Monday, 13 February 2012

The Greek War of Independence

Two of my favourite holiday destinations

Arriving from the USA this morning was a book I have been after for some time and is a very useful addition to the library. The book in question is 'The Greek War of Independence' by David Brewer (published by The Overlook Press ISBN  10: 1585673951) and it covers the Greek struggle to throw off the Ottoman yoke from 1821 to 1833. The book is a detailed account of the war as a whole although not specifically a military history. The story of the Greek war cannot be described as one of a fine example of the military art but that is not to say it is not without interest from a gaming perspective. Small scale actions were very much the order of the day - on land and sea - with raids, sieges, inshore naval action and an interesting combination of ex Napoleonic 'officers' (usually a motley selection of self promoted adventurers, and assorted 'Hellenic admirers' (including Lord 'Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know' Byron and others matched up with a varied assortment of brigands and general ne'er do wells. Apparently Albanian mercenaries featured on both sides and the various international officers in service with the Greeks spent an inordinate amount of time fighting duels amongst themselves!

The naval side is quite interesting - even before the battle of Navarino - as the Greeks were far better sailors than the Turks but used much smaller ships whilst the Ottoman navy had some very nice ships (including some French built 80 gunners) but were little short of abysmal in respect of seamanship.

This is certainly a period to look at further as something a little different - imagine a horde of Greek outlaws with some virtually Napoleonic looking officers attached!


Tim Gow said...

I'm sure there's plenty of inspiration in that book!

Ross Mac said...

Not to mention marvelous costumes and uniforms on both sides. A couple of magazine articles and a book whose author escapes me, caught my interest 15 years ago which resulted in a 54mm regiment of Albanians and contemporary Turks joining my armies. Luckily it stopped there!

David Crook said...

Hi Tim,

Greek fireships versus Turkish men of war to start with, and more raids and skirmishes than you shake a stick at.

Lord alone knows how this would develop!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi Ross,

I would be interested to see what you have if it is still around! Aside from the Brewer title I have David Howarth's The Greek Adventure which is very inspiring. As an author I also enjoyed his A Near Run Thing on Waterloo and Trafalgar: The Nelson Touch.

One to ponder - again!

All the best,


Conrad Kinch said...

I picked up a signed copy while honeymooning in London. Never got around to it though.

David Crook said...

Hi CK,

Hardback versions of this book are commanding a King's ransom although a paperback edition is currently available. Mine is an American edition which was very cheap although the postage from the US kept the price at a serious level.

I am currently reading David Howarth's The Greek Adventure which also covers the war - the same author of A Near Run Thing - THAT battle in Belgium that kicked off my wargaming many years ago.

Honeymooning in London? This confirms you as a man of impeccable good taste!

All the best,