Thursday, January 29, 2009

A shaft of blinding light...

Sometimes something strikes you as being so obvious you have to slap your forehead Homer'like (as in the Simpsons rather than the Ilyiad) and utter the word "Doh!"

So there I am since Christmas wondering what to blog about, and what might interest my readers and then I suddenly realised, I have all this the wrong way round - for some reason people actually enjoy reading here what makes an average wargamer tick, so rather than waiting for some earth shattering, special, or "interesting" event to happen I'd better start writing about what I've actually been doing this week...!

First off, DG & I have been continuing our virtual wargame, and have almost reached conclusion - it's my intent to write up the next few moves and post them here just as soon as I've finished writing this installment. Not wanting to give too much away it looks like I may well achieve my primary objective which was to destroy the two units I'd contacted.... as is the way with virtual games however, and reading between the lines I think Stokes may have experienced some of this, a virtual game really is not so easy as a face to face engagement.

Now this isn't because of the obvious things ie. being able to show the tabletop to the same detail that someone standing over it looking down would get,to someone who is not physycally there etcetc. No, it's because of things you wouldn't actually think would be a problem..

Example, DG and I have been playing Will McNally's AWI Rules for about as long as we can remember - we almost know them off by heart, but the sheer act of working through moves remote from each other caused us to forget things, do things in the wrong order, etc. Most perplexing - and then we realised what it is - when we play face to face we continually exchange views, comments, and in my case little gems of sparkling erudition, about the rules, the game and what have you - it's that that makes a face to face game run far more smoothly (and quickly)... Don't get me wrong, a virtual game is way better than no game, but this game has taken the better part of two or three weeks to play 6 moves and it's because of that built in delay.... interesting isn't it?

What else have I been doing? Well those who read here will know that I'm a bit of a fiend for history facts and information (like most wargamers I know to be honest!) So you can imagine that my interest was particularly piqued by a request for information on the Early Linear warfare Yahoo Group this morning - nothing better on a cold lunchtime in England that getting Google to do some work for a change..

A gentlemen by the name of Nick Dorrell ( was looking for details on the uniforms of some British regiments in 1710 (reading between the lines it looks like a project for the Spanish theatre of the war), so I decided to see what I could find (though without much hoping of beating some of the exceedingly switched on characters who post to that group)!

Dragoons: Rochefort's / Lepell's, Peterborough's / Nassau's

Infantry: Mohun's/ Dormer's, J.Caulfield's / Bowles, Lepell's /
Richards', Munden's, Gore's, Bourke's or Bourgay's, Dalziel's.

So first step was the old web site - now sadly defunct, but you can download the entire website here and from it:

  • Lepell was found to be Nicholas Lepell who commanded a foot regiment from 1705-10 before commanding a dragoon regiment from 1710-13. So what does "Nicholas Lepell" (with quotes) find us on Google - well the tells us that Brigadier General Nicholas Lepell (so he did well for himself) had had a child in 1706, and that he also "held the office of Groom of the Bedchamber to George, Prince of Denmark"(!) but could I find which Dragoon regiment he commanded??? Could I heck as like...

    One last gem though when I added the 'dragoon' to the Google search I found this site The site had an online copy of the "Warrant Books: June 1709, 11-20" from the Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 23: 1709...

    In it, for June 18th 1709, there is an entry that says "Royal warrant dated St. James's to same to pay to James Brydges, Paymaster of the Forces Abroad, the full pay (according to the Irish Establishment) of the Regiment of Dragoons under Brigadier Edward Pearce and the Foot Regiments of Major Gen. Gorges and Visct. Mountjoy from dates as below to the time they shall embark for Ireland to replace the Regiment of Dragoons under Lieut. Gen. Robert Echlin and the Foot Regiments of Col. Richard Munden and Nicholas Lepell which have been ordered from Ireland to Great Britain; it being certified that the various Troops detailed of Echlin's Dragoons did so embark on 1708 Oct. 7–19 and Munden's and Lepell's Foot on Feb. 6 last. Ibid., pp. 91–2." Good old accountants... but interesting as this is, still no closer to finding what the dragoon regiment was, and as a result their uniform...

