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"Why were Royalist horse so unreliable in the ECW?" Topic

11 Posts

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huevans01111 May 2024 6:03 a.m. PST

Those instances where Royalist horse win a major confrontation with Parliamentary horse and drive them from the field, but fail to rally and either loot the Parliamentary baggage train or go on a long pursuit that takes them away from the battle: –

Why are Royalist horse so undisciplined?

This sort of thing does not seem to happen in other armies of the period.

bjporter11 May 2024 7:46 a.m. PST

British horse were very similar during the Napoleonic Wars as well.

Cerdic11 May 2024 9:47 a.m. PST

Bunch of ill-trained, arrogant, individualist, posh boys. What do you expect to happen!

huevans01111 May 2024 10:27 a.m. PST

Bunch of ill-trained, arrogant, individualist, posh boys. What do you expect to happen!

Come on!

Conde even got the French horse to behave themselves in a well-disciplined way…. sort of!

Charge The Guns11 May 2024 10:57 a.m. PST

I wonder if the impetuosity of Royalist horse has become a bit of a wargamers' trope? The two most written about battles of the first civil war are Edgehill and Naseby, both of which featured Rupert commanding the right wing of horse, and both of which saw Rupert victorious, and that wing of horse pursuing their broken enemies from the field.

However, I wonder if using just these two instances as the evidence of Royalist horse always rashly pursuing, is itself, a bit rash ;-) .

The need for horse to pursue a broken enemy was standard practice before, during and after this period. It was necessary to ensure the enemy did not reform. The desire to loot and pillage was also not only a temptation for Royalist horse.

At Edgehill I think it is fair that the Royalist horse's pursuit was rash and was due to inexperience. The second line of Rupert's right wing should not have followed the first in pursuit. A mistake by the inexperience of the command. At Naseby the situation was very different. Rupert's right wing at Naseby was significantly outnumbered by Ireton. It was necessary for the Royalist second line to be committed to break Ireton so there was no fresh second line to turn on the New Model foot. Cromwell on the New Model right had adequate numbers to break Langdale and still have a reserve to exploit his victory.

Despite this, I suspect that our the wargamer's "truth" is now set in tablets of stone and Royalist will forever be 'A' class looneys with flowing locks and feathers in their hats, and their Puritan adversaries will be dour men with looped sleeved coats, and of iron wills.

[It is worth noting that in the very good 'For King & Parliament' rules, by Messrs Miller and Brentnall, all Horse (and Highlanders!) pursue broken enemies.]

Mollinary11 May 2024 12:04 p.m. PST

Charge the Guns. Well said. I agree entirely. Bravo! The key is having an uncommitted reserve to turn on the infantry. At Marston Moor Goring did just this, but so did Cromwell.

Phillius Sponsoring Member of TMP11 May 2024 2:18 p.m. PST

What Charge The Guns said.

TimePortal11 May 2024 4:02 p.m. PST

Bjporter made a valid point. British horse has had a reputation of undisciplined charges in many wars from running after Zulus to American Patriots.

BillyNM11 May 2024 10:43 p.m. PST

My games are intended to be retro-games and not serious simulation so therefor what I'm aiming at is good fun with "Royalist … 'A' class looneys with flowing locks and feathers in their hats, and … Puritan adversaries … dour men with looped sleeved coats, and … iron wills".

Charge The Guns12 May 2024 1:04 a.m. PST

@Mollinary and @Phillius – good to know I'm may be on the right track :-)

@TimePortal – a bad reputation is easy to win they say. Perhaps sometimes it requires a bit more nuance to investigate what actually happened?

@BillyNM – a valid approach – we play the games we want so as to enjoy them.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP12 May 2024 10:35 a.m. PST

I agree with Charge the Guns!

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