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19 Jul 2023 8:39 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Book recommendations on the early battles of the French Rev" to "Book recommendations on the early battles of the French Rev?"Removed from Napoleonic Discussion boardCrossposted to Napoleonic Media board

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Lou from BSM19 Jul 2023 6:57 a.m. PST

Hello all,

I have renewed my interest in the early battles of the revolution (pre-1796, pre-Bonaparte). I am looking for more than just OOB information; I'm looking for solid background data. OOB info would be a bonus, but I really want more in the way of supporting documentation regarding troop movements, campaign info, etc.
Thank you all in advance for your recommendations. Source material in French is also welcome!!!

mjkerner19 Jul 2023 11:32 a.m. PST

I took a deeper dive into that period just last year, Lou. Here's what I've accumulated (not including several uniform/equipment books):

'The Soldiers Are Dressed in Red': The Quiberon Expedition of 1795 and the Counter-Revolution in Brittany by Alistair Nichols;

Fighting the French Revolution: The Great Vendee Rising of 1795 by Rob Harper;

Death Before Glory!: The British Soldier in the West Indies 1793-1815 by Martin R. Howard;

Neither Up Nor Down: The British Army and the Flanders Campaign 1793-1795 by Philip Ball; and

By Fire and Bayonet: Grey's West Indies Campaign of 1794 by Steve Brown.

von Winterfeldt19 Jul 2023 12:54 p.m. PST

to add to this already remarkable list

Paul Demet : We are accustomed to do our duty – German Auxiliaries with the British Army 1793 – 95 (also good information about uniforms)

R.N.W. Thomas : No Want of Courage – The British Army in Flanders 1793 – 95 (provides very useful how an army is run), a must read in my view.

BillyNM19 Jul 2023 1:25 p.m. PST

A very big +1 for ‘Fighting the French Revolution' so many combats, lots of inspiration and most of what a wargamer would need other than uniform info.

johannes5519 Jul 2023 1:31 p.m. PST

As you mentioned also French books; there is a series in French called "Les Batailles Oubliées"in which are three French revolutionary battles:
Hondschoote 1793
Fleurus 1794
Mont St-Jean 1794

johannes5519 Jul 2023 1:34 p.m. PST

Wellington's First Battle – Combat at Boxtel 15th September 1794: A Guide for Military Historians & Wargamers by Garry David Wills

A new book by Gary Wills is about wargaming the french revolution. It's by Helion.
Also h has some videos on youtube about french revolutionary battles

mjkerner19 Jul 2023 2:31 p.m. PST

johannes55, this one? Looks great.

From Amazon US:

Throwing Thunderbolts: A Wargamer's Guide to the War of the First Coalition, 1792–1797 (Helion Wargames) Paperback – Box set, September 30, 2023

‘Peoples do not judge in the same way as courts of law… they throw thunderbolts!' — Maximilien Robespierre.

Throwing Thunderbolts is a unique guide to wargaming the wars of the French Revolution that both the beginner and experienced wargamer, new to the period, will enjoy and find useful. This is a book for wargamers based on history rather than a history book. It will explain how the battles of the revolution can be recreated by some of the different wargame systems available at an appropriate scale. The focus of this volume is the War of the First Coalition, 1792–7, which involved more than one hundred and fifty battles and actions, all of which offer potential scenarios for different wargames. The armies of France, Britain, Spain, Austria, Prussia, United Provinces (the Netherlands), Sardinia Piedmont, Hannover, Hesse-Kassel, Hesse Darmstadt and the Two Sicilies (Naples) are all involved in this great conflict, involving action on all the borders of France as well as the internal counter-revolution. The navies of Britain and France also fought in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and in the West and East Indies, where their armies also fought bloody campaigns. To capture the full benefits of this focus the Second Partition of Poland (1792–3), the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804) and the Third Anglo Mysore War (1790-1792) are excluded from the scope of this work. This is an exciting period for wargamers as the art of war was undergoing continual transformation which was reflected in the way the different armies fought, and this guide will bring this to the fore. A comprehensive review of the military history of the war provides the background complete with clear maps. Throwing Thunderbolts covers the full gamut of wargaming this period, selecting scales and rules and painting miniatures. Throwing Thunderbolts includes nine ready-made scenarios, using popular, commercially available rulesets, covering the full range of the combatants and at different scales of game. Included in the scenarios are the first major battles of both Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington, at Toulon, 1793, and Boxtel, 1794 respectively. The Battle of Castiglione is fought in full at two different scales, and the armies of Prussia and Sardinia Piedmont feature strongly in two more scenarios. Two further scenarios are naval scenarios including a part of the Glorious First of June and a frigate action in the East Indies. Throwing Thunderbolts is essential reading for anyone interested in recreating the War of the First Coalition with miniatures on the tabletop. Throwing Thunderbolts is a unique book, no other publication deals with wargaming the War of the First Coalition so comprehensively.

