As I have mentioned a few posts back I have started a new project, this being 6mm ECW and I wanted to do the Oxford Army for a couple of reasons. First I have just started to write a campaign set around the Cropredy Bridge Campaign and secondly The Kings Lifeguard is part of this army. I was a member of The Guard when in the Sealed Knot so it is a personal favourite of mine. By the time of the Oxford campaign of 1644 it was a shadow of it's former self but I have taken the liberty of painting it up at it's prime. I have two standards though so I will possibly also do a weaker version of it as well. For the stronger regiments I am adding a third rank of pike, this is possible as Baccus supply the pike and musket in separate packs so can top up the pike by buying extra packs as needed. The really weak regiments can be represented with less figures just by cutting a few figures off a stand. We are sticking to 60 x 30 bases which will make the conversions easy. Also the plan is to base the regiments at different points on the bases so when they line up side by side you don't get a nice neat line. This I think will give a more realistic look to the battle lines.
The Kings Guard wore a red jacket and are often portrayed in red trousers though I am not so sure this is as factual as it now seems. Certainly after the first campaign you could expect them to be wearing a real mix of trousers given the supply situation and that trousers wear our faster than jackets.
I painted some of the pike wearing back and breast as not all men would have been issued. Some may well have discarded theirs or had become damaged during the campaigns. All the musket are wearing either Montero's, Monmouth Caps or just plain benny hats.
The Kings Lifeguard of Foote was not as it's name suggests a lifeguard for the King but was raised to be a field regiment. Whilst the Kings Lifeguard of Cavalry did have this duty. As the King did not have a standing army when he raised his Standard in Nottingham on the 22nd of August 1642 he had been recruiting from June. The Guard had as it's nucleus from men of Lord Willoughby's estate the bulk of the regiment was originally Lead miners from Derbyshire and further strengthened by recruiting in Shrewsbury and finally with the raising of the Standard would have added Nottinghamshire men. The strongest and tallest men tended to be placed in the pike block which is why it has been assumed that many of the pike were the Derbyshire Miners.
The Kings Guard cut it's teeth at the Battle of Edgehill where it not only engaged in musket fire but did engage in the push of pike. For many a regiment that would have been it's battle but having the Kings Standard (not to be mistaken for their own regimental Standards) it was charged by Sir Philip Stapletons Horse and The Earl of Essex's own Lifeguard of Horse. These were beaten back with some loss to the cavalry, the pike having distinguished itself well. Essex then ordered two regiments of foot and several horse regiments to attack the tertia that the Guard was part of. After three charges from this combined force both the Guard and a couple of other regiments still held their ground, though by this point the musket was seeking shelter of the pike. Only once they were charged from behind did these regiments break and during this the Kings Standard (The Banner Royal) was captured and carried away from the Guard. This was recovered by a Captain John Smith. The Guard had suffered fairly heavy casualties but had been in the thick of the action for a good part of the day. After they recovered their order the Regiment was not sent back into battle, it is possible it was too badly handled to fight further. I suspect it would have lacked powder and ball by this point.
Over the winter the regiment suffered loss through sickness and desertion and was down to 400 other ranks and 100 officers! By the start of the campaign season it was up to about 600 which was about as strong as it ever managed since the heady days pre Edgehill where in numbered over 1000. The Guard became part of the Oxford Army over the 42/43 winter and fought in many actions over the rest of the war never put in as good a showing as at Edgehill though at it's final battle (Naseby) the regiment was part of the reserve and numbered between 3 and 500 men. It was tasked with covering the retreat of the broken Royalist foot and was itself broken and destroyed when it made its final stand. 10 of it's colours were captured that day as was all but a few of it's surviving common soldiers. The Regiment had taken part in many actions during it's time in the Oxford garrison but often not as a whole regiment.