Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review - Victory at Poitiers

The second history book I finished recently was Victory at Poitiers; The Black Prince and the Medieval Art of War, by Christian Teutsch (Pen and Sword, 2010). This is another in the Campaign Chronicles series, and much like the Shrewsbury book, the title is misleading in the sense that the book covers much broader subject matter than just Poitiers itself.

This is another relatively brief book, at 141 pages. It starts with a simple overview of France and England at the start of the Hundred Years War, covers the first invasion and the battle of Crecy in 1346, and the period between Crecy and Poitiers, including events in England and the battle of Neville's Cross. This all takes up the first 65 pages.

Sorry...tilt your head
The next 64 pages or so detail the campaign leading up to Poitiers and the battle itself, with the final 12 pages covering the aftermath. A very interesting and thought provoking section for the wargamer is the detailed discussion on identifying the exact location of the battlefield itself. As is the case with many medieval battles, the general site of the battle is known, but the exact location in terms of troop deployments and lines of battle, as well as the progression of events across the terrain, is not. This can be especially debatable in areas where low lying swampy areas have been drained, woodlots cut back (or expanded), etc... Teutsch presents a compelling case for where he thinks troops were deployed and how the battle progressed topographically. I am inclined to think his interpretation makes a lot of sense and if wargaming Poitiers (which I have the armies for), I would use his version to recreate the battlefield on the tabletop.

I was very satisfied with this volume in the series overall, and would be inclined to pick up other titles in the same series that would be of interest to me, as I have now read two of them by different authors and both were quite good. Recommended.

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