Wars of the Roses – 1st Battle of St Albans – Battle Report

This is the first battle report in what will be a long standing campaign to re-fight the Wars of the Roses. Details can be found on the campaign page. Stephen takes us through the first battle (with commentary from Jeremey)

First Battle of St Albans
Well, our first Wars of the Roses battle in a campaign to re-fight all of the major battles – First St Albans.
Jeremey’s plan is that we set up the historical battlefield, but after that it’s up to each commander. So not a true re-fight so much as just sharing the same battlefield, so keep that in mind. There’s positives and negatives to that approach, like there is to any other way of re-fighting a battle, but that is the approach we agreed on so that’s what we are going with.
(Jeremey – using a standard ruleset to refight an historic battle is almost impossible. I set the campaign up to just give the flavour of each of the major battles. Hence the only significance of the First battle of St Albans being that one players deployment was a defensive one on the edge of the town).

I had the Duke of Somerset in charge of my army. Since it was going to essentially be an attack and defend scenario (with me defending St Albans) I decided to use my army points prudently and spent a bit on militia archers (as well as retinue troops) to make the points go further. I decided I would keep them static, behind stakes for a bit of extra protection, and use retinue troops for any aggressive tactics. I also gave myself a Scottish contingent (yes, we know there were none present at the actual battle – read above for our take on this) of a pike block (protecting the central road into the town) and some light cavalry lancers who I put on the left flank to annoy Jeremey. Experience of using both troop types in previous games meant I wasn’t expecting much out of them. I had the men at arms in the middle, with Somerset, and on the right and left flanks, on the edges of the town, were the billmen and archers. I had quite a long frontage to my battleline thanks to bringing some cheaper troop types (the local militia archers) to bulk the army out.

In contrast, Jeremey had a smaller army that he deployed in two lines, meaning that he would struggle against my flanks. He also had lots of commanders! He obviously had low expectations of his army to follow orders. It looked like he had the whole of Burke’s Peerage on the table.
(Jeremey – In my defence we were expecting to be joined in this battle by other players so I went with more commanders than usual thinking the army would be split into two battles. In the end I spent 210 points out of a 700 point army on commanders!)

For so many commanders he made a slow and ponderous approach. The front line seemed to consist mainly of his archers. Out on my left flank I sent the Scots lancers charging forward. I still wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. My initial tactic was just to put them somewhere it would annoy Jeremey and he would have to turn troops to face them just in case.
(Jeremey – I must admit I didn’t bother with cavalry thinking Stephen wouldn’t bother either and just pick units to sit and defend the town. They did disrupt my movements towards the town, but then I was making a pigs ear of that anyway!).

But it turned out I had them in quite an advantageous position, looking straight on to the flank of some of his archers. I rolled a couple of 6s so made the choice to send them in.
This set the ball rolling. First blood went to Somerset’s army – the Scots routed a unit of archers! At that point I decided they’d already paid for themselves. Mind you, not too far away were a unit of his armoured men at arms and it was obvious what was going to happen. In they went and off the table went some lancers.
(Jeremey – the loss of the archers and disruption to my line made me think this battle was already over. Given I was already attacking a defensive army with less units, I’d also failed at the simple tactic of using overwhelming force.)

Like I say, this set the tone. Because what happened is that Jeremey was having trouble keeping his two battle lines going. In the middle he moved his crossbows forward, looking straight at the pike block. I knew what would happen if I stayed there – a steady rain of missile fire and the pikes gone for nothing. So I decided to push them forward as fast as I could, plonking a 6 activation dice on them whenever I could to give them an extra move unit to get in quickly.
(Jeremey – I’d finally got the main line of my archers into firing position, but didn’t realise you could not give crossbows a bonus dice or 6 to increase their range. I was hoping to get at least two volley’s off against the enemy before they closed the distance).

I advanced the retinue archers on my extreme left and right flanks to over lap his army, create some oblique fire lanes to keep him in arc as he approached, and see what casualties I could cause before he got to the town.
(Jeremey – this move was what I expected and once the cavalry were dealt with I turned my archers and gave them 6’s or bonus dice and started the archery duel).

Jeremey’s lines got more and more separated. Due to both the Scots lancers, the Scots pike block, and the flanking archers, he was taking casualties and his line was breaking up. He was having to use his best activation dice to keep his line in order, turning this way and that to see off a threat as it came. And all this meant his men at arms and billmen at the back just got left behind.
(Jeremey – In the end I only got one volley off from the crossbows before the pikes got into contact. The missile fire did no damage and the pikes destroyed the crossbow unit. But I was doing better on the flanks with the enemy taking greater loses).

At this point the only troops I had committed to melee were the lancers and pikes, which I ultimately lost, but it also meant I had not sustained any other casualties. By the end of it I had more or less routed all his archers (I think he had one or two units left, but that was about it), one of his commanders was dead (might have been two?), and many other of his units had taken hits. Apart from the pikes and lancers my army was still intact. The two armies had taken similar number of routed units but Jeremey had many more that had taken casualties and were looking weak.
(Jeremey – Although my plan was not going well, I did actually win the archery duel on my left flank. I did have to face the rampaging pike block with some ineffecual missile fire but the casualties suffered by both sides was actually quite even at this point).

