The Republic Fights Back: The Franco-German War 1870-1871

Volume 2 - Uniforms, Organisation and Weapons of the Armies of the Republican Phase of the War.

Ralph Weaver

This book is an in-depth look at the post battle of Sedan organization, weapons and uniforms of the combatants and non-combatants of the French and the North German Confederation, rather than a history of the Franco-German War of 1870. With color plates of all branches of the services.
Date Published :
February 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Musket to Maxim 1815-1914
Illustration :
20 color plates, b/w ills
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915070500
Pages : 156
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


The Franco-German War of 1870-71 saw the demise of one empire, that of Napoleon III and the birth of another, a new German empire under the rule of the king of Prussia and his first minister Bismarck. Many books have been written on the campaigns and battles of the war; this is the first to center on the armies themselves. After the debacle of the French surrender at Sedan vast new armies were raised, both in France and Germany. The French Republican government, under the tireless enthusiasm of Leon Gambetta, tried to mobilize the whole male population to participate in some form or other; was he successful? This book explains how they were organized, how they were armed, what uniforms they were dressed in and how they were supplied with the essentials of war. Technical innovations changed the way armies behaved in the field, railways speeded up movement, the telegraph delivered orders in a fraction of the time and new weapons altered tactics used on the battlefield. How did the leaders react to the opening battles, what changes were made to battlefield tactics? What was the effect of the establishment of the Volunteer forces, the Franc-Tireurs. How quickly did the uniforms and equipment survive under field conditions and what did the authorities do to remedy any problems? Many contemporary works have been used either in their original form or now available as digital copies from French and German sources. Many English language sources have also been used together with memoirs from soldiers, officers and men as well as diplomats, volunteers, combatants and those ministering to the wounded. The American Civil War had demonstrated the practical use of railways, the Germans expanded their railway departments, both in the General staff and in the field. The Germans had planned their railways with scientific care, to keep the field armies supplied, to evacuate the sick and wounded and to maintain the tracks, bridges, depots and rolling stock, bringing in thousands of railway workers from the German private railway companies. Both armies had to adapt to one of the harshest winters in living memory, marching, camping and fighting in rain, snow and mud, all but a few roads having a prepared surface.

About The Author

Ralph Weaver has made a life-long study of military history, particularly of Europe in the 19th Century. He began his military career with the Sealed Knot before giving up the sword for the pen. He has been the editor of the journal of the Continental Wars Society for the past twenty-five years and has written and illustrated books and magazine articles on military history. He trained as a land surveyor in the Civil Service and has used his map-making skills in battlefield walking and table top wargaming. He has been collecting books, pictures, photographs and reference material on uniforms with a view to writing a definitive history on the subject. As well as conducting research on military topics, his latest interests include cooking and looking after grandchildren.

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