Napoleon's Imperial Guard - The Cavalry...

 

...Uniforms & Equipment, from Pen & Sword

 

Title: Napoleon's Imperial Guard - The Cavalry

Author: Paul L Dawson

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52670-896-0

 

This new 370-page hardback book takes a close, and detailed look at some of the most impressive and colourful military uniforms and equipment that you can find. Unlike more modern wars, the Napoleonic era was before the advent of the camera, so we need to rely on alternative way in recording what they looked like. What we are presented with by author Paul Dawson is quite stunning. He has been abe to present us with a lot of information from French archives which has not, I believe, been seen in English language before.

First of all, let me simply list the different chapters, so you know what units are included. It starts with an expanation of the Administration of the Regiments, and then Grenadiers-a-Cheval; Chasseurs-a-Cheval; The Marmelukes; Empress Dragoons; Polish  Lancers; Dutch Lancers; Lithuanian Lancers & Tatars; Eclaireurs; Elite Gendarmes; Horse Artillery; Artillery Train; Equipment Train; Gendarmes d'Ordonnance; Attached Regiments; and the Royal Corps of Cavalry. Each chapter has an amazing level of detail, with tables showing the stock items of uniforms, buttons, saddles and so on which were in stock with the individual regiments when they had to submit returns. Added to it are not just period paintings but also a section of modern artwork along with colour images of original material samples that have been kept so we get to see their real colours, plus a superb selection of images of preserved items of unorms and equipment which are preserved in museums and private collections.

For the Napoleonic era historian, re-enactors, modellers and wargamers painting their armies, this is a reference which I don't think can be beaten.  The cavalry were amongst the most colourful uniforms of the time, and with the added size of being mounted on horseback, certainly the most impressive. I think if you have an interest in the uniforms and equipment of the Napoleonic wars then this deserves a place on your reference bookshelf.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin