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Thursday, 30 June 2022

Shinyloo 4- Shinymanca !

Now ensconced in our new venue a band of 4 stout members convened for a game  this month.

 I was in the chair and decided to get the shinies out since it has been more than a few months indeed years since this collection of retro models has seen the light of day. Indeed I checked back and it has been  Three YEARS since thse fellas were last on the table. 

The scenario would be based very very loosely upon the battle of Salamanca - or so I thought when I laid out the terrain  but well - as you shall see it wasn't.

Part of the British force.

So the scene was set the beer was pulled - well lager actually but Moretti is very drinkable on a warm June day and Young and Lawford's Charge was to be used for the fighting - with no amendments simply because I wanted to re-familiarise myself with the rules as they were written before I started fiddling about. So very retro old chap. 

Some of the French.

 The forces were somewhat larger than earlier games because I had been adding to the collection over the last 3 years. The French especially were stronger in cavalry but this would in Napoleonic terms still be a small action rather than a battle. In round numbers the French had about 140 foot 40 cavalry and 3 guns. The British 150 foot 20 cavalry and 3 guns. All retro 30mm figures mostly Stadden but with a few Willies rather more Minot and a small number of Minifigs 30mm. There were a few Hinchliffe gunners too and a sprinkling of Connoisseur which while being a tad small fitted in in terms of style  and movement which is far more important than mere millimetres.

Andrew the Tekkie took the French and Theatrical Steve the British. Mechanical Shaun arrived late  having been unavoidably detained but would later join the French.

More of the French- from their rear. Note the very retro Merit trees from the 1960s

The fight opened with artillery fire which didn't actually do any damage at first but then first blood went to the British when they killed a couple of the newly painted Lancers . The Brits then advanced a rifles company on their left to counter a wood full of voltigeurs and a little popping fight began which again did little harm to either side.

British Artillery. A mix of Hincliffe and Stadden Horse artillery and Minifigs 30mm foot artillery.

 Now at last the French began to move. They massed their cavalry in an attempt to smash through the British centre. Very Marshall Ney- especially as they didn't see fit to support the attack with any of their infantry who simply stood about looking pretty.

Don't fire till you see the shine of their varnish !

 The resultant carnage was definitely a case of Magnificence  rather than war. Cuirassiers and Lancers fell to British artillery and musketry and although the Chasseurs of the Guard made contact and caused casualties amongst the 44th Foot they didn't do enough harm to cause the British more than a slight inconvenience.

 The rebuff of the cavalry charge seemed to unnerve the French who simply repaired to the bar after calling the game over, which whilst a bit premature perhaps was almost certainly the correct decision as will almost no cavalry left they would have been at the mercy of a British counter attack had Steve got around to it.

Other points. I should have used a bigger table but since we are still finding our feet at our new venue I underestimated the number we would need- more are available- and the next time this lot come out the table will be twice the size. Also although I like Charge  I may try other retro rules here such as Grant or maybe Featherstone . I even have a set of the very old London Wargames Section Napoleonic rules which are at least 50 years old. Of course I could also use In the Grnad Manner of General De Brigade if I so choose. That is the advantage of non  rules specific armies.

 Thanks must go to Andrew the Tekkie's Dad Norman for  allowing the use of the venue.

 We'll be back .

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Time was when .......

 Got a shipemt in from the USA  today - unpacking it so  now stopped for a breather.

 It occours to me that not too many years ago this would have only taken a long morning to unpack the 8 large boxes. Now it takes me most of a day.

 This is because.

 I need to answer emails .BU it mainly takes longer because it bloody well hurts more crawling about the floor  than it did 10 yer ago.

 Ah well if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined ! 

Friday, 27 May 2022

Wargaming De Boigne's Campaigns Part One.

While I was at Partizan it came up in  a conversation  about my book- 'Their Infantry and Guns Will Astonish You that there aren't any ranges  available to wargame the campaigns out lined in the book.  Well that is both true and false. 

True there aren't any dedicated  RANGES for these fascinating campaigns.

