5 stars - The Last Ironsides: The English Expedition to Portugal, 1662-1668 "A superbly researched book, well-written and full of interesting stuff on one of the British Army's most obscure campaigns. Anyone with an interest in the military side of the English Civil Wars will find this fascinating." by Diomedes
"It's clear from the brief precis above that the author himself is well acquainted with both the operational and strategic aspects of any campaign, here he has explained both in a clear and simple style. There is no patronising or talking down to the reader, just a clear explanation of how these affected the campaigns and decisions of various commanders....
"The book is logically laid out, starting with the situation within England in the immediate aftermath of the restoration, and the strategic situation facing the new King both at home and abroad. The normal methods of recruiting in this time frame are explored with a clear explanation of the methods used by military entrepreneurs to raise units for service abroad, and explains how this was beginning to change as the need for more permanent military structures, establishments and formations was realised..."
"This impressive volume gives one pause in two aspects; firstly it is another nail in the coffin of that tired old saw that all history has been written, especially of the British Army and its antecedents. Secondly, one can only wonder where the author, who retired as a Lieutenant General in 2007 having been Commander of British Forces in Iraq amongst other senior postings, finds the time, space and energy to produce such a work amidst so many other demands. It would stand as a PhD theses."
"As we track through this impeccably researched work, we find that the travails of coalition warfare are far from a recent phenomenon. Under-resourced troops, performing beyond shortages of supplies and war fighting materiel; diplomatic action and scheming out of touch with realities on the ground; scratch forces formed in urgent necessity from among what was available, not necessarily being the best. With "mission accomplished" with the recognition of Portuguese independence in the Treaty of Lisbon in 1668, the French commander hastily withdrew with his forces, owed considerably back pay by those he had fought for, leaving his son commanding the British brigade, a force much diminished by casualties..."
Review 4 - The NYMAS Review - A Publication of the New York Military Affairs Symposium (below)
A lost story from our military history
These battles and battlefields are described and mapped for the first time (in English at least) in more than 300 years.
"When Charles II returned home he began the search for a dynastic marriage. He fixed upon the Infanta of Portugal, Catherine of Braganza, whose dowry included the possession of Tangier, Bombay and valuable trade concessions. The Portuguese had been fighting for their independence from Spain for twenty years and needed alliances to tip the scales in their favour."
In return for the concessions Charles II agreed to send to Portugal a regiment of horse and two of foot, which provided an excuse to ship away the remnants of the Cromwellian armies that had not been disbanded at the Restoration. The prospect of service was at first well received - "Major-General Morgan drew forth his regiment of foot consisting of 1000 proper men besides officers, and made a short speech, acquainting them that his Majesty had been graciously pleased to design them for honourable service abroad. . . Whereupon they all with great acclamations of joy, cried out ' All, all, all. . ." There were also officers and men who had remained loyal to the crown to them Charles owed a debt of employment, Former Royalists therefore made up the balance of the regiment of horse - uncomfortable bedfellows for their former enemies.
The English and French regiments fought with courage and discipline at the series of major battles and sieges that followed, most of which have never been properly described. This is, therefore, the re-discovery of a lost episode in our military history.
The author's detailed but lively text is fully supported by a range of illustrations and specially-commissioned maps.
Book Size 234mm x 156mm
Number of pages: 192 pages
Images: c 50 ills inc. 8pp colour, 22 maps
Language: English text