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The Battle of Old Byland – 14th October 1322 -700th Anniversary Extended History Edition   Leave a comment

Robert the Bruce

 

 

The First Scottish War of Independence had begun 26 years earlier, when King Edward I (aka Hammer of the Scots) had decided to bring the country to heel, accepting his overlord-ship, as he had already done with Wales. A series of victories and change in Scottish leaders, had almost brought King Edward the outcome he sought for, however a few months before Edward’s death, Scotland had a new king, and a new energy behind its fight for freedom from English interference. That new king was Robert I, (the Bruce).

Upon Edward I’s death, England also found itself with a new king, that being Edward’s fourth child and younger son, Edward II.  Edward II has had a hard time in recorded history and popular history, being portrayed as an ineffectual, cowardly character who surrounded himself with his favourites and shying away from military matters. Although there is some evidence of this, the fact remains that he still tried to maintain his father’s goal of Scottish submission, however by 1314 Robert the Bruce had recaptured the majority of English controlled castles in Scotland and in June that year won probably the most famous battle of the wars, Bannockburn. Robert was then able to capture the remaining English held fortifications, with the exception of Berwick on the modern day border, and the war changed to a new phase, from the English trying to occupy key Scottish locations, to the Scots now conducting raids into England. These penetrated quite deep into England, with Durham and York being put under attack several times, as well as English held territory in Ireland after a military campaign by Robert across the Irish Sea. A truce was agreed which gave Edward and the northern counties some relief from raids, but to exasperate Edward’s situation, a revolt of certain English Barons then sprung up, threatening his rule.

The revolt was led by Thomas 2nd Earl of Lancaster and cousin of Edward II, who was joined by the Earl of Hereford and several other Marcher lords. This rebel army marched on London, but the mix of leaders within the army began to fall out among themselves and Edward seized the opportunity to be decisive, and healing rifts with old enemies, his force grew, sending the rebels into retreat. Lancaster decided to flee north in an attempt to join forces with the Scots who had recently ended the truce and were beginning raids again in the north. Edward, pursued, and there was a fighting retreat by Lancaster, who found his support gradually thinning as time passed. Edward sent messages to his supporter, Sir Andrew Harclay 1st Earl of Carlisle, who gathered a levy and blocked Lancaster’s route on the Great North Road at Boroughbridge.  The battle decisive, and the rebel force and the rebellion destroyed, with Lancaster being captured then executed in March 1322.

With the rebellion over, Edward was full of confidence, some historians say that this moment was the zenith of his reign. He began gathering more forces, finally assembling an army of maybe 20,000-25,000 men, with the intention of taking the war back into Scotland, and maybe even winning it this time ! The size of his army though proved its downfall. Robert issued orders for none of his forces to engage the English, but rather draw them deeper into Scotland while adopting a scorched earth policy of destroying crops and livestock ahead of the English, as well as poisoning wells and burning buildings to completely deny them of supplies. The English only carried about two weeks of food with them, and this became exhausted on their long slow march. Forays by men looking for food were picked off by Scottish scouts who monitored enemy’s progress from a distance while remaining always ready to pounce on stragglers and those who became separated from the main force. Unfavourable winds and Scottish privateers, prevented the English from being supplied by sea as in previous invasions , and by the time Edward had reached Edinburgh his army was almost in mutiny. Disease became rife, and Edward felt his only option was to order a retreat, retracing his steps through the destroyed countryside back to England, finally reaching some respite when they arrived at Newcastle in mid-September. His army had reduced in size considerably, and was now probably only half the number he had set of with three months earlier.

Always seeking opportunity, Robert the Bruce called the Scots to arms, his plan to strike hard in England while his enemy were weakened. He chose to cross the border on the opposite side of the country, and after passing the Solway he descended on Carlisle at the beginning of October. Edward, continued south slowly, passing through Durham, Barnard Castle, and Yarm, before arriving on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors (now a National Park), and taking rest at the Cistercian abbey at Rievaulx, who’s impressive medieval ruins still stand today, (see picture below).

