Throughout June 1513 Henry's 'Army Royal' was transported to Calais in what must have been a logistical headache, planned in minutia in typical Tudor bureaucracy, with some of the smallest papers and letters signed by Henry himself - government bored him but war was another matter.
The army was transported in three waves of the fore, rear and middle wards - each a proportioned army in its own right, with soldiers, ordonnance and labourers. They would each have to pass through Calais, re-victual and move off in order for the town to prepare for the next ward to arrive, thus the Army would grow outside Therouanne each day, bringing more and more firepower to bear.
At this point 500 years ago the 12'000 men of the foreward and 7500 of the vanguard were en route to Therouanne where the siege formally started on 25th June; Ralph Lago, Bluemantle Pursuivant (junior herald) demanded in the name of Henry, King of France and England and the Earl of Shrewsbury (Lieutenant commander) that the garrison commander, Antoine de Crequy surrender within 24 hours and;
'in case that ye refuse so to do, and if he [Henry] take it by strong hand and army he shall do all to be put to fire and blood'
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I started this project in 2009 and summer 2013 seemed a long way off but I considered it a fitting and achievable deadline. Flodden is reasonably well known in British history and among gamers but I wanted to try and show what was then Henry's frontispiece, a truly renaissance 'Army Royal' much different to the Northern Levies. History remembers these armies differently and the French campaign remained a footnote, with the English army at Flodden often seen as medieval, out-dated and moreover, indicative of early Tudor armies.
I've tried to foster an appreciation of the contrary, bring the early letters and papers to life and to show off the colour of this army as well as what can be achieved with what is available.
Sadly I don't have the kit nor the space to properly show off this army to its best for the anniversary but the nice people at Wargames Illustrated do.......
Last Saturday I had a very good day at W.I. in Nottingham with fellow blogger Simon Chick photographing the army and chatting about the hobby. The editor has kindly given me these two shots to wet your appetites, the article should be out in a few months - watch this space.
If all that sounded a bit conclusive, fear not, I'm still painting Tudors as I've got a bit fond of them and there's still a few things I want to do and people and banners I would like to represent, not to mention the addition of some forthcoming Perry plastic mounted archers - I don't think any army ever gets finished.
The French will come too, all in good time.
More soon but thanks for your support, encouragement and assistance.