Friday, 3 February 2012

The Poor Cousin: the War of 1812

I went over to Barry's place yesterday and enjoyed his "museum". He is the "ultimate wargamer" of the region.  His gaming room has a 6" by 18" (?) (Very BIG anyway) table - currently completely covered in figures needing basing.  He has a very large militaria collection of actual and recreated helmets, shakos, weapons, flags etc. I mean who else would have a panzerfaust leaning against the wall and an authentic Russian cuirassier helmet c1808 nearby?! It is extremely fun to fondle such items.

Now the point!
He also has an extensive wargame/military library from which I borrowed several uniform reference books which I have yet to see.  I picked these particular books as I am currently on this War of 1812 kick and thought these books would add to my knowledge base.  Apparently I was mistaken. 

The first books were part of the famous Funcken series.  These were the originals written in French "L'UNIFORME ET LES ARMES DES SOLDATS DES ETATS-UNIS"  I suppose I should not have been shocked at the only brief examination of the uniforms for the War of 1812 as it is not mentioned in the sub-title (in English: the Wars of Independence, Succession, of Mexico and in the Far-West). Yup, no mention of poor old 1812.  While plate after color plate shows for example the dress outfits of the cavalry c1880, only one poor plate shows only a few examples from the war and three are of the same artillery outfit.  Argh.  Very little space is committed to the descriptions.  So any purchasers out there are duly warned.

I also borrowed The West Point Military History Series on the" Early American Wars and Military Institutions".   This series is noted for its large maps.  This book is 76 pages of text but only has less than 5 devoted to the entire history of this long war. Of the maps only four are of the conflict, the first three covering the first three years of the war showing the eastern part of North America and the major offensive thrusts as only small arrows. Only the Battle of New Orleans gets a full page (the only battle the Americans can rightly claim as victors. coincidence? I think not) Oh, by the way, the map is not worth the effort, I have seen maps on the internet just as useful.

Yes, I stayed up late, prepared my hot-toddy, and was disappointed.
The War of 1812 is the poor cousin to all the other, "more glorious" wars Americans have engaged in, it would seem. (grin)

1 comment:

  1. I have the Funcken's Estat-Unis book too. Occasionally useful, but certainly not for the War of 1812. Sometimes I think books are simply available for their curiosity . . . or our vanity . . . and not so much their utility.