Yorkist Rampant!

After a gap of 17 months (for the obvious reasons)  Jeremey and Stephen finally got to field their Wars of the Roses armies again. Here Jeremey takes us through what happened.

Both Stephen and I agreed on making this a 700 points per side battle using the Sword and Spear rules. We invited other members to take part and ended up with the Lancastrian forces commanded by Stephen and Tony, with the Yorkist side commanded by myself and Andy.

Here we have the main bulk of the Yorkist forces, with the usual number of archers and billmen. The Yorkists didn’t bother to bring any unusual units like artilery, but did have welsh spearmen and archers to swell the ranks. I took the Yorkist Left flank facing the Lancastrians commanded by Tony, which left Andy facing Stephen’s lancastrians on the right.

The Lancastrian forces had a similar make up but went for some artillery and handgunners. Both sides drew up their forces in typical formations. Tony on the Lancastrian right had command of all the Lancastrian cavalry units.

To add a bit of flavour to the game I created a number of event cards, these were sort of successful but on drawing the cards the lancastrians came off worse with both the artillery and handgunner units being forced to join the battle after a set number of turns. This was due to having event cards designed to show the chaotic nature of forces during this time getting lost on the way or being hesitant to join the battle.

The initial activation of the armies saw both sides move up to longbow range and engage in an archery duel. It was at this point that a general theme of the Lancastrians (specifically Tony) having the most appalling dice rolls ever  began.

The archery duel didn’t last long and saw the majority of the Lancastrian archers wiped out for no loses on the Yorkist side.

Faced with the archery disaster the Lancastrians under Tony started an outflanking move with their cavalry, a mixture of mounted men at arms and currours.

This caused a bit of panic in the Yorkist ranks (well me really) who quickly brought up more of their billmen and cavalry to counter the move.

Having riden within range the Yorkist horse charged against the lancastrians attempting the outflanking move, the first charge nearly destroyed the Lancastrian cavalry. They were soon dispatched in the following turn.

However this didn’t discourage the Lancastrian who then charged with their mounted men at arms straight at a unit of billmen. Again Tony’s dice rolling saw the Lancastrian cavalry completely destroyed for just a single point of damage to the billmen.

Meanwhile on the Yorkist right flank the Lancastrians commanded by Stephen managed to buck the trend and shot Andy’s welsh spearmen to pieces. This put the right flank in danger as the Yorkists had fewer archers to try and even the score.

The alarming gap in the Yorkist forces where the welsh spearmen used to be. Facing the potential of another arrow storm Andy decided drastic measures were needed.

Much to my surprise this saw Andy charge the archers with his Northern Boarder horse. It didn’t go well with the cavalry being wiped out.

Having so far suffered only two points of damage to my units I felt emboldened and charged my billmen into the remnants of Tony’s archers scoring a number of hits and pushing the Lancastrian loses towards breaking point.

With the Lancastrians on the brink of breaking I charged the final unit of Lancastrian currours with my mounted men at arms. As was typical for the game so far the Lancastrian cavalry were wipped out handing victory to the Yorkists.

It’s always nice to win a battle but this game was one of the most one sided I’ve ever played. My Yorkist forces on the left flank had managed to almost wipe out the Lancastrians for the loss of no units and only suffering two points of damage. I must say the victory felt somewhat hollow and we were all left amazed at just how badly the dice can sometime go against a player.

I promised Tony a rematch just to throw off the dice rolling curse he was clearly suffering from.

Society Meeting 08/01/2022

A tad delayed, but here’s a photo round up of our first meeting of 2022. In addition to our AGM, we had a SAGA battle day, involving 8 players, a FOG Renaissance ECW game, a Lords of the Rings Game and some Spy-Fi action.

First up a SAGA-fest with Scots, Bretons, Welsh, Vikings and Anglo-Danes. In addition to some experienced SAGA players we had a couple of prospective members join in for their first games.

Andy’s Anglo Danish face off against Stephen’s Welsh
James’ Vikings vs Jeremey’s Anglo Danes
Tony’s Bretons vs John’s Scots
James’ Vikings vs Jeremey’s Anglo Danes
James’ Vikings vs Jeremey’s Anglo Danes
Close up of John’s Scots
Tony’s Bretons

Moving on the the English Civil War, 15mm figures using Field of Gory rules.

ECW Armies line up
Cuirassiers charge
Colonel John Lamplugh’s Regiment of Foot
Royalist Regiments

Moving from history to fiction, Marcus had a try out of his underwater Spy-Fi rules.

Marcus’ seascape
Divers and mini-sub
More divers hiding behind a shoal of fish
The two sides fight over the lost missile.

And finally to Fantasy, a Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.

The scene is set.
Dwarves advance across the bridge
Uruk Hai advance with a Troll in support
Dwarf Heavy Metal
Dwarves holding the Bridge against the Uruk Hai

Society Meeting 11th December 2021

Andy rounds up the last meeting of the year.

Our last meeting of the year saw three “periods” in progress:

First up, our FOG contingent (John, Paul and Mark) ran a couple of games of Early Carthaginians vs Dominate Romans.

6mm Cavalry and Light Horse
The infantry get close
A bird’s eye view of the combat
Roman Legionaries
Africans and Romans standoff.
Carthaginian cavalry charge the Romans

Next up Alan ran a game of Fief, France 1429, a game of dynastic ambition. You can probably guess where and when it is set. Boardgames are not unknown at the Society, but they are not that commonly played either. Alan, Marcus, Dave, Chris, Peter and Mike were the contenders for the control of France.

Playing pieces
View from the North West
Player’s resource cards
Fief Playing pieces and cards

Alan and Peter formed an alliance and had a narrow lead at the end of the game, so they are claiming victory. Mike, Marcus, Dave & Chris wouldn’t necessarily agree with that assessment though

Finally, Tony & Phil combined their efforts to put on a 15mm Star Wars game, using slightly adapted Stargrave rules. Jeremey and Phil each took a squad of Stormtroopers, while Stephen and Andy had a squad of Rebels. Both sides were searching the village for a pair of droids who had concealed plans to a top secret Imperial Weapon System (the Death Star). Tony ran the unaligned Jawas and was in charge of resolving the players searches and random events.

The village, the lull before the storm
The Rebels disembark from their U-Wing assault ship
The Jawas minding their own business.
Jeremey’s Storm Trooper squad and their shuttle.
Andy’s Rebels find what cover they can
Rebels search a building
Stephen’s Rebels take up positions to fend off the Imperials
Phil’s Stormtroopers take cover behind a water extractor
Rebels have found the droids and try to get them back to the shuttle, The Jawas are not happy!
The droids and their surviving escort almost at the shuttle (and that’s as far as they got).
The remnants of Stephen’s squad form a last line of defence.
Jawas and Stormtroopers pursuing the Droids and Rebels
Andy’s Rebel squad (now deceased)

We will (hopefully) be back in the New Year.

Society Meeting 27 November 2021

Andy’s short roundup of games at this weekend’s meeting.

First up Stephen and I tried out Barons War rules for the first time. As it was our first outing we decided to go small, and had 500 point armies. We managed two games in around 5 hours, with much referring to the rules. All in all we thought the rules worked quite well.

Andy’s green bowmen thinning out Stephen’s Welsh Knights
Welsh archers draw bows to shoot Andy
English knights skulking around the back
Spearmen charge each other
Knights and sergeants urge the crossbows forward
Stephen’s Welsh Knights run from the field.
Andy’s spearmen force back Stephen’s archers

Meanwhile Jeremey and Tony were playing a War of the Roses game using Sword and Spear.

Elsewhere in the hall six of our Field of Glory players (John, Peter, Brett, Paul, Mark and Colin) fought out a tournament. Final results to be confirmed…

Yes, 6mm vs 15mm. But they all follow the same basing system.

Club meeting 23rd October

A quick round up of the games at the recent club meeting, four scales, four periods.

First up, a 15mm War of the Roses game between Stephen & Tony (Lancastran) and Jeremey and Andy (Yorkist) using Sword and Spear second edition rules.

Jeremey added some flavour with some random event cards, one to be drawn by each player. The four used in this game were:

Jeremey’s random event cards

Jeremey will write up the game, so I won’t go into detail on how the cards were used here.

Andy’s Yorkist Archers and Crossbows occupy hill as the Lancastrians approach
Andy’s command.
Tony’s Border Horse take on Jeremey’s Men at Arms (with the banner)
The Yorkist line seen from the Lancastrian’s perspective

Next up Mark, David and Alan fought a battle in the War of the Spanish Succession using Mark’s 6mm collection and his own rules.

The battle lines are drawn
The Grand Alliance Lines
Alliance infantry and train.

Cavalry advance
Local firefight

Moving on several centuries, we come to 2004, Fallujah, using Force on Force rules. This 20mm collection was put together during the lockdown by Peter, this is its first outing at the club. Peter was joined by John, Brett, Colin and the other Mark.

Marines on the roof
Marines take casualties while advancing
Pilot’s eye view
Insurgents
The Ruins of Fallujah
Insurgents around a skip
Insurgents in the open

And finally we move into the near future, with an excursion into Zona Alfa. John (another one) took Eric through the rules with a series of short scenarios using his 28mm collection.

Stalkers encounter some mutant dogs
Hostiles approach
Zombies in the smoke
Close encounter of the gruesome mutant kind
Where did everybody go?
Start of the next mission, all seems quiet… too quiet!
Creeping through the undergrowth
Objective taken, but man down.
Anomalies abound

The Battle of Upsheet Creek – An American Civil War Game

Stephen finds himself without a paddle…

I kept this a small game, using my own rules.

The Union are on the advance and have discovered Confederate troops in position on a hill overlooking a creek.

The Union troops are given the order – engage the Confederate troops and take the position.

The Union had two small divisions of three brigades each plus artillery. The Confederates had just the one division, though a sizeable one, with five brigades and artillery.

The Confederates were deployed with the artillery atop the hill so they had a good field of fire. The infantry were positioned at the bottom of the hill along the line of the creek. The Union divisions each had two of their brigades up front with the third brigade in reserve.

Deployment

On the first turn the Union moved forward. The guns started unlimbered so moved slowly, and I decided to move the infantry with them to keep the line together. But the Confederate artillery rolled really well, and one of the Union brigades took (light) damage. So it was obvious that if the Union infantry moved slowly with the artillery they’d spend longer getting pounded by the artillery, so on subsequent turns they left the artillery behind, but that was OK since the artillery had now moved into effective range.

The Union Advance

The Union right flank had been loaded with a single division concentrating on the extreme right – just the one Confederate brigade facing them, but a second in position to turn to offer support. This left the other Union division to contend with the middle and left flank. The fact that the middle was fairly open meant it was always going to be a difficult proposition. The two Union brigades going up the middle also had the artillery from both divisions to support them, however, although the Union artillery was in range of the Confederate infantry brigades at the bottom of the hill the Confederate artillery was at long range, which made counter-battery fire ineffective. Conversely, as the Union infantry advanced they put themselves in effective range of the Confederate artillery.

The Divisions Are Committed

You can work out what happened. Needless to say, even before they reached the creek, the lead Union brigade took withering fire from both the artillery and dug-in infantry. Exit one Union brigade.

This left the two Union brigades in the middle/left to split either side of the farm, with one now taking up the fateful position in the centre against all and sundry, and the other on the extreme left facing just a single brigade.

Not Looking Good In The Centre For The Union

On the right flank the two opposing forces came into musket range and let rip at each other. The Union advance had been slowed due to the rocky ground delaying one of the brigades, and this time it was obvious they should advance together to support each other or else be destroyed individually.

The Union Line Is Starting To Thin Out

Back in the centre the inevitable happened again – the Union brigade there took heavy fire from both infantry and artillery. Discretion was the better part of valour, so they were pulled back out of musket range so they could rally. The Union artillery moved up so they could fire at the Confederate artillery, scoring a good hit.

The Union Charge on The Right

There was only one way the Union was going to win this – take it to a charge.

And that’s what they did. On the right flank the order to charge went in and two Union brigades went forward. The Confederates fired their muskets, hoping to blunt the charge. But in it went and the Union troops won and pushed the Confederates back, but lacked the oomph to pursue them.

In Goes Another Union Charge

Emboldened by this, the Union brigade on the left took the hint, fixed bayonets, and charged in as well. Not so effective this time – the Confederates did counter-charge and pushed them back across the creek.

Union Troops Push the Confederates Up The Hill

Meanwhile, in the middle, the Union brigade had pulled back to rally. The artillery of both divisions turned their barrels to the Confederate artillery on the hill, hoping to silence them.

Again, the Union brigades on the right went in and charged, again pushing the Confederates further back up the hill. Only now, sensing victory, they managed to follow-up on the charge and in they went again and swept away the Confederates on top of the hill!

Victory On The Right Looks Imminent

But the middle was once again turning into a killing field, for both sides. The Union artillery annihilated one Confederate brigade, and the unlucky Union brigade who had rallied had been sent back in – they would not be coming back out.

And then, on the left, the Union brigade that had charged found itself taking musket fire. The combination of being bounced by the Confederate infantry and then the musket fire was enough – they were routed and left the field.

The Hill Is Captured

At the end of the turn, both sides had taken enough loses to lose! Although the Union left had taken the hill they did not have enough strength left to chase off the rest of the Confederates, and there was not enough Confederates left to truly hold the hill securely.

A draw was called.

The Final Battlefield

In the end the Union did better than I was expecting. I thought they might get a good drubbing. The fault I made was trying to engage the Confederate troops on a wide frontage. The middle ground was very open and it should have been obvious that any troops advancing through it would suffer badly. What I should have done is load the left flank the same way I loaded the right flank, and brought the Union artillery together to keep shooting away at the centre.

Instead I wasted two Union brigades marching up the centre just to get obliterated for nothing. I would fully expect the officers of those brigades to come up to me afterwards and tell me exactly what they thought of me.

And I wouldn’t blame them.

The Second Battle of St Albans – 17 February 1461

Stephen takes us through the return match of the Wars of the Roses that was the second battle of St Albans.

The Second St Albans has always struck me as one of those battles that no one’s heart was really in.
It’s more of a surprise battle that happened by accident.
Coming quickly on the heels of the battle of Mortimer’s Cross it had the Yorkists, led by Warwick, looking north expecting an attack.
Meanwhile, the Lancastrians, led by Somerset, were actually approaching from the south. The Yorkists had deployed in depth – most of the army looking north around the area of Normansland Common, with Warwick encamped at the village of Sandridge, and the artillery park (with King Henry) a mile or so south, just north of St Albans.
Scouts had reported to Warwick that Lancastrians had been seen approaching from the south at St Albans. Warwick had none of it. The Lancastrian vanguard marched into St Albans, sweeping aside the York pickets. Warwick still wouldn’t accept it.
On they marched, north, out of St Albans on the road heading for Sandridge. The Yorkist artillery had been dug in, but facing north! Urgent reports went back to Warwick – the Lancastrians are advancing from the south.
This time Warwick listened and sent out his own scouts to see how true it was. Meanwhile, the artillery was over-run and King Henry was given the chance to join the Lancastrian cause – unsurprisingly, he agreed.
It was only now that Warwick started funnelling troops south to face the approaching enemy army. The outcome was inevitable – the Yorkist army was routed.

The order of battle

Like all the other battles in this series it was gamed using Basic Impetus on a 3×2 foot board. The important aspect of this battle is that both sides had to continually feed troops in to the battlefield. The Lancastrians start with most present. The Yorkists have just their artillery, some handgunners, and Henry VI’s camp.
To represent troops entering the battlefield I decided that from Turn 3 onwards whichever side won the initiative could roll a second die – on a 4, 5, or 6 no more troops entered. On a 1, 2, or 3 that many units of their own troops could enter the table from their edge within 1 base-width of the road.
Here’s the initial deployment. North is to the right, south/St Albans is to the left.

Deployment

Initiative went to the Lancastrians for the first couple of turns, which allowed them to move up with speed and also meant that on Turn 3 they brought more troops on. This was as it should be, since the rest of the army was just 500m to the south coming through St Albans town, whereas the York army was a good couple of kilometres further north.
The artillery stayed still, waiting for the Lancastrian archers to come into range. The handgunners moved forward so they could start scoring hits sooner than later. However, neither side was rolling that well and what exchanges there were proved desultory. Nevertheless, the inevitable happened – the handgunners fell under the weight of the archers.

Handgunners light their fuses

More Lancastrian troops arrived and I was starting to wonder if the Yorkists would ever arrive and maybe they’d just march right across the battlefield unopposed.
The artillery opened up but it was more noise than effect. The archers concentrated their fire and that was that.

