Rifles : Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters Paperback
by Mark Urban
As part of the Light Division created to act as the advance guard of Wellington's army, the 95th Rifles are the first into battle and the last out.
Fighting, thieving and raping their way across Europe, they are clearly no ordinary troops.
The 95th are in fact the first British soldiers to take aim at their targets, to take cover when being shot at, to move tactically by fire and manoeuvre. And by the end of the six-year campaign they have not only proved themselves the toughest fighters in the army, they have also - at huge personal cost - created the modern notion of the infantryman. 'If you like Sharpe, then this book is a must, your Christmas present solved.' Bernard Cornwell, Daily Mail 'A brilliant warts-and-all depiction of Wellington's famous riflemen.' Daily Telegraph
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages, 8pp colour illustrations
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 02/09/2004
- Category: British & Irish history
- ISBN: 9780571216819
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by BruderBane
Mark Urban’s “Rifles” is an excellent foray into the spectacularly harsh and extraordinarily ingenious lives of the 1/95th in the Iberian campaign. Mr. Urban’s prose is quick and to the point whereas other historical accounts tend to be dry and pedantic. One sour note, the inclusion of geographical maps although helpful were too small and of not enough contrast to be clearly seen. Since this is a history book, the editors should have included larger maps with bold colors to more properly visualize where these men fought and died. In any case, the tales are rousing and the actual historical accounts heart-stopping.
Review by jcbrunner
In view of the prominent Peninsular War book and TV series Sharpe (starring Sean Bean), I resisted reading Mark Urban's account of the 95th Rifles. I feared a further lionization of Wellington's redcoats and greencoats, downplaying the Spanish and Portuguese contribution. In fact, my fears were wrong. Not only does Urban point out that British successes were often due to French voluntary force reductions, he also treats many aspects of war that are often ignored in conventional military history. His discussion of corporal punishment, desertion, drunkenness, promotion and demotion as well as a darker topics such as rape is outstanding. The poor Spanish civilians had to endure the depredations of two foreign armies on overstretched logistics.The 95th Rifles as part of the Light Brigade/Division was fortunate in having both colorful protagonists and writers who captured their adventures. Given their prominent role in Wellington's tactical approach, the Rifles were in the thick of many of the classic battles of the Peninsular War. Skirmishing and aimed fire in the best <i>Jäger</i> tradition, the 95th were both modern and un-British. They remain a greencoated exception to the "their's not to reason why" tradition of the British Army, probably one of the causes why they still are admired. A great read. Highly recommended.