Napoleon's Imperial Guard - The Infantry...

 

...Uniforms & Equipment, from Pen & Sword

 

Title: Napoleon's Imperial Guard - The Infantry

Author: Paul L Dawson

Publisher: Frontline Books

ISBN: 978-1-52670-191-6

 

A companion book to the authors' separate title on the Cavalry, and another equally stunning reference. The pair of these books really have benefited from access to some amazingly detailed records held in French archives. These even go down to a level where it includes regimental returns, which in this case which even list the numbers of items of uniform and equipment elements held at particular times in their history.
After the Introduction to set the scene, the 475-page hardback is divided into 29 chapters, all packed with detail. Far to many to try and list them here, but to give you an idea of what to expect they include Organisation and Operation of an Infantry Regiment: Staff of the Imperial Guard: Grenadiers-a-Pied: Velites and Fusiliers: Cohort-Conscripts: Tirailleurs and Flanquer-Grenadiers: Uniforms of the Young Guard-Grenadiers: Ancillary Services: Marines: Engineers, Administration and Veterans and then all rounded off with 'The Death of the Guard'. Each chapter gives a brief historical background to the unit that is covered, and then fine detail of the uniforms and equipment they used. Throughout the book there are a host of illustrations. These include a section of Keith Rocco Colour Plates, while the rest include colour artwork along with lots of modern photos which show in super detail things like swords, hats and other uniform items that are still held in museums and private collections. Some show their age, but still provide an invaluable reference on Napoleon's Imperial Guard. With the photos of the swords, the detail of the engraving is beautiful.
While books like this are not cheap, you can sometimes find them with a discount on the publishers website. For re-enactors, Napoleonic historians, wargamers and modellers alike, I think this is the best reference book on this famous group of troops you could wish for, and it deserves a place on your reference bookshelf.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

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Robin