The King's German Legion (1)
publishes a very comprehensive list of Napoleonic titles in a
standard format, packed with a combination of detailed text and
series is an important source of information for historians, modellers
and wargamers, aside from being enjoyable and interesting reading
two volumes from Mike Chappell are no exception.
1 looks at the story of the King's German Legion during the period
from 1803 until 1812, beginning with the French occupation of
Hanover and the disbanding of the Hanoverian Army.
Hanoverian soldiers made their way to England, there to be formed
into the KGL. Initially it was thought that enough troops would
be available to raise a regiment of foreign infantry, but recruiting
was so good that the force developed into one of all arms.
two volumes are not just an account of the KGL on campaign in
the Peninsular and at Waterloo, but also the story of the force
both on campaign and when stationed in Britain.
author details where the regiments of the Legion were stationed,
such as Lymington and Hilsea barracks in Hampshire, and Weymouth
in Devon at which were stationed the cavalry and Horse Artillery.
King George III took a keen interest in the legion and often visited
1803 and 1805 the legion developed into a force of two battalions
of Light Infantry, four of Line Infantry, two Horse batteries
and three Foot batteries, plus a Corps of Engineers. The cavalry
consisted of one regiment of Heavy and one of Light Dragoons.
These regiments eventually adopted British regulations and commands
were given in English.
first taste of action came with the brief expedition to Hanover
in 1805-06, which did aid recruiting into the KGL.
is a section on the character and organisation of the Legion,
in which the professionalism of the officers is described, and
how the ranks were recruited. Many recruits were obtained from
the War Prisons in Britain, and the author implies that these
recruits resulted in a lowering of standards within the rank and
file of the KGL units.
I would dispute this reasoning, as prisoners of war were soldiers
and seamen who had found themselves in a situation whereby they
became captive. Many of them were professionals and enlisted into
British service partly to escape the prison system and partly
to return to the profession they knew. Having been captured did
not make them any less able as soldiers. As the subject of POWs
is one dear to my heart I thought that I would dispute this relatively
minor aspect of what is an otherwise superb work!
is very easy to forget that the regiments that fought throughout
the Napoleonic Wars were also stationed throughout the British
Isles. The KGL was no exception, and Mike Chappell relates the
story of units of the Legion stationed in Ireland. An incident
occurred when the 1st Light Battalion and a squadron of the 1st
Dragoons KGL became embroiled with four companies of Irish Militia
and a skirmish ensued in which casualties were incurred by both
King's German Legion took part in the campaigns in Pomerania and
at Copenhagen, which ensured that they were experienced troops
before they were sent to the Iberian theatre.
1 of The King's German Legion describes these other theatres in
which British/KGL forces were involved before relating in detail
the story of the Legion in the Peninsula, such as the many battles
in which the KGL infantry fought, and the famous action of the
Legion's Dragoons at Garcia Hernandez when they broke three French
Epilogue in Volume 1 details the continuing undercover operation
conducted by Colonel von der Decken to obtain recruits from enemy-occupied
Hanover. He performed this operation from the British-occupied
island of Heligoland.
with all Osprey books there is a very comprehensive look at the
uniforms and equipment of the units covered. The artwork in The
King's German Legion is a combination of plates by such artists
as Richard Knotel plus superb new paintings by Mike Chappell that
cover all aspects of the subject, from the KGL on campaign to
the Legion at their depots in England, in various types of dress,
and covering all arms.
2 relates the story of the KGL during the latter part of the Peninsular
Campaign and at Waterloo, with a large section devoted to the
important role this fine formation played during the 1815 campaign.
The book ends with the disbandment of the Legion in 1816 and relates
how various units of the Imperial German Army in 1914 could trace
their lineage back to the King's German Legion.
volume has yet more excellent artwork by the author showing the
Legion on campaign with various views of the equipment they used.
There is an interesting plate showing musicians of the Line and
Light Infantry Battalions.
volumes are comprehensive accounts of one of the finest fighting
formations that Britain possessed during the Napoleonic Wars.
The combination of detailed history and splendid artwork make
these two volumes excellent value for money.
recommended for historians, modellers and Wargamers, all of who
will find The King's German Legion by Mike Chappell a valuable
addition to their libraries.