 FALSE because there are plenty of figures out there if you look about yourself and stop being a lazy chap expecting to be spoonfed. After all building such an unusual army is part of the fun of this hobby.

The first place to look of course is any 'Wellington in India ' range, which of course you will understand when you have read the book.

One of DeBoignes battalions with its 'gun company' .Figures are First Corps with Old Glory AWI  command figs which have been give Spare Redoubt sepoy heads. 

 Redoubt have a good range in 28mm as do AW Miniatures though personally I'm not keen on the AW cavalry. In terms of size the 2 ranges are  fairly compatible  unless you are one of those anal dudes with a case of '3mm angst'. These 2 ranges will take care of most of the regulars but I also use some of the First Corps SYW Indian troops too. They do a couple of nice sepoys  but you will have to source other command figs. These are smaller than Redoubt 

Assorted Irregular cavalry - all models are Old Glory either from the Sikh Wars range or the Renaissance Persians

Foundry and Empress also do plenty of useful models  for the Mughals and other more irregular troops. Empress also have some useful  carts waggons and baggage items geared to Indian armies. 

 Old Glory do plenty of the irregular types  hidden in the Sikh Wars and Indian mutiny ranges - some of their Pathans are doing duty as Rohillas in my slowly growing collection. .

 If you can source them Indus miniatures do some useful figures but beware some are, rather oddly, left handed.

Perry have a few Bombay sepoys hidden in their British Napoleonic and their plastic Afghans are a useful source of spares parts for conversions - as are the Wargames Atlantic plastics.

 Eureka in Australia have some very useful 28mm in their Golconda range  but they seem to be a little difficult to source.

A mob of Irregular Infantry again all Old Glory models  from the Indian Mutiny or NW Frontier ranges - with a couple of  Muslim Militia from the Crusades range for good measure. 

I have seen some rather tasty 20mm/1/72 scale models from Schilling Miniaturen - a German company  worth a look  certainly  as they are very sweet indeed. 

Elephant towed 24pdr gun  by AW miniatures.  Although from their Indian Mutiny range with earlier crew this piece will fit neatly into earlier campaigns .

Rohilla matchlockmen from Old Glory - actually out of the NW Frontier range. 

British gun and crew of the Bengal Artillery. Crew are AW gun is a Sash and Saber model

In 15mm Minifigs do a Wellington in India range - never seen them in the flesh but the pictures look OK. Freikorps 15 used to have a warfare in India range but no longer sure who owns these now.

 In the tiny sizes Irregular do some useful stuff in 6mm .

So building armies for these campaigns is very possible with just a modicum of effort.

Once you have the armies then you can think about rules.... More on this when I have had a little think .... 


Thursday, 19 May 2022

In the Shine again ....

 I've been up to my armpits in India recently - well as far as figure painting goes anyway  so I feel as if I have rather neglected 'shinyloo' and indeed other retro-wargaming projects.. I've done the odd figure or two but no new actual finished units. But I simply can't leave the shiny dudes alone ! 

When I look at my 'shiny' collection it covers three periods 

 ECW which is probably the largest of the three and  is still - very slowly- growing or at least is intended to grow as I have some Hinchliffe cavalry  to finish as well as about a regiments worth of foot- some to be added to units I received in the big bundle of shiny ECW my wife bought me for Crimbo some years ago and to which I have added quite a few bits to since, more cavalry for both sides mostly . Still some reconditioning to do  and 'painting in the style of'  to finish units. About 500 figures and far far too many guns.

A pair of very aged 30mm Minifigs after a bit of TLC. These are the only examples of these particular models that I have  but then I do rather like them. 

Napoleonic. Shinyloo' of course which is mostly a 30mm collection  and has posts of its own. Still being added to. At some point in the future I would love to do a 'shiny-demo' at a show . A pastiche of wargaming in the 1970s .... wonder if I still have a kipper tie ! This collection is now knocking on the door of about 350 finished figures and still growing Loads more to do at least 3 and a bit shoeboxes full oh and a veggie box full of limbers and guns and well ; stuff. ..

