Napoleonic - Vintage Airfix


Napoleonic books

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Contents:
- 1805 Austerlitz - By Robert Goetz..
- 1809 Thunder on the Danube - By John H Gill..
- 1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume II - By John H Gill..
- 1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume III - By John H Gill..
- 1812: Napoleon in Moscow - By Paul Britten Austin..
- 1812: The Great Retreat - By Paul Britten Austin..
- 1812: The March on Moscow - By Paul Britten Austin..
- 1813: Empire at Bay - By Jonathon Riley..
- 1815: The Return of Napoleon - By Paul Britten Austin..
- A Bold and Ambitious Enterprise - By Andrew Bamford..
- A Matter of Honour - By Jonathon Riley..
- A Peer Among Princes - By Philip Grant..
- A Scots Grey at Waterloo - By Gareth Glover..
- A Soldier for Napoleon - By John H Gill..
- A Soldier of the Seventy-First - By Joseph Sinclair..

 


 

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1805 Austerlitz

By Robert Goetz

1805 AusterlitzDescription:

The Battle of Austerlitz is almost universally regarded as the most impressive of Napoleon’s many victories. The magnitude of the French achievement against a larger army was unprecedented, the great victory being met by sheer amazement and delirium in Paris, where just days earlier the nation had been teetering on the brink of financial collapse.

In this insightful study, the author analyses the planning of the opposing forces and details the course of the battle hour by hour, describing the fierce see-saw battle around Sokolnitz, the epic struggle for the Pratzen Heights, the dramatic engagement between the legendary Lannes and Bagration in the north, and the widely misunderstood clash of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard and Alexander’s Imperial Leib-Guard. The author has produced a detailed and balanced assessment of the battle that for the first time places familiar French accounts in their proper perspective and exposes many myths regarding the battle that have been perpetuated and even embellished in recent books.

With 1805: Austerlitz, the reader is left with a thorough appreciation of Napoleon and his Grande Armée of 1805, an army that decisively defeated not a hapless relic of the ancien regime but rather a formidable professional army that had fought the French armies on equal terms five years earlier.

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1809 Thunder on the Danube

By John H Gill

1809 Thunder on the DanubeDescription:

The Franco-Austrian War of 1809 was Napoleon's last victorious war. He would win many battles in his future campaigns, but never again would one of Europe's great powers lie broken at his feet. In this respect 1809 represents a high point of the First Empire yet at the same time Napoleon's armies were declining in quality and he was beginning to display the corrosive flaws that contributed to his downfall five years later. 

In this volume Gill tackles the political background to the war and the opening battles of Abensberg, Eggmühl and Regensberg. He explores the motivations that prompted Austria to launch an offensive against France while Napoleon and many of his veterans were distracted in Spain. Though surprised by the timing of the Austrian attack on the 10th April, the French Emperor completely reversed a dire strategic situation with stunning blows that he called his 'most brilliant and most skilful manoeuvres'. Following a breathless pursuit down the Danube valley, Napoleon occupied the palaces of the Habsburgs for the second time in four years. 

Basing his work on years of primary research and battlefield visits, Gill provides a thorough analysis replete with spectacular combat, diplomatic intrigue and the illustrious cast of characters that populated this extraordinary age. The concluding volumes will take the war to its conclusion, including Napoleon's first unequivocal repulse at the Battle of Espern-Essling, the titanic Battle of Wagram and the neglected struggle at Znaim that led to armistice.

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1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume II

By John H Gill

1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume IIDescription:

In the second volume of this epic work, John H. Gill traces Napoleon's progress as he sought to complete his victory over the Habsburgs. The war had erupted on April 10th with Austria's invasion of Germany and Italy. After just two weeks, Napoleon had battered the Habsburg Archduke Charles in a series of bruising defeats.

This volume begins with Napoleon astride the Danube at Regensburg. He faced a critical strategic choice – whether to pursue the injured Austrian main army into Bohemia or march directly for Vienna, the seat of Habsburg power.

After electing to target Vienna, his troops defeated the Austrians in the brutal Battle of Ebelsberg, allowing him to enter the city on May 13th. However on the far side of the Danube, he then suffered a dramatic loss at the gruelling, two-day Battle of Aspern. While his Danube forces recovered from this setback, the Emperor cleared trouble from his strategic flanks.

Gill describes in vivid detail the hopeful Habsburg invasion of Italy, led by the 27-year-old Archduke Johann, and the fierce French counter-offensive under Napoleon's stepson, Eugene de Beauharnais (also aged 27). In a series of encounters across Italy, de Beauharnais rebounded from initial defeat to advance triumphantly into Austrian territory, shattering and scattering Johann's army. In the wake of Aspern, while the Austrians vacillated, Napoleon gathered every man, horse and gun around Vienna, setting the stage for the gigantic spectacle of the Battle of Wagram, the final chapter in the story of the 1809 war.

