Military professionals: ‘renegado’ army officers

Andrew Hopper

in Turncoats and Renegadoes

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199575855
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744617 | DOI:
Military professionals: ‘renegado’ army officers

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This chapter examines the side‐changing of military professionals — army officers with overseas experience. Highly valued by both sides at the outbreak of war, parliament grew suspicious of its professionals after so many defected to the king during the war's first year. This chapter begins by outlining the European context to military side‐changing. It then discusses the motives, behaviour, and military honour of specific individuals, and the manner in which they changed sides. It suggests that parliament's foreign professionals were not all as mercenary and disloyal as has recently been depicted, whilst defections often resulted from a sense of slighted honour rather than opportunism or hopes of personal advancement. Military professionals tended to constitute different kinds of turncoat to peers and MPs, with military fortunes and professional considerations exerting a stronger influence upon them than changing political circumstances.

Keywords: military; soldiers; officers; allegiance; loyalties; side‐changing; honour; treachery

Chapter.  8801 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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