French officers ordered back to Waterloo

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Almost two hundred years after the Allied armies secured the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte, French soldiers have returned to the scene of the Battle of Waterloo to learn from the mistakes of their 19th-century predecessors.

A total of 38 senior officers were ordered to spend a day analysing the errors which put a final end to Napoleon’s rule as Emperor and drew to a close 23 years of war.

Brigadier-General Vincent Desportes ordered strategists from France’s Armed Forces Employment Doctrine Centre to visit the battleground because “you learn more from your failures than from your successes”.

Surveying the battlefield, which is in present-day Belgium, the officers were told that Napolean underestimated The Duke of Wellington, made tactical errors and confused his army.

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