The Forgotten War Against Napoleon – Review

Gareth Glover’s The Forgotten War Against Napoleon – Conflict in the Mediterranean, published on 26 June 2017 by Pen & Sword Military, ISBN 9781473833951, 265 pages is a survey of the Napoleonic Wars in the Mediterranean over the period 1793 to 1815.

The Mediterranean theatre is one familiar to Napoleonic warfare buffs that but for a few engagements is generally is overlooked.

This book does not have a great deal of detail on any one engagement but rather provides a brief look at 55 or so engagements around the Mediterranean.

I’ll come out of the closet. I am a wargamer and the Napoleonic Wars are a period I keep looking at but never really get a head of steam up on a project – much as I have a deep interest in the uniforms, the ships, the battles, and the campaigns.

Glover has surveyed action around the Mediterranean and he provides between 2 and 7 pages per chapter discussing the various actions of the time. This includes both naval and land actions. Egypt is covered as is Corsica, Naples, Malta, Sicily and such. Each of the chapters provides a reasonable overview of the action and sufficient information to persuade the reader to look deeper.

For example, one action I had not heard about (or at least cannot remember reading about) is Algeciras in 1801. This was an action between the British, lead by Sir James Saumarez (the next book on my reading stack being his biography) and a Franco/Spanish fleet. The British 74s engaged a fleet consisting of 74s and Spanish 112s, capturing or sinking a couple. The following morning the French Formidable beat off the attacks of two British ships of the line and a frigate, so a mixed result for the British.

The book is full of short descriptions (the one above lasting just two pages) but will provide plenty of inspiration for either further reading or, in the case of wargamers, scenarios for future games.

The book finishes with the elimination of the Barbary pirates, using that as the conclusion of the war in the Mediterranean.

For the wargamer, a useful source for information for scenarios in the Napoleonic period. For the general reader of history, a useful summary of what went on in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Langton Egyptian and Sea Peoples — What’s Under the House -1

Langton Egyptian and Sea Peoples 1/1200 scale vessels - 10 of each
Langton Egyptian and Sea Peoples 1/1200 scale vessels – 10 of each

Christmas Day, I thought I rather than gloat over the gifts from this year I would, instead, start sorting and tidying up the lead pile under the house.

First actual metal I ran across was a German Aeronef and British Land Ironclad pack, filed them! Next was some WTJ 1/3000 pre-dreadnoughts. Filed them as well. Checked then and packed them away. Came across a 1/1200 scale GHQ 74-gun Napoleonic ship of the line. Packed that away as well.

Next was some Langton 1/1200 Ancient ships – Egyptian and Sea Peoples, 10 of each. Now I’m trying to decide whether to keep them or sell them. I’m leaning towards eBay.

If anyone wants them, let me know here in the next day or so, make me an offer and I’ll see what we can do.

There are 10 Sea Peoples boats and 10 Egyptian boats – one of which is a pharoah’s boat.

Chariots of Fire

I had been looking for some board wargames to add to my meagre collection of this genre. I particularly was interested in board games because generally they do not require so much space (yes, I know, some of the bigger ones are really big), they are self contained and many have good suitability to solitaire play.

In addition, I was looking for some games that had a ancient feel about them. I had a tax refund cheque coming so this seemed the perfect opportunity to add a game or two to the collection.

The first addition I made was the Salamis add-on to the War Galley Module of the Great Battles of History series. I can’t resist a good naval game.

I was also looking for some ancient based games so the next game I selected was GMT’s Chariots of Fire. This is also part of the Great Battles of History series and covers early warfare, when chariots ran amok on the battlefield.

This game covers warfare in the Bronze Age, from about 2300 to about 1200 BCE. The game itself is well presented and includes everything needed to start to play, including a dice and some nice little plastic bags to make it easier to store the pieces ((I may look at getting some of the counter trays GMT produce in the future)).

The game comes with counters for the following forces:

  1. Egyptian
  2. Hittite
  3. Mitanni
  4. Syria/Canaan (Ugarit)
  5. Assyria
  6. Kassite
  7. Arzawa
  8. Danaans
  9. Trojans

I will frankly admit now that until I saw this game, I had never heard of the Arzawa so from the point of view of stimulating me, the game has been a success already. I shall spend some time finding out more about them in the future ((I now know that Arzawa in the second half of the second millennium BCE was the name of a region and a kingdom in Western Anatolia, likely to have extended along southern Anatolia alongside a belt across the Lakes Region until the Aegean coast. Arzawa’s central area was later to become known as Lydia)).

The game provides maps and scenarios for the following battles:

  1. Sumer (circa 2320 BCE) – using the Hittite and Mitanni counters for the Sumerian and Akkadian respectively
  2. Sekmem (c. 1870 BCE) – Egypt v the Canaanites
  3. Megiddo (c. 1479 BCE) – Egypt v Canaan, Mitanni and Syrian kingdoms – I can’t wait to try this one out
  4. Senzar (c. 1470 BCE) – Egypt v the Mitanni
  5. Astarpa River (c. 1312 BCE) – Hittites v Arzawa (it is suggested that part of the Arzawa later became the Wilusa – the Trojans of Homer’s epic)
  6. Kadesh (c. 1300 BCE) – Egypt v Hittites – and this is another battle I can’t wait to try although it is a big scenario
  7. Nihriya (c. 1230 BCE) – Assyria v Hittites
  8. Babylon (c. 1225 BCE) – Assyria v Kassites
  9. Troy (c 1200 BCE) – Danaan v Trojans – the one the movies get made of and that is famous from Homer’s “The Iliad”.

Many battles to recreate in this board game and it seems the average battle lasts about two hours. I am really looking forward to starting to play some of these.

The game itself rates as 7.94 out of 10 at Board Game Geek.

Walk Like An Egyptian … To The Buffet

I would not have believed it had I not seen it. Mind you, I spent time in Cairo and I can’t remember seeing it there. However, here in Saudi Arabia I can now tell the Egyptian guests at the hotel restaurant.

It is the buffet.

Spending a lot of time in the restaurant at the hotel (like almost every night) we get to see lots of different guests. The interesting ones were the Egyptians. They come to the restaurant to eat from the buffet (soup, salads, main courses and dessert). They are the only guests I have seen who walk straight in (not worrying about selecting a table), and fetch a bowl of soup. They then bring this back to a table, put it down and head back to the salad bar. They then load up a plate with salad and bring that back to the table. Then it is back to the hot foods and load another plate up and carry that back to the table. At this point there is a variation as some now will sit down and proceed to eat from all three plates whilst others will select some cakes from the dessert area before sitting down to eat.

Apparently, according to the locals, it is only Egyptian guests who are like this at a buffet. So, the walk is a constant traipsing between food and table.

Bridges and Tunnels

It was a few days ago that the Lost Nomad commented on discussions about linking Korea and Japan by tunnel. It just so happened that this was the day after the Arab News here ran a piece about a Causeway Linking Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Seems the causeway is a bigger and better link than the “Junnel” or “Kunnel”. After all, the Korean-Japan tunnel simply links two countries (same really as the Sweden Denmark Bridge, the Channel Tunnel and so on). The Egypt-Saudi Causeway however is a much bigger event, after all, it links two continents, Asia and Africa.

The bridge is going to link Ras Hamid in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia with Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh and Tiran Island.

Ah, it is so nice to be able to put Japanese-Korean relations into perspective 🙂