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Monday, 2 July 2012
Easily the best single-volume treatment of the subject in print
Book Review: Napoleonic Artillery by Anthony L. Dawson, Paul L. Dawson and Stephen Summerfield
This book is like an encyclopaedia of artillery in the Napoleonic wars. It is all there. The book begins with an introduction to Napoleonic ordnance, and follows with chapters on Austrian, Prussian and Russian ordnance, French and French-allied ordnance, British and Hanoverian ordnance, foreign and captured ordnance, light and mountain ordnance, siege, coastal and garrison ordnance, moving the guns, colours of artillery pieces, effectiveness, characteristics and supply of ammunition, artillery tactics and artillery organisation.
It is not a book that one is likely to read from cover to cover, rather "dipping" into it to check a particular aspect, to read a section or chapter of interest, or to answer a question. (I'll confess here that I have not yet read all of the book). That said the text is eminently readable.
Do you have a question regarding the colours of the artillery guns and limbers of various nations, the range of cannon of different calibre, or regarding artillery tactics? The answer is here. Perhaps you want to know when the British adopted the block-trail carriage? You guessed it. Better still, the information does not consist merely of a statement, but with dates, references and supporting evidence.
The text is accompanied by clear and detailed diagrams of artillery carriages, barrels, limbers and equipment, photos from museums and re-enactors, paintings and line drawings, plus numerous tables.
This is a feast of wonderful information for the wargamer or general enthusiast. Turn to any page and you’ll find interesting information, well presented and clearly written. Highly recommended.
(There are known errors in the text which are chiefly typos and errors in the headings of plates. Some of these are fairly significant, but have been published by the authors on the Napoleon Series website: http://www.napoleon-series.org/reviews/military/c_NapArtyCorrections.html).