Wars of the Roses Cavlary

I finally got my Wars of the Roses Cavalry painted. Unlike the infantry I decided to stick to one manufacturer. When I started the project I got some old cavalry figures from a fellow club member and picked up some samples. What I found was a big difference in the scale of the cavalry. With mass infantry you can get away with differences in sizes, not everyone is the same size and so it doesn’t matter as much. But it was so obvious mixing different manufacturers for 6 mounted miniatures on a base.

15mm Wars of the Roses Cavalry from Peter Pig

I like the slightly chunky style of the Peter Pig miniatures and so was happy to go with them for my cavalry. I do like a bit of cavalry and so wanted to maximise my armies compliment. In Sword and Spear the army can only have two units of knights and so I also did a couple of units of Northern Boarder Horse. I’m really looking forward to getting these into battle.

Now all I have left to do is finish the archers and my Wars of the Roses army is complete. Unless I want more than two command units … hmmm

Wars of the Roses Camp

I was supposed to be working on my Cavalry and Archers for my Wars of the Roses army, but while attending SELWG last October I remembered I needed a camp for my army. You have to remember I don’t normally dabble in the types of wargame requiring a camp for the army. But the intention is to use the Sword and Spear rules and so I needed a camp.

A Suitable Camp for my Wars of the Roses Army

At the show some resin pieces from Baueda caught my eye. Normally I would probably have scratchbuilt the camp but I really like the scenery pieces and they were not that expensive. I went for a cooking set and a tent that would fit the period. To that I added a spare infantryman and a horse.

The base is MDF and I spread bathroom sealant mixed with brown paint on it to create the muddy road and to cover up the figure bases. After painting the figures I flocked the base and added a few tufts of grass and the odd rock. Painting the camp made a nice change as it was like a mini diorama and a good distraction from line after line of the rank and file.

Wars of the Roses Infantry

I’ve finally made progress on my 15mm Wars of the Roses army. This is the first time since getting into Miniature Wargaming some 30 plus years ago that I have put together an historical army.
As I mentioned in my previous post showing the Men at Arms I did not want this army to look like a set number of figures stuck on a base. I wanted an irregular rabble look to the units.

15mm Wars of the Roses Billmen from Multiple Manufacturers

For my armies main infantry I looked at suitable 15mm miniatures from Lancashire Games, Irregular Miniatures, Museum Miniatures, Tin Soldier, Magister Militarium, Donnington, Miniature Figurines, Essex and Peter Pig.
For the life of me I cannot remember all of the companies I finally settled on, I know for a fact I bought Peter Pig, Lancashire Games and Essex. But there are other manufacturers figures in the units.
I’m really pleased with how they came out and think I got the rabble aspect quite well.
Another bonus was cleaning up the figures and thinking I’d only done enough for 4 bases of 16 figures per base. But when it came to undercoating them I found I had enough for 6 bases, result!

Now onto the Cavalry and Archers.

The Wolf at the door

Long had the Welsh Warlord Owain the Wolf Tamer been sat brooding in his hall. Never far from his thoughts were the crushing defeats he had suffered at the hands of the Anglo-Dane Warlords Andraes Vilhelmsson and Erik Uhtredson. But with Vilhelmsson held up in his hall to see out the winter months and news of Uhtredson forging alliances with the wretched Northmen. It was time to go on the offensive. But wary of fighting prowess of his enemies Owain knew he needed support, and so he had dispatched offers of gold and glory to other lesser warlords before setting out on campaign.
As dawn broke across the land, the armies of Andraes Vilhelmsson and Erik Uhtredson marched boldly marched onto the field. No sooner had they done so when the Welsh war horns were joined in their challenge by those of Hakon Maddadarson the Hall Burner and his army of savage Norse Gaels.
Surprised by the Norse Gaels, but not surprised Owain would not have the confidence to face them alone, Vilhelmsson and Uhtredson concentrated their forces against the Norse Gaels with the aim of routing them off the field before Owain could bring the full force of his army in to effect.

The Anglo-Danes march towards the Norse Gaels

Although the Anglo-Danes concentrated on the Norse Gaels, the swift Welsh cavalry managed to get within javelin distance of Vilhelmsson’s archers, drawing first blood.
Welsh Cavalry Launching their Javelins

Over on the other side of the battlefield Uhtredson’s Fyrd charged against the Norse Gaels. Hoping for a decisive conclusion to the fight the Fyrd won the fight but failed to inflict devastating damage on the Norse Gaels.
The Anglo-Dane Fyrd Charges into Battle

Forced to retreat from the fight and with Vilhelmsson’s Huscarls closing in, Hakon Maddadarson strengthened his line for the expected onslaught.
The Anglo-Danes and Norse Gaels form their Battle Lines

Meanwhile on Vilhelmsson’s left flank the Welsh Cavalry were still picking off the archers, but not without suffering losses of their own. Seizing the initiative Owain pushed his forces hard to get within javelin range.
The Welsh Finally Threaten the Anglo-Danish Left Flank

With his left flank now threaten Vilhelmsson sent a unit of Huscarls to fend of Owain’s forces. Having been abandoned to his fate in on the right flank Hakon Maddadarson was beginning to realise the pact he had entered into with the Welsh was misguided. Uhtredson threw everything at the Norse Gaels, Dane axe armed Huscarls and the Fyrd charged in. The fighting was fierce but the Anglo-Danish attack seemed to just bounce off the Norse Gaels and they were forced to retreat.
Hard Fighting as Dane Axes Clash in a Bloody Melee to the Death

With the battle against the Norse Gaels not going to plan and the Welsh making gains against Vilhelmsson’s left flank the Anglo-Danes could see the battle turning against them.
But there was to be no retreat, lured to battle by the treacherous Owain, the forces of Vilhelmsson and Uhtredson would carve an epic poem this day. Launching charge after charge the fight against the Welsh ended with a wimper of pushing and shoving while once again the Norse Gaels proved to be a tough nut to crack.
Last Charge of the Anglo-Danes

The battle ended with the exhausted Anglo-Danes having been narrowly defeated, made even more painful by the knowledge that the Norse Gaels and done more of the fighting than the Welsh, who could claim victory having shed little blood that day!

