For Lancaster!

Stephen reports on a clash between the Yorkists and Lancastrians.

I had myself a game of Basic Impetus the other day – a Wars of the Roses game.

The table was set up with the Lancastrians being led by the Earl of Oxford and the Yorkists led by Lord Stanley.

Oxford set up his Welsh archers in the yard of St Botolph’s church, his household troops (men at arms, billmen, and archers) in the middle and on his right flank, amid some trees, were some Welsh spearmen and some Flemish handgunners.

In response, Stanley had arranged his troops in a line. On his right flank, opposite the church, were some archers and a pair of ribaldequin (multi-barreled cannon). Stanley had also put his household troops in the centre and on his left flank were some Genoese pikemen and archers.

Battle begun.

Stanley’s tactic on the right was obvious enough – use the cannon to pester the Welsh archers. Either they would be dispersed or they would have to come forward out of the cover of the churchyard. Which is what they eventually had to do. The Yorkist left flank made an early advance because the archers had some difficult terrain to negotiate and the sooner they got going the better. In the meantime, the centre was a bit tardy and made slow progression.

In response the Lancastrians initially decided to get involved in a missile exchange using their archers in the churchyard. To start with, though, they were out-ranged by the Yorkist cannon so they had no choice but to advance. The rest of the Lancastrian line made quick progress. The handgunners and Welsh spearmen moved into the woods, to what would prove to be a commanding flank position. Oxford urged his men forward, the billmen and archers being particularly keen, whilst his household men at arms were a little more cautious.

The Genoese pikemen were the first into the battle line. However, they found themselves in a precarious position – the Welsh spearmen threatened their flank, as did the Flemish handgunners. This made it difficult for them to be too aggressive or else they would be charged in the flank. The billmen of both sides eventually came to blows in the centre. It had been a cautious contact though, due to the risk of either side outflanking the other. The slow advance of the Lancastrian men at arms finally prompted the Yorkists to push the attack before they could join in.

Meanwhile, over by St Botolph’s, the Welsh archers had advanced beyond the hedges so they could get the Yorkist artillery in short range. Though the cannons had been pouring steady fire at the archers they had little effect. And once the archers were in range the artillery crew fared poorly against the weight of arrows falling on them. Off went the artillery! They’d done their job though – they’d drawn out the Welsh archers into the open where the Yorkist billmen could now advance on them.

The battle in the middle carried on. The pikemen were sent packing, but the Yorkist archers, who had to cross some rocky ground at the start, finally came up and a unit of billmen also turned to threaten the handgunners and Welsh spears. The clash between billmen and men at arms went back and forth with neither side really getting the upper hand. Then the Yorkists had a lucky turn with some demon dice rolling. The Lancastrian billmen were routed and things were starting to look dicey for Oxford.

But two can have luck! The Lancastrian men at arms showed their mettle and, with Oxford personally leading them, took the charge into the Yorkist men at arms, who were also being led by Stanley! Dice were rolled, and only one side could come out victorious…

Against the odds, the Lancastrians achieved an unexpected victory, routing the Yorkist men at arms and killing Stanley. It would be Lancaster’s day.

Looking at the result would give an unrealistic idea of how the battle went – Stanley’s men had taken far more casualties, but it hadn’t felt like that. For most of the battle the Yorkists had been in a commanding position, but the Welsh spearmen and Flemish handgunners had been in a good position, securing that flank, and Oxford’s men at arms had rolled some good dice. That proved more than enough.

War of the Roses Battle – Neville Takes the Field

Sir Thomas Neville deep in the action

With both of our Wars of the Roses armies completed Stephen and I assembled on an unremarkable field somewhere in England for our first clash. Stephen took the role of the Lancastrians and recruited Andy to act as a lesser lord of the realm in control of his right flank. I’d gone for the Yorkists and ended up with the flags of the Earl of Salisbury and his son Sir Thomas Neville. In similar fashion I recruited Tony to the role of Thomas Neville also taking command of the right flank.

The Lancastrian Billmen and Men at Arms

The Lancastrian army formed up in a neat row extending across the battlefield with their archers on the flanks and their billmen and men at arms in the centre. The Lancastrians had no cavalry or artillery, however they had more archers and had brought some mercenary pikemen.

The Yorkist Army Advances

Across the field the Yorkists took a different approach forming up with their archers and artillery out front with the billmen and men at arms close behind. The Yorkists also had mounted men at arms as well as some light cavalry units positioned out on the flanks.

Lancastrian Archers take the High Ground

The first move of the battle saw Andy move his archers to a commanding position on the only high ground available.

The Yorkists Cavalry Moves to Outflank the Lancastrians

This move prompted me to move my cavalry out past the archers flank screened by a nearby wood. My intention was not to attack the flank but to try and get Andy to weaken his archers on the hill by dispatching them to deal with the now threatened flank.

