|Books - Napoleonic Wars
- Peninsular War
The Light Division in the Peninsular war 1808-1811, Tim Saunders and Rob Yuill. Looks at the history of the units that would become the Light Division, and the early activities of the division itself, from Wellington’s first campaign in 1808, through Sir John Moore’s time in charge and on to Bucaco Ridge the Lines of Torres Vedra and the French retreat back into Spain. Uses a wider range of sources than most (although does include the famous Rifleman Harris), so we get a better picture of the overall activities of the division(Read Full Review)
Wellington's Brigade Commanders - Peninsula and Waterloo, Ron McGuigan and Robert Burnham. A very useful reference work giving four or five page biographies of the surprisingly large group of men who commanded brigades in Wellington’s armies in the Peninsula or during the Waterloo campaign, covering just over sixty men. Covers a wide range of careers, from men who commanded a brigade for less than a month to those who served under Wellington for most of the Peninsula Campaign and at Waterloo, such as Denis Pack.(Read Full Review)
Voices from the Peninsula - Eyewitness Accounts by Soldiers of Wellington's Army, 1808-1814, ed. Ian Fletcher. Covers the long series of campaigns fought by Wellington’s army, from the initial victories at Rolica and Vimeiro to the eventually invasion of France, when his troops became the first Allied troops to cross onto French soil as the net closed in on Napoleon. Uses a wide range of authors to bring us into the heart of the action, and to give us accounts of many of the key moments of Wellington’s many victories as well as his rare setbacks(Read Full Review)
In the Legions of Napoleon - the Memoirs of a Polish Officer in Spain and Russia 1808-1813, Henrich von Brandt. The memoirs of a Polish officer from a German background who served with the French from 1808-1813, covering the four years he spent in Spain and the disastrous invasion of Russia of 1812. Provides a rather different viewpoint on these famous campaigns, especially in Spain, where Brandt fought in a part of the war rarely covered by British memoirs. Also includes some more lighthearted moments from Spain, as well as a vivid account of the disastrous retreat from Spain (Read Full Review)
Wellington’s Headquarters – The Command & Administration of the British Army during the Peninsular War, S.G.P. Ward. A classic history of the administrative side of Wellington’s army in the Peninsular War, looking at the systems involved, the people who made them work and their relationship with the duke of Wellington. Demonstrates that Wellington largely worked within the existing system (even to the extent of not having much control of the staff officers under his command), while moulding it to suit his individual method of command [read full review]
Sir John Moore - The Making of a Controversial Hero, Janet MacDonald. A full length biography of Sir John Moore, best known for the battle of Corunna and for training the rifle corps at Shorncliffe. As this book proves, he had an active and varied career, serving on Corsica, in the West Indies, Ireland, Holland, Egypt, Sicily and Sweden as well as in Spain and Portugal, so as well as providing a biography of Moore, this book also gives us a cross-section of the British army's activities during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. [read full review]
Wellington against Soult - The Second Invasion of Portugal, 1809, David Buttery. Looks at the second French invasion of Portugal, which saw Marshal Soult occupy parts of northern Portugal, invading from the north and capturing Oporto, before being expelled from the country by Wellesley, at the start of his second spell of command in Iberia. This is a readable account of one of Wellesley's most aggressive campaigns, including a surprisingly risky river crossing that helped force Soult to begin his retreat. [read full review]
The Peninsular War Atlas, Colonel Nick Lipscombe. A very impressive achievement, covering the entire Peninsula War from the first French invasion of Portugal to the final campaigns in France, and looking at just about every aspect of the war, not just the familiar campaigns of Wellington. Excellent maps, marred only by the lack of contrast between the colours chosen for Spanish and French units. [read full review]
The Battle of Barrosa 1811, John Grehan & Martin Mace. Looks at the 1811 battle of Barrosa along with the entire siege of Cadiz and the British contribution to the war in southern Spain, an important campaign that kept Soult and a large army away from Wellington and preserved the independent Spanish government at Cadiz, a key element in keeping Spanish resistance going. [read full review]
The Peninsular War: Wellington's Battlefields Revisited, Ian Fletcher. A collection of beautifully taken colour photographs showing key elements of the British battlegrounds of the Peninsular War, from the early battles in Portugal, through Spain to the invasion of France. Gives a clear idea of the sort of landscapes faced by Wellington and his opponents and acts as useful supplement to any general history of the war. [read full review]
Wellington in the Peninsula, Jac Weller. A single volume history of the British involvement in the Peninsula War, focusing on Wellington's campaigns in Spain, but also including Sir John Moore at Corunna, the costly battle of Albuera and Wellington's campaign in France in 1814. Despite being fifty years old the book has aged well and is still a useful overview of the topic. [read full review]
Charging against Wellington: The French Cavalry in the Peninsular War 1807-1814, Robert Burnham. A valuable reference book that covers the organisation of the French cavalry, looking at changes in structure and command, biographies of eighty French cavalry generals and brief histories of each cavalry regiment to serve with the French in Spain and Portugal. [read full review]
Wellington's Peninsular War Generals & Their Battles, A Biographical and Historical Dictionary, T. A. Heathcote. A useful reference work with biographies of forty one of Wellington's subordinates, mostly his divisional commanders, but also including staff officers and men from the support services. The biographies are supported by thirty-five articles looking at every campaign or battle that involved at least five of the men covered in the biographies. [read full review]
Guthrie's War: A surgeon of the Peninsula and Waterloo, Michael Crumplin. A biography of George Guthrie, one of the most distinguished British military surgeons of the Napoleonic Wars, looking at both the outline of his career and the details of many of his surgical cases during the Peninsular War, complete with extracts from his own post-war publications. [read full review]
A Soldier of the Seventy-first, From De la Plata to Waterloo 1806-1815, Joseph Sinclair. The memoir of an educated private soldier who enlisted in the British after a family argument, and who went on to serve in South American, Walcheren and the Peninsular War, producing a thoughtful and literate account of the life of a private soldier in a period when very few of his fellow private soldiers left any record of their experiences [read full review]
Napoleon's Cursed War, Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War. Ronald Fraser. A fascinating look at the Peninsular War from the Spanish point of view, tracing the development of the war from the early provincial revolts, through the years of military defeat and the succesful guerilla campaigns. Frasers's work brings to life the people who were willing to risk everything to free their country from Napoleon. [see more]
The Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War, David Gates. An excellent single volume history of the Peninsular War, which when it was published was the first really good English language history of the entire war since Oman. This is a well balanced work with detailed coverage of those campaigns conducted entirely by Spanish armies, as well as the better known British intervention in Portugal and Spain.
