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The Changing Face of Old Regime Warfare: Essays in Honour of Christopher Duffy

The Changing Face of Old Regime Warfare: Essays in Honour of Christopher Duffy

The Changing Face of Old Regime Warfare: Essays in Honour of Christopher Duffy

Alexander S. Burns (ed.)

Helion & Company Limited (2022)


ISBN: 9781915070388

Pages: 344

Images: 5 illustrations, 6 maps, 8 tables

For students of War Studies in the Anglosphere there are a generation of scholars who have left an indelible mark upon the subject. Many of these influential scholars were part of the staff at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, including John Keegan, David G. Chandler, and Christopher Duffy, whose work on the Seven Years and Napoleonic Wars has produced lauded accounts of the battles and battlefields of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This timely festschrift published before Duffy’s passing in November 2022, is a timely reminder of his contribution to military history and his passion for the study of warfare in the Age of Reason.

Edited by the Dr Alexander S. Burns, formerly of West Virginia University and now Assistant Professor of History at Franciscan University of Steubenville, this collection of essays provides an insight into the diverse interests and research areas Christopher Duffy engaged with during his long career studying warfare. Whilst at least one article strays into the twentieth century to include the First World War, the majority of essays focus on the Seven Years War and there are several fascinating studies which relate to the Napoleonic and French Revolutionary Wars as well. Included with these is the work of PhD Candidate at the University of York, Kurt Baird who examines the experience of soldiers in the Habsburg Army from 1792-1815. Baird’s focus is the relationship between soldiers and the state, particularly in Austria and Bohemia and how this became part of attempts by the Habsburgs to mobilise manpower. In addition, Assistant Professor of History at Moraine Valley Community College, James R. McIntyre’s essay charts the development of ‘light’ and irregular forces throughout the 18th century and there is a fascinating examination of the casualties and experience of French Cavalry formations during the Battle of Austerlitz, researched by Frederick C. Schneid, Chair of the department of History at High Point University, North Carolina.

These are some of the standout contributions from a fascinating collection of essays that demonstrate the changes taking place in the development of the armies of the 18th century. The compilation of works brought together by Burns and his contributors shows that far from being evolutionary dead-end dinosaurs awaiting the Napoleonic asteroid to cause their extinction, the armies of the ancien regime were a dynamic and evolving body. The contributions showcase this fluid development and as someone whose focus is mainly on the Napoleonic period, it was fascinating to see the lessons from warfare in the 18th century evolve and influence how armies mobilised, thought, and fought during the Napoleonic epoch that marked the era after the fall of Bourbons and the rise Revolutionary France.

Owen Davis

August 2023