Befreiungskriege 1813-14

Painting and modelling 28mm Napoleonic wargaming miniatures

More Saxon resources

Posted by Martin on February 18, 2008

Just a quick note to draw your attention to some more useful material ahead of the release of the first Calpe Saxons.

Peter F’s French friend Frederic Berjeaud has been researching and writing a book about the Saxons for some time. Frederic now has his own Web site where he’s selling draft versions of his book in sections. I’ve added details to the Saxon Resources page here and will also be updating the Calpe site with a link.

Secondly, avid browsers of the Befreiungskriege 1813-1814 Bookshop may have noticed that I’ve added Dawson, Dawson and Summerfield’s Napoleonic Artillery

Now there’s a right old ding-dong going on at TMP about this book which frankly does the two main protagonists (Kiley and Hollins) little credit. However, several people who’s opinions I hold in high regard rate this book despite the errors in contains. In particular, Peter F saw early versions of the book a couple of years ago and already has the published version in his library. He reports to me that the book contains excellent illustrations of Saxon artillery and is “the best book on Napoleonic artillery I have on my bookshelf and a must for anyone interested in the topic”.

Kiley has posted his own review of this book on Amazon and while you’re naturally welcome to form your own view about it and the motives behind it, for the sake of balance, you should also read Hollins comments in response.

If you do decide to buy this book (and I, for one, will be acquiring a copy) let me make a shameless plea that you do so via my online bookshop.

15 Responses to “More Saxon resources”

  1. Hello Martin

    A very interesting post … not that your other postings aren’t interesting of course! ☺

    Re the Napoleonic Artillery book. I made a half hearted attempt to find out about this book when it was first published … and failed! A bit pathetic when I have been in communication with Dr Summerfield, one of the authors. Now it appears that I need to obtain a copy at some stage – doh. Someone must pay. Hmmmm. Perhaps I’ll deduct the cost of the book from the cost of my Napoleonic Saxons as Peter F. is not blameless in this extra hobby expense. Then again, maybe not!! ☺

    BTW, I’m not sure why Napoleonics seems to cause such vitriolic dissention. Many seem to align themselves as pro Napoleon or anti Napoleon and they will not tolerate a word uttered against their ‘side’. And then personalities intrude and the grudges start … … …

    Re Frederic Berjeaud’s book. This seems like it would be a veritable minefield of information. It also seems like the costs would soon be starting to look fairly hefty if one was to purchase everything there is to purchase, and sadly I purchase in NZD. One wonders several ‘wonderings’.

    Firstly, will it all definitely be published in a book, and if so when. I am beginning to have inklings of the lead times in publishing and suspect that the book may not be available until well after the Calpe Saxons are released.

    Will English versions be available. Sadly French lessons were wasted on me and the web based translation offerings did turn out some strange English when I ran them over Frederic’s site.

    And I haven’t fathomed yet how to purchase copies, or the format they are supplied in. I expect I’ll get there.

    von Peter himself

  2. Craig said

    Hi All!

    I have taken the plunge and bought “Dawson, Dawson and Summerfield’s Napoleonic Artillery”. I have hopefully bought it through your shop, but with my skills, who knows?

    I decided to buy it as I have nothing specific on artillery and because of Mr Kiley’s “commendation”. If anyone is that concerned about a book competing with his own, to spend the time doing up such a review, it must be worthwhile having.

    Strange logic perhaps.

    I note there is a rather amusing review on his own book on Amazon now. I suppose “what goes around, comes around”.


    Craig Worsley


  3. Robert Swan said

    Indeed, Kiley doth seem to protest too much, methinks. His great haste in posting a review about a competing book to his own made me raise an eyebrow, to say the least. I may well order this book just to add to its sales figures.

  4. Dr Stephen Summerfield said

    Dear All
    I am one of the co-authors of the book above. Thank you for your kind comments. The war of attrition from Kevin Kiley has been hard for me.

    If you have any questions then I will attempt to answer them. We are currently writing a more extensive book on Lesser German States (Bavaria, Hesse Cassel, Hanover, Saxony, Westphalia and Wurttemberg) who had their own systems of artillery. Paul Dawson is starting the long struggle with sorting out what France actually used in the Napoleonic Wars. This was in the Main the AnXI system that was modified as the M1808 system.

    I use to wargame but I have been too busy writing books. My Prussian Infantry 1808-14 is currently at the publishers. The Cossack Hurrah (2005) and The Brazon Cross (2007) has been quite well received.

    No I am not trying to sell them.


