Friday, October 30, 2009

Book Review - The Quest for Annihilation

"The Quest for Annihilation - The Role & Mechanics of Battle in the American Civil War", by Christopher Perello.

Image of Front Cover

Image of Back Cover (Sorry about the rotation - can't figure out why blogger does this??)

Chris Perello was an editor for Command Magazine for 12 years, and served in the US Army (infantry/armor).

Strategy & Tactics magazine is branching out into book publishing, and TQfA is the first in the series.  The book provides an analytical look at a variety of topics.  Its a fascinating study of many aspects that have never been covered in 1 title before.  

Some of the chapters:

  • Strategy:  How it was decided where and when battles would be fought

  • Armies:  How soldiers were raised, organized, trained, and supported

  • Infantry:  How the primary component of the armies fought

  • Battleplans:  How generals planned to destroy their opponents

  • Artillery:  How the firepower of a cannon could dominate a battle

  • Siege:  How fortifications were attacked and defended

  • Campaigns:  How armies were brought to the place of battle

  • Cavalry:  The speed and striking power of horsemen on the battlefield

  • Pursuit:  How a battlefield victory was turned into a greater result

I'm surprised that I haven't seen more comments about this book in the wargame world.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it spurred many thoughts about rules and campaign systems.  My favorite chapters included the cavalry and pursuit chapters.  In particular the pursuit chapter, as it focused on the Appomattox campaign in a way that I hadn't seen done before.  The book is loaded with maps (220) and diagrams (100).  The maps would allow a multitude of game scenarios to be developed directly from the units and terrain that is shown.

The Quest for Annihilation sells for $34.95, and I'd buy it for twice that amount.  Highly recommended!

Note:  Strategy and Tactics Press' next book in the series is Crowns in the Gutter, a similar treatment for WW1.   From the S&T website:  "Crowns in the Gutter provides a concise analysis of the strategies and tactics employed to to try to achieve those goals. The chapters cover the entire war chronologically. They weave together the campaigns and battles with political events, improvements in weapons and changes in combat methodology, into one seamless story. The narrative also has dozens of maps and diagrams to further illustrate all the action of the first total war. "

By Ted S. Raicer (noted WW1 boardgame designer)
Illustrated by Christopher Perello

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