As a break from the Bannockburn project I have been reading ‘Wars of Spanish American Independence 1809-29’ by John Fletcher.
This is in the Osprey essential histories series that aims to give a broad overview of particular conflicts. This subject is a real challenge for the format, as the wars of liberation ranged over a huge geographical area and also lasted some 20 years.
The author’s approach has been to set the conflict in the context of the Napoleonic wars and Spain’s decline that had huge implications for its overseas empire in south and central America. The nature of the colonial empire with its ‘caste’ system and the importance of trade in developing the resistance to Spanish rule.
The respective armies are given a brief overview with Spanish regulars and militia fighting an array of colourful troop types from cowboy Gauchos and Llaneros to freed negro slaves. The fighting is summarised in the chronology and by region and it is probably here that the restricted space is most challenging.
This is a very interesting conflict and I hope this introduction encourages greater interest in it. There are a number of excellent histories and the author’s own series of booklets provide everything the war gamer needs. There are limited ranges of suitable figures in 15mm and 28mm. In fact more than when I did the army of San Martin and his crossing of Andes for a series of GDWS display games. I covered these campaigns in an article in Wargames Illustrated in 2007.
Spanish Line Regiment Don Carlos