The English Civil War Project..

Copyright Iron Mitten

I procrastinated long and hard before starting this project (and indeed AFTER I had started it! ) because, as is usual for most these days, I am stupidly busy with family, work, sailing, and stuff.. so probably no different to most ... but, I have an enduring interest and fascination with Black Powder warfare, and there are a number of English Civil War battlefields in my fairly close proximity (see below), and I've had an interest in the war (or rather wars) itself for years, so in the end this project was inevitable..!

So.. basic tenants... for this project

~ I have a tendency to enjoy the early parts of wars/campaigns rather than the later - armies were less well trained, uniforms tended to be more colourful, commanders were still feeling their way - this project then will be based on the Battle of Edgehill - the first major engagement of the 1st English Civil War (NB. There was no English Civil war singular, between 1639 and 1660 there were several separate wars - 1st and 2nd Bishops war, 1st and 2nd English Civil War, and the Campaigns in Scotland and Ireland)

~ Figures will be 15mm  - when I started the project I had every intention of it being 20 or 25mm, but I'll be blunt and say that they really weren't 'ticking my boxes', and I wasn't feeling the love, so 15mm it is, and as I first thought, Peter Pig are the first figures to join the ranks..

~ There will be no plastic.. full stop... it's an aspiration'al thing and now burned into my psyche.. so trust me... there will be no plastic...

...other than that the sky is the limit...


Resources - interesting facts/websites/insights on the period - the next section..
Go To “Game Reports” – what it says on the tin…
Go To “Figures” – figures and model ranges I use…
Go To “Rules” – what rules I have tried, and what I’m using…
Go To “Books” – fiction and non-fiction
Go To ”Armies and Regiments” – a unit by unit view of the project as a whole…
Go To ”Battlefield Walks”


From my blog some notes/articles on the various component arms that I made, more as a learning experience than anything else:
For those that didn't see it on MurdocK's excellent blog [clicky] I make no apology for repeating the following here:

An excellent summation of the post above, and probably a whole lot clearer than my post, on how the Dutch tactical system developed and evolved .. 

This is worth an hour of your time if you have an interest in the development of the Royalist infantry tactics in the First English Civil War .. top level certainly, but well written, coherent, and well argued...
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Game Reports
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Figures/models/ little metal men.. call them what you will

I did a whole load of research into the 20's and 25's when I first started the project, but couldn't like them, as much as I tried. So the project was re-born in 15mm, and was started off with enough figures from Peter Pig to put together 4 or 5 regiments of foot - other manufacturers/ranges will also be considered as I would like this project to be a little like the Marlburian project with recruits from far and wide serving on the table..

Picture following courtesy of Steel Fist Miniatures who had a kick starter running at the time of writing for a new range of 15mm ECW..  the figures are lovely, and one of the sample figures for the new range is far left..

I found this on the TMP page and it is literally worth its weight in gold...  posted here completely without permission and all of them copyright TMP user Gallocelt [clicky] except where noted..

...this is one of mine..

...and also the cavalry

With the arrival of Warlord Epic's on the scene I wholly recommend a reading of this post on Radar's bog for a review and comparison of them with a number of other manufacturers..  while the foot won't mix and match that well because of the casting of them shoulder to shoulder, the cavalry look like a good alternative..

Next three pictures courtesy Radar/Gary Bowers as noted...

l-r: PP Scot (note very undersized pike), Naismith, PP regular pike, Epic, PP Scot, Epic - from Radar's blog

Epic, Steel Fist, Epic, PP Scot (the Scots are slightly shorter than the rest of the PP range) from Radar's blog

Picture of a PP AWI cavalry man next to the P&S cavalry frame; original picture thanks to Guy Bowers (editor of WSS magazine) from Radar's blog

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The miniature representations of the units in the project, and their histories where apt/available..

I've used the orders of battle for Edgehill as my starting point/list

Click on unit names in the following (where linked) to be taken to the relevant blog post about the unit..

