Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The "beast" Napoleonic War Book: FINALLY Finished Reading it (started in 1999)

Confession: I picked up the Napoleonic "habit" (very) late in my wargaming life (in my 30's) and though I retain an interest in Napoleonic's, it is very much on the periphery of my wargaming interests. Having said that I always wanted a deeper look into the history and after reading a few of the more "generic" Napoleonic histories I still wanted to understand the theory and practice of the battlefield tactics. A (Grognard) friend recommended Brent Nosworthy's "Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies" a a detailed primer (see below):

A weighty tome in itself, some four hundred and sixty pages of detailed practice and theory. All good stuff. Alas, my reading of it however was hampered by moving cities, a pause in my wargaming hobbies and then other periods (such as ancient Greeks and WWI/WWII) took my attention. To my recollection I have started and aborted reading it at least three times, but eventually (approx) fourth time lucky and I have finally finished. Ahem, like I said it has only took me some twenty years.

One conclusion I came to is that given the complexity and breadth of the Napoleonic period, it's a bit like ancients IMHO, would any one set of rules really stand a chance to capture changing dynamics of the period. The Peninsular War being radically different to Central European campaigns, West v East European conflict  is different in themselves, pre (Reveolutionary) 1800, [early] up to 1806, [middle] 1807-1812, [late] Napoleanic (Russian Campaign) and post Russian Campaign to Waterloo. It also explained in a long-winded way, why the Napoleonic period is so, so problematic to play as a wargame. It also told a sanguine tale that much of what we call intrinsic to the "Napoleonic Period" was manifest in the earlier "Linear Period", and the transition to "Impulse Warfare" was not just about Napoleon. I feel inspired but at the same time daunted to take up the Grand Tactical mantel. Napoleonic's always seemed to generate fraught games, with the players seemingly thinking so much was  at stake. I may bounce into a spot of "light-hearted" Sharpe Practice 2 (aka I should paint up some of those 28mm plastics I have in teh loft), look mischievously at the few battalions of 15mm I possess and ponder curiously at a large mass of 2mm Napoleonic's I acquired (half painted/half virgin lead).

Meanwhile: I feel the strange need to read Nosworthy's book on the earlier Linear period, Marlbrough, Frederick the Great and the tales of the "War of the Spanish Succession." The only question being "Will it take me only another twenty years?"  But it is a considerable gap in my knowledge that needs filling.

No comments: