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Mr. John Walsh (UK)
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French Artillery and the Gribeauval System (Officers & Soldiers)
French Artillery and the Gribeauval System (Officers & Soldiers)
by L. Letrun
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have, 12 July 2014
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It is well worth the wait. This is an excellent title containing brief but detailed information on all aspects of French Artillery. There are uniforms of all ranks, officers, gun crews, drummers and musicians and also flags and standards. The weaponry of the gun crews are shown, along with all artillery equipment, such as ammunition wagons, forges, and the various artillery pieces, which include illustrations of 4pdrs, 6pdrs, 8pdrs, 12pdrs, howitzers and mountain guns. As the title states, the range covers the period from 1786-1815, so besides the crews, guns and equipment during Napoleon's rule, there is also Royal and pre-Revolutionary information and images. Also included are diagrams showing the positioning of the crew members when the gun is in action and on the move. Sadly, the book only contains 82 pages but it is all in glorious colour. It really is a delight to read and considering there are very few titles available covering Napoleonic artillery, this is a welcome and informative addition to anyone's collection.


Napoleon's German Division in Spain: 2: The Germans in Catalonia 1808-1813
Napoleon's German Division in Spain: 2: The Germans in Catalonia 1808-1813
by Digby Smith
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars good but spoilt by author's bias, 5 July 2014
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As with the first volume in the three part series, this title displays clearly how hard life was for both the French and their German allies in Spain. It contains more pages than the first book and has ample descriptions of the various actions and struggles undertaken by Napoleon's German Allies, although, as with the first volume, some of the details are short and not detailed enough. Even so, it clearly describes how difficult life was for Napoleon's troops, especially with having to contend with a mainly hostile populace, finding enough food, getting supplies through and constantly having to fight Spanish regular troops, guerrillas, British troops and the Royal Navy. However, I'm not sure why the author included a description of the Battle of Castalla with a detailed Orders of Battle, considering it did not involve any of Napoleon's German units. And the author also displayed a map of the battle and troops positions on page 263 in black and white, while also showing the same image in colour earlier on. A total waste of a page and colour print. Of the twelve Orders of Battle given, only one includes German units, while one is a list of Brunswick officers and one a list of Westphalian casualties. The rest cover mainly French, Italian and Spanish troops. The are a few maps but they look a bit amateurish, as does the colour artwork, the Plates of which only display images of eleven infantry figures. On the plus side they depict them in campaign dress. The main element that ruins the book to a certain degree, is the author's obvious bias towards Napoleon and the French. It is rather sad that such a respected author could lower himself to include lines such as 'Napoleon's minions' (page 86) and 'Napoleonic ogre's tail' (page 206). He also criticises Westphalia, the state created by Napoleon from captured lands. Yet the Prussians, Russians and Austrians constantly carved up captured states, such as Poland, and while the author offers a low opinion of Jerome, the king of Westphalia, for his drinking and womanising, I cannot recall him saying the same of the Prussian commander Blucher, who was well known for the same when young and old. Overall, a very good book, once the reader learns to ignore the author's obvious bias, and one that perhaps, inadvertently, causes the reader to gain respect for Napoleon's forces in Spain, of all nations, and of course, for the Spanish who put up such a stiff resistance. It would make a good addition to anyone's collection and I'm really looking forward to the third volume in the three part series.