The artillery lets rip!

At this stage there were no Yorkist forces in the table!
Without much resistance the Lancastrians rolled into King Henry’s camp and they captured the King.

King Henry about to be captured

At this point it had all gone pretty much according to history.
Then the Yorkists stole initiative and they could bring on some troops – just the one unit this time, so I opted for the fully armoured men at arms. There they stood, that one unit looking toward St Albans, all alone, facing the entire Lancastrian army.
The men at arms moved forward, optimistically expecting more troops to arrive and wanting to make room for them.

York Men at Arms come to see what all the fuss is

This wasn’t misplaced optimism, and close on their heels came a couple of units of Yorkist longbowmen.
The Lancastrian army started to get a lick on and advanced quickly to hedge in the newly arrived York troops and make it difficult for them to manoeuvre into position.
The Yorkists knew there was nothing to be gained by staying still and so they pushed the men at arms forward – they had to get stuck in as quickly as possible to halt the Lancastrian advance and to strike a blow. The archers protected the flanks of the advancing men at arms and an arrow exchange between the two sides ensued.
Fortunately, more Yorkist troops now started to arrive – Warwick had clearly come to his senses!

Warwick’s Troops Finally Get On Table (on the right)

Up until now the Lancastrian army had been unscathed, but now they started taking casualties and wouldn’t be having it all their own way. Nevertheless they were also dishing it out. Those Yorkist men at arms became an arrow magnet and arrows fell heavily on them, but eventually they made their way forward and charged the Lancastrian bow line.
For what good it did them, though. Drained by the shower of arrows they were soon finished off by the archers but gave a good account of themselves in return.
Meanwhile, the Yorkist troops had moved forward to get the Lancastrian army in close range – there was nothing to lose and they had to hope that God (the dice) would be on their side and they could blast the Lancastrians.

York Men At Arms Finally Get Stuck In

This tactic wasn’t lost on the Lancastrians though. Recognising that each side had a 50/50 chance of success in a bow exchange they decided to swing the odds in their favour and advanced their men at arms and billmen through their lines and charge into the York archers.

Lancastrian Infantry Charge Through The Archers

And it was a tactic that paid off.
The weight of the fresh Lancastrian melee troops fell upon the Yorkist archers and the combat was brief but decisive – the day would go to Lancaster!

Previous entries in Stephen’s War of the Roses battles:

 

The 3 S’s: Stargrave, Space: 1999 and Serenity

Andy tells a story of repurposing an Eagle…

With the announcement of the release of Stargrave last year one of our members suggested that as a lockdown project those interested might like to kitbash or scratchbuild a shuttle or spaceship and paint up a 15mm crew for the game, with a target date of early 2021 when we hoped we might be able to resume meetings. The due date was of course extended.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Actually, no, it was in the 1970’s in Rochester, I bought and made up an Airfix Space 1999 Eagle Transporter. Said model has followed me around various student lodgings, digs, flats and finally my current home.

So, I had a search in the loft and found the Eagle. It’s not had very much use, but at one point I completely repainted it into a non-cannon scheme.

Eagle as found

I noticed that the thruster units were missing, I have a vague recollection that I removed them for the last repaint, and put them in a ziplock bag somewhere. Exactly where I don’t recall, hopefully they will turn up at some point.

Having found the model I decided I didn’t want to do a full strip and repaint, but I wasn’t that keen on the colour scheme I had used for the doors on the cargo pod or cockpit.

I decided to just touch up the grey and repaint the cargo pod and cockpit panels. I started off by giving the doors and the cockpit panels a couple of coats of Foundation White. Once dry I then repainted the doors and panels with Fluorescent Orange, with some black lining. The instrument panels at the top of the doors were painted Gunmetal Grey.

I also decided that the main engine nozzles need a touch-up, matt black inside and Gunmetal Grey outside. I also repainted the black panels on the cockpit section. I suspect my decision to use a grey and orange scheme may have been influenced by old Royal Navy SAR helicopters.

