Saturday, 14 November 2015

Famous By My Sword, Helion & Company

This book 'Famous By My Sword': The Army of Montrose and the Military Revolution to give its full title is part of a new series 'Century of the Soldier 1618 - 1721'. published by Helion.
Written in an easy going style by Charles Singleton "Famous by the sword" covers the campaigns of James Graham, 1st Marquis of Montrose. This commander of the Scottish Royalist army fought, and won, against several larger Scottish Covenanter forces in the mid 17th century. The book gives a good coverage of the battles, including maps and tactics, which can be used for setting up your games. 

If you already have an interest in this period then you may find this book challenges a number of preconceived ideas such as: 
  • The traditional makeup and image of the highland army, 
  • The aggressive use of the pike units, 
  • Equipment used by the majority of army, 
  • Influence of contemporary Europe (or to be more precise Swedish) military practices, 
  • Effective use of cavalry, especially lancers, during the period, 
  • The actual roll of Highlanders in battle. 
I won't detail the myth-busting as I don't want to give away any spoilers but I was genuinely surprised by a number of the revelations revealed within the book. 

The book also gives details of the Irish Brigade under the leadership of Alastair MacColla plus, unusually for a book of its size, full contemporary accounts of the campaigns and battles. 

The book follows an Osprey Publishing style with a brief history of the conflicts with colour illustrations and photographs of uniforms and equipment. The illustrations are by Peter Dennis and Anthony Barton. There are several (nine) clear battlefield maps and a number of useful colour photographs of re-enactors. 

Highly recommended for anyone interested in 17th century military history. The publishers are actively looking for submissions for this series so if you are interested in getting a book in print get in touch with them.

For anyone who likes the technical bits: 
Helion and Company, February 2015 Paperback. 248mm x 185mm 80 pages c 20 b/w ills, 9 maps, 8pp colour plates. 

Although hundreds of miles from Scotland, Scottish troops formed the largest part of Charles II army during 1651. During the retreat from Worcester a large group of the cavalry were ambushed in Kidderminster town centre, an event witnessed by the midland preacher Richard Baxter. During 2016 I plan to paint up a number of Warlord's Scottish lancers. I already have far too many cavalry units but I like the look of them on the tabletop.