This is a review by Randy L Harvey of Dettingen 1743 – Miracle on the Main
by author Michael McNally and illustrator Seán Ó’Brógáin with series editor Marcus Cowper.

HISTORY

The death of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, in1741 was the catalyst for the War of the Austrian Succession, a conflict that saw Europe split over the disputed succession to the imperial throne.  In spring 1743, a power vacuum arose in Germany following the death if the Bishop-Elector of Mainz.  The opposing sides sought to take advantage of the situation, with the French sending an army of 70,000 men under Marshal Noailles to occupy the electorate, whilst the Earl of Stair was ordered to consolidate the Allied position in Mainz before continuing southwards to linkup with Allied forces in Bavaria. Noailles set a careful trap near Dettingen on the Main River, intending to destroy the Pragmatic Army as it marched southwards, cutting its lines of supply and seeking to end the war at a single stroke.  This superbly illustrated title shows how the Pragmatic Army began the battle facing outright destruction; but when the tables turned in its favour, capitalized on this, and successfully broke out of the French trap. *

* Quoted from the back cover of the book. 

You may view this book on Osprey's site via this link: Dettingen 1743

THE BOOK:

Osprey Publishing has released Dettingen 1743 – Miracle on the Main as Number 352 in their Campaign series. It is a soft cover book with 96 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color photographs, color illustrations, full color battle scenes, detailed maps, 3-dimensional ‘birds-eye-views’, detailed captions, and more. It has a 2020 copyright, a publication date of August 20, 2020 and the ISBN is 978-1-4728-3680-9.  The book details the command strategies, tactics and battle experiences of the opposing forces throughout the battle of Dettingen in 1743. 

 

THE CONTENTS:

    Origins of the Campaign

        - The Imperial election of 1742

    Chronology

    Opposing Commanders

       - The Pragmatic Army

       - The French

    Opposing Forces

       - Orders of battle

    Opposing Plans

       - The Pragmatic Army

       - The French

    The Campaign

       - Baiting the trap

       - The Allies at bay

       - Checkmate?

       - The plan unfolds

       - The plan unravels

       - The die is cast

       - The jaws close

       - The ducks of the main

       - A general combat

       - A window of opportunity

       - The beginnings of retreat

       - Collapse

    Aftermath

    The Battlefield Today

    Bibliography

    Index


THE TEXT:

  Author Michael McNally gives a well detailed narration of the battle which, with the accompanying maps, helps place the reader at the battle and makes it easy for the reader to understand what took place and why. As well as providing information on the conflict, Michael McNally details leadership and organization of the armies, weapons and equipment used by both sides as well as the fighting techniques of the combatants and their successes and failures.  Also provided are details of battlefield conditions and terrain and how that affected the soldiers and the fighting, and other such details which provides a feeling of what the men were putting up with during the fighting to help the reader understand what took place from the overall picture down to the most minute details. The battles are all discussed from prior to the fighting, to the actions taken during the fighting and the actions and end results after the fighting had ceased.  The text in the book is nicely written and well detailed.  As I read through the text, I didn’t notice any spelling or grammatical errors.  Grammar and spelling might not be an important factor to everyone however it is something that I take notice of and pass on my findings.  I feel that if the text is well written then it shows that the author has taken the time to be a professional with their writing.  Anyone wanting to add an excellent reference and history book on the battle at Dettingen in 1743 to their personal library will be pleased with this very informative and interesting book.


THE PHOTOGRAPHS:

A total of 11 black and white photographs and 55 color photographs are included in this volume. The photographs range from wide angle photographs to close-up detailed photographs.  I would say that the photographs that were chosen for this book were for the most part lesser-known photographs as opposed to photographs that are featured in many other titles that deal with the same subject matter.  Several of the photographs that were chosen for this book are from the author’s personal collection and are therefore not photographs that are featured other titles that deal with the same subject matter which makes them unique. The photographs are clear and easily viewable which gives the reader a clear view of the historical buildings and locations and other such subjects. Some of the photographs are of period engravings and paintings and provide the reader with details of various weapons, gear and period uniforms and clothing. They also provide a good reference for coloring which can be used as a painting guide for modelers if so chosen. The images are obviously not always in scale and 100% accurate but I personally feel that they still do their job of providing information as there was obviously no photography equipment of any type back in that time period. So obviously, artists were free to use artistic interpretation when they created their paintings and illustrations.  The photographs are clear and easily viewable. Author Michael McNally stuck to the title of the book and chose subject specific photographs and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book.  The majority, if not all, of the photographs will prove to be a wealth of information to anyone interested in the battle at Dettingen and the militaries involved due to the details they contain. 

Photographs included that will be of value to the scale figure modeler are full color photographs of reconstructed uniforms being worn by reenactors and on display figures. 

