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New Model Army


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The English Roundhead force established by Parliamentary ordinance on 15 February 1645. A single army of 22,000 men, it was formed largely from the uncoordinated Roundhead forces of the first phase of the English Civil War. Its first commander-in-chief was the Puritan Baron Thomas Fairfax, with Philip Skippon commanding the infantry and, after the Self-Denying Ordinance, Oliver Cromwell in charge of the cavalry. Derided at first by the Cavaliers as the ‘New Noddle Army’, it consisted of regularly paid, well disciplined, and properly trained men, who became known as the Ironsides. Promotion was by merit. Resounding victories, such as Naseby and Preston won the war for the Roundheads. The army was inextricably involved in national developments until the Restoration. Religious and political radicalism quickly permeated its ranks, with Leveller influence particularly strong between 1647 and 1649. The army was responsible for Pride's Purge (1648), and formed the basis of government in the following years.

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