After the dramas of the Bellona Bridge battle, I am encouraged to continue progress with the Seven Years War collection. I really don't know an awful lot about the period, so some background reading is certainly in order. Thanks to David Crook, I was alerted to the Naval and Military Press summer sale, and especially 'The Wild Goose and the Eagle', a new edition of Christopher Duffy's 1964 biography of Marshal von Browne - a bargain at about £7 !
I am admittedly going slowly, but there's plenty of interest. Browne represents a phenomenon of the time, the exiled 'Wild Geese' Irish Catholics making careers in the various armies of Europe, after their fathers left Ireland following the overthrow and defeat of James II, and with 'no other patrimony than his sword'. Britain's loss was perhaps Europe's gain, especially for the Catholic powers such as Austria, France and Spain. Interestingly though, even while the Jacobites under The Young Pretender threatened the Hanoverian regime in Britain fifty years after James, English commanders and even King George would welcome a man such as von Browne into their camp and councils, when sent as an envoy of their Austrian ally, and were happy to deal with him. As an officer in the Austrian army of the time, he was bound to see varied campaigning - not just in Silesia and Bohemia but on the Rhine, in Italy, the Alps and Provence, and against not just Prussians but French, Bavarians, Spanish and Turks. Every chapter opens a new campaign, and there is masses of interest and inspiration here. I also really like Duffy's style - how about this, on the encounter at Mollwitz :
'Frederick had attained his surprise by crossing the Neisse at Michelau and Lowen, but the victory would probably lie with the army that first accomplished the mechanics of processional deployment from column of march into line of battle : a process which, before the innovations of the last years of the Ancien Regime in France, may be compared with the ordered complexities of music before its liberation in the integrated harmony of Haydn and Mozart. At least we should not deny a very considerable technical competence to the minor 18th century masters, whether of music or war'.
You really don't get that sort of thing in your average Osprey.
I also very much like the maps, which are Duffy's own drawings ( see below ) , and for once a book which gives accounts of military campaigns has maps and diagrams which adequately illustrate the theatres of war and fields of battle. My favourite so far, I think is von Browne's daring, if unsuccessful, attack on Velletri, near Rome in 1744, attempting to surprise and capture King Charles of Naples.
|I do like these hand-drawn maps|
Finally a chance find in the bibliography : 'DE LACY-BELLINGARRI, The Roll of the House of Lacy, Baltimore,1925. A Most misleading and unreliable work, which should not be read on this or any other connected subject. Mentioned here only as a warning' .
In the same sale were a couple of the recent Helion books on the same period - 'Between Scylla and Charybdis' on the Saxon Army , and 'For Orange and the States' on the Dutch Army. I have an idea that these might inspire me to recruit some mercenary units to join in my campaigns, in addition to the Austrians and Prussians. I especially like the idea of fielding some regiments from Saxony. Total cost for the three books in the 'summer sale' was about £20 - not bad!
The auld enemy 'time and space, time and space' has got in the way a little recently, but I have had a few opportunites on sunny September afternoons for painting. I have accordingly got started on the second half of the Austrian Botta infantry regiment. Also, in what feels like another big step forward, I have half a dozen cuirassiers of the Austrian regiment Erzherhog Ferdinand primed and ready. They will have nice cheerful red facings to their white uniforms, and should look splendid. Painting horses may be an interesting challenge - but hey, they are mostly brown, aren't they? Same colour as muskets...
|Primed and ready..Cuirassiers |
That's enough for the moment, I hope all are keeping well despite the looming 'second wave' of you-know-what. If we are all to spend the winter indoors, I suppose we will just have to get on with our hobbies.
Keep well, everyone.