The Tangier Horse

The header image is by Graham Turner which originally appeared in Osprey’s Warrior Series #44 – Ironsides.

As I continue to work on the Sedgemoor campaign I am branching out into some other fringe areas that are proving quite fascinating, none more so than the Tangier Garrison (1662 – 1684). A dowry gift to Charles II from his bride, Catherine of Braganza, daughter of John IV of Portugal, it proved in many ways to be a bit of a white elephant.

What it also did, however, was make a few men very rich (Samuel Pepys among them), provided the site for one of the most impressive engineering projects of the 17th Century (the British construction of the harbor mole), and perhaps most importantly, was the likely birth place of the modern British Army. It is a twenty-two year story of skirmishes, small battles, raids, special operations, and heroic daring-do against an implacable foe that often reads like a Hollywood script. The wargaming possibilities abound.

The first unit is the Tangier Horse. When they returned to England in 1684 they became the Royal Dragoons and were commanded by John Churchill (later the 1st Duke of Marlborough) during the Sedgemoor Campaign. At Sedgemoor they will need to be represented by a different set of figures – their uniforms being somewhat altered by that time.

While their exploits in Tangier are well documented I have not found, as yet, a great deal about their uniform or flags. I took as a guide Turner’s illustration above, specifically the white facings and pot helmets:

While the illustration shows the action in the desert, the area in and around Tangier is greener, so I based accordingly:

Tangier Horse 3

I did add more stone to give it a North African feel however. With the green basing, this version of the Tangier Horse can play the part of militia (nominally the Wiltshire Horse) during the Sedgemoor Campaign. With no reference for their flag, I used the green dragon of House Braganza.

incidently, the structure in the background is the beginning of a model of a bawn (a fortified stronghold) for wargaming in Ulster during the early 1640’s. But that, as they say, is another story.


3 thoughts on “The Tangier Horse

  1. Nice foreshadowing! I love how engaged you are with the history and relating it to your war games. Your blog shows your passion. It’s good to be so interested in something in retirement! It keeps your mind active and keeps you young at heart. Enjoy it!


  2. This is a fantastic piece of work and like the figures!

    The Tangiers posting was an important one for later Stuart armies and, one imagines, rather brutalising for those sent there.

    I certainly think that the evidence is available from the behaviour of Kirke’s troops in the Sedgemoor campaign. No Geneva Convention then!


  3. Thanks Graham!
    The opposition a Tangier was tough and implacable. If you were captured the best you could hope for was a quick death.

    That would be the mindset going into the West Country. Of course given the experience of the Thirty Years War it was pretty much business as usual.


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