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It wasn't taught at school over here in Germany - as could be expected. We didn't even touch the Napoleonic wars, just the French Revolution ... . I became interested shortly after Airfix produced their first Napoleonic sets. A short while before that (1971) I had read an excerpt from Elizabeth Langford's "Wellington - The years of the sword" in the German version of Reader's Digest describing the battle of Waterloo. It was illustrated with pictures by Dighton and Northern (defense of La Haye Sainte) and those got me captivated. A while after that I acquired a German copy of Cyril Falls "Great Military Battles" - because of the Napoleonic battles described there and because of the pictures. And that's when I first read about the battle of Blenheim. Still have those books. So it goes.
It's a good question. Here in the UK the War of Spanish Succession was not taught when I was at school (now a long time ago!) and I first came across the Duke of Marlborough when I was taken to visit Blenheim Palace, the huge house near Oxford that was built by the Marlboroughs as a reward for military services rendered to Queen Anne at Blenheim (especially) and then against the French armies of Louis XIV in subsequent years. The tapestries sparked an interest, and I guess I then bought a few books on the battle of Blenheim etc. In my case, the rest is history! As for the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War - again not taught at school - my interest was generated when I borrowed a book from the library called 'The Wargame' by the late and great wargamer, Charles Grant. His accounts of refights of the battle of Mollwitz (WoAS) and the wars of Frederick the Great again sparked an interest.
So far as I am aware, the WoSS - and for that matter, any of the other 'European' Wars of the 18th century right up to the French revolution - are not taught in British schools as part of the standard cuirriculum up to the age of 16. I can understand why this is, since the politics of C18th century Europe feels like a distant and arcane subject, featuring in some cases states that no longer exist as such as single entities, but which now are parts of much larger countries eg: Savoy, Prussia, Bavaria. It is difficult to teach this in the context of modern day Europe (or America) unless students understand how C18th century Europe and America were organised, governed and ruled.
I am pretty sure that, were you to ask 100 'average' British 16 year olds what the War of Spanish Succession was and why it was fought, very few if any would be able to provide an answer.
Here, in Russia, very little is known about this war . However, studying the events of the Great Northern War, I learned that at the same time this great war was taking place in Europe - the War of the Spanish Succession. The era of the early 18th century captivated me - linear tactics, brilliant uniforms, big wigs, lace, the names of great commanders ... So the new line of "Stelets" turned out to be an unexpected and pleasant gift for me! Many thanks to Strelets for these wonderful sets and to you, colleagues, for the work of this forum.
Although the song "Malbrook is going on a hike ..." is familiar to me since childhood.
I have always loved history and chose it as a school subject, and dropped it when I was just being taught social and economic history entirely about the UK , whilst it`s good to know it did not float my boat. My interest and early knowledge came from my Dad who was an avid reader of books and had lived through WW2 and served in the RAF in the far east during the Malaya /Korean war era. Once I was old enough to read Dads hand me down books I was off.
When I was taking a graduate level class on the Age of the Enlightenment in the USA our professor dismissed the wars of the era as "petty squabbles" between monarchs that accomplished little. And that was that. I learned what I know from 17th Century Warfare up to the 7YW from private study and even the 7YW (as opposed to French and Indian War) is self-taught. That's par for the USA; I admit surprise this era appears to be virtually ignored in Europe as well.
In all honesty until Strelets launched the WoSS range I had never even heard of the war or any of its famous figures. But after seeing how beautifully sculpted the figures were and how cool the uniforms are, I couldn't resist. Now after several osprey books and hours browsing articles online I've managed to build a pretty good and detailed understanding of the war. Also I find it shocking that those of you who went to school in the UK were never taught about the Napoleonic Wars. To be fair though, the history we were taught in high school here in the US was also severely lacking. We'd briefly go over the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War (AWI) and then jump straight to the Civil War. I remember in our textbook The Mexican War had exactly one sentence dedicated to it. One. And the War of 1812 wasn't even mentioned. Perhaps most shocking of all was we didn't even learn about WWI. After the Civil War and Indian Wars it skipped almost right to WWII.
Here in Sweden, it's king Charles XII (Karl XII in Swedish) and 'his' wars, the Great Northern War is quite known. I became very much interested in the GNW as a kid, making Carolean soldiers in tin using Prince August's tin moulds. Because of this interest in the GNW, it was natural to come across the WSS as well, since they were parallell. At the height of Karl XII's fortunes after the defeat of Saxony in 1706-07 and before the doomed Russian campaign of 1708-09, the sides fighting the WSS was very much intetested in getting the "invincible" army of Sweden to their side.
I don't ever remember finding out about the WoSS. I always thought that Marlborough as one of Britain's greatest commanders was sort of general knowledge amo0ngst anyone who had a passing interest in military history. I wouldn't expect the WoSS to be taught in schools necessarily. There's a lot of history, and fitting it all in can be a challenge, so general ignorance of the subject can't be laid at the feet of history teachers if you have a load of other knowledge instead. I would say I didn't come across Charles XII and the GNW until I went to Uni and met a Swedophile fanatic at the Wargame Society. I thought that Sweden's only great general was Gustavus Adolphus up to that point.