Two Stadden 30mm  Mamelukes. These will join the Chasseurs A al of the Guard. 

Old Glory Bavarians  for 'Shinynine' when it gets properly off the ground. 

I also have some more modern Napoleonics - Old Glory of course  for 'shinynine' an 1809 project in the same vein as 'shinyloo' , This hasn't really got off the ground yet as I have only done a few French and Bavarians and a single Austrian Uhlan unit.

Napoleon Shinyparte ! Boney is a Willie  but on a Stadden Horse

Finally 'shinyrev' The AWI in 30mm using mostly Stadden models with a few Willies. Still less than 100 models rebased and shined up  but more to do. including a good number that  are already painted, some by Dave Jarvis when he was much younger than he is now ! Most need a bit of TLC and rebasing as they fought through the 80s and 90s and even into this century and nice new shiny coats. These were the first 30mm I ever bought back in the 80s. I've added numbers since . I've 2 shoeboxes full of unpainted castings

An Finally a few Stadden  30mm AWI

Oh ... and just to be clear I have plenty of armies that are not shiny. Shiny does not suit everything. 

Monday, 16 May 2022

First De Boigne Battalion.

  So here is the first battalion of the First Brigade of the Army of Hindustan in about 1792 or thereabouts.

First Battalion First Brigade. Army of Hindustan .

 Models are First Corps with Old Glory AWI command  with some head swaps. The gun is an old Minifigs 30mm piece - which they probably won't keep.. Each battalion will have its own 'gun company' as in the original. So each model battalion of 24-30 figures will have in addition a gun and grew representing the 4 guns and a howitzer of the prototype. 

By 1803 there were 5 'brigades' in this army each of 10 battalions, more or less plus  cavalry  backed by hoards of not always useless irregulars horse and foot. In addition there were other 'trained brigades'  who would also fight the British and  give Wellington the fight of his life at Assaye..

Closer view - each battalion had its own integral artillery..

 The British- with more than a touch of paranoia often  called the recruiting grounds of this army in Northern India 'The French State' - which it wasn't but Boney did attempt contact with Pierre Cuiilir Perron the French Officer who succeeded De Boigne in command of the Army.

The period  fascinates and there are some decent books on the subject - by Helion naturally,

 Josh Provan's excellent 'Bullocks, Grain and Good Madeira' gives a fine account of the Second Maratha War from the British perspective with plenty of info on the battles and a lot of fine stuff on the difficulty of supply . I heartily recommend this book.

First of the British opposition. European artillery . AW miniatures figures with a Sash and Saber gun.

 As for the other side a little toot on my own trumpet here as my own study of the Maratha forces 'Their Infantry and Guns Will Astonish You' is also published by Helion. This covers in detail the formation of the Maratha regular forces which would oppose Wellesley at Assaye and give His Noseship  some tough memories of battle for the rest of his remarkable career. 

 Napoleonics in strange parts of the world ....

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Catching up on my Reading -12

 Wargames Soldiers and Strategy.

 I have not reviewed any magazines for a couple of years. That is mostly because I don't see that many these days but also because those I do see often have so little content once you get past the sometimes useful  product reviews.

 So it was with no little pleasure that I discovered WSS no 119 actually had something to read in it once I got past the useful product reviews.

The featured subject this issue is Napoleon's Imperial Guard and the mag has 6 articles which feature various aspects of the Guard . These 6 include 3 scenarios for Napoleonic games none of which patronise me or treat me as if I was 14, this in itself is a major plus point as frankly I get seriously tired of magazine articles that assume I need fingers for the long words. The article on the Battle of Hanau was particularly interesting - an excuse to use Bavarians in an historical context.

    Other articles include one on early Tudor armies US Paras in Normandy and a nice  one on the Welsh Marcher Lords - actually Normans of course with a scenario for fighting the Welsh..

 All of these articles had a little historical intro to set to scene and introduce a little context  before getting into the scenario - if one was included  which for the 'how to' on the Tudors it was not.

