[quote=""Pierrot""]World wars are only won when you destroy the other side's army, and with mass conscription that was bound to be bloody. WW1 was such a searing experience in British memory because it was the one time when the main burden fell on the British army; the French had done their best but were bled dry by 1917, the Americans were a future resource but minimal numbers by 1918 (and incompetently led by Pershing) and the Russians had been defeated.
Usually (1812-15, 1941-45) we get Russians to die on our behalf.[/quote]
The Battle of the Somme started just over 101 years after the Battle of Waterloo.
Of course, the Battle of Waterloo was a very different type of battle, taking place on a single day, 18th June 1815. But the losses were huge
Waterloo cost Wellington around 15,000 dead or wounded and Blücher some 7,000 (810 of which were suffered by just one unit: the 18th Regiment, which served in Bülow's 15th Brigade, had fought at both Frichermont and Plancenoit, and won 33 Iron Crosses). Napoleon's losses were 24,000 to 26,000 killed or wounded and included 6,000 to 7,000 captured with an additional 15,000 deserting subsequent to the battle and over the following days.
22 June. This morning I went to visit the field of battle, which is a little beyond the village of Waterloo, on the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean; but on arrival there the sight was too horrible to behold. I felt sick in the stomach and was obliged to return. The multitude of carcasses, the heaps of wounded men with mangled limbs unable to move, and perishing from not having their wounds dressed or from hunger, as the Allies were, of course, obliged to take their surgeons and waggons with them, formed a spectacle I shall never forget. The wounded, both of the Allies and the French, remain in an equally deplorable state.
Major W. E. Frye After Waterloo: Reminiscences of European Travel 18151819.
But the losses on the first day of the Somme were far worse.