Placeholder Image

字幕列表 影片播放

  • April 1814.

  • For ten years, one man has dominated Europe: Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French.

  • Under his military genius, France conquered an empire that spanned the continent. But

  • finally, he has been defeated by a grand coalition of his enemies.

  • Napoleon is forced to abdicate, and exiled to the tiny island of Elba, while the Bourbon

  • monarchy is restored to France in the corpulent form of Louis XVIII.

  • But rumours soon reach Napoleon that France would welcome his return the French people

  • have little love for the monarchy or its hangers-on, the very people whose excesses led to the

  • French Revolution 25 years before.

  • He also learns that at the Congress of Vienna, his enemies are locked in bitter dispute over

  • the future of Europe.

  • Napoleon decides to act. After just ten months in exile, he returns to France, where the

  • troops sent to arrest him rally to his cause instead. Most of France soon follows suit.

  • But in Vienna, the Coalition immediately put their differences to one side. They declare

  • Napoleon an outlaw, and mobilise their forces for war.

  • Napoleon knows he must act boldly, before the Coalition launches a co-ordinated invasion

  • of France. He counts on winning a quick victory, and then negotiating peace from a position

  • of strength.

  • He targets the Coalition armies within easiest reach: Prince Blcher's Prussian army and

  • the Duke of Wellington's Anglo-Allied army, both camped in Belgium.

  • Napoleon's force is a match for either Coalition army on its own, but he'll be heavily outnumbered

  • if they're able to join forces. So he must keep them apart, and defeat each in turn.

  • Napoleon's army crosses the frontier near Charleroi, intending to drive a wedge between

  • the two Coalition armies.

  • The next day, Napoleon sends his Left Wing under Marshal Ney to take the crossroads at

  • Quatre Bras. There Ney clashes with Wellington's army, still scrambling into position. The

  • Allied troops fight off a series of French attacks, and just manage to hold their ground.

  • The same day, Napoleon attacks Blucher's Prussian army with his main force, near the village

  • of Ligny. The battle is a brutal slugging match, but the French emerge triumphant.

  • The 72 year-old Blucher leads a calvary charge in person, and has his horse killed under

  • him. He only just escapes capture.

  • The Prussian army retreats, but it is not broken.

  • Napoleon sends his Right Wing under Marshal Grouchy to keep them on the run, and turns

  • his own attention to Wellington's army.

  • The British general doesn't receive news of Blucher's defeat until the next morning, at

  • which point he orders a retreat, through heavy summer showers, to a position 8 miles south

  • of Brussels, near the village of Waterloo.

  • There, he receives a promise from Blucher that the Prussians will march to his aid the

  • next morning, so Wellington decides to stand and fight.

  • Wellington has chosen his battlefield with care. His troops are behind a gentle ridge,

  • which will give them some shelter from French cannon fire. His right flank is anchored on

  • the farmhouse of Hougoumont, his centre on the farm of La Haye Sainte, and his left on

  • the farm of Papelotte. All three are fortified and garrisoned with elite troops.

  • Wellington's men need every advantage they can get. The opposing armies are roughly equal

  • in size, but his is a ragtag mix of British, Dutch and German troops, many of whom have

  • never seen combat before.

  • They will have to hold off Napoleon's army of veterans until Prussian reinforcements

  • arrive, or the battle and probably the war will be lost.

  • Sunday dawns bright and fair.

  • Napoleon has ordered Marshal Grouchy to pursue the Prussians and keep them busy, while he

  • defeats Wellington's army at Waterloo, and opens the road to Brussels.

  • But it's Grouchy who gets pinned down, fighting the Prussian rearguard at Wavre: the main

  • Prussian force eludes him, and is already marching to Wellington's aid.

  • At Waterloo, Napoleon delays his attack, waiting for the ground to dry which will make movement

  • easier for his troops. But the lost hours will later prove costly.

  • The battle begins around 11am, when Napoleon orders a feint against Wellington's right

  • flank, at Hougoumont. He hopes Wellington will commit his reserves here, drawing them

  • away from the centre where the main blow will fall. But Hougoumont's British and German

  • defenders cling on desperately throughout the day. At one point the French force their

  • way through the main gate, but its shut behind them and the intruders are all killed. Wellington

  • later calls it the decisive moment of the battle.

  • Around noon, 80 French cannon open fire against the main Allied line. Most of Wellington's

  • men are out of sight on the reverse slope, but many cannonballs still find their mark,

  • smashing bloody holes in the Allied ranks.

