The Changing Face of Old Regime Warfare

Essays in Honour of Christopher Duffy

This book reflects on the historiographical contributions of world-renowned military historian Christopher Duffy. In 16 essays, the contributors continue Christopher's legacy of making first-rate historical research on eighteenth-century militaries accessible to the public.
Date Published :
September 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Editor :
Alexander S. Burns
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
B&W illustrations, photos, and maps, and 8 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781915070388
Pages : 344
Dimensions : 9.75 X 6.75 inches
Stock Status : In stock


Over the last 60 years, British historian Professor Christopher Duffy has fundamentally reshaped our understanding of warfare in the late Old Regime. For much of the twentieth century, historians asserted that the military forces of Old Regime Europe were stagnant, formalized, and decorative. In this view, Old Regime armies were a lacy pastel façade destroyed by the new military prowess of Napoleon. A specialist on the Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and Jacobite armies of the mid-eighteenth century, Professor Duffy demanded that we understand the armies of the Old Regime as they were: serious and dangerous military institutions.

The Changing Face of Old Regime Warfare is a festschrift honoring Professor Duffy’s legacy of writing on this pivotal period of military history. The book collects 16 essays by scholars from seven countries on three continents, which together tell the story of the dynamic nature of warfare in the Old Regime.

Topics such as cavalry tactics, divisional organization, the rise of light forces, and the effects of war-making on society accompany primary sources translated into English for the first time.

Throughout his career, Professor Duffy has written on a wide variety of topics in over 20 books, from topics ranging from the Seven Years War to the First World War, from the history of fortress warfare to the experience of Marshal Suvorov. It is fitting then, that although centered on eighteenth-century warfare, this book also includes chapters which address the Napoleonic conflicts, and First World War.

The first section, Backgrounds and Retrospectives, explores the state of historical writing on eighteenth-century warfare, as well as Professor Duffy’s contribution to it. The second section, Commanders and their Armies, explores the field of traditional military history. It provides coverage of tactical analyses, campaign narratives, and organizational and doctrinal changes for the armies fighting in the Old Regime. The third section, Voices from the Past, provides translations and analyses of military sources which have been previously unavailable to the public. The fourth and final section, New Perspectives, demonstrates the varied picture which methods such as archaeology, cultural history, and colonial history tell us about the imperial history of European states at war. This section contains the final essay of the great American historian Dennis Showalter, published posthumously here with the permission of the Showalter family.

The Changing Face of Old Regime Warfare continues Professor Duffy’s legacy of studying the armies and states of Europe in the eighteenth century, and allows a host of his colleagues to honor his fine work.

About The Author

Dr Alexander Burns is a lecturer in Modern European History at West Virginia University. In 2021, he defended his dissertation, “The Entire Army Says Hello: Common Soldiers, Localism, and Army Reform in Britain and Prussia, 1739-1789” which was directed by Dr Katherine Aaslestad. His research focuses on the intersection of violence, race, and the state in the Atlantic world during the eighteenth century, as well as the history of state-building and reform in German Central Europe. He has published articles on the Hessian, British, and Prussian militaries, and his next monograph explores the international culture of military professionalism that allowed the United States to triumph during the American War of Independence.


Section One: Background and Retrospectives
1. Eighteenth Century Warfare in a Global Perspective – Jeremy Black 
2. Writing for Pleasure: Christopher Duffy’s Historiographical Legacy – Alexander S. Burns 

Section Two: Commanders and their Armies
3. Military Action and Reflection: Thoughts on Frederick’s Elements de castrametrie et de tactique of 1770 – Jürgen Luh
4. The Württemberg Army in the Seven Years War – Peter H. Wilson
5. The Crisis of the French Cavalry during the Seven Years War – Frédéric Chauvire
6. French Cavalry at Austerlitz: The Historical Narrative and Data – Frederick Schneid
7. An Aspect of the Military Experience in the Age of Reason: The Evolution of the Combined-Arms Division in Old Regime France – Jonathan Abel
8. Pandours, Partisans, and Freikorps: The Development of Warfare and Light Troops across the Eighteenth Century – James R. McIntyre
9. The Extraordinary Life and Times of Military Engineer Charles Bisset – Petr Wohlmuth

Section Three: Voices from the Past
10. Pastor Täge’s Account of the Siege of Cüstrin and the Battle of Zorndorf:  August 1758 – Adam L. Storring 
11. Fighting in Frederick II’s favourite Musketeer Regiment: A unique series of Prussian soldiers’ letters from the Seven Years War – Katrin and Sascha Möbius

Section Four: New Perspectives
12. Clearing the Fog of War: Archaeological Research on the Battle of Kunersdorf, 2009-2019 – Grzegorz Podruczny
13. The Primacy of State Violence in the Austro-Bohemian Lands: Subjects, Soldiers and Shifting Social Boundaries, 1788-1816 – Kurt Baird
14. A Crisis of Battle? Decisiveness in the Wars of Frederick the Great – Alexander Querengässer
15. Embattled Representations: Indecisiveness and the Making of Victories during the Seven Years War – Marian Füssel
16. ‘…when it comes to fightin’…they’ll shove me in the stalls’: Africans, Indians, and Imperialism’s Great War – Dennis Showalter

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