Rievaulx Abbey – North Yorkshire

 

Robert had been kept informed of Edward’s slow retreat and decided on an daring plan to make a cross-country march and attempt to capture Edward, thus forcing an end to the long War of Independence. Crossing the challenging terrain of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales, 100 miles of hills and valleys in just 7 days, his army arrived at Northallerton on the 13th October. This small market town is the site of a previous battle of the Scots and English (see our Battle For Wargamers – Battle of the Standard), and is only a few miles away from where King Edward, unaware of the close proximity of his enemy, enjoyed the hospitality of the Cistercian monks.

It was late on the evening of the 13th when locals fleeing the Scots, stumbled on the English soldiers. One can only imagine the panic in Edward to hear Robert and a Scottish army were only 15 miles away.  He summoned his Earls and Lords to council and gave control of his army to John of Brittany the Earl of Richmond who marched south to the defensive position of Sutton Bank.Not wanting to seem a total coward, and so he could be kept up to date with news more quickly, Edward II left Rievaulx and instead took up residence at the closer Byland Abbey, but still not actively attending the battlefield himself.

Sutton Bank is even by modern standards, an impressive and challenging piece of terrain. A relatively modern road zigzags up the face but even so it still a 1:4 incline and many motorists opt for an 18 mile detour to avoid it. In medieval times the ancient track would probably have been even steeper in places before finally reaching a large open flat plateau oat the top. It was along the top of this ridge that Richmond positioned his army, the southern edge being protected by even more challenging rock face called Whitestone Cliffs.

View from the top of Sutton Bank looking down onto the approaching road, where Robert would come from.

 

Whitestone Cliffs at the southern end of the English position.

 

 

Richmond’s army numbered around 8,000 men. Edward had sent messengers for reinforcements from local nobles, but as dawn broke, none had yet arrived. The army was dismounted and placed along the top of the ridge, with a mixture of knights, longbowmen, spearmen, and levy militia.

After making the final close on the English during darkness, Robert’s army in the vale below numbered around 5,500 men; a smaller force but one made up veteran warriors who ready for revenge for the recent English invasion.  Robert had hoped to totally surprise the English, so his heart must have sunk a little when in the first sunlight of the 14th, he looked up to the ridge of Sutton Bank to see a mass of shining spearheads and banners waving in the morning sunshine. The English were waiting for him, and he would have to fight his way to the top, and quickly, if he were to capture Edward.

 

Suggested initial deployment for The Battle of Old Byland

 

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE – working on a 20:1 man/figure ratio and [suggested stands for ADLG/MeG rules]

Scottish Army

Robert the Bruce – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, Excellent Tactician, Inspirational Leader

Scots Vanguard

Sir James Douglas “the Black Douglas” – sub-commander – Veteran, Very Experienced, Inspirational Leader

Thomas Randolph Earl of Murray – sub-commander – Veteran, Very Experienced, Inspirational Leader

Dismounted Knights – (100 men) – 5 figures [1 stand] – Close Order Infantry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Elite morale, heavy armour, shield and sword/axe/spears

Spearmen – (1,500 men) – 75 figures [10 stands] – Close Order Infantry Veteran, Very Experienced, Excellent Morale, Light Armour, Shield, Sword, Long Spear – can use “Schiltron formation” if applicable to the rules used.

Bruce’s Formation

Spearmen – (2,000 men) – 100 figures [13 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Excellent Morale, Light Armour, Shield, Sword, Long Spear – can use “Schiltron formation” if applicable to the rules used.

Light Horse – (500 men) – 25 figures – [3 stands] – Open Order Light Cavalry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Excellent Morale, Light Armour, Sword, Spear

The Highlanders Formation

Clan Chiefs – sub-commander – Veteran, Very Experienced, Inspirational Leader

Highland Warriors – (1,500 men) – 75 figures [10 stands] – Medium Infantry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Excellent Morale, “Swordsmen”,  Sword , Bow

Highland Island Warriors – (500 men) 25 figures – [4 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Excellent Morale, Impetuous, Two Handed Weapons (Big Swords/Lochaber Axes)

 

English Army

John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, Experienced, Respected Leader

