The Imperial Guard of the 1st Empire, 1...

...The Foot Soldiers, from Heimdal, via Casemate Books

Title:  The Imperial Guard of the First Empire - 1. The Foot Soldiers.

Author: Andre Jouineau and Jean-Marie Mongin

Publisher:  Heimdal

ISBN:  978-2-84048-495-0

One for the Napoleonic Wars historian, re-enactor, wargamer and modeller.  A 176-page hardback this is packed with beautiful colour artwork along with captions and equally useful supportive text which gives even more detail to the uniform and equipment seen in the colourful uniform illustrations, covering the Guard over the period from 1800 to 1815.  Originally in French but for this edition, all translated into English language thanks to Alan Mckay. 

It does start with some background on the history and structure of the Imperial Guard, who were the elite of Napoleon's units.  What is especially useful is that this covers all the different elements of the Imperial Guard.  Just to pick out a few, they include the King's Constitutional Guard, the Guard of the National Assembly and Grenadiers of the Garde Consulaire.  The topic for the book is Foot Soldiers, but there are some illustrations of mounted figures in different parts of the book, as officers were mounted.  The detail is not only in the colourful uniforms but even down to the design of shirts and longjohns, breeches and shoes.  Uniforms include Full Dress, Social and Instructional Dress as well as wearing overcoats.  Not only the rank and file grenadiers, but also NCOs and Officers abd particular troops such as the Head of the Column, where flags and banners are also featured with some lovely artwork illustrations.  Then we get to the musicians, drummers, fife players and drum majors.  So it goes on, covering other specific units such as the Dutch Grenadiers, Sappers, the Tirailleurs and the green jacketed flanquer grenadiers and lots more.  As well as the artwork there are also pages of explanatory notes on all the units and their uniforms as well.  

For the modeller this really is has a wealth of ideal references and I am sure it will be of interest to the wargamer, Napoleonic Wars historian and re-enactor alike.  The artwork which fills this book is a joy to see, and I would say a pleasure to look through simply from the artistic point of view.  If this is book 1, covering the Foot Soldiers, we evidently have more books to look forward to as well for the future.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin