ECW: First Steps

On reflection, it might well be the second step as I have already embraced both Warhammer ECW and Pike and Shotte rules. I bought a couple of boxes of Renegade miniatures back in about 2007 when visiting Devizes from The Keep which is still in business with their own website I see.
I have always wanted to wargame the English Civil War. It probably started with my Ladybird book on Oliver Cromwell and worked it's way from there. I was and am still a big fan of the old 1980s BBC TV series 'By the Sword Divided', I've seen the movie 'Cromwell' more times than is healthy and gobble up any documentary offerings via TV or YouTube. I have copies of and love The Devil's Whore and To Kill a King and I've been playing quite a bit of the computer game Pike and Shot. So, I have started to get serious about prepping for my collection phase with research into an order of battle - or should I say orders of battle?
Why ECW? For me it's the violent passion which seized British peoples and politics throughout the seventeenth century which attracts. Parliament or King is still a subject which divides people to this day: I don't have an English friend or colleague who isn't firmly in one camp or another. As an Australian with a strong republican sense I'm not surprisingly for Parliament - it's almost impossible to have a completely neutral position on the subject. Religious fanaticism plays a massively important role across the whole affair along with cultural prejudices and persecutions. Throw in diseases, witch-hunting, atrocities and round the whole thing off with a beheading and what's not to like?
A shot from the siege of Arnscot castle in By the Sword Divided

Having said all of that, I'm confident if I were to return to 1643 in my time machine I'd find ignorance, intolerance, bloody-mindedness, hypocrisy and extremism to be universal. I doubt very much if I'd care for many people on either side. As for 'my Parliamentarians' I am confident they would be more entitled and self-serving than even those in government today ... but if I had to pick a side, it's them.  

Normally, my approach is to find a battle I like then generate or use a readily available order of battle for one side or another. These days I prefer to do both sides (yep, takes longer). On this occasion I am starting with a battle which best represents the protagonists and I'm extending my army from there to represent forces available in a general theatre of operations.
There's something about the heart-felt amateurism of the earliest stages of the war which appeals. Also, whilst recognizing that the 'English Civil War' was far bigger than just England and the English, I'm starting with the Western Association and the West Country theatre of operations of the first civil war (1642-43).
Like a lot of other people, I'm fascinated with the activities and relationship between Parliamentarian champion Sir William Waller and the Royalist leader Lord Ralph Hopton who were friends and enemies. For me it's got it all.
I'm generating army lists from an order of battle I've been developing for the battle of Lansdowne (often spelt Lansdown or even Landsdown/e). That battle appears to have a good representation of regiments available to both leaders at the time (July 1643). I've done quite a bit of on-line research and investigating various accounts with reference to previous exchanges by fellow wargamers on the TMP discussion threads. I'll be attaching that in a separate post and link to my PDF on Google-docs for those interested. I have lashed out and bought all available scenario works by Bob Giglio so I may need to revise my own findings when they arrive and when I get a chance to read them. What I do have I'm satisfied with - I'm hoping Bob will have covered some gaps.


  1. If you want to experience the Britain you describe just come here now!
    Good choice on Lansdown, it's within sight of my house near Bath, an earlier & smaller action if I recall. In my childhood we visited a re-enactment or two, one at Lansdown one the siege of Nunney Castle near Frome. Despite all of this the urge to play ECw period eludes me for some reason.
    Have immense fun with it! Best wishes,

  2. Good luck in your project. Giglio’s scenario books are terrific resources.

  3. Unfortunately Jeremy is right, it does seem like battle lines are being drawn sometimes over here! I've gone for generic coloured regiments so that they can swap about,plus a Covenanter army,I look forward to your armies!
    Best Iain


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