Northern Formation

Levy & Militia Infantry – (2,000 men) – 100 figures [14 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Trained, Mediocre Morale, Light Armour, Sword, Spear

Centre Left Formation

Sir Ralph de Cobham – sub-commander- Veteran, Very Experienced, Inspirational Leader

Dismounted Knights  – (100 men) – 5 figures [1 stand] – Close Order Infantry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Elite morale, heavy armour, shield and sword/axe/spears

Longbowmen – (500 men) – 25 figures [4 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Experienced, Average Morale, Longbow

Spearmen – (1,400 men) – 70 figures [8 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Trained, Mediocre Morale, Light Armour, Sword, Spear

Centre Right Formation

Sir Thomas Uhtred – sub-commander- Veteran, Very Experienced, Respected Leader

Dismounted Knights  – (100 men) – 5 figures [1 stand] – Close Order Infantry, Veteran, Very Experienced, Elite morale, heavy armour, shield and sword/axe/spears

Longbowmen – (500 men) – 25 figures [4 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Experienced, Average Morale, Longbow

Spearmen – (1,400 men) – 70 figures [8 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Trained, Mediocre Morale, Light Armour, Sword, Spear

Southern Formation

Levy & Militia Infantry – (2,000 men) – 100 figures [14 stands] – Close Order Infantry, Trained, Mediocre Morale, Light Armour, Sword, Spear

Robert sounds the attack

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Seeing The English army in readiness, stretched out along the top of Sutton Bank, made Robert have to rethink his plan quickly. The only way the ridge could be taken was by taking the track to the summit, a very steep climb, and under attack from the heights above. Slow progress would mean King Edward would have plenty of time to escape, and the plan to capture him fail.

After a quick council with his most trusted nobles, Sir James Douglas was given the task of leading the assault up the narrow path. He was joined by his old comrade, Murray and his personal guard of six knights, and together they began the seemingly suicidal climb up the track with the Scottish vanguard.

The terrain caused issues for the English too. Although sat on the top of a very steep incline, the face of the bank was then, as now, covered in trees, shrubs, and boulders. This meant not only did the Scots have to negotiate the narrow path, but for the English that their 1,000 Longbowmen on the top could not fire massed volley fire as was their signature tactic in the following century at Crecy and Agincourt. The high volume of trees “caught” most the arrows. So the archers were reduced to waiting for the Scots to emerge from the woods and then try and pick them off as they would hunting a deer.

Robert then had an inspirational idea, to use tactics similar to a previous victory at The Battle of the Pass of Brander, back when Robert was fighting other Scots for his leadership of the nation. He ordered his men in the vale to quickly gather fallen branches and fell small trees, and with these he began a number of fires. The fresh cut wood would give off a larger amount of smoke, which blew up the face of Sutton Bank. This both stung and watered the eyes of English on summit, but more importantly created a smokescreen, hiding his troop movements on the ground.

As Douglas and Murray continued their advance up the track, Robert sent his Highlanders south, to round the “hook” of Whitestone Cliffs and then to scale them. The smokescreen appeared to work, not only allowing the Vanguard to continue its advance under partial cover, but also to allow the Highlanders to move totally undetected. The climb up sheer rock faces must have been a challenge, but timed perfectly, because almost as soon as the Vanguard reached the top to begin hand to hand fighting with Cobham’s and Uhtred’s men, the Highlanders reached the summit of the cliffs, which were higher than the main ridge. Once massed, the ferocious Highlanders charged from higher ground down onto the flank of the English. The southern English block of largely levy infantry, were no match for the two thousand Highlanders that came crashing down on them, and quickly broke.

As  the flank collapsed, Uhtred’s men became the next target for the Highland attack. Already engaged to their front with the Scottish vanguard, they too broke under the pressure. The panic and collapse spread along the entire English line, with just a few pockets remaining to stand and fight. Seeing the English lines collapse, Robert ordered a rapid advance of 500 light horsemen (mounted infantry) he had held in reserve, if he were to capture Edward he had to move fast. The cavalry raced over the summit, which was now almost entirely in Scottish control. Edward II had apparently already retreated back to Rievaulx Abbey, having heard that the Scots were attempting to attack up Sutton Bank, rather than accept it was a task too hard. Seemingly no sooner had he arrived at Rievaulx, more messages arrived to inform him of the Scottish breakthrough. His personal guard rushed him to mount a horse and the small group fled, leaving behind virtually all of the Royal possessions , including Edward’s Great Seal of Office (the second time Edward had lost it to the Scots).