(Jeremey – Strangely Stephen’s account seems to be light on details on what happened next. As I mentioned the Yorkist forces had won the archery battle on the left flank and once the pike block had broken through the archers they were headed for my billmen. I still had some badly mauled archery units on the right flank but they were able to get off a few shots).

(Jeremey – I can only assume Stephen missed this bit out of his account because I finally managed to organise my Billmen and charged in against the pikes with an additional unit providing support).

(Jeremey – The resulting fight saw a rare bit of luck for the Yorkist forces in this battle with some appalling dice rolling from Stephen. This saw the pikes destroyed and a chance to redress the Yorkist line).

There then followed a lull in the battle. I moved my flanks a bit further forward, sent some billmen to the right flank to give it a bit of backbone against some advancing men at arms, and moved my men at arms units into the centre where the pikes had been. Meanwhile, Jeremey was ‘re-dressing’ his ranks (moving them to the rear is what he was doing!), sorting out his lines, and getting that rear rank forward.
The final stage of the battle then got underway.

(Jeremey – At this point Stephen had no archers on the left flank and so I took the opportunity to gather my Men at arms and Billmen units into a cohesive force. Casualties at this point were even for both sides with Stephen having a slight advantage due to the number of units he started the battle with).

(Jeremey – With the archers Stephen claims to have destroyed I once again put pressure on the units sitting in the town. This time it was the Men at arms, who getting the hint marched out. Once again I failed to judge their speed and they soon caught up with and destroyed the archers).

(Jeremey – In a reversal of the luck I manged a dreadful roll when trying to stop the advancing Men at arms!).

Jeremey, with army now sorted out, continued his advance on St Albans. There was a push on my right flank as his billmen and men at arms came into conflict with my archers. It went his way. Out on the left things were a bit more static – it seems he still hadn’t fully recovered from the lancers. I moved my archers on the left into arrow range and let rip. He then double timed his infantry to close them into combat as soon as he could. There then followed a surprising victory for my archers.
(Jeremey – It’s funny how sides remember a battle, no melee combat took place on the Lancastrian right for the whole battle. All that took place was an archery duel that the Yorkists won. However on the Lancastrian left I finally got my Billmen and Men at arms into melee against Stephens remaining retinue archers).

They were charged by his plate-armoured men at arms, they drew their hatchets and blades and prepared for the inevitable. However, against the odds (and thanks to some demon dice rolling) the archers prevailed and routed the men at arms (who had been weakened due to bow fire).
(Jeremey – Again as we can see my Men at arms were still standing and with the help of some Billmen punched a hole in the Lancastrian archers. The subsequent round of melee saw all of Stephen’s archers destroyed).

In the middle Somerset ordered his men at arms forward, down the road, to meet the enemy in combat. That was very much the endgame. My men at arms, fresh and ready for battle, charged into what remained of Jeremey’s archers and billmen, taking them out of the game.

With that, it was the end – Jeremey’s army had reached its rout morale level and it was game over. A victory for Somerset!
(Jeremey – I’m calling this a close defeat for me, given my poor deployment and smaller army the final casualties give a different picture to that portrayed by Stephen).

Yorkist Loses
6 Units of Longbows (18 points)
1 Unit of Crossbows (3 points)
1 Unit of Welsh Spearmen (3 points)
2 Units of Billmen (3 points)
Total loses 30 points (Army morale 30 points)

Lancastrian Loses
6 Units of Longbows (18 points)
2 Units of Northern Boarder House (6 points)
1 Unit of Scottish Pikemen (6 points)
Total loses 30 points (Army morale 37 points)

Lancastrian Victory

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.

Yorkist Rampant! – Wars of the Roses Battle Report

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 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 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 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.

Reinforcements Have Arrived

Jeremey shows off his Wars of the Roses army now that it’s complete (well almost).

On the 17th February 2020 I put up a blog post about the first Wars of the Roses units I had managed to paint up. This was the start of my very first historical army. Fellow club member Stephen was also painting up his own Wars of the Roses with the idea of fighting the various battles thoughout the year.

We managed one battle before lockdown scuppered getting down to the club.

First battle to test our Wars of the Roses armies

So I packed up the army for the following months and turned to other ptojects. But I kept drifting back to the army and found myself making terrain. Given the first Battle of St Albans was essentially a town battle I started making tudor houses.

Still a lot of work to do on these buildings. More plasterwork and thatched roofs

But Stephen started to post a few solo battles using his army and mentioned adding a few additional units, so I caved and ordered some more for my army. using the Sword and Spear army lists I went for a few of the support units. Welsh Longbows, Welsh Spearmen, General Spearmen and Mercenary Crossbows.

