Posted by Martin on December 2, 2010
Just a couple of disparate but potentially interesting things I’ve come across over the last week or so.
Firstly, for TV viewers in the UK, BBC4 offered a rare Prussian history treat this week with a documentary about Frederick the Great. Obviously the time period is slightly earlier than the one in which I’m mainly interested but you can’t really understand the Prussia of the Napoleonic period without some background about how it was shaped by Alte Fritz. This programme was a real eye-opener for me and I thoroughly recommend it. If you missed it, you can still catch it on BBC iPlayer until 10th December 2010.
The other tasty morsel is the latest (second) issue of Digby Smith’s and Stephen Summerfield’s Smoothbore Ordnance Journal. There’s a lot of fascinating articles for artillery fans in this issue but the highlight for me is this article entitled Saxon Horse Artillery 1810-15.
Posted in Forward Patrol | Tagged: Frederick the Great, Prussia, Saxony, Stephen Summerfield | 1 Comment »
Posted by Martin on November 23, 2009
I’ve been having an occasional correspondence with Stephen Summerfield over the last couple of months as he’s been putting the final touches to his next book. Over the weekend, I received final publication details from Stephen along with a PDF of some sample pages.
The book is entitled Saxon Artillery 1733-1827 and will be published by Partizan Press, hopefully this coming December though the run-in to Christmas might affect that date. When Stephen started on this book, it was envisaged as an 80-90 page paperback but it has grown into a 216 page hardback monster. The cover blurb reads:
The strong links of Saxony with the Polish crown caused her to become the battleground for the competing powers of Austria, Prussia and Russia for centuries. Efficient artillery was essential but in the 1740s was
neglected due to the prohibitive costs of ordnance and maintaining a standing army. This contributed by the annexation of Saxony by Frederick the Great in 1756 and the absorption of her soldiers into the Prussian Army. The remnants of the Saxon Army fought with distinction with their Austrian and French allies.
This unhappy experience of the Seven Years War (1756-63) led to the M1766 Hoyer system that was first used in the War of Bavarian Succession (1777-78). The gun carriage and elevating system of the M1766 4-pdr Schnellfeuergeschütz regimental gun probably influenced the design of the Austrian M1780 Wurst guns. The M1766 Granadstück based upon the Russian Unicorn was a long barrelled howitzer that could fire an early form of spherical case [Shrapnel].
The 1809 campaign showed the Saxon Army and its ordnance had to be transformed from that suited for 18th Century to Napoleonic warfare. The main influence on the M1810 gun tubes was the French AnXI with the carriages derived from those of the Saxon M1766 Hoyer System. These excellent guns performed well in 1812 and especially at Gross Beeren (23 August 1813) where they dismounted 9 Prussian guns.
The century of Saxon ordnance development is illustrated with 66x 1:24 scale plans, 64x 1:30 scale plans and 64 details drawn from contemporary sources. These are enhanced by 34 photographs, 38 contemporary plates and 32 uniform plates with 78 separate uniforms shown in colour. In addition there are 3 maps, 34 OOBs and 22 tables.
So you can see that the scope of this work is extensive. If the sheer scale of this book and the fact that it covers a period far greater than the Napoleonic wars puts you off purchasing, then there’s another option open to you. Stephen has been working with figure painter Ged Cronin to produce a series of colour plates/plans of Napoleonic Saxon artillery equipment. Some of ther plates are 1:60 scale and some are 1:24 scale and they come with a variety of additional notes and historical uniform plates. Contact Ged for more details.
Posted in Forward Patrol, Reading List | Tagged: artillery, Ged Cronin, Partizan Press, Saxony, Stephen Summerfield | 4 Comments »
Posted by Martin on January 15, 2009
Following on from my last post, you’ll probably know that Dr. Stephen Summerfield is an occasional commenter here at BfK. After I mentioned the publication of his two new Prussian books, we had some e-mail correspondence which has resulted in what I hope will prove to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Stephen sent me final drafts of both books and offered to let me choose a short extract from each to make available for people to see here at BfK with his and the publisher’s consent. I’m not going to disguise that this is something of a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back” thing but I’m also hoping that this will also perform a public service for those of you who are considering adding either or both of these two volumes to your bookshelves and would like a sneak preview of them before deciding to part with hard earned cash. I know there’s a fair degree of curiosity already because questions about both books have already started to appear over at TMP.
If things go as intended, you’ll get an advance view of what the books are like, Stephen and his publisher will pick up some publicity / sales and I’ll get a boost to BfK’s traffic and reputation.
So the only remaining difficulty was to choose which extracts to ask Stephen to let me have. I’ve spent the last couple of evenings mulling this over rather like the proverbial kid in a sweet shop and it’s been a tough choice so forgive me if I haven’t picked extracts of direct interest to you. I confess that in the end I allowed my own selfish motiviations to drive my choice. As regular readers will know, I’m gradually trying to paint up the units of Borstell’s 5th brigade so I’ve chosen extracts relevant to that:
These extracts are PDF files and also include the Tables of Contents for each volume.
Both books are published by and available from Partizan Press which is a part of Caliver Books. So all that remains to say is “thank you” to Stephen and to Dave Ryan at the publishers for giving permission for these extracts to be made available here.
Posted in Forward Patrol, Reading List | Tagged: Books, Prussia, Stephen Summerfield | 7 Comments »
Posted by Martin on January 10, 2009
New book by Stephen Summerfield
Just a quick heads up to let you know that Dr. Stephen Summerfield’s two new books on the Prussian army have been published by Partizan Press. Firstly there’s Prussian Regular & Guard Infantry 1808-1840 Vol 1: Line & Guard 1808-1814, which is a 210-page hardback with over 140 colour illustrations of flags and uniforms. Secondly, there’s Prussian Regular & Guard Infantry 1808-1840 Vol 2: Jäger, Reserve, Freikorps & New Regiments 1813-1840, also weighing it at 210-pages in hardback.
Both books are priced at £29.50 from Caliver Books. I know that Stephen has been working on this pair for many years on and off and has had assistance along the way from several experts in the field including Peter F., Peter Hofschroer and Oliver Schmidt. So, while I haven’t yet seen them myself, I feel pretty confident that these have every chance of proving to be the definitive English-language works on the subject.
Posted in Forward Patrol, Reading List | Tagged: Books, Prussia, Stephen Summerfield | 3 Comments »