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Parliamentary Victory Home page menu Introduction The New Model Army The Self Denying Ordinance Parliaments Control of the Sea Parliament’s Control of the Tower King’s Financial Difficulties Prince Rupert’s Cavalry Changes Conclusion “Why was Parliament overall victorious in defeating the Royalists in the Civil War?”
Parliamentary Victory New Model Army The creation of the New Model Army in 1645 gave the Parliament one strong united army., which was professional and powerful. They. could concentrate the forces on a particular goal and achieve it. Before the creation of the New Model Army, in the early stages of the war, “Parliament lacked good trained troops”. Now many people were willing to join the New Model Army as they got paid, 8 pence for infantry and 2 shillings for cavalry. If they had not been paid, they might have become as undisciplined as the King’s army. Only after a few weeks the New Model Army was constructed of 22,000 men. This meant that the Parliamentarians had a stronger and larger army than that of the Royalists and therefore stood more of a chance of defeating them. The fact that the soldiers were paid allowed them to leave home and fight in distant battles, since they had no other prior commitments. After the civil war, soldiers began to think of their position in the New Model Army as a permanent position and many did not want to leave. This presented the Parliamentarians with some problems. But during the civil war the New Model Army was an advantage to Parliament.
Parliamentary Victory Self Denying Ordinance The Self Denying Ordinance was a means towards the New Model Army working by merit rather than social status, which makes it a significant cause of their superiority to the King’s forces. The king used the traditional military leaders, which led to his “faulty command structure”. It was a bill that was passed on the 19th December 1644 by the House of Commons which stated in times of war no member of parliament could hold any military position. As Nobles could not have a military position the House of Lords throw it out. MPs made some changes to this ordinance and presented the modifications and MPs were given 40 days grace before their positions were removed from them. Oliver Cromwell was made exempt from this bill as he was a major commander in the New Model Army. The three aims of the Ordinance were to: 1) Unite the remnant of the existing armies 2) Make an army where the officials had no political strings attached, to get rid of the traditional yet incompetent commanders 3) Make an army that was financed by the Parliament as without regular pay they could not maintain a professional army. These three aims were achieved by the creation of the New Model Army. The creation of this new, unite, large and paid army resulted in the Parliamentarians having a successful army that achieved its goals and threatened the Royalists.
Parliamentary Victory Parliament’s Control of the Sea In July 1642 the major proportion of the fleet sided with Parliament. They provided the best means of transport for trade and food and therefore this was an advantage for Parliament during the Civil War. “Victory ultimately depended on controlling resources” and through the fleet Parliament had the means to do so. If they had not had control of the sea, they would not have had such a well equipped and paid army.
Parliamentary Victory Tower of London When Parliament took control of The Tower of London in 1642 after Charles I was forced to flee, they took the upper hand. They were able to take control of the biggest arms supplies in the whole of the country. The Tower was used as an armoury thanks to the initiative of Oliver Cromwell and as London was the capital of the industrial activity there were many merchants who were willing to make armour and weapons at speed. This was a big advantage to the Parliamentary army, since it was better supplied than the Royalist army. and “controlled the greater part of the country’s wealth and manpower” Thanks to their occupation of the Tower, the Parliamentarians now had the support of not only the towns on the coasts , but of London, the capital of the country. The King only had the support of the Midlands , so Parliament had more influence. The Parliamentarians took control of the Royal Mint at the Tower and Cromwell melted down the Crown Jewels. Charles attempted to create a new mint, but to no avail , as the circulation of this new coinage did not pass the borders of the Midlands. The Tower was therefore a significant gain.
Parliamentary Victory King’s financial difficulties The King’s undisciplined army was a disaster. This was because they were unpaid. The monarchy has had a history of financial difficulties and King Charles I was no different. He kept to the tradition of using farmers as his army and then the soldiers going back to farm at the end of the war. The parliament however began the New Model Army, which hired soldiers for the first time and being in the army became their job. The King’s army were not paid and they became ill-disciplined. They pillaged and looted towns they went through and became insubordinate. It became harder to keep the troops in line and the King’s side gained a bad reputation through Parliamentarian propaganda playing on the ill-discipline of the royalist army. People were persuaded to support the Parliamentarian side and this helped them win the civil war.
Parliamentary Victory Royalist Cavalry Charge Prince Rupert introduced the Cavaliers to a special tactic that he learnt whilst fighting in Sweden named The Cavalry Charge. They would charge towards the enemy, keeping all of the horses close together for impact, then just before they reached them, they would fire their pistols. This proved incredibly effective against the Parliamentarians, many of which had never fired a musket or used a sword before so were at a great disadvantage and often ran away when the Cavaliers came at them. One roundhead who saw the Cavalry Charge in action was Oliver Cromwell. He was not experienced in the military, but noticed quite a significant fault in Rupert’s Cavalry. He saw that after their initial charge at the enemy, the army would all then split off to find spoils of war . On one occasion, it wasn’t until an hour later that all the soldiers returned to the battlefield by which time, the horses were too exhausted to launch another charge. Cromwell then decided to keep the idea of the cavalry charge but train his soldiers to stay together after a charge so they could launch repeated attacks. This was much better than Rupert’s procedure, which is backed up by Coward when he observes that Cromwell’s “control of his cavalry troopers was disciplined and close”. He was convinced that a well-trained army, armed with 16ft pikes, could stand their ground and defeat the Cavaliers.
Parliamentary Victory “Whoever controlled the most resources had the strongest chance, and here Parliament held the advantage “ We would agree with Alan GR Smith argument in ‘The Emergence of a Nation State’ that Parliament won the first civil war because they had control of the wealthier areas of the country and therefore the wealth, compared to the King who only had possession of the poor, northern areas. This meant he could not rally enough money to supply his army with weapons or pay and could not last throughout a long-term war. Conclusion