Reimagining Napoleon's Victories: Analyzing the strategies that could have led to a French victory at Waterloo

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Authors
Umange, Ramith
Advisors
Dreifort, John
Wilson, Alberto
Issue Date
2023-04-07
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Research Projects
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Umange, Ramith. 2023. Reimagining Napoleon's Victories: Analyzing the strategies that could have led to a French victory at Waterloo -- In Proceedings: 22nd Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p. 26
Abstract

"Reimagining Napoleon's Victories" explores the Battle of Waterloo in 1814 and analyzes Napoleon's battle tactics to locate the key moments in battle that could have led to a French victory. Waterloo marked the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, a major turning point in European history. This research examines the Battle of Waterloo beginning with early nineteenth century European war strategy and, specifically, Napoleonic warfare, and locating where the battle's development challenged Napoleon's decision-making factors that contributed to Napoleon's ultimate defeat, the tactics and strategies employed by the opposing forces, and potential alternatives that could have led to a different outcome. Using a mix of primary and secondary sources, this research delves into the granular experience of the Battle of Waterloo accounting for: troop size, strength and weaknesses of the opposing forces, terrain, weather conditions, and leadership styles. The primary focus of this research lies in identifying the points of inflection in the battle's development that include alternative deployment of troops, increased intelligence-gathering, and revised tactics to break through enemy lines. The paper argues that had Napoleon employed different strategies, such as a more aggressive approach, or better coordination among his commanders, he could have potentially turned the tide of the battle in France's favor. Similarly, alternative scenarios such as delaying the attack, or positioning troops in different locations, could have led to a different outcome.

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Presented to the 22nd Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Forum (URCAF) held at the Rhatigan Student Center, Wichita State University, April 7, 2023.
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Wichita State University
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URCAF
v.22
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