Wargamorium19 Jul 2023 3:18 p.m. PST

"Armies of the First French Republic and the Rise of the Marshals of Napoleon" by Colonel Phipps

5 volumes recently re-printed in paperback by the Naval and Military Press in the UK.

I bought all five volumes for a special price.

Covers 1792 to 1799.

Well worth the money.

AussieAndy20 Jul 2023 2:08 a.m. PST

Wouldn't it be a fine thing if we got some modern accounts (in English) of the battles and campaigns not involving Napoleon or Britain, rather than more books on Waterloo or the Peninsula.

dantheman20 Jul 2023 7:59 a.m. PST

Aussie Andy:

Well said. Of the books listed here, only Wargamorium mentions anything of interest.

"Throwing Thunderbolts" still emphasizes Napoleon and Wellington too much, according to the Amazon write up.

The Vendee uprising does not interest me.

The only other book not mentioned I would recommend is Duffy's "Eagles over the Alps", about the 1799 Suvorov campaign.

I have large French and Austrian Rev armies begging for good references on Charles campaigns in Germany.

42flanker20 Jul 2023 2:06 p.m. PST

'Neither Up Nor Down: The British Army and the Flanders Campaign 1793-1795' by Philip Ball starts well enough but falls apart in the final chapter dealing with the French winter offensive 1794-95.

One to be avoided, 'The Duke of York's Flanders campaign' by Steve Brown, which contains numerous unforced errors.

johannes5521 Jul 2023 4:23 a.m. PST

There are a lot of books in German, French or Dutch even free on line but I suppose there is so little interest in this period that it isn't wortwhile to translate and publish those. Especially because most British just want to read about succesfull British engagements imho.
But I agree with aussieAndy, modern accounts in English would be great

von Winterfeldt21 Jul 2023 6:49 a.m. PST

in case you are also interested in the style of fighting,
Lynn : The Bayonets of the Republic

Lou from BSM21 Jul 2023 7:28 a.m. PST

Fortunately I can read the French offerings. I suppose I could read an e-version in German and Dutch and scan each page with a translate app. It may take a long time to get through the book, but as I said from the start, my interest has been renewed and I am very eager to get my minis on a table!!!

Thank you all for your suggestions and recommendations!! I've begun searching for some of these titles on Amazon, Half Price Books, Thrift Books, etc.

GarryWills21 Jul 2023 7:37 a.m. PST

You can see a video introducing my book Throwing Thunderbolts via the link below.

As to 'emphasising Wellington and Napoleon too much' that is not really representative of the book at all. All of the participants in the war are covered in the Protagonists chapter. Furthermore, the Prussians, Austrians, Neapolitans, Spanish, Dutch and Piedmontese all feature in the scenarios. While Wellington is a very minor player in the War, Napoleon was very much a major force and to not cover him would be perverse.

