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"The Forgotten War Against Napoleon - Gareth Glover" Topic


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759 hits since 4 Sep 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

carojon04 Sep 2020 11:26 p.m. PST

Covering the long and convoluted war in the Mediterranean between 1793 and 1815 including the short break for the Peace of Amiens, I first got to see what this book was all about at Crusade in 2017, the year of it publication.

picture

Having now read it myself I have put together my thoughts of this very handy reference to the conflict together with a link to my Crusade Post that covers off some of the detailed actions covered, as presented by Gareth Glover himself.

If you would like to know more then just follow the link to JJ's

link

JJ

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2020 4:13 a.m. PST

This also covers the subject, but only from 1803-1810:

The War in the Mediterranean by Piers Macksey. It was published in 1957 and contains 430 pages including the Index.

carojon05 Sep 2020 4:40 a.m. PST

Yes Macksey's book is covered in Glover's summary of previous works and the limited time span of it starting with the beginning of the Napoleonic War but bizarrely ending in 1810 thus missing out the other thirteen years of war prior to and after.

Dave Jackson Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2020 6:15 a.m. PST

There's also "Stopping Napoleon" about the war in the Med by Tom Pocock

emckinney05 Sep 2020 9:22 a.m. PST

What was the actual threat to Great Britain if the French secured their hold on Spain and conquered Portugal? Would they be cut off from critical imports?

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2020 11:18 a.m. PST

Yes, I too recently finished this excellent book. It provides the foundation for many and varied war game scenarios.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian05 Sep 2020 11:31 a.m. PST

Also reviewed on TMP: TMP link

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2020 1:52 p.m. PST

Good review Bill and I can see why the shortcomings, well, just shouldn't be happening in the 21st Century at all.

Not to bash too much my learned British bretherens, but they do still consider the only important thing "what we done" as all that matters, discounting the others (allies) and enemy quite often.

As I've gotten back into reseaerch just a little, I've also found the trotting out of monotone volumes on rehashed subjects by PhilipH. to be equally worth of ignoring.

Some authors update, others try and live on their laurels; while the 'broader' aspects of martime 'war' may be covered, I recall the detail of Sir John Moores diary provided as many exciting incidents during the pre-1800 period.
regards d

Swampster05 Sep 2020 3:48 p.m. PST

"Not to bash too much my learned British bretherens, but they do still consider the only important thing "what we done" as all that matters, discounting the others (allies) and enemy quite often."

I think there are considerably more books in English about the events concerning Austria, Prussia and Russia than there are in their languages concerning British events of the Nap Wars.
I've just tried searching for '1813' on Amazon.de – getting on for a third of the books relevant to the Nap Wars are either in English or translated from English.

For 1809, one book on the first page is German and that covers the revolt of Hoefer. The rest are English language or a couple translated from English.

Same sort of thing for Austerlitz etc.

coopman06 Sep 2020 7:04 a.m. PST

Is Gareth any relation to Michael Glover?

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2020 7:17 a.m. PST

I think there are considerably more books in English about the events concerning Austria, Prussia and Russia than there are in their languages concerning British events of the Nap Wars.

The string of British failures during the period on land is probably one reason for the dearth of titles in German or Russian on British operations.

Flanders in 1793-1795; Holland in 1799; Buenos Aires, Eastern Spain in 1813; Spain in 1808; Holland in 1809 and 1814 were all misadventures and failures and I don't see, for good or ill, Prussian, Russian, or Austrian interest in those operations. The coalition allies were interested in British subsidies, without which in 1813-1814 they would not have been able to take the field.

Generally speaking, the British army failed where Wellington wasn't present. Even in the last year of the war with the United States they failed repeatedly and/or were outfought-the Niagara frontier, Plattsburg, Baltimore and New Orleans.

Even the hard-won successes in the Spanish Peninsula took seven years to achieve with strategic success sometimes elusive if not failures, such as the Talavera campaign and Burgos and the subsequent retreat.

And it should be noted that Spain was a secondary theater of operations.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP06 Sep 2020 7:19 a.m. PST

From Bill's review of the book:

This gives the book a feeling of anti-French bias.

I'm shocked.

von Winterfeldt06 Sep 2020 7:43 a.m. PST

A very good and enjoyable read of a forgotten – but important war indeed.

