The Battle of Guisborough – 16th January 1643   Leave a comment

Guisborough is today a bustling market town on the edge of industrial Teesside, in medieval times it had been a bustling market town thriving on the visitors from far and wide who came for pious reasons visiting the enormous Priory founded in the 12th century by Robert de Brus, an ancestor of the later and more famous, Robert the Bruce of Scotland. In the time of the English Civil War it was a shadow of it’s former self, the Priory having been destroyed during the Reformation; however it was still important strategically. Positioned south of the Tees Valley it was a gateway to the River Tees and beyond that, to Royalist Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Guilford Slingsby was a part f the Yorkshire gentry with estates around Hemlington ( now a suburb of Middlesbrough where we are based) , and had been the private secretary to the Earl of Strafford up to his forced execution by Parliament in 1641. When the Civil War broke out he naturally supported the Royalist cause and raised a regiment of his own, both foot and horse, and realising the importance of Guisborough, moved his men there to guard against Parliamentarian attacks on supplies crossing the River Tees between Royalist held Newcastle and Royalist York.

On the Yorkshire coast however, at Scarborough, loyalties lay with Parliament, and local commander Sir Hugh Cholmley, decided to take action, especially after hearing the the Royalists intended to send a garrison to nearby Whitby. After being reinforced by two troops of dragoons from Sir Matthew Boynton, he set out in mid January across the Moors, a forty mile march in mid-winter, to threaten Guisborough.

After what can only be imagined as a very challenging march across difficult terrain in freezing weather, the Parliamentarian forces arrived at Guisborough on the 16th January.

Suggested initial deployment for the Battle of Guisborough

Wargaming Notes

The Battle of Guisborough was quite a small engagement, with hundreds rather than thousands of troops being involved. It would lend itself to large skirmish rules such as Pikeman’s Lament, or if fought with really small scale figures could even be recreated on a one to one scale.

For the purposes of our lists below we are suggesting a figure scale of 1:10

ORDERS OF BATTLE

ROYALIST ARMY

Guilford Slingsby – Commander-in Chief – Inexperienced, Inspirational Leader

Slingsby’s Horse (100 men) – 10 figures – cavalry, experienced, good morale, sword, pistol, carbine

Slingsby’s Foot (400 men) – 40 figures – 20 close formation infantry, inexperienced, basic training, enthusiastic morale, light armour, pike – 20 open order infantry, inexperienced, basic training, enthusiastic morale, unarmoured, musket.

 

PARLIAMENTARIAN ARMY

Sir Hugh Cholmley – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, Respected Leader

Cholmley’s Horse (80 men) – 8 figures – cavalry, experienced, trained, average morale, sword, pistol, carbine

Cholmley’s Dragoons (60 men) – 6 figures – mounted infantry, experienced, average morale, sword, musket

Boynton’s Dragoons (110 me) – 11 figures – mounted infantry, experienced, good morale, sword, musket

Cholmley’s Foot (130 men) – 13 figures – 5 close formation infantry, experienced, average morale, light armour, pike – 7 open order infantry, experienced, average morale, unarmoured, musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

When Slingsby saw the Parliamentarian forces approaching Guisborough he confidence was buoyed by the fact he knew he outnumbered his enemy, and consequently his force sallied forth out of the town and positioned themselves on the open ground about a mile south of the Priory.

The Parliamentarians formed up opposite and then both sides advanced on each other. Slingsby’s Horse were made up largely of Dutch veterans he had employed as mercenaries and they charged forward into the mounted dragoons and halted their advance. A melee ensued lasting sometime between the mounted forces, until Slingsby happened to glance over his shoulder and saw his infantry behind him in total disarray.

The more numerous mounted troops of Cholmley, along with his infantry, had advanced beyond the cavalry melee and straight into the Royalist infantry. Despite their inexperience, the Royalists had initially stood their ground, before being gradually pushed back through the Priory ruins and to an area now called “Wars Fields” where they made their final stand. Slingsby could see that rallying his men was near impossible, but tried all the same, only to suffer gun shot wounds to both legs and fall from his horse while his men fled.

Slingsby was taken prisoner and due to his wounds had both legs amputated above the knee; three days later, aged 32, he died of his injuries and was buried at York Minster. Victorious, Cholmley advanced his men to Yarm, another market town in the Tees Valley and at in that time the site of the first bridge from the river mouth over the River Tees, which they secured to stop supplies from Newcastle to York.

Post Script

As said earlier, this isn’t a grand battle, more of a large skirmish, but an interesting one and certainly not a forgone conclusion depending on your own tactics and dice rolls. It grabbed our attention having taken place just a few miles from where we are based.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ECW & 30YW

The Battle of New Bern – 14th March 1862   Leave a comment

General Ambrose E. Burnside

Union thinking in the early part of the American Civil War was to bring it to a speedy end by blocking Confederate supplies and the movement of men and materials. The area around the city of New Bern presented itself as an ideal target for such a tactic, with the Neuse River being a potential thoroughfare for Confederate ships bringing up supplies, bit also the North Carolina Railroad ran only a short distance inland. The capture of this area could inflict a double hardship on Confederate logistics.

Union General, Ambrose Burnside put together a plan of attack which would involve combined operations. On the 12th March vessels of the US Navy transported and disembarked Burnside and his men about 15 miles away from Fort Thompson at New Bern, the ships then proceeded upstream and on the 13th began a bombardment of the initial Confederate positions which lay several miles south of the battle area, The Confederate forces were largely made up of fresh recruits and militia who soon took fright at the naval shelling and pulled back to another defensive line along Butler’s Creek and across to the fort itself on the river bank. This retreat allowed Ambrose to make a rapid and unopposed advance on to the fort and surrounding area, and the night of the 13th both armies lay only a short distance from each other. At 7:30am on the 14th, General Ambrose launched his attack.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of New Bern

ORDERS OF BATTLE – as we have recently, we are describing unit size generally, rather than specific, allowing our information here to be used for a variety of rule sets and personal preferences.

Confederate Forces

Brig.General Lawrence O’Bryan Branch – Commander in Chief – experienced, inspirational leader

Latham’s Brigade

26th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

33rd North Carolina Regiment (large regiment) – trained, inexperienced, average morale, smoothbore musket

7th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

27th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Brem’s Brigade

35th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

37th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Harding’s Brigade

1/2 North Carolina Cavalry (small unit) – trained, experienced, good morale, sword and pistol

2/2 North Carolina Cavalry (small unit) – trained, experienced, good morale, sword and pistol

Carolina Militia (large unit) – poor training, inexperienced, brittle morale, smoothbore musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Fort Artillery

2 gun battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 24lb cannon

Union Forces

Brig.General Ambrose E. Burnside – Commander in Chief – experienced, good tacticain, respected leader

1st Brigade

25th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

24th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

27th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

23rd Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

10th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

6 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

2nd Brigade

21st Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

51st New York Regiment – trained, inexperienced, average morale, rifled musket

9th New Jersey Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

51st Pennsylvania Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

2 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

3rd Brigade

4th Rhode Island Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

8th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

5th Rhode Island Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

11th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle opened at 7:30am on the Union’s left flank with an assault on the 26th NC who were dug in on high ground across the creek. The initial artillery barrage made little impression firing up to the elevated position of the Confederates and the infantry were soon called to cross the creek and attempt to scale the slopes on the opposite bank. The Confederates had made crude field works along the ridge with felled trees and undergrowth which they found good protection from the advancing Union musketry. Their advance was halted by determined fire from the 26th NC and were forced back to regroup and rally.

On the opposite wing the artillery exchange was fairly evenly matched and both sides inflicted casualties, but again it was the Union troops who advanced, only this time to a similar number of defenders. The exchange of musketry began to swing in the Confederate’s favour and with brief but determined charge of bayonets, the Confederates sent the Union troops back to their starting positions.

Burnside was getting increasingly frustrated with the situation, afterall, his forces outnumbered the enemy over two to one and he took a moment to ponder how to break the line. He noted that the battlefield was divided in two by the North Carolina Railroad, which by its nature required flat and easily crossed terrain. The Confederates defending this rail track were the North Carolina Militia, an inexperienced and rather battle nervous unit. Burnside therefore brought up his 3rd Brigade to attack in column through the gap of his two other brigades and straight up the rail track to attack the militia unit. An assault he led personally

Burnside directs the assault along the rail track

His plan worked; the militia were not willing or able to fend off the Union attack for long and soon broke, opening a gap for Burnside’s men to exploit and get behind the Confederate line. The 33rd NC were sent to help plug the gap but the Union assault became so intense they too fell back. Regiments within the 3rd Brigade found themselves having to “leapfrog” to the lead position of the assault as their leading units ran out of ammunition, so fast were their volleys into the defenders ranks.

Facing a renewed frontal attack from the 2nd Brigade and hearing fighting off to their left, the 26th NC began to get nervous and soon were falling back into the woods behind them before turning in retreat to the city of New Bern to the north.

Swinging right, the 3rd Brigade were threatening the flanks of the 35th and 7th NC, while the 1st Brigade once again attacked from the front. Despite courageous efforts from the rebel regiments it soon became apparent that they would be surrounded and cut off if they stood their ground much longer. They too, opted to retreat to New Bern, destroying bridges on their way to prevent a speedy pursuit by Burnside. Unfortunately this left some Confederates trapped behind to be taken prisoner.