Napoleon on Campaign: Classic Images of Napoleon at War
Napoleon on Campaign: Classic Images of Napoleon at War
by H. A. Carruthers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing yet compelling, 25 Jun 2014
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My first impression upon viewing the title was to return it. However, I ended up cancelling my return request because, even though the choice of many of the images were rather disappointing, I felt myself compelled to keep returning to look at the various prints offered. The book contains 87 images, most of which can be viewed online for free or found in other Napoleonic titles and the largest sections are given over to Napoleon's defeats, namely Russian 1812 and Waterloo 1815. I was hoping to discover some images I had not seen before but sadly that was not to be. And some of the prints do not show the complete image, such as those depicting the Battle of the Pyramids on page 25 and Austerlitz on page 41. Sadly, the Battle of the Pyramids image had the River Nile cut out, which was important because the text mentions in on page 28. Most of the battles have only one or two images each, such as the battle of Arcole 1796, but there are no images offered for Lodi, even though it was an important action during Napoleon's early career. Rivoli 1797, another important action, has but one image, while Austerlitz, perhaps the most famous victory and Jena were only given three each. For Napoleon in Russia we get 14 prints, which includes only one on Borodino and two on Berezina, the only actions depicted for 1812. The campaign of 1815 contains the most images offered for any of the various sections, which has only one on Quatre Bras and 13 on the Battle of Waterloo. Unbelievably, there is not one print depicting the Battle of Ligny, Napoleon's final victory. But the most disappointing section is that concerning the Peninsula War. This contained two images, one a dull painting by Elizabeth Thompson (Lady Butler) on page 67 and one showing the siege of Madrid 1808. Surely here, considering the title is supposed to be about Napoleon on Campaign, the author might have considered offering at least one image of the Battle of Somosierra, such as the one by Lejeune. The author states that the book is not intended to offer military history and this is just as well, since the text, offered in single paragraphs on the pages opposite the prints, and which were intended, according to the author to offer short summaries that would relate to the scenes depicted, sometimes did not relate to them at all. An example being the scene on page 167 which displays the charge of the French Cuirassiers at Waterloo. The title of the text opposite this scene goes with this image, but the text itself describes Napoleon committing his Imperial Guard. The author also claims that the Battle of Wagram (page 86) could not be considered as a complete victory, even though Napoleon's victory demoralised the Austrians and helped persuade them to sue for peace not long afterwards. But the biggest blunder made by the author is what she stated on page 170. Not only does the text not relate in any way to the image offered on the opposite page, but the author claims that Napoleon's surrender in 1815 'ushered in almost 500 years of international peace in Europe'. Really, 500 years? And even if it was a typing error and should have read 50 years, it still suggests that the author, described by the book as 'a professional writer, researcher and historian' was unaware of the Crimean War involving several nations including Britain, France, Turkey and Russia, which took place less than 40 years later. Luckily for the author, the images save the book and the paper quality makes it a title worth owning. Overall, it is a nice title but at the same time somewhat disappointing due to the poor choice of images and the fact the author has tried to cover too much history within one title.


The Peninsular Collection: 95th Rifles - 1809 to Salamanca [DVD] [NTSC]
The Peninsular Collection: 95th Rifles - 1809 to Salamanca [DVD] [NTSC]
Price: 15.92

4.0 out of 5 stars good but still lots of room for improvement, 29 April 2014
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I was hoping there would be a vast improvement with the 2nd DVD in the 95th Series, compared to the first DVD in the series, but sadly, that is not the case. However, on the one hand, if you are interested in anything Napoleonic, as I am, and don't mind the amateurish feel to it, then I would certainly recommend it. On the other hand, if you are looking for a sharp and exciting DVD, this is not for you.The presenters give the impression that they are really keen on the topic discussed - the 95th Rifles and probably the Napoleonic period in general. Their careers and interests appear to be military, which is refreshing and so unlike many other presenters doing it as a job with little interest in the subject matter. But the overall effect is too slow and gives the impression they may not have practised or rehearsed anything or had an overall director. Perhaps time and costs were a factor? The amateur 'effect' is further increased when one of the presenters, Andrew Duff, is shown sitting on a sofa at home. He may not be in his own house, but that is the effect given. Much better when they are talking in military museums and military locations. Then there are the 95th re-enactors. I love seeing the re-enactors and it was good to see them discussing their uniforms and equipment. However, some of the younger re-enactors, who look like they are still at school, look bored to death, as if they didn't want to be on the DVD in the first place. Already mentioned, the whole thing runs very slowly and perhaps too slowly at times. But you do get woken up by the trumpet calls which are played between many of the scenes, which were a bit annoying but perhaps would not have been so annoying, had it been shown what each call meant. The best part of the whole presentation is when the presenters were on location, such as at the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the Battlefield of Salamanca, and the fighting over bridges and minor and outpost actions. These scenes brought the whole DVD to life and I certainly hope more location shots will be included in future presentations. Also good were the maps and animations showing the troop movements. It was also nice and novel to see some, what looked like wargaming fortification models, employed to explain parts of the siege. My impression is that the presenters and technical staff may still be finding their feet, but if so, they need to learn fast before producing any further DVD series. The military knowledge and information offered is brilliant for newcomers but there is very little new offered, apart from the location shots, for those who may be more well read and who already have a strong interest in the Napoleonic period and in this case, the 95th Rifles.. I bought the DVD's because the 95th is one of my favourite regiments on the Allied side and I plan to obtain the 3rd DVD in the series. But I do hope they continue to improve and make any future DVD's more snappy, containing more location scenes and include re-enactors who really want to take part, other than firing their baker rifles all the time. I also hope they consider making a series covering the regiments or campaigns of other nations, such as Napoleon's Imperial Guard or one of the regiments that formed it. There is so much they can do and offer, just as long as they get rid of the sofa clips!


