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"Napoleonic Skirmishers Answers" Topic

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Allan F Mountford20 Sep 2019 3:29 a.m. PST

John Cook wrote a series of articles in First Empire that described how Napoleonic skirmishers actually operated.

The articles were in issues 39, 40 and 57. They are well researched and merit study.

I have a pdf of the articles but I am not sure of the copyright issues.

An example page:

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 4:19 a.m. PST

I have these, it'd be good to revisit them.

von Winterfeldt20 Sep 2019 4:19 a.m. PST

Yes I agree John Cook did know what he was writing

Dave Jackson20 Sep 2019 6:36 a.m. PST

so….you are concerned about copyright issues wrt sending them on to anyone? As I would very much like a copy.

Allan F Mountford20 Sep 2019 6:51 a.m. PST

@Dave Jackson
Yes I am concerned about the copyright issue. I would expect copyright to be reserved to John Cook (author) and the estate of the late David Watkins (publisher of 'First Empire' magazine).
I appreciate that 'First Empire' ceased publication some years ago. If anyone can enlighten me on the copyright position please email me at

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Sep 2019 6:58 a.m. PST

In general, if Mr. Cook is still alive, he holds the copyright and you would need his permission to share the articles.

A good overview for th ecurious:

Stoppage20 Sep 2019 9:43 a.m. PST

As a matter of interest – if the author wanted to re-publish, then where would be a good place?

von Winterfeldt21 Sep 2019 4:55 a.m. PST

He either retired voluntarily from TMP or was banned, so bye bye and much for sorry for another true expert.

Scott Sutherland21 Sep 2019 9:37 a.m. PST


Yes, these, and several other articles would be well worth republication. I downloaded copies from the days of Magweb.

WRT copyright – is that not auomatically with the magazine publisher. Authors only retain copyright of their own complete works, eg a book. So it woudl tbe the legal entity that was "First Empire" magazine.

nsolomon9922 Sep 2019 9:25 p.m. PST

Didn't take too kindly to alternative views and interpretations, did Mr Cook. It was generally his way or the highway. Not a great approach to TMP where robust debate often prevails.

Allan F Mountford22 Sep 2019 10:06 p.m. PST

Scott – That is my understanding of the UK copyright position. 'First Empire' is one of a group of magazines forming a store of interesting and useful research articles. It would be a great pity if the content was lost to all but those who acquired copies during its publication run or via second hand purchases.

Nick – John certainly had his moments! I know him best from the old Napoleon Series forums perhaps 15 to 20 years ago. He certainly shared some good quality information and opinion with me.

42flanker26 Sep 2019 7:05 a.m. PST

I don't believe sharing between a group of fellow students in the interests of study is a breach of copyright. it would count as fair practice.

If the organ in which the articles was published has ceased publication then, I would say, their interest has effectively ended.

Allan F Mountford26 Sep 2019 8:46 a.m. PST


Tend to agree.

OK – if any fellow students would like a copy of the John Cook articles email me at

Please use 'Skirmishers' as the email subject.

von Winterfeldt12 Oct 2019 8:06 a.m. PST

hi Allan

I did ask for a request – maybe it was SPAMED.

John Cook wrote me an e – mail and liked to get it circulated on this board

I see an article of mine on skirmishing was discussed recently on TMP, in which the question of reproduction and copyright was raised. It was written by me for nothing, in order to share what I had found on the subject with those interested enough to want to read it. That remains the situation.

A caveat though. Although I'm fairly confident that it is still fairly accurate, bear in mind that it was written 20 years ago and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. It reflected what I had found, at the time, and my interpretation of it. The illegible original illustration of French skirmishers, for example, was sent to me together with the material on Davout's instructions and I assumed that it was connected with it. I am not sure now that it has anything to do with skirmishing at all! It is, unfortunately, illegible.

Please tell those concerned that they are free to copy it as they like. I no longer use forums where one infamous individual takes part. I found his unnecessarily combatitive attitude and lack of intellectual insight made the discussion a sterile and generally unpleasant experience. I see that nothing has changed.