Yorkists Under Thomas Neville Attempt to Maneuver in to Position

Meanwhile on the Yorkist right Tony had found himself squashed between my artillery unit and some woods. This would cause a number of problems for Tony during the battle as he was unable to line up his units to best effect.

Lancastrian Archers Move to Outflank

Seeing the difficulty the Yorkist right flank was in Steve moved his archers in range to pour missiles into the floundering Yorkists.

The Yorkist Artillery Starts to Bombard the Lancastrian Billmen

Apart from Steve’s flaking move and Andy moving his archers onto the hill, the Lancastrians refused to give battle. Seeing the danger on the flank and with the Cavalry feint having drawn some of Andy’s archers away, I push the artillery forward and began firing on the Lancastrian Billmen. The attack did not cause any damage but it had the desired effect, soon the Lancastrian billmen would be on the advance.

Yorkist Archers Gain the Upper Hand

Seeing the Lancastrian billmen on the advance I pushed my archers forward and engaged the archers on the hill. The dice definitely favoured the Yorkists destroying a unit of archers outright but taking some damage in return.

Battle Rages on the Yorkist Right Flank

As I prepared to receive the advancing billmen, Tony had managed to engage Steve’s archers on the Yorkist right flank. Unfortunately the Lancastrian archers stood their ground against attacks from the Yorkist billmen.

The Centre Units Close in for an Intense Fight

My archers managed to get a volley off against the Lancastrian’s before the two battle lines crashed together. Unable to move the archers had to join the melee and soon succumbed to the billmen, but I had billmen in reserve ready to fill the gap.

The Battle Lines Clash

The clash was pretty even with both sides taking hits. Out on the Yorkist right flank Tony’s archers had taken a beating but he was still determined to get his billmen into the fight. In the centre Steve still had his men-at-arms directly in front of my artillery and so had no choice than to advance into the oncoming fire.

The Lancastrian Men-at-Arms Charges the Yorkist Artillery

Although the Men-at-Arms had taken some damage they quickly overwhelmed the artillery leaving them to rampage behind the Yorkist line. Tony still had his cavalry in reserve but didn’t get the activation dice required to charge in and so the Men-at-Arms got the chance to destroy them in a subsequent charge. However Tony was more successful with his Mounted Men-at-Arms.

The Yorkist Mounted Men-at-Arms Destroy the Lancastrian Archers

Charging in against the Lancastrian archers Tony was successful in gaining some momentum on the right flank. But the Yorkists would then throw away a strong position with a number of cavalry blunders. First came my charge with my light cavalry against the archers I had drawn out on Andy’s flank. The charge saw the cavalry wiped out with no damage to the defending archers. Tony then charged his Mounted Men-at-Arms against the Lancastrian pikemen and suffered the same fate!

Return of the Yorkist Mounted Men-at-Arms from the Left Flank

With the main battle in the centre going the Yorkists way and following the cavalry blunders, I turned my Mounted Men-at-Arms around and galloped back to the centre. The battle was nearing an end with both armies at breaking point.

The Yorkist Right Flank was to Decide the Battle

With the help of my cavalry the Lancastrian centre was destroyed, and with Andy’s remaining units too far away on the Lancastrian right flank, it was up to Tony on the Yorkist right flank to carry the day. The Lancastrian’s still had some strong infantry units but Steve had failed to get the activations he needed to get them into the fight. Needing just a point before breaking completely the battle came down to the long drawn out melee between Steve’s archers and Tony’s billmen.

The Last Melee Between the Yorkists and Lancastrians

But the dice finally favoured Tony and the archers were utterly destroyed, handing victory to the Yorkists by the narrow margin of 29-32!

Battle Aftermath
This turned out to be a really good battle. Three of the players had only played 3 or 4 games of Sword and Spear before and for Tony this was his first ever play of the rules.
From the Yorkist point of view, the good parts were managing to draw out some of the Lancastrian forces with a cavalry feint, and a lucky result in winning the archery duel in the centre. Having the artillery also turned out to be a good move as it forced the Lancastrians to advance when they had planned to sit tight. The bad points for the Yorkists though were the poor deployment between the artillery and the woods allowing the Lancastrians to out flank the right hand side, and the poorly executed cavalry charges late in the battle.

From the Lancastrians point of view, the good parts were exploiting the poor enemy deployment and out flanking with archers. But the bad points were reacting to the feint and being unlucky with the activation dice later in the battle preventing them from getting more of their infantry committed against the poorly deployed Yorkists.

The war will no doubt continue with the Lancastrians out for revenge!

 

 

 

 

Wars of the Roses Army

At the start of my posts about doing a Wars of the Roses 15mm army I mentioned this was actually the first time in 35 years of Wargaming, that I have put together a complete historical army. Yes I’ve painted a force of 40 odd Dark Age warriors for Saga, but this was the first full army. While collecting and painting up this army I have been watching and listening to various Wars of the Roses documentaries and reading a number of books about the period.
It’s easy to see the appeal of doing historical gaming but I know when to stop over accuracy and just get on with a good game.

