Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The King’s Lifeguard Regiment of Horse..

"The troop of show"...

The regiment was one of the, if not the, first regiments of horse raised for the King, on May 20th in Yorkshire.

In July they were present at the siege of Hull, August they were at the (unsuccessful) siege of Coventry, and in October were at Edgehill before taking up garrison at Oxford over the winter. Over the years of the war they were present at nearly all the major engagements..  probably as you would expect being the King's Lifeguard, and effectively his representative on the battlefield.

The regiment comprised volunteers from the nobility and richer gentry - because of the amount of money, their equipment and horses were better than most, so stretching the truth a little (it is unlikely that the entire regiment would have been cuirassier armed but I am assuming a fair number of them would have been), I have chosen for purely "balance" reasons, to represent them as a cuirassier regiment.

Lord Bernard Stewart (right), pictured
with his elder brother Lord John
Stewart (1621-1644) c. 1638,by
Sir Anthony van Dyck.
Ordnance papers from the time indicate the regiment was re-equipped with harquebusier equipment in 1643 (ie, standard buff coat, pistols and sword) so it may not be too much of a stretch..

Being gentry of course they were somewhat prickly when it came to matters of honour and impugned lack of courage, and their somewhat derisive nickname of the "troop of show" didn't help. At Edgehill, they were about 300 strong, and their commander (Lord Bernard Stewart - right), requested  that they serve with Rupert in the place of honour on the far right of the first line - all well and good, but they had originally been ear marked as the reserve, and assuaging their honour had effectively left the King with no cavalry reserve.

Lord Bernard (as you can probably guess from the surname) was related to the King (he was his 3rd cousin). Like many other families, he and his family were to suffer significant loss - created Earl of Lichfield by King Charles I for his actions at the first and second Battles of Newbury and at the Battle of Naseby, he died of injuries received leading a sortie against besieging Parliamentary forces in the Battle of Rowton Heath in September 1645 before the charter was signed - it went to his 6 year old son instead. Bernard's elder brother George Stewart, was killed at Edgehill*, another older brother, John, was killed at Cheriton...  a heavy toll on any family.

Just to be different, and to stretch the truth even further I chose to make my regiment a prototype Scots Greys and mount the entire regiment on greys of various shades.  in truth it may have been because I was so impressed with Stokes's efforts at the Grand Duchy of Stollen [clicky]

A sombre crew, but lightened and glammed up a little with royal blue saddle clothes trimmed gold (again no basis in truth for this)..

*I tried to find out more about this and only came up with references in Clarendon's History of the Wars [clicky] (go to page 289), where it mentions he served as a troop commander of horse on the left wing, and was killed in the charge - Clarendon mentions that there were so few casualties it was believed he may even have been killed by one of his own officers, "a Dutchman" who he may have had "words" with previously about poor discipline/duty, and who had taken umbrage..

So - Peter Pig 15mm figures - painted May 2020


  • Clarendon (as above)
  • http://wiki.bcw-project.org/royalist/horse-regiments/kings-lifeguard

Friday, May 08, 2020

American Civil War generals

Just a little paint job while I wait for the mojo to strike/return for the second English Civil War cuirassier regiment (I think probably tomorrow)..  in this case some mounted command figures for the American Civil War project

These were an add on to my last order from Newline - thought it would be nice to have some mounted command to support the foot command figures I currently have ..  not critical but nice to have..

...three figures in the pack so I had to make my mind up who got the extra, but the figures kind of just chose their own sides in the end..

See what I mean? Now if he isn't a Johnny Reb he deserves to be drummed out of West Point.. this guy represents Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson the Confederate commander at Kernstown..

"Halt! No.. go that way!" These two will represent Kimball and Shields, the Union commanders at Kernstown..


Three mounted figures, Newline, 20mm, painted May 2020.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Parliamentary Cuirassiers... Essex, Bedford and Balfour's detachments

Of all the cavalry types deployed in the wars, the cuirassier would have been the most expensive to raise, and as a consequence there weren't very many of them, and even fewer regimental strength groups ..

What was more likely was that maybe a troop within a regular cavalry regiment was equipped as cuirassier, or maybe a detached troop served in it's own right (Kings Lifeguard comes to mind here)..  its entirely possible that officers, professionals, and those who could afford it might have worn full cuirass within a regular cavalry - but there were very few full regiments - in fact the only one I can think of is Haselrige's Lobsters [clicky]....

If I want to deploy cuirassiers then (and who wouldn't? it's like having an ACW project without zouaves, or a Napoleonic project without the Old Guard ), there has to be a bit of a fictional element involved, but in this units case at least, more than a little historical basis in fact...

So as we have read previously [clicky] Sir William Balfour had detached his troop of cuirassiers to serve in Essex's cavalry reserve, also in that ad hoc unit were Essex's own cuirassier troop under the command of Sir Philip Stapleton, Reid also believes that a third troop of cuirassiers, those of Essex's general of horse, Bedford, were also present...  Reid notes that all three troops were large (he calls them "oversized") so that is enough for me to represent a regimental strength cuirassier regiment to serve Parliament as part of the forces present at Edgehill!

So what of their performance at the battle?? Very good I would say... As we have read previously, the Parliamentary horse on the flanks of Essex’s army had been driven off comprehensively, but the cuirassiers in the reserve, remained on the battlefield, in the second line, behind Meldrum’s infantry brigade.

