Focusing on Sedgemoor Part 1

Royal cavalry approach a hostile Somerset hamlet - the villagers are assembling on the Green

The Battle of Sedgemoor, July 6 1685 stimulates a variety of responses when discussed amongst wargamers. I almost added - and the wider population  but realized how unlikely such an occurrence might be! Who actually knows much about it? (or cares!)

Those infamous 'Lambs' Kirke's Tangier veterans used for rural pacification

Whether you subscribe to the point of view of King James II/VII as religious tyrant backed up by a brutal army and vicious judiciary or, that James Scott was what might be called in west of Scotland vernacular - a wee chancer - the campaign was the opening act of a much bigger play interestingly dubbed 'The Glorious Revolution' by the winners.

One of Trelwaney's musketeers

Was Monmouth's short campaign a 'Peoples' revolt' or, political agitation by disaffected men of power using a gormless figurehead to test out the country's appetite for overthrowing the monarchy? A tune-up game as Americans might put it, fronted by a disposable hero.

Good West Country men, out for their Duke

Interesting how most of the residual vitriol is reserved for the Welsh Judge Jeffreys and the King. Little mud seems to stick to the army which won the battle and then went on to form the nucleus of King William's then, Queen Anne's force. Political expediency? Many of the officers who suppressed the rebellion including the bold boy JC went on to betray their King but three short years on.

The populace has risen for the Protestant Duke... marching to defeat and into history

OK, so having set out the political controversy let's get down to the nub of this piece. What about wargaming the campaign and Sedgemoor itself?

Militia or perhaps veterans from Tangier, still in their worn and faded campaign uniforms bleached by the African sun

It is ideally suited to wargaming. Two relatively small forces operating over a short period of time in a confined and attractive geographical area. Nice uniforms, some colourful personalities and slightly unusual troop types to play around with on the table.

A battle we fought from the rebellion

It does not have too many cavalry and it has plenty of opportunity in a campaign context for duplicity, betrayal, external interference and the unpredictability of a foreign monarch or two pitching in, but on the side of whom? Essentially it is a political power struggle housed within a family argument with relatives stacking up on each side against each other - Wow! It ticked ALL the boxes.

Forward My bold lads, win me the throne!

This occasional series takes a look at wargaming the rebellion from the perspective of officers, regiments, modelling, researching, background reading and gaming.

This first piece is simply to get you in the zone with some nice pictures.