Osprey Men-at-Arms 199 : Napoleon's Specialist Troops
Though less celebrated than the infantry and cavalry, Napoleon's 'specialist' troops - artillery, engineers and supporting services - were indispensable elements without which no army could have operated, and frequently assumed greater significance than the line regiments. Indeed, having suffered least from the emigration of Royalist officers, the artillery was the best element of the early Republican armies, the nucleus of the old Royal artillery serving with distinction in the early campaigns such as Valmy. Thanks to the reforms instituted by Gribeauval towards the end of the Ancient Régime, Napoleon inherited an expert and generally very effective artillery arm. Paradoxically, despite one of the most famous Napoleonic maxims: 'An army marches on its stomach', the commissariat was among the lest efficient branches of his army. Foraging, the forcible requisition of rations from the countryside, was a hallmark of French armies from the Revolutionary Wars, largely due to inadequate systems of supply, although in practice this allowed the French a rapid mobility impossible for their opponents, who were shackled by their supply trains. Philip Haythornwaite examines the organisation and uniform of these specialist troops accompanied by numerous illustrations including eight full page colour plates by Bryan Fosten.
- Supply and Commissariat
- Imperial Guard Artillery
- Medical Services
- The Plates