All the best

42flanker22 Jul 2023 7:35 a.m. PST

Seconded, Lynn,'Bayonets…'

von Winterfeldt24 Jul 2023 6:06 a.m. PST

there you can read French, this book is providing a lot of interesting information


Campagne de 1794=1795

dans les Pays=Bas




(l'W:a.i – J' 1794)


very interesting information about the composition of the French armies, their staff, the different branches of arms, creation of wing commands also called corps d'armée

Prince of Essling28 Jul 2023 2:40 p.m. PST

Series by Arthur Chuquet (all downloadable from either Gallica or Internet Archive ):
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 1 – La première invasion prussienne (11 août-2 septembre 1792) link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 2 – Valmy link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 3 – La retraite de Brunswick link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 4 – Jemmapes et la conquête de la Belgique (1792-1793) link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 5 – La Trahison de Dumouriez link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome6 – L'Expédition de Custine PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 7 – Mayence link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 8 – Wissembourg (1793) link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 9 – Hoche et la lutte pourL'Alsace (1793-1794) link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 10 – Valenciennes link
PDF link
Les guerres de la Révolution. Tome 11 – Hondtschoote PDF link

Also by Chuquet:
Le général Dagobert (1736-1794) : l'armée sous l'ancien régime et sous la Révolution, Nice et Sospel, les combats devant Perpignan, la conquête de la Cerdagne, représentants et généraux à l'armée des Pyrénées-Orientales, la Seu d'Urgel link

Also useful by Victor Dupuis
La campagne de 1793 à l' armée du Nord et des Ardennes,…. De Valenciennes à Hondtschoote link
La campagne de 1793 à l' armée du Nord et des Ardennes,…. D'Hondtschoote à Wattignies by Victor Dupuis link

Prince of Essling29 Jul 2023 2:32 a.m. PST

From the Austrian perspective see Mitteilungen des K. und K. Kriegsarchivs at link , in particular the following volumes (very good maps):

1877 – Neerwinden
The 1792 campaign is covered in the volumes for the following years:

Prince of Essling29 Jul 2023 1:45 p.m. PST

Further from Austrian perspective:

Krieg gegen die französische Revolution 1792-1797
by Austro-Hungarian Monarchy Kriegsarchiv
Volume 1 PDF link (includes coloured plate, but not a perfect edition as unit schematics at the end are not folded out))
PDF link (better version but no unit schematics at the end)
Volume 2 PDF link (not perfect as some text not legible and not all maps are folded out)
PDF link (not perfect as some text not legible and not all maps are folded out)

Prince of Essling30 Jul 2023 12:27 p.m. PST

La campagne de 1794 à l'armée du Nord by Michel Henri Marie Coutanceau, & Henri Leplus
Tome 1 Part1 link
Tome 1 Part 2 link
Tome 2. Part 1 (Docs & Cartes) link
Tome 2. Part 1 link
Tome 2 Part 2 link

Les armées de Sambre -et- Meuse et du Rhin by Claude Desprez

Prince of Essling31 Jul 2023 6:22 a.m. PST

Campagnes de la Révolution française dans les Pyrénées-Orientales, J.-N. Fervel
Tome 1 link
Tome 2 link
Atlas link

Lou from BSM20 Aug 2023 10:52 a.m. PST

Thank you all!! I'm so glad I came back to this thread to review some of the previous links. Several more recommendations after I had checked out!!!

EdwardMendez07 Feb 2024 10:47 a.m. PST

Thanks a lot for the recommendations! I'm interested in that topic and actually was looking for something to read. And I need it for my history course because soon we will discuss it and I'll have to write a paper or something. So the more info and resources I have the better it is. I love history, and French history is especially interesting for me because it's my favorite country to visit. It's still hard for me to write on it because there is a lot of info to analyze, but EduBirdie helps me with such tasks. So I can be calm and not worry about it. But anyway, such reading resources are beneficial for me, and I'll start reading something even today. And I can't wait to hear what my professor will tell us about French Rev.

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