I had a rummage through my spare transfer box and found quite a few sheets from some Hasegawa 1:72nd scalexe UH-1D Helicopters I’d built for Vietnam games. This gave me a load of duplicate registration numbers, plus some Japanese Kanji characters. I gloss varnished the areas I to which I was going to place the transfers, added some 5-digit numbers to the front and sides, and larger two-digit numbers to the sides and top surfaces. I also added a Kanji block to the sides of the cargo pod, these actually read Rikujōjieitai or “Japan Ground Self Defence Force”. The reasons for adding some Kanji characters will become clearer later.

Eagle repainted

While I was working on the Eagle and posting WIP pictures on the MWS groups.io discussion page a debate arose about whether I should give the Eagle some weapons. There were arguments in favour and against, some of which were quite passionate.

I decided to try and have the best of both worlds, and make the guns detachable. Looking at the Eagle the spinal lattice work had gaps of approximately one inch. I thought I could make some inserts to fit this lattice to hold the guns.

I started by cutting some 25mm square sections of 5mm foamboard, then trimming about 2 mm off each edge of one of the cardboard faces and the underlying foam. This needs to be done carefully so as not to cut through the second face. This results in a roughly 21mm square “plug” with a 25mm square upper face. I made two of these.

Left to right: 25mm square foamboard, markings for the edge cuts, the roughly 21mm square plug with 25mm upper face.

I obtained a selection of spare guns from Brigade’s 15mm Accessories range, and made two gun packs, one fixed gun firing forward using a Triple Powergun and one with four Remote Weapons Mounts, think of some small Vulcan Phalanx systems.

I painted the guns Gunmetal grey and the body of the pack as close a match to the Eagle’s grey as I could mix. I then gave the guns a liberal coat of Army Painter Dark Tone wash.

Eagle Guns (L to R) Chin gun from a Kirin walker, Triple Powergun, Remote Weapon Mount

These gun packs just push fit into the spinal lattice, the foam is flexible enough to deform as they fit into place and expand again to hold them solid. The separate twin turret just fits into a recess in the cockpit section.

Eagle guns mounted

Now onto the crew.

A while ago I was tempted by a couple of GZG figure packs that bore an uncanny resemblance to the cast of a certain 2000’s Sci Fi TV show and film. Shiny. So, these would become the crew of the Eagle.

I mounted these on some 16mm diameter washers, built up the bases with Polyfilla and undercoated them with grey primer.

I found a few pictures of the cast on the web and used those as inspiration for the colour scheme, or as close as I could get with the mostly Valljeo paints I had available. The bases were then finished off with basetex and the figures varnished.

Three of the cast had duplicate figures, either different clothing and / or weapons, so I painted the second version in slightly different colours so that they could be used as different characters if required.

Left to right: two versions each of the Captain, Enforcer and First Mate.

The other six members of the crew only had a single casting each:

Left to right: Telepathic teenage ninja girl and her brother the Doctor; Pilot (husband of the First Mate), Engineer, Shepherd (sort of a priest) and Courtesan.

Oh, and the use of the Kanji script on the Eagle? In the TV show the characters speak a mixture of American English and Mandarin (the latter usually mild profanities) and the latter also appears in company names and logos, the Kanji decals were the closest I had to Mandarin.

I originally thought that the Airfix kit was 1:72nd scale, but if so, the crew would have to be contortionists to fit in the cockpit.

Off to Google. There’s quite a few websites dedicated to Space: 1999. I found one website that states that the Eagle is 76 feet (23.16m) long which, given the model length of 300mm nose to engine nozzles, would make the kit  approximately 1:77th scale; another  compares the Airfix kit to the different Eagle models used in the TV series, which were not necessarily consistent with each other.

This suggests that the Airfix model is likely to be closer to 1:96th scale. I could probably start some arguments if I started making pronouncements that 15mm = 1:100 scale (personally I reckon it’s closer to 1:120), but the bottom line is I think that the Eagle looks OK next to 15mm figures, and the crew could get into the cockpit without scraping their heads on the ceiling.

Unarmed Eagle and crew

Wherever you have protagonists you need antagonists. As far as I could see GZG didn’t do any of the TV show’s “baddies”, the Alliance, so I went elsewhere.

Brigade models do some Uniformed Starship Crew and some Tank Crew in helmets. I got a pack of each. Unfortunately, the bases on these were too small to glue directly to the washers, so I had to cut some suitably sized cardboard fillers to bridge the gap. These figures got a generic mid grey uniform with some red and silver highlights here and there. Depending on your viewpoint these are the heroes of justice, or the lackeys of the oppressive state.

