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Thread: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

  1. #1

    Icon5 Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Hi,
    I would like to request your recommendations on books covering the napoleonic era equipment (focusing on land warfare). With equipment i mean mainly ranged weapons (from muskets, and rifles to artillery pieces etc.). I recently bought this book: https://www.amazon.com/Weapons-Equip.../dp/1854094955 and thoroughly enjoyed it (so something along those lines would be great)! I am particularly interested in performance analysis of the weapons [ranges, accuracy figures (in tests and battles), actual battle performance, staff like that]. I am also very interested in organisation of the european armies of 1805 particularly (type and strength of units, quality of men and equipment etc.). What i am saying is that i am really interested mainly in technical information not so much in uniforms, battles, tactics, commanders etc.
    Here are some books i found from my search and i would like the opinion of anyone having them. New recommendations are also more than welcome!

    https://www.amazon.com/Firepower-Wea.../dp/1885119399
    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleonic-In.../dp/0304355097
    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleonic-Ca.../dp/0304355089
    https://www.amazon.it/Artillery-Napo.../dp/1848328435
    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleonic-Ar.../dp/1861269234
    https://www.amazon.com/Flintlock-Mus.../dp/1472810953
    https://www.amazon.com/Armies-Napole.../dp/1849086486
    https://www.amazon.com/Artillery-Equ.../dp/0850453364
    https://www.amazon.com/Fighting-Tech.../dp/0312375875

    I am trying not to opt for nation specific books, but rather for universal ones, just to keep the number down. I am new to the era and all those books can be overwhelming!
    Thanks in advance,
    Hector
    " Άρχεσθαι μαθών άρχειν επιστήσει "
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    I'm a proud owner of Imperial Bayonets and Swords around a Throne and I have to say, you will hardly ever find another book more detailed and less biased towards one faction in particular as these.

    Additionally, I would suggest avoiding any book with only British troops on the cover as there is a high chance that its contents are ... geared towards a particular audience, shall we say.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirlion View Post
    I'm a proud owner of Imperial Bayonets and Swords around a Throne and I have to say, you will hardly ever find another book more detailed and less biased towards one faction in particular as these.

    Additionally, I would suggest avoiding any book with only British troops on the cover as there is a high chance that its contents are ... geared towards a particular audience, shall we say.
    Hi, thanks for the answer!
    I don't think its fair to judge a book by its cover only though... Of course as I said I am new to the era and you are propably more experienced than me but (even though I have not finished the book yet) I so far spotted only one exaggeration, and it was about Russian infantry equipment being particularly bad. It was so obvious though that you could easily tell that something was going wrong there
    Other than that it is nicely balanced in my opinion! With focus on the major nations and especially the French and British, I am perfectly fine with that, for its size its good enough.

    About the book you mentioned I have to say that I heard the best words! And I am really tempted to it. There is only one thing holding me back, I think it covers only the French and I can't afford having different books for every nation... I would like to have less books which cover many different nations. Other than that yes, from what I seen it is very detailed, and it is definetly on the watch list!
    Thanks!
    " Άρχεσθαι μαθών άρχειν επιστήσει "
    " When you learn to be commanded, you will learn to command "

    Σόλων 630-560 π.Χ.




  4. #4
    Prince of Essling's Avatar Napoleonic Enthusiast
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by general molotof View Post
    Hi, thanks for the answer!
    I don't think its fair to judge a book by its cover only though... Of course as I said I am new to the era and you are propably more experienced than me but (even though I have not finished the book yet) I so far spotted only one exaggeration, and it was about Russian infantry equipment being particularly bad. It was so obvious though that you could easily tell that something was going wrong there
    Other than that it is nicely balanced in my opinion! With focus on the major nations and especially the French and British, I am perfectly fine with that, for its size its good enough.

    About the book you mentioned I have to say that I heard the best words! And I am really tempted to it. There is only one thing holding me back, I think it covers only the French and I can't afford having different books for every nation... I would like to have less books which cover many different nations. Other than that yes, from what I seen it is very detailed, and it is definetly on the watch list!
    Thanks!
    Hi our PM exchange refers.

    Hughes Firepower is certainly worth a read and quite thought provoking as clearly average hit rates for small arms fire over the course of a long drawn out battle compared with ammo expenditure was quite small - about 3 per cent!

