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King Troop Royal Horse Artillery

(Above left & above)

The most feared weapon in the King's armoury: Prince Rupert's Lifeguard of Horse unleash a charge. Edgehill, SK.

The outcome of cavalry charges (in any period of military history) was decided more by nerve than by the actual physical shock. No horse, unless maddened by pain or panic, will charge full tilt into a solid mass of armed men and other horses - at the last moment it will always swerve or pull up. Rupert's cavalry owed their mastery of so many fields to their boldness and high morale. The heart-stopping sight of a wave of armed riders bearing down, knee to knee and yelling like fiends above the thunder of thousands of hooves, is enough to make all but the steadiest troops break and run. Once the opposing infantry or cavalry lost their formation they became a mob of individual victims, and the Cavaliers hunted them mercilessly, leaving their butchered bodies strewn across miles of countryside. If a solidly formed body of pike or shot held their ground and waited until the cavalry came within range they were more or less invulnerable to all but a thin hail of pistol balls.

(Below left) Prince Rupert's Lifeguard attack infantry of Hammond's Regiment and the London Trained Bands. In today's re-enactment battles musketeers do not generally fire when horses are closer than 35 yards in any direction.

(Overleaf, pages 74-75) The ultimate test for Civil War infantry: advancing to contact at point of pike. With pikes in the "charge" position a unit's front rank each had the pikeheads of the two or three men behind them in file thrusting forward past their shoulders. Pushed by the ranks behind, who waited to press forward into the place of those who fell, they advanced onto the enemy's pikeheads "Push of pike" must have called for great strength, and cold-blooded courage the front rank men -could hardly move to protect themselves in the press. In most battles this exhausting, bloody scrum probably lasted only a few moments before one side began to waver. It would have been the rear ranks which gave way first -they could tell what was awaiting them at the front as the ranks wore away, and, unlike the front ranks, they could still move freely enough to try to escape. The spark of panic would spread through the close-packed mass in a moment, and once a unit's formation began to break up it was lost. Once one unit in the battle - line broke, the enemy could press forward through the gap to take other units in the flanks and rear, "rolling up" the whole line. Devereux's Regiment, Roundhead Association, ECWS, at Gosport.

Roundheads Win The CivilEcws Kings ArmyRoundhead Association

(Above & above right) The

Parliamentarian infantry of Fairfax's Brigade (Overton's, Walton's, Foxe's and Devcreux's Regiments) face pike of the King's Army: Gosport, ECWS. In re-enactments pikemen fight "at point" only to gain ground, though some claim that it is actually safer than the alternative method with pikes slanted. Although all battles are "scripted", if a regiment do not give ground they have it taken from them. Every unit aims to win the confrontations even if history dictates that they lose the battle. Some regiments are known to fight hard, and expect resistance. Close fighting gives a surge of adrenalin, which has to be controlled to avoid injuries.

Scottish Burgonet Helmet

(Below left) A sergeant of pike in Sir Gilbert Hoghton's Company, wearing a burgonet helmet and a "Dutch coat" over his armour: Weston Super Mare, SK. Sergeants in re-enactment units work their way up through the ranks, and are chosen by their regimental officers. Their duties are to keep rank and file, enforce discipline, and pass on officers' orders.

(Right) Royalist's eye view of Roundhead Association pi kernen of Fairfax's Brigade: Gosport, EC WS.

(Right) Royalist's eye view of Roundhead Association pi kernen of Fairfax's Brigade: Gosport, EC WS.

(Left) Pendennis Castle, SK: Royalist gun crew scouring their piece after firing, to scrape out any debris before they reload. This is followed by swabbing with a wet mop to extinguish any final spark, and then with a dry mop, although plastic bags protect the powder charges from damp.

The artillery have many long-serving members who collaborate to ensure maximum safety through strict training, controls and supervision. One veteran told the authors that he could only recall four accidents in 22 years. The authors happened to witness one of these, when a gun went off while being rammed. The ramrod was blown for some distance, and the gunner received burns (from which he made a complete recovery after hospital treatment).

(Below) Robinet of Sir Thomas Ballard's Regiment firing - the camera lens foreshortens the distance between gun and infantry rather over-dramatically. Weston Super Mare, SK.

(Right) Officer and pikemen of Fairfax's Brigade at close quarters: Gosport,ECWS. The man at left has a green tape tied round his arm, the Civil War sign of the Levellers, an extremist Roundhead movement.

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  • birikti
    What weapons did the roundheads have?
    8 years ago

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