Pugsville Napoleonic Military History Book review

Jan 2015
5,437
Ontario, Canada
#81
The Ottoman army was organized in a very outdated way. On the broad scale they relied on a core of Imperial troops and the empire itself was held together by provincial troops. Some troops in areas such as Greece, Albania and Bosnia could be raised in support of the Imperial army, many of these were actually sent with Muhammad Ali on his expeditions to Egypt. At some point the Ottomans attempted to raise a modernized army "the Nizam Cedit" or otherwise known as the "European troops" to replace the Janissaries. These were organized into regular infantry, an elite battalion, chasseurs, dragoons and artillery. Organized and equipped along French lines with European officers into regiments and brigades. The concept of Division and Corps was still unknown to the Turks and so their largest unit was the army, so they thought in large terms as they had done in the 1600's and 1700's.

The corps was organized in ortas. An orta (equivalent to a battalion) was headed by a çorbaci. All ortas together comprised the Janissary corps proper and its organization, named ocak (literally "hearth"). Suleiman I had 165 ortas and the number increased over time to 196. While the Sultan was the supreme commander of the Ottoman Army and of the Janissaries in particular, the corps was organized and led by a commander, the ağa. The corps was divided into three sub-corps:

the cemaat (frontier troops; also spelled jemaat in old sources), with 101 ortas
the bölük or beylik, (the Sultan's own bodyguard), with 61 ortas
the sekban or seymen, with 34 ortas
In addition there were also 34 ortas of the ajemi (cadets). A semi-autonomous Janissary corps was permanently based in Algiers.

"Originally Janissaries could be promoted only through seniority and within their own orta. They could leave the unit only to assume command of another. Only Janissaries' own commanding officers could punish them. The rank names were based on positions in the kitchen staff or Sultan's royal hunters; 64th and 65th Orta 'Greyhound Keepers' comprised as the only Janissary cavalry[29], perhaps to emphasise that Janissaries were servants of the Sultan. Local Janissaries, stationed in a town or city for a long time, were known as yerliyyas."
 
Jan 2015
5,437
Ontario, Canada
#83
Holy Hell! Thunder on the Danube, vol. 1 (Kindle edition) was offered on Amazon for just $1.99! Needless to say, I clicked 'Buy.'
Yeah you should buy all of it. Personally I don't buy on Kindle since if I am paying for it I would rather have a physical copy. Maybe I would make an exception if the physical book is too expensive and the Kindle is absurdly cheap.
 
Nov 2011
4,697
Ohio, USA
#84
Yeah you should buy all of it. Personally I don't buy on Kindle since if I am paying for it I would rather have a physical copy. Maybe I would make an exception if the physical book is too expensive and the Kindle is absurdly cheap.
Comparatively, the Kindle editions are all much cheaper. The second volume is going for $9.00 and the third for $14.00. By comparison, the cheapest physical copy for any of them is $25.00, or basically the price of all 3 for Kindle.

I do prefer hard copies as well, generally, but since I already have one of the volumes on Kindle I might as well get them all that way and save money and physical space.
 
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May 2018
100
Antarctica
#86
What are the best books about the Napoleonic Wars: modern-day analyses of these wars written by the historians of today or first-hand accounts of what happened reported by veterans of these wars?
 
Nov 2011
4,697
Ohio, USA
#87
What are the best books about the Napoleonic Wars: modern-day analyses of these wars written by the historians of today or first-hand accounts of what happened reported by veterans of these wars?
David Chandler is a great place to start, and I would also heartily recommend works you can find by John Elting, Dominic Lieven, John Gill, Michael Leggiere, Donald Kagan, Loraine Petre (though he's somewhat dated), and Gunther Rothenburg, just to name a few.

As for primary sources, God, there are a plethora. Check out the stuff from this thread. A great starting point would probably be an outlook on or analysis of events written by Caulaincourt or even Clausewitz. There are dozens, hundreds more likely, written by those from every participating nation, and from the perspective of numerous ranks, from Private, Corporal, and Sergeant, to Major General, Lieutenant General, etc.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,783
#89
What are the best books about the Napoleonic Wars: modern-day analyses of these wars written by the historians of today or first-hand accounts of what happened reported by veterans of these wars?
Depends what you want to get from reading the books.

First hand accounts are interesting but have a relatively narrow view which is often partizan. Common soldiers just don;t have much in the big picture, High command often highly bias, some shamelessly so.

Historians do the research for you with first hand accounts and records, though again bias can still be a problem. But Historians work should be better organized and have more information (though processed) If you only going to read a little Historians works would generally be better.

Chandler (Campaigns of Napoleon)is a good place to start for an overview of the Napoleonic wars (but focused on Napoleon rather than the wars more generally). I like Petrie, has a book of a lot of the campaigns, which are generally small enough and readable.

My three favorite books (in no particular order)

Kagan - End of the Old Order Napoleon 1801-1805 ,

Places the 1805 campaign in context, giving a good strategic, political understanding before giving the actual campaign.

Lieven - Russia Against Napoleon

Really good book on the Russian perspective 1807-1814

Nosworthy - Battle tactics of Napoleon and his enemies.

A good in depth look at how the battles were actually fought.
 
May 2018
100
Antarctica
#90
Has anyone ever read the two different versions of 'History of the Peninsular War'? They were written by Maximilien Foy and William Napier, who both fought on opposite sides of that war. I have browsed through Foy's writings and I have to start going through those of Napier...
 

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