It had been a hard victory for Burnside with 90 killed and almost 400 wounded. The Confederates had lost 63 killed and 100 wounded, but over 400 were taken prisoner in the retreat.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Despite all focus currently being on Warlord Games Epic Battles series, this battle would lend itself to any rules and any scale. Terrain is relatively simple, with no extreme hills, just a few gentle slopes along the waterways, the most dominant feature being the rail track, so depending on which scale you play it may be time to get the old Hornby set out the loft for this one.

The fort played little to no part in the land battle, so at a push could be omitted from the table if yo wish.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

Culp’s Hill 2nd July 1863 – The Battle of Gettysburg P.A.   Leave a comment

The battle of Gettysburg is probably THE most famous and well known battle of the American Civil War. It was the high tide mark for Confederate forces and probably the best opportunity for the South to win the war. As the battle lasted for three days and involved close to 200,000 men, it is a challenge to wargame in full for all but the most determined and committed of wargamers, usually involving an entire club or team effort. So today we have selected one section of that epic battle; Culp’s Hill.

From the map on the left of the entire battle, you can see that Culp’s Hill stood at one end of a ridge of high ground south of the town which extended west then south to include the probably more well known Cemetery Ridge before ending with the two promontories, Little Round Top and Big Round Top.

The Battle of Gettysburg was actually not planned, but rather an escalation of opposing scouting parties meeting and through engaging, gradually sucking in more and more reinforcements from their respective main armies, until eventually one of the largest battles of the war was created.

The first day of battle largely saw a build of men on both sides and initiatives being taken by divisional and brigade commanders, as both the Union’s General Meade and the Confederate’s General Lee were some way back in their respective lines of advancing troops. Like I said, this battle wasn’t planned, or even desired at this location, but happened purely by chance and circumstance.

As evening drew in on the first day, the Union realised that the high ground south of Gettysburg was critical if the battle was to be won, and so they took up defensive positions along this long ridge, using timber and rocks to create a line of barricades where they could, and then readied themselves for the Confederate assault that would surely come the next day.

Culp’s Hill saw some of the most ferocious and continuous fighting of the battle, starting on day two and going on throughout the third. Our Battle For Wargamers today is the beginning of this two day struggle for Culp’s Hill, with the forces initially deployed on the morning of the 2nd July. On the following day both sides would send in reinforcements, but for the purposes of this article and to keep the battle to a manageable size for most, we are looking at just the first day and as to whether the Union defenders can hold the hill against the Confederate attacks long enough to be reinforced that night for the next day.

 

Suggested initial set-up for “Culp’s Hill” Gettysburg

As there are so many different rule sets for the ACW including the much awaited Epic Battles by Warlord Games, with regiment sizes ranging from maybe a dozen figures to sixty, we have opted this time not to suggest unit sizes by the number of figures, leaving that to your choice depending on your preferred rules.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Union Army

Brig.General James S. Wadsworth – Commander In Chief – experienced, inconsistent, respected leader

I Corps – 1st Brigade – (The Iron Brigade)

Brig.General Solomon Meredith – Sub-Commander – experienced, determined, inspirational leader

19th Indiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

24th Michigan Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

2nd Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

6th Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

7th Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

Steven’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

I Corps – 2nd Brigade

Brig. General Lysander Cutler – Sub-Commander – experienced, excellent tactician, respected leader

7th Indiana Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

76th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

84th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

95th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

147th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

56th Pennsylvania Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

XII Corps – 3rd Brigade

Brig.General George S. “Old Pappy” Greene – Sub-Commander – veteran, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

60th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

78th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

102nd New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

137th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

149th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

Kinzie’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

Rugg’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

XI Corps – 1st Brigade

Colonel George Von Amsberg – Sub-Commander – veteran, experienced leader

82nd Illinois Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

45th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

157th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

61st Ohio Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

Confederate Army

Major General Edward “Clubby” Johnson – Commander In Chief – veteran, temperamental, respected leader

II Corps – Steuart’s Brigade

Brig.General George H.Steuart – Sub-Commander – veteran, inspirational leader

1st Maryland Battalion – veteran, solid morale, musket

1st North Carolina Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

3rd North Carolina Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

10th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

23rd Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

37th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

II Corps – Williams’ Brigade

Col. Jesse M.Williams – Sub-Commander – veteran, inexperienced of brigade level command, respected leader

1st Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

2nd Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

10th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

14th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

15th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

II Corps – Jones’ Brigade

Brig.General John M. Jones – Sub-Commander – veteran, inspirational leader

21st Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

50th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

42nd Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

44th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

48th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

Union troops defend Culp’s Hill

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Most of the Union soldiers defending Culp’s Hill had seen action the previous day before being ordered to take up position on the high ground. Brig,General Wadsworth had followed the orders but in line with his inconsistent leadership, he failed to order his brigades to “dig in” and it was only thanks to his brigade commanders, such as “Old Pappy” Greene who had been a civil engineer for a period, that orders were given to create field fortifications. As his brigade had been given a mile and half stretch of the ridge to defend, it was good foresight on his part.

The Confederate division commander, Major General Edward Johnson was also not without his failings. On the first day he had failed to attack Cemetery Ridge before it was properly defended; action that if taken could have ended the battle there and then, but then on the evening of the 1st July, having re-positioned at the foot of Culp’s Hill, he directly refused superior orders to attack immediately, stating he would rather rest his men and for morning, which gave the Union soldiers time to create barricades and fortify their position.

Lee’s plan on the morning of the 2nd July was to attack the ridge at opposite ends simultaneously with Longstreet’s I Corps attacking Little and Big Round Tops while Ewell’s II Corps would attack Culp’s Hill. However Lee did not want II Corps to fully commit, but rather just cause enough of an attack to hold all the Union troops on the hill in place and not be sent to the other end as reinforcements. Ewell initially used artillery (off map) to shell the hill, but this failed to do the job intended and several Union brigades left Culp’s Hill to reinforce further along the ridge, leaving the troops as laid out on our suggested set-up map. At this point Ewell saw no alternative but to launch a frontal assault, and the three Confederate brigades made their first attempt at scaling the slopes. By now it was late afternoon and in the wooded slopes visibility became strained, especially with the clouds of gun smoke that hung in the air.

On the Confederate right flank, Jones’ Brigade found things the hardest going. It was here that the slopes were steepest and littered with boulders, which although offered some protection also broke up their formations as they advanced. Advancing and firing as they went, the Confederates were suddenly confronted by Greene’s fortifications which seemed impassable. the 60th New York regiment poured fire down on the southerners from behind their barricades and Jones’ men were forced back. Jones himself suffered a serious leg injury and was carried from the field. Despite the apparent ease with which the Union soldiers had stopped Jones, several of their officers admitted that had it not been for the barricade Greene had insisted on, then they would have been overwhelmed on the ridge by both the ferocity of Confederate charge and the density of their musketry which had largely been absorbed by the fortifications.

In the centre the Louisiana regiments made their assault, dusk was turning to darkness and for the Union defenders it was only when flashes of musket shots appeared that they could see where their enemy was. The ground here was a little easier than where Jones had tried, but was still an exhausting challenge, especially in the dark. Upon closing in on the Union positions, Williams’ men were also aghast at the substantial defences running along the ridge, but a firefight that lasted several hours ensued. Finally the Confederates began to fall back as their casualties grew from the musket fire of the 78th and 102nd New Yorkers.

Steurat’s men on the left flank made the best progress, advancing again in the dark, they were a difficult target for the Union defenders. The 3rd North Carolina regiment made contact first, but unfortunately where the defences were strongest and a point blank range volley of muskets from the Union men felled them in droves, scattering the survivors down the hill. Further to the left though, the 23rd and 10th Virginia regiments managed to outflank the 137th New Yorkers, forcing them back to a new position at 90 degrees to their original one in an attempt to hold back the Confederates. This was the most success of the night for the southerners, and they inflicted over 30% casualties on the 137th NY. Miraculously, the regiment held the line, for had it fallen at this end it would have likely opened up a route that that Confederates could have exploited to get behind the Union fortifications and capture the ridge, not just at Culp’s Hill, but potentially all along the Union lines.

The intensity of the fighting here, was heard along Cemetery Ridge, causing so much concern that Union reinforcements were sent along the line to support the Culp’s Hill defenders. Likewise, for the Confederates, that tenuous but definite foothold on the ridge on their left flank, would give them sufficient hope to bring up reinforcements too. The following morning the battle would recommence in even greater numbers and would see some of the most sustained and intense fighting of the entire Battle of Gettysburg, but we will share that scenario another day.

Confederates attack Culp’s Hill

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

At first glance the battlefield may look a challenge for recreating, but it is in simple terms just a long piece of high ground easily represented with foam blocks or “books under the cloth” as we did back in the day, with a few trees scattered along the slopes to represent the pine trees covering the hill. The creek on the right plays no significant part in the battle so could be omitted is it makes life easier.

The important thing is to play to an agreed time scale, so you represent the passage of time and to end the game at around midnight when reinforcements for both sides would start to appear and completely reshape the engagement for the following day.

If the Union manages to hold the line as it did on the 2nd July it should be considered a Union victory, but if the Confederates manage to either break the line or turn the flank as they almost did that evening then a Confederate victory should be declared.

