Haythornthwaite, Philip J.


1st ed., 2001. 128 pp., numerous ills., +diagrams. D.j., 25 x 19cm. FINE. In the armies of the Napoleonic era the infantry formed the most numerous and arguably the most important of the 'arms' but it was the proper management of those arms that decided the winning of the battle. In this book the author looks toward what actually happened in the battles of the period, rather than what should have occurred, according to the regulations. The infantry's weapons are examined in close detail: the use of the musket, bayonet, pike and sword, the manner in which they were used in attack and defence, exemplified by contemporary accounts and illustrations. Misconceptions are explored and questions answered: for example, why the bayonet was so highly regarded when it inflicted hardly any casualties, why the merits of the column and line are not clear-cut and how, whether in square or skirmish line, the infantry of the Napoleonic Wars actually fought. This informed book offers new insights into the conduct of Napoleonic warfare.

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