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Osprey Essential Histories 7 : The French Revolutionary Wars

The French Revolutionary Wars marked a radical break from the conflicts of the past both in political and military terms. The first great ideological struggle in Europe challenged not only the balance of power but also the monarchies that had defined continental politics since the Middle Ages. France achieved more than temporary political hegemony over her immediate neighbours: it laid the foundations for the greater victories of the Napoleonic Wars and remained the dominant military power until eclipsed by Germany in 1871. Europe's great powers formed two powerful coalitions against France, yet force of numbers, superior leadership and the patriotic fervour of France's citizen-soldiers not only defeated each in turn, but closed the era of small, professional armies fighting for limited political objectives. Here lay the model for the mass armies of future conflicts. This period produced commanders whose names remain a by-word for excellence in leadership to this day, Napoleon and Nelson. From Italy to Egypt Napoleon consistently demonstrated his strategic genius and mastery of tactics in battles including Rivoli, the Pyramids and Marengo. Nelson's spectacular sea victories at the Nile and Copenhagen were foretastes of Trafalgar and more than a century of British naval supremacy. This book examines the resources, strategies and commanders of the rival powers, the tactics employed on land and at sea, as well as the innovations in weaponry and technology which shaped this conflict. It considers the lives of civilians as well as ordinary soldiers and sailors, their duties, hardships and individual exploits in combat. Text by Gregory Fremont-Barnes.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • Background to War : Historic Rivalries
  • Warring Sides : Opposing Strengths
  • Outbreak : A Clash of Ideologies
  • The Fighting : The First and Second Coalitions
  • Portrait of a Sailor : William Dillon : A Midshipman in the Royal Navy
  • The World around War : The Impact of Conflict
  • Portrait of a Civilian : Emma Hamilton : British Ambassadress at Naples
  • How the War Ended : Hohenlinden and Copenhagen
  • Conclusion and Consequences

 

Osprey Essential Histories


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