The military success achieved by the Duke of Wellington casts a long shadow over the history of the British army in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. The popular account of Britain’s military record in the great struggle against Napoleonic France is chiefly one of glorious victories, with Britain cast as the saviour of Europe from the Corsican ‘monster’. Most British historians have focused on retelling stories of British success, notably Wellington’s, in Spain, Portugal and during the Hundred Days campaign and tend to pay little attention to British military defeats. But is the focus on Wellington’s successes really an appropriate way to understand the performance of the British army in a conflict which lasted over twenty years? And what about the army’s poor record in the Low Countries, where it suffered defeats and sustained crippling losses during the same period? In this study Andrew Limm attempts to answer these questions and sadly is about as successful in that task as the campaigns he covers.
WALCHEREN TO WATERLOO The British Army in the Low Countries during French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1739-1815
Unfortunately a somewhat patchy book, with a misleading title. There were six engagements by the British Army in the Low Countries, only four are mentioned, with Ostend 1798 referenced only in passing. The title of the book is poor, Walcheren was the fourth not the first action, and Waterloo is not covered, also the image on the cover is of the Battle of Waterloo so it’s hard to explain why it’s been used.