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Wellington's Foot Guards at Waterloo (Hardback)

The Men Who Saved The Day Against Napoleon

Napoleonic Frontline Books Battle of Waterloo

By Robert Burnham, Ron McGuigan
Frontline Books
Pages: 380
ISBN: 9781526709868
Published: 19th November 2018


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During the Waterloo Campaign, Wellington had only one division that was composed entirely of British infantry, the 1st Division. This consisted of two brigades of the most famous regiments of the British Army – the three regiments of Guards.

The exploits of the Guards at Waterloo have passed into legend. On that day, Wellington entrusted the most crucial part of his line to the men he knew would hold their position at all cost. That vital position was the Château d'Hougoumont, and those men were the Guards.

As the great battle unfolded, the French threw more and more troops at the walls of Hougoumont, setting some of the Château’s buildings on fire and almost forcing their way in through its northern gateway. Though almost an entire French corps was engaged in the struggle for Hougoumont, the detachment of the Guards valiantly resisted every attack.

Then, as the battle reached its climax, Napoleon launched his Imperial Guard at the centre of Wellington’s line. Just as the French believed that victory was in their grasp, up stood the 1st Guards Brigade to deliver a devastating volley, followed by a ferocious bayonet charge from which the French never recovered.

The experienced duo of Robert Burnham and Ron McGuigan have compiled the first comprehensive study of the Guards Division throughout the entire Waterloo campaign, from the initial deployment in Belgium to the Occupation of Paris. The book also includes an explanation of the organisation and composition of the two brigades and personal details of many of the Guards’ officers – the men who saved the day at Waterloo.

Definitely a great read for all Napoleonic War enthusiasts.

The Armourer, April 2019

Let me emphasise that this is a work of profound scholarship, by two acknowledged experts on the 'Era', dealing with the role of the Foot Guards at Waterloo. In fact, the scholarship is so profound, that it is unlikely that any “sane person” will wish to consider this particular aspect ever again. The detail is amazing. I doubt that anyone will even dare to try! There may be small disputes on the interpretation on minor matters of detail, but it would be a bold and rash stroke for anyone to deny that this book is, perhaps, the final word on this aspect.

Robin de Wilde

This book reads very well and is packed with information in the main text and in detail in the appendices.

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In our opinion this book successfully bridges what is a difficult divide between a reference book and a good sit down read and, as such, will delight both the Waterloo buff and the casual reader.

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Clash of Steel

About Ron McGuigan

Ron McGuigan, from Canada, is a recognized specialist on the British Army of the period, who has been researching the era for forty years.

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