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"Fighting the British" Topic

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834 hits since 23 Feb 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2018 8:29 p.m. PST

"The British army during the Napoleonic Wars is often studied using English sources and the British view of their French opponents has been covered in exhaustive detail. However, the French view of the British has been less often studied and is frequently misunderstood. This book, based on hundreds of letters, memoirs, and reports of French officers and soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, adds to the existing literature by exploring the British army from the French side of the battle line.

Each chapter looks at a specific campaign involving the French and the British. Extensive quotes from the French soldiers who were there are complemented by detailed notes describing the context of the war and the career of the eyewitness.

Throughout the emphasis is on the voices of the lower ranks, the conscripts and the non-commissioned and junior officers. They describe in their own words the full range of warfare during the period not only land battles but battles at sea, including the Nile and Trafalgar and accounts of captivity in England are included too.

This original and revealing material gives a fascinating insight into the attitudes and concerns of the French soldiers of the period and their views about their British enemy"


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dibble Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2018 11:31 p.m. PST

Got it when it was released at he end of last month, I am just getting round to reading it. I'm on the Struggle for Europe chapter page 59 at the moment. Pretty good so far on the north African campaign and the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar.

The book is only 189 pages overall so not the size I have been used to reading of late, but still, it makes a refreshing change.

Paul :)

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2018 2:17 a.m. PST

Right up my alley

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

Thanks for the info!.


Gazzola25 Feb 2018 8:07 a.m. PST


I'm a bit put off by the fact it is dedicated to four deserters!

The book also seems to concentrate, apart from Toulon, only French failures and British victories.

For example, I'd be interested to know if the book has any mention of the British defeats at Walcheren 1809 and in the low countries in 1813-14 and also the siege of Burgos? I somehow doubt it.

I will probably still buy it because I'm a sucker for new Nap books, although it will be somewhat low on my to-get list. However, I remember not being very impressed with the other title they offered and one reviewer on Amazon showed concern over some of the reviewers.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Feb 2018 2:24 p.m. PST

I'm a sucker too my good friend… I perfectly understand you!… (smile)


Hagman Inactive Member26 Feb 2018 5:51 a.m. PST

My understanding is that it discusses the French fighting the British during the French Revolutionary and "Napoleonic" Wars – so it would be almost entirely French failures and British victories?
This is normally the point where Brechtel198 chimes in too.

von Winterfeldt26 Feb 2018 11:17 p.m. PST

so far – I just finished the campaign of Egypt, extremely disappointing – it is much better to read the French memoires and don't rely on the comments of the authors at all.

Gazzola27 Feb 2018 6:36 a.m. PST


No, it does not have to be 'almost entirely French failures and British victories.' It could, if indeed it does not, contain letters and accounts concerning the French victory and British defeat at the siege of Burgos, for example.

And, as already mentioned, besides the British defeat at Burgos, I was wondering if it contained any letters/memoirs relating to the British defeats at Walcheren 1809 and their defeat in the low countries 1813-1814? I am sure you are aware that these actions are indeed, part of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars? I would also be interesting in knowing if the book contains anything concerning the French opinions and viewpoints of the British during the 1809 retreat to Corunna?

I don't see any problems with asking questions about a title and I will, no doubt, obtain a copy at some point.

Gazzola27 Feb 2018 6:42 a.m. PST

dibble's opinion -'pretty good so far on the north African campaign and the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar.'

VW's opinion – 'I just finished the Egyptian campaign, extremely disappointing'


dibble Supporting Member of TMP27 Feb 2018 4:22 p.m. PST

von Winterfeldt:

it is much better to read the French memoires and don't rely on the comments of the authors at all.

Which is what I do with books like this. I read what the accounts tell. The authors comments are just fluff or set the scene for people who don't have much knowledge of the campaign etc.

Paul :)

Hagman Inactive Member05 Apr 2018 9:41 a.m. PST

Finally had the chance to read this. It's fairly slight and by no means a comprehensive study of the period, however, there are some interesting sources and entertaining reminiscences. Every French defeat seems to be entirely the result of poor (French) generals and/or betrayal/treachery rather than anything done by those British chaps. Obviously most of us on this side of the pond were already aware, but it was good to have confirmation that the average French soldier's favourite pursuits were self-abuse and homosexuality.

Lilian05 Apr 2018 11:49 a.m. PST

as homosexuality was usually named the vice anglais by the French at least them they didn't need any confirmation from the other side of the Channel or the Atlantic

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Apr 2018 10:08 a.m. PST



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