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French Napoleonic Infantryman 1803-15 (Warrior) Paperback – 18 Sep 2002

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More About the Author

Terry Crowdy is a military history author specialising in the Napoleonic Wars and espionage / 'secret war' history. His latest book is 'Napoleon's Infantry Manual', an essential guide to daily life in Napoleon's Grande Armée based on contemporary French instruction manuals and orders.

Previous to this he wrote 'Incomparable', the incredible story of Napoleon's 9th Light Infantry Regiment. He edited the popular memoirs of Donald Dean VC, a Kentish hero who fought in both world wars. His espionage titles include 'The Enemy Within', and 'Deceiving Hitler'.

Terry won the 'Best Military Paper' category in the 2014 Napoleon Series Writing Contest.

Terry Crowdy is a safety adviser for Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity which manages the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House Whitehall, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, and Hillsborough Castle.

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About the Author

Terry Crowdy has had a life-long interest in the life and times of the common soldier of the late-18th and early-19th centuries, with a particular passion for the subject of the French 9eme Legere. A committed re-enactor and historical researcher, Terry has written numerous articles for various magazines on the French forces of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. He lives in Kent, UK. Christa Hook is one of Osprey's most popular illustrators, a reputation justly deserved given the perfect blend of attention to detail and narrative realisation that characterises her artwork. Her work for Osprey to date has covered subjects such as the daily life of the Norman knight, the key battles of the Napoleonic wars, and the life of the US cavalryman of the 19th century. Christa lives and works in Sussex, UK.

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The majority of the recruits to Napoleon's infantry regiments were conscripts. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
... 19 Aug. 2003
By R. A Forczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Osprey's Warrior series is designed to give "insights into the daily lives of history's fighting men and women, past and present, detailing their motivation, training, tactics, weaponry and experiences." In Warrior #57, French Napoleonic Infantryman 1803-1815, author Terry Crowdy presents a smattering of information on training, tactics and weaponry and ignores motivation. Indeed, the vast majority of this volume is comprised of very large chunks of French soldier memoirs, strung together. To say that this volume is a disappointment is an understatement, for it clearly fails to deliver anything fresh, original or insightful. Of all the Osprey volumes on Napoleon's army, this one is easily the worst.
The volume begins with a short introduction and then begins an 11-page section on "from conscription to the depot" and this is the only halfway decent section. Brief sections then cover life in camp, and life on campaign. The "day of battle" is a very tediously constructed 19-page section that is obviously designed as the core of this volume. Crowdy strings together eyewitness accounts of a battle that is never named and no maps are given to put the action in perspectives. Furthermore, Crowdy's over-use of first-person accounts is marred by a lack of proper introductions, since he does not always identify what unit these persons were in (or when, since it is apparent that not all served at the same time). The result is an incomprehensible bouillabaisse that fails to describe much of anything. Final sections cover "aftermath" and "going home." Even the color plates, normally the centerpiece of any Osprey volume, are a disappointment. The first shows a Voltigeur with the rare 1806 white uniform - a uniform that Crowdy notes was abandoned as soon as Napoleon saw it. Why waste space on a uniform that was never worn on campaign, when you could depict voltigeurs as they actually were? Other plates show French recruits drilling, French recruits playing cards in barracks (very insightful!), French troops fraternizing, one tactical illustration of a skirmisher company, a reprisal in Spain, the Marie-Louises, and a line of French infantry in 1815.
This volume on the French infantryman also fails to contain many of the sections one normally expects in the Warrior series. Crowdy fails to mention pay, promotions, awards, motivation, or leadership (except for small tidbits about the role of corporals). This would have been an excellent volume to examine the Grand Armée at the tactical level, focusing on how companies and battalions were built, maintained and fought. There is also very little in this volume about tactical doctrine (line, column, order mixed) or how different types of infantry (light, line, grenadier) functioned. Nor does the author make any real effort to discuss the leadership roles of company-grade officers or NCOs. Essentially, this volume fails to explain why the French infantry were so successful in 1805-1809 and so unsuccessful in 1810-1815.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
French Napoleonic Infantryman 12 April 2010
By Mark Stephan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offered a more in depth insight to the Napoleonic French Infantryman, both the historical aspect, with uniform plates for the military uniform enthusiasts. The plates were somewhat of a duplicate of what Osprey has offered in previous related titles. It did give more detailed and in depth information on the life and what occurred more than the regular Osprey Men-At-Arms titles.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Previous Review Needlessly Harsh 5 Feb. 2008
By K. Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The previous reviewer seems to misunderstand the whole nature of the Osprey warrior series. These books are meant to examine the daily life and experiences of the individual soldiers, and typically this title does so excellently.

In the standard warrior format, the book discusses the recruitment, training, campaigning and battle experiences of the Napoleonic infantrymen from Napoleon's appointment as consul to the Battle of Waterloo. Camp life and battle tactics are both described in satisfying detail. As in the prequel to this title (French Revolutionary Infantryman 1793-1802), Crowdy allows the accounts of individual soldiers to do a lot of the talking. The unpleasant realities and the cold-blooded brutality of the Napoleonic Wars are better illustrated here than in many other books.

Though the illustrator Christa Hook is often harshly criticized by reviewers, rarely have I found her color plates to be unattractive or lacking in detail. This book contains some of the best examples of her artwork I have yet seen. The plates are colorful and detailed, showing the Napoleonic footsoldiers at various stages of their career, illustrating their camp life, battle tactics, and some of them participating in the savagery of the Spanish Campaign. The equipment of the upper class infantryman, and the levied 'Marie Louise' soldier are both vividly clarified.

In conclusion, this is yet another worthy title in the Osprey Warrior series, and gives an intimate look into the hard life of the common soldiers of Napoleon's Grande Armee.
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