The New Model Army and the Civil War
In the early years of the civil war, little difference existed between parliament and the king in respects of power and territorial advantage. It could be said that the war was being fought to a desultory standstill. From the commencement of the conflict, the primary objective of Parliament had been simply to avoid defeat by the king. As soon as the problems of the government had resorted to violence, the leaders of Parliament knew that they could not tolerate any less than complete victory over the royalist forces. This is symbolised by a quote from the Earl of Manchester, "we may beat the king ninety-nine times out of hundred, but if he beats us just once, then he is still the king".
…show more content…
Problems soon came into fruition however as militia were always unwilling to fight far from their homes, understandably caring little for the political quarrels stemming from a city they had never set eyes upon. Also, local militiamen were often poorly trained and held little resources to support themselves during a military campaign. Parliament responded by authorising its prominent supporters -- as had the king -- to raise troops of both cavalry and infantry from their own tenants and associates. It could be argued that these troops were in a better condition than those of the king, mainly due to the fact that Parliament provided their pay, but strategically they proved ineffective because of their lack of any kind of unified command. It was not until the end of 1644 that disputes surrounding the conduct of war escalated within Parliament. The main characters of the argument were the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell, the latter of which believed in a severe military shake-up, arguing that the war would never reach a conclusion unless the military resources of Parliament were improved. Whilst the parliamentary commanders were bickering, they suffered defeats at Lostwithiel and Newbury in 1644. It was soon after these unaccaptable losses that Parliament recast its military establishment and formed the New Model Army. It was planned to comprise of eleven regiments of cavalry, 600 men to each,