British Rifleman vs French Skirmisher

Peninsular War and Waterloo 1808–15

British Rifleman vs French Skirmisher cover

British Rifleman vs French Skirmisher

Peninsular War and Waterloo 1808–15


Featuring specially commissioned artwork and full-color maps, this book evaluates the origins, tactics, armament, and combat effectiveness of the British riflemen and French skirmishers who clashed on three bloody battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars.

The battles between British and French forces during the Peninsular War (1807--14) and the Hundred Days campaign of 1815 saw both sides deploy specialist units of skirmishers trained in marksmanship and open-order combat. These “light” troops fulfilled several important roles on the battlefield, such as “masking” large bodies of close-order troops as they maneuvered in battle, firing upon enemy troops to provoke them into attacking prematurely, and harassing enemy artillery crews and senior officers with aimed fire. On occasion, the skirmishers were tasked with special missions requiring individual initiative, such as the capture or defense of key battlefield positions, especially those situated in difficult terrain.

While Napoleon's skirmishers carried the smoothbore musket, notoriously inaccurate and short-ranged, several elite units fighting for Britain were armed with the rifle, a far more accurate weapon that was hampered by a slower rate of fire. As well as the legendary 95th Rifles, Britain fielded rifle-armed German troops of the 60th Regiment and the King's German Legion, while France's light troops were fielded in individual companies but also entire regiments. In this study, David Greentree assesses the role and effectiveness of rifle-armed British troops and their French open-order opponents in three very different encounters: Roliça (August 1808), the first British battle of the Peninsular War; the struggle for a key bridge at Barba del Puerco (March 1810); and the bitter fight for the La Haye Sainte farmhouse during the battle of Waterloo (June 1815).

Table of Contents

The opposing sides
Barba Del Puerco
La Haye Sainte
Unit Organizations

Product details

Published Feb 18 2020
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 80
ISBN 9781472831842
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Dimensions 10 x 7 inches
Series Combat
Short code CBT 46
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


David Greentree

David Greentree graduated from the University of Y…


Adam Hook

Adam Hook studied graphic design, and began his wo…


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