Thursday 2 April 2020

The King’s Irish from Helion

I’m getting a little blasé about the quality of new publications from Helion. They are increasingly excellent, especially, but not exclusively, those published  in the Century of the Soldier series. Ive been a bit slow in getting around to this book buts it’s been worth the delay. John Barratt has done an excellent job in describing in detail the background to and the campaigns and experiences of those troops termed loosely as ‘Irish’ who fought for the King in the Civil Wars,  resulting in an enjoyable and informative narrative. I am no expert on the topic, far from it, but after reading this book I feel the time spent doing so was well spent. The King was able to draw on a large number, thousands in fact, of experienced soldiers, both Irish and English, from Ireland to reinforce his army in England. They fought in many key campaigns and battles, e.g. in Cheshire and the Welsh marches, Marston Moor and Naseby, and the book describes these in detail, giving a valuable insight into their organisation, dress, arms and equipment, and the  logistics needed to support them, or not, on campaign.  There’s an interesting chapter on a unit of Irish firelock, who changed sides, serving with the Parliamentarian army with distinction. The book is lavishly illustrated with eight pages of colour plates depicting Irish soldiers and some of the flags they carried, supplemented by a large number of black and white photographs and contemporary prints and some very useful strategic and tactical maps and diagrams. Overall an excellent book but despite reading what is yet another excellent  book on the period, I am going to resist embarking on an English Civil War Wargames project. It is enough to know that if I wanted to I could, and would be well supplied, as is the case here, with lots of detailed information action on the wars. Despite that I  recommend this book highly.

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