French Emperor Napoleon's final victory at the Battle of Ligny is reenacted in Belgium, ahead of the Battle of Waterloo's 200th anniversary. Roselle Chen reports.
Sunshine and blue skies greeted the 10,000 attendees who came to watch the re-enactment of the Battle of Ligny, where French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's troops defeated a Prussian army on June 16, 1815. Proudly inspecting his forces before the battle, the Emperor, played by Frank Samson, was confident in achieving his ambitions to rule Europe. SOUNDBITE: Frank Samson, acting as French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, saying (French): "I'm very optimistic in the quality of my army. It's going to be over by lunchtime. It's already in the bag. The enemy is, is… no…. I don't think there will be any problem. And in a few days I'll be sleeping in Brussels." Napoleon's vanquished opponent, Prussian Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Bluecher, played by Klaus Beckert, was optimistic he would defeat the Emperor when they next crossed paths. SOUNDBITE: Frank Samson, acting as Prussian Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Bluecher, saying (German): "A General does not lose any battles, we draw back, and will prepare a new fight. We must help the Duke of Wellington, and that's what we're going to do." Bluecher's troops, alongside the Duke of Wellington's British army and Dutch and German forces defeated Napoleon two days after Ligny, during the Battle of Waterloo, crushing the Emperor's dreams of conquering Europe and condemning him to flee into exile. 1,500 re-enactors and 80 horsemen recreated the events, in which 20,000 people died. Belgium is marking the 200th anniversary of Waterloo with a series of festivities, with 200,000 visitors expected at re-enactments from June 18 to June 21.