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Napoleon's Regiments: Battle Histories of the Regiments of the French Army, 1792-1815
Napoleon's Regiments: Battle Histories of the Regiments of the French Army, 1792-1815
by Digby Smith
Edition: Hardcover

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful reference, but subject to improvement., 31 Oct 2000
Smith's book is an invaluable source of information about the various corps of the Grande Armée (Line Infantry, Light Infantry, Non line troops, Colonial troops, Auxiliary troops, Foreign Infantry Regiments, Cavalry and Artillery), especially useful when tracing the fate of regiments from the old, royalist French Army. The biographies of batallion/squadron officers are a profitable addition to the already available information about marshals and generals. The book, however, is not without its failings. As far as I can understand, the Author bases his reconstruction of the corps' battle histories mainly on Aristide Martinien's Tableaux of officer losses of the Grande Armée from 1805 to 1815.This can lead to some ambiguity, as it can happen that no officer may be registered as casualty even when the regiment has been present at a battle or even engaged, however lightly. A more thourough exposition of the battle histories of the corps of the Grande Armée would have been more useful to the researcher. Sometimes the officer casualties may be outright misleading. It's the case of the 113th Line Infrantry Regiment. Smith gives two officer's wounded at Salamanca, but non order of battle for that engagement shows the 113th as present, non even the list of French forces engaged present in the Author's "The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book". The wounded officers of the 113th may have been present at the battle for various reasons, but their regiment, as far as I can ascertain, was not. It was, instead, present with two batallion at the Allied siege of Wurzburg in 1813, as it is stated in the Napoleonic Data Book: Napoleon's Regiments, however, gives it, correctly, present only at the sieges of Magdeburg and Danzig. Napoleon's practice of detailing batallions of the same regiment to different places or even theatres has muche to do with this confusion, but the error remains. I have ascertained the deployments of the 113th Line Infantry Regiments, composed of soldier enlisted in the annexed Grand Duchy of Tuscany, reading Italian sources, expecially two big volumes edited by the History Office of Italian General Staff in the '30s. And this leads to the last shortcoming. The bibliography lists quite a lot of German sources and the author has visited archives in Germany, France, Danemark, Holland and even Portugal and Spain: no recourse has been made to the Italian sources, whether printed or documental. One-third of Italy was directly annexed to the Empire, many Italians served in "French" regiments and some of these "French" regiments were in reality composed entirely of italians (111th, RIdeli, 113th RIdeLi, 11th RILé, 31st RILé, 32nd RILé to state a few): perhaps a future edition of this otherwise invaluable book will take more account of the sources available in the Italian Peninsula. Finally, this is a great book, but I should advise readers to keep a copy of J.R. Elting "Sword around a Throne" buy them to have a clearer understanting of the whole picture of the evolution of the corps of Napoleon's Grande Armée.
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The Great Siege: Malta, 1565 (Wordsworth Military Library)
The Great Siege: Malta, 1565 (Wordsworth Military Library)
by Ernle Bradford
Edition: Paperback

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and detailed account of the great siege, 30 Nov 1999
Ernle Bradford's book offers the classical account of the siege of Malta in English. Based on many contemporary sources (two of them written by soldiers who actually partecipated in the defence) and subsequent scholarly works, it conveys much of the atmosphere of the event, while providing with a sufficient historical background to understand the broader perspective of the war between the Knights and the Ottoman Empire. A deeper description of the arms and tactics of XVI century siege warfare would have been a useful complement to what remains, in any case, a solid survey and majour source of information for anyone interested in this interesting and fascinating event.


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