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Napoleon's Mercenaries (ePub)

Foreign Units in the French Army Under the Consulate and Empire, 1799-1814

Military > Greenhill eBooks > Greenhill: Napoleonic

By Guy Dempsey
Greenhill Books
File Size: 15.3 MB (.epub)
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781784380199
Published: 15th February 2002


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This superb and comprehensive book details the foreign units which formed such an important part of Napoleon's forces. It examines each non-French unit in turn, giving an overview of the unit's origins, its organizational and combat history, its uniforms and standards, and details of the unit's eventual fate. Colorful accounts, taken from contemporary reports and memoirs, emphasize the qualities of the unit and throw light on what life was like for many of the foreign soldiers recruited into the Grande Armee.

Review as featured in

The Journal of Military History

Guy Dempsey has once again written and delivered an authoritative work on the Napoleonic period. Having two excellent uniform studies already to his credit, this superb volume, in my opinion, establishes the author as one of the leading Napoleonic scholars that is writing today.

The Grande Armee was an army of many nations and myriad combat and support units that were not native Frenchmen. This volume lists them all, covering their history, colors, uniforms, and commanders, and gives the historian, enthusiast, and wargamer a ready reference that is both easy to use and packed full of useful information.

Relying on much primary source material, the author tells a factual, highly intricate tale of the non-French units that followed Napoleon's eagles across Europe. These units were an integral part of the Grande Armee and were not allied units. Well-known and famous outfits such as the Swiss, whom St. Cyr considered 'stronger than nature' for their epic stand in the Berezina in 1812, Berthier's private army, the Neuchatel Battalion of Swiss, the famous Tirailleurs do Po and the equally famous, and deadly, Tirailleurs Corses, to the lesser known units such as the Croatian provisional units that served in Russia in 1812 and exotic creations such as the Greek and Albanian crowd that served well, or not, beside their French comrades-in-arms.

I can think of no other publication in English that does such a thorough job of putting into print and logical order dozens of regiments, battalions, and detachments that made up the foreign contingent of the Grande Armee. This magnificent volume will be the standard work in English on this subject for years to come.

This book is enthusiastically recommended.

Kevin F. Kiley, Amazon
 Guy Dempsey

About Guy Dempsey

GUY DEMPSEY has had a life-long interest in Napoleonic military history, with an emphasis on working with primary sources. He is the author of a number of authoritative works including Albuera 1811: The Bloodiest Battle of the Peninsular War.

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