Book Review:
Wellington's Peninsula Regiments:
The Light Infantry

By Mike Chappell

When many people think of British light infantry from the Napoleonic Wars the first unit that comes to mind would be the 95th Rifles.

The legendary sharpshooters in rifle green have grabbed the public's attention through such series as the Sharpe novels and movies, but there were other light infantry units that helped defeat Napoleon Bonaparte.

In Osprey's second title looking at Wellington's Peninsula regiments - The Light Infantry - the spotlight is turned upon regular light infantry regiments. They are the 43rd Monmouthshire, the 52nd Oxfordshire, the 51st 2nd Yorkshire West Riding, the 68th Durham Light Infantry and the 85th Bucks Volunteers.

Mike Chappell's look at the light infantry is excellent. There is no other word.

He details the how their art of war was lost in the reduction of the army following the loss of the American colonies and how the success of revolutionary France's skirmishers forced a major rethink.

Fortunately for Britain there were several excellent soldiers who could re-train the light infantry - including Sir John Moore and Colonel Kenneth Mackenzie - although more conservative opinions wanted to have regiments that could fight in both line and light infantry styles.

Chappell points out that despite the difficulties of mastering both tactical aspects of warfare, the British light infantry regiments performed superbly.

He looks at each of the regiments in turn and goes through the battles they fought, from Vimiero to Toulouse. In addition, he presents a fantastic series of paintings of their uniforms.

Wellington's Peninsula Regiments (2) The Light Infantry is yet another excellent title from Mike Chappell and Osprey.

- Richard Moore


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