Friday, 11 February 2022
The Battle of Nordlingen 1634 reviewed.
The main focus of the book is on the events leading up to the battle of Nordlingen, culminating in the battle itself, where the Swedes and their Protestant German allies were soundly defeated by the combined Spanish/Imperial/Catholic League armies, and the book begins with a detailed description and analysis of the armies of the protagonists, including their organisation, drill, equipment and tactics and of the various personalities and commanders present at the battle.
The author’s description of the war in Germany and the campaign, the often conflicting interests and events that led up to the battle are described in great detail, and the chapter covering the battle analyses and describes each brutal and bloody phase of the battle, where the advantages and disadvantages of the Spanish and Swedish formations are discussed; certainly the tactical flexibility, superiority even, of the Tercios was something I had never considered before and found a fascinating perspective. Indeed, the author’s final analysis and conclusions are well argued and evidenced, and it is clear that the Swedish army was out fought and poorly led by comparison to their Catholic enemies, who were to make superior command and control and the professionalism of their commanders especially at a junior level instrumental in their victory.
The book is well written, illustrated with numerous black and white illustrations, some contemporary, some photographs of the battlefield today, and several useful maps of the theatres of war and of the battle. What I found really useful was the cross referencing of the photographs with a map of the battlefield showing how the action unfolded and giving an idea of the terrain involved.
Of course no Helion book would be complete without the traditional colour plates, and there are eight pages of gorgeous images by the brush of talented artist Sergey Shamenkov, depicting examples of uniforms or dress of the varied troop types present at the battle. Another highly recommended publication.