Armies and Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars
Rawkins, William J. Armies and Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars. E-Book. The History Book Man. 2013. £3.99
The first review published by the Napoleon Series was in 1996 and was of The W. J. Rawkins Uniform Books. There were 15 books in the collection, each about 30 pages long and were designed to be painting guides for the wargamer. Published between 1977 and 1984, there was a limited print run on each and they quickly went out of print. For those who owned them, they were prized possessions, because of the detailed information on almost unit in the army the book covered. Unfortunately the physical quality of the book did not match the superb information in the books. Over time my copies have grown tattered and are slowly falling apart from too much use.
For many years I have sought to replace them; however Mr. Rawkins seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth. Rumors abounded about him; the most prevalent was that he had died. I am happy to report that there is no truth to these rumors! Mr. Rawkins has contacted me and given me some fantastic news! He has resurrected the books, have expanded them, cleaned up the typos, and is re-publishing them as e-books. They are available on cds in a .pdf format.
As of September 2018, there are twenty-one titles:
Also being published within the next year are:
For those who are familiar with older editions, they will remember strange formatting (they were published was before the advent of word processors), numerous typos, and misspelled words. The books needed a good editor. The new editions are nicely formatted, still filled with many tables laying out uniform details (such as lace, button and facing colors, etc.), and black and white drawings of the front and back of uniforms. They also contain color images from contemporary artists and others such as Knötel and Bosselier. The new volume on the Swedish Army has 11 color images, while the Naples book has 96!!
In addition to providing color images placed throughout the text, Mr. Rawkins has expanded the information almost exponentially. For example the 1980 edition of the book on the Polish Army was 34 pages. The new book is 132 pages. The 1978 edition on the Swedish Army was 24 pages; the new edition is 77 pages. The book on the Army of Naples expanded from 15 pages to a staggering 186 pages!
I have all of the new editions and will use the The Army of the Kingdom of Naples to illustrate their quality. The table of contents is extensive, with the following chapters:
The information on the line infantry is typical of the book. The book has 44 pages dedicated solely to the line infantry. There are sections on the regimental organization; the strength for various years; uniforms, weapons, and equipment for the common soldier; uniforms, rank distinctions, weapons, and equipment for officers and NCOS; information on the uniforms worn by the musicians of every regiment; and even a separate section for the regimental sappers!
The following is a typical entry. This one covers the breeches worn by the infantry:
As I mentioned earlier one of the hallmarks of the first editions were tables that laid out uniform distinctions. The new editions continue with them. The following is an example of one such table, this one covering regimental cockades worn by the Swedish infantry.
I thought Mr. Rawkins made a mistake with the first editions when he published information about two of the smaller countries in one book. For example in 1978 he published The Armies of Naples & Kleve-Berg 1806-1814 in one volume. For the new editions he has corrected this and each country will have their own book. Like the books on the Polish and Swedish armies, Naples and Berg now have their own volumes.
All can be ordered through The History Book Man website.
Needless to say, I am a big fan of Mr. Rawkins’ books. For the wargamer who is looking for information on how to paint his figures, these books are worth their weight in gold! They are superb resources on uniforms that I have constantly referred to over the years. Even if you already have the original editions, the new ones have been vastly improved and thus it will be worth buying the updated ones. Considering how fast the first editions sold out, I strongly recommend you do not wait to buy the new ones. At £3.99 ($7) each, they are steal!
Reviewed by Robert Burnham
Placed on the Napoleon Series: February 2014; updated September 2018
 The Army of the Kingdom of Naples 1806-1814. Page 26
 The Army of Sweden 1802-1814. Pages 18 - 19
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