Even though this is just a small section of the overall Battle of Gettysburg, it is still quite a sizable tabletop game to play, probably lending itself to smaller scales such as 10mm or the new “Epic” scale when it releases next month. But whatever scale you use we would love to see some pictures come in of your recreation of this engagement and we will feature them in our new “Gamers Gallery” that we are starting soon to share the hobby with others.

And finally don’t forget you can still pre-order the Epic Battles Bumper Bundle for just £99.99 if you hurry, we have only a handful left at this price. Just click on the image below to see the full details and order yours.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

The Battle of Raymond – 12th May 1863   Leave a comment

In Spring 1863, General Grant and the Union Army of Tennessee set out to capture Vicksburg and in doing so, control the Mississippi River. Having crossed the river about 15 miles south of Vicksburg on the 29th April he advanced first in a north easterly direction towards the state capital, Jackson, where the Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and his army were positioned. Grant wanted to both eliminate them as a threat to his siege of Vicksburg and also to capture and disrupt himself the railroads and supply lines that ran through Jackson.

As his army marched towards Jackson they came to Fourteen Mile Creek a short distance south of Raymond. His army, which in total consisted of three corps, was spread out across a broad front with Raymond on their far right flank.

The Confederate Brig.General John Gregg was dispatched to Raymond with a strike force of around 3,000 men with the orders to block and hold the Utica Road and to hit the flank of the advancing Union troops. However, poor intelligence had suggested that the Union forces advancing directly towards Raymond consisted of only a single brigade, when in actual fact it was the entire XVII Corps of almost 12,000 men.

First contact was made early on the morning of the 12th May when skirmishers from both sides exchanged shots across the creek, but by 9am the Union commander, Maj.General James Birdseye McPherson, decided that the Confederates were not just a skirmish line, but a larger force, and ordered his forces to form up for battle.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Raymond

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a man to figure ratio of 20:1

Confederate Army

Brig. General John Gregg – Commander in Chief – experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

1st Tennessee Regiment (420 men) 21 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery (3 guns) 1 model – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

7th Texas Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

3rd Tennessee Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

41st Tennessee Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

50th Tennessee Regiment (440 men) 22 figures – experienced, steady morale, musket

10th Tennessee Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

30th Tennessee Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, steady morale, musket

Union Army

Maj.General James Birdseye McPherson – Commander in Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

Third Division

Brig.Gen John A. Logan – sub-commander – experienced, respected leader

1st Brigade

20th Illinois Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

31st Illinois Regiment (520 men) 26 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

45th Illinois Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

124th Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

23rd Indiana Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

2nd Brigade

30th Illinois Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

20th Ohio Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

68th Ohio Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

4th Minnesota Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

78th Ohio Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

3rd Brigade

8th Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

81st Illinois Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

7th Missouri Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

32nd Ohio Regiment (510 men) 26 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

Artillery

1st Illinois D Battery (4 guns) – 1 model – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

1st Michigan H Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Ohio 3rd Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Ohio 11th Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Seventh Division – not shown on map but available to arrive as reinforcements behind the Third Division after 1:30pm

Brig. General Marcellus M. Crocker – sub-commander – experienced, respected leader

1st Brigade

48th Indiana Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

59th Indiana Regiment (520 men) 26 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

2nd Brigade

17th Iowa Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

10th Missouri Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

80th Ohio Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

3rd Brigade

93rd Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

5th Iowa Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

10th Iowa Regiment (560 men) 28 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

26th Missouri Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

Cavalry Battalion

2nd Illinois A & E Companies (80 men) 4 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

4th Missouri F Company (50 men) 3 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

Ohio 4th Independent Company (60 men) 3 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

The Rebel Charge by Mort-Kunstler

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Skirmishing had started around 7am between the Union’s vanguard and some Confederate militia from Raymond who were patrolling south of the Fourteen Mile Creek on the Utica Road. Despite a determined attempt to hold back the Union soldiers, the militia were no match for the regulars and found themselves retreating back across the bridge to the north bank, before eventually making their way back to Raymond. The defence of the creek was now the responsibility of Gregg’s strike force.

As the Union skirmishers advanced down into the gully where the creek ran there was a sudden crack of volley fire from the trees opposite and three cannon opened fire, scattering the Union troops and sending them running back to their lines. This prompted Union Maj.General John A.”Black Jack” Logan to rapidly deploy his division and bring the artillery forward to form a formidable battery of 22 guns. Despite being outnumbered, Gregg opted to attack rather than defend, and sent the 7th Texas Regiment forward to assault the bridge and Union troops advancing on the Utica Road, while the Tennessee Regiments all advanced along the creek and seized the bridge on the Lower Gallatin Road. The windless day meant the gun-smoke hung in the air and soon the battlefield was a chaotic disorderly fight with many units on both sides simply following their own junior officer’s intuition rather than following an overall plan. The more experienced Confederates began to push back the Union line and almost succeeded in routing the entire Union Third Division, but in that critical moment, when all looked lost for Brig. General Logan as he rode among his fleeing men shouting at them to stand and fight, Brig.General Crocker and the Seventh Division arrived in support. Suddenly faced with five fresh Union brigades, the now exhausted and battle scarred Confederates began to fall back. Logan managed to rally the majority of his men once they saw their reinforcements arriving and combined, they counterattacked along the entire front. By mid-afternoon the Confederates had only one cannon remaining in action and some infantry regiments had suffered over 50% casualties. Fearing that even more Union soldiers may be yet to arrive, Gregg reluctantly ordered the army to withdraw, and in a fighting retreat they managed to pull back to Jackson and General Johnston’s army.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This is a fantastic engagement to re-fight on the table, pitching the battle hardened Confederates against the more numerous but less experienced Union regiments.

There needs to be an account of time kept when playing the game, the battle started as per our map above at 9am and there should be sufficient game turns played to represent at least four hours of time passing before Brig.Gen Crocker and the Seventh Division begin to arrive. An agreed method of dicing their arrival would also be good as their advance on to the battlefield would have been gradual in a line of march.

We make no apologies for timing this Battle For Wargamers to wet the appetite of all those eagerly awaiting the launch of the fantastic new Epic Battles Range of ACE figures by Warlord Games in mid-March. The figures for that would lend themselves perfectly to this battle, simply changing the number of figures we have suggested with a number of bases instead to represent either small, medium or large regiments.

Use the discount code RAYMOND10 and get an extra £10 off our pre-order bundle

If you pre-order yours from us having read this battle, we are offering an extra £10 off our Epic Bundle (as above) and an extra 10% off all the rest of the range as well as our ACW books,

Use the discount code RAYMOND10 for the bundle and RAYMONDoff on other sets and books.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

The Battle of Lund – 4th December 1676   Leave a comment

The 21 year old, King Charles XI of Sweden

The Battle of Lund, although not that well known outside of Scandinavia, was one of Europe’s most important battles in the late 18th century. It was major engagement in what is called the Scanian Wars, a conflict between Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Brandenburg which saw several national boundary changes by its end. However for may historians it is seen as a “northern theatre” of the greater Louis XIV Wars being waged in western Europe. Whichever way you decide to consider it, the Scanian Wars are a fascinating and exciting piece of history that are well worth refighting in miniature.

Since the Battle of Halmstad in August 1676, the war between Denmark and Sweden had become a chess game of manoeuvring, but as autumn turned to winter Charles XI of Sweden new that his army would not last much longer in the field without adequate supplies and quarters. He also knew that if he retired north for the winter then the Danes would more than likely never be removed from Scania (the region of modern day southern Sweden), however considering the poor state of his army it was far from certain that they could take the Danes on in battle either. His army numbered around 7,500 compared to the Danish 11,000 who in addition had just been reinforced by another 1,500 sailors, although their use on a battlefield was debatable. A third option open to Charles, as well as the retreat north or direct attack on the Danes; was to try and slip past the Danes, crossing the River Kavlinge and making a dash for Malmo, where there were supplies his army could replenish on. The arrival of Swedish & Finnish reinforcements from the north on the 24th November, including two infantry companies and a Finish cavalry regiment, gave the Charles the boost he wanted to try the dash for Malmo, with the security of now having a larger force if it turned into a battle.

The problem of getting past the Danes though still was very real. The Swedish army and Danish army were camped opposite each other about 4km apart with the River Kavlinge between them. To get to Malmo Charles would have to cross the river and sweep around the Danish camp in a 270* arc before having a clear route to his destination. On the 30th November good luck came to Charles and his army in the form of the first strong winter weather blowing in which began to freeze the river. Under cover of darkness, for several days, Charles and his officers would reconnoitre the river and test the thickness of the ice, waiting and hoping it would thicken enough to support his entire army crossing it and on December 2nd it was gauged at 10cm thick and sufficient to move the army. The order was given to prepare to move out and to expect battle on the other side, a coded message was sent to Malmo informing the forces their of the plan. As uniforms at this time were far from standard, as a final preparation the Swedish troops attached tufts of straw to their hats and sleeves to identify themselves as friendlies in case in the confusion of melee they could see who was who.

At 1;30am on the morning of the 4th December the Swedes started their move, small groups of men reinforced the ice with wooden planks and slush, that would refreeze quickly and harden to provide a roadway for the artillery to cross. This went until after the moon set around 2:30am at which point the army formed up in five columns and slowly and quietly began to walk towards the river, cavalry leading their horses on foot. By 5am the entire army had crossed the river without alerting the Danes to their movements despite now being less than 3km away. It’s possible the Danes did hear noises of horses and wagons and thought it was the Swedes retreating, but if they did they failed to investigate and the Swedes were unchallenged.

