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 Post subject: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:39 am 
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Gentlemen
I'm just reading "Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon" by Rory Muir, very interesting as it tries to just as the title say, analyse what actually happened on the battlefield.
That gives some interesting view of the battlefield and how it is depicted in the HPS/JTS games.
The preface suggest that it may be the only book completely dedicated to this as even leading historians like Sir Charles Oman and David Chandler only dedicated a chapter or two to this.
So is there really nothing comparable?

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:59 am 
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I remember John Keegan writing a book about 3 different battles The Face of Battle (Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme) and giving an analyze of the battlefield...

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:00 pm 
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I read the Muir book years ago and I found it to be good. But Christian, I think I am misunderstanding your question--are you talking about the physical battlefield or the experience of the soldier in battle?

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:49 pm 
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The battlefield itself is not the focus but of course the terrain plays a role.
I'm more interested in how the battle played out on the battlefield, how was a brigade/division attack conducted, how was this attack handled by the battalions, what were the possible outcome of such an attack and what did the defender do in such a case, etc..
Of course in this the experience of soldiers & officers is useful but so are the regulations that were usually the guideline for these peoples actions.
But often enough the regulations are just theory and "out in the green" things look different and were differently handled.

An example would be that the French regulation had the theory that the first rank should kneel to allow all three ranks to fire but in practice this was found that once they knelt it was hard to get them back standing and so this part of the regulations was was dropped.

By this I hope to gain more knowledge of how combat was conducted and compare this with how it is simulated in our games to see what would be the most appropriate optional rules & houserules to get as close as possible to the real combat.


In conjunction with Muir's book I also read George Nafziger's "Imperial Bayonets - Tactics of the Napoleonic Battery, Battalion and Brigade as Found in Contemporary Regulations" what gives a lot detail on the theoretical part, you can find some basic things like the space that each soldier was given, in case of the French the width per men was 26 inches and between the ranks 13 inches, that already gives some understanding of how much space a battalion took up when in line formation.

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:58 am 
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I see-those two books you mentioned seem to be the best in English (I have not read the Nafziger one). I recently read a book on Talavera that included some nice, battalion and formation level discussion, both in the beginning in a general discussion of line vs column and in the battle description: By Andrew Field: TALAVERA: Wellington's First Victory in Spain.

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:05 pm 
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I have been reading Jomini lately... very interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:50 pm 
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Is that Antoine-Henri Jomini?
Which work of him?

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 8:05 am 
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Many years ago I read one of the series about his account of the Revolutionary Wars "Histoire critique et militaire des campagnes de la Revolution: Campagnes de 1797 et de 1798". At the time I couldn't find the rest of the series.

And now I am reading "Precis de l'art de la Guerre" The Art of War in English that you can find for free here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13549

But you can find a lot of his work for free on google books https://play.google.com/store/search?c= ... ri++Jomini

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:05 am 
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There is a novel Seven Men of Gascony by R.F. Delderfield which has follows seven friends on campaign through the Napoleonic Wars, Aspern-Essling through Waterloo. He also wrote at least one historical work on Napoleon.

Also With Musket, Cannon, and Sword by Brent Nosworthy, and The Military Experience in the Age of Reason by Christopher Duffy (although that is about the 18th century 1715-1789). I have not read either of these (yet).

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 10:30 am 
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Zaraath wrote:
There is a novel Seven Men of Gascony by R.F. Delderfield which has follows seven friends on campaign through the Napoleonic Wars, Aspern-Essling through Waterloo. He also wrote at least one historical work on Napoleon.

Also With Musket, Cannon, and Sword by Brent Nosworthy, and The Military Experience in the Age of Reason by Christopher Duffy (although that is about the 18th century 1715-1789). I have not read either of these (yet).


Have read all of those and Nosworthy's work is by far one of the best of its kind. His description of the melee process is how I am modelling my melee resolution for my future series design.

On a broader note for this thread - I found that in playing wargames that your plan lasts about 4 turns and then goes out the window ... a good commander had to improvise on the field of battle ... and often just leave the resolution of the attack to the NCOs and junior officers due to the smoke and confusion of battle.

Unknown changes in terrain, the timing of unit movement, unexpected events (house suddenly catching on fire to obscure the movements of enemy troops) all combined to make a battlefield much more than the micro-managed community we see in our games.

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Bill Peters wrote:
His description of the melee process is how I am modelling my melee resolution for my future series design.


And how will that differ from the current modeling?

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 Post subject: Re: Analysis of what actually happened on the battlefield
PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:45 am 
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I have one Nosworthy book, and am not all that impressed with it, 'The Anatomy of Victory: 1689-1763'.

I had heard some good things about it so I made an effort to get hold of it, and I guess in and of itself it sort of disappointed me in that there was a lot of material out there for this, and some comparable periods - and all things being equal I think I got more out of reading about the debates about the military revolution from like 1500 - 1700 (it might have been 1800) - than I did out of anything in this book (granted I only flipped to the sections that I had done some prior reading on). Frankly there was nothing new in there, and what was there was incredibly general and pretty much anecdotal.

I read an article he did maybe for S&T, although it might have been another one -it was on the Thirty Years War ... and granted I only came across it after reading some other material on the subject (actually quite a bit I guess) - and it was pretty bad... I will have to dig it out and re-read it so I can get a little more specific. IIRC it was not only vague, filled with generalities, but I think a fair bit of it was flat out wrong.

That being said, I am very interested in the evolutionary aspect of the grand tactical scale used in some series, and am sort of in the midst of reading some Geoffrey Parker. Granted if one is going to really get into things from say, 1400 through 1815 at a similar type of scale and a potential variety of formats, then one sorta has to piece together the information.

I want to get hold of Delbrueck's volumes -and get more of a synthesis of sources and look at consistencies and study some specific cases studies from a few authors (and bonus points would be given for sources and end notes), not to mention corroborating personal narratives (which can sometimes be a bit tough to get hold of -not impossible though.).

Edit: ( Duh me...) Ok the article I was referring to was by Dennis Showalter so I totally screwed that one up. I think I have access to Nosworthy's book, although considering the amount of info already out there I think it would be difficult to add too much new information to it. I haven't really worked on the research end of compiling this sorta info while I have been doing the graphics coordination on a different project.

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