    Looking at artillery, I would go with either of the following as all are excellent, covering the main combatants (and some of the lesser powers):

    Napoleonic Artillery – May 2008 by Anthony L. Dawson, Paul L. Dawson, Stephen Summerfield
    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleonic-Ar.../dp/1861269234

    Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars: A Concise Dictionary, 1792-1815 – October 2017 by Kevin F Kiley
    https://www.amazon.com/Artillery-Nap.../dp/1848329539

    Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars – February 2006 by Kevin Kiley
    https://www.amazon.com/Artillery-Nap.../dp/1853675830

    In addition, a useful book is "The bombardier and pocket gunner" by Ralph Willett ADYE published 1802
    https://archive.org/details/bombardierpocket00adye

    Will post further thoughts as they pop up.
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    Prince of Essling's Avatar Napoleonic Enthusiast
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Thanks to Robert Woo at Napoleon Series Forum:

    the British Library has scanned the 1813 edition of Adye! The Bombardier and Pocket Gunner ... Seventh Edition, Revised and Corrected ...
    http://books.google.com/books?id=Q2CQbkca03EC
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirlion View Post
    I'm a proud owner of Imperial Bayonets and Swords around a Throne and I have to say, you will hardly ever find another book more detailed and less biased towards one faction in particular as these.

    Additionally, I would suggest avoiding any book with only British troops on the cover as there is a high chance that its contents are ... geared towards a particular audience, shall we say.
    With one exception, those about British troops. XD But in general avoid red-coated cover books, they tend to be.... written by historian who were educated that the Prussians were "late" to Waterloo for a start. :eyeroll:
    GIVE CREDIT TO YOUR ENEMY AND LITTLE TO YOURSELF, AS IT MAKES YOUR VICTORY ALL THE GREATER!
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirlion View Post
    I'm a proud owner of Imperial Bayonets and Swords around a Throne and I have to say, you will hardly ever find another book more detailed and less biased towards one faction in particular as these.

    Additionally, I would suggest avoiding any book with only British troops on the cover as there is a high chance that its contents are ... geared towards a particular audience, shall we say.
    While extremely useful, Imperial Bayonets and Swords around a Throne, do treat with a slight caution.

    For the British it does cover the theoretical, which I until recently thought was correct. However, have seen the light via a book on Wellington's Peninsula Army in which it quoted from General Orders issued by Wellington, which clearly indicated that 2 rank line was to be used (not 3 ranks as suggested), also Wellington directed that the light companies in each brigade were to be amalgamated with the company of rifles attached and were to act as a light "battalion".

    Still trying to find the links to the Scharnhost field trials.....
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Essling View Post
    While extremely useful, Imperial Bayonets and Swords around a Throne, do treat with a slight caution.

    For the British it does cover the theoretical, which I until recently thought was correct. However, have seen the light via a book on Wellington's Peninsula Army in which it quoted from General Orders issued by Wellington, which clearly indicated that 2 rank line was to be used (not 3 ranks as suggested), also Wellington directed that the light companies in each brigade were to be amalgamated with the company of rifles attached and were to act as a light "battalion".

    Still trying to find the links to the Scharnhost field trials.....
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Eureka - my thanks to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek for putting on line (and downloadable - though you do need to be able to read German once downloaded)
    Gerhard von Scharnhost "Uber die Wirkung des Feuergewehrs" published Berlin 1813 http://reader.digitale-sammlungen.de...228_00005.html

    However for non-German readers, Bill Leeson translated this as "Results of Artillery and Infantry Guns in Trials" Hemel Hempstead UK 1992.

    This does cover field trials of various nations weaponary in "ideal conditions". Scharnhost noted that the fastest musket shooters took never less than 7 minutes and the slowest up to 14 minutes to fire 20 rounds!
    Last edited by Prince of Essling; October 04, 2017 at 06:50 AM.
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    So a skilled trooper could not fire 3 shot a minute then, not on average at-least. By which I mean 3 in 60 seconds is poible, maybe even 6 in 120, but not 9 in 180 yes? As its an average of 21 seconds.
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire -WONDERBOLT! View Post
    So a skilled trooper could not fire 3 shot a minute then, not on average at-least. By which I mean 3 in 60 seconds is poible, maybe even 6 in 120, but not 9 in 180 yes? As its an average of 21 seconds.

    21 to 42 seconds per shot on average by trained soldiers in ideal conditions..... so with smoke, confusion, tiredness etc, probably more like once per minute?
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    I think you under-estimate the thrill of terror, other than the first shot even under ideal conditions, -because firing 20 shots is not small task, the first shot would have been much, much, faster than 21 seconds, I think they would have been even faster with the adrenaline of battle, of course that;s only an extremity, and poorer trained, or maybe even jsut less experienced troops, this could be a hindrance, but with better troops less likely to fumble, it could make them faster no?