As the army passed to the left of the Danish camp Charles considered a surprise attack but scouts reported a tangle of stone walls and fences between them that would hamper any attempt by cavalry and artillery to close in unobserved, so the they continued their march south, moving past and beyond the Danes and towards the town of Lund. The Swedes knew that as dawn approached they were bound to be spotted and then intercepted by the Danes so they planned to seize high ground outside Lund which would cover their route to Malmo, with this in mind, Charles ordered a vanguard of cavalry forward to secure that area. As this small force advanced, the dawn broke and the Danes saw they had been outmanoeuvred; surprised but not panicked, the Danes sprang into action and within 30 minutes the entire army had turned about and was forming up into a battle deployment, as well as a cavalry force on their left wing effectively racing against the Swedish vanguard to reach the area around Lund first. The terrain, littered with walls and gullies was not easy for either army to move over, but the Swedish vanguard narrowly beat the Danes to area around the windmill north of Lund, securing their path to Malmo, before turning to engage the Danish cavalry opposite them. In the frosty sunlight at around 8:30am, the Battle of Lund was about to begin.

 

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Lund

ORDERS OF BATTLE using a figure ratio of 20:1 (approx)

The Swedish Army

Field Marshal Simon Grundel Helmfelt – joint Commander-In-Chief – veteran, experienced, excellent tactician

King Charles XI of Sweden – joint Commander-In- Chief – veteran, impetuous, good tactician, inspirational leader

Right Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Lt. General Otto Wilhelm von Fersen – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, elite, inspirational leader

2 Squadrons Viborg Dragoon Regiment (240 men) – 12 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron His Majesty’s Drabant Guard (150 men) – 8 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, elite, excellent morale, ferocious fighters, sword, pistols

5 Squadrons Life Regiment of Horse (530 men) – 26 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

4 Squadrons Abo-Viborg Cavalry Regiment (303 men) – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, trained, newly recruited, good morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

Maj.General Leonard Johan Wittenberg – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, reliable leader

1 x Squadron Scania-Bohulsan Dragoon Regiment (60 men) – 3 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

2 Squadrons The Retinue of Nobles (200 men) – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons The Reinforcement of Nobles (170 men) – 8 figures – Close Order Cavalry., veteran, experienced. good morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron Old Smalanders (120 men) – 6 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron The Civil Service’s Temporary Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Close Order Cavalry, well trained, experienced, good morale, sword, pistol

Centre (Infantry) 1st Line

Lt.General Martin Schultz – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, inspirational leader

3 Battalions His Majesty’s Life Guard of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures – veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Skaraborg Regiment (240 men) – 12 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Dalecarlia Regiment (125 men) – 6 figures – veteran, experienced, elite, musket

1 Battalion Vastogota Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, musket

1 Battalion Haslinge Regiment (120 men) – 6 figures – well trained, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Narke-Varmland Regiment (120 men) – 6 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Vasternorrland Temporary Regiment (176 men) – 9 figures – well trained, experienced, solid morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Artillery deployed along front (8 x 6lb guns & 4 x 3lb guns) – 2 x 6lb models 1 x 3lb model with crew, veteran, experienced, sold morale

2nd Line

Maj.General Barthold de Mortaigne – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, steady leader

2 Squadrons Viborg Dragoons (126 men) – 6 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron Old Ostgotians (66 men) – 3 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

1 Battalion Gastrike-Halsinge Reserve Regiment (200 men) – 10 figures – veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Squadron Savolax Dragoon Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

1 Squadron Smaland Dragoon Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Open Order Cavalry, trained, newly recruited, good morale, sword, dragoon musket

Left Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Lt.General Johan Galle – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, talented leader

1 Squadron Smaland Cavalry Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

5 Squadrons Viborg & Nyslott Cavalry Regiment (600 men) – 30 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

4 Squadrons Vastgota Regiment (440 men) – 20 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Savolax Dragoon Regiment (295 men) – 15 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

2nd Line

Maj.General Johan Benedikt von Schonleben – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, reliable leader

4 Squadrons The New Retinue of Nobles (590 men) – 30 figures – veteran, experienced, sold morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons The Queen Dowager’s Life Regiment (140 men) – 7 figures – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, sword, pistols

1 Squadron Savolax Dragoon Regiment (100 men) – 5 figures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

The Swedish Drabant Guard cavalry engage the Danes

The Danish Army

King Christian V of Denmark – joint Commander-In-Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician

General Carl von Arensdorff – joint Commander-In-Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician

Right Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Maj.General Hans Wilhelm Meerheim – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, respected leader

3 Squadrons Ortzens Dragoon Regiment – 15 figures- Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

3 Squadrons The Guard Cavalry – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Life Regiment of Cavalry – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, excellent morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Zealand Retinue of Nobles – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

Maj.General Detlef Rantzau – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, average ability

3 Squadrons Baudissin’s Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons 2nd Zealand Cavalry Regiment – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Fyn Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 1st Zealand Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

Centre (Infantry) 1st Line

Maj.General Joachim von Schack – sub-commander- veteran, experienced, respected leader

2 Battalions The King’s Life Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

2 Battalions Prince George’s Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

1 Battalion Stuart’s Regiment – 16 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, musket

1 Battalion Croy’s Regiment – 16 figures – veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

2 Battalions Prince Frederick’s Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, solid morale, 1/4 pike 3/4 musket

2 Battalions The Queens Life Regiment – 32 figures – veteran, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Artillery deplyed along the front line (56 cannons of various calibres) – 6 x 6lb models, 6 x 3lb models & crew – veteran, experienced, good morale

2nd Line

Colonel Caspar von Cicignon – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, average ability leader

1 Battalion Lutkens Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion 4th Jutland Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion 1st Fyn Regiment – 16 figures – well trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

3 Battalions of Commandeered Sailors – 60 figures – basic training, inexperienced, average morale, assorted melee weapons

1 Battalion 3rd Jutland Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

1 Battalion Plon Regiment – 16 figures – trained, experienced, good morale, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Left Wing (Cavalry) 1st Line

Maj.General Anders Sandberg – sub-commander – veteran, experienced, respected leader, hesitant

3 Squadrons 3rd Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Jutland Retinue of Nobles – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 2nd Fyn Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons 2nd Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

2 Squadrons Rauch’s Cavalry Regiment – 10 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Schleswig Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, good morale, sword, pistols

2nd Line

3 Squadrons 4th Jutland Cavalry Regiment – 15 figures – Close Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, average morale, sword, pistols

3 Squadrons Brockenhus’s Dragoon Regiment – 15 fgures – Open Order Cavalry, veteran, experienced, solid morale, sword, dragoon musket

Charles XI at the Battle of Lund

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle started on the Swedish right wing, where their vanguard made contact with their Danish opposites in the attempt to reach Lund and the windmill first. Swedish cavalry led by the Drabant Guard charged the Danish cavalry, but these were soon reinforced by the arrival of the Brockenhus Dragoons who overwhelmed the Swedes and their reinforcements, forcing them back. The Danes however suffered from the start, General Arensdorf was personally commanding this section and was shot in the right arm, forcing him to leave the field for treatment. He would die of his wounds the following week after gangrene sets in. The two sides separated while they both waited on the more reinforcements catching up to join them before once again charging into a confused melee. The Swedish army had recently been practicing more aggressive tactics, using faster movement and closing to contact quicker, tactics developed by Louis XIV’s French as opposed to the slower gentler contact tactics of the 30 Years War still largely used. It may be that these more aggressive tactics helped the outnumbered Swedes, coupled with the Danes loss of Arensdorf, that helped them break the Danish cavalry. Either way, after several attacks and counter attacks, and King Charles XI himself joining the combat, the Swedes sent the Danish cavalry into a rout back towards their camp with the Swedish cavalry in hot pursuit.

King Christian of Denmark had apparently been observing the battle from behind his left wing and as his cavalry came racing back in rout he got caught up in the panic and swept away from the battle towards and past the Danish camp towards the River Kavlinge. As the Danish cavalry attempted to cross the frozen river, the ice which had now been warmed by the day’s sunshine gave way and many fell through, drowning in the icy water. Rumours spread that King Christian himself had drowned which spread even more panic in the fleeing cavalry, although this rumour was in fact untrue. It was now though that King Charles’s youth and inexperience caused the Swedes problems. As the Danes fled across the river, Charles and his cavalry halted to observe their departure and ensure that they did not rally and return; that in itself is the correct action, however he stayed at the river far longer than necessary, for several hours in fact, while his outnumbered army was left to struggle on the battlefield.

In the centre of the battlefield both sides occupied raised ground with a gully and frozen stream separating them, however the ground on the Danish side stood considerably higher than that of the Swedes which gave their more numerous artillery a huge advantage. It was obvious the Swedes could not simply stand in an artillery duel and so they advanced down from their position to engage the Danish front line. The Danes, now being commanded by Friedrich von Arensdorf, the wounded General’s brother, also moved forward to contact the Swedes. Desperate hand to hand fighting began, with the Swedes slowly but surely being pushed back, the army pivoting through 90* so it’s back now faced Lund itself. As they became trapped between the city walls and the pressing Danish army, Arensdorf bizarrely pulled the Danish army back to regroup and replenish ammunition. This respite gave the Swedes time to also regroup and steady their formation, but still the King and his Field Marshal did not return to the battle.

