Two years of amateur warfare had changed nothing.The English Civil War remained in the balance. Then, in February 1645, Parliament created the New Model Army.
Cromwell had raised a regiment of cavalry in Cambridgeshire. He deliberately recruited ‘men of a spirit’ and allowed complete ‘liberty of conscience’. His men – the original ‘Ironsides’– became the the deepest root of the modern British Army.
Four months later, it fought its first major battle – Naseby.
Taken from our new series the History of the British Army in 25 Battles – here are maps of the Battle of Naseby.
Plan showing the approximate positions of the opposing armies at the beginning of the Battle of Naseby.
Plan showing the positions and movements of opposing forces at the climax of the Battle of Naseby.
Naseby was badly handled and close-run. The New Model Army’s first major battle was no glorious feat of arms. But it was decisive: it destroyed the King’s field army, and he never got the chance to raise another.
Later, as experience increased, the New Model evolved into one of the finest armies in the world, fighting and winning two further civil wars, campaigning successfully in Ireland, Scotland, Flanders, and the West Indies, and winning notable victories at Preston (1648), Dunbar (1651), and Dunkirk Dunes (1658).
The creation of that extraordinary army is our theme as we open the new series, the History of the British Army in 25 Battles.
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