Alliance Officers: The Commander (2nd left) and her Lieutenants.
Alliance Grunts

These chaps don’t have a ship of their own, but I do have a vehicle, a Brigade Javelot scout car, for them.

Grunts and car

It might be a bit tight for all 8 of them in there, so I might need to get them more transport!

The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross – 3rd Feb 1461

Stephen has fought another battle in the War of the Roses campaign…

So this is the next one in my Wars of the Roses battles.

Like all the others, the intent is that anyone should be able to game it. This was played on a 3’x2’ table using Basic Impetus.

This battle was the famous one where the atmospheric phenomenon known as a parhelion was witnessed and was interpreted by Edward of York as the Holy Trinity and was, therefore, an omen for victory. In recognition of this he took the Sun In Splendour as his personal emblem.

But a victory for who?

Order of Battle

From a gaming point of view there is one important thing to take into account – the Yorkists deployed some of their archers and cavalry hidden in the woods on the Lancastrian left. I decided that the Lancastrians could not move against these hidden troops unless they either moved or shot their arrows to revel their presence.

The battlefield itself is a rather simple affair. The river Lugg on the east border, and a ridge and woodland on the west. Other than that, it’s all open – these two terrain features dictated the deployment of troops.

Deployment

How did it go then?

Historically, the Yorkist ambush opened the battle. This had the desired effect on the Lancastrian line. Although the Lancastrians had a slight numerical superiority the Yorkist ambush did the trick and Edward of York sealed the victory.

This is how my re-fight went.

The key was obviously going to be when to spring the ambush. Since both sides were up for a fight there was no postponement of initiative rolls like in previous games – initiative was rolled for from the start. This can frequently mean that one side gets a double go – last to move in one turn and then first to move in the next turn. Would this affect the ambush?

Yes, it would.

Edward leads his knights

The Yorkist plan was to let the Lancastrian knights advance past the hidden cavalry and then be peppered by the archers and Edward of York leading his knights in a charge on the weakened cavalry. Meanwhile, the hidden cavalry would rush out and slam into the Lancastrian infantry line. At least, that was the plan.

The ambush is finally sprung

Sure enough, forward went the Lancastrian knights. This put them in range of a bow attack from the archers and a follow up charge by the cavalry. This was tempting and would probably rout them. But if things went the Yorkist way (i.e. they won initiative next turn) they could then have their cake and eat it and their plan would go the way they wanted. Had Edward of York’s omen of the parhelion been true – was it a blessing from the Holy Trinity?

Well, if it was, it wasn’t just yet. The Lancastrians took the initiative which meant the Lancastrian knights not only galloped past the archers but they also managed to take the charge into the Yorkist knights (who were being led by Edward).

The knights clash

Meanwhile the rest of the Lancastrian line trudged forward. The Yorkists, kicking their heels at missing out, nevertheless managed to spring part of their ambush and the cavalry charged into the Lancastrian billmen.

Over on the Lancastrian right flank, where they had their currours and hobilars, they decided to spur their cavalry and take the charge to the Yorkist longbows. Otherwise they’d just find themselves turning into pin cushions.

The currours advance

Although the Lancastrian knights had cleared the ambush they were still far from safe. Their charge had taken them past the York battle line, and into the Yorkist knights. They needed to pull this off or they would be in a dire situation. And pull it off they did – they pushed Edward and his knights back and followed up with a pursuit.

The two infantry lines had started sending arrows over at each other, but these long shots had little effect. However, as they closed, casualties started mounting, particularly amongst the Lancastrians. Despite the less than auspicious ambush, it could be the day would still go the Yorkist way.

The centre battleline

The Lancastrian levies took firm hold of their spears and went for the Yorkist archers who had despatched the currours. They dropped their bows and took up hatchets and swords and, supported by billmen, gave melee. The result was indecisive – all units suffered hits and stayed locked in combat.

Over in the ambush area things were starting to get dirty. The Lancastrian billmen had stood firm against the cavalry and routed them! But that wasn’t all. The struggle between the Yorkist and Lancastrian knights also came to a conclusion – the Lancastrian knights had won the fight and not only routed the Yorkist knights but had also killed Edward as well!