The Royalist Army
  • Commander-in-chief: King Charles the First 
  • Lieutenant-General: Patrick Ruthven, Earl of Forth (who replaced the Earl of Lindsey) 
  • General of the Horse: Prince Rupert of the Rhine 
  • Commissary-General of Horse: Henry Wilmot 
  • Sergeant-Major-General of Foot: Sir Jacob Astley 
  • Major-General of Dragoons: Sir Arthur Aston 
  • Master of the Ordnance: Mountjoy Blount, Earl of Newport (nominal) 
  • Lieutenant of the Ordnance: Sir John Heydon
Unit Type Unit Name Manufacturer
Right Wing of Horse: Prince Rupert
Front line:
Horse Prince Rupert's regiment of horse
Prince of Wales' regiment (nominal, the Prince was not a combatant)
Prince Maurice's regiment
King's lifeguard
Colonel John Innes's Dragoons [clicky]
Peter Pig
Second line:
Horse Sir John Byron's Regiment [clicky] Peter Pig
Royalist Foot: Sir Jacob Astley
Charles Gerard's Brigade (front line)
Foot Charles Gerard's Regiment [clicky]
Sir Lewis Dyve's Regiment [clicky]
Sir Ralph Dutton's regiment [clicky]
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Richard Fielding's Brigade (front line)
Foot Richard Fielding's regiment (Fielding taken prisoner but rescued)
Sir Thomas Lunsford's regiment (Lunsford taken prisoner)
Richard Bolle's regiment
Sir Edward Fitton's regiment
Sir Edward Stradling's regiment (Stradling taken prisoner)
Henry Wentworth's Brigade (front line)
Foot Sir Gilbert Gerard's regiment
Sir Thomas Salusbury's regiment
Lord Molyneux's regiment
John Belasyse's Brigade (second line)
Foot John Belasyse's Regiment of Foote [clicky]
Thomas Blagge's Regiment [clicky]
Sir William Pennyman's Regiment [clicky]
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Steel Fist
Sir Nicholas Byron's Brigade (second line)
Foot King's lifeguard of foot
Lord-General's regiment
Sir John Beaumont's regiment
Left Wing of Horse: Commissary-General Wilmot
First line
Horse Henry Wilmot's regiment
Lord Grandison's regiment [clicky]
Earl of Carnarvon's regiment [clicky]
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Second line
Horse Lord Digby's regiment
Sir Thomas Aston's regiment
Horse Gentleman Pensioners .
Foot William Legge's firelocks .
Artillery Two Medium guns [clicky] Peter Pig

The Parliamentarian Army
  • Captain-General: Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex 
  • General of the Horse: William Russell, Earl of Bedford (nominal) 
  • Lieutenant-General of the Horse: Sir William Balfour 
  • Commissary-General of Horse: Sir James Ramsey 
  • Sergeant-Major-General of Foot: Sir John Merrick (not present at Edgehill) 
  • General of the Ordnance: John Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough (nominal) 
  • Lieutenant-General of the Ordnance: Philbert Emmanuel Du Bois
Unit Type Unit Name Manufacturer
Right Wing of Horse: The Earl of Bedford
Horse The Lord-General's regiment
Sir William Balfour's Regiment [clicky]
Lord Fielding's Regiment [clicky]
Col. John Browne's dragoons
Col. James Wardlowe's dragoons [clicky]
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Parliamentarian Foot
Sir John Meldrum's Brigade (vanguard)
Foot Sir John Meldrum's regiment
Lord Saye-and-Sele's regiment
Lord Robarte's regiment
Sir William Constable's regiment
Sir William Fairfax's regiment

