Saturday, February 17

"Firing into the Brown" #40 - Schomberg's, Mary Rose and stuff..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..


First off, a 'catch up'..

My regular reader (singular 😏) will know that more than anything I do like to look up (errr..  do exhaustive research) to investigate the history of the regiments and commanders that I paint for my armies, but sometimes, I don't have time - and so it was I noticed that I hadn't had chance to do this for three or four regiments in the War of the Spanish Succession project.. 

I suspect in this case because they pre-date the blog! I intend rectifying this over time and on an irregular basis, and this week the first of those is Schomberg's (nicknamed "The Black Horse" after the colour of their facings) 

So without further ado, another 'regiment of renown' graces the blog

Origin and History

  • 1688 - the year of the so called Glorious Revolution - following the landings by the Prince of Orange, William, Lord Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire with a small armed retinue travels to Derby, and then Nottingham, raising troops on behalf of the Prince. 
  • On his succession the Prince of Orange (now William III) commissions the Earl of Devonshire to raise a regiment of horse from these recently raised troops, plus Protestant soldiers previously belonging to the five regiments of horse raised by James II. The new regiment was styled “Devonshire’s Regiment of Horse”.
  • 1690 - the regiment is ranked as 9th Horse in order of seniority. 
    • In April, the Earl of Devonshire was succeeded in the colonelcy by Meynhardt (or Meinhardt) Schomberg, and for the first time the regiment became known as the “Schmomberg’s Horse”. 
    • In July, it was at the Battle of the Boyne (after which Schomberg was created Duke of Leinster for his part in the battle) and in spring of 1691, the regiment became known as “Leinster’s Horse”. 
  • 1692- during the Nine Years' War (1688-97) the regiment was sent to the Netherlands where it joined the confederate army. 
  • 1693 - was part of the attack of the Lines of the Scheldt. The same year, after the death of his brother, Meinhardt became the 3rd Duke of Schomberg, and the regiment was once again “Schmomberg’s Horse”. 
  • Meinhardt himself.. Painted by John Baptist de
    Medina...  apparently he had a bit of a temper..
    1694 - ranked as 8th Horse, a rank that it would retain until 1746. 
  • 1695 - formed part of the covering army during the siege of Namur.
  • 1698 to 1701 - stationed, generally, in the south of England.
  • 1702 - the War of the Spanish Succession - the regiment was sent to the Dutch Republic. Later that year it provided cover for the sieges of Venloo, Roermond and Stevensweert. 
  • 1703 - employed in covering the sieges of Huy and Limbourg. 
  • 1704 - took part in the battles of Schellenberg and Blenheim. For the attack on the Schellenberg (which formed the original basis for my project), along with Wyndham's, Cadogen's and Lumley's regiments of horse - 10 squadrons of Britain's finest - they were under the brigade command of Lieutenant-General Cornelius Wood
  • 1705 - the forcing of the French lines at Neer-Hespen and Helixem
  • 1706 - Battle of Ramillies, the capture of Antwerp and the blockade of Dendermond
  • 1708 - Battle of Oudenarde, the siege of Lille, the passage of the Scheldt and in the relief of Bruxelles
  • 1709 - the siege of Tournai, the Battle of Malplaquet, and the siege of Mons
  • 1710 - the sieges of Douai, Béthune, Saint-Venant and Aire
  • 1711 - passage of the lines at Arleux and in the siege of Bouchain.
  • 1714 - ordered home from Flanders and then proceeded to Ireland where it's establishment was reduced to peace time levels.
By the by, in 1788, it was retitled the 7th (The Princess Royal's) Dragoon Guards, then amalgamated with the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, to form the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards in 1922, and then amalgamated with the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, to form the new Royal Dragoon Guards in 1992. I think I remember reading, that they are the only one of those regiments of horse that James raised to still survive, albeit in a much amalgamated manner!

Schomberg himself was created Knight of the Garter in 1703, and Queen Anne appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the British forces sent to Portugal for the War of the Spanish Succession. Once in Portugal though, he was largely ineffective in command, and his dreadful temper attracted universal disgust: neither Peter II, King of Portugal, nor Charles, claimant to the throne of Spain, were prepared to accept his behaviour and he was sent home in disgrace. Schomberg died in 1719, and as his only son had predeceased him (though he had three daughters), all his titles also died with him..

Further references:

Painted in that spurge of painting I did to kick off the period late 2006 - 8 horse - figures are Dixon


As mentioned a few posts ago, I bought a ticket for all the features* in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard a few weeks ago..  best of all it allows unlimited re-visits for a year, and all for only £44. I intend to make VERY good use of it, but for my first visit, and also for the first time ever (which is why I bought the ticket to be honest), I went to see Mary Rose..