  5. Martin said

    Hello Stephen,
    Thank you for gracing my blog with your presence. It’s really good to hear from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Kiley seems to have it in for several authors who’s only crime is to express views that differ to his own (Peter Hof. springs to mind as another of his regular targets).

    Of course, you realise that you’ve now whetted the appetites of my regular readers by mentioning the books your working on now. And this lot are like a dog with a bone when they think there’s someting new and good in the offing 🙂

    Please feel free to post details of the imminent Prussian Infantry book here. And if there’s any way in which we can be of assistance on your German States artillery book, let me know.

  6. Stephen Summerfield said

    Dear Martin
    Thank you for the offer. Please contact me offline. We can discuss sending you a draft. Moer eyes upon the subject is always welcome. I have the plans and drawn most of the guns, limbers and caissons. It is finding the technical data and comments upon what the readers would like to see. As you realise books take a considerable time to come together especially is you have a partner in crime.

    Well thank you for the complement. Being a former wargamer I have some idea of what we want. All the plans in the Napoleonic Artillery book were drawn to 1:32nd scale. We have now decided to use 1:24 (77mm), 1:30 (54mm) and 1:43rd (40mm). Comments welcome upon that. The publisher ignored our request to have to a set scale so we have mountain guns that seem out of proportion to the size on the page when they would be about 50-75mm long.

    We are thinking about starting the book in 1770 (post 7YW) does that seem reasonable. I can send you a flow diagram that is a starting point for a discussion of influences.

    As you probably realise the German States (Bavaria and Prussia particularly) and Russia are my main interests. As you realise that I am the visual and data rational one of the partnership. Yes there are niggles in the text of the book. The missing out of probably. But it shows the wares to the world and most are interested in the pretty pictures. Now these are correct and the data in the tables is fine with minor typos.

    Please contact me.


  7. Dave Hollins said

    Thanks for the “mention in despatches”. I took up this one with Kiley – despite the damage to myself – as I have been on the end of Kiley’s sniping and hatchet jobs myself since Marengo was published in 2000 (that is why I get a bit short and confrontational with him and his acolytes).

    I know all authors feel that only a third of their work ever gets published, but in the case of my Osprey on Austrian Artillery, the two actually fit together very well as DD&S have included pictures of objects I missed (hangs own head in shame!), but I did of course have much more space on the specific subject. I suspect the same may be true with other nation-specific books. This book must be the foundation and general ref work for the whole subject (including useful comparative info), from which you can then add more info with a nation-specific book like the 5 Ospreys or the Zschmodikovs.

    I had the absurdity with Kiley of being accused of bad sourcing over a Men-At-Arms, where I used the official and contemporary works, while he was relying on Knotel the Younger copying Ottenfeld (end 19th century) and in one case, an illustration of a unit 40 years after the one under discussion!

    Specifically on artillery, I had annoyed a few people by pointing out that so-called Gribeauval “innovations” already existed on Lichtenstein’s guns and so, got the Kiley “recommended despite the errors” review also turned on DD&S. My Amazon comment gets wiped regularly, but if anyone missed it, this is a hatchet job by the same Kiley, who wrote the 2005 book “Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars”, which he “forgot” to mention. That book, in which he made up the contents of Gribeauval’s 1762 report, listed a huge bibliography of unread works and produced opinion as fact, all based on about a dozen English or translated works, must now hold a record for the Napoleonic book most rapidly rendered obselete.

  8. Cyril said

    Frederic’s plates are wonderful but is there something wrong with me if they inspire me to paint Saxon hussars with plumes? I hadn’t realized how awesome those uniforms were. Let’s launch a campaign to persuade Calpe to make at least one plumed hussar! He would really make a unit in campaign dress sparkle ( &selling more unit).

  9. Raymond Incognito said

    Well, delete this if it’s too negative, but I don’t understand how anyone could recommend Kiley’s book. For starters, he cannot compose English exposition, and it’s not an “editing” problem. Editors don’t get paid to compose. The book has no focus, spending most of its pages either on Gribeauval and the changes in technology in the 18th century, both of which are deeply covered in academia (and can be googled up), but which were old news by 1795; or on potted battle descriptions where artillery played a notable role. When he does address artillery as used in the Napoleonic Wars, it’s not comprehensive, insightful, or very convincing.

    DD&S will probably have to live down that cannister claim, but they should have an easy walk-over otherwise.

    I remain,
    R. Incognito

  10. Martin said

    “Raymond”: thank you for your observations and, as you can see, I’ve decided not to censor your comment.

