Travels with a Rogue

A small piece of the web dedicated to Gen. Mikhail Skobolev (the White General), toy soldiers (any period), history, politics and books circa. 1850-1900.

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Location: Frederick, Maryland, United States

There was an earlier day in my life when I had plenty of time and no money for my hobby, now I have money for my hobby and not so much time. I never stopped playing with toy soldiers "much to my mothers chagrin" exchanging the sandbox, green armymen and rocks for Donald Featherstone's book Wargames, AWI soldiers from the back of a comic book, dice and rulers. Those early games were great fun and very exciting. Eventually I graduated to more complicated systems, better miniatures, headaches, rule arguments and basically not a lot of fun. I thought about ditching the hobby altogether. I realized recently that I like a good game of toy soldiers. I like the look of toy soldiers and I like the way a simple game plays. I like the trusty d6.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Russo-Turkish War 1877 -- Osprey Publishing

Title: The Russo-Turkish War 1877
Author: Ian Drury
Illustrator: Raffaele Rugguri
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
ISBN: 1855323710

This book was first published in 1994. It's a good starting point for students of this conflict. There are some typographical and factual errors although nothing to detract from the basic value of this book. In fact at $16 new and approximately $10 used I consider it a good value.

The book gives a brief history of the war and follows the major campaigns and army movements. The siege of Plevna is covered in excellent depth for a 48 page book and the battles of Shipka Pass are given proper attention. The Turkish attempted breakout from the eastern fortresses, the crossing of the Danube, the siege of Kars and a few other battles of this conflict are mentioned briefly. I wonder what could be done with this subject as an Osprey Essential History or Campaign.

The strength of this offering is in the color plates and the numerous illustrations. These are first rate and do a fine job of conveying the look of the armies and soldiers at war. There's excellent detail in the plates and descriptions for the uniforms of all of the combatants. A beginner will easily find enough research provided in this book to get started painting. Unfortunately there's almost no information regarding standards, lance pennons or the color used for limbers, caissons and wagons for each army.

The Russian and Turkish starting order of battle is covered in excellent detail. The information on the Romanian and Bulgarian armies is limited. A color plate is provided of an Egyptian soldier and brief mention is made regarding the contingents deployment. The reader will need to search other volumes for detailed deployment data and specific order of battle information. (You can also stay tuned to this blog for further developments.) There is no information regarding the Serbians, Croatians, Albanians, Greeks or Montenegrins. To be fair they aren't specifically part of this conflict although they all exerted pressures militarily, economically and politically. The information provided regarding militias is minimal.

The author provided an exhaustive number of pictures of his excellent collection of period firearms. Photos of almost every weapon used by the major combatants are featured. There are three pictures of the Smith & Wesson .44 alone including a detail of the star cartridge extractor. Weapons enthusiasts will be pleased! My personal feeling is that the space dedicated to detailed photos of rifle breaches, text regarding muzzle velocities and the number of grains of powder in certain shells is a poor use of the 48 pages. This space could have been better used for additional minor combatant information, militia uniform descriptions, or any of the previously mentioned missing items.

This book is a better offering then many other Osprey volumes although not the best. It's an excellent first resource to whet the appetite or a nice diversionary read about a relatively obscure war. The topic begs to be re-visited as part of the Osprey Campaign series or as an Essential History.

I give it 6 Krupps up on the strength of the color plates and illustrations.


Blogger Rob said...


Just a quick comment to say this is an excellent blog! It certainly puts mine to shame and I really love the look of your figures. I was looking to game this game as well but gave it up for the slightly more mainstream Crimea.


May 24, 2006 10:11 AM  
Blogger Doncho said...

In the world we found a number of towns and other objects, named to Plevna - Russian name of Pleven and in connection with Russian Turkish war 1877 – 1878.

You are invited to add all facts you know in this connection!

Thank you in advance!
NGO Memory

February 09, 2007 1:44 PM  

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