Just a few pictures - there's plenty on the web, but these are mine, and as is my way they are the things that caught my eye..

First off - the entire ship looking forward from the stern...  absolutely, completely, and utterly mind blowing..  the period where they were having to continually spray her so as to stop her decomposing is now over, so the view is unobstructed. They have also displayed her side on, so it's like a cutaway diagram; you can see all the details of the decks... What you see is the whole of the starboard half of the ship, minus the castles that would have been at each end. These castles, and the port side of the ship had disappeared over the time she was resting on the bottom (430+ years)..

Everything in the museum is original to, and from the wreck site.. Mary Rose is important because she spanned that period of Naval warfare where the focus shifted from close range, grapple, and then board to the newer methods of longer range, gun and cannon offensive. Mary Rose had a major refit in 1536 to keep her current in naval attack methods - gun ports and broadsides were very new technology at the time..

Talking of guns, there are a surprising number of cannon, and what interested me most was that there is very little commonality - would have been a pain in the posterior making sure the multiple types of ammunition was available..  this one (next) is one of the newer, bigger, bronze guns - a  lower deck culverin..

...and this is one of the lighter, wrought iron, upper deck, pieces of ordnance..  a form of breech loader so quick to reload but not able to take as big a charge as the cast bronze guns..

Both types side by side..  

Despite the fact that Mary Rose was increasingly being developed and refitted, and rearmed for the anti ship role, she was still also equipped for the older, more traditional, anti personnel role and what stunned me was the sheer quantity of long bows ..  boxes of them were discovered on the wreck and are displayed as such..

..but look at the thickness of those bows! No wonder that numbers of the skeletons recovered show the abnormalities that drawing the war bow from an early age would have caused..

..but for me the star of the day was the ship itself..  very much recommended if you get a chance to visit.

Next on the list for me is a visit to Gosport to see HMS Alliance and the Submarine Museum..

* Features include Mary Rose, HMS Warrior, HMS Alliance (and the submarine museum), HMS Victory, M33 (a WW1 Monitor), the Royal Navy Museum, and also The Explosion Museum of Naval Firepower...and if that's not enough it also includes the water bus to get you to the exhibits in Gosport, and a Harbour Tour boat!!

Laters, as the young people are want to say...


  1. Nice to see the history behind a unit, I am increasingly moving towards this and away from generic. That is a superb side on profile of the ship, it makes the construction very ‘readable’ to the eye.

    1. Cheers Norm - for me the history is the lynch pin of the whole hobby, it was how I first came to it, I think, back all of those years ago, so one of the joys is delving into the actual people that our little metal men represent - they're invariably interesting, and in some cases absolutely fascinating!

      Mary Rose is awesome and the displaying of it is inspired - one thing I especially liked was how they shine clips of video on to various cabins in the ship to show snippets of the people who occupied them and what they were doing..

  2. Inspiring pictures of the Mary Rose; must get down there some day! Thanks for posting. The archery material is fascinating, especially to someone like me who has been an archer since I was a teenager and keen on the history of archery for much longer - although I'm sure I could never have handled one of those really powerful longbows. I did use a borrowed (far less powerful!) yew longbow for a while and it was a beautifully sweet bow to handle. And I hope to get round to doing some British cavalry standards of the WSS eventually too; so many flags, so little time...

    1. Thanks for the comments David - it was the same for me for years and years.. kept saying "I must do ... etcetc" then in the end you realise you're just prevaricating and you need to get on and do some of this stuff! :o))

  3. I really must get around to seeing it for myself the next time I visit my daughter in Southsea

    1. Hiya Will - good to hear from you - Mary R., very much recommended, and like Bovington those tickets that allow a re-visit for 12 months are absolutely brilliant.. if you're going to visit I recommend the submarine museum as well, and next on my list is "Explosion!"

  4. Thanks for sharing, most interesting information.


    1. Cheers Tiberian - mon plaisir, just pleased people find my inane ramblings actually interesting!

  5. Interesting historical post there. Not just the little chaps but the Mary Rose also. I last saw it when it was still being washed so must try to revisit now it's all in the clear.

    1. Hi David, thanks for the comment and apologies for the delay in approving - Blogger didn't tell me.. re. Mary Rose, yes, definitely.. lots of other very (very) interesting things on display as well..

  6. A great history lesson Steve. The troops look the part too?

    1. Hi Ray.. good to hear from you, and first off, get well soon, matey - though it sounds like you're on the mend if you can make that concert with your girls! Re. Schomberg's, yes, one of my favourite Marlburian regiments, it's those black cuffs I think.. :o)

  7. I still vividly remember watching on the day she broke the surface after all those years, it was really moving. Great photos thanks for sharing them.

    1. Hiya Lee, me too.. "Nationwide" as I remember.. with Frank.. :o)