By Brendan Simms
In 1815, the deposed emperor Napoleon back to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with one more conflict. close to the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, huge, rapidly mobilized armies confronted one another to make a decision the way forward for Europe—Napoleon’s forces on one facet, and the Duke of Wellington at the other.
With rather a lot at stake, neither commander can have envisioned that the conflict will be made up our minds by means of the second one gentle Battalion, King’s German Legion, which used to be given the deceptively walk in the park of shielding the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a vital crossroads for you to Brussels. within the Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms recounts how those 400-odd riflemen chase away wave after wave of French infantry until eventually eventually pressured to withdraw, yet in simple terms after protecting up Napoleon for thus lengthy that he misplaced the general contest. Their activities on my own determined the main influential conflict in eu historical past. Drawing on formerly untapped eye-witness stories for exact and vibrant information of the process the conflict, Simms captures the grand choreography and pervasive chaos of Waterloo: the advances and retreats, the dying and the maiming, the heroism and the cowardice. He describes the gallant combating spirit of the French soldiers, who clambered over the our bodies in their fallen comrades as they assaulted the seriously fortified farmhouse—and whose bravery was once simply exceeded by means of that in their rivals within the moment mild Battalion. influenced through competition to Napoleonic tyranny, dynastic loyalty to the King of britain, German patriotism, regimental camaraderie, own bonds of friendship, ethos, the battalion suffered negative casualties and fought tirelessly for lots of lengthy hours, yet refused to capitulate or retreat until eventually the night, wherein time the Prussians had arrived at the battlefield in huge numbers.
In reorienting Waterloo round the Haye Sainte farmhouse, Simms supplies us a riveting new account of the well-known battle—an account that finds, between different issues, that Napoleon got here a lot nearer than is usually inspiration to successful it. A heroic story of four hundred infantrymen who replaced the process background, The Longest Afternoon becomes an immediate vintage of army heritage.