Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Wellesley Versus Junot in Portugal 1808 - An E-book Review

This short booklet, entitled Wellington Versus Junot in Portugal, 1808,  briefly recounts  the story of the battles of Rolica and Vimeiro in 1808, at the beginning of British direct military support to the Portuguese and Spanish against Napoleon's invading armies. According to the blurb, it is a re-working of an old booklet published many years ago by the writer, Mick Sayce. 

The main content starts with an overview of the general situation at the time, in particular the formation of the British force, then quickly moves in to the details of the Battle of Rolica and then the Battle of Vimiero. I would describe the content as roughly equivalent to that found in an Osprey guide. There is a moderately detailed description of the fighting, a reasonably comprehensive order of battle with strengths and commanders down to brigade level. Most usefully, he gives details of the actual composition of the French artillery, which I don't think I had seen before. The author tries to give some details of the formation and manoeuvres down to unit level, which will interest those concerned with such matters. The text is accompanied by plain but clear maps. The results of the battle are dealt with quite summarily: a few paragraphs describe the lack of follow-up and the Covention of Cintra. Losses are detailed for the armies involved, but not broken down to the level of individual units except in a few specific cases, which was a pity. It doesn't quote any primary sources directly: it clearly isn't aimed at that level of historical detail.
There are some appendices which give some brief biographical information on the commanders of both sides, more information on the orders of battle of both sides, some details on the use of shrapnel by the British and a bibliography.
The booklet is clear and reasonably well-written. I think it could be reasonably described as like an Osprey but without the pretty pictures and maps. To those enthusiasts familiar with Oman's Historyof the Peninsular War, supplemented with the monographs on the Napoleon Series, there will not be that much new here. I think the readers who will get most from it would be those wanting a level of detail equivalent to a feature-length magazine article (or monograph in a collection of articles) at a price rather lower than that of such a magazine.

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