After Napoleon’s escape from exile on the island of Elba and return to power in March 1815 the Seventh Coalition was immediately formed by states that opposed his return. There were two Coalition armies already formed and stationed on France’s northern border, the Anglo-allied and Prussian. With Austrian and Russian forces also mobilizing against him, Napoleon’s best chance was to advance northward and to attack each of the allied armies in turn before they could combine and coordinate an offensive of their own. To the southwest of Brussels was the Duke of Wellington’s army, made up of troops from Britain, the Netherlands, Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau, numbering 68,000 men and 156 guns. To the south and east of Brussels the Prussian army numbered 50,000 and 130 guns and was commanded by Generealfeldmarschall von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt. Napoleon had 72,000 men and 246 guns under his command to deal with both allied armies. He decided to deploy his army between the allies, knocking them out separately. With both out of the war he hoped to buy time to prepare against the larger armies of Austria and Russia.
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