Wars of the Roses – Battle of Barnet – Battle Report

Battle number ten in our campaign took us to the all important battle of Barnet. One of the main features of the battle (apart from the treacherous Earl of Warwick) was the fog that plagued both sides on the day.  To represent this we rolled a 1D3 at the start with the result indicating the affect of the fog. The result was that all ranged weapons for the battle were reduced by 2 DU. This meant the longbows went from 5 DU to 3DU making any archery exchange very close indeed. We normally have a couple of guest commanders for our battles but this time it was just myself commanding the Yorkists and Stephen with his Lancastrians. But we stuck to the armies being divided up into two commands each.

Battle of Barnet
Both sides deployed in fairly typical fashion but the make up of the armies was quite different this time. For the Yorkists my main force was quite strong with men at arms, bills, longbows, mercenary pikemen and mounted men at arms. I had 16 units under this command. The remaining 8 units of the second command were mainly militia units of bills, longbows and some currours. I intentionally kept this command weak as a feint with the hope that the Lancastrians would still commit enough of their stronger units against it.

On the Lancastrian side Stephen did not bring any cavalry which surprised me, but did bring some guns and units of Irish Kerns. He brought a good mix of militia and retinue units, and a unit of Gallowglass (dismounted men at arms for game purposes). Stephen had brought twice as many command units as I had which would prove to be a problem for me and divided his commands evenly with 13 units in each.

Deployment was typical but I left some space in the middle to bring up some infantry should I need it later in the battle. Probably by accident but very similar to the last battle we had both placed our strongest flanks facing the enemies weakest.

With the fog causing problems both sides advanced their archers in the centre for a quick exchange of arrows. Despite using many bonus dice this didn’t really achieve much.

Along with my two generals I had brought a captain who would have the sole responsibility of commanding the mounted men at arms on the Yorkist right flank. I knew I wanted to get the cavalry moving and threatening the Lancastrian left flank as soon as I could, hoping the enemy could not ignore them.

In the centre and the Lancastrians suddenly changed everything with some superb archery, making a unit of Yorkist longbows the first casualties of the day. This led me to spur on my infantry in the centre to make good use of the road and fill the gap.

Out on the Yorkist left flank I needed to goad the Lancastrians into believing my weaker units were a threat and so I boldly moved up the Currours to attempt a similar manoeuvre to my men at arms over on the right. Knowing the threat the cavalry posed Stephen surprised me by using a few bonus dice to have his Kerns charge in, thus depriving my cavalry of their impact bonus. Even worse was to come when the Kerns managed to survive a melee against both units of Currours!

Seeing the disaster over on the left flank I resolved to make up for it with my mounted men at arms. The Lancastrians had moved up some archers, so I had to get the charge in. But again the Lancastrians held firm and the cavalry became bogged down.

To try and maintain pressure on the Lancastrian right I decided to move up my militia longbows but the exchange of arrows proved ineffective. This was then met with an advance from the Lancastrian longbows.

Back to the centre my bold move to fill the gap paid off with the billmen routing some of the troublesome archers. But the Lancastrians had brought up their men at arms ready to join the fight.

With the Yorkist left flank plan having failed and the same happening on the right, I decided to bring in extra support and managed to overwhelm the archers and again threaten the Lancastrian right.

In the centre the last of the Lancastrian archers had been destroyed but this left the billmen facing the elite of the Lancastrian army alone. Acting just as bold the Lancastrian men at arms soon got the better of the Yorkist billmen.

The centre was now becoming the main focus of the battle with both armies bolstering their ranks.

It was at this point the disaster on the Yorkist left had reached a turning point with the Irish Kerns managing to rout some of the currours.

This was added to with the Yorkist militia longbows being nearly destroyed. I had hoped my smaller left flank would have occupied the Lancastrians for longer. The units had played their role and held up the left flank of the Lancastrians, but with casualties being fairly even on both sides at this point I had to rethink my strategy.

Focusing back to the Yorkist right I was lucky enough to get some good activation rolls and went on the offensive with my surviving longbow units.

The centre then became a bloody ground, the Lancastrian men at arms faired poorly and were defeated by the Yorkist billmen, but the Lancastrian Gallowglasses made up for it with a valiant defence, even after I managed to support the bills with some spearmen. I also decided it was now or never to get my mercenary pikemen into the fight.

With further success on the Yorkist right the mounted men at arms charged through the Lancastrian guns and onto some waiting billmen. The Yorkist archers also managed to destroy the last of the opposing archers pushing the Lancastrians to their first morale check.

Spurred on by the Lancastrians dropping morale I pushed more billmen forward, although the loss of the second unit of currours and militia longbows on the Yorkist left flank put my army close to the first morale check.

But the battle continued and the Lancastrian Gallowglasses still held firm making for a nervous time. But in the Yorkist favour was that the Lancastrian right flank was too far away to get involved in the battle in the centre.

The following turn was the last with yet another disappointing show from the Lancastrian men at arms who were dispatched but the pikemen for no loss to themselves. And the Gallowglasses finally fell pushing the Lancastrians to their breaking point.

And so the Battle of Barnet ended with a Yorkist victory, to make the day worse the Lancastrians also lost the Earl of Essex and the Duke of Exeter.
Time to reassemble the armies and march to Tewkesbury.

Yorkist Loses
2 Units of Currours (8 points)
4 Units of Longbows (12 points)
2 Units of Militia Longbows (6 points)
1 Unit of Billmen (4 points)
Total loses 30 points (Army break point 47)

Lancastrian Loses
2 Units of Dismounted Men at Arms (8 points)
3 Units of Billmen (12 points)
4 Units of Longbows (12 points)
2 Units of Militia Longbows (6 points)
1 Unit Gallowglass (4 points)
1 Unit Guns (2 points)
1 Unit Irish Kerns (3 points)
Total loses 47 points (Army break point 45)

Yorkist Victory