Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Army of Frederick the Great by Christopher Duffy

Stokes Schwartz of the Grand Duchy of Stolen (see links on right) asked if I'd post a review summary of the book The Army of Frederick the Great. I highly recommend it after just the bits I've been able to read the last couple of days. Loads of information.

I mentioned in my last post the diagram of a Prussian infantry battalion formation of eight platoons in battle line. The platoons are represented as rectangles, but the position of each NCO, Lieutenant, Captain, Standard Bearer, Drummer, Woodwind player is identified. If I were to make one complaint, it would be that the identities of the NCOs and officers are not noted such as to indicate what the specific ranks of the NCOs are, and which part of the battalion they're attached to. That said, this may actually be intentional, because according to the text the Prussian battalions were administered as 4 companies, but when mustered for battle they were divied out into 8 platoons without apparent regard for their company structure, so men might find themselves in a platoon commanded by an officer they barely knew. Still would have been nice to have a rank indication for NCOs at least :>

The book is filled with information, including a section that lists every regiment of the Prussian army, along with varying levels of detail as to its station, uniforms, name changes it went through, and combat history. It also identifies which grenadier battalions its grenadier company was assigned to in different years.

Additional diagrams include the various deployment methods into battle line or square, with text describing the evolution of the former and how it was used, as well as several good maps of important battles of the Prussian army in the period.

There are a lot of details in the text, describing the development of the army, the equipment and uniforms and how they were changed as well as the benefits and negatives of them. Training methods, discipline, Frederick's relationship with his troops...the book is around 270 pages, and pretty packed.

I'm seriously considering getting the Maria Theresa's Army companion book, also by Duffy.


Snickering Corpses said...

An important note I should add, from what I've seen in reviews. The edition that I received was the first edition, whereas the one Alte Fritz mentioned was the second edition. Page numbers vary greatly between the two, as it appears the publishers significantly reorganized the book.

Stokes Schwartz said...

Thanks Jonathan!

I've always heard these are terrific books if one is into the SYW or 18th century. You summary matches that. I might just have to get one or both books for summertime reading. Thanks again.

Best Regards,


Snickering Corpses said...

You're quite welcome, Stokes. I've found it for as cheap as 18.50 in the US for the first edition. Second edition I've only seen currently at OMM for around $35 or so.