- Marc Geerdink-Schaftenaar
- ARRSE Rating
- 4.5 Mushroom Heads
Today it is hard to conceive exactly how powerful the Dutch republic once was, and its authority upon the world stage, during the 17th and 18th centuries, combined with the ability to field an army of over 80,000 men and often more.
This second volume deals with the losses they suffered in battles against the French army, the subsequent reforms and re-organisations that came from the peace of Utrecht.
In 2007, the memoirs of Casimir Abraham, Count von Schlippenbach who served as an Officer in the State army during the Wars between Spain and Austria was published; this on its own would provide a worthy read, mainly due to the fact that it centred around his sex life !!, in fact he wrote more about his love life than his military actions. (It is not included in this book more's the pity.)
Being a son of noble birth he became the Inhaber (Proprietor) of a regiment of dragoons eventually attaining the rank of Major General. Many more of his family members rose to fame in military circles as you will learn from this most exhaustive and detailed book.
Some of the problems he dealt with are probably not that different today, lazy and inept and unfit members wishing to join a campaign to seek glory and fame. He rejects them for their lack of fitness, but is overruled and has to accede to higher authority, not that it did much good, one of them dropped dead and the other had to be returned gravely ill. His constant struggles to keep troops fighting fit and to teach them basic field-craft must have taxed his patience and diplomacy.
The book covers each of those battles, along with contemporary maps and drawings, and quotes from diaries of the period, along with high quality reproductions of prints and sketches of the battles.
After the fall of Bergen the Army had to be rebuilt, and Swiss and German troops were introduced to strengthen the side.
The siege of Maastricht (1748 ) is covered in great detail, right down to the numbers of men, horses weapons, along with some excellent line drawings of the uniforms and weapons carried by the men.
Of course the Dutch republic was not just a European power but had colonies spread out in the East and West Indies , and Africa, these were a drain on men and materials and here the book covers the movement of troops and materials in the continuing battles against the natives, to keep control.
The book then breaks down into sections covering each specialist regiment, their uniforms and weapons and the order of rank. So great is the detail that individual uniforms are widely covered, both from sketches and drawings from the time ( along with notes to indicate errors) to reproductions of oil paintings of the scenes.
This is a very exhaustive and analytical book on the subject, and would be of interest to models makers, historians, and even film-makers for its breadth and depth of detail and insight into the subject.