 As usual the mag is filled with eye candy - all in the 'received style' but mostly none the worse for that though perhaps  some different styles of modelling and painting could be included once in a while - mind you the tiny 2mm(?) Romans and Germans were certainly different. Still it would be nice to see some 15mm , other than tanks, once in a while.

 Rick Priestley's 'This Gaming life' column  definitely struck a chord - much of its purport was on the use of Umpires - which is something I have been in favour of  since at least the 1990s- all the games featured on this blog are Umpire controlled and I wrote and article on Umpiring for MW several years ago now. Nevertheless  it is nice to see someone else advocating a similar set of methods. 

If I had a complaint it would be that on the whole the articles were on the short side - but then that seems to be the prevailing fashion these days. Some seem to find more that a couple of thousand words too much for the brain.

Still a fine mag indeed. Best mag I have seen for some months. . Recommended 

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Old India Hands ....

 Regular readers will know I'm a fan of 30mm model soldiers- specifically those of Stadden and Suren - but other makes too such as Barry Minot.

 Now most of my 30mm collection is Napoleonic - see the numerous 'shinyloo' post on this blog- but I also have a number of colonials  from the same makers- Stadden and Suren that is, I don't have any of Minots 30mm Colonial output yet.

I've picked up various Stadden colonials over the last few years  to go with the small number of Suren models I already have(but that need rebasing and a bit of TLC to get them back on the table as they were painted about 30 years ago).. Definitely old India Hands . These old chaps have a movement and style that is  lacking in many modern over produced models, even if sometimes detail may be lacking- after all you can paint that, style is not. Also you can tell one make from another . These days that is often more difficult  with the upsurge in perryclones and 'received presentation'. Whatever happened to individuality?

 Stadden 30mm Sikh  troops  though the mounted officer is a Connoisseur figure on a Stadden horse. 

A single Stadden 30mm sepoy. These match with most'modern' 28mm.

Close up of the Officer,

 All of these were for the 1897 Pathan Revolt or indeed for other North West Frontier campaigns and over the years I've added units using Old Glory models as well almost all for the British- Indian army. All I need now is to paint a load more Pathans 

A pair of old Willies- yes I have used that line previously but they are.
 These were painted about 30 years ago and are now up for rebasing and refurbishing.

The last photo  on this post is a bit of an oddity.

 I only have 14 of these wonder what happened to the range?

 There are 25mm figures made in the late 80s /early 90s by an outfit called- I think Valiant Miniatures - but I may be misremembering. They were sculpted by a chap called Peter Rogerson  who I know is still working  as he has just made some 40mm for a client of mine. These 2 are 'French Sepoys'  and the range   as I recall had several Indian figures in it  for the  late 18th/ early 19th centuries- Wellington in India in wargamerspeak- Madras Sepoys and Bengal Native cavalry  as well as a few irregular types. They were British when I knew them but migrated to the USA - possibly under another name - anyone any ideas  if they still exist? 

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Catching Up on My Reading 11

 Magazines and Journals. 

Had a small crop of magazines and Journals recently  all of them interesting and informative in their  differing fields and  while all 3 had fine historical content, only 1 had anything directly to do with wargaming, which in the event was no bad thing. 

 Indeed these days I rarely see any of the 3 glossies- even when I advertise in Miniature Wargames the 'voucher copy' is  an e-copy via Pocketmags which isn't ideal, bearing in mind my eyesight problems. Even having said that, said glossies rarely have anything in them to engage my interest these days beyond the reviews. Many of the articles seem irredeemably lightweight or about  yet another 'game'  with 'innovative mechanisms'  and quite possibly more sodding Zombies (Gawd 'elp us) which I am never likely to be interested in  as it was some time since I was 12.

No longer my idea of 'fun' , if indeed it ever was. No I prefer- and mostly have preferred (barring some occasional light relief) something with a little more depth rather than more of the same old same old.

