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"The most complete book on ECW battles ?" Topic

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hi EEE ya Supporting Member of TMP15 May 2022 3:30 a.m. PST

Hello everyone,

Looking for the most complete book on ECW battles with the most complete and accurate possible battle order and uniforms, ect…

Thank you all.

MajorB15 May 2022 4:31 a.m. PST
4DJones15 May 2022 5:54 a.m. PST

The English Civil War: an Atlas and Concise History …
by Nick Lipscombe
Covers all the battles and larger skirmishes (e.g. Corbridge).Well laid-out and illustrated.

KeepYourPowderDry15 May 2022 6:18 a.m. PST

Too many errors and glaring omissions in Lipscombe I'm afraid for me to say that it is'accurate' or even 'complete', but it is head and shoulders above the Cassell's recommended by MajorB.

Such a book doesn't exist, Lipscombe come closest if you want a physical book. (It is a beautiful book, high production values, great coffee table book – shop around as price varies wildly £30.00 GBP-£50. But it is very flawed.)

Best option is not a book, it's a pair of websites: BCW wiki for an overview, Battlefield Trust for specifics.

Rakkasan15 May 2022 10:26 a.m. PST

The English Civil War 1643-1651: An Illustrated Military History by Haythornthwaite provides a good general overview of the forces, the uniforms, and the history. There is not much detailed information related to the orders of battle for the various engagements and battles. For that I have had to use various rules such as Forlorn Hope, For God, King and Country, and Polemos.

David Manley15 May 2022 10:27 a.m. PST

KYPD – do you have any examples of errors?

MajorB15 May 2022 12:53 p.m. PST

and what's the problem with Cassell's ?

Steamingdave215 May 2022 2:34 p.m. PST

Lipscombe is a good place to start, with an overview of most of the significant battles, although not too much information on uniforms. It is worth taking a look at the Helion " Century of the Soldier" series for details of particular battles and forces. The websites suggested are also very good.

PandSSociety15 May 2022 2:37 p.m. PST

I would recommend getting hold of this book so you can get an idea of how little we actually know about battles in this era – link

KeepYourPowderDry15 May 2022 3:02 p.m. PST

Cassell's is very dated, many of the battle locations and details are incorrect.

Lipscombe – Northampton never in Royalist hand;, storming of Stockport incorrectly described; Rupert's march to relieve York oversimplified; Roundway, Chalgrove and Cheriton only have the 'old' narrative (no mention of latest interpretations); Penruddick's and Booth's uprising completely omitted… That's just the ones that spring to mind, there are many others. Oh and that is before you get into the absence of an index (a serious flaw – the atlas is laid out chronologically, if you want to find out about a specific battle you need to know the date it was fought – fine if you have a good working knowledge of the Wars, but makes it a very difficult book to dip in and out of if you don't).

Haythornthwaite is very very dated. The uniform section in particular contains far too many errors (even when it was first published).

All three have their merits, I own all of them. I can forgive Cassell and Haythornthwaite many of their errors as research has moved on since they were written. Lipscombe should be bang up to date incorporating latest research, sadly it doesn't.

The Wanklyn recommended by PandSSociety is very good.

For key online resources, and a recommending reading list might I suggest link

(Saves me typing it all out again)

WKeyser16 May 2022 3:45 a.m. PST

I got the Lipscombe one as a PDF from Osprey. Quite enjoy it even for its flawas

KeepYourPowderDry16 May 2022 4:40 a.m. PST

Despite the flaws Lipscombe really is a stunningly produced book.

hi EEE ya Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2022 9:58 a.m. PST

@MajorB, I bought the book you mentioned, it affects a lot of periods…
And books only for uniforms and orders of battle only for wargaming, what is best?

MajorB16 May 2022 11:34 a.m. PST

Cassell's is very dated, many of the battle locations and details are incorrect.

That's curious. Which ones on particular?

Timbo W16 May 2022 2:34 p.m. PST

For a wargames friendly military history I like Stuart Reid's 'All the King's Armies', has good OBs for the major battles and narrative history of the war.

It doesn't do uniforms, Mike KYPD's blog is a great start here! Neither does it focus on details of the minor battles.

The Lipscombe book is beautiful, I own it but haven't been through it in detail yet so thanks to Mike for the warnings!