    However, I’d like to encourage you to respect the honourable spirit that all other commenters on my blog follow as a matter of course. Firstly, you’ll notice that nobody here hides behind pseudonyms. Even those most directly involved and affected by the ongoing debate “in another place” about these books have the decency to announce themselves openly here – see comments above from Dave Hollins and Stephen Summerfield, for example.

    Secondly, critique and debate are healthy but I prefer to see them conducted in a constructive fashion. If you do have criticisms of Kiley’s book (or anything else – like my limited painting skills, for example) feel free to air them here but consider how you might illustrate them with concrete examples and phrase them to encourage the recipient to learn, grow and improve next time around.

    I haven’t read Kiley’s book so I’m not well placed to comment on your specific criticisms of it with perhaps one exception: in my view, it’s legitimate for any book on Napoleonic (and Revolutionary) artillery to devote some of its attention to 18th Century ordnance. Napoleonic artillery did not emerge from a vacuum. All aspects of it – hardware, ammunition, tactics, the emergence of horse artillery and even Napoleon’s own education – have their roots in the preceding century. I draw your attention to the flyleaf copy in DD&S which states: “The great development of artillery in this period was driven by the experience of of the Seven Years War (1756-1763) and American Revolution (1775-1783)”.

  11. Raymond Incognito said

    Honour? wasn’t that what our more hot-headed forebearers ritually murdered each other over?-) Both Hollins and Summerfield have to watch their back on the forums, and I’d just as soon avoid that. I figure you can always spank me if I get out of line.

    I wasn’t intending more than an observation, but one I think will register with anyone who has read the book. Which isn’t to say I haven’t reviewed it…

    I quite agree that a concise summary of 18th century industrialization and Gribeauval (et al) ‘s contributions is quite appropriate for a survey of Napoleonic artillery, but anything more than that runs into the fact that these subjects have already been extensively investigated by academia, and you can’t offer anything new. Kiley seems (probably an exageration of my memory) to spend half his book on prior developments.


  12. Anthony Dawson said


    I am one of the authors of this work – I wrote the pieces on British and Hannoverian artillery, mountain guns as well as ignition systems, ammunition etc.

    The British section was written from mostly unpublished Manuscript sources at Woolwich Arsenal or the PRO in London. What amazes me is that hardly any of it appears to have been studied properly or understood, espeically with regards to the block trail. It still needs more work as we do not really know what it looked like during that early period – most of the pictures and technical drawings are from the 1840s or later – and also there is the fact that the Royal Artillery was using various generations of bracket trails as well. Again, there are no drawings of these either the Congreve design or Butler design.

    The section on Cannister shot was written from reports on the “new” Gribeauval cannister which says that the previous type used to “crumple” and not break up, the balls would melt from the temperature of discharge or break up into fragments from the force of discharge or impact. Being an organ builder and used to working wtih tin and soldering I made up some cannister shot at work and its a very solid thing, tin plate having the same or similar properties to mild steel plate. Shrapnel says that the cannister didnt always break, which is why he put a bursting charge in it and his method of cannister/case shot was to fire it “more collectedly” and over a greater distance.

    Okay we might have overstated the cannister shot leaving the gun and breaking upon impact with the ground, but the only way to find out how it works is to make some and fire it, with a high speed camera.


  13. Dave Hollins said

    “Shrapnel says that the cannister didnt always break, which is why he put a bursting charge in it and his method of cannister/case shot was to fire it “more collectedly” and over a greater distance.”

    I think this is where you have made the error – the firing method shown in your book is that used for shell. Shrapnel was trying to deal with the problems with shell in creating his “exploding shell with musketballs”, which could be fired further as it exploded in flight.

    Just to keep everyone up to date, Kiley has repeated his hatchet job on Amazon US. Jealousy is a terrible thing. The most ironic part is that KK makes an issue over the invention of the bricole – precisely the subject, which started the show the rubbish in his own book.

  14. Dave Hollins said

    Sorry! Been talking to Stepehen Summerfield and the upshot of this is that while canister was designed to split, the Austro-British designs being rather more effective, it often didn’t and so French and Russian rounds could hit the ground with about 50% of the balls still in them. Shrapnel was trying to include an in-flight charge to ensure a split in some kind of round.

    The Austrian design is better than the French as it has a crumple zone at the back, where the charge was secured, so the sabot would go into that and so increase the internal pressure of the tin.

  15. Martin said

    Thanks Dave. That makes this a good opportunity to refer people to this relevant thread over on the GdeB forums.

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