Authors often pose the rhetorical question “why another book about Napoleon?” Now, with a plethora of guides and sets of rules, it is pertinent to ask “why another introduction to Napoleonic wargaming and set of rules for the period?” After reading this book and play-testing the rules, the question remains largely unanswered. Alas, it could have been so much better...”
Two examples of the excellent photos that adorn this book. The top one of Prussians running up against French cavalry and guns, reminiscent of a similar photo in Quarrie's Napoleonic Wargaming and the bottom one of British infantry in line, skirmish and column formation. Sadly, no such captions are provided in the book.
- Page 29 says that “The Peninsular War battles detailed as distinct wargame scenarios in both Chapter 8 of this book (where three have been selected)...”, but there is no Chapter 8. This refers to Chapter 4.
- On page 33, the description of the Battle of Arcola ends “in the New Year another attempt would be made”, but the result of that attempt, the Battle of Rivoli is not included in this period history.
- Several incidences of mis-spellings are present with most referring to well-known places or people. We have “the Danbube” on page 52, “Bessiere’s cavalry” on page 54, “Thomiere” on page 63 (several occasions), Latour Manbourg and Nansonty on page 67 and Davout spelt as Davoüt throughout.
- On page 65 outlining the Battle of Borodino, the forces involved include Britain, 120,000 commanded by Kutuzov.
- On page 70 the description of the Battle of Vittoria ends with “the French army disintegrated and the losses totalled, with 151 or 153 guns captured”.
- In chapter 2 figures from Waterloo are often quoted, but this was not a typical battle so it is not indicative of the general situation that prevailed for much of the period.
- Page 93, erroneously states that “the new war with Austria broke out in 1808”.
- On page 107 it is stated that “target practice was very important...” but then on page 108 “infantry were not trained to necessarily aim at their targets...” Such inconsistencies are a source of confusion to the novice and annoyance to experienced or knowledgeable reader.
- Page 152 of the rules refers the reader to “see section XX XX Objectives and Winning”
Thus, while the numerous errors and misconceptions are disappointing and frustrating and the rules do not offer much, Grand Battery is still a useful book. Yet it could have been so much better.