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British Napoleonic Infantry Tactics 1792-1815
Osprey's study of Britain's infantry tactics used during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). The British Army's major campaigns against Napoleon were fought between 1808 and 1813 in the Peninsula (Portugal, Spain, and finally southern France), followed in 1815 by the brief but climactic Waterloo campaign. The British Army was small by continental standards, but it consistently out-fought larger French armies, never losing a major open-field action. Its cavalry and artillery were standard; but its infantry which unlike foreign armies, was entirely made up of volunteers, achieved unique results. Their tactics were brought to a peak of professional perfection by Wellington, but commentators still consistently over-simplify the explanation for his unmatched series of victories. This book will examine the contemporary instruction manuals, and compare them with what actually happened in specific battles, drawing upon a mass of quotations from eyewitnesses. Under other generals who failed to grasp the essentials, the British infantry could be beaten (occasionally) by both the French, and by the Americans; but it was Wellington's perfect employment of their tactical strengths that made them unstoppable.
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May 21, 2012
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