Swampster06 Sep 2020 1:45 p.m. PST

I wouldn't expect non-British authors to write about the sideshows carried out by other nations, yet this book is criticised because it doesn't say much about the actions of other nations.

My point is that a double standard seems to apply – and also that there are quite a lot of sideshows in which Britain had no input yet they are written about by English language authors.

All the rest of Brechtel's rant about the British inability to fight their way out of a paper bag seems somewhat irrelevant to the point.

carojon06 Sep 2020 11:52 p.m. PST

What a fun, interesting and diverse selection of opinion and comment, some expressed with a breathtaking certainty in the correctness of the ideas they propose that seems to deny any possibility of them being wrong.

All the historical books reviewed on JJ's Wargames are a mixture of fact and opinion, as is the blog and I guess the important part of the mix is not to take it too seriously and from an historical wargamers perspective, find those kernels of insight and knowledge that inform the hobby.

As with all historical accounts and opinions, they are bound to carry with them an element of subjective bias, omission and error and it is beholden on the reader to bring that filter to the account and inquire more broadly to compliment the information it contains, in time, forming their own opinions, safe in the knowledge that they too are guilty of bias, omission and error and thus always open to the idea that they too are wrong.

All part of the fun of historical debate and discussion that aims to inform, considerately and respectfully and be open to have long held opinions challenged and perhaps changed.

JJ

Green Tiger07 Sep 2020 2:50 a.m. PST

Britain carried out between 70 & 80 amphibious operations between 1793 & 1815 (depends how you define them). The vast majority were successful on at least an operational level.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2020 3:29 a.m. PST

All the rest of Brechtel's rant about the British inability to fight their way out of a paper bag seems somewhat irrelevant to the point.

And where in my posting did I state that the British couldn't 'fight their way out of a paper bag'? You have misrepresented my posting which is at best disingenuous.

If you disagree with what I posted, then post something yourself that either disagrees in fact or proves what I wrote is incorrect.

Swampster07 Sep 2020 4:49 a.m. PST

"The string of British failures " and "Generally speaking the British Army failed when Wellington wasn't present".

But this isn't a thread about how valid those statements are.
I was commenting that there is often a remark that British writers only focus on the British as if this is a feature unique to them – and that it is aN exaggeration anyway.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2020 5:11 a.m. PST

And this is how I began my posting directly referring to your remark:

The string of British failures during the period on land is probably one reason for the dearth of titles in German or Russian on British operations.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2020 5:13 a.m. PST

Britain carried out between 70 & 80 amphibious operations between 1793 & 1815 (depends how you define them). The vast majority were successful on at least an operational level.

Does that mean that the troops got ashore and then the operation unraveled?

Swampster07 Sep 2020 8:40 a.m. PST

"And this is how I began my posting directly referring to your remark:

'The string of British failures during the period on land is probably one reason for the dearth of titles in German or Russian on British operations.'"

That is pertinent and likely true. Yet Glover is expected (in the TMP review) to write in detail about an unsuccessful Spanish attempt to capture the Pope and his failure to do so is down to Britain ignoring the actions of its allies. Whereas there is actually a great deal in English about the actions of allies and enemies both in the Peninsular and elsewhere.

von Winterfeldt07 Sep 2020 9:31 a.m. PST

Furtheron, the British army did not fail when Wellington wasn't present, Brechtel seems to forget even successfull campaigns as like in Egypt – or Maida, and indeed when reading the book of Gareth Glover this is all well explained, in case for the French perspective – I would suggest Nicolas Cadet – Honneur et Violences de Guerre au Tempes de Napoléon – La Campagne de Calabre, but this of course is just dealing with one campaign only.

I cannot see any worse string of failures during the period than the sheer disasters of Nabulieone as of 1812 – 1813 – 1814 and to top it – 1815.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2020 10:56 a.m. PST

Maida wasn't a campaign, it was a victorious battle in the midst of a campaign that ultimately failed in southern Italy.

The British were successful in 1801, but also failed in Egypt and at the Dardenelles (although the latter was a naval, not a land, defeat) and Egypt in 1806-1807.

Green Tiger07 Sep 2020 12:36 p.m. PST

By 1808 Britain had captured all the overseas colonies of France and her allies. Operations that failed mostly did so because the ally they had been launched to support was beaten before they arrived or shortly afterwards. Even Walcheren did serious damage to the docks at Flushing. There were numerous failures but they were the exception not the rule and Wellington never went near any of them.

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