Book Review
Napoleon's Imperial Guard
Napoleon's Imperial Guard uniforms and equipment The Cavalry
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by: Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]


Adie Roberts get his hands on Pen & Sword latest Napoleon's Imperial guard book, Napoleon's Imperial Guard, uniforms and equipment, The Cavalry, to see what this book offers for the modellers and history buffs.

Brief History

The Imperial Guard was the most famous soldiers in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. An elite core of fighting men, they held a special place in the Emperor’s heart and served a unique function in asserting his power. The force that became the Imperial Guard started as the Consular Guard in 1799 while Napoleon was First Consul. At that time, he was effectively ruler of France, although the nation was officially still a republic. In May 1804, Napoleon became Emperor of the French. The Garde des Consuls was retitled the Garde Impériale, and the famed Imperial Guard was born.


The book is a professional-looking, hardback book with a stitched spine, with very colourful picture front and back cover. Published by Pen & Sword it covers a pagination of 370. The author is Paul L. Dawson.

Paul L. Dawson BSc Hons MA MIFA FINS, is a historian and author, specialising in the French Army of the Napoleonic War. In addition, as a noted equestrian, this allows him to have a greater understanding of what was and what was not possible for cavalry and other troops which utilised horses. Working as a historical tailor producing museum-quality replica clothing gives him a unique insight into construction techniques of the period, as well the knowledge and ability to decipher documents from the period.


Chapter 1 Administration of the Regiment
Chapter 2 Grenadiers-a-Cheval
Chapter 3 Chasseurs-a-Cheval
Chapter 4 The Mamelukes
Chapter 5 Empress Dragoons
Chapter 6 Polish Lancers
Keith Rocco colour plates
Chapter 7 Dutch Lancers
Chapter 8 Lithuanian Lancers and Tatars
Chapter 9 Eclaireurs
Chapter 10 Elite Gendarmes
Chapter 11 Horse Artillery
Chapter 12 Artillery Train
Chapter 13 Equipment Train
Chapter 14 Gendarmes d'Ordonnance
Chapter 15 Attached Regiments
Chapter 16 Royal Corps of Cavalry
Glossary of Uniforms

Having recently reviewed a book of Napoleon's Imperial Guard, I thought that book was good with its fantastic full-colour artistic pictures, however, this book by Pen & Sword is what I would call more of a professional book for people that want to learn more about the Imperial Guard and the Cavalry. Starting as with most books, acknowledgements and introduction, the introduction goes on to tell us about the most famous military organisation of the Napoleonic Wars was Napoleon's Imperial Guard.

Administration of the regiment goes on to tell about how the officers and senior sub-officers were responsible for the day to day running of the regiment, overseen by the regimental staff. Each year the council of administration would work with the clothing officers, drew up store's inventory of the regiment, as well as gathered states of the parade states of the items of equipment and clothing issued.

The book goes on in some detail about each unit in Napoleon's Imperial Guard, The Cavalry, laid out in a very professional manner each chapter gives you an insight into the way the guards were kitted out and equipped during the Napoleonic wars.

The book as it goes through each chapter there is plenty of high-quality photographs of the actual uniforms and some quite exquisite paintings of different units like the 'Chasseur wearing the Chasseur-style uniform as observed by the German artist Otto. Graphs depict some of the equipment giving the list of the years of the audit and how many have been made and also issued a fascinating look at how the uniforms and equipment quantities were put into service or held in the stores.

Most of the pictures throughout the book have a caption telling you exactly what it is, giving approximate dates of design or use, allowing you to see the growth of the Imperial Guards uniforms and various equipment.

Chapter 4, I found very interesting as it gave some history to the Mamelukes which became the elite of the Ayyubid Army from the eleventh century, in the thirteenth century; the Mamelukes of Egypt overthrew the Ayyubid dynasty, thus marking the beginning of several mamelukes dynasties.

The chapter goes on to give some more fascinating information on mamelukes history before returning to the Imperial guard, like the other chapters some of the paintings and photographs have captions or full information about the pictures.


This is my second book of Napoleon's Imperial Guard, the Cavalry though this is the first book from Pen & Sword I am leaning to this book being much more informative than my previous book on the same subject. The book itself is very professionally researched and written and has plenty of pictures giving you a true perspective of not only the costume, the colours but also the equipment, for figure painters, war gamers and modellers interested in the Napoleonic wars then this is a must book. Some may find it perhaps a bit heavy going but I found that the historical parts like the section on the mamelukes fascinating and had me diving into google among other search sites researching more and more of this extraordinary period. Would I wholeheartedly recommend this book? Then yes I would especially to those that are interested in the Napoleonic period.

Highs: This book is a plus in anyone's library whose interest is the Napoleonic period or maybe interested in history or maybe in a historic group and want to know the materials used or colours.
Lows: Some people may find it slightly hard going on some of the subjects.
Verdict: There is certainly a lot more to this book than just the title, interlaced with some awesome historical facts that leave you searching for more, recommened
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 152670965
  PUBLISHED: Feb 21, 2020

Our Thanks to Pen & Sword Books!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Adie Roberts (In_War_and_Peace)

I am disabled after a terrorist bomb I have in the past made models for TV and film and work with local museums making new models for display. I also take on commission builds for people

Copyright ©2021 text by Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.


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