King's College London
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The nearest run thing you ever saw: the Battle of Waterloo

General Blücher

Portrait of General BlücherPortrait of General BlücherWithout the support of the Prussian Army, led by General Gebhardt Leberecht von Blücher (1742-1819), it is unlikely that Wellington would have been able to secure victory at Waterloo.

Blücher, pictured here, was born in Rostock. He began his military career in the Swedish Army aged 14 but during the Pomeranian Campaign of 1760 he was captured by the Prussians and subsequently joined the Prussian Army. Always a highly spirited figure, in 1770, after being reported for misconduct and denied promotion, he dropped out of the army and took up farming. 

Blücher rejoined the army when the opportunity arose again in 1786, and quickly gained a reputation as a determined and tireless leader. In 1813, at the age of 70, he was instated as leader of the Prussian armies. In this role he suffered a number of defeats at the hands of the French.

As a result, Blücher harboured something of a personal ambition to defeat Napoleon. Thus, despite injury and advancing years, he was a crucial driving force in the Prussian Army, encouraging his men to keep going after a heavy defeat at Ligny on the long march to Waterloo.

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