Sunday, 14 June 2009

2mm English Civil War: The King's Army at Naseby

Today, on the anniversary of the Battle of Naseby in 1645, I hope to present an examination in photos of how the Royalist line may have arrayed itself, ready for that fateful encounter with the New Model Army. 
The photos above and immediately below give some idea as to how a regiment of Horse would have looked like, along with some accompanying dragoons, in near enough 1:1 figure to man ratio; of course, as with tackling all historical periods before the 20th Century, the wargamer never has enough horse, and I am no exception! I suppose if Prince Rupert himself could only muster eight troops, I guess I can get away with reproducing the whole army at a somewhat weaker ratio. Given the basing ideas that I outlined in my previous post, there is necessarily a bit of fudging of numbers going on, although again I can plead clemency in that even the most eminent historians disagree on the actual numbers deployed on the day. Roughly, I suppose, the infantry ratio might be at 1 figure to 3 men, with, for instance,  the King's Life Guard of Foot having 219 figures for 657 real-world troops, whereas the cavalry might be closer to 1:4, with a small base depicting, say, 200 Horse.

Turning then, to the Royalist right wing of Horse, we see the Regiments of Prince Rupert, of Prince Maurice, the Queen's, the Earl of Northampton' two under-strength regiments, and finally that of Sir William Vaughn. Bringing up the rear you might espy some Dragoons; merely a token presence of around 23 figures for 90-odd men:

Moving to the centre, we begin with Lord Astley's Tertia of Foot, here, in my version of the order of battle, comprising from the far left, the regiment of the Duke of York, red coated with black colours sporting a red gyrony, then Sir Edward Hopton's, that had previously been Sir Alan Apsley's, here updated to an all musket formation, and they are flanked by the bluecoats of Sir Richard Page, who now commanded what had been Sir William Pennyman's Regiment of Foot. These units are supported by the yellow coated contingents of Sir John Paulet and Sir Matthew Appleyard, and finally the amalgamated small groups of musketeers under Sir Bernard, and Jacob Astley himself :

The Centre is held by the red-coated Queen's Lifeguard of Foot, the weakened regiment of Sir Henry Bard, with the blue coats of Radcliffe Gerard by their side. Here we also see the smallest guns of the Royalist artillery, that had managed to keep pace with the advancing line, represented by Irregular Miniature's RBG26 light guns:

Sir George Lisle commands the leftmost Tertia of Foot, somewhat in reduced numbers, comprising his own red coats, the weakened regiment of William Murray, that had been Lord Percy's Foot, the garrison regiment commanded by William St. George, and the brigaded units making up the Shrewsbury Foot; Broughton's Tillier's, Hunck's, Warren's and Gibson's:

Sir Marmaduke Langdale musters his Northern Horse on the Royalist left, comprising as many as what had originally been 18 regiments, and were now perhaps only 1500 in number all told. He is joined by the independent regiment of Colonel Horatio Carey, and a few of those elusive Royalist Dragoons:

Next we see the smorgasbord of troops forming Colonel Thomas Howard's Brigade, both Horse and Foot, forming the second line, and beyond them, the Reserve, comprising the King, the Lifeguard of both Foot and Horse, and finally Prince Rupert's blue coats:

Traditionally, the King's army is depicted in two lines, with Howard's Brigade being the hindmost, but in my totally unscientific reproduction here, I feel that the frontage between the Clipston parish boundary and the Sulby hedges would not allow all of the Foot and Horse to deploy across the full width; given that the Horse might jealously protect their frontage to allow for maximum impact in the charge, the first line of Foot was probably deployed in depth, to some extent, therefore,  giving three visible lines, four including the reserve:  

Seen from an invisible time-traveling surveillance drone, then, we have the line ready for battle. It is perhaps ten o'clock in the morning on the 14th of June 1645. King Charles has taken the decision to turn and face the army commanded by Fairfax that has been dogging is heels since he had left Leicester, prompted perhaps by the belief that the untried formations of the New Model Army might not stand a frontal assault. 
The order is to fall on in short order after the opening salvo, and try to negate the numerical advantage on the Parliamentarian side. In the far distance, Prince Rupert, squashing whatever misgivings he has for taking on the enemy at this time and place, prepares to begin his usual dashing charge. Already, to his immediate right, Colonel Okey's Dragoons are exchanging shots with some encroaching Royalist ones:

So there we have it, the King's army made up of 2mm miniatures, which for this period, I believe give the best possible chance of depicting en masse, a realistic-looking army that is ready for battle, rather than merely a table-top skirmish.
The line itself extended some 95 centimetres in width, with an approximate depth of 25cm. This rather made photography somewhat difficult, as you can see in the following wargamer's eye-view that reveals the prosaic reality behind the 'magic' ! :-).

Finally, let's have a look at how Streeter's famous engraving of the battle might look in 1/900th 3D scale; the line along its length:
and then the centre, with neatly balanced tertia of Foot flanked by the guns of the artillery:

Given the likely make-up of the Royalist army, with any number of amalgamated and brigaded units, some likely devoid of pike, this representation is necessarily an idealised one, and therefore to me an unlikely deployment, but this does nothing to undermine the inspiring nature of what was a contemporary artistic rendering. 
Hope you've enjoyed this week of posts as much as I have in putting them together, and I hope that they will go some small way in showing that 2mm miniatures can hold their own amongst their gigantic cousins in forming your armies of choice.

I would thoroughly recommend, for any that might be interested, the Naseby Battle website, which has a photographic and topographic breakdown of the key events, along with a truly fascinating archeological survey of where clusters of musket balls have been discovered, and how this relates to the likely narrative of battle. I might have some reservations about their idea of the Order of Battle, but overall an excellent and inspiring place to visit:

Dedicated to the memory of all those who fought on this day, in whichever cause.....

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