So much for the Holy Trinity!

Edward is gone

This still wasn’t the end for York, far from it. On the eastern flank, by the banks of the Lugg, the Yorkist infantry had routed the Lancastrian levies. In the middle it was still a mix – the two lines had yet to come to blows, preferring to exchange bowfire. This had affected both sides with no absolute winner.

In go the levies

In the west, by the woods, the ambush had come to nothing. The cavalry had been beaten, the Lancastrian knights had slipped through and killed Edward of York, and it just left the archers, feeling all alone and surrounded.

It wouldn’t go on for much longer. The Yorkist archers inevitably fell. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Enough was enough, and the army of York had reached its break point. Victory would go to Lancaster!

Not looking good for the archers

It had been a slight victory. Had the Lancastrians lost one more unit it would have been a York victory.

The undoing had been the poorly executed ambush. It had been a gamble on whether to wait for ideal conditions, and a gamble that didn’t pay off. It didn’t help that dice rolls had been poor all game, poor for both sides, meaning that fights drew on. Any winners in combat had generally taken such a pummelling that though they may have won they had also been left spent.

Next up is a return to St Albans…

A Quick Camping Trip

Jeremey puts the Romans to shame by building a marching camp in just a few hours!

This all started because I wanted to expand my Wars of the Roses army to the point where I could field both sides. In many rulesets dealing with Medieval warfare a camp is required for each army. I only had one camp as I previously only had one army.

I therefore set about making a camp from scratch. Yes I could have ordered some tents and camp equipment miniatures but I was in one of my “Just make something” moods.

The Start of a basic palisade

I thought the easiest option would be a stockade/Palisade style camp. I already had a base and dug out the air drying clay to make the bank and interior terrain of the camp.

It was at this point things just didn’t work, the clay just would not stick to the wooden base as I was sculpting it into shape. So I took it off the base and continued on the work mat. But then I realised I needed to make an indentation for the cocktail sticks, sorry wooden palisade fence before the clay dried.

At this point I threw my toys out of the pram as I couldn’t see it working and I’d have to wait for the clay to dry. Then I had a eureka moment and turned to my old modelling friend EVA foam. I make everything out of the stuff so why not the camp.

The air drying clay is ditched in favour of foam

I cut off of a EVA foam floor mat a couple of strips to act as the defensive bank and also (just because I could) another couple of pieces to turn into a hut/shed.

Life would not be worth living without a hot glue gun

I then fired up the hot glue gun and stuck the foam to the base. Instant results and no waiting for clay to dry.

20 minutes later and the palisade is complete!

Ah I hear you cry but how did you create a gap for the palisade. All that was needed was to cut down through the top of the foam bank and then push the cocktail stick down through the cut. I simply used a little bit of superglue to stick them together. I then went across the top with my wire cutters to trim all the sticks to the same height.

Back to the hot glue gun

At this point I could have gone back to some for of putty/clay to model the inside terrain of the camp. But I was on a roll and wanted the camp finished in a day!
So I went back to the hot glue gun and used it to build up the ground against the foam banking, and I also used it to create the muddy path between the two entrances. This is easy to do, you just use the nozzle of the glue gun to melt the glue as you run back through it. I also made a little pile of logs for scenery.

A splash of brown and a bit of flock

I then turned to painting the camp. A simply covering of brown followed by a bit of dry brushing with lighter shades took care of the camp and surrounding palisade. Once the paint had dried a bit I spread PVA glue and sprinkled some flock.

The hut/shed takes form

Having to pause to let the PVA glue dry I turned to the other piece of scenery the hut/shed. To build this I stuck two pieces of foam together wit the glue gun and then cut out the entrance, I then cut the top of the block into a slanted roof shape. The roof was made by cutting a very thin layer off the foam floor tile and sticking it down on top. This formed a nice curving roof.
To create the look that it was thatched was done by drawing the craft knife gently across the top. Just enough to score it not cut it.

The finished camp

A quick paint job on the hut including painting on the wooden beams in the wall for that medieval look took moments and then I stuck it in place.
At this point for finishing flourish I added some different flock to break up the grass areas. I do have a couple of figures I might add to this, but for a model that took me about 3 hours I’m really pleased with the results.