo caused in part by Indonesian volcanic eruption Electrically charged volcanic ash short-circuited Earth’s atmosphere in 1815...

Sorry Knocker,i couldn't open the link so I don't know what it said but came across this.

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i doubt it..by this time in history the days when just one battle changed the world were gone..Napoleon could have won the battle but still would have lost the war.. by 1815 his time had come and gone

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