Yes it’s a “LOOK IT - I PAINTED SOMETHING POST”…(as per Stew over at at the terrible loss of lead and wealth blog).*
I’ve already started packing away toy stuff in an effort to avoid the damage I did last time we moved (chucking things in boxes at the last minute is not a great idea) so games will now be off the menu until mid November (ish). Rather than go totally cold turkey I will be retaining a limited painting and modelling capability and to that end I’ve already started work on my new Elizabethan wars project.
Compared to the ECW the period doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention outside of the skirmish sized border reiver games or naval themed Spanish Armada stuff, which is surprising when you consider the potential for campaigns set during the Dutch revolt, the wars in Ireland, the wars of religion in France and so on.
I’ve really taken to 10mm as a scale and Pendraken’s sculpts in particular. Fortunately they do a very comprehensive Elizabethan range, (or unfortunately if you were to take a look at my current bank balance). It’s fair to say that if you see the owner of Pendraken driving around in a Ferrari it’ll be because of my recent pre move splurge.
The only downside to the Pendraken figures is the length of the period they cover - leading inevitably to some fashion issues amongst the rank and file. Typically the start of the era sees the big balloon trews, fancy hats, ruff collars, cod pieces and long stockings, but by the late 90’s they have started to give way to something you’d recognise as thirty years war ish.
One of the best bits of a new historical period (for me) is the research. Here are some of the sources I’ve consulted to get the low down on formations and tactics:
With Pike and Musket - Wesencraft. An oldie but a goody. Basic information on organisation of English and Irish units and written from a gamers perspective. Some useful Irish scenarios in the back too. Long in the tooth but still relevant, unlike me.
Portable Pike & Shot - Bob Cordery. Great source of inspiration for gridded gaming in the period, especially Alan Saunders’ version of the rules.
Osprey, The Spanish Tercios - Lopez. Written from Spanish sources so very useful info on organisation, page 12 asserting that smaller brigade sized groups of 3-4 companies or “Coronelia” were often used instead of the larger Tercio.
Osprey, Dutch Armies of the 80 Years War - De Groot. Great background on the English involvement in the Dutch revolt against Spain.
Osprey, Pike and Shot Tactics 1590-1660 - Roberts. Dwells a lot on the ECW period but still useful in parts.
Elizabeth’s Army & The Armada - Tincey. Fascinating “booklet” containing a lot of original muster and organisational critiques from the Armada period. In effect it is an analysis of English preparations to counter the Armada and an analysis of their deficiencies. In general the authorities at the time seem to have had a better idea of their capabilities than I ever gave them credit for. If Johnny Spaniard had actually got ashore he’d have had a ruddy hard time of it I reckon.
The Art of War in the 16th & 17th Century - Oman. Finally ordered a reasonably priced copy but God alone knows when it’ll arrive.
The Works of Sir Roger Williams - Williams. The day to day experiences of a soldier in the Dutch Wars. Ordering it when I get paid!
On the inter web there are of course a lot of useful sites for background info but https://sellsword.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/advises/ advances some interesting thoughts on the effectiveness of the Tercio and perhaps controversially many of the advantages it continued to hold over the wider but thinner Dutch battalions. Discuss.
I’ve resolved to use a very mildly tweaked Alan Saunders set of Pike and Shot rules to game the period (including disruption and a card activation system) and I’ve pitched the whole shebang at company level, sort of, there being about 100 blokes in a company. Units are composed of umpteen 3x2 cm bases which will allow me to deploy them in column if required.
Pictured below are the four stands of pike in an English company circa 1588. There are a variety of weapon choices and indeed ratios of weapons to choose from, the relative organisation of the ECW being a thing of the future. Despite the variety, a company seems to have fought as a single mixed unit. Regiments, when created, resembled nothing more than a scaled up version of a single company - just with a lot more men.
|Finally - small miniatures but without bendy pikes! The start of my first English company.|
Depending on where and when it was raised a company might include longbows, melee weapons and even an increasing number of the all new “muskets” alongside the pike and shorter range arquebus.
I’ll be covering Irish and Spanish troops in later posts.
Right it’s probably time for me to sling my hook.
* Waddya mean you’ve not been over there for a look see? Stews blog is ace and merely from reading it I can safely award him my highest accolade - namely “I think I could actually stand being trapped in a lift with this bloke.” Yeah. I know. Praise indeed.