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Armies of the Seven Years War: Commanders, Equipment, Uniforms and Strategies of the 'First World War' Hardcover – 13 Jun 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (13 Jun. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752459236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752459233
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 17.5 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 915,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

DIGBY SMITH was born in Aldershot in 1935. At the age of 16 he joined the British Army and was commissioned in 1961. He studied at the Federal German Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Hamburg, resigning from the service in 1979. He is well known to students of the Napoleonic era as Otto von Pivka, his pen name for over twenty years. Among his major works are Armies of the Napoleonic Era, Navies of the Napoleonic Era, Armies of the Middle East, The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book, Napoleon's Regiments, 1813 Leipzig and Borodino. He lives in Norfolk.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The slight delay in delivery only whetted my appetite to have this book in my hands. It is great value, there is a wealth of information on the armies and uniforms of the period and the battle maps with orders of battle are well done and very useful.
However, colour in the 21st century is no longer a luxury, and replacing the extensive use of line drawings coupled to text on the opposite page by colour images and short captions à la Funcken books would have been be a joy here, too, especially as this is clearly aimed at wargamers. Colour images of flags and standards rather than dry descriptions would have been welcomed, as would colour images of each nation's artillery equipment. A great text is never spoiled by great colour illustration, and this is what wargamers are really hoping for. Welcome as the two colour sections are, they are reminiscent of dated approaches to this kind of production. I realise that this would have made this book much bigger and pricier - bring it on, say I!
Also welcome would have been a further reading list. The bibliography is astonishing for its omissions - no Duffy, no Bleckwenn, no Cecil Lawson, no Parkman, not a single title from French authors. So a reading list that beginners would have found truly useful is an unforgivable omission from such a work. However, much can be forgiven for mentioning the incredible web-pages of kronoskaf - my recommendation to any wargamers looking for a model resource. If only that were available in book form - web pages so often disappear off the face of the Internet.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Written by Digby Smith, who made his name (or perhaps, given that he used to be known as Otto von Pivka, somebody else's) by producing a whole host of primarily Napoleonic titles starting over thirty years ago. Mr Smith states in the introduction of this his latest work that a great deal of the information presented here was gathered during the course of researching those other earlier works.

Stylistically, this volume is very much like his previous "Armies of the Napoleonic Era". Thankfully he eschews the traditional extended historical introduction, concentrating on more specifically tactical considerations before plunging into the details of the alphabetically listed armies themselves; their treatment is unfortunately rather uneven. Whilst uniform detail is adequate, unit organisation is often a little vague (and rarely lists numbers of men, just companies and battalions/squadrons); when touched upon at all, colours are described more often than illustrated.

Some nationalities armies fare reasonably well (the Prussians, for example, though Mr Smith has published on their army previously), others less so. Curiously, given his previous output, it is the armies of the smaller German states which seem to suffer this the most. Thus, whilst his treatment of the Reichsarmee might be pretty good, some of the national haus-regiments get pretty short shrift. The troops of the Palatinate are a good example of this - despite being included in the title of one chapter, no information is offered on their army other than the fact that it was combined with that of Bavaria in 1777!

Unlike the earlier Napoleonic title, this volume includes a good number of colour illustrations gathered into two sections, with additional black-and-white pictures embedded in the text.
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By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As with any one-volume history Digby Smith's summary has to set itself limits. His notes on the uniforms of the Austrian army are not, for example, going to equal those of Stephen Summerfield. They do however provide a good starting point. The illustrations are the usual old favourites, including a number from the excellent Kronoskaf website. Even at twice the size it would still be hard pressed to encompass everything. It serves therefore as an entry pass to this period of history
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Format: Paperback
There has been no single volume book on the uniforms of the armies that took part in the Seven Years War since the Mollo & McGregor book issued by Blandford Press a number of years ago. Such subsequent offerings as have appeared have been in the in multi-volume format such as offered by Osprey and Partizan Press. This book therefore represents an ambitious project and has grown out of various notes collected by the author as a by product of his researches into Napoleonic uniforms and military history. The author is a well known military historian although he freely admits his expertise is more towards the Napoleonic period

Therein lies the problem, coverage is very uneven, major participants such as France, Britain and Prussia are covered in some detail whilst that of Russia feels somewhat cursory. More minor participants are even more arbritarily served,the Bavarian army receives just 2 pages including illustrations which is one page less than Schaumberg Lippe-Detmold. The introduction to the Bavarian section introduces discussion of the Palatinate without any comment on what was the relationship between the two familial domains of the Wittelsbachs. These are just examples one could mention the sparse coverage of the Brunswick and Hessen-Kassel armies. The section on Austrian infantry units borrows heavily on the first edition of Summerfield's first volume on Austrian uniforms rather than the more detailed second edition.

To compound matters the way in which the information is presented veers between lists of regiments whose only difference is regimental flags (such as the Russian army) to the widespread use of tabulated data (the Spanish Army), surely a more consistent and user-friendly style could have been used throughout?
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