    So nothing in, or Google, and nothing in my dependable fallback Grant's "Armies and Uniforms of Marlborough's Wars" (though Grant spells the other name as Rochford rather than Rochefort). Regiment is listed - but no uniform details..

  • Peterborough's / Nassau's was a little easier - soon highlighted the regiment as the 20th Light Dragoons (as they became much much later), formed in 1706 as the Earl of Peterborough's (that's him to the right) Regiment of Dragoons and disbanded in 1712 (they were reformed three years later). Nassau was colonel from 1707.

    Interesting snippet here though - this is from Google Books and is transcript from "The Parliamentary History of England from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803" at the bottom of page 16 it makes mention that

    men including officers and their servan therefore it was thought convenient at tb ginning of the year 1707 to take the omini л soldiers which remained in six regime 15 loot then in Valencia and Catalonia and distribute them towards fitling up several of rest of the regiment then there and tost the officers of the said six regiments with lhe officers of the late earl of Barrymore" there was me thinking "aha - all I need is the uniform of Barrymore's Foot and that will probably be the same as this Regiment of Dragoons", when I realised that this was a different regiment of Dragoons (Pearce's), ah well.... To cap it all, Grant again lists the regiment but doesn't give any uniform details for that regiment either...

So there you have it, an interesting lunch break, no uniform details, but loads of interesting information, and a really fun search.... like I said - just a geek really (and I still have the infantry to do)...!

PS. If anyone reading here has some facts on those uniforms, do please contact Nick, but I'd be interested as well!


  1. I believe that Nick is the author of the "Polemos: Great Northern War" rules.

    -- Jeff

  2. I think you are absolutely right about the blog, I LIKE boring!

    Seriously, for many of us the blog is a substitute for a chat at the wargames club. It is emphatically not about the pursuit of excellence, we can go to the shows and read the glossy magazines for that.

    I think the blogs are the equivalent of the early wargames magazines, just enthusiasts sharing what they are doing and as a result they are ten times more interesting than the latest advertorial or another look at my clever painting article.

    Keep right on being dull, I love it.


  3. I am with John...its a diary of what the blogger wants to do. If it was boring the hit counter would never move!


  4. Hi Nick here.

    First of all thank you Steve for making such an effort to answer my questions. Also thanks for a good blog. I agree with the others that it is interesting and a good thing to do.

    I am indeed working on a project for the 1710 campaign in Spain. I am writing a small series of articles or maybe a booklet on the five battles/engagements of this campaign. I though it would be nice to provide at least basic uniform information on the units involved in the campaign.

    The campaign features a Spanish army fighting against a combined British/Dutch/Palatine/Imperial/Spanish/Portuguese army. I had expected difficulties trying to find info on the Spanish/Portuguse (and indeed had difficulties). But I was a little surprised that I couldn't find information on some of the British units - hence my question.

    I will talk more on the infantry when the post appears about them. But for now a bit more on the British cavalry. There were 5 regiments in this army at the time, each of 2 squadrons. Two have already been mentioned and the other three were -

    Harvey's Horse (later 2nd Dragoon Guards) who had buff facings.

    The Royal or Queen Anne's Dragoons (later 1st Dragoons) who had blue facings.

    Pepper's Dragoons (later 8th Dragoons and then 8th Hussars) who had yellow facings (buff waistcoat).

    All 10 squadrons fought in 2 of the 3 earlier battles in 1710 before 8 of the squadrons were captured at the 4th battle/engagement of the campaign - Brihuega. The sole surviving unit, Lepell's, now reduced to a single squadron, fought at the last battle of the campaign but with no success.

    I hope this has been of some interest to you and the readers.

    All the best,


  5. Just a quick update on ths. I have now finished my booklet on the 1710 campaign. It is available here -

  6. Wow.. well done Nick... that's some gestation period!

  7. Well these things do take a lot of time. But mainly it is lack of available time on my part that is the problem.

  8. I know exactly how you feel - but seriously - well done...!