Book Review:
Napoleon's Artillery

By Robert Wilkinson-Latham
Artwork by
Michael Roffe


As an artilleryman, Napoleon Bonaparte was certain that it was by cannons that battles were won.

His Emperor's Daughters, as they were known, were one of the key parts to his armies and his long run of battlefield successes.

Napoleon Bonaparte was determined to ensure that if his big guns could not outnumber the enemy's, then they would at least be better served by a corps of gunners and artillery officers who were professionally trained.

In Napoleon's Artillery, author Robert Wilkinson-Latham details the organisation, equipment, uniforms and campaigns of the French artillery.

The artillery suffered greatly during the early years of the Wars through losing many experienced men who refused to swear allegiance to the new order, but came back bigger and stronger than ever with professional artillery schools and training.

Wilkinson-Latham goes into the type of cannons used, their crew and firing structures and the reforms that led to an armaments industry that could boast more than 250 ironworks in Paris alone.

People interested in the artillery of Bonaparte's allies will get good information on those of Switzerland, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, Baden and Wurttemberg to name but a few.

The campaigns are seen from an artilleryman's point of view and cover three periods from The Revolutionary Wars (1792 to 1804), the main Napoleonic Wars (1805 to 1815) and the 100 Days Campaign (1815).

Napoleon's Artillery is an excellent guide to the big guns of the Emperor and how it played such an important role in the expansion of French empire.

- Richard Moore


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