A Commanding Presence: Wellington in the Peninsula 1808-1814. Ian Robertson. A well written account of the British involvement in the Peninsular War that focuses on the day-to-day experiences of the British soldier, and in particular the struggle against the Spanish and Portuguese climate and landscape. As a result the book should be of interest to both new and more knowledgeable readers. [see more]
The Peninsular War: A Battlefield Guide, Andrew Rawson. A very useful guide book for anyone wanting to visit the British battlefields of the Peninsular War, from Portugal to the French border, with accounts of each major battle followed by a tour of the modern battlefield, each supported by photographs of key features and sketch maps to illustrate the battles. [read full review]
History of the Peninsular War vol.1: 1807-1809 - From the Treaty of Fontainebleau to the Battle of Corunna, Sir Charles Oman. The first volume of Oman's classic seven volume history of the Peninsular War, this is one of the classic works of military history and provides an invaluable detailed narrative of the fighting in Spain and Portugal. This first volume covers the initial French intervention, the start of the Spanish uprising, the early British involvement in Spain and Portugal and Napoleon's own brief visit to Spain.
A History of the Peninsular War vol.2: Jan.-Sept. 1809 - From the Battle of Corunna to the end of the Talavera Campaign, Sir Charles Oman. Part two of Oman's classic history falls into two broad sections. The first half of the book looks at the period between the British evacuation from Corunna and the arrival of Wellesley in Portugal for the second time, five months when the Spanish fought alone, while the second half looks at Wellesley's campaign in the north of Portugal and his first campaign in Spain. One of the classic works of military history.
A History of the Peninsular War vol.3: September 1809-December 1810 - Ocana, Cadiz, Bussaco, Torres Vedras, Sir Charles Oman. Part three of Oman's classic history begins with the series of disasters that befell the Spanish in the autumn of 1809 and spring of 1810, starting with the crushing defeat at Ocana and ending with the French conquest of Andalusia and capture of Seville, then moves on to look at the third French invasion of Portugal, most famous for Wellington's defence of the Lines of Torres Vedras.
A History of the Peninsular War vol.4: December 1810-December 1811 - Massena's Retreat, Fuentos de Onoro, Albuera, Tarragona, Sir Charles Oman. The main focus of this fourth volume in Oman's history of the Peninsular War is the year long duel between Wellington and the French on the borders of Portugal, which saw the British make a series of attacks across the border, most of which were repulsed by strong concentrations of French troops. Despite the apparent lack of progress, this was the period that saw the French lose the initiative to Wellington.
A History of the Peninsular War vol.5: October 1811-August 31, 1812 - Valencia, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Madrid, Sir Charles Oman Part Five of Oman's classic history of the Peninsular War starting with a look at the French invasion of Valencia in the winter of 1811-12, before concentrating on Wellington's victorious summer campaign of 1812, culminating with the battle of Salamanca and Wellington's first liberation of Madrid.
Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars: 1808-12 v. 2, Rene Chartrand. The second of three volumes dealing with the often overlooked Spanish forces during the Napoleonic wars. This is the period of Guerrilla warfare vs the French invaders and the sieges of Zaragoza and Gerona. As well as detailing Regular Spanish forces and illustrating their uniforms it also looks briefly at the Guerrillas and resistance forces but as always with Osprey books it short length means it serves as an introductionary text. Contains various maps and 8 colour plates
Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars: 1812-15 v. 3. Rene Chartrand. The final volume in the Osprey 3 part series dealing with the Spanish Army in the Napoleonic wars, this one deals with the final years where aided by the British the Spanish finally won their freedom from French rule and drove Napoleon's armies back over the Pyrenees. It is a brief but well researched volume which used both British and Spanish archives to give a more balanced view. Its main focus as with many osprey books is that of uniform and organisation and it is well illustrated with 8 full colour plates but all that said it covers the history of this period very briefly and if you are looking for more information on the final battles and campaign then look elsewhere