 So on to the three publications under my spotlight for this episode


 First BBC History magazine. This is a monthly that my wife bought me a subscription  for a couple of Crimbos ago  and yes I have kept on taking it because it ALWAYS has something of interest within its pages. This time the cover says it best but there is also a fascinating article on the  English Republic  as well as numerous reviews. Now I don't always agree with the sometimes desperately politically correct attitude of some of the writers BUT the articles make you think which is rather the point. Another plus point is simply that much - though as you can see not all- of the writing has no military content. This often  gives a little depth and context to what we do by showing that @there are more things in heaven and earth'  that there are on the wargames table. 

Now something which is very definitely military history  is issue 400 of the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. I have collected back issues of this journal for several years (it began in the 1920s) and joined the Society a few years ago for the Journal and the occasional special publications. Articles are always scholarly and frequently  fascinating  whatever period of the British army and its campaigns they cover. Samples from issue no 400 include the West African regiment 1898-1928- some interesting stuff for Colonial gamers here.  There are also transcripts of the Letters of Lt-Gen Sir Henry Pringle - during the Peninsular War. Pringle was not one of the best known of Wellington's generals so it is nice to see him featured here. Other articles in this issue include and examination of one of Lady Butler's lesser known works - together with a good quality colour reproduction- and and examination of the comparative treatment of Russian and British veterans in the 18th and 19th centuries  which while interesting of itself was a bit esoteric even for me.   The book reviews are also of use - indeed a review here has decided me against buying a book - on the 16th century English campaigns in Ireland  as the reviewer gave the book such a going over that I quite lost interest.

Finally Arquebusier - the Journal of the Pike and Shot society will be well known to more than a few of you. and is the only one of the 3 journals under consideration that has direct wargames content. this issue - volume 37 no 5  has plenty of interest - my particlar favourite being a list of the  English army in Ireland in 1629 but also and examination of the Duke of York and Albany's regiment of foot in Charles II's army. Direct wargame content in the form of a review of a set of rules called 'For King and Parliament which is a card driven system using a squared terrain  which the reviewer rather gushes over.- he is obviously a fan. Other gushing reviewsare present  but also anotherwhich put me off buyng a book I was interested in so it all works out in the end so to speak.

 I'd recommend all three of these magazines and journals for various content- depending upon your precise interests- thogh my personal favourite this time would be the Society for Army Historical research- though Arquebusier runs it a reasonable second. 


Saturday, 26 March 2022

When is a game Not a Game?

So there we were in a new venue for the first game this year. 3 of us managed to get past work and real life commitments to try to get a game in. I was in the chair so decided to give my small Sikh Wars forces their first outing together with some new jungly bits I had amassed during lockdown. I actually bought most of them in one lot off ebay but a few bits were made by my own fair hands as well. 

 Now being a new venue there was a bit of delay sorting ourselves out and of course none of us had seen each other face to face for some months so the craic was  perhaps a tad OTT nevertheless we got the game set up - the scenario being vaguely based upon the Battle of Mudki in 1845.. 

Rules were to be Black Powder - Second Edition-  which while an definite improvement on the first edition still has issues- most notably  the brown print on the off white paper which makes some bits a bugger to read in certain lights. There is also the serious faff involved in sorting out the units which I ran out of time to do - having a real life- though the idea here is fine as the units can be tailored to the scenario. For a large game with multiple brigades this could take a considerable amount of time but may appeal to the sort of chaps who regularly sort out their sock drawer in colour or alphabetical order. Most of course will take the Holy Writ of the 'game designer' for granted - even if he is talking twaddle- since that seems to be the 'received wisdom' there days 'finkin ain't Fun' for some at least. 

General view of the table.

So on second thoughts maybe I'll have to learn to organise my sock drawer, at least metaphorically speaking, rather than merely accept some of the historical howlers that appear in the sample armies for the scenarios in the book . There is still good stuff in the book even if much of it is hidden amongst a plethora of eye-candy and other associated fluff.

Sikh Irregular Cavalry 

Ghurkhas and 60th Rifles. 

