Miniature Wargames


- Arthur Harman

◗ Jane Hayter-Hames

◗ Amberley Publishing (2022)

◗ £20

◗ 320 pages (hardback)

◗ ISBN:9781398108­080


A useful eight-page List of Characters precedes chapters which describe events before Charles Stuart became king that shaped him and his reign: the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne; the ‘King James’ Bible; the powerful men and a few aristocrat­ic women who influenced him; the difference­s between the English and Scottish parliament­s, and his way of ruling the three kingdoms, and the early life of Charles, who only became heir to the throne on the death of his older brother Henry in 1612.

The following chapters describe Charles’s early reign and his decision to rule without Parliament; his rule in Scotland; Thomas Wentworth in Ireland; the Bishops’ Wars and the Irish Rebellion in 1641.

The King’s departure from London, the Edgehill campaign and events up to Marston Moor are followed by descriptio­ns of the emergence of Oliver Cromwell; the victories won by him and Montrose; the creation of the New Model Army; Naseby and Philiphaug­h, and the Royalist collapse occupy only fifty pages.

The author then examines the captivity of the King, his trial and execution and the constituti­onal issues raised by Parliament’s victory. She is not concerned with the weapons and tactics of the armies and details of battles: Naseby, for example, is described in only three paragraphs occupying about half a page.

Seven monochrome maps include full-page diagrams showing the territory controlled by the contending parties in September 1643, Montrose’s campaign in Scotland, 1644-45, and battle sites in England and Ireland, 1644-49. Four small maps on one page show the territory held by the King and Parliament in May 1643, September 1643, November 1644 and November 1645. There is only one battle map, depicting the campaign and battle of Preston in 1648. Twelve small black and white portraits are placed within the text. Nineteen colour plates – all but one of them portraits - many already familiar to readers interested in the period, are bound in a section in the first half of the book.

An eight-page appendix offers the main points, abridged by the author, from The Newcastle Propositio­ns; The Case of the Army Truly Stated; The Heads of the Proposals; Four bills passed by Parliament on 14th December 1647; The Engagement between the King and the Scots; The Remonstran­ce of the Army to the House of Commons, and The Agreement of the People. Sixteen pages of endnotes, an eight-page bibliograp­hy and an index conclude the book.

This is definitely not a book for those wishing to study the weapons, uniforms, colours and drills of the opposing armies, seeking details to assist them in devising rules, recreating campaigns and engagement­s, or for those who just want to fight miniature battles without much concern for the history.

Wargamers, however, who want to better understand the background to their tabletop English Civil War battles, to learn why the government of the three kingdoms collapsed and war broke out and gain some insight into the personalit­ies and motives of the protagonis­ts will find this book is a thoroughly researched, yet very readable, single volume history, offering Scottish and Irish perspectiv­es on events in addition to the English one that has tended to dominate in works focussing on military matters. For such readers, it is very good value.

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