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1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume III

By John H Gill

1809 Thunder on the Danube, Volume IIIDescription:

With this third volume John Gill brings to a close his magisterial study of the war between Napoleonic France and Habsburg Austria. The account begins with both armies recuperating on the banks of the Danube. As they rest, important action was taking place elsewhere: Eugene won a crucial victory over Johann on the anniversary of Marengo, Prince Poniatowski's Poles outflanked another Austrian archduke along the Vistula, and Marmont drove an Austrian force out of Dalmatia to join Napoleon at Vienna. These campaigns set the stage for the titanic Battle of Wagram. 

Second only in scale to the slaughter at Leipzig in 1813, Wagram saw more than 320,000 men and 900 guns locked in two days of fury that ended with an Austrian retreat. The defeat, however, was not complete: Napoleon had to force another engagement before Charles would accept a ceasefire. The battle at Znaim, its true importance often not acknowledged, brought an extended armistice that ended with a peace treaty signed in Vienna.

Gill uses an impressive array of sources in an engaging narrative covering both the politics of emperors and the privations and hardship common soldiers suffered in battle. Enriched with unique illustrations, forty maps, and extraordinary order-of-battle detail, this work concludes an unrivalled English-language study of Napoleon's last victory.

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1812: Napoleon in Moscow

By Paul Britten Austin

1812: Napoleon in MoscowDescription:

At the gates of Moscow, Napoleon's Grand Army prepares to enter in triumphal procession. But what it finds is a city abandoned by its inhabitants – save only the men who emerge to fan the flames as incendiary fuses hidden throughout the empty buildings of Moscow set the city alight. For three days Moscow burned, while looters dodged the fires to plunder and pillage. And so begins 1812: Napoleon in Moscow, Paul Britten Austin's atmospheric second volume in his acclaimed trilogy on Napoleon's catastrophic invasion of Russia.

After the fires died down the army settled in the ruins of Moscow; for five weeks Napoleon waited at the Kremlin, expecting his 'brother the Tsar' in St Petersburg to capitulate and make peace, while in fact the Russian Army was gathering its strength. At the same time Murat's cavalry, the advance guard, was encamped in dreadful conditions three days' march away at Winkowo, where it was being starved to death. When Napoleon eventually realized the futility of his plans and prepared to leave Moscow, his advance guard was surprised by a Russian attack. The most astounding exodus in modern times ensued. 

1812: Napoleon in Moscow follows on from the brilliant 1812: The March on Moscow, which took Napoleon's army across Europe to the great city. Paul Britten Austin brings this next phase of the epic campaign to life with characteristic verve. Drawing on hundreds of eyewitness accounts by French and allied soldiers of Napoleon's army, this brilliant study recreates this disastrous military campaign in all its death and glory.

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1812: The Great Retreat

By Paul Britten Austin

1812: The Great RetreatDescription:

1812: The Great Retreat – the third and final volume in Austin's magisterial trilogy – concludes the story of one of history's most disastrous campaigns. The author's previous books brought the Grand Army to the head-on battle at Malo-Jaroslavetz after withdrawing sixty miles from the burnt down capital, and for the first time in his meteoric career Napoleon had to order a retreat. 

This volume follows the army's withdrawal through 800 miles of devastated countryside, crossing the horrific relics of the Borodino battlefield, fighting its way through the Russian General Kutusov's successive attempts to cut it off, and winning, against overwhelming odds, the three-day battle of the Berezina crossing. First-hand narratives, many published in English for the first time, describe Marshal Ney's astounding achievement in holding together the rear-guard until he himself, musket in hand, was the last man to re-cross the Niemen into Poland.

Using the words of the participants themselves, Paul Britten Austin brings unparalleled authenticity and immediacy to his unique account of the closing stages of Napoleon's dramatic and tragic 1812 campaign.

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1812: The March on Moscow

By Paul Britten Austin

1812: The March on MoscowDescription:

More than a third of a million men set out on that midsummer day of 1812: none can have imagined the terrors and hardships to come. They would be lured all the way to Moscow without having achieved the decisive battle Napoleon sought; and by the time they reached the city their numbers would already have dwindled by more than a third. One of the greatest disasters in military history was in the making.

The fruit of more than twenty years of research, this superbly crafted work skilfully blends the memoirs and diaries of more than a hundred eyewitnesses, all of whom took part in the Grand Army's doomed march to Moscow, to reveal the inside story of this landmark military campaign. The result is a uniquely authentic account in which the reader sees and experiences the campaign through the eyes of participants at each stage of the advance in enthralling day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour detail.

