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"Dr Summerfield's Prussian musketeer book" Topic

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1,569 hits since 23 Dec 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP23 Dec 2012 2:15 p.m. PST


mine came yesterday.. Australia Post contractors delivering parcels on a Sunday????…things must be hectic in the parcel room.
Having been a student of Frederick's army since the heady summer of 11975/76 I must say it is wonderful and comes recommended highly by me..and I speak as person who only recently bought Dorn and Engleman.
One might be heard to tut tut, ,"Jumbo, do we need ANOTHER bloody book on Prussian infantry uniforms?"
Well,in the case of this book, the answer to that is and overwhelming YES. The good professor has excelled himself,amongst many things now all the flag staff and pike staff colours are listed in one place. I look forward to the next volume , which , no doubr will concern itseldf with Fusliers and specialists.
For the serious student of the SYW, and WAS ,Prussian military then this book is, in the low cant of the TV advertiser, a "must have".

Regards Inactive Member23 Dec 2012 3:10 p.m. PST

I too bought the book recently and find it outstanding (plus I really liked the arrangement of the regiments by region which seems to be the way Frederick viewed the units). Great for the painter and helps with a number of questions I could not get from other works.


Voltigeur 1960 Inactive Member24 Dec 2012 5:26 a.m. PST

Looking forward to getting my copy tomorrow and I'll be making sure that I get subsequent volumes too!

I'd strongly recommend his books on the Austrian Army too.

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2012 9:26 a.m. PST

Thanks for the reviews, I'll have to consider this one.

waaslandwarrior24 Dec 2012 10:09 a.m. PST

I recently bought his book on the Saxon army and was also impressed.
I already have several uniform books on Austrians and Prussians, but am considering buying them all now!

Personal logo Chris Rance Supporting Member of TMP24 Dec 2012 2:59 p.m. PST

Oooh – I've been waiting for this! First purchase of the New Year, I think!

summerfield26 Dec 2012 3:49 p.m. PST

Thank you for the kind words. It was the first book where I was awash with information and illustrations hence it is a quarter larger than any of my previous books. The choice of not using illustrations was very difficult.

A great deal of care was done to colour correct to how the original ilustrations were produced 250 years ago. It should be noted that there was especially in the pink, yellow and yellow pigments/dyes the greatest variation. This is how it was then when we are dealing with vegetable dyes.

For those who would look inside.

summerfield01 Jan 2013 4:38 a.m. PST

The second Volume will deal with the Fusilier, Garrison and Land Regiments. The Grenadier Battalions are dealt with separately as they fought separate from the Infantry Regiments. It is interesting that the Grenadier Battalions were mostly formed from companies from the same province.

As I am already at 190 pages as text without illustrations, I will probably deal with the Jager Bn in the volume dealing with the Freikorps.

summerfield20 May 2014 8:44 a.m. PST

The Second volume dealing with the Prussian Fusilier and Garrison Regiments is now being proof-read. This also deals with the Old Fusilier Regiments that were used during the WAS before they were converted to Musketeer Regiments.

A second edition of the First volume will printed at the same time. This has had minor corrections to a couple of flags. The first print run has been out of print for 6 months at least.


Siege Works Studios Inactive Member20 May 2014 12:38 p.m. PST

I look forward to the new book with as much anticipation as I did the first :)

thehawk20 May 2014 3:25 p.m. PST

Something I have always been curious about – to what extent can the art produced at the end of the the 19th century be relied on as reliable?
Are the uniform styles correct?
Can watercolor shades be correct due to the way watercolor painting works i.e. paint soaks into the paper?

It is interesting that the Grenadier Battalions were mostly formed from companies from the same province.

This deliberate practice carried through to WW2 and Van Creveld reckons it was a significant factor in the superior fighting performance of German troops in his book "Fighting Power: German and US Army performance, 1939-1945". But I wonder if there was any antagonism or rivalry between provinces (military districts) like that which exists between soccer supporter gangs.

DHautpol21 May 2014 5:46 a.m. PST

If it's as good as his books on the Austrian army then it will be a very nice addition to anyone's collection.

I won't be getting a copy too soon, but I will have my Bleckwenn set to carry me through; the joys of cross referencing between the two sets awaits.

summerfield24 May 2014 2:48 a.m. PST

Dear the Hawk
Watercolour shades can be misleading at the time of them produced. Facings being affected by the colour beneath. Sometimes it is difficult to determine the colour of the buttons. Often the brass button colour has gone black and the silver has disappeared.

The yellowing of the paper has a significant effect upon the blues and the greens of course.

You then have to consider that the dyes were natural dyes. Most of them are mordants. In that transition metals either naturally in the water or added would complex with the dye to make them an insoluble lake. This in effect transforms them to a pigment. There were no green dyes in the 18th used for cloth. Green was produced by dying with blue (mainly indigo) and yellow (mainly weld) dyes. The order of the dye, the time, the quality of the cloth, whether the cloth was previously bleached etc… would make considerable differences to the dye.

There was considerable batch to batch differences. This is the reason that every year, the Prussians would dye all their waistcoats, breeches etc… in an attempt to give a uniform appearance. This may have been moderately successful in peacetime but not in war. Clothes wore out at different rates and new recruits would have fresh uniforms.

Most natural dyes have a poor light fastness and fade. Natural dyes wash out of clothes. This and the shrinking of wool cloth is a reason why you avoid washing them. You brush them. So great caution is needed when looking at extent uniforms on display. The only way is to look at areas not exposed to light.

The best cloth had the highest dye content and the blues were almost black. White wool was often unbleached and referred to as Gris (grey) which is actually not grey but has a slight yellow tint.

My books are an attempt to give the wargamer an idea of the complexity in a rational manner. Most writers seem not to have considered any of the above let alone the date of the evidence.

Often we are talking over a 20-30 year period of time so we should not be surprised that things changed. When you start to put dates upon the evidence often you can see a trend. This is what I have done for the Austrian 7YW Infantry that I have completely re-illustrated. The uniforms are depicted in 1757, the transitional 1760 and 1762. In 1757, halt the Austrian Infantry had white metal buttons, colour waistcoats and turnbacks. In 1762, only 5 had white metal buttons and turnbacks. The colour waistcoat had disappeared.

If you have the fortune of having the first edition Bleckwenn, there are a number of colour reproduction errors in the small landscape 2nd edition produced a decade later. It is a wonderful and superb resource. Another book I would strongly recommend is Hohrath (2011) The Uniforms of the Prussian Army under Frederick the Great from 1740-1786, Verlag Militaria.


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