There is a remarkable story out of Belgium where researchers have not only identified a 200-year old skeleton discovered beneath a parking lot at the Battle of Waterloo site as a German soldier, but identified the soldier as 23-year old Friedrich Brandt, was a member of the King’s German Legion of British monarch George III. The pictures shown here actually reveal the minimal still lodged between Brandt from the wound that killed him.
The first lead were 20 German and French coins found with the body. A box near the remains also bore the initials F.C.B. That led to records showing that there was a Friedrich Brandt who had curvature of the spine.
The Legion was formed after the dissolution of the Electorate of Hanover in 1803. It remained part of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars (1804–15).
15 thoughts on “Scientists Find Likely Identity of Intact Skeleton Unearthed at Waterloo Site”
Henry “Hank” Crumpton, the newly-appointed head of counter-terrorism at the US State Department, believes that it is simply a matter of time before international terrorist groups such as al-Qa’eda acquire weapons of mass destruction and use them in attacks.
Every Military Power ultimately collapses. WW2 saw the end of the British Empire and established the USA and the USSR as dominant Powers. The influence of the USA faltered at Korea and and especially following Vietnam when a “Low Tech” Enemy defeated a Superpower – against all the odds. Further adventures in Afghanistan and the Middle East has not strengthened the US global position and has isolated and paralysed the concepts of US Freedom especially in the Islamic World.
China and Russia will evolve in the same way as all countries undergoing industrial and social revolution and will develop their own systems. The chances are that they will engage in global cooperation to maximise economic benefit.
But it is the battle for the hearts and minds which ferments most unrest. It is only a matter of time for high tech weaponry to be secured by radical and fanatical elements bent on destruction of the democratic way of life. And they, unlike the Americans, Russians and Chinese they will not hesitate to use it.
Military Strength creates a false sense of security if not underpinned by moral support of allies and is no guarantee of victory. It is Public Opinion that creates the greatest power base and we ignore this at our peril.
Like Napoleon, we all have the potential to meet our own Waterloo of political isolation and our Achilles Heel appears to be inherrent complacency.
Japan’s defeat was related to the might of invincible American Industrial Power; the War was lost long before Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And they knew it.
Out of Acorns mighty Oaks grow and history will record the consequences of our action and inaction.
Conflict in the Middle East is internecine and low tech.
The aggression of Russia and China is extra-national and of superior technology.
The cogent threat to America is Asiatic not Middle Eastern.
The value of history is its contribution to the future.
Ultimately, at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan discovered the true magnitude and dimension of
the “Sleeping Giant” it awakened.
To reiterate, the “Sleeping Giant” has fallen comatose.
Essentially we have not learned anything from history, nor geography for that matter and historical carnage is anything but charming. It is clear I have not succeeded in getting my message over….
The quest for Global Domination, by means of barbarity, persists. Our willingness to tolerate barbarism has been sorely tested, and our enemies view Allied inaction as weakness, confirming the decadence of our culture.
The Napoleonic Wars were in fact Global – involving Europe, Egypt, and the Americas. They were fought by men, such as Friedrich Brandt, of the King’s German Legion, who paid the ultimate price and led by Generals who didn’t. The saying that many battles were decided on the “Playing Fields of Eton” ring true, War for the Elite was a Game and appalling casualties were accepted.
Neville Chamberlain returned to the UK in the 1930’s with his infamous “piece of paper” following the Munich Agreement and Samuel Goldwyn in the 1950’s is famously misquoted: “a verbal contract wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on”. Either way, our inherent human weaknesses continue to deceive.
Allowing barbaric adversaries to gain strength through our own inaction is not the best example of successful
foreign policy and this is confirmed by history, which repeats itself. There is a real need to understand this process if successful foreign policy is to be implemented.
In the search for Bin Laden, the wrong country was invaded. Afghanistan has never been subdued by an invading Army, so the wisdom of this campaign must be questioned from the outset. In Iraq, “Weapons of Mass Destruction” became “Weapons of Mass Deception” in Iraq, and the country is in much greater danger now than at any other time in recent history. This is not a legacy of which the Western Allies can be proud.
The “Selective Amnesia” for human rights cannot be justified and history confirms that the toleration of barbarism only escalates the level of the inevitable conflagration. The Last Hundred Days of Napoleon demonstrated how quickly a large Army could be raised on the strength of his magnetic personality. History also confirms that Religion can be manipulated in the same way.
Atrocities related to the latest Middle Eastern Conflict have been committed in the USA, EU, UK, France, Libya, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia and Australasia. And I would single out the cities of New York, Boston, London and Paris in particular. We are witnessing another Global Conflict and yet remain in denial.
Whilst the World may be a Stage, in this production there are no actors. The plot is Reality not a Play. And in Real Life there are no Giants!
So with the greatest of respect, I would say to “forgotwhoiam” that we should not “forgetwhoweare”
Professor Ninian Peckitt,
It has been said that “generals fight the last war.”
