In issue 171 Vae Victis publshed an excellent review of Throwing Thunderbolts;
My translation of the review is;
This new Helion booklet is impressive, with more than three hundred A4 paperback pages. He looks back at the First Coalition, which was formed in reaction to the declaration of war by the France << the King of Bohemia and Hungary” on 20 April 1792. In fact, almost all European states, with the notable exception of Russia, are gradually joining forces to face the threat of revolutionary France. More than a third of the book is devoted to a chronological presentation of the military campaigns that punctuated those years, from 1792 to the Treaty of Campo-Formio, in October 1797 (only the <<perfidious Albion:” remained at war with the French Republic after that date). Overseas events and major naval battles are also discussed. The narrative is well done, concise and complete, with, among other things, parts on the military Vendée and various royalist upheavals. A few (rather sketchy) maps give the locations of the main battles, but there are none with the precise movements of the armies and even less with movements during the battle. In fact, the whole remains general… while occupying a hundred pages.
The second part focuses on the armies of the protagonists: Austria, the Holy Roman Empire (Saxony, Bavaria, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Hesse-Darmstadt and Baden for its main << components >>), France, Great Britain, Prussia, Sardinia-Piedmont, Spain, Naples, the United Provinces and French royalists (Vendéens, Chouans, émigrés in armies formed or in the service of foreign armies). You will discover a wealth of information: numbers and types of regiments, organization of units, equipment, tactical considerations (especially on thin order, deep order, mixed order, skirmishers), etc. Again, the whole is well done and forms a good synthesis on the subject. The next part looks at the representation of this period on our gaming tables, with tips for choosing a rule (depending on the desired level of representation). You will also find a table of <<ratings” of the French army on the one hand, and of the coalition on the other, according to the years (from 1792 to 1797) and according to different criteria: command, training, discipline, morale, speed of manoeuvre changes, etc. This information is taken from an <<old” book by veteran Donald Featherstone published in the 1970s. Also given are considerations on the competence of the generals (taken from Napoleon’s Battles), with four notches, from bad (Mack for example) to excellent (Bonaparte, Davout, etc.), including average (Berthier, etc.) and good (Augereau, Bernadotte, etc.). These are only proposals: feel free to modify them according to your own research. Here are practical tips on how to build an army and paint your miniatures.
You will then discover a dozen scenarios, quite eclectic, with different situations and game rules: skirmishes, pitched battles, naval battles, etc. Each scenario is allowed about ten pages, with numerous explanations and historical notes, detailed orders of battle, possible options, etc. Note a scenario for Black Powder about the attack on the <<Fort Mulgrave” on the night of December 16 to 17, 1793, during the siege of Toulon, with a certain battalion commander Bonaparte at the head of the reserve of 1700 men. You will find this same officer, promoted to brigadier general, during the royalist insurrection of 13 Vendémiaire Year IV (5 October 1795): the gaming table represents the church of Saint-Roch and its surroundings (rue Saint-Honoré, rue de la Convention, etc.) and Sharp Practice is used for this scenario. In addition, information is given on the manufacturers of figurines for this period and websites on the subject. A bibliography completes the picture. The whole of this supplement is well done, although its presentation is relatively << austere >>. You will discover a period that is not very well represented on our tables compared to the First Empire, while it offers interesting challenges.
Throwing Thunderbolts, A Wargamer’s Guide to the War of the First Coalition, 1792-1797, guide to armies and battles during the French Revolution. Published in English by Helion (www.helion.co.uk). Prix indicatif : 40 €.