The Destruction of the Imperial Army Volume 2

The Destruction of the Imperial Army Volume 2

The Battles around Metz 1870

Grenville Bird

A fresh study of the tumultuous events of summer 1870 when Moltke's German armies destroyed Napoleon's Imperial army, laying the foundations for a military and political hegemony lasting into the 20th Century.
Date Published :
May 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Musket to Maxim 1815-1914
Illustration :
64 b/w & color photos & ills, 17 maps, 12 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804511855
Pages : 424
Dimensions : 9.8 X 6.7 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


This work, the second in a four volume series, takes a fresh and in depth look at the events of the opening months of the Franco Prussian War between Napoleon’s Imperial Army and King Wilhelm’s German armies when, within the space of four weeks in summer 1870, the established order was overthrown and Prussia laid the foundations for a military and political hegemony in Europe which led directly or indirectly to two World Wars.

Many recent accounts of this pivotal conflict draw heavily on the usual tried and tested sources such as the German Official histories and the memoirs of senior German commanders. while this volume does reference such works, the basic narrative is taken from the numerous volumes of the French official account, La Guerre de 1870-71.

Published by the Section historique de l’État-major de l’Armée around the turn of the 20th Century, the work made use of information not available to the authors of the earlier German official history, and includes detailed annexes providing copious Orders of Battle, after battle unit reports and casualty records for almost every engagement.

This excellent source material has been supplemented by the works of Lehautcourt and the memoirs of the French commanders with additional detail and analysis derived from the numerous official and semi-official staff studies published during the 1880-90’s.

while many of the German works have been published in English few, if any, of the French works have been translated and their inclusion within this work will offer both a fresh perspective of events as well as providing a useful counterpoint to the somewhat ‘Prussian-centric’ viewpoints reflected in many previous studies of the conflict.

The second volume in the series takes an in depth look at the three major encounters that took place around Metz in mid-August 1870; Borny/Colomby fought on the 14th; the encounter at Vionville/Mars la Tour on the 16th and finally, one of the largest battles of the nineteenth century, the decisive clash at Gravelotte/St Privat on the 18th.

As with the first volume, this work includes extensive OOB’s and casualty lists derived from the French and German official histories and is complemented by a number of maps and black and white and color illustrations.

Subsequent volumes will take a similarly detailed and comprehensive look the short-lived but decisive campaign of the Army of Châlons and the fighting at Nouart, Beaumont and Sedan, and the oft-overlooked sieges of Strasbourg and Metz and battles of Servigny–Noisseville and Landonchamps.

About The Author

Grenville Bird is a retired Chartered Surveyor who, during the last twenty years, has made repeated visits to the Franco-Prussian War battlefields around Metz and Sedan, whilst assembling an extensive collection of long out of print and obscure works relating to the subject, and in particular, the opening months of the war in August and September 1870.

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