The British Line 

Jungly Bits 

So to the game ... or rather not as with all the chat and ribaldry we only did three moves. Mind you - despite the seam in the playing cloth I did rather like the look of the thing and as I get more 'India' models painted - both for the Sikh wars and of course De Boigne's campaigns there will be more spiritual visits to the warfare of that intriguing subcontinent.

Models were mostly Old Glory 28mm - though one of the sepoy units is Foundry and the Bengal Horse Artillery are old Willie 30mm. All  blend in pretty well on the table so 3mm angst can go whistle. Check out the photos  you simply can't tell. 

 So to answer my title question .....  when its a good time with your mates .

 Our thanks to Norman Oyston| (that's Andrew the Tekkies Dad)   for allowing us the use of the  new venue- we will be back. 

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Catching Up on My Reading 10

 Another late17th century title came to my attention - from Helion naturally-  this one being Andrew Abrams latest . concerning the English occupation of Tangier during the reign of Charles II.

Now unlike the last book I reviewed concerning the Late 17th century this one is no lightweight gallop through the period, and of course is all the better for that. After all  not all of us HAVE to be assumed to have the intellectual capabilities of a backward haddock surely?

 No this one is for chaps who don't need to use their fingers for the long words. Mr Abram can read and write- no mean feat these days, and it shows in the 200 plus pages of. hard information within these covers .

 The English Garrison of Tangier - Charles II 's colonial venture in the Mediterranean 1661-1684, tells you exactly what it is about right from the first page.

The depth of research is excellent in 12 chapters plus 10 appendices Mr. Abram gives us a picture of Charles II's  small restoration army and it's first colonial adventure.  The 9 page bibliography gives us a hint of where all the information comes from.

 Tangier came to Charles 11 as part of his dowry  from his new Catherine of Braganza - his new Portuguese wife- Bombay came to be a colonial possession  by the same route  but that is another story. The plan for Tangier was to make it a trading hub  and entree into the hinterland ... but the local population were not that keen to say the least. 

So Charles II was saddled with an outpost which needed a small army to keep it safe or indeed  often not so safe.

The book give us some serious detail on the garrisonand a good amount on it's Moorish opponents.. There are, for example, 54  tables giving establishments , officers names , rates of pay and provisioning details type of guns in the various forts, all the information one might need to run a brigade sized 17th century army. should you wish to do so.

As you might expect there is a fair amount of info on 17th century logistics peculiar to the Tangier Garrison but there is also a  detailed narrative  of the various actions fought by the garrison against the  Moorish  forces and the reader quite quickly realises that Tangier was a dangerous place, if the Moors didn't get you then disease, bad food and too much alcohol might. 

 Abram makes it quite clear that Tangier was no easy posting and that conditions were often grim, the garrison was frequently ignored by the home government and often held on only by the skin of its teeth and because the Moors often had their own political turmoil.

 The book is profusely illustrated in black and white with copies of contemporary illustrations and pamphlets. there are also form very fine maps. One small niggle- although the Garrison's uniforms are described, as is the dress of their Moorish opponents  it would have been nice to have some modern artwork to put these descriptions into context. This being especially true of the Moors.   However that does not really detract from the overall worth of the meaty 380 pages in this excellent volume.

  There are sufficient battles, actions and skirmishes here  to fascinate and wargamer what wants something out of the usual rut but this book is much more than  that with its depth of detail and strong narrative . For those interested in the early history of the British army it is a mine of useful information.

 Highly recommended. 


Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Pathan Cavalry and more sabots

 These Pathan cavalry had been on my painting table for far too long but finally they are finished. These will join the slowly growing 'India' collection as they will suit a fairly large timespan.- especially those with the jezails rather than the 2 who have more modern rifles. . These all came straight out of the Old Glory pack CNP5 and are as they come, no fiddling about. Other from this pack will have minor conversions such as substituting a lance for the firearm and having shields added.

Pathan Cavalry - 5 variant models  from the same 10 figure pack. 