Here in Hungary back in the 80's ruled by the socialism. We learned about the Sun King as a great allies of our II. Rákóczi Ferenc (Francis II Rákóczi). Why? Because he was a rebel against the House of Habsburg, fighting for the Independent Hungary (1703-1711). Therefore almost an early communist, a revolutionary leader. He was not, of course, but used for propaganda. Naturally the other theatres of the war were neglected, but his period was a cornerstone. I hope Strelets will make Hungarian light cavalry, and we can play this war as well. Just for education: After the fall of Rakóczi many Hungarian hussars sought employment in other Central and Western European countries and became the core of similar light cavalry formations created there. Following their example, hussar regiments were introduced into at least twelve European armies by 1800.
That's super interesting Janos. I learned something new today!
An interesting question and still more interesting responses ....
I would like to add my experiences. The War of Spanish Succession wasn´t a theme in our school, but Louis XIV and his reign as an example for absolutisme were covered with some lessons. And his Palatinate war of succession was still more present in the school-teaching and also in the awareness of many people of my home-region Rheinhessen, south of Mainz and north of the Palatinate. The french have destroyed there during this war many cities and villages in one of the first scorched earth-tactics. At the end my home town had so only 20 houses left, which remained very long in the collective consciousness.
... one more story.... as child I was impressed far more of the napoleonic era, because of 2 monuments on the cemetery of my home town: one for the napoleonic wars especially the russia campaign and one for the war of 1870/71 – one for casualties under the french flag and one under the imperial flag of 1871. Grandfathers and grandchildren died for different nations what had a great fascination for me to study the history of my region which was french under Napoleon reign.
Very interesting insights from everyone, thanks for all of the knowledge!
I should have asked about WoSS and Great Northern War together of course. Actually knew a little bit more about the GNW thanks to the old Cossacks PC game, which talks about Pytor I and Karl XII especially at Poltava.
Hope everyone is happy and healthy. 🤗
Chez nous en France forcément on parlent un peu du reigne de Louis xiv le rois (soleil) mais concernant toutes ces guerre il faut s interinsser en solo au sujet ,il est dommage d'ailleurs que pour nos amis Britanniques les guerre en dentelles commence et ce termine avec Marlborough
Alors que ces guerres débutent quand Louis XIV est encore un enfant .A cette époque la France est souvent seul conte l'Europe mais soyez curieux de cette armée ainsi que de ces maréchaux .
Personnellement je suis un peu déçu pour les uniformes de l infanterie Française produit par strelets il aurait été plus judicieux une infanterie avec le chapeau et non pas le tricorne
Strelets already have enough on their very busy agenda, but it would be great to have this range expanded backwards to include troops more suited for the late 17thC; in hats with brims left flat (i.e. not in the turned-up fashion that has come to be called 'tricorne'). Some pike and twelve apostles for the infantry. They would likely best be 'badged' as Grand Alliance, but I'm looking at the Scanian War.
Cavalry would be especially fabulous as I cannot see anything that is easily adapted. I am happy to utilise some of Mars' offerings for the infantry, although I'd jump at something from Strelets that was sculpted specifically for the period.
Yeah, I know, too many requests from too many people, but at least this one is a expansion of an existing and actively expanding range!
Je rejoint James sur les armées au chapeau a bord plats du début du reigne de LOUIS XIV car beaucoup plus de conflits en perspective
Concernant les figurines pour mes armées Françaises j utilise les figurines Mars très precises
I'm shocked that somebody else out there has actually played Cossacks. Just this week I was playing Cossacks 3, which is just a remaster of the old one. Great game, and one that really helped me get into this era of history.
😁 Me too. Age of Empires is my main series, but Cossacks/American Conquest are nice to play too. Picked up Cossacks 3 as well a few months back, lots of campaigns to putter through.
The WSS or GNW never got mentioned in my high school (England) late 70s early 80s , although i did know about the Duke of Marlborough and some of the battles from library books.
One of my favourite books was Military uniforms of the world by Preben Kannik with its wonderful coloured uniforms.
Got offered s copy of this 4 years ago at my local library, in unused condition for the grand price of 25p (£0.25) GBP, still like looking through it despite its age.
Went to a grammar school. History started at 1066 day one, year one, and ended in about 1900 at the end of the fifth year. Emphasis on British history with some European and World history where necessary.
A Level history, timetabling forced me to take European 17th and 18th Century (and American history 1783-1945). Wasn’t very interested and taught badly but did WoSS then.)
My real interest is in a slightly earlier era - The Sedgemoor Campaign of 1685 in Somerset -local interest as I grew up in the West Country. WoSS near enough to interest me.
I have the Kannik book too - very nice but I think my introduction to the period was being spoon-fed the old Military Modelling magazine from an early age.
Never studied the period academically at school or after...
Greetings from a stormy Britain. Interesting chat. As already said none of the 18th century history was taught in school. What filtered through was very Anglo centric - Blenheim and Marlborough, no mention that Britain did nt actually win the war!
Learnt about it, along with many other wars from wargaming and the history sections of the libraries at University and back home. Not critising the history syllabus, lot of history and not enough time to cover at school. Modern history is more relevant, accessible and important in these troubled times.
Was inspired by a similar set of books to Minuteman plus the Blandford series.
More interested in GNW until Strelets brought out this range then had another look. A very colourful period and busy painting up various contingents.
The two conflicts overlapped, so hopefully a set of Swedes in full Go Pa mode may come out to upgrade the earlier range?
Ps another ex Cossacks player, brilliant graphics at the time with Polish Winged Hussars!!
Right??? Cossacks was the first time I had ever read about the legendary reputation of the Winged Hussars, and man oh man they are powerful in the game. :smile:
Ahhh cossaks ! Des nuits devant le computer cigarette sur cigarettes ... Depuis je ne fume plus !