The Army of the Kingdom of Italy 1805-1814: Uniforms, Organisation, Campaigns
Helion & Company (2022)
Images: 40 b/w, 12 b/w photos, 16 colour ills, 16pp colour plates, 1 map
In this comprehensive study, Stephen Ede-Borrett examines the army of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, focusing on the individual units, their campaign histories, and the uniforms of Napoleon’s Italian soldiers. Commencing with the foundations of the Kingdom of Italy’s army in 1805, where the units of the Cisalpine Republic were redistributed to form the basis of the new royal army, the author follows the development of these units and marks the changes in uniform during the Austrian campaign of 1809, the disastrous Russian campaign of 1812 until the final dissolution of the Kingdom in 1814.
The book is broad in its reach and covers each branch of the army, including naval units, shore batteries and support services of the Kingdom’s armed forces. Ede-Borrett’s review of each branch of the armed forces including the guards, cavalry, and infantry, demonstrates the evolution of the Napoleonic Italian army’s equipment, which often reflected the fashions of their fellow soldiers in the French Army. Ede-Borrett’s wealth of primary and secondary sources makes for a balanced and comprehensive review supported by original works of art and first-hand accounts of artists including Alberich Adam who served as campaign artist to Eugène de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy during the 1812 invasion of Russia.
Ede-Borrett’s work also provides information on the organisation of the Italian army’s regiments, guiding readers through the development of each unit within the Napoleonic Italian army supported by a brief guide of the campaigns they served in. These guides provide additional interesting details of minor skirmishes where officers were wounded in addition to the major battles of the Napoleonic wars, which saw Italian soldiers serving under the eagles of Napoleon.
The materials provided and the range of knowledge on offer makes this book a great introduction to the Napoleonic Italian Army as it brings together a fascinating study of uniform development, against a backdrop of the campaign history and the organisation of the Napoleonic war machine and would therefore make a great reference text for both the uniform enthusiast and historian of Napoleonic Italy.