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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
or on Mastodon @balkandave@mastodon.scot, or Threads @davewatson1683

Napoleonic Adriatic

 This page highlights resources related to my Napoleonic Adriatic project. This is the subject of my latest book, which will be published on 24 July 2023. Details here.

The French Revolutionary Wars brought the French armies into the Adriatic due to their victories in Italy. Historians differ over when the Revolutionary Wars ended and the Napoleonic Wars started, but for our purposes, Napoleon led the French forces in our area throughout the period. Napoleon Bonaparte captured Venice on 12 May 1797 during the War of the First Coalition. While Austria gained Venice under the Treaty of Campo Formio (12 October 1797), the Ionian Islands off the Greek coast were ceded to France. 

Subsequent conflicts resulted in the territories shifting control amongst the great powers of the day. In addition to France and Austria, the Ottoman Empire held Bosnia, and on paper Montenegro, Albania and Greece. However, in practice, the Montenegrins acted independently, as did another key character, Ali Pasha, who controlled much of Albania and northwest Greece. Other powers intervened in the region. The Russians captured the Ionian Islands in 1799, although they lost them in 1807. The British dominated the Adriatic Sea from bases in the Ionian Islands and from the island of Lissa (Vis) in 1812. The period ended in 1814 when the French abandoned the Ionian Islands. 

While this region is a sideshow to the vast battles being fought in central Europe, it has several interesting features. The armies were much smaller, and there was a continuous small war, which made it easier to replicate on the tabletop. In an age when communications were slow, commanders in the Adriatic had much more freedom of action. Often acting in military and diplomatic roles. It was also a region where naval power mattered, both on the sea and the ability to intervene on land.

Book reviews

Adriatic - by Caroline Boggis-Rolfe. A broad overview of the history, with more of an Italian emphasis.

A Napoleonic invasion of Ottoman Turkey - Archival research and a couple of old books highlight the possibilities.

The Napoleonic Ottoman Army - The very best study of the Ottomans during this period. Now supplemented by Bruno Mugnai's equally excellent book.

The British and Vis - Malcolm Scott Hardy's book on the War in the Adriatic 1805-15.

The Kingdom of Italy - this Napoleonic kingdom covered both sides of the Adriatic.

Russian Fleet in the Mediterranean 1797-1810 - Two books on the subject including the memoirs of a Russian frigate officer.

Fighting Napoleon - The memoirs of John Hildebrand of the 35th Foot. The main British regiment serving in the Adriatic. An old regimental history is also available on Internet Archive.

HMS Amphion 1798 -  Michael Feather's short study of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Amphion, which served in the Adriatic. 

The Threat in the Adriatic - historical fiction based on the naval action in the Adriatic. And Ionian Mission, a Patrick O'Brien adventure also set in the Adriatic. Jesters Fortune is set in the Adriatic during the Revolutionary Wars.


Napoleon's Balkan Troops - locally raised forces that supplemented the line regiments allocated to the region. 

Ottoman Navy During the Napoleonic Wars - My starter on an Ottoman fleet for Black Seas. 

Militargrenze using Muskets and Tomahawk rules. And a bit more on the website.

Wargaming the Russo-Turkish War.

Serbian Uprising of 1815.

The army of Ali Pasha.

Scenarios: The Siege of Ragusa 1814. And the Supply Convoy.


Napoleonic Lissa (Vis) - My tour of the island's Napoleonic sites.

Dalmatian Coast. The main fortifications on the coast.

Albania - including the sites associated with Ali Pasha.

Montenegro - Including the Bay of Kotor (Cattaro).

Bosnia - including some of the border fortresses.

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