The English Civil War (1642-1651) started when Charles I raised his royal standard in Nottingham. The split between Charles and Parliament was such that neither side was willing to back down over the principles that they held and war was inevitable as a way in which all problems could be solved. The country split into those who supported the King and those who supported Parliament – the classic ingredients for a civil war. This blog will record my wargaming journey through the English Civil War using 28mm miniatures.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

English Civil War Artillery 1642-51 (Osprey)


At the beginning of the English Civil War it was clear that artillery was to play a significant part in the conflict, as so many battles were fought by siege. Both Royalists and Parliamentarians raced to capture ordnance stores in urban areas such as London and Hull, realising that they would prove strategically decisive in the siege warfare that later developed. Illustrated with superb colour plates by Brian Delf, this book gives the reader an overview of the types of weapon used in this conflict and, more generally, how artillery was actually used in the seventeenth century.

Parliament in general were better supplied - Essex, for example, surrendering 49 guns in Cornwall in 1644. The Royalists captured plenty of guns, but perhaps lacked the funds to bring many of them into the field - the artillery train, said Clarendon 'is commonly a spunge which can never be filled or satisfied'. All field armies of both sides included artillery, however. The largest guns used in the field were demi-cannon, while the 'standard' size would be around that of the Saker (about 3 ¼ inch bore, 5 ¼ pounder). Parliament in particular employed some lighter guns attached, in pairs, to infantry units, in the Swedish manner, and apparently used some battery-guns also. 

Gun teams would be of hired civilian drivers and farm horses (or occasionally oxen in the West country); field guns requiring from one to nine horses, and crews from three to nine for a demi-cannon (three gunners and six matrosses, or gunners' mates). Gunners and matrosses were sometimes equipped with poleaxes. The Royalist train of 1643 had 575 men, including 69 gunners, 88 matrosses, 200 pioneers and 44 conductors, plus 275 civilian carters.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Sir John Wollaston's London Trained Band

 
 
 
 

Royalist Artillery - Saker

 
 
The saker was a medium cannon slightly smaller than a culverin developed during the early 16th century and often used in the English Civil War. It was named after the saker falcon, a large falconry bird native to the Middle East. A saker's barrel was approximately 9.5 ft (2.9m) long, had a calibre of 3.25 inches (8.26 cm) and weighed approximately 1900 lb (860 kg). It could fire round shot weighing 5.25 lb (2.4 kg) approximately 7400 ft (2.3 km) using 4 lb (1.8 kg) of black powder. The shot was intended to bounce along the ground (the explosive shell being rare before the 19th Century), to cause as much damage as possible. Tests performed in France during the 1950s show a saker's range was over 9000 ft (2.7 km) when fired at a 45-degree angle.

Royalist Artillery - Culverin

 
 
 
A culverin was a relatively simple ancestor of the musket, and later a medieval cannon, adapted for use by the French in the 15th century, and later adapted for naval use by the English in the late 16th century. The culverin was used to bombard targets from a distance. The weapon had a relatively long barrel and a light construction. The culverin fired solid round shot projectiles with a high muzzle velocity, producing a relatively long range and flat trajectory. Round shot refers to the classic solid spherical cannonball.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

