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Fighting Techniques of the Napoleonic Age 1792-1815: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics Hardcover – 15 Apr 2008

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Hardcover, 15 Apr 2008

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8e7e6c24) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e7c5a2c) out of 5 stars good entry level read 3 July 2008
By braxen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have recently bought this book along with a couple of Osprey on British and French infantry tactics during Napoleonic wars.

Put it very briefly, get this book instead of the Ospreys. It covers not only infantry, cavalry, artillery but also naval warfare. The book gives numerous lively examples and accounts about the different achievements of each arm. One can find numerous battles explained with maps, each detailing the successes of a particular use of cavalry, artillery or infantry.

This little book does extremely well in its own modest and pedagogical way what others more convoluted writings fail to achieve: inspire!

As a conclusion: a well written and engaging entry level book. Happy with it and will read it again with pleasure.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8eef4564) out of 5 stars Good read, little lacking in detail 20 Mar. 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I sought this book as an introduction to the fighting techniques of the Napoleonic era, and was reasonably satisfied. For serious study, however, it is lacking. I am left with quite a few more questions than answers after reading this book. There are several excellent anecdotes concerning the historic personages of the era, but unfortunately the real "meat" of the subject is sadly missing. The battle descriptions are average and the maps downright confusing (they mix colors from battle to battle). The battles are meant as illustrations of the techniques described in the chapters, but they come off as loosely related and do not adequately convey the intended lesson. Perhaps I was searching for something a bit more scholarly.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f95afc0) out of 5 stars Great Primer for Napoleonic Warfare 30 Nov. 2009
By Michael L. Shakespeare - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In 1813 Allied sovereigns formed a coalition that ultimately delivered victory over Napoleon at 'The Battle of Nations'. Now, one hundred ninety-five years later, five authors: Robert Bruce, Iain Dickie, Kevin Kiley, Michael Pavkovic, and Frederick Scheid, have joined forces to produce this fine volume on the tactics of Napoleonic warfare.

Memory of those days is now confined to dusty books and dingy paintings, but the sheer scale of battle, the drama, and the pivotal importance in the wars guarantee their enduring grip on history buff's imaginations.

The authors bring together their narrative and analytical skills in the traditional genre of military history, concentrating on questions of command, strategy, tactics and the changing technologies of warfare.

Each chapter focuses on a different arm: infantry, cavalry, artillery, command and control -- chapter five covers naval warfare. The text is bolstered by color artwork. Eighteen birds-eye-view battle field maps are included to demonstrate the tactics.

The author's command of Napoleonic period forces enables them to sketch with considerable skill each armies' Grenadiers, Hussars and artillerymen with vivid precision. They know the weapons and their employment.

In describing these times, the authors are obliged by the scale of the subject matter to stick to the bare bones of the story. However, they scatter their text with vignettes and insights that will surprise even those well-versed in the history of these wars.

It is to their credit that they can both offer the reader a detailed account of these ­terrible and complicated battles and step back to give due summaries. Their scholarship seems to me worthy, their prose clear, their judgments fair.

The author's narrate in a conversational style, making all the moves and counter moves understandable. When they narrow the focus, the action comes alive, as in the violent and unforgettable tales of Caulaincourt's Cuirassiers storming the great redoubt at Borodino or with Senarmont's battery that "inflicted some 4000 casualties and gutted the Russian center at the Battle of Friedland."

Concise and readable, "Fighting Techniques" is a birds-eye-view of military operations. For anyone who wishes to understand Napoleonic warfare, this book is essential reading.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e727abc) out of 5 stars Interesting introduction to the warfare of the period 4 July 2009
By Charles Edward Duke - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read critiques about the books in this collection being too shallow, but I find it interesting. Of course, I would like to know more about the subject, but this is a quite good introduction for a period of warfare of which I knew practically nothing. I plan to get all the titles in the series.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e8ab6c0) out of 5 stars Strange book, committee effort, interesting information 19 Nov. 2008
By David W. Nicholas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I've read, over the years, a few books on Napoleon and the wars he fought. In many ways, this book is an essential primer, or at least a very useful tool for the reader who's not an expert on Napoleon, but who nonetheless wishes to know something about warfare during the era, at a nuts-and-bolts level. The book is divided into five chapters, covering infantry; cavalry; command and control; artillery, engineers and sieges; and naval warfare. Each of these chapters is lavishly illustrated with pictures, both color plates and black and white drawings. Each chapter includes a discussion of several battles, which illustrate what the text is saying. For instance, the chapter on artillery tactics includes several pages on the Battle of Friedland, where the French artillery literally blasted a hole in the middle of the Russian front. Each of these accounts of a battle is accompanied by a two-page 3D map of the battlefield showing the maneuvers of the units involved.

So what are my reservations? I'm not an expert on Napoleon, so I can't comment on the authenticity of the opinions expressed, but I did have some reservations about how the material was presented. For one thing, there's no forward, introduction, preface, or anything like that. The bibliography is rather sparse, there are no acknowledgments, no footnotes or other sourcing. The book literally starts on the first page discussing infantry tactics, and on the last page concludes its discussion of Naval warfare on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. One serious annoyance involves the maps: there are a lot of them, and there should be a standardized key for them. There isn't, for some reason, and somebody should be shot: in some of the maps, the French forces are represented by blue arrows and icons, in others they're red. This makes things extremely confusing, especially if you're not an expert on the era, and can't just glance at a map and tell which side is which. If you *can* do that, you probably don't need this book that much anyway.

Those misgivings aside, this is an interesting book, full of information that's not available elsewhere, and I would recommend it.
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