John Cook

Stoppage12 Oct 2019 10:26 a.m. PST


Would you let John Cook know how to use stifle function?

Perhaps he would then re-engage to all our benefit.

Allan F Mountford13 Oct 2019 7:37 a.m. PST


I will send you a copy today.

Please send John my very best regards, if you wouldn't mind. He engaged with and answered many of my queries on the two original Napoleon Series discussion forums.

Allan F Mountford13 Oct 2019 7:44 a.m. PST


Please re-send your request – I cannot find your personal email address.

14Bore13 Oct 2019 10:40 a.m. PST

Thinking this could be very interesting, is it long?

von Winterfeldt13 Oct 2019 1:33 p.m. PST

I am sure John Cooks knows the stiffle button, I would also welcome his expert input on this board, he shouldn't let him being terrorized by single individual.

Allan F Mountford14 Oct 2019 5:43 a.m. PST


Long enough to summarise theory (via various reglements) and a modest amount on actual combat practice for Austrian, British, French and Prussians.

Highly recommended.

von Winterfeldt14 Oct 2019 6:12 a.m. PST

request re sended – since yesterday

Allan F Mountford14 Oct 2019 6:15 a.m. PST


Your email was junked for some reason – however, I have just sent you a copy.

von Winterfeldt14 Oct 2019 10:55 a.m. PST

it arrived – milles fois merci

14Bore14 Oct 2019 2:59 p.m. PST

I ment how many pages? I only have a tablet.

Stoppage14 Oct 2019 3:07 p.m. PST

14 pages

42flanker14 Oct 2019 4:34 p.m. PST

How do we send PMs on TMP?

14Bore14 Oct 2019 4:47 p.m. PST

Never tried more than 1, guess it would work or crash

14Bore16 Oct 2019 2:17 p.m. PST

Allen sent email, will be from blackpowder

14Bore17 Oct 2019 5:09 p.m. PST

Finished the article, very informative.
Brings me to Empire rules and it's semi-skirmishers which I never liked as I never read anything in battle history to support it, this mostly concerns my Russians.
Also while no shortage of skirmishers in my Prussian army never figured out how 3rd rank could be used with battalions in the 12 – 16 figure range and company stands.

Stoppage17 Oct 2019 6:58 p.m. PST

Semi-skirmishers – great concept – not based in fact.

I tried to rationalise them as troops in open order two ranks deep (a la British in North America, Peninsular, any number of German armies in Europe).

14Bore18 Oct 2019 1:45 a.m. PST

I think I'm going to dump that and make my Russian Jagers into normal rule skirmishers. Last battle only did the skirmish rules twice, the poor Russians won both because being semi out numbered the Prussians who rate better as well as my bad dice rolls.

SHaT198418 Oct 2019 11:09 p.m. PST

Yes interesting read.
Wouldn't agree with all, but overall a reasoned and well rounded dissertation.
Comparing reality with rules?? – sock phhht!

Allan F Mountford19 Oct 2019 11:34 a.m. PST


What didn't you agree with?

14Bore19 Oct 2019 11:55 a.m. PST

Rules are to be tooled to what we know about reality

14Bore26 Oct 2019 7:46 a.m. PST

Pondering how to make 3rd rank skirmishers have thought about taking a otherwise bloated Prussian musketeer battalion and making its extra figures into skirmishers.
Want to test game my no semi skirmishers first.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2019 8:55 a.m. PST

I *think* the original idea for semi-skirmishers was an attempt to portray different levels of competency… but the label and the mechanics didn't work, particularly when tied to limited deployment.

Stoppage31 Oct 2019 4:09 p.m. PST


Mentioning competency of skirmishing – I found the thread that I've been looking for about Reille's division attack on Hougoumont (feeding in each brigade over a four-hour period – the preceding ones being defeated by the defenders):

TMP link

McLaddie – 29 Mar 2014 7:12 p.m. PST

(with supporting comment by the Late Ratisbon)

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