Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Osprey's The Great Chevauchee

I finally broke down and ordered this book from Osprey's Raid series.  Frankly, most of the titles have little interest for me, but this story of John of Gaunt's 1373 mission of plunder into France held my attention.  I have hundreds of singly mounted Hundred Years War figures, and author David Nicolle suggests numerous semi skirmish possibilities for their use.  Nicolle is a veteran Osprey medieval historian and he doesn't disappoint with this interesting account of what began as an invasion of France in the "down" years, when France was reclaiming many of England's conquests during the reign of Charles V. 

Nicolle provides details of the preparations for the raid, as well as the activities of the chevauchee itself.  Drawing on the newly available databases from English archives revealed in Anne Curry's Agincourt: A New History, Nicolle is able to put some numbers to the raid, as well as information about supply.  What isn't available is John of Gaunt's, Edward III's son, thoughts about the expedition he was planning.

The book is different than a Men at Arms book, or even a Campaign book, though it is does include some color illustrations and maps.  Nicolle's writing is clear and his research is impeccable.  This book fills in a big gap in our knowledge of this period between the Treaty of Bretigny (1360) and the descent of both France and England into indifferent royal leadership and civil war.  It shows that Col. Burne was incorrect when he stated that during the is period "Nothing worthy of the name of battle was ever fought. . . The war is rather lacking in military interest , for there was remarkably little actual fighting."

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