The Battle of Naseby!

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England was still a monarchy in May 1645 but most of the wealthier parts of England were controlled by the Parliament and when the north fell in 1644, after the battle of Marston Moor, the Parliament’s dominance increased. After three years of conflict between the parliament and King Charles, they met in a battle with high stakes. The Parliament had organized a New Model Army and the battle of Naseby was the first and most important battle for this army.

On the 14th June 1645 the two armies met on the small, flat topped hill north west of Naseby village. The King had less than 12000 men to meet an army of about 15000 men that was under the command of sir Thomas Fairfax. Prince Rupert had taken initiative and carried the fight to the enemy. His strategy was to hit the New Model hard and fast on the left wing, both horse and foot, in an attempt to break and roll up their left wing and thus defeat the whole army. He knew that in a long and drawn out battle he was bound to loose. His strategy almost worked. He hurled charge after charge against the Parliament’s regiments, driving them off in disorder, pushing them back. He broke Skippon’s front line regiments; Pickering’s and Montague’s were falling back in disorder. Skippon’s reserves were left exposed and under attack from both sides.

But Cromwell had trained a regiment of horses, the Ironsides, who fought on the Parliament’s right wing. They were divides into two New Model regiments, Fairfax’s and Whalley’s. The Ironsides fought Langdale’s cavalry, who put up a brave defence, and forced them to fall back. Fairfax and Cromwell were now able to support Skippon’s counter attack against the Royalist infantry. They destroyed the Royalists’ crack infantry regiment, Prince Rupert’s bluecoats, which were the King’s most important reserve. Now it was impossible for the Royalist infantry to hold any longer and they began to fall back.

As the King’s army went from victory to defeat, Prince Rupert was on the battlefield. He had pursued over a thousand of men from Ireton’s cavalry. When he returned he wasted vital time attacking the Parliamentarian baggage train and their remaining cavalry. When he finally returned to the battle it was already lost. The Royalists had been driven beyond their artillery, the baggage train and the remaining cavalry. The King tried to come to the aid of his troops but the Earl of Carnwath stopped him from riding to his death.

In one last desperate attempt to recover something from the action, the King, now assisted by Rupert, gathered his remaining cavalry on a hill in Clipston. Fairfax placed his own cavalry on the sides and the infantry, which were back in action, in the centre, meeting the Royalists with a well ordered army once again. The Royalists could not stand another charge, they turned and fled, every man for himself.

Fairfax ordered his men to follow up in pursuit of the Royalist cavalry, who were desperately trying to escape. They pursued the cavalry throughout the afternoon and late into the evening, almo...

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Marianne Källman [2003-09-18]   The Battle of Naseby!
Mimers Brunn [Online]. http://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=2253 [2017-09-22]

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