Rindis's Reviews > European Medieval Tactics (1): The Fall and Rise of Cavalry 450–1260

European Medieval Tactics (1) by David Nicolle
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's review
Mar 05, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: middle-ages, history
Read from March 05 to 09, 2012

A quick guide to early Middle Ages tactics; as such, there are pieces I knew already, and pieces that echo other books I've read. However, it's all put together here very well. David Nicolle is one of my favorite Osprey authors, and he does not disappoint here.

This is technically part of the Elite line, and follows the general format. However, instead of the usual eight full-color plates of various soldiers of the period, they are all bird's eye views of various battles in progress, that illustrate things very well indeed (part of one of these is on the front cover), accompanied with a decent 1/3rd page description of the action. Also, there are another seven battles given a traditional black-and-white schematic illustrative treatment. In part thanks to the period, while I'm already familiar with some of the battles, many I don't know, or don't even know as much as the little given in the book tells me.

In all, it really brings together its subject well (especially the earlier parts) and brings things into better focus. I will have to get more of the books in the Battle Tactics line that Osprey has been publishing lately.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Jim (new)

Jim How much does it get into specifics of horse type & equipment?

Rindis It does not go in to horse types at all. I'd like to see a kind of 'military history of the horse', but the best I've got is comments in various Men-at-arms books, and discussions with the resident horse expert.

Equipment is not gone into in any detail (the Warrior line is where Osprey concentrates on that), but they do talk some about various saddle types, the use (or not) of stirrups, how likely mounted troops were to dismount and fight on foot, and the such.

The one thing it really does spend some time looking at is spear/javelin use. It is pointed out that there's basically three uses for such on horseback: throwing, overarm stabbing, and couched (underarm, and tucked between the arm and body), the last of which being what we tend to think of as the usual Medieval practice. The book does spend some effort on looking at which practices were used when (with the available evidence being surviving mosaics and carvings...).

message 3: by Jur (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jur hmmm, this one had me disappointed. Unfocussed. Too much in too little space.

Rindis The real problem is that the focus drops off as it goes along. Some of that fourth star is how much the beginning impressed me, which is something I'm slow to let go of. As I mentioned to you elsewhere, it would have been much better done in two Elite volumes instead of just one.

message 5: by Jur (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jur There's going to be a 2nd volume to this series. I'll be surprised to know which that wil be

Rindis Yes, but (2) will most likely be something like 1260-1500. I would prefer it to have been a trilogy (or more). 1000-1300 and 1300-1500 are the 'normal' Osprey time periods, and I would have preferred something closer to that with another volume for 450-1000.

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