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.

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