Earl of Salisbury’s Forces

For the game to come we will have two players per side, so I have the larger part of my army under the Earl of Sailsbury with a slightly smaller force under his son  Sir Thomas Neville.

Sir Thomas Neville’s Forces

On to the game, we are going to be using Sword and Spear. So stay tuned for the battle report that will hopefully be reporting a victory for the Yorkist cause.

Wars of the Roses Archers

Finally got the last of my Wars of the Roses units completed. This time it was the archers. As with the other units I did buy a number of different brands but ended up just going with Essex miniatures and Peter Pig for the unit commanders. Like the other units I wanted to avoid the uniform two rows of miniatures on a base and so for the fist units of archers (the Retinue archers), I created a clear front line with a archers milling around on the second row.

Essex Retinue Archers

I wanted a mix of archer types and did a couple of militia archer units again using Essex miniatures.

Essex Miniatures Militia Archers

When painting the militia archers I realised that all but one of the miniatures was in a shooting stance, I could not therefore have a second line, but I wanted the militia archers to look undisciplined, so put them in irregular lines on the base to look more like a mob.

With the archers done so was I, but my would be opponent for the planned Wars of the Roses game mentioned having some artillery. Entering in to the arms race I also put a unit of guns together.

Essex Miniatures Wars of the Roses Artillery

I do have plans to do some other Wars of the Roses units like spearmen, some Welsh and other mercenaries. But this will do for the first battle.

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 Wars of the Roses

Stephen updates his progress on his Yorkists (or Lancastrians, I don’t think he’s made up his mind).

Along with Jeremey I have been popping away at some 15mm Wars of the Roses for games of Sword & Spear.
I made a good start at the beginning of the year then I lost my mojo for painting these. However, I’ve got my mojo back and now they find themselves back on the painting desk.

The majority of the figures are by Essex Miniatures. The plate armoured men-at-arms are Peter Pig, as are the cavalry (not painted yet). I chose to base mine on Sword & Spear size bases (which are multiples of WRG/DBA bases) rather than small elements because I don’t enjoy playing DBA or FoG so it made sense to base them on the necessary size bases to avoid fiddling about with lots of small bases. That means they are also compatible with Armati, which is another set of ancient rules I enjoy (though not played for yonks), and also Impetus.

The flags are generic and not specific to any noble families from the period. These are just for decoration. I decided to make them generic so it didn’t tie the army down to anything specific and would give more flexibility. My intention is to give the commanders the actual flags of the nobles who fought. I haven’t yet decided whether to make a command base for each of the noblemen or whether to do like Jeremey has done with his and make them removable.

Men at Arms on the March

I finally managed to get my first Wars of the Roses units done. Here we have the Men at Arms getting ready to go up against fellow club member Stephen. For my units in this army I wanted a real mixed up, unevenly distributed look. I’ve never liked the standard number of figures evenly spaced DBA style units. Despite 35 years in this hobby this is my first historical army and I’m clearly not a purist! But I’ve done some research, read several books and listened to a podcast on the history of England during this period, so I’m definitely putting the effort in.To get a good mix for the units I used miniatures from Peter Pig, Lancashire Games and Essex Miniatures (plus some others I’ve forgotten). I even chose some miniatures from the early 15th century to represent a few of the less wealthy lords and knights, still using their grandfathers armour.
Another thing I decided to do was not to  chose a side in the conflict. It was clearly a messy affair with allegiances changing as the conflict went on (or even during a battle!). Add that to the fact the armies had identical troop types I went for removable flags for the units and commanders. In the first picture the units are representing Sir Thomas Neville but after a quick swap they are now in the service of Lord Dudley.I think this system will work quite well and I intend on making a collection of flags, so regardless of who my opponent turns up supporting, I’ll be able to pick an opposing lord!

Let’s Get Medieval

Stephen gives us an end-of-year Medieval treat…

I’ve a couple of bits on the go at the moment, one more or less complete and the other just starting.

First up is a 15mm Wars Of The Roses army to give that young upstart, Earl Jeremey ‘Hotspur’ Claridge a run for his money. These will be for Sword & Spear. I bought a few test packs of Essex archers (since I knew I’d need lots of archers) to get my juices flowing. I have it on good authority that I’ve been a good boy this year (well, good enough) and that Santa is going to be bringing me the rest of the army. We’re really enjoying Sword & Spear and I’m looking forward to re-fighting some battles from the WotR.

Archers

The other thing I’ve been popping away at over the last year is a medieval Irish army for Lion Rampant. These are suitable for the 13th and 14th century. I’ve now got 24 points worth with two units of Gallowglaichs (dismounted men at arms), two units of Bonnachts (light foot with javelins) and two units of Kerns (scouts with bows). I plan to add another unit of bonnachts and kerns during the year to give more flexibility and for some bigger games. These are destined for a game at 2019’s Open Day with an Irish round tower build in the offing as well.

Irish Army