Foresight by his bodyguard saved Edward from capture. Within minutes of his departure, the Scottish horsemen arrived at the Abbey. After confirming he had already left, they set off in pursuit. Edward’s men though decided not to take their King to the safety of York, which would be the obvious choice. They knew that on that journey they could not outpace the swift light horsemen and would be caught. So they opted to ride for the coast, in hope of finding a ship, riding towards Bridlington. The Scots, took the obvious route, and headed towards York.

The Scots had won the battle, but had failed to capture King Edward II.

The victory signaled the beginning of the end of the war. A notable amount of English nobles had been captured, including Richmond, Cobham and Uhtred, and the Scots went on a series of marches ravaging and taking ransom from towns and Holy buildings wanting to avoid destruction.

Edward would lose power within three years, being held captive by his wife and her lover, Roger Mortimer. He was forced to abdicate, naming his son as King Edward III, who as a minor was “governed” by his mother and Mortimer until he managed to escape their control and retake the throne, becoming one of England’s greatest monarchs. Edward II is alleged to met a most gruesome death at Berkeley Castle while in captivity. By having a red hot fire poker stick inserted up his rectum, killing him by burning his internal organs from the inside while showing minimal outward injury so it could be claimed he died of natural causes.

 

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This battle, although little known compared to the battles fought on Scottish soil, was one of the most important of the entire War and should be compared to the likes of Bannockburn as far as significance is concerned. SO that said, it is well worth making the effort to game it in miniature.

Model makers among you can try and recreate the impressive Sutton Bank and Whitestone Cliffs, however for the average gamer like me, simply marking out where the incline and cliffs are with symbolic terrain markers would suffice. So please don’t be put off by the geography.

As for figures, there is abundance of choice in all scales from 6mm to 28mm, tough personally for the size of the battle, and the nice touch of painting heraldry, I would suggest 10mm or 15mm as the best scales if you are planning on a starting a new collection to refight it.  That said, a newish range of 28mm of Medieval Scottish by Antediluvian Miniatures look particularly excellent, and are well worth a look.

Rules, always a personal choice, but due to the size again we would suggest not using the “large skirmish” / warband rules for this battle. ADLG/MeG and even WRG rules would all allow for realistic recreations of Old Byland, though again a personal favourite for this would a little known set of specific Medieval battle rules – Days of Knights (1997)- which are now only available as a PDF, but are well worth investing in.

 

MORE INFORMATION

We have written this Battle For Wargamers in an extended version to our usual as this is the 700th Anniversary of the battle occurring, and we hope you have enjoyed it.

The battle site is only 20 miles away from where we are based, and the locations involved are all common place to us here at The Little Corporal, which is one reason we wanted to share this with you.

There is, for other locals to the area, a planned Battlefield Day being hosted by National Parks on Saturday 15th October from 10am until 4pm at the top of Sutton Bank, with a host of activities including a battlefield walk, try archery for yourself, combat displays and heraldry.

For those located more distant but interested in the campaign, we recommend the excellent book, CLASH OF CROWNS by Harry Pearson ( a National Park volunteer) and available from Waterstones and Amazon at £16.99.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 13/10/2022 by The Little Corporal in Category 1, Medieval

The Battle of Entzheim – 4th October 1674   Leave a comment

Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne

 

Before the far more famous Nine Years War (War of the Grand Alliance), and some years after the Thirty Years War, a substantial conflict raged in western Europe which became known as the The Franco-Dutch War which lasted almost six and a half years. It overlapped at times with the Anglo-Dutch War and the Scanian War, which brought a number of other nations into the conflict as allies to one side or the other.

