The First British Army, 1624-1628: The Army of the Duke of Buckingham, Laurence Spring

The First British Army, 1624-1628: The Army of the Duke of Buckingham, Laurence Spring

For most of his reign James I managed to keep Britain out of the increasingly bitter religious conflicts that were splitting Europe, even though his own daughter was directly involved, but in 1624 he finally agreed to raise an army to try and intervene in Germany in her favour. In 1625 this army was inherited by Charles I, and over the next three years a series of British armies unsuccessfully fought against Spain and France. These were the first armies raised since the Union of the Crowns, and were thus the first British armies, but they weren't terribly successful. Charles proved unable to work with parliament from the very start of his reign, and as a result the armies were terribly under funded, and the fund raising methods Charles used caused a great deal of discontent.

This study looks at the armies raised for the expeditions against France and Spain, covering a wide range of topics. We start with a look at the personnel of the army – from its leaders and senior officers down to the private soldiers, looking at their social status, recruitment, experience and eventual fate. This is followed by a look at the army's equipment, including cloths, weapons and food. Next comes a look at the tactics used by this army (and its rivals), and everyday life and death in the army. Each of these chapters help paint a picture of this first British army, and it isn't a terribly flattering picture.

This is followed by four chapters on the main phases of the campaign, starting with the original plan to try and regain control of the Palatinate, and moving on to the failed expedition to Spain, the inept attack on the Isle of Rhe and the limited British role in the siege of La Rochelle. These chapters complete the picture of an inept, badly run, badly organised and underfunded army, while in the background we see the early years of Charles I's government, and the beginnings of the problems that would eventually lead to Civil War.

Chapters
1 - Officers and Lesser Officers
2 - The Rank and File
3 - Dressed to Kill
4 - Arms and Armour
5 - Provisions
6 - Quartering
7 - Pay and Discipline
8 - Tactics
9 - Life and Death in the Army
10 - Mansfeldt and Morgan
11 - The Spanish War
12 - The Isle of Rhé Expedition
13 - The Siege of La Rochelle
14 - Homecoming

Appendices
I - Regiments, 1624-1628
II - Pay
III - Clothing, 1625
IV - Instructions Given to Cecil, 1625
1V - Martial Law

Author: Laurence Spring
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Publisher: Helion
Year: 2016


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