Army of the Kingdom of Westphalia 1798-1813
Army of the Kingdom of Westphalia 1798-1813
by George Street
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful informative book, 14 Mar 2014
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This title is one of those great little books that you will keep turning to again and again. Although only 152 pages in length, in contains almost everything you need to know about one of the most fascinating, albeit short lived, Confederation of the Rhine armies of the Napoleonic period. I say almost because, apart from a short History section at the beginning, there is little detail on the actions and battles the army units were involved in, although I believe that area may be resolved in another series of books. And quite a bit can be found in John Gill's brilliant With Eagles to Glory title and his three part series 1809 Thunder on the Danube. But George Street's book puts faces and bodies to the regimental names in Gill's book. The title is broken down into a brief history of Westphalia and its army, followed by a detail account on the organisation of the infantry, cavalry, artillery, Royal Guard and Ancillary units. The information is supported with some wonderful full page colour prints. Following this section the text covers the uniforms of the various units and the author offers an incredible amount of brilliant colour prints and detailed information. Besides the uniforms there are several plates showing a variety of flags and there is a section that records their creation and fate of the regimental flags and standards. There is also a selection of Orders of battle from 1809 to 1813. However, although I was a bit disappointed to see the author describe the Westphalian artillery wagons and equipment as light grey, especially after I had recently painted some Westphalian artillery miniatures in green, after contacting the author, he admitted that the paragraph discussing the equipment colours should have been expanded to explain that Westphalian artillery and other equipment would have often consisted of captured pieces, and considering the concern of costs, they may have remained the colour of those countries, so green or grey is fine. The price of this book might appear a little pricy, considering it only contains 152 pages, but it is comparable with other uniforms titles and it certainly contains far more information and uniform prints than I expected. The title answered several questions on the various units of the Westphalian army which I was unable to find elsewhere. And some of the numerous prints may well be available online. But considering the amount of information, the number of uniform prints and the overall excellent quality of this book, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the Kingdom of Westphalia, it's army and Napoleonic uniforms in general.
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The Battle of Leipzig 1813 (Men and Battles)
The Battle of Leipzig 1813 (Men and Battles)
by Gilles Boue
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disapponting but an interesting read, 18 Feb 2014
This title was bought for me as a belated Christmas present, and, considering I already owned the other two Napoleonic titles in the MEN and BATTLES series produced by Histoire Collections, I was really looking forward to reading it. But the book is not a patch on Essling (No 1) and Hanau and Montmirail (No 5), both available from Amazon and well worth having. For a start, the narrative is very disappointing and, rather than describe a large battle that took place over several days, it almost creates the impression that Leipzig was nothing more than skirmishing and a series of minor actions. And, although some of the action descriptions are interesting to read, and there are some small battle maps, such as those showing the combats of Lieberwolkwitz and Gossa, there is no overall map of the main battlefield displaying troop positions, which is not very helpful for wargamers. There is no sense of the development of the battle as a whole. On the positive side, there are some nice uniform and action prints but sadly, nothing not seen before. The Orders of Battle are very detailed, which is a plus, but overall, this book needs to be read alongside other titles on the battle, such as Peter Hofschroer's Osprey title, which also contains a description of the Battle of Dresden, which is a great contrast to Leipzig. Digby Smith's book on the battle is also worth reading, but mainly for the first hand accounts more than anything else and his book was given a scathing review by the well respected author Michael Leggiere in Vol 65, No 4, of the Journal of Military History, 2001. Overall, Boue's book is an interesting and short read but requires the reading of other descriptions of the battle, in order to gain a good idea of what happened during one of the major and dramatic actions of the Napoleonic wars.


LEIB-GARDE COSSACKS OF THE NAPOLEONIC WARS
LEIB-GARDE COSSACKS OF THE NAPOLEONIC WARS
by Stepehn Summerfield
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars small but delightful, 10 Jan 2014
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Although it boasts 132 pages, in terms of size, it is the smallest book in my collection and even smaller than the Uniformology titles. On the positive side, it will take up less space on the shelf. The first part of the book, numbering 35 pages, covers Orders of Battle and action details. These are useful but not very detailed and the maps accompanying the actions are not very clear and need close and careful study to understand what they are supposed to represent. If fact, the combat history is basically more about the Russian Guard cavalry in general, rather than just the Leib-Garde Cossacks. But the quality of the book is excellent and the numerous colour plates make up for the small size. The title also offers details on weaponry, standards and horses and explains that the Leib-Garde regiment did not ride the usual Cossack horses and that the regiment should be considered more as a regular lancer unit. On the uniform side it offers plenty of detail in colour, which makes it ideal for wargamers, who can decide to paint up the Leib-Garde regiment in red (summer wear), blue (winter wear) or even red and blue if they paint their miniatures to represent the Leib-Garde Black Sea Cossacks. If this is the first of a new series covering individual regiments it is a great start, although I do hope future titles will contain better maps and more actions details concerning the individual regiments. The small size is a bit of a let down but even so, I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in the Napoleonic period and particularly those interest in units of the Russian army.


