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945 hits since 21 Feb 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

…1751 – 1783.

"Based on contemporary records and paintings, this book identifies each cavalry and infantry regiment and illustrates changes in uniforms, their facing colors and the nature and shape of lace worn by officers, NCOs and private soldiers from 1751 to 1783. Regiments that served in the American War of Independence are noted and the book includes more than 200 full-color plates of uniforms and distinctions. Divided into four sections, it not only details the cavalry and infantry uniforms of the period but also the tartans of the Highland regiments, some of which were short-lived, and the distinction of the Guards' regiments."


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42flanker21 Feb 2017 4:39 p.m. PST

Seriously flawed. Poorly researched and badly edited. Nonsensical material on AWI Highlanders, Grenadiers & Light infantry.

45thdiv21 Feb 2017 5:05 p.m. PST

Well, that is a bit sad. Reading the reviews, either people love or hate this book. It just again points to how difficult the American Revolution is to paint. Many sources have to be looked at and cross referenced . If the price were around the 20 dollar range it might be good as a reference point.

Crazycoote Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 6:12 p.m. PST

That's a little harsh 42nd. I have this book and like it. True, it is a basic rendering mainly of the '68 warrant (plus regulation uniforms of the earlier 7years war period) and has little to nothing on campaign uniforms; but that does not mean it is useless…

There is quite good information on accoutrements and equipment. I also like the table at the back that traces unit numbering/title changes from the 1750s through 80s. I found that quite helpful.

What are the inaccuracies on Highlanders/Grenadiers et al as a matter of interest?

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 6:21 p.m. PST

What Crazycoote said…

historygamer21 Feb 2017 8:47 p.m. PST

Serious problems if this is the book I think it is. Author was not above making stuff up. Some units we have no idea what certain unit buttons and badges looed like, yet there they were in this book. Also, I don't recall it addressed field modifications which were huge in the AWI period.

historygamer21 Feb 2017 8:51 p.m. PST

Not spending the money on this book, I can't comment on every inaccuracy but wrong is wrong. Other than generalities it is not particularly useful, especially for serious students of the period.

42flanker22 Feb 2017 12:37 a.m. PST

To be fair, I didn't say useless. As a catalogue of the 1768 facings and lace, this book may be useful but it has been compiled in such a sloppy manner I would not be inclined to trust it without confirmation- which rather undoes its usefulness as a reference book.

It's been some time since I dipped into this book to see what it was like, so I am afraid I can't detail the many errors I found at the time. I do have a capture of his LI caps on p.115. which shows 2 caps supposedly based on Loutherbourg's sketches of militia figures for his Warley Camp paintings (which he states were were executed simultaneously in 1778, 1780 – and 1800!). Franklin doesn't cite which regiments these are meant to represent.

One is a mash-up of a 'hat-cap'with fore-and-aft peaks and the'standard' Keppel model with chains on the crown. The other is an officer's cap with the plume on the wrong side (white for some reason) with the band of 'Tyger Skinn' indicated in the sketch rendered as a massive 'turban' of vertical dayglo yellow and back stripes. A standard Burgoyne expedition 'hat-cap' is described as LI cap for the 62nd Regiment (technically true, I suppose). I am not sure about the mitre fronted cap for the XXIII….

I cite these details as an indication of how much generic sloppiness in downright error can be packed onto a small section.

Somewhere else he itemises, without specifiying where it was worn or by who (hardly surprising) the regulation scheme of hat/cap feathers denoting battalion coys, grenadiers and light infantry that wasn't introduced until the end of the 18th century. Evidently someone has confused this with the custom for wearing flank battalion feathers worn in campaign headgear that grew up during the war.

As for information on unit numbering/title changes, I can't comment on the table but in the text Frenklin appears to confuse the 71st Regiment raised for the duration of the American war- 'Fraser's Highlanders' with the regiment that later became the 71st and subsequently the Highland Light infantry. At any rate, failing to unerstand the complicated history of the 71st between 1775 and 1783, he manages to create an extra incarnation of the regiment under this number.

Finally, Franklin states that the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, the Black Watch, was disbanded in 1783.

That probably is sufficient comment alone on the quality of this as a reference book on the British Army.

All that glitters is not gold.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2017 12:55 a.m. PST

I can't comment on the WAS/SYW part of the book, but 42nd's criticisms are pretty much spot on. Franlin did a similar book on British troops from the Napoleonic era, which led to similar criticisms, especially about field mods. It's also worth noting that this book has numerous editorial errors as well (eg some pages duplicated, others missed out).

Yet another missed opportunity to do a decent book on AWI uniforms.

Crazycoote Inactive Member22 Feb 2017 2:37 a.m. PST

OK. That is fair enough – and I appreciate the more detailed critique on the inaccuracies (too often these days people make bold statements and dismiss things without being prepared to substantiate their views).

Personally, I have pretty much every book on uniforms (for the AWI) I can lay my hands on. As SM says, there is unfortunately no single reference work that can be trusted in isolation, and I absolutely accept that there is nothing in the book that really helps with campaign dress.

As to the confusion around 71st – well that is a muddle – and I am sure you are right.

Nevertheless, as a reference for the '68 warrant, regimental badges etc I still think it has a place (and is good in as far as it goes) but would agree that cross checking between sources is always necessary.

Just my view – and I am always cautious about any "definitive" work on anything to do with the period – because it usually isn't.

But perhaps I just don't qualify as a "serious student of the period".

historygamer22 Feb 2017 5:26 a.m. PST

It came out a while ago and some of us looked at it then and dismissed it. Tango is posting a rather old book to be commented on, which is not particularly helpful though he does try. :-)

The one thing that stands out in my mind is the references to buttons the author shows officers' buttons and perhaps a belt plate for the 43rd Regt none of which have been found. So that makes you wonder how much other stuff has been made up as well.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2017 10:43 a.m. PST

"…though he does try. :-)"



spontoon27 Feb 2017 5:27 p.m. PST

If you were only going to buy one AWI book, this wouldn't be bad. My copy had a number of duplicated pages.

42flanker28 Feb 2017 2:41 a.m. PST

I am surprised you say that.

The book presents itself as a one-stop resource but, precisely because of the flaws described, anyone expecting reliable reference risks being let down.

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2017 4:49 a.m. PST

Yes, this is the problem – the book sets itself up as an authority on the subject, yet doesn't even do the basics well. It's not a complete load of rubbish, and it might even be good enough for those not that upset by having 1768 Warrant troops at Saratoga or whatever, but its errors – both of authorship and editing/production – mean it falls some way short of being "authoritative".

historygamer28 Feb 2017 9:26 a.m. PST

And it ain't cheap. :-) Nothing like paying a lot of money for wrong information.

historygamer28 Feb 2017 9:26 a.m. PST

And it ain't cheap. :-) Nothing like paying a lot of money for wrong information.

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