Some of these pictures are of the uniforms of:

-         Chevau-légers de la Garde du Roy

-         French infantryman of the Royal-Rousillon

-         3e Compagnie des Gardes du Corps

-         Trumpeter of the Gendarmerie de la Garde

-         Drummer, 2e Compagnie des Mousquetaires duRoi

-         Lieutenant de grenadiers des Gardes Francaises

 

THE ILLUSTRATIONS:

There are 3 color illustrations by illustrator Seán Ó’Brógáin.  Each of the color illustrations are accompanied by a black and white copy of the same illustration that describes the scene with a detailed caption and points out and describes key areas of interest. The illustrations are well done and are of:

Plate A

First Blood

A two-page action scene depicting Ducd’Harcourt at the head of the Mousquetaries du Roi leading the French cavalry against two lines of British horse and dragoons. A portion of this illustration is also seen on the front cover of the book.

 Plate B

 Les Canards Du Main

 A two-page action scene depicting French Gardes -Françaises battling with the Austrian infantry of the Allied fourth line in close-range combat. 

 Plate C

 The Whites of Their Eyes

 A two-page action scene depicting Ducde Biron, in command of the French right wing, leading three regiments of line cavalry, spearheaded by the Royal Cuirassiers, in an attack against the Royal North British Fusiliers.

 3-DIMENSIONAL‘BIRDS-EYE-VIEWS’:

 There are three 3-dimensional ‘birds-eye-views’ included in this volume and they are of:

 -         ‘A Plan Unraveled’

- The opening moves, c. 9.30am –11.30am

 -         ‘A Clash of Arms’

- The Allied attack, c. 11.30am – 12.45pm

 -         ‘Sauve Qui Peut

- The French attack and collapse, c. 12.45pm– 2.30pm

 MAPS:

 There are 6 maps included in this volume and they are of:

 -         The Hapsburg patrimony upon the death of Charles VI

-         The political situation, early 1743

-         The strategic situation, May-June 1743

-         Noailles’ plan of operations

-         The battle deployment, according to British sources

-         The aftermath of the battle

 PROFILES:

 There are 8 individual profiles included in this volume and they are of:

 The Pragmatic Army

-         George (II) Augustus, King of Great Britain, Duke of Brunswick – Lüneburg, Elector of Hanover (1683-1760)

-         John Dalrymple, Earl of Stair (1673-1747)

-         Léopold Phillippe Charles Joséph, Ducd’Arenberg (1690-1754)

-         Prince William Augustus, KG, KB, FRS, Dukeof Cumberland (1721-65)

 The French

 -         Adrien-Maurice de Noailles, Duc deNoailles (1678-1766)

-         Louis-Antoine, Duc de Gramont (1689-1745)

-         Louis-Antoine de Gontaut, Duc de Biron(1701-88)

-         François, Duc d’Harcourt (1689-1750)

 THE CAPTIONS:

 The captions are well written and explain the accompanying photographs and illustrations in great detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown.  The captions go into very specific detail as to the specific individuals shown, locations and other such pertinent information.  I was impressed by Michael McNally’s captions as they are very helpful to the reader due to their detailed content as opposed to other captions that I have seen that are very brief and lacking in detail. 

NOTES:

 There are 4 notes included in this volume and they are:

 -         Artist’s Note

-         Author’s Acknowledgement

-         Dedication

-         A note on images

 INFORMATIONAL CHART:

 There are 2 informational charts included in this volume and they are of:

        - Key to military symbols

       - Key to unit identification

 THE AUTHOR:   

 Born in London in 1964, Mike McNally is the author of best-selling studies of the pivotal battles of the Boyne and Aughrim and is currently studying the role of the Irish Brigade in French service from the Boyne to Fontenay. The author of several books for Osprey, with his varied areas of interest he continues to research such diverse subjects as Irish military history, the campaigns of Marlborough and the German colonial campaigns during World War I.

 THE ILLUSTRATOR:   

Seán Ó'Brógáin lives and works in Donegal, Ireland. He has a BA (Hons) in Scientific and Natural History illustration from Lancaster University and has worked for a wide range of clients. Apart from Osprey, these include the University of Manchester, An Post, the National Museum of Ireland,and the Irish Office of Public Works, as well as a variety media companies,museums, councils, and private individuals.

 CONCLUSION:

 As with the other Osprey Publishing titles I was impressed with this book.  This is a very nice reference book that contains a well written informative text, many subject specific photographs and illustrations, well detailed captions and more, all detailing the fighting at Dettingen in 1743.  As with the other Osprey Publishing titles, I would have no hesitation to recommend this book to others as it will be a welcome addition to one’s personal reference library. 

 Osprey Publishing also offers Dettingen 1743 – Miracle on the Main as:

 eBook (ePub) ISBN: 978-1-4728-3681-6

 and

 eBook (PDF) ISBN: 978-1-4728-3678-6

 Osprey Publishing’s Dettingen1743 – Miracle on the Main is also available as a Kindle version through Amazon.

 PRICE:

 UK £15.99 / US $24.00 / CAN $32.50

 This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here on the KitMaker Network when you make your purchase. Thank you.

 HIGHS:

  •  Well written text and captions
  • Subject specific photographs and color illustrations

LOWS: Nothing

 VERDICT:   An excellent volume by Osprey Publishing.  Definitely beneficial to the enthusiast and historian of 18th century warfare, weapons, uniforms and the battle at Dettingen in 1743.

YOUR REACTION?


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