Napoleon's Imperial Guard
...Organisation, Uniforms and Weapons, from Pen & Sword
Title: Napoleon's Imperial Guard
Author: Gabriele Esposito
Publisher: Pen & Sword
The sub-title of this new book clearly tells you what to find in this one, the organisation, uniforms and weapons of the many varied elements of the Young, Middle and Old Guard at the time of Napoleon. A 143-page hardback with plenty to interest the Napoleonic era historian and modeller/wargamer alike.
For many I suspect the first thing that comes to mind if someone mentions the Old Guard are the blue uniforms and the tall bearskins of the infantry, but as this book explains, there is so much more to learn. Napoleon expanded the scope and size of the Old Guard over his years of ruling France. They were well provided for, and given the most elaborate and impressive uniforms and equipment. After the Introduction there are 13 chapters which detail the various elements of Old, Middle and Young Guard units, not only how they were employed but with detailed descriptions of their uniforms and equipment. As well as the Foot Guard, not all the others were necessarily Frenchmen. We see Polish, Dutch, German and Lithuanian Lancers, along with the Empress Dragoons, Mamelukes and Tatars, the Sailors and Gendarmes and then at the end, the Artillery and the Train. Each chapter is well illustrated with colour artwork, all of which come from the New York Public Library, especially from the Vinkhuijzen Collection of Military Uniforms.
Super colour plates and hence a great reference for modellers/wargamers for these magnificent, and often elaborate uniforms. Add these to the detailed text which describes them and gives more background to the assortment of Guard units and how they were employed in the service of their Emperor. Recommended.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.