Welsh Longbows and Spearmen on the Painting Table

I painted these using the same method as my existing units. Stephen had painted his units in uniform colours but I wanted a much bigger variety. Although armies of this time were starting to wear their lords Livery, but I didn’t want to tie my units down to any particular faction.

I picked out a range of colours (various, browns, greens and the odd khaki shade) and painted different parts of each miniature so that no two miniatures were the same. This was potentially more time consuming but I still went through the miniatures like a production line.

Another new aspect for this army was to make the flags changable, in order to allow my army to represent any side in the conflict, or for when several lords bring forces to the battlefield.

Changable Flags for my Units

I simpy glued the flags together and left a loop to fit over the flag poles on the units.

And so finally I got to a point where I had a large enough army for a real epic battle.

The whole army with a multitude of flags
The Left Flank of the Army
The Right Flank of the Army

The Battle of Northampton – 10th July 1460

Stephen continues his refight of the War of the Roses…

This one was never going to go well for the Lancastrians.

This is the third battle in my plan to re-fight all major encounters of the War of the Roses. Like previous games I am using the Basic Impetus rules. There were a couple of important aspects to this battle that had to be reflected if it were to be a faithful re-fight.

Firstly, due to the rain (typical British summer) the Lancastrian artillery could not fire due to wet powder. They were in the line but totally ineffective. That was easily dealt with.

The Lancastrian Battle Line

The second, and most important thing, was Lord Grey’s betrayal of King Henry. As Warwick and the Yorkist army marched north they entered into secret talks with Grey and promised they would not harm him in return for his help. What happened in the actual battle was that the Earl of March (on the Yorkist left flank) advanced against Grey (on the Lancastrian right). As March’s retinue crossed the ditch and bank Grey’s men gave way and allowed them to roll up the Lancastrian line and capture King Henry.

This would have to be reflected. I was in two minds about how to deal with this. It didn’t help that this would be a solo game so I could hardly spring a surprise on myself. In the end, I decided that if March’s troops neither fired nor attacked Grey’s troops then Grey would give way when contacted (effectively counting as loses against the Lancastrian army). This, of course, would have a major impact on the Lancastrian army, but then that’s exactly what it had in reality!

Order of Battle

OK, so let’s get on with the battle.

The Lancastrian army had ensconced themselves in a bend in the river Nene on the opposite bank from Northampton. They had put a ditch and defences in front of their position. King Henry VI was with them but the army was led by the Duke of Buckingham.

The Yorkist forces were led by the Earl of Warwick with Lord Fauconberg on the right and the Earl of March on the left. With Warwick’s skullduggery and plotting with Grey, the advance of the Yorkist forces was led by March.

Armies Deployed

Like the previous two battles, this was little more than an attack on a prepared position. Therefore, I gave the Yorkists the initiative until things got within bow range.

The last thing the Lancastrians wanted was poor dice rolling. Being in a stationary position meant their fire should be more effective. But no. The God of Battles (the dice) were against them. Warwick’s troops in the centre got within bow range of the artillery and they soon sent the gunners packing.

Warwick Urges His Men Forward

March’s men started moving up. Now, it may seem like it would be a done deal – why would I engage the Lancastrian line with March’s men? However, I did decide that if the Lancastrians gave a good account and their bowfire proved effective, and the Yorkist looked like they would take a beating, that this would prove enough motivation for Grey to reconsider and then engage March’s troops. However, the poor rolls by the Lancastrians made that look unlikely.

Fauconberg also started exchanging bowfire with the Earl of Shrewsbury.

A couple more turns, and it still wasn’t looking good for Buckingham and his men. In truth, neither side was rolling that well for their archers, but the Yorkists had the edge. March’s men carried on with their advance, still holding back from loosing their arrows.

The First Casualties

Buckingham moved up his plate armoured men at arms and his billmen, hoping the Yorkists would have the decency to engage in melee rather then sit back and keep shooting.

March’s Troops Contact Grey’s

Finally, March’s men started clambering over the Lancastrian defences. No casualties had been caused to Grey’s men and so Grey dutifully pulled back and allowed March into the Lancastrian defences!

Across The Line They Go

It was now only a matter of time. It wasn’t a case of if the Lancastrians would lose but how much damage they could cause the Yorkists before they did.

March Engages Buckingham

Buckingham swung his billmen around to try and put something in the way of March’s assault. However, the levy spearmen in March’s retinue got stuck in and charged the Lancastrian archers. After a brief melee the archers fell to the spearmen.

And that was that!

The Battle Is Over

A Yorkist win. It had been a convincing win at that – Warwick’s troops hadn’t taken a single casualty. Exactly how it happened historically. The real battle lasted less than an hour and my re-fight took only a bit longer.

Next up then, is the battle of Wakefield. Unfortunately I will have to bypass that one – Wakefield was a large cavalry engagement and I don’t have anywhere near enough cavalry bases. Shame, because the castle would make a great backdrop to the battle. This one would make a good club game when we can get back together.

Therefore, I’ll move on to Mortimer’s Cross…

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