As the battle recommenced the Swedish left wing of cavalry managed to gain the upper hand over their Danish opposite numbers and push them back, but in the centre the Danes once again gained the upper hand and began to squeeze the Swedish against the city walls and their attacking front line. Things looked desperate for the Swedish army when finally, as the sun began to set around 3pm, King Charles, his Field Marshal and the cavalry from the right wing returned, appearing behind the Danish centre. The sight of the Swedish Royal Standard boosted the morale of the faltering Swedish centre and the King made an assault to push through the Danish lines and re-join his main army. Although still outnumbered by the Danish, the Swedes suddenly had a renewed energy and gained the initiative over the now exhausted Danish troops. After another half an hour of hard fighting in the growing twilight, the Danish army began to break up and it’s troops flee the field. The Swedes pursued in revenge mode, killing all they could catch until around 5pm when Field Marshal Helmfelt ordered a stop to the killing and ordered all Danes should now be taken as prisoner. It had been an exceptionally close run thing, but the Swedish had won the day; estimates suggest the Swedes lost 3,000 killed and 2,000 wounded, while the Danish suffered 6,500 killed, 1,000 wounded and 2,000 taken prisoner.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

As said at the beginning, the Scanian Wars are not a particularly popular conflict for wargamers outside of Scandinavia, but they are an exciting period to game. Lund is pretty battle to reproduce in miniature so we would suggest smaller scales such as 6mm or 10mm, the Pendraken League of Augsburg range lend themselves very well to both Swedish and Danish forces. As for rules, those who love Wargames Research Group will find DBR works well for this battle, but also the Under Lilly Banners rules would work brilliantly too.

We have been so inspired by researching this particular battle that we will be continuing our work and publishing a “Wargamers Guide” to the battle, complete with uniforms and even more details for those equally inspired to recreate this battle in miniature. It will be the 350th anniversary in a few years time and we at The Little Corporal are already planning a fully detailed and accurate tabletop version of the battle to mark the occasion.

In ending we would like to thank especially the Public Library and Community Hub in Lund, Sweden, without whose generous help and supply of additional information this article wouldn’t have been possible.

 
 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century

The Battle of Shrewsbury – 21st July 1403   Leave a comment

When Henry Bollingbroke usurped the English throne in 1399 by capturing Richard II he had enjoyed the support of many English Lords and Earls in his fight, but since proclaiming himself King Henry IV his style of rule had distanced some of his previously loyal supporters. One such noble was Henry “Hotspur” Percy, Earl of Northumberland. As a noble who’s land bordered Scotland, Percy was an important noble to keep loyal, as he and his men were often the first line of defense and peacekeepers in the troublesome border regions. When the King failed to keep promises of granting land and Scottish prisoners to Percy for ransom Percy’s loyalty was tested too far, and in 1403 he openly challenged the authority of Henry IV by launching a rebellion.

Initially with just a personal retinue of 200 men, Percy marched cross country to Cheshire, an area loyal still to the late Richard II, where he raised several thousand men including many of the famous “Cheshire Archers” with their deadly longbows. After joining up with his uncle, Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester, his army had reached almost 13,000 men. His next plan seems to have been to march into Wales to join forces with the rebel self-proclaimed Prince of Wales, Owain Glyndwr and his army. However his movements and gathering of forces had not gone unnoticed and Henry IV, along with his son Henry Prince of Wales (future Henry V of Agincourt fame) and a Royal army of 14,000 men marched to intercept them before the two forces could meet up and it was near Shrewsbury in Shropshire on the Welsh borders where the two armies met.

 

Suggested initial set-up for the Battle of Shrewsbury

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using the figure/man ratio of 1:50

REBEL ARMY – left to right

Thomas Percy 1st Earl of Worcester – sub-commander – experienced, veteran, respected leader

Longbowmen (1000 men) -20 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, well trained, experienced, longbow

Billmen (1500 men) – 30 figures – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, bill

Men-At Arms (500 men) – 10 figures – close order, heavy armour, experienced, veteran, 2 handed swords

Henry “Hotspur” Percy, 2nd Earl of Northumberland, Commander in Chief – experienced, veteran, ferocious warrior, inspirational leader

Knights (150 men) – 3 figures – close order, fully armoured cavalry, experienced, veteran, impetuous, lance, shield, sword

Longbowmen (1500 men) -30 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, well trained, experienced, longbow

Billmen (2000 men) – 40 figures – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, bill

Men-At Arms (1000 men) – 20 figures – close order, heavy armour, experienced, veteran, 2 handed swords

Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas – sub-commander – experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

Longbowmen (1000 men) -20 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, well trained, experienced, longbow

Billmen (1500 men) – 30 figures – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, bill

Men-At Arms (500 men) – 10 figures – close order, heavy armour, experienced, veteran, 2 handed swords

ROYAL ARMY – left to right

Henry, Prince of Wales – sub-commander – experienced, ferocious warrior, inspirational leader

Longbowmen (1000 men) -20 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, well trained, experienced, longbow

Billmen (2000 men) – 40 figures – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, bill

Men-At Arms (1000 men) – 20 figures – close order, heavy armour, experienced, veteran, 2 handed swords

King Henry IV – Commander in Chief – experienced, veteran, respected leader

Longbowmen (2000 men) -40 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, well trained, experienced, longbow

Billmen (2500 men) – 50 figures – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, bill

Men-At Arms (1500 men) – 30 figures – close order, heavy armour, experienced, veteran, 2 handed swords

Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford – sub-commander – experienced, veteran, respected leader

Longbowmen (1000 men) -20 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, well trained, experienced, longbow

Billmen (1500 men) – 30 figures – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, bill

Men-At Arms (500 men) – 10 figures – close order, heavy armour, experienced, veteran, 2 handed swords

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

For many historians the Battle of Shrewsbury is viewed as an early prelude to the Wars of the Roses that would be a reemergence of the rivalry between supporters of the House of York and the House of Lancaster fifty years later and like those battles, Shreswbury began with a duel of longbows.

Percy had formed his army up along a ridge behind a hedgerow in front of farm land planted with peas that sloped gently down towards the Royal army, this subtle geographical advantage meant the Rebel’s longbows achieved a greater range and began to inflict serious casualties to the Royal army. Earl Stafford decided enough was enough and launched a charge on the right wing. The incline, though looking slight, proved to be more difficult to scale, also the Rebels had used the pea crop to their advantage, knotting the long vines together to create trip-traps that the armoured knight struggled to see and avoid before falling over, all the while coming under a hail of arrows.

Finally Stafford and his men reached the Rebel lines and hand to hand combat began, the exhausted Royal soldiers attacked hard, but when Stafford himself was cut down in the melee, his men began to retreat before deciding to fully flee the field. So intense had the archery been that Rebels had almost run out of arrows and as Stafford’s men fled the Rebel archers ran after them to recover arrows from the ground and pulling them from corpses of the fallen.

King Henry now decided his only option was an all out advance, and both he and his son’s divisions moved forward up the slopes, once again under a hail of longbow arrows and trying to avoid the knotted pea traps.

Henry Prince of Wales is hit by an arrow in the face

In the slow advance young Henry, Prince of Wales lifted his visor to get a better view of the slopes and traps in front of him and at that moment a longbow arrow struck him in the face, lodging itself in his cheekbone. Heroically he kept on fighting and leading his men to the Rebels, before then engaging in viscous hand to hand fighting with the arrow still stuck in his face. His father King Henry, was also under intense attack, the Rebels now holding superior numbers as well as the terrain advantage. Percy saw his chance to finish the battle and mounting his warhorse he led his 150 knights around Douglas’s flank to hit the Royal army in the side. His target was the Royal Standard, and his hope was to kill King Henry IV. Luckily for Henry his bodyguard had sensed the potential danger and had ordered the King to the rear lines, leaving his standard bearer in the front. Percy and his knights smashed into the Royal army’s flank and began hacking their way towards the Royal Standard which was loyally carried by Sir Walter Blount, Walter was allegedly cut down by Archibald Douglas at which point Percy lifted his visor and shouted ” The King is Dead, aren’t you Henry?” only for King Henry to shout back “I’m here and alive, Lord Percy is dead”, at which point, no doubt by coincidence rather than good planing or the “Hollywood effect”, an arrow struck Percy in the face, only unlike Prince Henry, this once struck an inch further up, piercing his eye then brain and killing him instantly.

So chaotic is any medieval battle, that only those in the immediate vicinity either saw, heard or knew what had happened, and while fighting generally continued, small then growing numbers of both Rebel and Royal soldiers began to flee believing that their own leader had been killed. It was once again, Price Henry, the future Henry V, that saved the situation, rallying his men to push another attack in to the Rebel lines and proclaim that Percy was dead, prompting the end of any Rebel resistance and routing their army.

In the rout, Earl Douglas was captured and held for ransom, while Thomas Percy, also captured was less fortunate, and was instead executed two days later.

By the miracle of medieval medicine using alcohol and honey, Prince Henry’s arrow to the face was safely removed, leaving a scar, but no other damage.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Shrewsbury is an often overlooked battle, but holds lots of potentials as well as possibility of a “what if” campaign where the rebellion continues and builds to a full civil war as would happen fifty years later.

