Monday, June 16, 2014

Review of The Franco-German War 1870-71, Vols. 1-2

Author:  German General Staff.
Titles:  The Franco-German War 1870-71, Vol. 1 - The War against the Empire. 
           The Franco-German War 1870-71, Vol. 2 - The War against the Empire.
Publisher:  Battery Press.
Pages:  582; 663.
Prices:  $34.95 (US).
            $39.95 (US).

It's cheaper to buy the entire five volume set of The Franco-German War 1870-71 by the German General Staff from Battery Press for $149.95.  It'll run you more to buy the books individually.  Fifteen years ago, I'd bought the first two volumes.  I then moved and eventually sold off my copies after I got rid of my 15mm FPW armies in Hays, KS.

That was a mistake.

Now, I'm rebuilding 28mm FPW armies for a different gaming system.  But I still wanted to have the books as reference materials.

Getting to the books, they are dry reading.  The first volume covers Weissenburg and the frontier battles to the climax at Gravolette-St. Privat.  The second volume is dedicated to the Sedan campaign and the fall of the Second Empire.

The other three volumes cover the Siege of Paris, battles in the provinces, and the final victory and occupation of Paris.

My interests are with the Second Empire when France still had a chance of winning the war.  The Republican phase of the Franco-Prussian War is interesting.  However, much of it revolves around sieges and relief expeditions.  The early Imperial campaign has more open battles and room for maneuvering.  If you want a more balanced account of the FPW, look at Michael Howard's The Franco-Prussian War.  He goes into details about the Republican phase of the War and how the French responded to the German invaders.

But the Official History of the Franco-German War 1870-71 is probably one of the better first hand accounts of the conflict in English.  It's still academic reading.  Not for the casual reader.


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