Oliver Cromwell: the secret of his military genius

In just two years, Oliver Cromwell made the journey from little-known MP with no experience of armed combat to brilliant, battle-winning leader. Martyn Bennett, author of Cromwell at War: The Lord General and His Military Revolution reveals how a military novice became one of British history's greatest warriors...

Painting depicting Cromwell at the head of his troops following the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, by Ernest Crofts. (Photo by De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the February 2017 issue of BBC History Magazine

In the early evening of 2 July 1644, two powerful armies faced each other across an expanse of wild meadow eight miles west of York. On one side was gathered a royalist force led by King’s Charles I’s German nephew, Prince Rupert, and the Marquis of Newcastle. On the other, occupying 
a ridge known as Bramham Hill, stood 
an allied army of parliamentarians and Scottish covenanters.

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