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Battle Of Ocana (Great Battles of First Empire) (Great Battles of the First Empire) Hardcover – 2 Jan 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Histoire et Collections (2 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2352501512
  • ISBN-13: 978-2352501510
  • Product Dimensions: 31.8 x 23.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 560,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As ever with this series, the book is beautiful, and the artwork and uniform plates splendid. Also as ever with this series, the English translated edition is a disgrace - it's not just the odd mistake of language - factual information is lost, changed, transposed, distorted - too many examples to list. If any proof-reading at all is carried out (which I doubt) then it was done by someone who had so little understanding of the subject matter that the whole production is badly compromised. I have a number of books from this series - Wagram, 1814 campaign and a couple of others - in each case, the French editions are vastly superior.

The good news is that this book covers a rare subject, and covers it well (if you double check the translated English - the translator, for example, cannot distinguish between a division, a regiment or a battalion) - buy it, and enjoy it, but be warned!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has been on my radar for some time. But it’s been several years in the publishing, so to say I was excited when it arrived in the post was understating the case. That it turned out to be something of a curate’s egg may simply be over-expectation on my part.

The problem with battles fought solely between French and Spanish armies is that accounts of them in English are rare. And this one’s a biggie, because Ocana is chiefly memorable for the largest cavalry action, in terms of the total number of combatants, during the entire Peninsular war. Yet one Spanish monograph apart, little has been written about the affair.

I suppose that’s understandable to a degree. Despite it being a great French victory, the war in Iberia was ultimately considered a pretty futile sideshow to cataclysmic events elsewhere in Napoleonic Europe. British historians never really took an interest because Wellington’s small army was not involved and for the Spanish, Ocana was a huge disaster so best swept quietly under the carpet.

What made it all the more interesting for me was the Spanish outnumbered the French, especially in cavalry, so there seemed no good reason why they should have lost. And if they had beaten Marshal Soult, in command at that time, they could have marched on the Spanish capital Madrid, seat of Napoleon’s brother King Joseph. Who knows what might have happened then?

But the French triumphed and gave the book it’s slightly confusing subtitle. The Spanish army was called the Army of the Centre, in case you were wondering, because they did have more than one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The latest in this series is as good as ever. The uniform plates are now by Peter Bunde and are still at a brilliant standard. Lots of other good illustrations. The text is good but don't look to these books for the depth research you would find in more academic publications..
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ideal for wargamers and those interested in the Spanish army. Not certain that all the organisation details on the Spanish are correct, but well worth the read if you are interested in the war in the penninsular.
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