There is a futuristic enemy massing and allying in a completely different theater.
Napoleonic history is important and charming but the existential threat is Asiatic, not Middle Eastern.
Your great grandson may lecture on the time when the Sleeping Giant fell comatose.
Interesting blog, thanks everyone!
Napoleon’s Last Hundred Days
Russia, Austria and Prussia brought 350,000 men to try to stop Napoleon.
In one hundred days, Napoleon raised an Army of 280,000 men and decided it was time to attack. He split his forces and the Right Wing of his Army attacked the Prussian forces first at Ligney.
He won the battle and thinking the Prussians were done for, left them behind his Army. This was the first time that Napoleon had allowed his Generals to decide his military tactics for him. And it was an enormous mistake.
Napoleon’s contempt for Wellington was illustrated in remarks made to General Nicolas Soult, who had been on “the receiving end” of Wellington in the Peninsula War: “I tell you Wellington is a bad general, the English are bad troops, and this affair is nothing more than eating breakfast.”
Wellington on the other hand had picked his battlefield carefully and was favoured by the weather; British Troops were on dry land whilst the French struggled in the Mud. (The Handicap of Mud repeats itself in warfare c.f. Battle of Crecy, Agincourt and in the future WW I) Moreover, the defeated Prussian, Blucher, had made contact with Wellington to guarantee his support in the forthcoming Battle. Had this support for Wellington not been guaranteed, the Battle of Waterloo would not have taken place. Wellington only backed certainties and was a general that did his homework.
Napoleon dismissed rumours of the Prussian arrival to support Wellington, saying that the Prussians would need two days to recover from their defeat at Ligney and would be dealt with by the Right Wing of the French Army. Blucher after all was an Old Man…..
So two days later, Napoleon attacked the British forces at Waterloo and he was winning until he had heard the defeated Prussians under Blucher had re-grouped and had moved 50,000 troops behind the French Army.
This proved to be Napoleon’s “Grand Erreur”. He made one last attempt to win by summoning his Elite Guard to try to finish the battle. But this failed.
Napoleon had finally met his Waterloo…….
Army Allies: 800,000 – 1million troops Army French 280,000 troops
Casualties Allies: 50,825 Casualties French 68,000
Army Allies 118,000 troops Army French 73,000 troops
Casualties Allies: 24,000 Casualties French 41,000
So maybe it was Napoleon’s arrogance rather than his anus that was the primary reason for his downfall.
He showed no respect for his opponent and underestimated their military ability – Despite winning at Ligney he made critical strategic errors which lost him the War – especially in regards to allowing the bulk of Blucher’s Army to survive.
Isaac’s comments are interesting. World Conquest is still on the agenda. You only have to look at the boiling pot of the Middle East to see what is happening with the new self proclaimed “Caliphate”.
It is clear that we haven’t learned anything…..
Professor Ninian Peckitt –
“It appears that Napoleon’s strangulated haemorrhoids ultimately proved to be an important factor in a battle that was so very nearly a French Victory. Had he been “fighting fit” history may have been very different.”
“Excuses are like — holes. Everybody’s got one,” origin unknown.
The latest for me is that of General Santana at the Battle of San Jacinto:
“The Yellow Rose of Texas”
“The battle of San Jacinto was probably lost to the Mexicans, owing to the influence of a Mulatta Girl (Emily) belonging to Col. Morgan who was closeted in the Tent with General Santana, at the time the cry was made ‘the Enemy! They come! They come!’ & detained Santana so long, that order could not be restored readily again.”
These were momentous historical figures and a little old thing called “life” got in the way.
As the colloquialism goes, “if my aunt had b—s, she’d be my uncle.”
I enjoy history and recognizing the similarities that mankind shares with itself. Europe is the center of the world as far as the paradigms of social evolution go. Each major power has consolidated itself from minor warring powers and gone on to try and conquer the world. Greece, Rome, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany have all tried to take over. WW2 was the last gasp of this expression through military means. Each power has maintained that their ‘race’ or ‘religion’ was better equipped to rule the lessor races. What is remarkable is that we can see where we came from and watch these other socially handicapped peoples make the same mistakes with the same struggles. Those that believe they have a special take on all this will hopefully catch up and evolve to the level of the rest who understand that we are all Bozos on this bus.
Isaac, Thanks to you as well. I just learned something I did not know. That always makes my day, in an unDirty Harry way.
I thought the identification of Richard III was more interesting. Find a king buried under a parking lot?
One important factor to Napoleon’s loss at Waterloo was the involvement of the Prussian forces under Blucher. If they had not arrived on the battlefield in time, Napoleon may have had time to recover from the disasters caused by his inattention to the battle due to a virus he may have picked up in Egypt. The pain was such that he removed himself from the battle on at least two occasions. Napoleon lost most of his cavalry during one of these absences when Marshal Ney wasted them against strong British infantry defensive positions or squares.
