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Incomparable: Napoleon's 9th Light Infantry Regiment (General Military)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2015
The perfect gift for all history buffs is: THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

It is always a pleasure to read a text which has obviously been written by someone who knows his topic inside out and can also formulate the information in an interesting, lively and entertaining manner. That has been the case with this story of the origins, career, personalities and other intimate details of the 9e Legere by author Terry Crowdy.

Terry Crowdy obviously loves his subject and has spent a lot of time in the archives, sifting through the dust and the boring dross, to find the gems which lie hidden in the faded old boxes and files on this regiment. This is really in-depth research concerning the origins and history of the 9e, from its inception as a corps of light troops in the Seven Years` War (the Chasseurs de Clermont-Prince) to the glory years of Marengo and the Napoleonic heyday.

We are initiated into the world of creative recruiters of the era of the Seven Years` War, who raised regiments for bounties from the crown and through whose fingers lots of monies passed - and frequently stuck. The Chasseurs de Clemont-Prince then became the Chassuers de Cevennes in 1784 as the French army, smarting after its rough handling by the Prussians in the Seven Years` War, sought to make best tactical sense of light troops. There is plenty of detail of the social composition of the officer corps, as it was changed by the Revolution, the Emigration of many officers and the subsequent reforms of 1791, and of the establishment of the regiment.

The Dumouriez plot left its mark on the regiment, mercifully only a slight one. The participation of the regiment in the campaigns of 1792 - 1800 is covered in detail, as are the finer details of the uniform and there is even a full description of the regimental colour. Terry`s account includes tracing the path of the regiment through the labyrinthine twists of the Amalgamations of the line and the National Guard units of 1794 and the introduction of the demi-brigades in 1796. Inclusion of some on the inspection reports of the regiment throw interesting lights on the state of the French army of the day and of the priorities which governed the training of the men. There is repeated mention of the importance of the men being able to practice live firing, something which was not always fostered in the smaller continental armies, mostly due to reasons of financial economy. Napoleon dubbed the 9e 'Incomparable' for their timely intervention in the battle of Marengo.

There is a glossary and copious footnotes to back up quotes and other salient facts, as well as a complete list of the battle participation of the regiment from 1784 to 1815. Osprey has also made available an ebook of essays by Terry Crowdy dealing with the 9e's early history and formation prior to the Napoleonic Wars. I thouroughly enjoyed this read as I am sure will most students of the Grande Armee and the Napoleonic wars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2012
With the exception of the Imperial Guard, the factual history of specific French regiments during the Napoleonic Wars written in English are a rarity indeed.

Mr. Crowdy has not only addressed a void but has done so in a way that really brings the story of the 9eme Legere (9th Light Infantry)to life. In so doing, and as a result of lengthy and meticulous research, the reader gets a real insight into a "typical" French infantry regiment in Napoleon's army during the period . (Although the 9th Light did have a distinguished role during the wars from 1800 - 1815, especially in turning the tide in Napoleon's favour at the Battle of Marengo).

The writing style is such that the "story" of the regiment, from its creation in 1784 to its demise in 1815, flows easily. This is not therefore a dry textbook only of interest to the military historian of the period. It has appeal to the general reader as much as to the military (and for that matter, social) historian. Events, battles, personalities and the fortunes of the Regiment are described in the context of the times with a balance that gives enough detail for those that like detail, but in a colourful and vivid manner which is suitable for the more general reader.

This book is a significant achievement and an essential contribution to the literature on the Napoleonic period. I would highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2015
This is a very interesting book about one of Napoleons best regiments outside of the Guard.
It starts during the revolutionary wars, and is inter spaced throughout with anecdotes from various members of the regiment.
The regiment made its reputation at Marengo where its tenacious fighting led by General Desaix grabbed victory for Napoleon from the jaws of defeat.The regiment was also led by the unfortunate General Dupont,prior to him being sent to Spain to earn his Marshals baton, which of course he never did. Dupont however was shown during the Austerlitz campaign to be a pretty good general,especially when he led the 9th.
I found the book well written, and enjoyable to read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2013
Crowdy's best yet. The level of research is evident by the detail we are given. The book begins by setting the scene for us and then really takes off from the battle of Marengo. A nice touch is that Crowdy cares enough for those characters who survived the wars, to tell us something of their fate in the epilogue. Helpful maps and colour plates bring the reader closer to the events described. A measure of the writing is that I found myself wanting the 9th to beat the allies!
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on 10 August 2015
Comprehensive overview of a courageous outfit and a good read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2013
I thought this book was really good, giving an Englishman like me a rare insight into the Napoleonic wars from a French perspective.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 2013
A good read well worth a read will be keeping this one nice change to read of the French side for a change.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2015
vg
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2013
bit of a story book. not much of a read, better books available. I would buy one of these, and not this one
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