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The First British Army, 1624-1628
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True, the concept of Britain dates back to Roman times, but it was James I that founded Britain in the modern sense. With his accession to the throne in 1603 for the first time Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland were united - with James bestowing on himself the title of 'King of Great Britain'. Before this time, Scots and Irishmen may have served in the English Army as mercenaries, but it was known as an English Army - but now the King's (or British) flag flew over the castles and forts throughout the land. The army raised by Charles I in 1625 for his war against Spain -and subsequently, with France - is most famous for its failure. However, it is one of the best-documented armies of the early 17th century. Using archival and archaeological evidence, the first half of the book covers the lives of the officers and men serving in the army at this time - as well as the women who accompanied them. The author discusses the origins of officers and why they decided to serve in the army - and how the men from England, Scotland and Ireland were recruited (as well as how they were clothed and what they ate; the medical care; and the tactics used by the army at this time). It also covers the hidden faction of tailors, armourers and merchants who helped to put the army into the field. The second half of the book covers not only the expeditions to Cadiz, the Isle de Rhe and the siege of La Rochelle, but also their effect on an England who feared a Spanish (and later a French) invasion. Also covered are the campaigns of Count Ernest von Mansfeldt's and Sir Charles Morgan's armies at this time, which fought at Breda, Dessau Bridge and against the forces of the Holy Roman Empire. The final chapter looks at what became of the soldiers and their widows once the army had been disbanded - therefore, the book will be essential reading for anyone interested in Early Modern History, including the English Civil War and the Thirty Years War.
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About the Author

Laurence Spring studied at the Universities of London and Aberystwyth. He is also a qualified archivist, and has worked for many years at the Surrey History Centre. He has researched the early seventeenth century for many years and has written on various aspects of the English Civil War, including the Campaigns of Sir William Waller and the armies of Sir William Waller and the Earl of Manchester. He has also written many books on the Russian Army during the Napoleonic Wars. Since he has an archival ackground he prefers to search through archives looking for various interesting facts for his books they give a vivid insight to the subject, which are usually not mentioned in secondary sources or contradicts the established 'facts' on a subject, including pre-dating Wellington's famous phrase the First British Army's recruits have been described as 'scum' and echoing the First World War, also being referred to 'lions led by a hare'. This is his first book to be published by Helion, the second book, The Bavarian Army during the Thirty Years War will be published at a later date and will also include information no previous published in English.

Reviews

A very well documented account...A real insight into just how difficult it could be to raise an effective army in those days. * Miniature Wargames - Chris Jarvis * Was listed in Military History Monthly's round-up of the best military history titles of the month. * Aviation Enthusiast Book Club * Author Laurence Spring documents the real First British Army in this fascinating history of organised armed warfare. * Books Monthly *

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