Battle number eight in our campaign was the little known Hedgeley Moor. Again this was another of those battles that in reality didn’t amount to much and saw one side flee the field after a brief melee. The setup for this battle was a straight forward open plain. We went with 800 points each side for this particular battle. The Lancastrians were commanded by Stephen as Somerset supported by Andy as Baron Ros. I commanded the Yorkists as the rightful King Edward IV and Eric joined us for the first time in the campaign. Their didn’t appear to be any other lords on the Yorkist side so I gave Eric the banners of Lord Falconberg.
With the Yorkists sitting on 5 victories to the Lancastrian’s 1 and only 6 more battles to go in the campaign this was crunch time for Lord Somerset’s ambitions.
Battle of Hedgeley Moor
Both sides drew up their armies in the normal fashion. But a surprise came from Stephen by again fielding a strong force of cavalry. I don’t know if this was part of still trying to exercise the demons given the poor showing of the Lancastrian mounted nobility in many of the previous battles, but their they were taking to the field again.
Stephen placed the mounted men at arms in the centre of his line while I placed my cavalry on the far left of the Yorkist flank, while Eric did the same with his lone unit of cavalry out on the right.
Winning initiative I advanced my army across the field. The line of cavalry in the centre facing my archers gave me no choice but to try and get some shots in as quickly as possible. If I waited for the cavalry I ran the risk of not getting a shot off before they arrived.
Out on the Yorkist left flank I decided to try and goad Andy’s forces into action and to draw his attention away from the centre. Using a bonus dice for some extra movement the Currours set off across the field.
Eric got his force on the move and after a brief word of advice from me, sent his cavalry off to capture the hill on the right and start to threaten the Lancastrian left flank.
Eric rolled well for the first activation dice and was able to move up his entire front line of archers.
Much to my surprise the Lancastrian cavalry remained in place and so I risked moving my archers further away from the my infantry units, in trying to get some shots in on the cavalry. I gave my Crossbows a bonus dice to increase their movement rate and get into a firing position for next turn.
Having shown my hand Stephen decided to no longer wait and got his cavalry on the move. This meant initiative was going to be a crucial for the next turn. Either the Yorkists would get their shots off or the Lancastrian cavalry would charge in.
Thankfully the Yorkists won the initiative and so I made sure my archers would get an attack in. The crossbows went first and through poor marksmanship failed to score any hits and so I feared the worst when the cavalry charged in. Luckily the Lancastrians matched the crossbows lack of skill when it came to the melee with neither side managing to wound the other. With more cavalry approaching I went all out with more bonus dice but only managed a single wound against the mounted men at arms poised to charge.
Eric began an archery duel with Stephens forces while still managing to bring up some men at arms in support. The Lancastrians wary of the cavalry on the hill sent some billmen to secure their flank.
Having managed not to get ridden down by the cavalry on the first charge I quickly repositioned some of my uncommitted archers to fire at the cavalry that had not charged. The hasty volley wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped.
Seeing my archers engaged with the cavalry Andy began to move his own archers to threaten the Yorkist cavalry out on the left .
My archers were being worn down by the cavalry and a good use of some bonus dice saw the Yorkist frontline crumble.
After a few optimistic turns in which my archers managed to first blunt the Lancastrian charge and then hold their own in the following melee, they finally broke leaving a large gap. The crossbows also fell giving the Lancastrians the chance to plunge deeper into the Yorkists ranks and split the force in half.
With Andy’s archers on the move I went back to my original plan and got the Yorkist cavalry moving again. Seeing the cavalry move Andy seized the chance and gave his hand gunners a bunch of bonus dice to rake the Currours as they rode passed. Unfortunately they missed spectacularly.
But I wasn’t prepared to ignore the threat and so I charged the hand gunners with my spearmen. Little did I expect the gunners to be better at hand to hand combat than actually shooting. After a brief exchange and much to their embarrassment the spearmen were destroyed.
Meanwhile on the other side of the battlefield Eric was putting everyone else to shame, the Yorkists were winning the archery duel and his men at arms had got to within charging distance of the remaining Lancastrian archers.
The situation in the middle was still in the balance but the Lancastrian cavalry had failed to exploit the gaps. Two of the four mounted men at arms units had been destroyed, but only after taking out more of the Yorkist archers. But the value difference in those units had pushed the Lancastrians to their first break point.
With their morale lowered Eric pushed the advantage he had on the Lancastrian left flank. The Currours were holding but had failed to sweep the billmen aside. But the men at arms had dispatched the archers and were advancing on the remaining billmen.
In the centre I managed to get some militia billmen up to plug the gap, they were immediately charged by the Lancastrian cavalry but in a strange twist of fate both sides wiped each other out. Again this proved costly for the Lancastrians and when more Yorkist billmen destroyed the remaining cavalry unit it pushed the Lancastrians to their second break point.
With the Lancastrians a spent force Eric continued to press the fight with his cavalry and billmen, unfortunately both were fought to a draw with the Lancastrians saving a bit of pride.
For a straight fight this battle had a few crucial moments. I was surprised by the Lancastrian block of cavalry in the centre of the line. This was a real danger and despite the Yorkist archers not shooting the cavalry down as they charged, because they managed to hold against the initial contact, it gave time for the infantry to be brought up in support.
The Yorkist cavalry on their left flank achieved very little throughout the battle and so it was a blessing the Lancastrians did not pressure the Yorkist forces on that side. On the other side of the battlefield Eric’s first command could not have gone better. Despite not doing as well with his cavalry as hoped he only lost one unit of archers in the whole battle. This would play a pivotal role as the casualties from the centre brought the Yorkists within one point of their first break point.
The campaign is now 6-1 to the Yorkists with 6 battles remaining. It’s not impossible but the Lancastrians are really going to have to produce something special at the battle of Hexham.
1 Unit of Militia Billmen (4 points)
4 Units of Longbows (12 points)
1 Unit of Crossbows (3 points)
2 Units of Currours (8 points)
1 Unit of Spearmen (3 points)
Total loses 30 points (Army break point 46)
4 Units of Mounted Men at Arms (16 points)
3 Units of Billmen (12 points)
5 Units of Longbows (15 points)
Total loses 43 points (Army break point 38)