Charles Essex's Brigade (main battle)
Foot Sir Charles Essex's Regiment [clicky]
Sir Henry Cholmley's Regiment [clicky]
Lord Mandeville's Regiment [clicky]
Lord Wharton's regiment [clicky]
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Thomas Ballard's Brigade (rearguard)
Foot The Lord-General's regiment (two divisions)
Lord Brooke's Regiment [clicky]
Thomas Ballard's Regiment [clicky]
Denzil Holles's Regiment
Peter Pig/Steel Fist
Cavalry supporting the Foot in the centre
Horse Sir Philip Stapleton's troop of cuirassiers (Lord-General's lifeguard) [clicky]
Captain Nathaniel Draper's troop of arquebusiers
Sir William Balfour's troop of cuirassiers [clicky]
The Earl of Bedford's troop of cuirassiers [clicky]
Sir John Gramson's Regiment [clicky] - NB. Fictional..
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Peter Pig
Left Wing of Horse: Sir James Ramsay
Mixed 24 troops of horse
400 commanded musketeers amongst the horse
300 commanded musketeers and dragoons in the hedges

Artillery Two Medium guns [clicky] Peter Pig

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Rules reviews/comments

I own (but have not read, as I hate reading rules!)
I am currently using a variation of the Seven Years War rules I use for the WSS project... as I get older I crave simplicity, and they work for me, it's entirely possible I will rip idea's left right and centre and use those..

I have put them up online so help yourself...

English Civil War Rules [clicky]

Comments are welcome by the way..

The rules originate from Will McNally's Seven Years War [clicky] set, which I guess in turn originate from his AWI Rules [clicky], so herewith I officially state I copied these wholesale and profligately from Will [clicky] and the Wrexham Wargames Club, but have treated them barbarously and turned them to use in the War of the Spanish Succession, and now the English Civil War. I think I have been using the AWI rules for getting on for 30 years now, certainly 25... the Seven Years War rules I modified almost 14 years ago, so these rules have longevity...   I like them - they are clean - they have a (very) satisfying firing/morale mechanic, and I like the charge/melee mechanic...  the older I get the simpler I like my rules, while not losing period flavour 'natch...

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A virtual bookshelf
  • Cheriton 1644 by John Adair [clicky]I did a lot of research, and also on the Battlefields trust website, and the information boards at the battlefield itself tended towards the "northern position", Adair argues (very well I have to say) for the "southern position" -  8/10
  • Edgehill - The Kineton Fight - 1642

  • So leaving all the usual history stuff to one side (as wargamers I would say we all have a rough idea on why the English Civil War was fought) this book is about the first major engagement (yes there were some skirmishes and minor engagements before, but this was the first big battle) not only substantial research on the timetable of the actual battle (who was where and when and why), but the bigger benefit to me was the earlier chapters on each of the major arms - cavalry, infantry and artillery - their equipment, training and weapons at this stage of the war with some commentary on how these changed as the war progressed..

    So we learn that at this stage of the war Parliament would have had better equipment (access to London and the main armaments factories and arsenals), which in turn lead to a higher proportion of musket to pike (2:1 or better compared with 1:1 or 3:2 for the Royalists), and that Pike would have worn more armour at this stage of the war (it tended to be worn less as the war progressed, due to improved musketry, and the weight)

    Both sides had armies that were pretty new to the game. Largely raw, and poorly trained, but leavened by experienced NCO's, officers and gentry that would have had had recent experience on the Continent either with Gustavus in Sweden, or the Thirty Years War in mainland Europe, and some of them would have fought in the Bishops Wars [clicky] a few years before. The authors (Christopher L. Scott, Alan Turton, Eric Gruber von Arni) have a very good chapter on the two major deployment/tactical types - the Swedish and Dutch systems - and the differences between them.. a chapter I feel I'll be coming back to again to refresh my memory from time to time.

    This site is very good [clicky] on the difference between the two (and on a huge number of other subjects to do with the English Civil War!) but basically the Dutch System was older, more basic (deeper ranks and chequer board deployment) and more easy to learn (and was used by Essex and his Parliamentarian army at the battle), the Swedish System (fewer ranks, diamond pattern deployment, and more complex firing methodology) was newer and controversially was adopted by Charles on the advice of his battlefield commanders (Rupert).. possibly one of the deciding factors in his losing the battle given the paucity of training his infantry had?

    All in all then I thought the book was a belter, and an excellent primer to the early armies of the English Civil War.. time will tell if subsequent research comes up with contradictions, but I thought it was very good.. Steve the Wargamer rates it 9/10..

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Battlefield walks..
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