Friday, 11 November 2016

Read it and weep!

(AWI project retrospective, part 4)

Although I got my painting mojo back in January, progress was not prodigious. I got about halfway into my second militia unit of eighteen figures. So it was probably a good thing I was too late entering the Painting Challenge. Better to tell you a bit more on my other line of preparation for the battle in August.

At the start of this project I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to read upon the background of the Revolutionary War. Just focus on painting, and be done with it. But there I was browsing through new books about warfare in North America in the second half of the 18th century. And a group of us decided to recreate on the Battle of Camden for the battle in August.

Of course, there are the Osprey books for uniforms and equipment, and the campaign series offers good introductions to the battles. The recent combat series book on the combat tactics used by both the British and the rebels in the Southern campaign adds new light by using more contemporary eyewitness accounts. And there was a new campaign book about the Battle of Camden planned for publication in March, so that seemed like an obvious addition to my AWI shelf.

But all that proved to be just the beginning. I started out with a little gem I have long kept: Greg Novak’s “We have always governed ourselves” about the organisation and strength of both armies in the northern states, later expanded as the two-part American War of Independence.

Then Jasper Oorthuys (who also introduced me to Muskets & Tomahawks) pointed me to With Zeal and With Bayonets Only by Matthew Spring, about the development of the strategy and tactics of the British army in North America. Then there was John Grenier’s First Way of War about frontier warfare against the indigenous population. Although it only briefly talks about the Revolutionary war, it gives a good account of the style of warfare that the Americans were used to and which they would also employ against the British, and against their patriot neighbours.

So apart from painting project, this also turned into a reading project. Oh noes!

This blog was first published on the Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy blog on January 14th 2016

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