To kick things off for the battles here are photos of the first reenactment titled "The French Attack". It was a bit misleading as they reenacted the whole battle going through the iconic moments. It was slightly difficult to follow as commentary was mainly just in French and Dutch and the action was generally chaotic. Still that would be the case with the real thing as well. The second show was better organized, but more on that later.
The organizers had set up a battlefield roughly a quarter of the size of the real one and built two structures there to represent Houguemont and La Haye Sainte. Our seats for the first day were on the British left flank behind the cavalry reserve. A great place to view the action around La Haye Sainte and the arrival of the Prussian troops on the far left.
What really struck me was how difficult it was to identify any troops on the battlefield. Even with these ranges and "only" 6000 men fighting the amount of smoke from firing obscured most of the battlefield and really made identifying any troops extremely difficult. It's hard to believe what it would really have been like with far more smoke and loads of terrain to conceal troops.
Another interesting point was seeing how dark it was when the fighting started to quiet down back then. With the reenactments ending roughly when Blücher and Wellington met in the real battle it was already extremely dark and troops were mainly just dark smudges against the terrain.
First up some shots of the main battle areas taken from the Lion Mound. In the first one we have La Haye Sainte on the extreme left and on the right you can barely see La Belle Alliance. The images can be misleading as the terrain seems quite flat. In reality the undulating hills have quite a bit of height variance and I can imagine it must have been exhausting walking through the mud in that terrain.
The area around Houguemont served as one Bivouac area.
A view of the rear of the British positions with the panorama building and the new museum visible.
La Haye Sainte was another surprise for me. Being more used to the smaller farms that we have here in Finland I hadn't fully realized just how thick and high the walls could be. No wonder it took so long for the French troops to capture it.
The reenactment was fought on the area where D'Erlon attacked the British lines.
And finally Papelotte. Looking at maps it seems that it would be a lot closer to the rest of the battlefield. In reality line of sight is mostly blocked by hills and even on good roads it was nearly 20 minutes walk to the Brussels road.
D'Erlons forces ready to attack.
British troops arriving on the battlefield from the Parade.
Wellington greeting the audience and getting his share of Hurraah's
The skirmish begins around Houguemont
Grande Batterie opens up on the British positions.
Return fire from the British artillery
With only the artillery firing it was already difficult to see the troops.
A French battalion assaults the British left flank with a skirmish line in front.
The main French body closes in on the British skirmishers who start retreating.
A lot of the horses weren't too keen on all the shooting and plenty of riders were thrown of during the reenactments.
The Union Brigade charges French troops.
On the left a French column is forced into a square by attacking Brunswick cavalry.
The Prussians start attacking the French flank and forcing them back towards Napoleon's command.
Fighting around Houguemont was intense, but unfortunately extremely hard to follow as it was on the other flank from where I was situated.
The Prussian line charges the defending French.
Fighting around La Haye Sainte rages on with the French having surrounded the defending KGL troops.
The French make one final attempt with the help of the guard.
With the day closing the battlefield is filled with corpses