Welcome to my blog!

News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
or on Mastodon @balkandave@mastodon.scot, or Threads @davewatson1683

Saturday 20 April 2024

Montrose - The Captain General

 This is the second book in Nigel Tranter's version of the Montrose story. It covers his later victories in the civil wars, including Kilsyth. Then, the defeat at Philipaugh, followed by exile and the final ill-fated campaign that led to the scaffold in Edinburgh.

As with the first book, Tranter has not overly focused on the well-known Civil War campaign. He devotes considerable space to Montrose's travels across Europe, seeking to build support for the Royalist cause. Then, the less well-known final campaign, when he landed with a core of mercenaries on Orkney and invaded the mainland. Charles II had made the fatal mistake of entering into negotiations with the Covenanter leadership, which ultimately undermined Montrose, as none of the clans would risk all on a doomed cause. Heavily outnumbered, his small force was destroyed at Carbisdale. 

The final section of the book covers his short captivity in Edinburgh and subsequent execution. This is a pretty tragic read, dealing with the sad end of a loyal servant of the Crown who had the misfortune to serve two incompetent Stewart monarchs. His reputation was recovered at the Restoration, with his arch-enemy, Archibald Campbell, taking his place in Edinburgh jail.

I have concurrently been reading Edward Cowan's biography of Montrose. Tranter has kept close to the history, and Cowan also devotes more space to Montrose's early life and later travels. Montrose had a stellar reputation as a soldier across Europe and could have commanded at least one of the major armies on the continent. He should have done!

I have several books on the classic Montrose campaigns but not a full biography. This is excellent and has broadened my knowledge and admiration for this remarkable historical figure.

My 15mm Montrose army is now finished, and I have been playing games of For King and Parliament using the new supplements.

1 comment:

  1. A fascinating character, fighting a difficult situation. ⚔️⚔️