Armies at War, 1792-1815 - HIST6065

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module examines the European experience of war during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The lectures will consider the major national armies (French, Prussian, Austrian, Russian, British and Spanish) and how they were expanded and reformed in the wake of the French Revolution. Seminars will consider key themes, such as the nature of the officer corps, recruitment and conscription, the nature of 'People's War’, interactions between soldiers and civilians, developments in tactics, logistics and discipline and morale. The approach taken, will largely be that of ‘war and society’, focusing on the social history of the armies but there will also be some consideration of operational history and cultural history approaches to this topic. While this approach moves significantly away from ‘old military history’ with its focus on generals and battles, there will be some consideration of Napoleon’s methods of warfare and how these were successfully countered by his enemies.


Contact hours

Weekly one-hour lectures and two-hour seminars.

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by coursework and exam on a 60% coursework and 40% exam ratio.

The coursework component will be assessed as follows:

2 x 2,500 word essays, each worth 30% of the coursework mark.
1,000 word exam preparation essay worth 20% of the coursework mark
A formal presentation mark, worth 20% of the coursework mark.

There will be a two-hour examination in the Summer term.

Indicative reading

BERTAUD, J. (1989) The Army of the French Revolution: From Citizen-Soldiers to Instrument of Power. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
BLANNING, T. C. W. (1996) The French Revolutionary Wars, 1787-1802. London: Hodder.
BLAUFARD, R. (2002) The French Army, 1750-1820. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
COOKSON, J. E. (1997) The British Armed Nation, 1793-1815. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ESDAILE, C. J. (1988) The Spanish army in the Peninsular War. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
FORREST, A. (2001) Conscripts and Deserters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
FORREST, A. (1989) The Soldiers of the French Revolution. Durham: Duke University Press.
KEEP, J. (1985) Soldiers of the Tsar: Army and Society in Russia, 1462-1874. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
LINCH, K. (2011) Britain and Wellington's army. London: Palgrave Schol.
PARET, P. (1966) Yorck and the era of Prussian military reform, 1807-1815. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
SCHNEID, F. C. (2015) European Armies of the French Revolution 1789-1802. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.
STOKER, D. and SCHNEID, F. C. (eds.) (2014), Conscription in the Napoleonic Era. London: Routledge.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.