Much of my India stuff- especially that for the Mutiny- is singly based so using sabot movement bases seemed a good idea. Infantry are easy enough but cavalry can present a problem or two. This being especially true if you want something of an irregular look for Marathas or Pindaris for example. Pinched this idea from the Wargames in India FB group but decided to turn the large base into an 8 figure sabot. Bit of a faff or what ! Mind you I think it works so a few more will be made  but fiddling to get the base holes in the right place takes a bit of patience. 

The large base is an 8 figure sabot- the actual base being 170mm by 109mm  from Warbases. Getting 8 models on was a bit tricky but I do like the end result, even if the fit was not quite as good as I hoped. 

Friday, 28 January 2022


  Painting slow again but I did manage to finish a few of these Ghurkhas. These will be either the Nusseree or Sirmoor Battalion. Both fought in the Sikh War at the Battle of Aliwal - and again in the Mutiny .

 All the figures are from the Old Glory 25/8mm (depending upon if you have 3mmangst or not) Indian mutiny range. Pack CMB9

The pack includes command figures as in the close up . Next up are some Pathan cavalry but the York show Vapnartak will come first. 

Thursday, 27 January 2022


 Tonight at 7 pm I'm giving and online book chat - under Helion's auspices on my book.

 Their Infantry and Guns will astonish You.

 Josh Provan will also be talking about his book 'Bullocks Grain and Good Madeira.

 Each of us will give a short presentation then both will be taking questions. I'm told Helion will be giving the audiencea discount price on each of our books.

 Should be fun ....

Monday, 3 January 2022

Catching up on my Reading 9

 Brazen and to the Point. 

When I was at school a very long time ago they still had history lessons where they taught you stuff. Now WHAT they taught you was often later proved to be twaddle but that is beside the point. You were expected to regurgitate it-twaddle or not- so you could pass your exams.

 Some of this was actually Military History of a sort , including the Battle of Minden  during the Seven Years War where apparently 6 battalions of British infantry shot the whole French Army to bits in the supposedly usual manner and won yet another famous victory .. oh and there were some German chaps on our side who helped a bit.

Over the years of course you find out that it wasn't quite like that ......

Nevertheless I suspect it was partly the twaddle they taught you in 1972 that was the initial spark for my interest in the  British contribution to the Seven Years War which despite some periods on the back burner has never completely  left me .

So it was with considerable interest that-

Like a Brazen Wall- The Battle of Minden and its place in the Seven Years War

 by Ewen Carmichael came to my attention  

Published by  the ever busy, Helion this is a meaty tome of some 265 pages of which not one is wasted.

I do sometimes think that the campaigns against the French in Europe during the Seven years War often get a bit of a raw deal compared to the campaigns of Frederick the Great against the Austrians and Russians. This books goes a considerable way to redressing that imbalance.

 The author clearly knows what he is about. In 16 Chapters and 6 Appendices Mr Carmichael (actually a retired Major-General and currently Chair of the Society for Army Historical research) tells the story of the famous battle and puts it firmly into the context both of the campaigns against the French and indeed the overall context of the Seven Years War in Europe.

But this is not merely an overview, the detail is all there. Orders of Battle, Uniform details,(these encapsulated in a collection of tables) lots of contemporary quotes- often from European sources as well as British ones.. The depth of Mr. Carmichael's research is all there for the reader to see.. This is a formidable book telling a sometimes complex story. What becomes admirably clear is what a very mixed force the Allied commander, Ferdinand of Brunswick actually had to draw upon and how few of his troops were actually British. The vast bulk of Brunswick's army consisting of Hanoverians, Hessians, Brunswickers and even a few Prussians.

 It is this depth of research that I found most impressive but there is yet more. There is also a Guide to the Battlefield with some useful photographs and some delightful colour plates by Patrice Courcelle showing uniforms of some of the combatants. Add to this a decent crop of maps showing both theatre operations as well as battle details and we have a book that students will rerun to again and again.

 Niggles - well no not really , if I was picky I could have wished for a few more contemporary illustrations but that really is my only 'complaint'. I heartily reccommend this book to any interested in the Seven Years War.