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Review for Wellington and the Vitoria Campaign

Author/Director : Carole Dival

Format : Book

This book tells the story of a defeated, demoralized rabble turned round to become, in Wellington’s own opinion, ‘never a finer army’. The rebuild came through the restoration of discipline and morale largely by giving the troops rest, recuperation and logistic support in food and clothing. This was followed by intense training. Only then came the advance towards Vitoria. Wellington’s careful planning of the positioning of his army columns consistently wrong footing the French. Also his use of Portuguese and Spanish troops in a more integrated way strengthened his manoeuvres. Recording this could have resulted in a very dry book but the lively writing and the use of first-hand accounts from Allies and French troops makes it most readable and understandable.
The text is supported by five very good maps of the campaign and one map of the battlefield. The battlefield map has some faults in that it shows Soult as commanding the Army of the South and it does not show all the places named in the text. For a fluid battle like Vitoria three or four maps showing the development would have been welcome. There is also a nice set of illustrations including the major protagonists. Six very useful appendices showing strengths and casualties round up the information.
The value of this book is in the description of the whole campaign while the battle description gives a real flavour of a Peninsular battlefield. We recommend this very good read to a wide audience.

Published by : Pen & Sword Military, 2021
ISBN : 978 1 52677 402 6

Review last updated : 2021-11-23 10:25:02

See also : other "Napoleonic Wars" reviews