Myatt, Frederick.


Tunbridge Wells, 1st ed., 1987. 200 pp., cold., plates + numerous b&w ills. D.j., 28 x 22cm. Small repair to d.j., o/w Nr.FINE. Much has been written on the Napoleonic Wars, but this book successfully fills a gap in the study of the various sieges conducted by the British and their Allies between 1811 and 1813 in Spain where the circumstances were unusual. The British Army under Wellington was hopelessly outnumbered by the French and could only keep the field at all by virtue of their superior supply system which enabled them to remain concentrated, whereas the French, who lived off the country were compelled to disperse widely in order to survive. They were nevertheless capable of rapid concentrations for a particular object, so that any siege operations conducted by the British inevitably ran the risk of being overwhelmed by sheer weight of numbers. As a result, Wellington’s main preoccupation was what chance he had of snatching success before the French overcame their supply problems. Only by realising this did we understand his need for speed. Short cuts were dangerous in sieges yet without them Wellington would have lost many opportunities.

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