  • At 1.30pm, Napoleon sends in his infantry. The French columns are met by disciplined

  • musket fire, and then charged by British heavy cavalry.

  • The French attack disintegrates, as Napoleon's men try to save themselves from the crushing

  • hooves and flashing sabres. Scores of Frenchmen are ridden down, and two of their famous Eagle

  • standards are captured.

  • But the British cavalry, exhilarated by success, charge too far. They become scattered, their

  • horses blown. At their most vulnerable, they're counter-charged by French cavalry and suffer

  • terrible losses. Among the dead, Major General Sir William Ponsonby, commander of the Union

  • Brigade.

  • Around 4pm, Marshal Ney thinks he sees the Allies begin to retreat, and leads a mass

  • cavalry charge to drive home the advantage. But Ney is wrong. The Allied infantry are

  • ready, formed in hollow squares with bayonets fixed. The French cavalry can't break into

  • these impregnable formations; they can only circle impotently, until they retreat or are

  • shot from the saddle.

  • Ney's failure to support this attack with either infantry or artillery is a serious

  • blunder.

  • Meanwhile Blucher's Prussians have begun to arrive: they capture the village of Plancenoit,

  • threatening Napoleon's flank, and forcing him to send reserves to recapture it.

  • Around 6pm French infantry finally capture the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte in the centre

  • of the battlefield.

  • It allows the French to bring forward artillery and blast the Allied squares from close range.

  • They can't miss the closely-packed formations, and casualties quickly mount. It begins to

  • seem that if Wellington's army doesn't retreat, it will be killed where it stands.

  • But the situation for Napoleon is also desperate. The Prussians are arriving in force. And he's

  • running out of men to throw against Wellington's army. So he turns to his ultimate reserve,

  • the elite Imperial Guard the most feared troops in Europe.

  • At 7.30pm, 3,000 of these battle-hardened veterans march past their Emperor and across

  • the corpse-strewn battlefield towards the Allied centre. Wellington's redcoats rise

  • to meet them, and pour devastating volleys of musket fire into their ranks.

  • When the Allies fix bayonets and prepare to charge, the Imperial Guard wavers, and then

  • retreats.

  • Wellington, sensing victory, orders a general advance.

  • About the same time, the Prussians recapture Plancenoit.

  • News of the Imperial Guard's defeat, and rumours of encirclement by the Prussians, sweep through

  • the French ranks. Panic breaks out, and the French army flees the battlefield.

  • Only Napoleon's Old Guard maintain their discipline, mounting a heroic but doomed rearguard action.

  • Napoleon himself is forced to abandon his carriage, and barely escapes the pursuing

  • Prussian cavalry.

  • The battle is won. The Duke of Wellington and Prince Blucher meet and congratulate each

  • other outside Napoleon's former headquarters, an inn called La Belle Alliance. Blucher thinks

  • it's the perfect name for their shared victory but Wellington prefers the more English-sounding

  • 'Waterloo', where he has his own headquarters.

  • The Battle of Waterloo was, in the words of the Duke of Wellington, 'a damned near run

  • thing'. It was also one of the bloodiest battles of the age. Around 50,000 men were killed

  • or wounded: 23,000 Coalition casualties, 27,000 French. Due to an appalling shortage of medical

  • care, many of the wounded were left lying on the battlefield for several days.

  • Napoleon was utterly defeated. Unable to raise another army, he surrendered to the British.

  • They transported him to a second exile, on the tiny, remote Atlantic island of Saint

  • Helena. This time there was no escape. He died there six years later.

  • Waterloo marked the beginning of a period of relative peace in Europe - there were no

  • wars between the great powers for 40 years. And the British would not fight on the Continent

  • for another hundred years, until the summer of 1914.

  • Forty years after the battle, a pioneer in the new art of photography captured these

  • remarkable images. They are veterans of Napoleon's armies, by then all old men in their seventies

  • and eighties...

  • Among them, Sergeant Tania, of the Imperial Guard.

  • Moret, of the 2nd Regiment of Hussars.

  • And Verline, of the 2nd Guard Lancers.

  • These faces are a tantalising link to the dramatic events that shaped the course of

  • history two centuries ago.

April 1814.

字幕與單字

影片操作 你可以在這邊進行「影片」的調整,以及「字幕」的顯示

B2 中高級 美國腔

史詩般的歷史。滑鐵盧之戰 (Epic History: Battle of Waterloo)

  • 237 17
    James 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
影片單字