    Btw, Battalions were lead by Lt. Cols in the British army, the the full colonel acting as a staff officer to brigade command, was this also true of other nations such as the Russians?
    GIVE CREDIT TO YOUR ENEMY AND LITTLE TO YOURSELF, AS IT MAKES YOUR VICTORY ALL THE GREATER!
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/Russian_infantry.htm

    Regiments.

    The infantry was divided into many regiments each under command of a chef and colonel. Each regiment was responsible for recruiting, training, and administration. Many regiments developed their unique esprit de corps because of their history, traditions, recruitment, and function.
    Regiment was an administrative and tactical unit totalling more than 1,500 men. It normally comprised staff, and two, three or four battalions. On campaign this number was soon reduced by casualties and detachments and it was sometimes necessary to amalgamate battalions or to withdraw them to a depot while recruits were obtained and trained.

    Staff of infantry regiment in 1811-15:
    1 Chef (Shef) - in the rank of general (he often served as commander of a brigade or division and was not present)
    1 Regimental Commander (Polkovyi Komandir) - in the rank of colonel
    1 Battalion Commander (Batalionnyi komandir) - in the rank of lieutenant-colonel
    4 Majors (Majory) - they were second in command in the battalions
    1 Kaznachei - clerk/cashier, in the rank of lieutenant
    1 Quartermaster (Kvartirmeister) - in the rank of lieutenant
    1 ADC to Chef (Adjutant Shefa) - in the rank of leutenant or ensign
    2 ADC to battalion commanders (Batalionnyi Adjutant)
    5 Captains (Kapitan)
    1 Regimental Drummer (Polkovoi Baranashchik)
    2 Battalion Drummer (Batalionnyi Barabanshchik) - they stood with the grenadier platoons
    Non-combatants: surgeons, crafstmen, 9 musicians (they stood with grenadier platoon) 8 fifers
    In 1812 Barclay de Tolly, then Minister of War, issued order that if company's strength fell below 44 men
    the regimental musical band would be disbanded and the musicians will serve as soldiers.

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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitfire -WONDERBOLT! View Post
    I think you under-estimate the thrill of terror, other than the first shot even under ideal conditions, -because firing 20 shots is not small task, the first shot would have been much, much, faster than 21 seconds, I think they would have been even faster with the adrenaline of battle, of course that;s only an extremity, and poorer trained, or maybe even jsut less experienced troops, this could be a hindrance, but with better troops less likely to fumble, it could make them faster no?

    Btw, Battalions were lead by Lt. Cols in the British army, the the full colonel acting as a staff officer to brigade command, was this also true of other nations such as the Russians?
    Steph has responded on the Russians.

    However the comment about British practice is not quite right. A General (Major or Lieutenant) was made Colonel of a regiment to help compensate them for the lack of a salary. They were only paid when actively employed - whether in the field or a staff posting. Therefore not all Colonels acted as a "Brigadier".
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    Default Re: Books on napoleonic warfare equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince of Essling View Post
    Steph has responded on the Russians.

    However the comment about British practice is not quite right. A General (Major or Lieutenant) was made Colonel of a regiment to help compensate them for the lack of a salary. They were only paid when actively employed - whether in the field or a staff posting. Therefore not all Colonels acted as a "Brigadier".
    Actually if I'm not mistaken, Colonel of the regiment, is an honary position quite different from Regimental colonel, for instance In the Coldstream Guards Today, Or rather, last year, the colonel of the regiment, was Brigadier Sir Grenville Bibby, while the Regimental Colonel, Lt. General Sir Jame Bucknall, and was atually in command, (Sir Bibby, has Since Retired from the army)

    Was this not the case in the napoleonic wars? I was assuming there was two colonel, one real one honourary, with the honouray one buying the uniforms, which could if the fellow was shrewd in taking the allowance given, could be quite a lucrative position, while other lavished their fellows with real silver buttons, lave facing, and ordered new jackets and trousers every year to stop the dye fading.

    My humble library, confirms you are correct. You;re not Doctor Who are you? or Blackadder?

    Quetion is, what did colonels atually do then? When not at home?

    Thank you steph!
    Last edited by Spitfire -WONDERBOLT!; October 06, 2017 at 07:19 PM.
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