The Spanish Netherlands, which separated France from the Dutch Republic, was considered by both nations as an area vital for trade and commerce, France had previously occupied large parts of it during the slightly earlier War of Devolution, but after making an alliance with Munster and Cologne in 1672, the French were able to move forces around the Spanish Netherlands and directly invade the Dutch Republic via Germany. France was supported by England who were also at war with the Dutch at this point, and the armies of Louis XIV made considerable inroads, laying siege to various fortresses and cities. In desperation, William of Orange (future king of England) ordered the opening of The Holland Water Line, a series of flood gates which allowed the flooding of huge parts of the Netherlands making them impassible, and the war developed more into a war of attrition than action.

As the Dutch became more captive, other nations came to their aid, namely The Holy Roman Empire (Austria), Brandenburg-Prussia, and Spain. Louis XIV now had to protect his other borders and sent his best general, hero of the Thirty Years War, Turenne, to conduct military operations in the Rhineland to secure France’s eastern border.

After receiving news that Strasbourg had fallen to an Imperial army of 30,000 led by Alexander von Bournonville, and that a Brandenburg army of 20,000 men was en route to join up with Bournonville soon. Turenne decided that his best chance was to attack before he was massively outnumbered. Turenne had an army of around 22,000 men, predominately French soldiers but with several English units. Although England had officially ended its war with the Dutch, Charles II opted to keep the French supplied with a small number of troops to ensure he received payments and subsidies still owed by King Louis. These units included, infantry, cavalry, marines and two very famous men in English history, The Duke of Monmouth, and John Churchill (later the Duke of Marlborough of Blenheim fame).

Turenne attacked the Imperialists at the fortified village of Entzheim.

Suggested set up for the Battle of Entzheim

 

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE

French Army

Turenne – Commander-In-Chief – Veteran, Excellent Tactician, Inspirational Leader

French 1st Line Left to Right

2 units of French Dragoons – mounted infantry, veteran, experienced, excellent morale, dragoon musket, sword

4 units of French Infantry – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, musket (integral pike in each unit 1 pike per 4 musket)

2 units of British Cavalry – veteran, experienced, elite, sabre, pistol

French 2nd Line Left to Right

2 units of French Cavalry – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, sabre, pistol

1 unit of British Infantry – veteran, experienced, elite, musket (integral pike in each unit 1 pike per 4 musket)

3 units of French Infantry – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, musket (integral pike in each unit 1 pike per 4 musket)

2 units of French Cavalry – veteran, experienced, excellent morale, sabre, pistol

Along the French front as per map

3 batteries of medium cannon – veteran, experienced, good morale

 

Imperial (Holy Roman Empire) Army

Bournonville – Commander-In-Chief – Veteran,  Good Tactician, Respected Leader

Imperial 1st Line Left to Right

2 units of German Cavalry – veteran, experienced, good morale, sabre, pistol

6 units of Imperial Infantry – veteran, experienced, good morale, musket (integral pike in each unit 1 pike per 4 musket)

2 units of Imperial Cuirassiers – veteran, experienced, good morale, armoured, sabre, pistol

Imperial 2nd Line Left to Right

2 units of German Cavalry – veteran, experienced, good morale, sabre, pistol

6 units of Imperial Infantry – veteran, experienced, good morale, musket (integral pike in each unit 1 pike per 4 musket)

2 units of Imperial Cuirassiers – veteran, experienced, good morale, armoured, sabre, pistol

Along the Imperial front as per map

3 batteries of medium cannon – veteran, experienced, good morale

**Depending on rules used, additional sub-commanders may be issued to both armies – French up to 2 excellent and 1 competent – Imperial up to 3 competent sub-generals.

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The village of Entzheim, was well fortified, and to capture it an attacking army would need to control the area known as “Little Wood” which would become critical to the outcome. Bournonville, moved artillery and several battalions into the woods to form a defensive position,  meanwhile Turenne began his attack, also on Little Wood with his Dragoons, supported by units from his first line of infantry. This initial assault was repulsed by the defenders. The French pulled back and regrouped for a second attack, but this time reinforced by the “British Brigade” of four battalions from the second line, one of which was commanded by John Churchill. The weather turned to heavy rain, which stopped the French from repositioning their cannon to support the attack, and also made fighting conditions slippery and chaotic. As the French forces looked to be repulsed a second time, Turenne launched his cavalry reserves from the second line to try and move around Little Wood and attack the Imperial flank, but Bournonville countered this with his German cavalry also riding around the wood to meet them, pushing them back due to weight of numbers.