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1813: Empire at Bay

By Jonathon Riley

1813: Empire at BayDescription:

1813 was a critical year in the world war that ended with the downfall of Napoleon. In a series of major battles the converging armies of the Sixth Coalition drove the French forces back. This was the year in which the balance of power tipped decisively against Napoleon's First Empire, and that is why Jonathon Riley's highly readable and timely new study is so important. He covers the operations in central Europe and Spain, where the allies broke French power, humbled Napoleon and laid the foundations for the Congress of Vienna and the European settlement that endured for the next fifty years.

In particular he focuses on the operation of the Sixth Coalition - Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and the smaller German states. This was the prototype of all uneasy modern coalitions, with their troubled command relationships, disagreements on strategy and operations, and clashing political ambitions. At the same time he reassesses the performance of Napoleon himself who was also an alliance commander, for his armies included not only Frenchmen but also Poles, Danes, Italians, Germans and a host of other contingents. 

In graphic detail he covers the 1813 campaigns which have received less attention than those of 1812 and 1814/15 in spite of the fact that all the decisive moments came in 1813 – save for one: Waterloo. These moments included the Battle of Vitoria, which expelled the French from most of Spain and, in Germany, the battles of Lützen, Bautzen, Dresden, and Leipzig where half a million men fought for six brutal days.

Jonathon Riley's masterly reassessment of this pivotal year in European and world affairs will appeal to readers who are fascinated by the Napoleonic Wars and to students of military history, strategy and the operational art.

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1815: The Return of Napoleon

By Paul Britten Austin

1815: The Return of NapoleonDescription:

This book covers the first part of Napoleon's return from Elba in 1815,the beginning of "The Hundred Days". This book uses eyewitnesses and participants accounts, and often quote their own words on the events. The same tecnique as the author used in his triology on the Invasion of Russia in 1812. 

This book gave me an insight on the period from Napoleon landed in France until he was safe in Paris, that I have never experienced in other books on the topic. Most books cover this period of "The Hundred Days" rather quickly, so they can get to the main event, The Battle of Waterloo. Here we follow Napoleon from his landing in the south of France all the way to Paris. We are also told how Paris react to news of the landing, and how the statesmen, soldiers and ordinary people reacted on Napoleon's return. 

To summarize, I think it is a very good book on an interesting period in history, and I look forward to the next book, covering the rest of "The Hundred Days".

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A Bold and Ambitious Enterprise

By Andrew Bamford

A Bold and Ambitious EnterpriseDescription:

The British campaign in the Low Countries in 1813–14 in support of the Dutch revolt against the French is one of the lesser-known campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, but one of which the great historian of the British Army Sir John Fortescue
wrote that it was impossible to understand the Waterloo campaign without a knowledge of. 

Under the command of the Peninsular War hero General Sir Thomas Graham, an inexperienced and under-strength British army, short on supplies and enduring terrible winter weather, sought to capture the port of Antwerp and neutralise the French fleet based there. The problems of liaison and cooperation between the British and their Prussian allies under von Bülow, which blighted their attempts to capture the city despite Graham's success on the battlefield at Merxem, prefigured similar difficulties during the Hundred Days. There were further controversies with the Dutch, and with the Crown Prince of Sweden – once the French Marshal Bernadotte, but now overall Allied commander in the Low Countries – who was accused of hindering operations for his own ends. The campaign culminated in the disastrous night attack on the French fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, in which British soldiers paid with their lives for the failures of their masters. 

The book deals with all aspects of the campaign, from grand strategy and the proposed marriage alliance between the House of Orange and the House of Hanover, to tactical analysis of the battles and sieges that took place. This is a fascinating account both of a neglected Napoleonic campaign and of Britain's wider role in the Sixth Coalition against Napoleon.

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A Matter of Honour

By Jonathon Riley

A Matter of HonourDescription:

The monument to Isaac Brock (1769–1812) on Queenston Heights in Canada, as high as Nelson's column in London, pays tribute to the military commander of all troops opposing the American invasion of Canada during the War of 1812. 

Brock's service during the War of 1812 includes leading the capture of Detroit. He was killed on the morning of 13 October 1812, leading a company of the 49th Foot in a counter-attack on the American lodgement atop Queenston Heights. Although Brock died and his uphill charge against the American muskets failed, the invasion was repulsed soon afterwards.

A Matter of Honour focuses on Brock's career as a military commander and also as a civil administrator for the government of Upper Canada. Early chapters deal with his life and military service up to 1791. The book also records his command of the 49th Regiment in the Low Countries and at Copenhagen up to his arrival in Canada in 1802. 

Brock spent more time in Canada than any other British general who fought in the War of 1812. He faced a difficult situation in Canada, defending a long frontier with meagre resources. However, he was renowned for his resourcefulness, inspiring leadership and ability to keep opponents off-balance.

