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Introduction Prelude Aftermath Battle of Ligny Battle of Quatre Bras Battle of Wavre Battle of Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo - Plancenoit

The first Prussians to arrive in the vicinity of the Waterloo battlefield was General Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von B?low's Prussian IV Army Corps. Their objective was Plancenoit that they were to secure in order for Field Marshal Bl?cher to launch an attack into the French right rear. It was Bl?cher's intention to secure his left upon Frichermont using the Bois de Paris road. It had been agreed between Bl?cher and Wellington that if the Anglo-Dutch centre was under attack the Prussians would advance on Frichermont.

On learning of the Prussians approach Napoleon sent Lieutenant General Lobau's French VI Army Corps to oppose them. The Prussian 15th Brigade of von Losthin attacked the French deployed in Frichermont with a detemined bayonet charge and pushed them out. They pushed on to attack the French cavalry and artillery on the heights. The Prussian 16th Brigade of von Hiller pushed forward to take possession of Plancenoit at 16:30 hrs pushing Lieutenant General Lobau's Frenchmen out. With General von B?low's men in Plancenoit their 15th Brigade linked up with the Nassau Brigade which was on Wellington's extreme left.

Lieutenant General Lobau's French VI Army Corps counterattacked at Plancenoit in an effort to dislodge the Prussians. Napoleon on learning that Plancenoit had been taken sent his 10 Battalions of the Young Guard to reinforce the French VI Army Corps and beat the Prussians back. After some very fierce fighting the Young Guard managed to recapture Plancenoit only to be counterattacked and driven out. Napoleon sent 2 battalions of his Old Guard to stabilise the situation. They attacked with their bayonet and after a ferocious fight when they did not fire a single shot the Old Guard recaptured the village.

The Prussians were still not to be beaten however, and a combined grouping of approximately 30,000 troops under General von B?low and General Pirch I attacked Plancenoit again. 20,000 Frenchmen were in and around the village. The Old Guard and other supporting troops were able to hold on for about one hour before a massive Prussian counterattack evicted them after some ferocious and bloody street fighting. The last to leave was the Old Guard who defended the church and cemetery. The French casualties were horrific; for example the 1st Tirailleurs of the Young Guard suffered from 92% losses.


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