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"new book The Battle of Znaim" Topic

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Gazzola18 Aug 2020 8:23 a.m. PST

I recently obtained a copy of John Gill's latest work The Battle of Znaim.

It looks an equally brilliant title to those forming the excellent Thunder on the Danube series, with the usual maps, battle maps, Orders of Battle and prints (some in colour). A must for anyone interested in the Napoleonic Period.

I can't wait to get stuck into it. I just have half a dozen other titles I've not yet managed to read to get through first, along with other Napoleonic titles on the way. Groan! I must just have to jump the queue with this one.

BillyNM18 Aug 2020 9:23 a.m. PST

My copy is also calling me from my reading pile.

Supreme Littleness Designs18 Aug 2020 10:13 a.m. PST

I was surprised to be able to get hold of a copy for nearly half price.

I'm nearly half way through. From the off, it's very much a retelling of the Franco-Austrian War of 1809 – but very well narrated and with great footnotes.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP18 Aug 2020 10:41 a.m. PST

How is it in relation to Thunder on the Danube….more detail just on Znaim and the lead up?

Supreme Littleness Designs18 Aug 2020 12:03 p.m. PST

It's over 100 pages of summary a retelling of Gill's previous books before we get to concentrating on the follow up of Wagram and Korneuburg for starters. I haven't skimmed the remaining 200 pages but Jack Gill makes a point previously that he has an interest in exploring the impact of Prussian and Russian intentions in deciding the Austrian decision to end hostilities. I might say for anyone thinking that a dedicated book on Znaim might inspire a tabletop re-enactment that Gill mentions early on that most of the infantry at the battle fought in skirmish order.

Gazzola23 Aug 2020 3:34 p.m. PST

Just had a quick peep at the Epilogue and another earlier chapter and my eye was caught by the following extracts:

One bit suggests that Gill may be leaning towards Charles (or the way he acted and thought) as being the cause of the final defeat -

'At Znaim, with the army facing what he believed to be certain destruction (whether then and there or later was irrelevant), and with his special authority as Generalissimus on the verge of vanishing, he acted on what he fervently believed to be the state's and the family's best interests.' (page 331)

Another bit might get some people going. (Not mentioning any names) LOL

'Unlike his opponents, Napoleon, as the victim of aggression in this case, did not have 'war aims' per se when the Austrians attacked. As he told his confidants later: This war has no purpose, it was the Austrians who declared war on me. Indeed, his chief aim before April was to avert hostilities entirely.' (page 332)

In terms of action and possible wargaming, if this extract is anything to go by, the title may contain plenty of inspiration:

'The 10th Cuirassiers, led by GB Adrien Francois Lheritier, surged across the bridges and slammed into the unsuspecting grenadiers. The onslaught was so sudden that 'The foremost ranks hardly had time to bring their bayonets down.' In moments, Leiningen's battalion disintegrated, losing 323 men as it fled back towards Znaim.' (page 267)

Can't wait to get stuck into it. Just need to find the time to finish reading some other titles or, possibly, as mentioned previously, I might just have to jump the queue with this one. Decisions, decisions!

Supreme Littleness Designs25 Aug 2020 11:36 a.m. PST

I finished the book some days ago. Gill's assessment is more measured than wholeheartedly blaming Charles. In fact, that was the script of the war party at the Austrian court. Something Gill makes clear. Napoleon clearly had no war aims per se in a war that only the Austrians planned for. The nearest was to reapply the outcome of 1805 all over again. On the other hand, Austria had clear war aims.

I mentioned the cavalry charge in this post:

TMP link

Well worth making time to read the book through.

Gazzola27 Aug 2020 7:24 a.m. PST

Supreme Littleness Designs

I admit my impressions were based on a very quick peep into the book. But it looks really good and I can't wait to read it. It's just when I look at my yet-to-read pile that I hold back from letting Gill's title jump to the top. But my resistance is weakening day by day. LOL

Supreme Littleness Designs09 Sep 2020 8:03 a.m. PST

A while back after reading Gill's Znaim, I put up a few words on my blog:


Sebastian Palmer14 Sep 2020 1:16 a.m. PST

Just read your review, SLD. Very good. I'll be reading the book in due course…

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