At the same time as this cavalry engagement, Bournonville ordered a charge on the opposite flank by his heavy cuirassiers. These armoured horsemen rode around the far edge of a vineyard in a flanking move and smashed into the French & British  cavalry, initially sending them into a retreat, but once again the weather played an important deciding factor. The extra heavy cavalry, now on blown horses, became slowed and hampered by the wet and muddy conditions underfoot, and French/British cavalry were able to regroup and counterattack, successfully expelling the Imperial cavalry back to their lines.

On the opposite flank, the British Brigade and more French infantry made another attack on Little Wood, this time they broke the Imperial lines and captured the position, threatening the Imperial flank and enabling an attack on entrenched Imperial forces directly protecting Entzheim. This assault was repulsed, and having very slowly managed to move his guns, Turenne now seemed satisfied to simply hold Little Wood and bombard the remaining Imperial positions with his cannon.

As darkness began to fall, both sides had lost around 3,000-4,000 men, and the French especially were exhausted having been marching and then fighting for almost 40 continuous hours. Bournonville ordered a retreat, presumably hoping to join up with the Brandenburg army that was on its way, and then fight Turenne again. Turenne also pulled back, though he left a few cavalry units on the battlefield until the next day, so he could claim winning the field. In reality, his army was in a bad way. The British Brigade had been virtually destroyed due to the repeated attacks, and it was disbanded. Churchill and most of the men returned to England, although a small unit of Irish Catholics remained to fight for the French, some of whom would fight against the English in years to come during the Jacobite and Irish Wars.

Turenne, changed tactics which would see him embark on one of the greatest military campaigns in history, as he led his remaining men on “The Winter Campaign”, completely outwitting the Imperial forces over the next few months.

Turenne’s army embarks on The Winter Campaign

 

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

The Franco-Dutch War offers some interesting battles to refight, although information on the conflict isn’t as plentiful as the Thirty Years War and Nine Years War.

For figures we would suggest using those from the early Nine Years War or the English Restoration period, which incidentally are both periods produced by LURKIO FIGURINES and are available on our website for fans of 15mm gaming.

Alternatively, Pendraken produce 10mm figures which would be suitable, and Dixon Miniatures make an very comprehensive range in 28mm for both periods too.

Although looking at most rulesets they seem to cut off at the English Civil War and restart at the Nine Years War, rules for the latter Nine Years War will do just fine, as the armies used very similar musket armed battalions with an integral pike unit. It should be noted though that plug bayonets were not in wide use at this time, so we would advise dispensing with that weapon if the rules suggest them.  Renatio Et Gloriam would be perfect for this battle, or Lace Wars by Caliver Books.

Unless an absolute purist, we would suggest painting your units up as Nine Years War figures, then at least you will another good gaming period to fight as well.

LURKIO infantry from the period

 

Posted 07/10/2022 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century, Category 1

The Battle of Anderitum – 491AD   Leave a comment

 

Early Saxon Warriors circa 5th century AD

 

There are several very good reasons that the period of history immediately following the departure of the Romans in the early 5th century is known as The Dark Ages. The island of Britain fell into a long period of successive raids and then invasions by Angles, Jutes, and Saxons from the continent, as well pressure from the Picts and Scots-Irish along the northern regions. It was, a Churchill may have put it, “A dark and bleak time for the future of Britain”, however my preferred reason for the term Dark Ages was as my old history master at school explained; The Romans were great recorders and writers, but this stopped when they left, and only really started again about the 9th century, when the likes of Bede wrote the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. The period in between and the details of the history rely almost entirely on what was passed down along generations as verbal history with very few written documents. Thus it’s a period of “Dark History”, rather than the certainties of events both prior and since. This Battle For Wargamers therefore must be read in the context it is written, ie to provide a fun and exciting tabletop game based on actual historic events that happened, but with a required amount of predictive speculation to complete a picture of possible events.

