Monday, 8 August 2016

English Civil War Camp

Another sunny weekend, another trip to a re-enactment. This time it was English Civil War, at Sizergh Castle in Cumbria - not that far from where I live. It's not a period I have ever gamed but I love history so wanted to have a look around. The reenactors were very approachable and knowledgeable, their clothing and equipment looks very authentic too. In the picture the little covered wagon contained a baby!

This was a mercenary, he set up just outside the camp and was offering his service training the local militia in firearm use. One interesting thing was that he also had a crossbow (you can see it leaning against his equipment rack in the background) and he told me that they were still used in the early part of the wars, as they were almost as effective as a musket and a lot quicker to reload. Later on we would find out that this was probably true. He was a real character. Imagine a mini like this, I would buy it in a heartbeat!

In the picture below are some of the regular troops, they have uniforms with coloured jackets. The image I have always had, of brown or cream with a coloured sash, is apparently a fallacy put about by the Victorians (who seem to have adapted a lot of history for who knows what purpose).

This was another great character, he was the camp surgeon. He gave a fascinating and gruesome account of how they dealt with common injuries on the battlefield, which included bullet wounds of course, but also damaged finger tips from musket mishap, and smoke inhalation. The methods used for bullet extraction and amputation are essentially unchanged today, just the tools are made from more modern materials, and of course there was little in the way of anaesthetic back in the 1650's.

The picture below shows the tools of the trade used, implements to cut flesh, hold open skin, saw bones, a chisel like implement to remove finger tips, etc. The pipe he was smoking  was so small because tobacco was very expensive. Another real life inspiration that would make a fascinating mini!

And now for something a little bit exciting and loud, we were advised to cup our ears and keep our mouths open, to avoid noise and shock waves. Plenty of toddlers and babes did not like this bit! You can just see a tiny recoil from the shot. This is a field gun, not a huge siege cannon. It was used as anti-personnel, loaded with grape shot. For this demo they were firing grass sods.

Finally, a few snaps of the troops on parade. I was surprised at how colourful they were, they always seem to be very drab in all the artwork. I would love to game this period but there's no way I would ever paint up large armies. If I could find some rules it would be interesting to play some of the actions that took place in the north of England - small scale skirmishes concerned mainly with keeping roads and supply lines open. Or maybe mix it up with some fantasy elements, witches, daemons and such like always seem to spring to mind when I see hats like these. 


Matt Crump said...

Definitely on the list but not till I retire ! A new skirmish set of rules by osprey is coming out I think early next year based on lion rampant.

Old Fogey said...

I was thinking real skirmish - 12 to 20 figures a side, whereas LR is more 50ish per side. I have heard a few good comments on Donnybrook but it's nearly £30, so will keep my ear to the ground.

Ubique Matt said...

I was also going to suggest using a mix of 'The Pikeman's Lament' (Osprey's ECW Lion Rampant variant) but mixing it with Dragon Rampant (the fantasy version) and using half size units. The rules are very flexible once you get used to the core mechanics.

This could give you the best of both worlds, enjoyable small scale skirmish games and no need to make and paint lots of new figures.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,
I am a member of the re-enactment group who ran the event at Sizergh castle. We have a few members of our group who are war gamers and specialise in the civil war period. If you would like to contact them, you could leave a message on our public facebook page "Lieutenant-Colonel John Lilburne's Regiment of Foote"
They will see it and I am sure they will get back to you.

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