When the Royalist infantry advanced, they charged, and while Sir Nicolas Byron’s brigade held, Feilding’s brigade of Royalist foot was handled roughly (Feilding and two of his colonels, Stradling and Lunsford, were captured, though Fielding was later rescued on the battlefield). Carrying on through the infantry, Balfour’s troopers then overran the Royalist heavy guns, but possessing no nails, they were unable to spike them so instead cut the traces on the guns (stopping them from being moved) and fell back to their position in the second line.

Drawing on the initiative that the cuirassiers had given him, Essex launched another attack on Byron’s Brigade, this time with Robartes’ and Constable’s regiments of foot, supported by the cuirassiers and the foot regiments of the Lord General and Brooke. The attack was successful, and drove it back, breaking up its ranks.

Good result all round..

Peter Pig 15mm figures, painted April 2020



Friday, April 24, 2020

DBN French camp anyone?

DG and I are playing a DBN game at the moment (I blame that Lee Gramson [clicky]!) because against all sense I am contemplating another project, and DBN would allow me to contain it within manageable levels..

Steve the Wargamer started his wargaming life with two projects, one was 20mm/HO/OO WW2 North Africa, but the other, earlier ,was Napoleonic - the first regiment I ever painted was the Airfix Highlanders... after that stupidly large numbers of (unpainted) Airfix French and British fought many battles across a largely unadorned dining room table using the rules from "Wargames"

Cut forward to Warfare in 2013 [clicky] (and 2016 [clicky]) and my game of the show was a Napoleon in Egypt set up - I was hooked..

No it's not a fantasy game - they really are Napoleonic French on camels what is NOT to like? 
So IF I was to pursue this to the logical conclusion, DBN requires each side to have a baggage/camp marker, and IF I was to do a Napoleon in Egypt DBN project, then this would just have to be the model/basis for the French camp, it's stunning..

The Egyptian Expedition Under the Command of Bonaparte, by Leon Cogniet, painted on a ceiling at the Louvre, 1835

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

John Belasyse's Regiment of Foote

Flag image from
Wargames Designs [clicky]
Another regiment joins the Royalist forces of the English Civil War...

Belasyse's were 505 strong at Edgehill (according to von Arni, Scott and Turton - "Edgehill 1642: The Battle Reinterpreted") and possibly/probably traced it's origins to the regiment commanded by Henry Belasyse (John's elder brother). This regiment had been paid for from royal funds granted on the 14 July,  and transferred to John Belasyse in August 1642 and could therefore claim to be one of the first regiments raised in Roylist service.

The Yorkshire soldiers were subsequently brought up to strength with recruits raised in Nottinghamshire to a total of around 1,000 men (from "The Battle for London" by Stephen Porter, Simon Marsh)

Courtesy/copyright "All The Kings Armies" by Reid
In terms of their part in the battle they were arrayed in the second line (as per the above) but were part of the general advance of the Royalist infantry that took place after the successful, but tactically foolish,  charges by their horse on either flank.

As we have read in the other unit histories posted so far, the Parliamentary infantry brigade of Charles Essex broke and ran as the Royalist infantry advanced. Young has them as a single line of foot as the second lines had come up to plug the gaps between the three front line brigades.

The account in Young is awe inspiring...  6,500 Parliamentary foot came to push of pike with 10,500 royalist foot, and our boys in the middle of it. In the end thought the fighting was fierce, shooting at point blank range, both sides fought each other to a standstill and withdrew to draw breath, at which point control shifted to the Parliamentary cavalry who effectively rescued the day.

Belasyse’s brigade counter-attacked the Parliamentary left to buy time for the army to establish a new line along the stream that flowed diagonally from Edgehill toward the Parliamentary left flank. Belasyse, who led the charge himself wielding a pike, was wounded in the head as a result, but his action saved the army from complete destruction.

Belasyses (and others) remained on the field until the end of the day providing a rear guard and protection to the Kings artillery.

So why did the Kings foot not carry the day given their strength superiority??  Young puts it down to two things..  one they were arrayed (as we have previously mentioned) in the Swedish model which had fewer ranks than the Dutch style the Parliamentary foot had adopted - so they lacked weight/heft in comparison. Young also quotes Clarendon etc. that indicated the Kings infantry were not as well equipped as the Parliamentary foot - with a lot of them carrying no more than cudgels, and fewer muskets.

At the time in question little or nothing is known about uniform - the next year while in garrison at Oxford, they may have been supplied with either all red, or all blue suits of coats, breeches and montero hats in July 1643 along with the other Royalist foot regiments then in Oxford. Given the colour of the standard, I have chosen to depict them in this earlier phase of the war wearing the same blue they might have been re-equipped with in Oxford later...

John Belasyse, First Baron Belasyse of Worlaby,
1636 by Van Dyck
Belasyse's are said to have carried a blue flag with white grenade or hawk-lure design, which was captured by Essex's army. I've not managed to find any research on when this happened, or where..

Figures are Peter Pig predominantly, but there are two or three vintage (and one newer) Minifigs among them... painted April 2020..

  • Edgehill 1642 - Peter Young
  • Edgehill 1642: The Battle Reinterpreted - Eric Gruber von Arni, Christopher L. Scott, Alan Turton
  • "All the Kings Armies" Reid 
  • "The Battle for London" by Stephen Porter, Simon Marsh