8th January 2019: 250 years since the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte, a new manual from Haynes celebrates his Grande Armée, widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest fighting forces ever deployed. Napoleon’s Military Machine Operations Manual looks at the success of Napoleon’s army and the practicalities of how it lived and fought.
Revolutionary and Napoleonic French forces scored a streak of historic victories against powerful coalition armies over a period of more than 15 years, many of those years under direct command of Napoleon himself. These victories gave France a vast Empire and an unprecedented grip on power across huge swathes of Europe, and established Napoleon’s reputation for strategic and organisational brilliance.
At its peak, the French Army had more than one million men in its ranks, commanded by officers in whom Napoleon placed a huge degree of trust and much autonomy. His troops were also a true multi-national force, drawn from allied and subjugated states of Europe.
The book looks closely at how this unprecedented military machine lived and campaigned, examining all aspects of Napoleon’s armed forces: officers, infantry, cavalry, artillery, support services and navy. The study ranges from individual soldiers –what they wore, ate and slept in, how they were armed and dressed – to the chain of command, recruitment, training, intelligence, logistics and communications.
The legacy of Napoleon’s army is also assessed, together with a discussion of his particular strengths and weaknesses, and how his gifts for organization and leadership influenced national armies around the world.
The book is heavily illustrated with maps, diagrams and photographs and includes regular feature boxes pinpointing specific topics of interest, such as musket design, rations, surgical procedures and uniform items.
Commenting on the book’s release, the author Chris McNab, who specialises in military history and technology, said: “The French Revolution was a turbulent and terrifying time, when the country was thrown into political and social upheaval. Napoleon, however, saw it as an opportunity to advance his military and political career. It was from these thunderous events that Napoleon began his ascendancy, moving swiftly through military ranks before taking over as head of the Army of Italy in March 1796.”
Chris continued: “Napoleon’s success came from a powerful mix of talents and abilities – personal bravery, an ability to inspire common troops, astonishing feats of memory and learning, an inexhaustible work ethic, and exceptional tactical vision on the battlefield. Today, his legacy lives on – his strategy and tactics are studied in every military college around the world”.
Napoleon’s Military Machine Operations Manual is priced at £22.99 and available from www.haynes.com. The book number is H6221. The ISBN is 9781785212215. It is published in January 2019.
About the author
Chris McNabis an author and editor specialising in military history and technology. To date, he has published more than 100 books, including Haynes manuals on the Chinook helicopter, 88mm Flak Gun, Siege Warfare and the Falklands War, plus titles such as A History of the World in 100 Weapons, The Book of the Poppy and Hitler’s Armies. He has also written extensively for major encyclopedia series, magazines and newspapers, and has appeared in TV documentaries for Sky, Discovery and History Channels. He lives in South Wales, UK.
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