The Bloody Field – Wars of the Roses Battle Report

After the disasterous dice rolling displayed in the previous battle Jeremey offers Tony the chance to get even.

A victory entirely down to how bad your opponent rolled isn’t much to celebrate and so I offered Tony the chance of a rematch to banished those dice rolling demons. This was a smaller battle, mainly because I had to provide both armies. I made the sides identical with 12 units in each army. As before I took charge of the Yorkists and Tony the Lancastrians.

Tony deployed his forces in the traditional way of archers out front with billmen and men at arms behind. He also positioned all of his cavalry on the Lancastrian left flank. Although Tony’s set up was more in keeping with the period, I decided to deploy in a single line with my archers interspersed between my other infantry. I did this because we were using the Sword and Spear rules which do not allow general infantry units to move through each other. Tony scores a point for taking the historical high ground and I lose points for playing the rules not the period. I also split my cavalry up with a unit on each flank.

Much to my surprise given the last battle we fought Tony advanced with his cavalry straight at my archers despite them having a number of billmen units in support.

Meanwhile both sides advanced their frontlines to begin the archery duel. Initially this looked like it was going to favour Tony’s deployment because more of his archers were lined up against my billmen and men at arms, giving the chance to cause the Yorkists some damage before the infantry came to blows.

At this point Tony’s cavalry crashed into my archers but did not do enough damage and so the melee continued. Despite not getting the result Tony expected from the charge (partly because of the billmen support of the archers) they would end up locked in combat for quite a while.

As with the previous battle the Yorkists won the archery duel but this time the Lancastrian archers did at least cause some damage on a number of Yorkist units.

With the archers once again wiped out Tony began moving up his infantry units to get to grips with their Yorkist counterparts.

On the Lancastrian left flank the mounted men at arms finally managed to destroy the Yorkist archers but were locked in melee with the Yorkist billmen. I was surprised to find the cavalry still intact after this combat, I was hoping to have destroyed the cavalry who are tough when charging but not for prolonged combat.

With the destruction of their archers and the loss of some other units the Lancastrians were on the brink of breaking after just three turns. It was at this point that Tony’s now legendary bad dice rolling returned. A bold charge across the road with enough dice to provide a bonus produced nothing higher than a 3! This saw the destruction of the billmen and the breaking of the Lancastrian army.

We didn’t have enough time to refight the battle on the day, so instead Tony and I decided to ignore the army break point and continue the battle to the death.

Clearly that’s all Tony’s Lancastrians needed to suddenly start rolling dice like they meant it. A ferocious clash took place on the Yorkist left flank  as their billmen and men at arms charged across the road.

On the Yorkist left flank the cavalry were maneuvering into position to prevent either side from outflanking the other. In the background you can see the Lancastrian cavalry still trading blows with the Yorkist infantry.

With the Lancastrians new found successes punching holes in the Yorkist front line, drastic measures were needed to stop the advance. This ended up with the generals of each side supporting their men at arms.

The fight continued and despite the Yorkists getting more men at arms into the fight the Lancastrians overwhelmed the Yorkist men at arms but failed to kill the Yorkist general in the fight.

Realising the danger the Yorkist general moved to reinforce the other men at arms unit. But this move also abandoned the hard set Yorkist billmen on the Yorkist left who were quickly destroyed, leading to the collaspe of that flank.

With the Yorkist Archers now in danger of being overrun, the Yorkists had some good news with the cavalry duel out on the Lancastrian left. This allowed the Yorkist mounted men at arms to rush to the aid of their general.

Despite this last minute charge and the final defeat of the Lancastrian men at arms by the cavalry, the Lancastrians still had enough men under arms on the battlefield to declare victory.

This was an interesting battle. By continuing to fight on after the standard victory conditions were met (rather quickly I might add) the battle flowed back and forth. The Yorkist cavalry proved superior on the day (with credit given to the Lancastrian mounted men at arms that lasted three round of melee against some billmen). And the initial archery duel clearly went to the Yorkists. But the Lancastrian infantry proved unstoppable on the day.
This battle did make me question the Sword and Spear break point rules. Maybe there should be a sliding scale to represent historical battles where armies break early on to those where armies fought to the bitter end.

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