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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

I am currently reading......

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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Andrew » December 8th, 2016, 7:12 pm

Digby wrote:The Lie At The Heart Of Waterloo by Nigel Sale. 2014

As an ex member of the 52nd battalion (The 1st Green Jackets), the author wondered why there was little mention of their exploits at Waterloo in the regimental headquarters.
He found that the 52nd under Sir John Colborne had played a pivotal role in the repulse of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo.
In my earlier Napoleonic "career" I wrote a un-finished series of articles in one of our New Zealand wargaming magazines from a wargaming perspective. That Mr Sale is able to write a whole book on the charge is amazing.

He describes it in great detail and goes on to explain why Wellington seems to have attributed the success against the guard solely to Maitland's Guards.


Digby, I have read the book and debated Nigel at the Rifles Museum in Winchester in front of an invited audience of ex-Green Jacket and Light Infantry officers. I would caution against taking everything he writes as the truth; though by that I explicitly mean that he has not deliberately lied, but his interpretation is not shared by the vast majority of recent Waterloo historians. His argument of course is not new; it was peddled by a number of ex-52nd officers in the century following the battle. Specifically, his narrative does not include the accounts of officers of the French imperial guard that took part in the attack and directly challenge his interpretation. For an expansion of this, you might like to look at the reviews on his book on the UK Amazon site. His description of two large columns of the guard totaling 10,000 men, based on Leeke's account, has been largely, and rightfully in my opinion, discredited.

Please read and enjoy the book. I am very happy to discuss the thesis he puts forward on this forum if you would like to ask any questions or put forward any points of your own.

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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Digby » January 3rd, 2017, 6:26 am

Uniforms of Waterloo by Philip Haythornthwaite and Jack Cassin-Scott pub by Blandford 1974.

This is is the book that started it for me.
I was in my thirties in the 1970's and had always liked military history (mostly WWI and WWII), then a friend of mine told me about Napoleon bringing an age of liberty and enlightenment to the world. We discussed several projects.

Then I found this book in a book shop and bought it straight away. It has a very simple 15 pages introduction to the Waterloo Campaign. But that was enough for me. I bought some Airfix Napoleonics and started off on my wargaming career.
Many years ago I loaned my book to a fellow wargamer so that he could paint his army. I never got it back.

Now through the Internet and Abe Books I was able to buy another copy (it was not cheap but worth every penny) it has the dust cover and sits on my shelf with all the other Waterloo books I have bought in the last 4 months.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Emperors Library » February 25th, 2017, 2:15 pm

I am currently reading the 1949 edition of "The Noble Duke of York" by Lt-Col. Alfred H Burns.
It concentrates on the Dukes experience as commander of British forces during the 1793 and 1794 campaigns in Flanders.
Quite a good read so far.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Digby » February 25th, 2017, 5:51 pm

Sing a long with me
"The Grand of Duke of York, He had ten thousand men. He marched them up to the top of the hill and he marched them down again"

Well that''s what I learned at school

The book sounds interesting
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby PaulD » February 26th, 2017, 6:35 am

Colonel Burne's book is certainly a good read and a useful counter to Fortescue's harsh verdict on the Duke. It makes use of the then unpublished letters of the Duke to the King (now in Vol 2 of Aspinall's "The Later Correspondence of George III") and draws on Burne's own experience in Flanders in WW1. I think he is maybe a little too sympathetic to the Duke, but it remains an extremely valuable book on the campaigns of 1793-4 - and there aren't too many of them.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Emperors Library » April 12th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Recently started reading "The Fatal Knot" by John Lawrence Tone and published in 1994. ISBN 0-8078-2169-1
It covers the guerilla war in Navarre during the Peninsular War.
Heavy going so far as it covers the socio-economic make up of the province of Navarre and why it was a special case in the Spanish popular uprising.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Andrew » June 25th, 2017, 8:42 am

I am reading The Campaigns of Captain [Nicolas] Marcel, of the 69th Line, in Spain and Portugal (1804 - 1814). It is in (quite simple) French. I have read many French memoirs of the Peninsular War, but most of them spend talk much of fighting the guerrillas and little of the major battles, particularly against the British; because the guerrillas they spent the majority of their time fighting. However, Marcel pursued the British towards Corunna, and fought them at Busaco, Torres Vedras, Fuentes d'Onoro, Badajoz, Salamanca, Maya, over the Pyrenees, Bayonne, Orthez and at Toulouse. A really interesting, no-nonsense account from a captain of voltigeurs.

This is a reprint on demand, ie, a scanned copy of the original (1913 edition), by Hachette Livre.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby MarkW » June 25th, 2017, 3:29 pm

i have no new Waterloo books, waiting for some to be published :(

reading then is re-reading your work Andrew, Perspectives, Glover's book Myth and Reality...great to be going through the stages of the battle comparing the two stage by stage....the first thing you notice are the different writing styles. Both are highly readable. Gareth uses the words of the author to a larger extent but Andrew includes enough to keep someone with OCD about Waterloo more than happy.....Gareth offers his opinion whilst Andrew offers all sides and lets the reader decide....both use the sources they have at hand to a wonderful effect to tell the story and keep them connected....both are almost exact in detail which is not surprising as both use each other's research (both researcher's have proven their credentials)....Andrew's has a feel of university with a readable component, which is aimed at someone who knows the battle a bit to fully appreciate the book. One of the key books in any Napoleonic library of modern study of this battle, along with Glover's Archives and Adkins..if I had Franklin's book I am sure I would include them too. Glover's Myth is well-worth having so you can see how he has put all the Archives together into one book and his story of events based upon the research he has done so methodically over these many years...between the two much colour has been brought out and a truer image, a dirtier and bloodier image, of the battle emerges. The chaos and confusion of battle is clearer.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Digby » June 25th, 2017, 8:27 pm

Yes I am waiting for two or three new books. All by Paul Dawson.
Napoleon's Last Army and Napoleon and Grouchy.
Although the publishing dates keep getting pushed back. (supposed to be then end of this month)

It will be interesting to see if Paul Dawson really uncovers something new.
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Re: I am currently reading......

Postby Digby » July 10th, 2017, 7:54 am

Vorgeschichte der Schlacht bei Belle Alliance Wellington by Julies von Pflugk Harttung.

Well actually I'm just reading the back page introduction which is in English the rest is in German and in a Fraktur type face.

Its just been re-printed by Naval & Military press, and its a very well presented paperback. The pages are large and the printing is very clear with very few flecks and marks from the original, (you have too look for them!)

Its 378 pages long. (printed in Australia and sent from the USA! to me here in New Zealand)

I do want to learn how to read German, but at my age it will obviously be a slow forelorn hope, but I hope to be able to read some parts of it.

The footnotes are very interesting as he often sites Siborne, Mercer and Wellington's despatches, as well as many German sources.
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