Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568–1648 (1): Infantry

Published on
January 8, 2022
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Author: Bouko de Groot Illustrator: Gerry Embleton
Other Publication Information
Soft Cover, 7.3” x 9.8”, 48 pages
Product / Stock #
MAA 510
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

This is the first of two volumes with the second volume due out later this year that will cover the Cavalry, Artillery, and Engineers. Bouko de Groot was inspired to write these two volumes since there is a notable absence of any English language titles about the 80 years’ war. I counted 37 black and white photographs or illustrations. There are also thirty six color illustrations. Additionally, there is a map depicting the 125 battles during the eighty years’ war.

Military History has always fascinated Bouko de Groot. He earned a BA in Art History and an MA in Egyptology from Leiden University. Bouko de Groot served in the Dutch Army and has authored a number of academic, popular scientific and business journalistic articles. He spent at least eight years working in Shanghai working for IHS Fairplay, publishing daily online maritime news, along with weekly and monthly magazines.

Gerry Embleton, born in London, began his career as a comic strip artist. He later worked on children’s educational illustrations before branching out into advertising and landscapes. He has illustrated and written over forty Osprey titles on a wide range of subjects for more than 20 years. He is an internationally respected authority on 15th and 18th century costumes in particular. He moved to Prêles Switzerland, near Neuchâtel in 1983. In 1998 he created Time Machine, a company that creates 3D life-size figurines in vivid displays for museums all over the world. His son Sam Embleton is also an illustrator with this being their eleventh joint project together.

Bouko de Groot provides great insight to the Dutch side of the 80 Years’ War. This conflict with the Spanish basically saw the birth of the Netherlands as a nation and its rise into a global power. Part of this rise to power was in part due to the transformation of a medieval mercenary force into a modern army that became the envy of other countries of the era. Maurice, Prince of Orange and his cousins implemented the reforms into the Dutch Army, and they accomplished this early in their careers. Their implementation of a drilled force became the foundation for army philosophies that survive even today.

Bouko de Groot examines the implementation of Maurice of Orange’s changes over three major periods of battle during the 80 Year’s War, with sections focusing on recruiting, maintaining, and execution of the organization, field operations, training, and the soldiers’ equipment. All of this contributed to the ability of the Dutch to be more than a match against the occupying Spanish forces.

The sections include:

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • The Habsburg Inheritance
    • Terror and Defiance
    • Independence – First Unwanted, Then Proclaimed [Page 7]
  • Chronology
    • Civil War, 1568-87
    • War for Independence, 1588-1620
    • Coalition War, 1621-48
  • Civil War, 1568-87
    • Organization
    • In The Field
    • The Soldier’s Equipment
  • War For Independence, 1588-1620
    • Drill, Training, and Supervision [Page 17]
    • Organization
    • In The Field
    • Combat Drill
    • The Soldiers’ Equipment
  • Color Plates [Page 25]
  • Coalition War, 1621-48
    • Organization
    • In The Field [Page 35]
    • The Soldier’s Equipment
  • Home-Defense & External Operations
    • Civic Guards
    • Fighting For Allies
    • Brazil and Angola
  • Regimental Genealogy
  • Select Bibliography
  • Plate Commentaries [Page 44]
  • Index

Other than vaguely remembering passing mentions of the 80 Years’ War in history class, this was my first serious exposure to what was really going on during this period. I really found all of it fascinating and really read this book cover to cover in one (late) night. Things we take for granted today were not part of the strategy and the tactics back in this era. In the section of Drill, training and supervision, I found out that the Dutch had used training manuals to assure that all recruits would know what to do based on a single set of verbal commands. The word drill, came from the term ‘drillin’, which translated into ‘turning around in circles’, for example.

This is also a great reference for the figure modeler for this era. The color plates provide a great depiction of the typical uniforms and attire, as well as the flags in use at the time. If you own one the previous releases in the Men-At-War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.