To Settle The Crown - Waging Civil War in Shropshire, 1642-1648


While the First, or 'Great', English Civil War of 1642-6 was largely contested at regional and county level, in often hard-fought and long-lasting local campaigns, historians often still continue to dwell on the well-known major battles, such as Edgehill and Naseby, and the prominent national leaders. To help redress this imbalance, To Settle The Crown: Waging Civil War in Shropshire, 1642-1648 provides the most detailed bipartisan study published to date of how the war was actually organized and conducted at county level. This book examines the practicalities, the 'nuts and bolts', of contemporary warfare by reconstructing the war effort of Royalists and Parliamentarians in Shropshire, an English county on the borderland of Wales - a region that witnessed widespread fighting. Shropshire was contested during the First Civil War - when it became one of the most heavily garrisoned counties in England and Wales - and experienced renewed conflict during the Second Civil War of 1648. Based on a Doctoral thesis, and therefore drawing primarily on contemporary sources revealing much new information, To Settle The Crown examines key aspects of the military history of the English Civil Wars: allegiance and motivation; leadership and administration; recruitment and the form of armed forces; military finance; logistics; and the nature and conduct of the fighting. Furthermore, while previous studies have tended to concentrate on the Parliamentarians, the comparatively plentiful evidence from Shropshire has allowed the Royalist war effort there to be reconstructed in rare detail. This book reveals for the first time the extent of military activity in Shropshire, describing the sieges, skirmishes and larger engagements, while reflecting on the nature of warfare elsewhere across Civil War England and Wales. In also providing a social context to the military history of the period, it explains how Royalist and Parliamentarian activists set local government on a wartime footing, and how the populace generally became involved in the administrative and material tasks of war effort. Extensively illustrated, fully referenced to an extensive bibliography, and including a useful review of Civil War historiography, To Settle The Crown: Waging Civil War in Shropshire, 1642-1648 is a significant fresh approach to the military history of the English Civil Wars. Contains approx. 60 maps, tables, and b/w & colour plates.

Reconstructing the New Model Army Volume 1.


This book provides a full listing of the troop and company commanders who served in the New Model Army during the first four years of its existence. A second volume covering the final years of the army s existence is currently very close to completion. It will be published during 2016. This is the first time that the officer corps of the New Model Army has been pieced together on such a scale and with such an extensive range of source materials. Unsurprisingly it corrects numerous errors to be found in more general histories of the army. The book is therefore an essential tool for studying the officer corps of the first English army in which social status was not the prime pre-requisite for attaining a senior military rank. Additionally, it is fully indexed and referenced. This will allow readers, whether military historians, local historians or family historians, to progress their particular interests through further exploration of archival and printed sources. In part one the data concerning the careers of troop and company commanders is presented in the form of snapshots of the army taken on six occasions between April 1645 and May 1649. However, the information to be found in the very extensive footnotes will enable the reader to create a highly accurate reconstruction of the names of the troop and company commanders at any date in that period. In part two a similar exercise is conducted with respect to the junior commissioned officers. In their case the surviving documentary evidence makes a complete reconstruction impossible. It is, however, important that their names are recorded as considerable numbers went on to serve as troop and company commanders, and indeed field officers and colonels, during the last ten years of the New Model Army s existence. Finally, in appendix one regimental lists are presented for the first time of the Earl of Essex s army at the time of its incorporation into the New Model Army, thus complementing the work of Laurence Spring on the New Model s other two progenitors, the armies of the Earl of Manchester and Sir William Waller. The book is not a new history of the New Model Army, but it does include chapters on topics that are not addressed head-on in Ian Gentles, The New Model Army 1645-1653 (1992). One examines the extent to which the New Model Army was an English Army, an issue first raised by Mark Stoyle in Soldiers and Strangers (Yale, 2005). Another discusses the positions held by the officers before they became troop or company commanders in the New Model Army, and the effect this may have had on their subsequent military careers. A third explores the circumstances under which officers left the army in the period 1645-1649, whist a fourth questions the notion of pinning numbers to the New Model Army regiments as was the practice in the British Army of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Kingdom is Ours


With the Bicorne English Civil War Catalogue and Rules the reader is given a very simple and enjoyable insight into the English Civil War. A compellingly playable set of fast play rules provide entertainment and challenge for both the novice and veteran players alike, entwined with glorious pictures of the Bicorne English Civil War miniature figure range. The rules have been extensively developed from the author's and friends' house rules. These were purposefully designed to provide a fast, fun and challenging game for wargamers of all abilities, whilst encouraging the education of the readers into the troops and the realities of warfare in the 17th Century. There are many parts to the book in addition to the rules, including an introduction to the Civil War written by Linda Doyle, and a section detailing troop types and uniforms. This has all been designed alongside the catalogue of Bicorne troops where the reader is encouraged to collect and paint an army of model soldiers, with a view to playing enjoyable wargames with friends. To this end there is a section on how to build up your army if you are new to the period, as well as a couple of scenarios to give the reader a good idea of what can be achieved with this fun to play set of rules.