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A Peer Among Princes

By Philip Grant

A Peer Among PrincesDescription:

Sir Thomas Graham, Lord Lynedoch, is best known for his exceptional military career. He was one of the Duke of Wellington’s ablest lieutenants during the Peninsular War – he won a great victory against the French at the Battle of Barrosa, conducted the siege of San Sebastian and acted as the duke’s second in command. But he was much more than a soldier – he had broad interests as a wealthy and innovative Scottish landowner, politician, sportsman and traveller. He was a remarkable man of his age, and Philip Grant’s biography, the first to be published in recent times, does justice to his remarkable life and reputation.

Graham only took up his military career in 1792 when he was outraged by the violation of his wife’s coffin by French revolutionaries. He determined to fight them and he raised his own regiment to do so, soon establishing himself as an outstanding leader and field commander. He saw action at Toulon, made a daring escape from the siege of Mantua, served in Malta and Egypt and with Sir John Moore during the Corunna campaign. He eventually rose to the highest rank.

Philip Grant describes Graham’s long and varied life in absorbing detail, often quoting from his vivid letters and diaries.

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A Scots Grey at Waterloo

By Gareth Glover

A Scots Grey at WaterlooDescription:

William Clarke of Prestonpans, Scotland, joined the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons, the Scots Greys, in 1803. Clarke had risen to the rank of sergeant by the time the regiment was ordered to Belgium on the news that Napoleon had escaped from Elba. Forming part of what became known as the ‘Union’ Brigade, the Scots Greys played a key role in Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.

The John Rylands Library, Manchester, recently acquired William Clarke’s 600-page, hand-written memoir describing his enlistment and military career, the highlight of which was the Waterloo campaign, which he describes in unusual detail in the vernacular of the day, presented and annotated by the renowned historian Garth Glover.

Thanks to this rare discovery, the reader can follow the movements of the Scots Greys at every stage of the action throughout the three days from Quatre-Bras to that climatic encounter on the Mont St Jean. Clarke naturally portrays the charge of the Union Brigade in dramatic and heroic terms, but he claims that the man who led the charge, Major General William Ponsonby, was killed by a musket ball and not cut down by French cavalry, as is usually stated, for recklessly charging too far.

After the battle, Clarke was part of the Burial Party. He then graphically describes the sad scene as he does the trail of the defeated French army as the pursuing Prussians cut a merciless path on their way to Paris.

A Scots Grey at Waterloo provides the reader with an exceptionally in-depth account of the actions of the cavalry at Waterloo that will mark this memoir out as one of the most significant to have been published in the last 200 years.

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A Soldier for Napoleon

By John H Gill

A Soldier for NapoleonDescription:

‘Fills a very noticeable gap in the history of the Napoleonic Wars by providing a good description of what it was like to be a member of the Royal Bavarian Army.’
HistoryNet

The letters and diaries of Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann are here placed in the context of the military events of the period by renowned historian John Gill. They stem from Hausmann’s first campaign in 1805 in the war against Austria, followed by the 1806 and 1807 campaigns in Prussia and Poland. In 1809 he was in action against the Tyrolean insurrection and he also fought at Abensberg and Zniam. He was only twenty-three when he embarked on the ill-fated 1812 invasion of Russia and served as part of the Bavarian corps that was shattered in this cataclysmic campaign. He survived to describe the 1813 campaign and the 1814 campaign in France when the Bavarians switched sides and fought against Napoleon.

With additional commentary by John Gill on the Bavarian Army and its campaigns and battles, this book is an important, authoritative addition to the works on the Napoleonic Wars.

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A Soldier of the Seventy-First

By Joseph Sinclair

A Soldier of the Seventy-FirstDescription:

'The author's sharp eye for the illuminating detail and the oddities of human behaviour enabled him to present a picture of army life as graphic and revealing as any drawn by a private soldier during the Napoleonic Wars' - Christopher Hibbert

This remarkable memoir was first published in Edinburgh in 1819 and has withstood the test of time. One cannot improve on Sir Charles Oman's description of the book as: 'the work of a man of superior education, who had enlisted in a moment of pique and humiliation to avoid facing at home the consequences of his own conceit and folly. The author wrote from the ranks, yet was so different in education and mental equipment from his comrades that he does not take their vies and habits for granted'. 

The reader receives the narrative of an intelligent observer, describing the behaviour of his regiment as it travelled the globe. His account covers Whitelock's disastrous South American adventure in 1806, the Peninsular War, the Walcheren Expedition and the Battle of Waterloo. For the first time, Joseph Sinclair has been unmasked as the author of the memoir, thanks to new research work by Stuart Reid.

Stuart Reid was born in Aberdeen in 1954 and has served with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. His previous work includes Wellington's Highland Warriors (Frontline Books). He is currently working on a full-length military history of the last Anglo-Scots War 1639–1651.

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