Previously during Napoleon’s early years of conquests he unified many Germanic states into one group as a client state to the French. This unification and the common fight against the French further consolidated the once fractured states which had been ruled by absolutist governments for centuries. With the dissolution of the Austrian Empire and the ongoing social enlightenment the stability of centuries of feudal and semi feudal mini societies was replaced by a new Germanic identity. This consolidation, which started in part with Napoleon, continued along with Prussia’s industrialization and military power into two successful ‘Franco-Prussian’ wars. WW1 and WW2 was not much more than the result of the new European power, Germany, expanding as did Napoleon. If Napoleon had not attacked Russia and lost over a half million troops, if he had remained in Western Europe and filled the void of the disappearing Austrian Empire and continued to control the Prussian states, the world may have turned out to be a much different place. By unifying his enemy in order to better govern them Napoleon laid the ground work for his own demise as well as Prussia’s subjugation of France with the Franco-Prussian Wars.
Professor, Good comment, and nice to see you back here.
The Carnage of the Napoleonic Wars had a devastating impact on Europe and its population to the extent that France never recovered. The French Casualty rate was higher than that suffered in the First World War – and France never recovered from this….yet it is to be noted that Napoleon is still revered in France to this day as a National Hero, more so than his nemesis the Duke of Wellington in the United Kingdom. It is interesting that they faced each other for the first time in Battle of Waterloo.
It appears that Napoleon’s strangulated haemorrhoids ultimately proved to be an important factor in a battle that was so very nearly a French Victory. Had he been “fighting fit” history may have been very different.
As we approach the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo we should remember that the casualties of the Napoleonic Wars were of epic proportions:
• 371,000 killed in action
• 800,000 killed invasion of Russia
• 600,000 civilians
• 65,000 French allies (mainly Poles fighting for independence lost in 1795)
• 1,800,000 French/allies (mostly Germans/Poles) dead in action, disease and missing
• 1,700,000 Frenchmen from “pre-1792 borders”
The effect of the war on France over this time period was considerable. According to David Gates, the Napoleonic Wars cost France at least 916,000 men. This represents 38% of the conscription class of 1790–1795. This rate is over 14% higher than the losses suffered by the same generation one hundred years later fighting Imperial Germany. The French population suffered long-term effects through a low male-to-female population ratio. At the beginning of the Revolution, the numbers of males to females was virtually identical. By the end of the conflict only 0.857 males remained for every female. Combined with new agrarian laws under the Napoleonic Empire which required landowners to divide their lands to all their sons rather than the first born, France’s population never recovered. By the time of the First World War France had lost the demographic superiority she had over Germany and Austria and even Great Britain.
• 120,000 Italian dead or missing
• 289,000 Russian dead or missing
• 134,000 Prussian dead or missing
• 376,000 Austrian dead or missing
• 585,000 Spanish dead
• 200,000 Portuguese dead or missing
• 311,806 British dead or missing.
Royal Navy 1804–15
• killed in action: 6,663
• shipwrecks, drownings, fire: 13,621
• wounds, disease: 72,102
British Army, 1804–15
• killed in action: 25,569
• wounds, accidents, disease: 193,851
Total dead and missing
• 2,500,000 military personnel in Europe
• 1,000,000 civilians were killed in Europe and in rebellious French overseas colonies.
Total: 3,500,000 casualties
David Gates estimated that 5,000,000 died in the Napoleonic Wars. He does not specify if this number includes civilians or is just military.
Charles Esdaile says 5,000,000–7,000,000 died overall, including civilians. These numbers are subject to considerable variation.
Erik Durschmied, in his book The Hinge Factor, gives a figure of 1.4 million French military deaths of all causes.
Adam Zamoyski estimates that around 400,000 Russian soldiers died in the 1812 campaign alone—a figure backed up by other sources. Civilian casualties in the 1812 campaign were probably comparable.
Alan Schom estimates some 3 million military deaths in the Napoleonic wars and this figure, once again, is supported elsewhere. Common estimates of more than 500,000 French dead in Russia in 1812 and 250,000–300,000 French dead in Iberia between 1808 and 1814 give a total of at least 750,000, and to this must be added hundreds of thousands of more French dead in other campaigns—probably around 150,000 to 200,000 French dead in the German campaign of 1813, for example. Thus, it is fair to say that the estimates above are highly conservative.
Civilian deaths are impossible to accurately estimate. Whilst military deaths are invariably put at between 2.5 million and 3.5 million, civilian death tolls vary from 750,000 to 3 million.
Thus estimates of total dead, both military and civilian, can reasonably range from 3,250,000 to 6,500,000.
“the minimal still lodged between” –I think that you were probably trying to type “Minie ball” and got caught by autocorrect, but that appears to be a musket ball, not a Minie ball. The Minie ball was a later invention that saw use in the Crimean War and the U.S. Civil War.
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