Monday, 16 November 2009

In der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister

Or in plain English: less is more

It turned out that my initial plan to write a monograph on the lineages of British Regiments and Corps from 1660 to present day was overly ambitious. The problem was not the lack of sources to cover everything so some extend, see the Frederick book, nor the lack of motivation.

The main problem was found in the wide variety of topics to be detailed and covered. Above all, I wanted to cover all topics in considerable detail and provide ample references and notes in case information was lacking or incomplete. Also, Frederick had many details missing, and, unfortunately, proved to be incorrect on more than a few instances. (Which does not mean his work can't be considered a monumental work of reference.)

To name but a few topics:

1. The regular regiments. Well, this should be pretty well document one might say. It is, to a certain extend and in particularly true for the post Marlborough period. The earlier period, say from 1660 to 1714, is documented, but the reader should be careful. Also, the standing army was increased, and decreased, depending on the event of wars (Anglo - Dutch Wars, wars with France), and these regiments are far less easy to follow.
2. The militia. A study in itself.
3. Yeomanry
4. Territorial Force and Territorial Army. Movement / re-location of units and sub-units can be a little tricky to follow.
5. Home Guard
6. Did I forget any?

So, covering and managing all these topics and trying to understand all meant I had to change focus often not allowing myself to research a period or topic deeply. Also the problem "were shall I start today" was prevalent. Hence I opted to get rid of 90% of the work and focus on a specific part.

Probably not the most original, but describing the Army of the Restoration seemed to me an ideal starting point. After some thinking, I have chosen to cover the period 1660, when Charles II was restored to the throne, until 1714, when Queen Anne died and the War of Spanish Succession had just been fought. Though not entirely correct, it could be called the Army of the Stuarts as well.

No comments: