Author
Robert Burnham
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
The Peninsular campaign has been researched with various degrees of skill and zeal for decades. Looking at any new offering it is an obvious thought; What’s left to write about?

The author has assembled a first class set of historical data, photographs of the ground, maps and contemporary accounts. The angle of approach is a key part of the book. Robert Burnham has sought to demonstrate how the Light Division was turned into one of the finest fighting forces of the Napoleonic Wars. The Light Division was centred on the 43rd, 52nd and 95th regiments as any passing Green Jacket will remind one, However the 1st KGL, 1st 2nd and 3rd Cacadores are covered as well as RHA ,14th and 16th Lt Dragoons. The book is arranged in 16 chapters in broadly chronological order. The final chapter looks at what happened in later years to some of those named , a definite thought provoker for further reading.

The serious nature of the work can readily be deduced by the appendices, name and general indices, bibliography and sources list including historical file location. This is a book that gives a good read for the casual reader but is really aimed at those seeking to improve their existing knowledge of the campaign. The controversy over Crauford’s conduct is well handled, particularly for including Crauford’s own post combat report after Coa (Appendix 5)

The origins of The Light Division have been well commented on by others , however, the detailed treatment of the war of the outposts is excellent, informative and easy to enjoy at the same time. A good example of sub unit tactics ,many of which are still basic military skills. The battle of the Torre Vedras is skilfully dissected.

Maps are relevant and properly marked with tac symbols to allow swift absorption ,some of the areas are also illustrated with good quality glossy photographs. The printing by Pen and Sword is to their normal high standard. The book runs to 429 pages with a £30 price tag although there are a fewer cheaper offers.

Peninsular.jpg

For those looking to visit the sites on holiday there is a really helpful set of map coordinates along with a list of the modern place names involved. An aid other authors might wish to emulate.

Robert Burnham has produced 5 books on the Napoleonic wars as well as acting as the editor of a Napoleonic Wars website. A powerful writer with a breadth and depth of knowledge.

NB: If ordering on line or over the ‘phone do not confuse with The Light Division In The Peninsular War by Saunders & Yuill, Reviewed on this web site on 22 Nov 2020.

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