Sunday, 5 August 2012

The project begins!

It's always an exciting time when you begin a new project. I begin this new venture back in time by offering a few thoughts and ideas on how I hope to recreate the armies and the style of battle of the Civil War period. My main aim is to be able to recreate many of the smaller actions of the war, rather than the big set piece affairs. I'll divide this post into three sections; The figures, The rules & the Historical setting.

The figures.
Baccus 6mm of course. The first Foot Regiment is already undercoated ready to begin. I have been playing around with how best to place them on my standard 60 x 60mm bases. Most wargamers tend to base ECW figures as 2 ranks, pikes in the centre, muskets on the flanks. I really want to try something else in order to make the most of the space on the bases. I'm considering placing a 3 rank pike block in the centre, but with the two musketeer wings slightly advanced of the pike block. Command figures in the centre. A total of 32 figures per base for Foot. 18 figures per base for Horse. The first unit painted will trial this base layout so I can judge how it looks.

The rules.
As previously mentioned this project will use 'Foy's' ECW adaptation for Command and Colors rules. The link at right to 'Prometheus in Aspic' follows the development of these rules. I am very keen to capture the unique style of battle in the Civil War, and to reflect the differences between units in terms of numbers and the ratio of pikes to muskets as well as the levels of training. 'Foy' has offered some very well thought out means of reflecting the above while remaining true to the C&C ethos of playability coupled with good historical period feel. I hope to discuss some of these at more length as the blog progresses.

The Historical setting.
After some thought I have decided to base my project on the Kings Oxford Army 1643 -1644 and it's opponents and battles. The first thing that strikes me is how well provided for in terms of clothing and equipment this small army was. There was however a constant shortage of Foot and a constant loss through desertion. Charles I himself obviously took a keen interest in the provisions made for these troops as he is recorded as writing to Prince Rupert: 

'Most trusty and entirely beloved Nephew Wee greet you well Whereas we are credibly informed that at Cirencester, Stroud, Minchinhampton, Tetbury, Dursley, Wooton underedge and Chipping Sudbury great quantities of cloth canvass and Locherame are to be had for supplying ye great necessities Our Souldiers have of Suits. Wee have thought good to advise you thereof And doe hearby pray you to send a competent party of Horse under ye command of some able person to visit those several places wch lye not farr asunder, and to bring from thence all such cloth canvass and Locherame as they shall find there to Cirencester.'

By July 1643 things had progressed to the point where:

'They have clothed all their foote soldiers in redd and blew having all of them monteroes, coates and briches.'

It is interesting to note that the 'ideal' musket/pike ratio of 2 to 1 was probably becoming standard around this time, at least in the Oxford Army, with for example Colonel Robert Villiers Regiment in 1643 recorded as being issued 200 muskets and 100 pikes.

The strength of these Oxford regiments varied greatly, somewhere between 150 and 500. The average would appear to be around 300.

As my Regiments will be based using a standard number of figures per base I will need to record this 'actual' strength as a figure on the rear of the base (as I did with my Napoleonics). My current thinking is to assign a figure between 3 and 5 in terms of C&C 'blocks'. I could simplify this by stating three 'bands' say Regiments of from 150 to 300 men (3 blocks) 300 to 400 men (4 Blocks) and those with 400 to 500 men (5 blocks). Next is the issue of musket to pike ratios when it comes to combat, firing and melee. More on this to follow.

So this lays down some starting points as I begin to paint figures. The first base will be a Royalist Regiment of Foot and should be completed with a couple of days.

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