The Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars 1801-14:
Volume 3 Norwegian Troops and Militia
David A. Wilson,
Helion Books (From Reason to Revolution 1721-1815 series No. 95), 2022
Images: 62 colour illustrations, 3 tables
I have already reviewed the previous two volumes of this admirable work and was therefore very happy to review the final volume which is particularly strong. A number of works have previously dealt with regular Danish troop organisation and uniforms, but the Norwegian troops (Norway then being an equal partner in the Danish Empire) are rarely dealt with at all, whilst the Militia or Landvaern (both Danish and Norwegian) and Volunteer units are rarely ever covered at all; they consist of a large portion of the book. It also covers Militia cavalry and artillery and even has a sizeable section on the city and town militias.
This volume therefore is of particular use for those wishing to research the Danish troops engaged against the British forces in 1807, particularly at the Battle of Køge, where Arthur Wellesley gained his first European laurels against an admittedly weak force of Danish Landvaern. The author is however too quick to dismiss the ‘Battle of the Clogs’ claims as pure myth, stating there are no eyewitnesses to the Danish rout in clogs. However, Sergeant Robertson 92nd recalls ‘…the streets were full of Danish troops, retiring, or rather running away, some of whom were discharging their muskets in Parthian fashion while making their escape.’ and Private William Green of the 95th recalled that ‘…we overtook them; they were shod with wooden shoes, except the officers, so that it was impossible for them to run fast. I believe they were all taken prisoners!’ There is also significant evidence that the Landvaern were not uniformed as to the official regulations at the time: Francis Jackson wrote that ‘The men are on board prison ships, and miserable wretches they are, fit for nothing but following the plough. They wear red and green striped woollen jackets and wooden sabots. Their long lank hair hangs over their shoulders and gives to their ragged features a wild expression….’
This minor issue aside, the detail in the book is astounding and the 62 pages of colour plates of uniforms and standards are particularly good. An excellent series is completed, in the humble view of this reviewer, with the best volume being the last.