Part of the Universal Wargames Rules Supplement range from Partizan Press, this new book covers the early history of the use of the balloon in warfare and offers some generic rules for bringing such devices to the tabletop.
The first part of this A4 sized softback examines the early years of French balloon usage, from the use of hydrogen to the creation of the Balloon Engineer Corps, its organization and campaign history.
The author highlights French plans for using balloons during the proposed invasion of England, then moves on to describing some of the ideas proposed by the British, Danish, Russians and Ottomans for balloons in their own forces from 1801 to 1812.
The uniforms of the various French balloonist troops are outlined in colour images, as are a number of designs of balloons and the methods of construction and operation favoured by the French.
An interesting section is the chapter on the use of early parachute designs by the French, and British fears that these devices could be used during an invasion.
The mechanics of creating and inflating hydrogen based balloons are also explained, with hand drawn examples.
outlining the various units, balloon types and history of the military balloon concept, the author then presents a set of generic rules designed to be incorporated into any Napoleonic era set of rules, with suggestions that could enable similar devices to be employed in the American Civil War as well. There are rules for the use of balloons for scouting purposes, then more ‘fantastical’ options such as the balloon as a bomber, using rockets and even deploying parachute using troops onto the battlefield! These are supported by some suggested scenarios. There are also photographs of the author’s collection of miniatures and balloons, plus a guide to where to go to purchase suitable balloon miniatures.
This book deals with an unusual subject, but could be just what you have been waiting for if you are itching to introduce balloons into your early 19th century wargames.