Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Napoleon's Army

Pen and Sword produce no end of military history tomes, exclusively reissues so far as I know.  You can pick them up easily enough at wargame shows and online for a relative pittance, and despite the age of some of the writing they are generally fascinating reads.

I picked up the above late last year for all of a fiver; and it was well worth the investment.  Rather less so for the initial chapters on the Cavalry and Infantry; subjects that are enthusiastically covered in most books, but more for the discussion of logistics and command systems, which effectively Mr Rogers spends half of the 190 odd pages covering.

At the end of the tome Rogers discusses the Prussian and Polish campaigns of III Corps 1806-07 in detail, concentrating on the operational procedures more than the major battles, and paying particular attention to how special operations were conducted - several of the minor engagements detailed would make excellent wargame scenarios.  As an epilogue, he details the personal experiences in the 1814 campaign of one cavalry officer within the guard, both to highlight the difficulties of rebuilding the destroyed armies after Russia, and again to scrutinise the flexible tactical operations of the French armies in the field.

It is not a campaign history, but it is far more revealing as to how Napoleon went to war, and how his armies evolved over time.  A very rewarding read for the enthusiast.


  1. I bought the original when I was starting out wargaming,years ago.It is an excellent book,especially the account of the Third Corps in the Prussian campaign.

  2. Good review, I am going to buy and read this now.