Wednesday 29 March 2023

Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bengaluru

Bangalore enjoys quite a temperate climate compared with much of the rest of India, and for this reason was chosen as the site for Tipu Sultan to build his summer palace in the 1780s.

Today it is not exactly in the best condition but it is slowly being preserved and repaired. I thought it’d be bigger but I guess it WAS bigger before the British ousted Tipu and win control of Mysore. The columns and walls and ceilings are all solid teak.

Rockets for Tipu!

Hindu temples like this one were built on the sites of earlier Moslem palaces.

                        The interior of the palace. 

Below are images of some contemporary paintings of the palace by an English officer, James Hunter. He was a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and served under Cornwallis at Serengapatem. He died in 1792 and is buried in Vellore.

The palace in the mid-nineteenth century.

On Thursday we are off to Serengapatem and Mysore for a couple days. Looking forward to it. My Wellington In India itch is being well and truly scratched!

Friday 24 March 2023

National Military Memorial Bengaluru

We found this nice peaceful park in town today. It houses an open air memorial to India’s fallen servicemen up to and including all the post independence conflicts. The park has an eclectic mix of jet aircraft, a helicopter and a whole bunch of guided missiles some of which are rather large and no doubt aimed towards Pakistan. 

Interestingly the memorial includes this WW1 era statue

Thursday 23 March 2023

Bookstore Find.History of the Indian Mutiny.


There’s a number of good book shops in Bangalore. One of these, probs the best and biggest, is Blossoms. I picked up this three volume set on the Indian Mutiny yesterday for Rs3,000 which is less than £30 for the set! Not originals but quite old reprints. For the price who cares? They have loads of other similar titles but I have to be mindful of our baggage weight limits! 

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Reading on the Great Procession #3 1805 Tsar Alexander’s First War with Napoleon.

More book reviews I’m afraid, at least until later in our tour of India. We’ve been to Mumbai and Goa and are presently in Bangalore where it’s a beautiful 31 degrees Celsius. Once the wedding celebrations are finally over we head further south to Mysore, en route staying at a jungle lodge and then on to Cunoor. We were planning on coming home on 20 March but we have a flexible ticket so may well (will) extend our stay for a few more weeks. I also have the Burrowers’ 2023 campaign to plan and get rolling ready for my return.

One of Helion’s recent publications caught my eye; ‘1805 - Tsar Alexander’s First War with Napoleon, the Russian Official History’, originally published in 1844 by Alexander Ivanovich Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky and translated for Helion by Peter Phillips.

The Austerlitz campaign has always been a big attraction for me. The author used original military and diplomatic documents plus witness testimonies (always my favourites) to create a comprehensive and by no means partisan account of the campaign. The original has been sensitively translated, providing us with an immensely readable book, beginning with the causes of the war and a description of the condition of the opposing armies, plus the various political activities of the key national players.

The campaign itself, from Kutusov’s initial advance, the disaster at Ulm, and the numerous actions fought during his subsequent retreat are covered in detail, as is the lead up to the battle of Austerlitz. The battle itself is described clearly and one might almost forget that this is a work translated from the original Russian; it make easy yet absorbing reading, best done with pen or pencil hand for note taking. The narrative of the battle is broken down into manageable and informative sections, such as the defeats of the Russian Guard and later of Langeron and Przhibyshevsky. The book also includes subsidiary theatres of war, such as in Hanover and the Mediterranean.

The book includes eight maps of the theatres of war and of the various stages of the battle of Austerlitz together with the order of battle of Kutusov’s corps. All in all this is an honest and comprehensive history of the campaign, and contrasts and complements very well the myriad of other books available on the topic.

Highly recommended and a great addition to the ‘From Reason to Revolution’ series.

ISBN 978-1-915113-85-6 151 pages, paperback.

Monday 6 March 2023

Reading on the Great Procession #2 ‘More Like Furies than Men’


More Furies Than Men’ is one of the latest books in Helion’s ‘From Reason to Revolution’ series. The exploits of the Irish Brigade in the service of France during the close of the seventeenth and most of the eighteenth centuries are well known and documented, yet this new study by Pierre-Louis Coudray takes us deep into the heyday of the brigade using many previously unused records from French, British and Irish sources. The book also examines the decline of the brigade in the service of France at the beginning of the French Revolution and how many of the officers and men joined new regiments raised by the British to pursue the war against the Revolution. Others stayed loyal to France and the new republic but were regarded with suspicion and many met a grisly end as a result. Many of those fighting under the British flag were to face disease and death in the West Indies.

Much of the book is devoted to the battle of Fontenoy, arguably the brigade’s high water mark. Casualties were high, and suitable recruits and replacements hard to come by, a critical issue discussed at length by the author. The use of many first hand accounts and correspondence adds as always adds a degree of intimacy, and particularly poignant are the letter from senior brigade officers pleading to be utilised in continuing the war against a common foe.

The book is well illustrated with a great many contemporary black and white images, nine pages of colour plates depicting the changing uniforms of the brigade, a contemporary colour map of Fontenoy and also contains an extensive bibliography.

To conclude this surely is a must for anyone interested in the Irish Brigade from its creation to its demise. Highly recommended.

ISBN 978-1-914059-82-7 206 pages, paperback.

Reading on the Great Procession #1 - The Battle of Rocroi, 1643.

This new book from Helion in their Century of the Soldier series is a remarkable re-examination of this iconic and, as suggested by the research of author Alberto Raul Esteban Ribas, potentially misunderstood battle between superpower rivals Spain and France on 19 May 1643. After his excellent previous book for Helion ‘The Battle of Nordlingen’ this latest, ‘The Battle of Rocroi 1643’ analyses the common-held myths surrounding the battle using a vast amount of French and Spanish primary and secondary sources, as detailed in the extensive bibliography.

The book is well written and an engaging read. I couldn’t claim to know much of the detail of the battle but after finishing the book (on a 13-hour train trip from Goa to Bangalore) I now have a much better understanding of battle and events relating to it., and Mr Ribas’ conclusions certainly bear thinking about and put events in a new light.

The author takes us through the political and military background, the armies of France and Spain, the events leading up to the battle and the battle itself, outcomes and repercussions. The final chapter is the author’s analysis of the battle, which you will have to read yourselves and perhaps come to your own conclusions or agree with his.

As ever with Helion books of this quality, it is full of contemporary black and white illustrations, several very useful maps showing each phase of the battle and eight pages of specially commissioned colour plates by Sergey Shamenkov depicting the officers and men of both armies. Lastly the two appendices detail the orders of battle of the French and Spanish forces which will be especially handy for wargamers among the readership.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in the battle and the later Thirty Years’ War.

ISBN 978-1-915113-97-9. 168 pages. Paperback.

I’ve brought quite a few books with me to review and plan to do so as we continue our travels.