Sunday, September 22, 2019

Raising Armies In The English Civil War

From War History Online:
Cavalry went through a number of tactical changes in the Early Modern Period. The charge of the armored knight designed to sweep all before it had been made obsolete by the range, accuracy, and rate of fire of the longbow. Whilst the aristocracy remained wedded to their armor and horse, large bodies of horse declined in effectiveness on the battlefields of the late medieval and renaissance. With the advent of handguns, the horseman became little more than a mobile firing platform. Tactics like the Caracole were designed so that the Horse could keep up near constant barrages, with constant rotating of reloading and firing men. However, the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus had revolutionized warfare on the continent, including how to use the Horse and the charge was becoming important once more.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine was one of the first to recognize the potential of the charge in the English Civil Wars. At the first major pitched battle of the war (Edgehill October 1642) Parliament’s poorly trained Horse planned to receive Rupert’s Horse with pistol fire – no doubt expecting the Prince’s troops to return the compliment. Instead, Rupert led his men in a direct charge on the enemy, discharging their pistols at the last moment, and closing with the sword. The roundhead troopers were swept away in a panic with the Cavaliers chasing after them. (Read more.)

Here is an article on the fighting women of the English Civil War:
Stoyle traces the concern about the prospect of women wearing men’s clothing even before the conflict, then looks at who responded how to the then controversial issue, as well as how those responses varied across the political spectrum. There’s a sense that Royalists loyal to Charles I were a bit less stern than the severe, devout Puritan parliamentarians. But there were concerns on both sides about the practice—which was associated with camp followers and specifically sex workers. Charles I very nearly issued a strictly worded proclamation against it—except a) that it would have simply provided ammo to propagandists among his parliamentarian opponents and b) also there was the sticky fact of his own queen having appeared a few years before in an amateur theatrical as an Amazonian warrior.

But the most detailed account of a woman cross-dressing during the English Civil War actually comes from the Puritan side, via a publication called The Scottish Dove, which praised a soldier who “being examined, he sayd, he was indeed a female, and said that her selfe and three more sufficient men’s daughters came out of Shropshire, when the King’s forces commanded there, and to get away, came disguised in that manner, and resolved to serve in the Warre for the Cause of God.” (Read more.)

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