1813: Empire at Bay: The Sixth Coalition and the Downfall of Napoleon
1813: Empire at Bay: The Sixth Coalition and the Downfall of Napoleon
by Jonathon Riley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 25.52

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a new study, 26 Nov 2013
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If another author had written this book, he may well have been sued for plagiarism, since the description on the dustjacket of Riley's new book claims that it is a 'timely new study'. I'm not sure who made that statement, the publisher or the author, but it is certainly not a new study. The majority of the narrative can be found, almost word for word, in the author's previous title Napoleon and the World War of 1813, published 13 years earlier. And the author himself suggests in his foreword that his new book is basically the same book, minus the text covering the War of 1812 in Canada, and that he has basically just added new maps and illustrations. The maps and illustrations are a welcome addition to the narrative, but some of the maps are quite small and they would have been much more effective and helpful had they covered the full page. And the author does not really cover the battles in great detail, although a fair amount is given over to the Battle of Dresden. However, the problem of lack of detail is probably because the author attempts to cover both the campaigns in Spain and Germany in one title, and more detail would require more pages. Sadly, the book does not contain any Orders of Battle, but perhaps that is to be expected since the book is not really about the actual battles but an overview of the connected events of 1813 which led to the invasion of France and eventually to Napoleon's downfall. In short, this is an acceptable overview of the events of 1813 but more useful to history students and those who do not have many titles covering the period and for those not intending to look for material from which to base a wargame, other than background information. But it would still make a welcome addition to anyone's collection, other than those who may already own his previous 1813 book, who may feel a little cheated.


French Guardsman vs Russian Jaeger (Combat)
French Guardsman vs Russian Jaeger (Combat)
by Laurence Spring
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.42

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great little book, 23 Nov 2013
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This is a great little title in the Osprey Combat series. However, it informs the reader more about the Russian Jaegers than the French Guardsman and the book does tend to favour the Russian side, which possibly reflects the author's main interest. For example, the three battles covered involved two French defeats, namely 2nd Krasnyi 1812 and Leipzig 1813, and one French victory, Craonne 1814. I would have found it more interesting had the book compared the Battle of Dresden 1813 with Leipzig, considering the French Young Guard, one of the two groups covered by this book, played a major role in Napoleon's incredible victory against overwhelming odds. It would have also offered the author an opportunity to explore both their defensive and attacking abilities, which they employed during the battle. Second Krasnyi 1812 also seemed an odd choice, since it involved a disintegrating and suffering French army on the retreat, so troop abilities on both sides could not really be compared equally. Saying that, the book, especially containing only 80 pages, expresses some wonderful descriptions of Napoleonic warfare between two of the main opponents. It is also full of some interesting snippets, such as on page 37, describing how the Russians troops suffered during the 1812 campaign when they were sitting before a fire had to keep turning around to stop their backs freezing over. Then there is the description and artwork, of Russian Grenadier Korennoi holding off the French to enable his comrades to escape at Leipzig and the snippet on the wounded Nazarov, from the Finland Guards Regiment, who, after recovering from his wounds, finds one leg had become shorter than the other. The book is also full of interesting prints, maps and breakdown images of a soldier from the French 14th Voltigeur Guard Regiment and the Russian 19th Jaeger Regiment. The Orders of Battle are not very helpful or detailed, so further reading is required in that area. But overall, a great little book and one can only hope Osprey plan to bring out another Napoleonic title in the Combat series, covering Cossack versus Lancer.


Battle Of Ocana (Great Battles of First Empire) (Great Battles of the First Empire)
Battle Of Ocana (Great Battles of First Empire) (Great Battles of the First Empire)
by Pierre Juhel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 30.00

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a visual delight, 18 Nov 2013
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The text for the book I ordered was in English and, as usual with the titles from this wonderful series, it is full of maps, uniform plates, flags, battle imagery and photographs, one of which is a panorama strip of the Ocana battlefield that stretches across six pages, making it ideal for wargamers. Although some of the prints can be found in one of their previous publications, Soldiers and Uniforms of Napoleonic Wars, the majority, as far as I am aware, are new. The title also contains a detailed Orders of Battle but, as with all books, the Orders of Battle differs in troop numbers and units present and should be compared with OOB's given in other accounts. The narrative is lively and contains some despatches and letters, including one by the Spanish commander Marquis de Zayas and one by the French Major-General Dessoles. It is very rare to find a single book that concentrates solely on one action between the French the Spanish during the Napoleonic wars, so this book is certainly a welcome addition to the Histoire & Collections series.


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