Figures for gaming this are readily available, being basically “Agincourt era” 100 years war as far as dress and weapons are concerned.

The new 15mm Plastic Starter Army – perfect for this battle

And rules that reflect the levels of generalship such as Mortem et Gloriam would allow a natural flow of events without having to add additional rules to compensate for differences in ability.

All in all it’s well worth playing and your figures can double up for 100 Years War battles too.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Medieval

The Battle of Hubbardton – 7th July 1777   Leave a comment

The Green Mountain Men of the Vermont Militia

After General Burgoyne’s attack on Fort Ticonderoga, the American garrison commander, General St Clair, decided to abandon the fort om July 6th and make haste with his army to put as much distance between his men and Burgoyne’s British and German forces.

In the scorching July heat and through heavily forested terrain, the Americans cleared 26 miles, reaching Hubbardton, a small hamlet in the wilderness. St.Clair chose to leave a rearguard to slow any attempt by the British to pursue, while he with the main army continued their quick march south.

The commanders of the rearguard, Colonel Ebenezer Francis and Colonel Seth Warner, assumed they had put sufficient distance between themselves and the British, so on the night of the 6th their men settled down to sleep and recover from their day’s excursions without posting a proper picket line.

In actual fact the British had pursued the Americans with equal vigor, having discovered Ticonderoga empty, the Scotsman Brigadier Simon Fraser had gathered together a quick pursuit force made up of several companies of Grenadiers, Light Infantry, the 24th Foot and in support three Brunswick units as well. On the night of the 6th they too rested near Hubbardton and prepared for their attack the next morning which they readied for at 3am.

Suggested initial set up for the battle of Hubbardton 1777

ORDERS OF BATTLE

BRITISH FORCES

Brig. Simon Fraser – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Elite, Inspirational leader

Grenadiers (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, elite, veteran, musket

2 x Light Infantry units (2 x 200 men) – 2 x 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, veteran, musket

24th Foot (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, veteran, musket

Lt.Gen Friedrich Adolf Riedesel – sub-commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Brunswick Jagers (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, experienced, musket

Brunswick Grenadiers (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, elite, experienced, musket

Riedesel’s Regiment (200 men) – 12 figures – Open order infantry, well trained, experienced, musket

AMERICAN FORCES

Colonel Ebenezer Francis – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Patriotic, Inspirational Leader

2nd New Hampshire Regiment (400 men) – 24 figures – Open order infantry, trained, patriotic, variable morale, musket

11th Massachusett’s Regiment (400 men) – 24 figures – Open order infantry, trained, patriotic, variable morale, musket

Colonel Seth Warner – sub-commander – Veteran, Patriotic, Inspirational Leader

2 x Units of The Green Mountain Men Vermont Militia (2 x 400 men) – 2 x 24 figures – Open order infantry, trained, patriotic, variable morale, marksmen, musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle began on the right, with the 24th Foot attacking the New Hampshire Regiment commanded by Colonel Nathan Hale. Despite being outnumbered the experienced British troops made a steady advance, routing the Americans and capturing their commander.

Attention was then given to the centre with the British Light infantry advancing with the 24th Foot now in a flanking position to support them. Colonel Francis was determined to stand his ground and fighting became an intense firefight testing drilled obedience against patriotic fervour, Major Grant of the 24th was killed in the fighting and the British looked to hesitate in their attack, pulling back to regroup and rally.

On the left, Colonel Fraser sent forward his Grenadiers to climb Zion Hill, a deceivingly steep mound, and attack the Vermont Militia in the flank. Due to the incline the advance took far longer than anticipated and during this apparent lull, Colonel Francis launched his own flank attack on the opposite wing, reinforced by some of Hale’s men who had rallied and decided to return to the field. The attack seriously threatened Fraser’s position and the battle for quite a while hung in the balance. The sound of gunfire had alerted St.Clair, now a distance away, but he decided not to send reinforcements, likewise the noise also alerted British forces, especially Riedesel who was marching to support Fraser, he immediately sent his Jagers forward at double pace while his other units followed up. These German Jagers emerged from the thick forest and on to Francis’s attack, hitting them in the flank. At the same time the British Grenadiers completed their hill climb and after regrouping launched themselves into the flank of the Green Mountain Men. Still the battle held as a fairly even stalemate until Colonel Francis was struck a fatal shot, his men previously so enthusiastic by his leadership, began to panic and the American line began to crumble before turning into a rout along the entire line.

The Americans lost 150 killed, 450 wounded and 250 captured to the British 60 killed and 150 wounded.

British Grenadiers charge American lines

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This is an excellent battle to game, not requiring too many figures and being pretty evenly balanced throughout.

It would lend itself to large skirmish rules as well as regular sets.

For those inspired by this battle and period, take a look at our American War of Independence Starter set which includes both a British and American army, complete with MDF bases and the brilliant Land of The Free rules published by Osprey and full of excellent information. You can find it at https://www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk/product-page/the-complete-awi-starter-set

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in AWI & The War of 1812

The Battle of Civitate – 18th June 1053   Leave a comment

The Battle of Civitate – 1053

The Normans had begun to arrive in Italy around 1015, initially as pilgrims visiting the shrine of Saint Michael, “the warrior saint”, at Monte Gargano in Apulia, Southern Italy. Their warlike nature was soon acknowledged by various local warlords and soon they found themselves in demand as mercenaries for the patchwork of Italo-Lombard kingdoms and dukedoms that sprawled across the centre of the Italian peninsular. As well as their internal rivalry, these small kingdoms also feared attack from their two more powerful neighbours, the Holy Roman Empire to the north and the Byzantine Empire to the south, not to mention raids by pirates and Muslim forces who occupied Sicily. In short, the need for good quality, hard fighting mercenaries was never in so much demand and the Normans were only too happy to help anyone with sufficient payment, with more and more arriving from France as each year passed. When some of their employers began to run low on money they opted for gifts of territory instead and by the 1040’s they had established three distinct dukedoms of their own; Aversa, south of Naples was held by Richard Drengot who had arrived in 1046 with 40 knights, Melfi on the Apulian border on the east coast was held by Humphrey D’Hauteville, and finally Robert Guiscard held territory in Calabria, the toe of the Italian boot.

In 1049 a new pope was anointed, Pope Leo IX and the following year he went on a tour of southern Italy to assess the political situation throughout the land. He was shocked to find that almost everywhere he heard bad things about the Normans, their brutality in local governance and constant use of strong arm tactics against innocent people. They were after all, masters of the feudal system, but the pope found it abhorrent and the following year when he went to visit the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry III, he requested military assistance to bring the Norman nuisance to an end. This almost happened in 1052, when Henry agreed and sent an army south, only for it to be recalled before crossing the Alps after his advisors persuaded him not to intervene, albeit for their personal reasons of not particularly liking the pope. Undeterred, the pope asked the Duke of Lorraine for help and he sent 700 Swabians, fierce Germanic infantry famed for their two handed swords. In addition to these various other regions from Germany and around Italy sent men; Apulia, Gaeta, Campania, and many more – basically everyone that the Normans had ever rubbed up the wrong way. By 1053 Pope Leo had around 6,000 men and in addition to that he then agreed an alliance with the Byzantines. A plan was conceived that the Papal army would march south east and the Byzantines north to surround and defeat the largest Norman territory of Melfi on the east coast. Hearing of these plans, Humphrey requested all available help from the two other Norman territories and both Richard and Robert force marched cross country to join him in what was going to be possibly the end of the Normans in Italy. Despite these two joining Humphrey, the Normans could still only muster 3,500 men, it was therefore vital to stop the pope and the Byzantines from joining forces and with that in mind the Normans advanced north to face Pope Leo’s army near Civitate.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Civitate 1053

ORDERS OF BATTLE using figure/men ratio of 1:25

NORMAN ARMY

Humphrey D’Hauteville Duke of Apulia – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Elite, Fierce Warrior, Inspirational Leader

Norman Knights (1000 men) – 40 figures – Heavy cavalry, close order, armoured, veteran, fierce warriors, lance, shield

Richard of Aversa – Sub Commander – Veteran, Elite, Fierce Warrior, Inspirational Leader

Norman Knights (1000 men) – 40 figures – Heavy cavalry, close order, armoured, veteran, fierce warriors, lance, shield

Robert Guiscard -Sub Commander – Veteran, Elite, Fierce Warrior, Inspirational Leader

Norman Knights (1000 men) – 40 figures – Heavy cavalry, close order, armoured, veteran, fierce warriors, lance, shield

Slavic Infantry (500 men) – 20 figures – Open Order infantry, light armour, trained, steady, spear, shield

PAPAL ARMY

Rudolf, Prince of Benevento – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Experienced, Average Leader

2 units of Crossbowmen ( 2 x 300 men) 2 x 12 figures – Trained, inexperienced, militia, crossbow

2 units of Infantry (2 x 700 men) 2 x 28 figures – Trained, inexperienced, militia, spear, shield

2 units of Knights (2 x 1000 men) 2 x 40 figures – Heavy cavalry, close order, armoured, trained, experienced, lance, shield

Werner Von Maden – Sub Commander – Veteran, Elite, Fierce Warrior, Good Leader

Swabian Infantry (700 men) 28 figures – Close Order, Heavy infantry, veteran, elite, armour, 2 handed swords, shield

Albert Von Winterthur – Sub Commander – Veteran, Experienced, Average Leader

German Archers – (300 men) 12 figures – Open Order infantry, light armour, trained, steady, bow

German Infantry – (700 men) 28 figures – Close Order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady, spear, shield

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Pope Leo had opted not to been seen fighting a battle so had taken refuge in the town of Civitate with his Papal Guard, appointing Rudolf of Benevento as his field commander. There were in fact quite a lot of Dukes and Lords in the Papal army due to it’s multi-dukedom make up, each with their own group of troops. This led to a rather disorganised deployment, with the infantry especially appearing more like a rabble than organised soldiers.

