Artwork by Christa Hook
just transported the defeated French out of Portugal, the British
army - now under the command of Sir John Moore - was ordered to
assist Spain's military break the hold of France over its domains.
in the British forces was ordinary, but still far better than
that of its erstwhile allies. Spain was in chaos with a French
king, Joseph Bonaparte, upon the throne and its armed forces divided
and poorly led.
followed as Napoleon Bonaparte himself led a massive new army
into Spain determined to restore order.
was into this potential disaster that the British army marched
on its way to some glorious victories and a horrendous retreat
that almost destroyed it.
it is this part of the Peninsular War that Philip Haythornthwaite
has brilliantly covered in Corunna 1809. I say brilliant
in that this excellent and detailed study is hugely readable and
despite distractions of such minor things as preparing Christmas
dinner, I finished the book in one sitting.
examines the origins of the Corunna campaign, the leaders of the
various armies with terrific potted biographies of the main protagonists
and has included some hard-to-find portraits of them.
then goes into the armies themselves - French, British and Spanish
- and includes their orders of battle.
there, Haythornthwaite takes us on the road with Moore and his
troops and explains the reasons for the decisions that he made
that came very close to disaster.
are first-class maps showing you the routes of march of the armies
and of course some of the 3D views of the battles of Sahagun and
Corunna, which are both covered in an easily understood fashion.
addition, Haythornthwaite has included images of key positions
and sites and artists Christa Hook has done some superb action
as in all the Campaign series there is a look at the battlefield
today - an invaluable help for people wishing to tour the site.
1809 is arguably the best of the Campaign series.