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The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, 1813-1814 [Kindle Edition]

George F. Nafziger , Marco Gioannini
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"Napoleonic experts will be gratified by the wealth of detail the authors have painstakingly pulled from primary accounts....[t]his is a good foundation from which a "new style" military historian can fill in the tantilizing gaps."-Canadian Journal of History

Product Description

Little has been written about the defense of the Kingdom of Northern Italy, and this is the first study in English to detail the two-year conflict (1813-1814) within the larger context of the Napoleonic Wars. The French commander responsible for the defense was Eugene Beauharnais, stepson of Napoleon and son-in-law of the King of Bavaria. Outnumbered three to one, Beauharnais fought an outstanding defensive campaign, covering all of Napoleon's southern front while Napoleon faced off against the main allied armies as they invaded France.

This was only Beauharnais's third command, and as a result of his less than stellar performance in his two earlier posts, he had acquired a poor reputation as a leader. Nafziger and Gioannini explain, however, that in this instance Beauharnais proved himself once and for all as the commander of an independent army, defending one of the most important parts of the French Napoleonic Empire. He made full use of geography, keeping his army in being, rather than risking it to seek a decision in the field. Because his stepson held the plains of Italy, Napoleon was able to concentrate his energies upon the evacuation of Germany and to demonstrate his military prowess in France.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4083 KB
  • Print Length: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Praeger (30 Oct. 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000PC6A8O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,150,676 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The ultimate book about the campaign of Eugene in Italy in 1813-14.
Not only the main battles are reviewed, but also all the "affairs". With a lot of ORBATS absolutely detailed, and the analysis of the political issues.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly researched and ably presented 20 Nov. 2001
By Scott Bowden - Published on
Napoleonic enthusiasts are very fortunate that George Nafziger and Marco Gioannini have presented this little-known subject matter so thoroughly. The book is superbly researched. And the material, along with the maps and extensively detailed appendices, combine for not only an able presentation which forms an understandable and enjoyable reading experience, but also a valuable reference book as well.
Anyone interested in the Napoleonic wars needs this book in their library. Do not flinch at the price; specialty books such as this one, with the wealth of information contained therein, are rare. As such, it is a bargain at twice the price.
Scott Bowden (...)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nafziger's Napoleonic defense of Northern Italy - a review 24 Mar. 2010
By Peter Rixon - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When you buy any product produced by the legendary George F. Nafziger, you expect quality. With his book 'The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, 1813-1814', perhaps it's the teaming with Marco Gioannini that catapaulted this work to a category of must have; whatever the reason, this is a good read for any student of the period, but for Napoleonic wargamers, it is a source you cannot seriously live without.

I'm a wargamer, and sources listing both orders of battle and the employment of those orders of battle are very important to me. This book is on the top shelf of recommended orders of battle books to own. I bought the Gioannini/Nafziger book because I was hoping to gain insight into the French Army of Italy's structure in the 1813-1814 campaign. What I was never anticipating was that not only would I gain a narrative, and therefore explanation of the why's and when's of the major events that underpinned the campaign; what also came with the book were over sixty detailed orders of battle of not just the French Army of Italy, but their Austrian opponents, and the structures also of the post 1812 Russian campaign forces of Naples and the Balkan minor states to boot.

Has the book any shortcomings? Of course. The most notable is lack of a decent strategic map giving you insight into the whole area of operations in northern Italy from France to the eastern Balkans. The whole work is also in black & white; no colour photo's or maps anywhere. The lack of the strategic map is especially frustrating when trying to follow the opening moves of the campaign in the text. I resorted to using an atlas as I read. But if you can live with what are truly minor short-comings, what you get in compensation is a wealth of information. Not only are the composition of corps, divisions, brigades and regiments listed, but so too are their deployments and the reasons behind what they were doing. Countless hours of trawling through internet sites will not unearth the detail placed at your fingertips by these two researchers.

To my door on the other side of the world from America the delivery price on this baby set me back $150. I winced at the purchase price. But one surprise that I hadn't anticipated was that at that price it came in hardback, so the book as a source will last for ages. And it is as a source this book excels. There are 41 appendices at the end of the book listing forces in a broader battalion/squadron/battery format from Aug 1813 to May 1814. Throughout the additional 235 pages of text are force details no wargamer or student of the campign can do without. It is in those pages that the strength of units and formations is discussed, often in significant detail. Especially useful to any wargamer are details regarding force structures affecting Italian assignments to Germany, Spain and the raising of new forces in Italy following the end of the disasterous 1812 Russian campaign. Nafziger and Gioannini then go one step further and add in the details regarding Austrian dispositions, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as detailing the gradual desertion by unit of Italian allied Balkan forces. Invaluable material if you are planning to develop scenarios within the campaign.

The short and the long of it; if you can afford it, buy this book. If you are a wargamer and interested in the Napoleonic period, 'The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, 1813-1814' is one purchase you will never regret.
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