The battle opened with Richard of Aversa leading a powerful charge of his knights across the open ground towards Rudolf’s men. Despite being hugely outnumbered, these Normans thundered through the poorly formed infantry, scattering them before then crashing into the cavalry. The ferocity of the charge sent the entire left wing of the Papal army into flight back to Civitate with Richard and his knights in hot pursuit.

In the centre, Humphrey charged the Swabians to his front who held a good position on the crest of a ridge that ran across the battlefield. Unlike their Italian comrades they stood their ground and wielding their two handed swords repulsed the charge. Humphrey regrouped and charged again, and again, and again, each time the Swabians stood firm, causing increasing casualties to the Norman knights. One witness reportedly said he saw “bodies of knights cut in two with dismembered horses laying along the line of battle”. Robert Guiscard, initially holding back as a reserve, now charged forward too, smashing into the German infantry to his front and with his Slavic infantry sent them into a rout. Unlike Richard who chased after the Papal soldiers, Robert rallied his men and turned to smash the flank of the Swabians to support Humphrey’s next full frontal charge. Even being attacked on two sides did not weaken the Swabian’s resolve, who now formed a tight square of swordsmen and continued to hold back the Norman charges, inflicting heavy losses on the mounted knights. Just as Humphrey was beginning to think further attacks looked futile against such stubborn resistance, Richard of Aversa returned with his knights and charged the Swabians in the other flank and rear. Now totally surrounded and vastly outnumbered with no means of escape, the Swabians began to lose men, gradually forming a smaller and tighter formation, they opted to keep fighting to the last man.

After hours of bloody, savage fighting, the Normans had won the battle. As they advanced to Civitate the citizens of the town overwhelmed the pope and his guard and threw them out of the city walls to the Normans, who promptly took Leo as hostage. He was held prisoner for the next nine months until written assurances were granted by all their enemies that the Norman lands would be recognised as legitimate hereditary territories. They expanded on these over future generations and notably Robert Guiscard with his brother Roger captured Sicily from the Muslims, creating the Norman Kingdom of Sicily in 1130.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This is an excellent engagement to fight in miniature, and a fantastic change to the usual Norman v Saxon “hastings” style wargames. The Papal army would look very much like their Norman opponents in armour and dress, but with generally round shields instead of kite ones, so it should be easy to form up both sides.

If you’re inspired to re-fight this battle then we suggest two looks at our online store.

The fabulous 15mm Dark Age range form Splintered Light Miniatures (USA) and available exclusively in the UK and Europe from ourselves.

Or for those who prefer boardgames, the brilliant Cry Havoc hexmap game called GUISCARD lets you re-fight Robert Guiscard’s battles across southern Italy and Sicily. The artwork of the counters is out of this world which helps make this range of games still hugely popular over 40 years after being first created.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in The Dark Ages

Battle of the Dunes (Dunkirk) – 14th June 1658   Leave a comment

French Marshal Turenne directs his men at The Battle of The Dunes

The Battle of the Dunes, it could be argued, was a conflict in three separate wars, the Franco-Spanish War of 1635-1659, the Anglo-Spanish War of 1654-1660, and to some it is a European extension to the English Civil Wars as both armies fielded large amounts of British troops, with the Royalists fighting with the Spanish and the New Model Army fighting with the French. It was a truly international affair and therefore a battle well worth looking further in to and replaying.

Oliver Cromwell had made an alliance with the French King Louis XIV in 1655. He was concerned that the heir apparent Charles II and his younger brother James were in the Spanish Netherlands trying to gather support, both financial and material, to invade England and resume the English Civil Wars to win back the throne after their father Charles I had been executed by Parliament in 1649. By forging an alliance with Louis he aimed to support French hostilities with Spain sufficiently to stretch their resources to a point that they couldn’t assist Charles and James in their plans to invade England.

In 1657 Cromwell sent 6,000 men of the New Model army to France, landing at Boulogne they bolstered the local French commander’s force; Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne and Marshal of France. With his reinforced army Turenne took Gravelines and Mardyck (now an outlying suburb of Dunkirk) with ease and then in 1658 began to lay siege to the port of Dunkirk with further support from Cromwell in the form of an English fleet to blockade the port by sea.

In response, the younger Captain-General of the Spanish Army of Flanders, Don Juan of Austria, mobilised his army which was in Brussels, and against the advice of older and more experienced commanders, marched to Dunkirk in order to relieve the siege. He approached the port with an army roughly the same size as that of Turenne, and with a multi-national force that was similar too. The main point of difference was command; Turenne was an experienced, wise veteran of war, while Don Juan was an impetuous 29 year old, accompanied by two sub generals, Conde, the Marquis of Caracena and James Duke of York (future King James II), both of whom had been part of Louis XIV’s service before being reluctantly drawn to the other side after Louis’ treaty with Oliver Cromwell.

As the two armies formed up on the morning of the 14th June 1658 on the coastline outside Dunkirk you can see that there were several tests of loyalty and of future position at stake.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of the Dunes

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a 1:20 figure scale

FRENCH ARMY

Marshal Turenne – Commander in Chief – Veteran, Elite, Superb Tactician, Inspiring Leader

Sir William Lockhart – Sub-Commander – Veteran, Reliable, Stubborn. Inspiring Leader

From left to right

Lockhart’s Cavalry (500 men) – 25 figures – Close order cavalry, medium armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, sword, pistols

3 x Units of French Cavalry (3 x 500 men) – 3 x 25 figures – Open order cavalry, medium armour, veteran, well trained, impetuous. sword. pistols

Front Line

Alsop’s Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Clarke’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Cochrane’s Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Lillington’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Morgan’s Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Reynold’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

Second Line

Scottish Bodyguard Regiment of Foot (400 men) – 20 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, elite, veteran, stubborn, musket/pike

Douglas’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, elite, stubborn, musket/pike

Dillon’s Regiment of Foot (600 men) – 30 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, stubborn, musket/pike

French Huguenot Regiment of Foot (800 men) – 40 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, reliable, musket/pike

4 x Units of French Cavalry (4 x 500 men) – 4 x 25 figures – Open order cavalry, medium armour, veteran, well trained, impetuous. sword. pistols

SPANISH ARMY

Don Juan of Austria – Commander in Chief – Inexperienced, Rash, Impetuous, Over Confident

Conde – Sub-Commander – Experienced, Veteran, Tactician, Inspiring

James, Duke of York – Sub-Commander – Inexperienced, Cautious, Inspiring

From left to right

4 x Units of Spanish Infantry (4 x 1,500 men) 4 x 75 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, trained, steady, muskets/pikes

Duke of York’s Front Line

Duke of Gloucester Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, loyal, musket/pike

Willoughby’s Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, loyal, musket/pike

Ormonds Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, well trained, loyal, musket/pike

Second Line

The Foot Guards Regiment of Foot (250 men) – 12 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, elite, musket/pike

Lord Muskerry’s Regiment of Foot (250 men) – 12 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, veteran, elite, musket/pike

Main Infantry body left to right both front & rear ranks ranks

2 x German Infantry Regiment of Foot (2 x 360 men) – 2 x 18 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, steady, musket/pike

3 x Walloon Infantry Regiment of Foot (3 x 300 men) – 3 x 16 figures 2/3 muskets 1/3 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, steady, musket/pike

2 x Scottish Regiment of Foot (2 x 360 men) – 2 x 18 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, steady, musket/pike

2 x Irish Regiment of Foot (500 men) – 25 figures 1/2 muskets 1/2 pike – Close order infantry, no armour, experienced, trained, impetuous, musket/pike

Right Flank (Conde)

2 x French Regiment of Foot (350 men) – 17 figures 4/5 muskets 1/5 pike – Close order infantry, light armour, experienced, trained, steady, musket/pike

Cavalry at rear

6 x French Cavalry Units (6 x 500 men) 6 x 25 figures – Close order cavalry, medium armour, experienced, trained, impetuous, sword, pistols

A panoramic view of the battle with Dunkirk in the distance

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle opened at 8am with the experienced Turenne using one of the most effective tactics when it works, turning a flank. Lockhart’s infantry were given the objective of capturing the sandhill opposite them, which was occupied by 6,000 Spanish infantry. So steep was the slope that Lockhart ordered his men to rest for two minutes at the bottom before attempting to scale the hill. When they did start, they climbed in pairs, each man assisting the other man then visa versa, until they reached the summit. There they faced a massive Spanish force, but they quickly grouped and stoically advanced to the attack, steadily pushing back the Spanish by pure determination. The Duke of York tried to relieve the Spanish with his own counter attack supported by cavalry, but French and New Model cavalry swept forward and routed the English Royalists as well as the Spanish infantry. The pressure now fell on the centre, and soon the German and Walloon infantry cracked and began to run, and each time a Spanish unit fled the French increased the pressure on the remaining units. Eventually only the great Conde and his Catholic French units remained until under threat of complete encirclement they left the field. Turenne’s cavalry pursued the Spanish army relentlessly, while the infantry returned to the siege of Dunkirk which would fall ten days later and be given to England as reward for it’s efforts.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Considering how popular both the English Civil War and Thirty Years War are to game, most gamers should be able to find the figures for this battle quite easily. It is by no means a foregone conclusion, as with all games the “Dice Gods” can really upset the best laid plans, and it is certainly an interesting game with the different nationalities and subtle differences coming into play.

