Tuesday 19 September 2023

Tudor Arte of Warre Volume 2

 To complement the work on my Elizabethan Ireland project I have been doing my research. The Twighlight Lords is a fabulous book covering the Elizabethan period and in particular the devastating Desmond rebellions and led me to want to learn more.

More recently I invested in Helions Tudor Arte of Warre book 2, looking at warfare in the age of Elizabeth, where book one deals with the earlier Tudors..

It was almost immediately apparent that there is far more to this period than I thought I knew. Davies shares a narrative for a period rich in military history that is often over looked.

He challenges the often shared narrative that most Elizabethan military ventures were failures due to Elizabeth's fiscal parsimony and fickle mind changes, although there is ample evidence for some of this.

Instead we find the leaders of England's armies often woefully unable and misleading of their monarch inevitably leading to spiralling costs, negligible results and a massive wastage in man power.

As you would expect the book is full of portraits, maps and colour plates in  this case in the form of re-enactors with period costume and weapons.

The Politics, characters and events are skillfully told with the military campaigns themselves broken out and individual key battles having their own chapters.

Scotland, Flanders, France, Brittany, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are all thoroughly covered as is the potential for a land battle via the Spanish Armada.

Interestingly in his analysis the Spanish troops are defeated and unlikely to have beaten the English. As much by the poor logistics and inevitable disease as anything.
Whilst I was aware that disease and poor supplies brought on by inadequate logistics were big players in earlier campaigns the stark numbers presented by the author are chilling and another new factor to consider for me, one letter to the privy council from a general in Ireland baldly stating that the 6,000 troops sent a few months earlier were now "all used up".

The author shows that England's opponents in regular warfare suffered similar fates when fighting on foreign soil, the Spanish at Kinsale being a good example.
All told an excellent read and very interesting, I recommend to anyone interested in the period and I look forward to the release of volume 3 covering the troops themselves.


  1. Nice Roj. I love an inspirational read and that’s clearly one for you. Cheers Chris

  2. I have this too and am looking forward to reading it and using some background with my games.

  3. Yup! Just bought it myself…
    It certainly looks good.

    All the best. Aly