Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Risorgimento Uniform Guides

Obscure projects can lead to challenges in painting and fielding combatants.  Such is the situation with the 1859 Risorgimento / Second Italian War of Independence / Franco-Austrian War (or whatever you might call it) conflict.

While Osprey Publishing provides a handful of useful booklets for the Austrians and French, information on the Sardinian Army is difficult to obtain.  A number of resources are available on the Internet (I must have several score of images captured from the web) but uniform booklets are much more rare.  That is, until recently.

Soldiershop Publishing in Italy has produced two very useful books for the Sardinian forces present in this war.  In 2012, Soldiershop published Volume 14 in their Soldiers & Weapons series focusing on the foot forces.  Melani and Ricciardi's book is 159 pages packed with useful information.  Included are unit organizations, uniform plates, tables of unit regimental facing colors, and more.  Comprehensive.  The uniform plates are brilliantly executed in color including equipment, rank distinctions, saddle clothes, and armaments.  The downside for native English readers is that the text is in Italian.  Photo and illustration captions are bilingual in both Italian and English.    
When I first saw Volume 014, I wondered if the concentration on infantry and artillery suggested that a separate book covering the cavalry might be forthcoming.   That was indeed the case as a second volume highlighting the cavalry arm was recently published.  Volume #2 has been added to my Wish List while I wait for my favorite international book vendor to get the book in stock.
In addition to the resources shown above, Historica publishes a one volume book on the Austrian army for the 1859 conflict.  Like the Soldiershop series, this book is similar to Osprey in size and scope.  At 88 pages, it carries a little more heft than an Osprey and contains similar content.  As similar to the Soldiershop series, L'esercito Austriaco ne 1859 is printed in Italian.  Fortunately, all captions, illustrations, and uniform plates have English descriptions.  In the back of the book are English translations of the Italian text.  Another very useful resource for studying the 1859 conflict.
Of course, no mention of Sardinian forces during this conflict can be complete without mentioning my long time reference.  That reference is Campaign Booklet #8 of Casali's The Second Italian War of Independence 1859 published (at the time) by Freikorps 15s.
In Casali is a brief history of the campaign,unit organization, painting guides for each of the major combatants, and orders of battle.  Great little resource!
My well worn copy of Casali

17 comments:

  1. Excellent finds! I suspect that if you know Spanish, the Italian won't be that hard to puzzle out in context.

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    1. Yes, the books are useful additions to the library.
      Soldiershop is the same publisher that produced that lovely Landsknecht book I reported on in an earlier post.

      As for translation, you are exactly correct. Spanish and Italian can be deciphered with effort to at least get the gist of the descriptions.

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  2. I see that they are available as Kindle books, so that may be my best option. My Italian is non-existent, but it's the pretty pictures I'm after!

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    1. Available as Kindle books? I see no reference to that. Although I prefer hard copy, eBook might be a good solution.

      We are all after pretty pictures, are we not?

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  3. oh bugger! ;o) I checked out Soldiershop Publishing for Napoleonic Wars titles i.e. Saxons, Westphalian's etc... oh well..I 'm sure they will publish the booklets I'm more interested in, anyway... great web site though, thanks for sharing Jonathan!

    cheers,

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    1. Phil! For Napoleonic titles, SoldierShop seems to concentrate on Italians (naturally). To me, this suggests you should be fielding..ITALIANS! With white uniforms, Italians would be an easy transition from your white-coated Wesphalians and Saxons. You would hardly notice.

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    2. funny you should mention "white uniforms" after selling a few of my oil paintings (paid some house hold bills), I purchased 2nd Ed. Old Glory Austrians and French (to be painted as Italians) I'm almost finish painting my Napoleonic Saxons, I now know how to or use shades of "white" :o) soon I will post my Saxons at my blog plus one foot battery. looking forward work on the Westphalian (28mm Elite Miniatures) Brigade - 4 Line Battalions and one light Battalion. And during fall I will start working on the 28mm Austrians/french painted as Italians.... phew :o)

      cheers,

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    3. I await the display of more of your Saxons and Westphalians.
      They will be stunning, no doubt.

      Italians hit the painting table in the fall? I look forward to that as well.

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  4. Because of your blog post I ordered and received the two Soldiershop books here in the U.S. I wish they were in English. They are great books. The infantry book is thick. I'd guess this series is better than Osprey.

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    1. English translations would certainly help.
      Since I have not purchased the cavalry book, what are your impressions of that one?

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  5. Thanks for this very useful review Jon. I cannot understand why Osprey has never bothered to publish books on the 1859 conflict (other than the volume on Solferino). I have filled out several requests on their website, and am hoping some day. In the meantime, I'm planning on obtaining a copy of Melani and Ricciardi's book, as I have no other published sources on the Piedmontese infantry I have been diligently painting this summer.

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    1. Seems like a gap in the Osprey line to me too. The Soldiershop book is better than a typical Osprey MAA.

      There are a number of Sardinian uniform plates and references online if you search. I can offer suggestions if you are in need of something in particular.

      If you are getting the Melani and Ricciardi book, check out BookDepository.com first. They typically offer discounts and FREE worldwide shipping.

      How are you progressing on your Sardinians?

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  6. Hi Jon. Thanks for the tip, I have been searching around for an affordable copy. As for the 1859 Project, I've completed 2 battalions of line infantry and am working on a third. I am presently in the final stages of finishing a Bersaglieri battalion. I'm painting QRF 15mm's that I ordered from the UK. They are a pretty good match with my OG15s size-wise. I suspect they were sculpted by the same artist that does Essex 15mms. When completed, I'll post some photos and a review on TMP.

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    1. On Military Matters (based in NJ) have this title and several others. Here's the link:
      http://onmilitarymatters.com/pages/dfcatalog.php?period=1859

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    2. While I frequently order from Dennis at OMM, BookDepository really offers some good deals. For instance, OMM lists Melani and Ricciardi's book for $48 plus postage while I got the same book from BookDepository for $35 post-paid!

      I do field some Freikorps 15s in my project and the later figures do match closely to Old Glory although still somewhat smaller. Earlier Freikorps 15 Austrians and the current French are MUCH smaller. Still, great figures.

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  7. I'll be posting those photos today on TMP in the 19th Century forum. The book is on order. In the meantime I'll brush up on my Italian (I speak French, so it's not that big of a stretch).

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    1. I look forward to seeing the results of your work!

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