I decided to do a review of this book, because frankly I was disapionted.
I want to be carefull when reviewing something dealing with the SYW, while I'm FAR from an expert in Napoleinc history, I do feel much more comfterble saying stuff about that period. Simply because I have studied as a hobby for some 13 yerars. Which not that far from half my life.
But with the exeption of on online soures and discussions I have only read one book about this war, And it delt with the Prussian battles of 1757.
So I'll try not to make any judgment on the history of the book.
So I orderd this book because as far as I know, no book deals specifically with Minden, The battle is part of other books, But no book deals with this battle as a main topic. Not even a Osprey tittle deals with the battle.
It was 203 pages long. So that should be a big nice detailed description of the battle.
Now this is my fault for not checking better. But i was quite disapointed when I got the book and read the index, In a book of 203 pages, only 20 pages deal with the battle.... frankly I feel this is false advertisment. Calling a book the battle of minden when only 10% of the book is about the actual battle?
So what does the book deal with?
First the book it self is just 119 pages(in in reality 20% ish of the book deals with the battle)
Another 80 ish pages are OOBs(more on that later) transcripts of parts of Sackvilles Court Martial, and general info on the armies inolved
The main book really deals with two things; first it deals with the war in western Germany, You get a description of Hastenbeck and everything ells that happens in estern Germany up to and including Minden. Second part is the British involvment in the war, The political and military, it deals with the costal raids in northen france ect.
Now these parts are fine, I liked this part. I did learn alot that I did not know. (and some things I allready should have known but didn't)
From the start (in the introcution) the author makesit clear he feels Sackville got shafted by history. While he is not pro Sackville , and makes it clear he is at best a competent general. He clearly feels Sackville was not a coward, did not act out of jealousy ect. Simply he become a scapegoat. He makes a good case for this. But again, this deals with the history and I don't feel I can make a judgment on history.
But Now comes Minden, as I said it's 20 pages long, and atleast 3 pages deals with the deployment.
Now why is it short? It's possible becasue nothing happend in the battle. The book and other sources all seem to agree that those 6 British battalions, with support of two Hannoverian battalions won the enitre battle. And everything ells that happend didn't do much.
Ok, I can kinda buy that. So I can buy not having 70 pages devoted to the battle.
But one of the reasons for the short description of the battle is the dry way it's writen. I'ts consice to a fault. I've read three paragraph long miniature AAR with love lively language.
There are a few first hand acounts put in the battle. Two of them basicly descibe the same thing. There are almost no descriptions from the french side.(except for the two French commanders)
Lets for instance take the big show down, The British murder the french cavarly. This is given in a short descrition and then comes a first hand acount(by an officer that seem to have problems keeping track of when and how thnigs happned. ) And thats it..
Where are the first hand acounts from the french? I'm sure some french officer or trooper wrote about riding into death? How about more acounts from the british? I'm sure other officers, NCOs and even some privates did write letters or diaries of this climatic happening? What about french infantry that too got malled by the British infantry and Hanoverian Guard?
Sure you might not get 70 pages. But for crying out loud, try and get 30 pages out of a battle that is the title of the book.
How about when the prussian dragoons charge inn, sure the battle was won, but I'm sure some dragoon wrote about riding over and cutting down the enemy. Yes half the allied castualites where british, what about the other half? You don't really get a feeling where that other half got killed and wouned? Did they all just get hit by long range cannon fire from the french?
Except for the defence of Sackville this book did not tell me much new about the battle that I havn't read on kronoskaf or other online sources.
Now what about the the other half of the book that is suplimentary?
It's actually very good. It got a detaled OOB for both Allies and French. Not only that, but uniform info on every regiment. This I feel can only be valueble for us Wargamers. Sure some people are just intersted in uniforms, but would they care about a list of facing colors? Who except Wargamers and mabye reenactors need to know this? This is by now means a complaints. It's wonderfull.
I'm doing Minden with Might and Reason, and the OOB needs a converged Hanoverian grenadier battalion. But kronoskaf dosn't list what regiments those gernadiers come from, so I didn't know how to paint them. But this OOB does. Now it turns out that they all came from those Hanoverian battalions in the same division, which mabye I should have guessed. But it's still nice.
It also have a descirption of the inner working of the armies invloved, Their regimental structurs, national diffrences in cavarly types ect. I knew most of this. But still nice to have.
And the book also have a transcript from parts of the Courts Martial of Sackville, specificaly the questining of british artillery officers. Not suprising from the rest of the book, this transcript backs up the authors opinion that Sackville got a raw deal.
This I do find intresting, actually dealing what a person said in a court of law some 270 years ago is very cool.
So for me the book is a mixed bag, I actually enjoyed almost all of it, except the actual Minden part. It takes you just a few minutes to read through the battle. And I find that disapointing.
So this is my opinion, take it for what it is. I will recomend it, I'm far from sorry I bought it. But I guess I'll have to wait for another book to deal with the battle of Minden in more detail.