Wednesday, April 09, 2014

"Captain of Foot".. a review..

Not one of my favourites in the series (I await with bated breath the reprint of "Mohawk Valley" which is still at least a year away and very definitely is a favourite... ) but despite that I enjoyed this enormously...

Christopher Carey is a reluctant Lieutenant in the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot, a part of the famous Light Brigade, and serving in Portugal and then Spain in the Peninsula Theatre of the Napoleonic wars..

Really he'd much prefer to live a life as a writer, warm and comfortable at home in his library - his misfortune is that he is blessed (cursed?) with a sense of honour, and is also a damn good infantry officer...

The book covers the period from 1809 where the regiment was in the retreat to Vigo and Corunna and was part of the rearguard to the army.

While defending a bridge crossing (an excellent little scenario) Chris is captured by the French and after a few adventures (including dinner with Ney) he is rescued by Spanish guerillas and finally manages to make it home to Britain in time to rejoin the regiment when they returned to Portugal.

After the death of Sir John Moore they are under the command of Sir Robert Craufurd's and after landing at Lisbon the regiment moves to Spain to support Wellesley's forces who are already there. The depiction of the regiments march of 250 miles from Lisbon to Talavera (literally to the 'sound of the guns') is hair raising...  (it included a march of fifty-two miles in twenty-six hours in the hottest conditions of the year).

He takes part in the campaigns of the crossing of the Côa, and Sabugal, is seconded to the same band of guerilla's as an intelligence officer, and eventually buys his captaincy after being persuaded by a cousin on Wellington's staff that he really is a better officer than he thinks he is!

The book ends with another superb little scenario - a section of the  43rd, with light/horse artillery support, are asked to defend and hold a crossing to allow Wellington to outflank the French - and Chris is given command....

Excellent book, and a superb quality reprint, at a super reasonable price [clicky] - I recommend it unreservedly...

Steve the Wargamer gives this one a 9 out of 10.

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