Review by Martin Koenigsberg
Just finished my 98th Book Review of the Year!!
Number 72 in Osprey’s publishing Combat series brings us British Light infantryman versus Patriot Rifleman: American Revolution 1775-83 by Robbie MacNiven. These books usually oppose two forces that went head to head- but in this book, we are comparing two styles of 18th Century combat. The “Light Bobs” were armed with the same smoothbore musket as most other soldiers of the period, but trained to fight in open order, skirmish, raid, scout, and when they could loot the countryside of all available foodstuffs. The American rifleman was bringing his hunting rifle to go fight in wartime, adding a stand-off weapon to the rebel arsenal, effective at 500-600 yards when 100-150 were really the deadly zone for musketry. MacNiven is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction- the book flies along comparing the two sorts of units and then showing us battles/skirmishes where each was effective. Filled with b/w and color pictures and plates, with lots of diagrams and maps in the typical Osprey style, this book is an interesting addition to AWI resources. Basically, the British Light Infantry was an offensive force- skirmishing along the battle line- but able to form and charge with the bayonet on command. American Riflemen were a more defensive force- able to add extra weight and distance to any American Musket line. If push came to literal shove- the American Rifleman was at a real disadvantage- unable to fit a bayonet – so armed with a club- not a spear. MacNiven shows us examples where the British tighter control of their forces paid off- and ones where American weight and accuracy of fire took effect. Both had a place in 18th-century warfare- and it is instructive that the Brits would follow the American Rifleman/German Jager traditions- adding both Light and Rifle Regiments for their next round of wars. I learned a bit and enjoyed the reading. There are few adult themes and no graphic injury passages, so this is fine for the Junior Reader over about 9/10 years with an interest in history. For the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast, just let me tell you that I just had to talk myself out of buying two whole AWI Forces, so I think you know who this book was aimed at. The gamer gets an explanation of the two real novel features of this particular war (the rest are line units on both sides, Militia on both sides and native American forces)- with a couple of scenarios for perusal. The Modeler will probably want more pictures to look at but will get build/diorama ideas aplenty here. The Military Enthusiast gets a couple of key facets of the American War of Independence explained in closer detail, always useful. A nice little book that helps any reader understand the American Revolution just a bit better.#WhatAreYouReading #BookReviews #18thCenturyHistory #MilitaryHistory #BritishImperialHistory #AmericanHistory #AmericanRevolution #AmericanWarOfIndependence #AWI #AmericanColonialHistory #WargameResearch #BritishLightInfantrymanVersusPatriotRifleman #AmericanRevolution1775to83 #RobbieMacNiven #CombatSeries72 #OspreyPublishing #LightInfantry #Riflemen #KentuckyLongRifle #HarlemHeights #FreemansFarm #HangingRock #BlackPowder #RedcoatAndRebel #18thCenturyWargames