The Factions Identified

With the adoption of the For King and Parliament rules I have by-in-large dropped the use of faction flags with my wargaming units on the table top. The following material is archival but still useful in gaining a picture of the forces engaged in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (which, more and more, I think should be extended to as late as 1692!). -d_guy 12/05/2017

To help sort out (visually) which side is which, I use a set of faction flags (examples are shown in the header photo above) to designate the field officers and commanding officer of each side. These faction flags are somewhat larger than the normal regimental flags and the ensigns carrying them are mounted singly on 3/4″ hexagonal bases. Since switching to the Impetus:Baroque rules set I have added a 5mm dice frame to each base to indicate the Leadership Bonus Value of each FO/CO command figure.

Within the various sets of foot command pieces used in my games the faction flag is also carried by the senior command piece of regular units. This is done to again help indicate to which side the unit belongs. Many of the command pieces ( both militia and regular) also carry regimental flags with a “national” cross in the upper canton closest the flag staff. These are the St. George’s cross for England and Wales, the St. Andrew’s cross for Scotland, and the St Patrick’s cross for Ireland. This is certainly an historic feature of many of the flags of the period but I have probably standardized it to a higher level than in actual practice.

While the Wars of the Three Kingdoms were fought between the Royalist and Parliamentarian sides in the broadest sense, I have found it more convenient to use the term, “factions” to indicate groups that are comprised of the same nationality and/or share the same objectives. Since I am concentrating on the period 1638 to 1690, and not simply the First (or Great) Civil War, the use of factions helps me use the same figures in a number of ways by simply changing their command pieces.

In this system of thinking there are six broadly drawn factions:

English Royal GovernmentThe Forces of the Royal Government of England* and Ireland:   While both principal sides (king and parliament) used the St. George’s Cross flag, I decided to use it in a more specific way:

  • With any English force fighting as the unified government of England (monarch and parliament together) as in the Bishops Wars.
  • With any Royalist force fighting anywhere but Scotland.
  • With any Protestant force fighting in Ireland which is comprised of “planted” ethnic groups (“New Scots” or “New English”)
  • With any Anglo/Irish force (Protestant or Catholic) comprised of the “Old English”.

*  England always includes Wales in this organization scheme.

Scottish Government and CovenantThe Forces of the Government of Scotland and of the National Covenant:   The saltire of St. Andrew is carried by all Scottish forces fighting for or in support of the government of Scotland. The Covenanter motto is not used on the faction flag. In some instances when the government is fighting in support of the king, the saltire may find itself on the Royalist side.

Irish Confederation Governement and NationalistThe Forces of the Confederation Government of Ireland and of the Nationalist Movement:  While all foot regiments of the Confederation of Kilkenny carry the Irish Cross flag (white cross and red circlet on a green field) when fighting in Ireland, the faction flag for the confederation armies is the gold harp on a green field. The harp flag is assigned to all pre- and post-Confederation units or Irish units fighting overseas (the Irish Brigade in Scotland for example). Like the saltire of Scotland the harp flag may also find its way to the Royalist side.

Scottish RoyalistThe Forces of the Monarch of Scotland and of the Loyal Resistance: The red lion rampant is carried by all Scottish troops loyal to the Stewart kings. For simplicity it will also be the faction banner for any and all Jacobite units when opposing a non-Stewart monarch.

Engish Parliment Government and Commonwealth

The Forces of the Parliamentary Government of England and Ireland, of the Commonwealth and of the Protectorate: While only in use for about four years during the Commonwealth, I have decided to use this for the faction flag representing government by any of the several iterations of parliament. If I were to stage the Battle of Edgehill the Parliamentarians would carry this as their faction flag for command pieces (the commonwealth flag being carried by units ONLY during the appropriate time period). A bit of any anachronism but making it easier to see at a glance which faction a command pieces belongs to.


The Forces of Rebellion: I also decided to add a sixth faction to cover instances where there is a local rebellion and adherence to one of the other five factions is difficult to assign (no matter how loosely I have defined them). The black flag is used by the forces of any local rebellion which is opposed to the control or depredations of all the other factions. They are fighting for themselves ( and their property) against all comers. The clubmen in England are a prime example.

At some point I may do Monmouth’s Rebellion with which I have had a long fascination. While not on the Celtic Fringe as such, the far West Country certainly is – so – close enough I say.  It is the Royal Navy’s tradition of flying a black flag in addition to the normal ensign on the HMS Monmouth (“The Black Duke”) that caused me to pick this particular flag for the faction. Pirates and anarchists have a preference for this color as a symbol of no allegiance so that seems to work also.

(revised 12 – 05 – 2017)