The English tactics against Napoleon entailed the massive use of light infantry, specially from the late 1790s, and in 1800 an experimental corps was set up armed with new rifled muskets, more accurate than the prevailing smooth-bores. The defensive tactics of the English, led by the Duke of Wellington, were almost unmatched. They realized the use of a reverse slope defense, and made use of one whenever they could, to conceal their numbers and protect their men from French artillery. However, the British rarely missed an opportunity to counter-attack, and many French columns found themselves cut up by musket volleys, then attacked with bayonets.
Under Wellington’s command, the English could also be very aggressive. The river crossing at Oporto, Iberian Peninsula, was a gamble; and only the mistake of a subordinate officer allowed any of Soult’s army to escape. On the attack also, the British showed a clear understanding of tactics and terrain: at the Battle of Vitoria, Wellington led a massive, well-coordinated attack in from three directions, almost destroying the French army, forcing them to abandon all their baggage and supplies and all but one of their 138 guns.
The British favored line over column tactics and also paid more attention to logistics, not relying so consistenly on foraging, which, in the guerrilla-infested hills of Spain, had badly failed the French forces. In 1813 the Prussians created regiments of Jäger, volunteer riflemen, as a riposte to the French tirailleurs (shooters). Attrition, the exhaustion of French resources, British naval superiority—most notably demonstrated at Trafalgar (1805)—and Napoleon’s strategic greed led to his downfall in 1814, and his return from exile for the “Hundred Days” ended similarly in defeat at Waterloo in 1815.