For those not sure about it in miniature figures, there is an excellent hexmap game that covers this battle in our online store by VaeVictis – With Honour and Panache

 
 
 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century

The Battle of Kaveripauk – 23rd February 1752   Leave a comment

Robert Clive of India

European interest in the subcontinent of India was still in its relative infancy in the early part of the eighteenth century and as per usual it was the two rival powerhouses of Great Britain and France that began to expand on that under the guise of “trading”, both nations developing their own East India Trading Company’s.

Although classed as non-military organisations these companies both relied heavily on their sovereign nation’s navies to provide a show of strength to the natives and help keep their European rivals in no doubt that they meant business. As time went by, these “trading” companies began to create their own land forces to ensure their business interests were protected and it became a rather blurred line between a being a private company and actually a nation’s armed forces occupying foreign soil in all but name.

The south east region of India, known as Carnatic, was technically a dependency of Hyderabad, a princely state in the centre of India, however within Carnatic were several rival local warlords and nobles who each vied for extending their own personal power and wealth, and as tensions grew between them they turned to the Europeans for help in fighting their battles with the promise of increased trade and spheres of influence. It was only a matter of time before long time enemies France and Britain found themselves in conflict, with each supporting rival factions of natives and between 1746 and 1748 the First Carnatic War ensued, which was in effect the Indian involvement in the War of The Austrian Succession in Europe and it gave the junior British officer, Robert Clive, his first experience of fighting in India. As that war ended so did hostilities in Carnatic, however in 1749 the locals began fighting each other over who should be the Nabob (a royal status regional governor) of Carnatic and both the French and British began to chose sides and inevitably war broke out again. The French supported the Nabob of Arcot, Chunda Sahib, while the British opted for Mohammed Ali, the son of the previous Nabob of Carnatic.

In that year 1749, as the monsoon season began, the British fleet departed once more for England leaving French ambitions more viable nd they quickly established control over much of Carnatic and other southern Indian states. In 1751 Chunda Sahib with an army of 8,000 natives and 400 French regulars moved to lay siege to Trichinopoly, held by Mohammed Ali and ally of the British. who quickly moved to reinforce Ali, seeing the loss of Trichinopoly as a severe blow to British prestige on the continent if it were to fall. Robert Clive though preferred a different tactic, and with the support of the British governor in Madras, he planned to distract Chunda by directly attacking his home city of Arcot, which he captured after a brief siege. Clive then went on to win victories at Arni and Conjeveram, leaving only Trichinopoly left to be relieved, it now being of major importance to both sides. In another attempt of brilliant outmaneuvering Chunda Sahib sent his son, Raju Sahib at the beginning of February 1752 with a mixed force to attack the lightly defended town of Vendalur, which is very close to the great city of Madras, the headquarters of the British East India Company and the seat of their Governor, Thomas Saunders. This had the desired result of scaring the British authorities in Madras and the ordering of the immediate return of Clive and his forces to defend the city, which he duly did with all haste.

A French Sepoy

On the 22nd February, leaving a small but reinforced garrison in the city, Clive set out from Madras with a force of 300 British, 6 cannon, and 1,300 native Sepoys, to advance of Vendalur and attack Raju and his men. Unfortunately for Clive, Raju had better intelligence reports than he did, so was fully aware of his approach and left before the British arrived. The following day Clive again marched his men to intercept Raju, who once more was one step ahead and had again dispersed before the British arrived, this time heading for Arcot in an attempt to recapture it by treachery having stuck a deal with several gatekeepers. This plot though failed, as the the gatekeepers intentions were discovered and the city was kept safe. Frustrated, Raju decided to turn back and set an ambush for Clive’s men as they followed him, which they did near the town of Kaveripuak.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Kaveripauk

ORDERS OF BATTLE using the ratio 1:25 figures/men

BRITISH

Robert Clive – Commander in Chief – experienced, excellent tactician, inspiring leader

As deployed on the map left to right

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

British Regulars (150 men) – 6 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, veteran, stubborn, musket

Artillery ( 2 guns and crew) – 1 model – medium gun, well trained, disciplined, veteran

British Regulars (150 men) – 6 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, veteran, stubborn, musket

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

British Regulars (100 men) – 4 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, veteran, stubborn, musket

Artillery (4 guns and crew) – 2 models – medium gun, well trained, disciplined, veteran

British Regulars (200 men) – 8 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, veteran, stubborn, musket

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

FRENCH

Raju Sahib – Commander in Chief – experienced, impetuous, basic tactician

As deployed on the map left to right

6 x Sahib’s own native cavalry (6 x 400 men) 6 x 16 figures – open order light horse, native/militia, experienced, impetuous, cautious morale

French Regulars (150 men) – 6 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, experienced, musket

French Regulars (150 men) – 6 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, experienced, musket

Sepoys (400 men) – 16 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

Sepoys (400 men) – 16 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

Sepoys (400 men) – 16 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

French Regulars (50 men) – 2 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, experienced, musket

French Regulars (50 men) – 2 figures – close order infantry, well trained, disciplined, experienced, musket

Artillery (9 cannon and crew) – 4 models – medium guns, well trained, disciplined, steady

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

Sepoys (200 men) – 8 figures – native infantry, trained, experienced, steady, musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As the sun began to sink in the sky on the 23rd February, Clive and his men were almost at Kaveripauk where they intended to make camp for the night. The small town was just in sight, silhouetted against the skyline when suddenly to their right cannons opened fire, heralding the start of an ambush. Raju had lined the edge of a mango grove 250 yards to the right of the road and protected by both a ditch and a stream which surrounded the grove with his nine cannon, supported by a small number of French regulars and two larger groups of Sepoys. Ahead of Clive appeared French infantry and to his left a sizable number of cavalry were also spotted in the fading light.

Always the quick thinker, Clive immediately deployed his men. He sent his baggage to the rear with a platoon of infantry (beyond the edge of the battle map above) and then two of his cannon, with a another platoon of British regulars and 200 sepoys across a dried out watercourse to protect his flank and encirclement from the cavalry threat. He then deployed his remaining artillery on the road’s edge to exchange fire with the enemy guns, and took his remaining infantry into the dried riverbed to take cover. Raju then sent his men into the watercourse to advance on the British while his cavalry charged Clive’s forces protecting the left flank. Steady musket fire and artillery shots, chased the cavalry back, and in the watercourse it appeared an even standoff for some time, but by 10pm Clive noticed his cannon were taking a heavy pounding from the French guns and unless something could be done, this alone would force his retreat.

Clive sent a sepoy sergeant called Shawlum, who was local and knew the terrain, to reconnoitre the mango grove and how it may be silenced. He returned to say it appeared undefended at the rear, which turned out incorrect, but the news prompted Clive to assemble a force of 200 British and 400 sepoys to take the mango grove and knock out the French cannon. He initially led the group himself through the moonlit countryside until an urgent message was ran to him to say the forces in the watercourse were being overwhelmed by the French, at which he left a Lieutenant Keene in command of the mango grove assault party while he hurried back through dark to rally his men, arriving just in time. At the same time Raju’s cavalry who had now regrouped, made another charge on the flank, bu again the small British and sepoy force held them back with muskets and cannon.

As Keene rounded the back of the mango grove he had his men stay still about 300 yards away while he sent his Ensign called Symmonds to do a final reconnaissance. As he crossed the stream and entered the grove he was challenged by sepoy sentries, and thinking fast he replied to them French that he was an officer on their side, sufficiently well to let him pass. In the moonlight he could then see the French guns in front of him with no rearguard. Slipping back to his men with the news, Keene acted swiftly. He brought his men even further around the grove to enter beyond the sepoy sentries and stealthily had his men position just 30 yards behind the French cannon then pour a deadly volley of musket fire into them, silencing the guns immediately before then charging the French sepoy infantry, now to their rear, at the bayonet point and sending them fleeing into the night.

Across the battlefield the sudden silence of the French guns alerted Raju that there was a problem, which was confirmed by several French survivors fleeing the grove and stumbling into them. The already fragile cavalry force decided to flee the field, quickly followed by the infantry in the watercourse. It had been a very close run thing, but Clive’s quick thinking and decisive action had won the day and would in years to come earn the simple title of Clive Of India.

That night his men tended their wounded and at daylight they collected the nine French cannon and prisoners before continuing on to Kaveripauk and eventually returning to Madras.

Raju had lost 50 french soldiers and 300 sepoys/natives, Clive suffered 40 British dead and 30 sepoys killed.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

The relatively small numbers would lend itself well to a large skirmish game, especially where leader’s character and ability are accounted for in the rules.

Although not a common period to game, it is certainly a colourful one with varied troop types, even more so than it’s later more popular cousin period, the Indian Mutiny one hundred years later.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 18th Century