Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Charles XI’s War. The Scanian War 1675-1679


As promised here is the review of my second piece of holiday reading, another much anticipated publication in Helion’s exceptional Century of the Soldier series. First impressions are very positive. The scope of the book is extensive, and for someone almost completely ignorant of many aspects of this war, the amount of detail is impressive. We have potted pen-pictures of the two kings (Christian of Denmark and Charles of Sweden) followed by chapters on the origins of the war and the organisation, arms, tactics etc. of the armies before launching into the war itself with almost a blow by blow account of hostilities in all theatres of operation on land and at sea. Finally there are a number of appendices covering the units of the warring nations and detailed orders of battle for the battles of Fehrbellin, Halmstad, Lund, Landskrona and Warksow.

The book is quite well written although at times the text is a little clunky but not to the point where it distracts from the subject. I put that down to my OCD when it comes to reading as I forget I’m not at work any longer, and that the author is not a native English speaker. There are some very informative maps and a host of excellent contemporary black and white illustrations, together with a comprehensive bibliography and recommendations for further reading. Finally there are eight pages of beautiful colour illustrations of uniforms and flags for the troops of both sides by Russian artist Sergy  Shamenkov. I can recommend this book highly for anyone with even just a passing interest in this war or in warfare during the 1670s.

Readers will be aware that I have a large collection of troops for conflicts contemporary to the Scanian War, i.e. my 1660s/1670s French, Dutch, Spanish, Hanoverians, Piedmontese and assorted others, so it is very unlikely that I shall expand my collection further to include Danes and Swedes, as I need to recruit some troops from Munster and Cologne this year. 

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