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Napoleonic Armies: Wargamer's Campaign Directory, 1805-1815
By Ray Johnson
Publisher: Arms and Armour Press 1984 148 Pages
PDF 32 MB
As a wargamer, I have found the Napoleonic era the most interesting period for supplying scenarios for table-top wargames for the following reasons. First, the balance between the arms of service (infantry, cavalry and artillery) is nearly equal: Prior to this period, cavalry dominated the battlefield, while the main role of artillery was to supplement the infantry firepower; afterward, the role of cavalry declined rapidly as firepower of the infantry and artillery arms increased. Second, this era virtually consisted of a series of world wars, in which nearly every European power was involved. An almost limitless cross-match of armies is possible without stretching historical accuracy: Many nations changed sides one or more times. And finally, the distinctive uniform styles and colours lend a pageantry to the game, foreign to many other periods.
These two volumes are an attempt to compile a complete organizational description of the armies of the major protagonists in the Napoleonic Wars. This is not a trivial task, since each nation managed to retain a high degree of individuality concerning the composition and structure of their respective armies. Within the military spectrum of this era, there was a wide variance in the types and strengths of the component units of these armies; moreover, during the course of events most armies underwent a marked Change in their structure and organization. This complexity and variety in army organization makes for a fertile field of research, whose importance is increased by the role army organization played in shaping history: The organization of an army dictated the tactics and strategy which it could effectively employ.
Unfortunately, reliable data on many of these armies is difficult to obtain, since many of the best works are out of print and/or are not printed in English, while those that are available are not sufficiently detailed or are often unreliable. In compiling this work, I have consulted sources written in French, German and English. These sources are listed in the bibliography. I consider most of them to be authoritative and accurate; however, some sources are incomplete and contradictory. In case of conflict, I have chosen the most reliable source or the most logical alternative. If we should receive conflicting data from a more authoritative source, we will welcome the opportunity to update this work in a later printing.
The format of this work is to take each army chronologically through the period 1805 to 1815. The reader should be able to obtain an accurate organizational picture of that army at any given time in that span. If the exact regimental or battalion structure is not given for a particular year, one should assume that the structure had not changed from the previous years: Look under an earlier date for details. It is not within the scope of this book to provide orders of battle or uniform details. It is my sincere hope that this will be a useful tool to promote a greater degree of historical accuracy in Napoleonic wargames.