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With Zeal and With Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America, 1775-1783 (Campaigns and Commanders Series) Paperback – July 15, 2010
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About the Author
Matthew Spring holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Leeds and is Head of History at Truro School, an independent secondary school in Cornwall, England.
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The book itself is great and a good source of information for anyone interested in the subject. It approaches various aspects in a simple enough manner that it could work as a good introductory, but it seems to have been written for an audience already somewhat familiar with the era, as many names are introduced with little explanation as to their full role or significance.
Not much info about the US.
I would almost catagorize this as a research piece with lots of tecnical info and berry little story telling.
A must have book for fans of AWI.
`Over the past few decades, academic historians (especially Americans) of the American War and its contending armies have written a great deal on topics such as strategic planning, logistics, and social history. Yet if the ultimate purpose of all armies is to fight, and if therefore the most fundamental task facing the military historian is arguably to study combat, it is perhaps ironic that we should still have relatively little detailed analysis of the war in which the respective armies operated on campaign and in action.'
This book admirably fills that perceived void, and it is this volume, which is a tremendous study of the British Army of the period, that sets the standard for future works of this type. It ranks as one of the best volumes on the military history of what the author refers to as `the American war.'
The text does not merely cover the tactics, (which includes the British `bayonet charge' and `bushfighting'), firepower, but the British soldier's motivation, battles, as well as, among others, what the British Army in North America was assigned to accomplish, and the `operational constraints' that army faced.
The text also addresses the enemy of the British Army, first, the American Continental Army, which the author contends, correctly, `was the foremost obstacle to the restoration of British authority in the colonies. The American militia and its inherent problems is also covered very well, stating that on the open battlefield the militia did not perform well, but could in broken and wooded country, but that its most value was in serving the United States as an armed constabulary of police force.
The author dispels many myths about the British Army in North America, along with many about the American militia, and that the militia, if faced with disaster, as after the lost battle of Camden in August 1780, would turn coat against the Americans and side with the British. The only conclusion that can be reached is that the `traditional' viewpoint of the militia as performing the yeoman work against the British in the field is not only incorrect, but is a gross exaggeration.
The army the British fielded in North America was not only, in 1776, the largest expeditionary force that ever proceded from Great Britain, but it was also an excellent army, even though a significant portion of its combat power was provided by minor German princes. The quality of the British troops was excellent, as were the Germans that fought shoulder to shoulder with them against the Americans. It is also largely an unrecognized army, and there are no British regimental battle honors recognizing their excellent service, and that is a long-uncorrected oversight. They fought excellently in a losing cause that was not of their making and they left a legacy of a string of hard-fought actions, most of them victories, far from home.