|The Portsmouth Napoleonic Society 'Over The Hills and Far Away'|
Some of the latest books from Pen & Sword: (Click on the covers to be taken to Pen& Sword website)
NEW BOOKS:A Register of Memorials to Soldiers who fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo - Vol II: M to Z By Janet and David Bromley Imprint: Pen & Sword Military Pages: 661 ISBN: 9781848847507 Published: 7th April 2015
We have been waiting for volume 2 and must express a bit of bias having made contributions to the list
"A must buy for anyone traveling to Waterloo"
Waterloo Battlefield Guide
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military ISBN: 9781781591215 Published: 20th May 2013
Who does not know that the bicentenary of Waterloo draws nearer and one assumes that many people will be interested in visiting the Belgium battlefield. If such a visit were to be made independently one could not want for a better guide than this book except, perhaps, to be accompanied by David Buttery himself.
The battle of Waterloo was the decisive battle that ended the series of wars from the French Revolution, the First French Empire and the political, military career of Napoleon Bonaparte and ushered in almost half a century of international peace in Europe. This guide is everything one expects from a leading historian of nineteenth-century British military history and the British Empire. Buttery’s knowledge and appreciation Napoleonic warfare seeps from every page and the book is an enjoyable read of both the battle’s progress and an informative description of where to go and what to see on the site.
Readers are probably familiar with the location and orientation of the battlefield and the site of Wellington’s centre (and his preferred command post) at a crossroads with a large elm tree that was cut down as it attracted too many visitors. Wellington’s forces took a hammering that was only partially obviated by the deployment of infantry on the reverse slope that concealed his strength from the French and astute use of three fortified positions (Hougoumont, the hamlet of Papelotte (that commanded the road to Wavre from whence it was hoped the Prussians would come) and the farmhouse and orchard of La Haye Sainte). The book combines tactics and geography beautifully highlighting that an attempt to turn the Allies' right would entail taking the entrenched Hougoumont position; an attack on the right centre would mean being subjected to enfilading fire from Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte; any attack on the left would be enfiladed by fire from La Haye Sainte and its adjoining sandpit; and any attempt at turning the left flank would entail fighting through the streets and hedgerows of Papelotte, and some very wet ground.
The Iron Duke later described the battle as “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. ... By God!” Napoleon led his army of some 72,000 troops against the 68,000-man Allied-British army that included Belgian, Dutch and German troops. In a critical blunder, Napoleon waited until midday to give the command to attack in the hope that the waterlogged ground would dry after the previous night’s rainstorm. The delay gave Blucher’s troops time to recover, regroup, escape the chasing French and join the battle later that day. Napoleon mounted a strong attack against the Allied-British but ultimately failed and the French emperor’s now outnumbered army retreated in chaos. Napoleon had committed tactical errors and acted indecisively and was blamed for appointing inadequate commanders.
The battle for Wavre rarely receives such coverage and visits to the site are often omitted due to time constraints and the small number of sites in its region. Buttery covers the intriguing clash between Grouchy and Thielmann in detail and highlights the serious effect the Prussians’ efforts had on events at Waterloo.
The book brilliantly covers the battle itself, the march of historic events, the personalities, the manoeuvres of the armies and units, the actions of individual soldiers, the influence of the terrain and the weather. The guide also interleaves a modern tour describing the terrain features and notable landmarks on the field that have remained virtually unchanged since 1815. In addition to the dominant Lion Mound there are several conventional and noteworthy monuments including a cluster of monuments at the Brussels-Charleroi and Braine L'Alleud-Ohain crossroads marking the mass graves of British, Dutch, Hanoverian and King's German Legion troops; a monument to the French dead, entitled L'aigle Blessé ("The Wounded Eagle") that is believed to mark the location where one of the Imperial Guard units formed a square during the closing moments of the battle; and a monument to the Prussian dead in Plancenoit to name but a few.
Correctly described by Pen & Sword as “thoroughgoing, lucid, easy-to-follow” this guide is a must for the potential battlefield visitor. Covering the site of the battle, the strongpoint farms that so influenced the outcome, and the villages & hamlets that saw much of the action, to the museums and curiosities that can be discovered throughout the region. The battle was a milestone in history and this detailed, on-the-ground study of the landscape in which it was fought will certainly help proper understanding of this momentous event as we approach the bicentenary.
Other Publications of Interest:
Despatches from various Napoleonic Battles by the commandeers of the day.
The story of Wellingtons Rifles the development and use of Rifles in Wellingtons Army.
Classic Paintings of Napoleon at War
A very interesting and great read life with the Inniskillings in the Peninsula, 1810-11
John Grehan & Martin Mace bring to life a forgotten battle.
An interesting read about Wellingtons Masterpiece.
The Story of 1813 and Napoleons downfall.
The Campaign in the Low Countries 1813-1814.
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