Thoughts on the Game
I cannot remember which scenario we played but points were scored by causing casualties and points deducted if any units were still close to their own baseline at the end of 6 turns.
Myself and Andy were both using the Anglo-Danish for the first time with the 2nd Edition Saga rules. Facing off against Steve’s Welsh and John’s Norse Gaels. Each side had 6 points.
Andy and I decided to concentrate both of our armies against one enemy army to destroy it in detail and then move onto the other. The Norse Gaels deployed first and so that was our target. This left the Welsh out on their own and away from the battle for a few turns.
Being the first time a few of us had used our armies for 2nd edition a few mistakes were made. On a few occasions we were a bit lax with the movement rules and getting units into combat. The Norse Gael ability to raise their armour was exaggerated somewhat which contributed to the lack progress by the Anglo-Danes. I also found the Anglo-Danes a bit boring in 2nd edition. Some of their abilities appear to have been reduced, which I felt was unnecessary as they weren’t an unbeatable faction in 1st edition. But that’s enough of the excuses. The Anglo-Danes lost and so now must regroup and take the battle to the Welsh, whether they run cowardly to their new found allies or not.

ACW Vicksburg Campaign Turn 1: The Battle of Bloody Creek

Stephen takes us through the first installment of the 2020 ACW campaign.

At the last meeting we had the first turn of this year’s campaign – an American Civil War campaign based around the Union attempt to capture Vicksburg.

Although the campaign background is historical, the forces are fictional. This is a chance for club members to carve their place in history as great generals and strategists!

Leading the Union corps is Major General John Roche with Generals Kim Heath and Alan Ockleford under his command. In control of the Confederate forces is Major General Mark Harris, ably assisted by Generals Jeremey Claridge and Tony Gibbs.

The campaign works using a map for strategic movement and when a battle occurs we move to the games table. Small skirmishes with pickets and scouts are not gamed and are resolved with a dice role.

Corps commanders were given a pack which included a map, orders of battle, mission brief, and objectives. They would have autonomy to achieve their goal anyway they wanted. Responsibility would fall on their heads.

Each turn a random event card is drawn. The two sides then put together their supply dice (based on how many supply depots they control). These can be used to move brigades up quicker, but are also used for actions such as burning/building bridges and for replenishing broken units.

So Turn One began!

The Union officers were quick to set up camp (in the far corner of the hall) and were promptly goaded by the Confederate players for their studiousness and planning. However, that soon changed when the full scope of what they had to achieve dawned on them – they also soon gave way to planning and plotting! In fact, when it was time to conduct the first move it was the Confederate players who dallied – still pouring over the map and making plans.

Each brigade, battery, and picket is given its own counter. Brigades from the same division can occupy the same square, but divisions are not allowed to mix. The Union set up their supply depot at Grand Gulf on the Mississippi, and deployed their corps in and around that area. The Confederate corps was more thinly spread, trying to protect the towns at Vicksburg and Jackson and the forests in between.

The first few strategic moves were cautious, as you would expect as players got used to how the rules worked and also their opponent’s demeanour.

The Union brigades kept coming up against Confederate pickets which were easily chased off but this also meant the Confederate scouts were able to identify Union troop movements and strength, which gave the Confederates some idea of what was coming. The Union corps didn’t seem to be using its pickets quite as efficiently, preferring to move entire divisions at a time to advance on the Confederates.

There then started a bit of jockeying for position with both sides trying to concentrate their divisions for battle, but one side or the other refusing to give battle until the situation suited them. General Claridge, commanding the Confederate 3rd Division protecting Jackson, started to bring his troops west to support General Gibbs and his 1st Division troops near Edwards Station who were being threatened by the Union 1st and 3rd divisions.

Meanwhile, further west, the Union and Confederate 2nd divisions started to coalesce around Warrenton.

When battle first came it was a surprise – it looked more likely to take place somewhere in the middle near Edwards Station, but in the end it was the two 2nd divisions that finally came to blows outside Warrenton.

Both generals gave the order to battle!

This initial action was a comparatively small affair. This was just as well, since it would give both sides chance to see how the battle rules work without too much at stake.

The Union deployed with their cavalry brigade, dismounted, along a creek. Behind them, in support, was Heselbrigge’s brigade, with the rest of 2nd Division and its artillery in the rear. The Confederates arrayed in line with their artillery protecting the flank and looking over a farm.

Rumour has it that Major General Roche had ordered General Ockleford not to cross the creek and, instead, to take up a defensive position and use the artillery to force the Confederates to either quit the field or attack their positions. It is unclear whether these orders never got through, or if General Ockelford decided to ignore them or if, in the heat of the moment, he acted rashly.

What happened was that the Confederates, realising they would take a pounding from the Union artillery, pulled back into the woods to take up a protected position in cover. This was soon followed by the Union brigades crossing the creek, ahead of the artillery moving up, to take the battle to the Confederates.

Not a good move! Not only did the creek slow the Union advance, exposing them to artillery and musket fire, but they then halted in the open without charging the Confederate line. Realising their mistake, they soon ordered the charge! But it had come too late. Advancing against the dug-in Confederates, and wavering in the open, had exposed them to withering fire.

The result? First victory went to the Confederates who named the encounter The Battle of Bloody Creek.

Time will tell if the Union have learnt their lesson.