Monday, August 10, 2009

Osprey Publishing, Men at Arms Series #444
In an effort to show off more than items related to periods other than the 20th century, this book, one of the newest books published by Osprey, is presented here. It chronicles the war exploits of one of the most famous of Napoleon’s cavalry units. 28 black and white drawings/photos, 8 color plates, 48 pages with index.
The book appears to be a slight departure from Osprey books I have previously owned. The text, almost in its entirety, deals with the combat experiences of the Mounted Chasseurs of the Imperial Guard also known as Napoleon’s “Guides”. Until the description of the plates, the book essentially is devoted to a discussion of battles and campaigns in which the Guides participated from Italy in 1796 through the “Hundred Days” and the final battle of Waterloo. These horsemen appear to have fought everywhere on the continent – in Spain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and France – a very versatile and useful unit for wargamers who would like units that can be used in more countries or campaigns than one! The color plates show a progression of the uniforms from 1796 to 1815 with a single page devoted to musician’s uniforms.
I must admit that I know less than I should about this period, one of the most popular periods of wargaming. As such, the book left me often confused because I did not know the references to specific pieces of uniform or clothing – I would have benefited from a list describing this. With the text primarily devoted to a summary of fighting and campaigns (a single paragraph talks about uniforms), the final three pages that relate to the color plates do a good job of offering a detailed description of uniforms and colors, one of the main strengths of Osprey books and a primary reason why I use them.
I still do not think I am intelligent enough to paint Napoleonic figures but feel I could do a good job using this book as a reference. The history of the Chasseurs is interesting to read; the uniforms, like almost all of this era, are stunning in their presentation and color.
Price: $17.95


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