The thing to be aware of is that so much of the detail that eg Napoleonic gamers are used to simply doesn't survive for the ECW. Rarely do we know which units were dressed in which colour, where they were on the Battlefield and how strong they were. In fortunate cases where 2 sources survive they usually disagree 😀

hi EEE ya Supporting Member of TMP16 May 2022 11:15 p.m. PST

There were no "regulatory" regimental colors planned, even if they were never implemented? I thought the new model army had to wear red uniforms (at the time this color was chosen because it was the cheapest shade, but nowadays the British army would not wear uniforms of this color in combat, because the red tint is one of the most expensive.)

And the many Osprey Publishing books on the subject, can we trust them?

Timbo W17 May 2022 2:33 a.m. PST

Sure, the NMA was in red most Scots Covenanters in grey and, as KYPDs blog and the BCW Regimental Wiki shows, we know or can make a good guess at coat colours for dozens more regiments.

Problem is that the number of regiments raised in the ECW is over 1000, so only a small proportion have any surviving coat colour info.

The really old ECW Osprey iirc is mostly OK in terms of the text, apart from a few coat colour details, but the illustrations are more old fashioned – sounds weird but based on what Victorian painters thought was worn versus what contemporary records and painters show. Oh and it has an etching of the wrong Prince Maurice.

The later Cavalry, infantry etc and the campaign series Ospreys are generally pretty good.

hi EEE ya Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2022 6:52 a.m. PST

OK thank you.The NMA was in red most Scots Covenanters in grey (tunics and trousers?), and most parliamentarians before the NMA? And the royalists? There was perhaps a majority color in the armies? And the colors of the scarves.

Timbo W18 May 2022 8:02 a.m. PST

Hi Paskal,

Yes NMA in red with 'sadd' colour trousers, usually taken to mean grey or brown.

Have a look at KYPDs blog for Scots Covenanters hodden grey, it's a browny-grey or grey-brown. Yes trousers too.

For 1st civil War, clothing was provided by regiment, where possible. Red was most common coat colour for both sides followed by blue, grey or white, green, a couple of orange and a single purple. However it seems likely that many units, especially outside the main field armies, were never issued uniform coats so servd in whatever their civilian clothes were, ie mostly greys and browns for the common footsoldier.

Scarves again read KYPD blog, but pink red for Royalist, blue for Covenanters, orange for Parliament are most common.


Timbo W18 May 2022 12:14 p.m. PST

Forgot to say there were a few yellow coated regiments, and that officers wouldn't necessarily be matching the men, they effectively wore what they wanted.

Dragoons much like the foot in terms of uniforms.

Cavalry weren't issued uniforms, aparf from scarves, but wherever possible they wore buff coats, which gave them a kind of uniform appearance.

Artillery wore civilian clothes.

hi EEE ya Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2022 7:35 a.m. PST

Thank you all

Dexter Ward01 Oct 2023 6:24 a.m. PST

Aside from the NMA and the convenanters, there are a few regiments whose coat colours are known. Newcastle's White coats and Brookes' regiment in purple. Other than that, you can please yourself; having different coloured units looks good and makes them easy to distinguish on the table. I use blue, yellow, green and white plus several shades of red (known to be the commonest colour)

KeepYourPowderDry01 Oct 2023 8:13 a.m. PST

Dexter there's more than just a 'few', just shy of 60 Parliamentarian RoF known or deduced (pre Army Newly Modelled), and up to about 45 Royalist RoF (there are potentially a few contenders for a some references). Not forgetting a dozen or so Trained Band and Auxiliary regiments. Two Royalist RoH references to coat colours,three dragoon coat colours (one Parliament 2 Royalist).

Very few Covenanter coat colours are actually known – there's just an assumption that they were kitted out in hodden.

Don't forget that the Brookes purple coats were very short lived, being disbanded not long after Turnham Green.

Elenderil02 Oct 2023 2:45 p.m. PST

The other problem when looking at uniforms is that regiments could be short lived, or have a new coat issued in a different colour after the end of a year on campaign. So while the coat colour may be known (or at least guessed at) for one battle it could be different at the next.

The clothing issued might be a simple top coat to go over the soldiers civilian doublet, or in a few cases may have been a full clothing issue of hat, coat, breeches, hoes (stockings), shirt and shoes. But not everyone might have got everything!

Trajanus05 Oct 2023 3:34 p.m. PST

The Lipscombe book is indeed beautiful. One of those you take off the shelf and thumb through just for the sake of it.

Absolute proof that ebooks suck!

hi EEE ya Supporting Member of TMP26 May 2024 7:12 a.m. PST


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