Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Battle of Quatre Bras

I picked up The Battle of Qutre Bras by Mike Robinson. It is a very detailed account of the battle I have been interested for many years. It takes a long time to get rolling as the beginning sets the scene and goes to great lengths (too much in my opinion) to get the individual regiments to the battlefield.

Once the two sides engage, the author does a good job of picturing the action. There are maps which are very helpful in getting a clear idea of what happened and where. But only the allies are depicted in detail. The French are very obscure which was a huge disappointment to me. Also, for a work as specific as this one, I couldn't understand why there wasn't a detailed order of battle in the appendixes. It certainly wouldn't have been hard to find one to include.

Despite that, the book has been a worthwhile purchase. I'll be doing a Napoleonic week for my summer class, and my reading will help me put together some good scenarios for the kids. The first one, I am sure, will center around the Dutch/Belgians attempt to hold their ground despite being heavily outnumbered and several of their units being raw militia. They did an extraordinary job under the circumstances.

The second will follow the exploits of Picton's division as they enter the battle on the allied left. The British batallions were quite aggressive and paid a high price for it, first from French canister and then from cavalry which they mistook to be Dutch/Belgian.

I have the week off and I am hoping to finish the book during my break. Perhaps I'll even be able to set something up on my wargaming table!