Fifty years after the Romans left, the Saxons were becoming far more confident in their attacks on Britain, and despite some defeats and set backs various chieftains and warlords obviously had this land in their sights for conquering. One such chieftain was the Saxon Aelle, who in 477AD with his three sons, Cymen, Cissa and Wlenking, landed at Selsey Bill, a headland on the Manhood Peninsula in modern day West Sussex, that stretches out into the English Channel. His force at this point was only small, with it being recorded he landed with three ships. Saxon ships carried around thirty warriors each, so by this one can estimate his initial warband was about 100 men strong. Small though this sounds, it would appear that he was able to establish a foothold and scattered the local defenders at an engagement known as the Battle of Cymanshore in 477. After consolidating his position Aelle appears to have sent numerous invitations back to his homeland for more men to join his expedition. One must assume he had a flow of volunteers come to his banner, because in 485 it’s recorded he marched east along the coast with a “large army”before being confronted by an equally “large army” of Romano-British who had rallied from a number of neighbouring areas to stop the Saxon advance. The two armies met at the Battle of Mercredesburne, near modern day Arundel. Exact details are vague, but a “large army” for this period may have only around 2,000 men; what is known is that this battle was a an indecisive yet costly one for both sides, with their numbers being greatly thinned by the slaughter and both retreating back to their own regions having supposedly agreed a peace. Aelle immediately sent request back home for more men to join him.

By 490/491 Aelle obviously felt reinforced enough to launch another foray into Sussex and marched east once more, this time his target was the ex-Roman sea fortress of Anderitum, modern day Pevensey, where William of Normandy would land almost 600 years later to overthrow Saxon England.  It would appear that in 491, the fort was in an excellent state of repair, and was seen as the most secure fortress for many miles. So much so, that upon hearing of the Saxon advance, the local population took refuge within its walls with the garrison. Aelle and his men began to lay siege to the castle, but once again the Roman0-British rallied to the emergency and numerous local warbands came together to form a relief force. Reports are that the British harassed the Saxons for several days and nights from the surrounding woods, before finally launching an attack on the besiegers. It is this battle that we now try to create a tabletop game for.

 

Suggested set up for The Battle of Anderitum

 

 

SUGGESTED ORDERS OF BATTLE using a 20:1 figure ratio and “stands” for MeG or ADLG rules shown in [ ]

 

Saxon Army

Aelle – Commander-In-Chief – Veteran, ferocious, inspiring leader

Aelle’s Warband (500 men) 25 figures [10 stands] – Nobles, heavy infantry, veteran, impetuous, armour, shield and swords/axes

Cymen – Sub-Commander – Veteran, respected leader

Cymen’s Warband (500 men)  25 figures [10 stands] – Warriors, heavy infantry, veteran, impetuous, armour, shield and swords/axes

Cissa – Sub-Commander – Veteran, ferocious, respected leader

Cissa’s Warband (500 men)  25 figures [10 stands] – Warriors, heavy infantry, veteran, impetuous, armour, shield and swords/axes

 

Romano-British Army

Commander-In-Chief – Veteran, respected leader

 

Unit D (120 men) 6 figures [2 stands] – Medium cavalry, light armour, average morale/training, shield and sword/spear

Sub-Commander – Experienced, average leader

Unit C (1000 men) 50 figures [20 stands] – Warriors, medium infantry, light armour. mediocre morale/training, shield and sword/spear

Unit B (120 men) 6 figures [2 stands] – Medium cavalry, light armour, average morale/training, shield and sword/spear

Sub-Commander – Experienced, average leader

Unit A (1000 men) 50 figures [20 stands] – Warriors, heavy infantry, armour. mediocre morale/training, shield and sword/spear

{Inside Anderitum}

Sub-Commander – Experienced, average leader

Unit F (200 men) 10 figures [4 stands] – Warriors, medium infantry, light armour. average morale/training, shield and sword/spear

Unit G (600 men) 10 figures [8 stands] – Citizen Levy, medium infantry, no armour. levy morale/training, shield and sword/spear

Unit H (200 men) 10 figures [6 stand] – Archers, light infantry, open order, no armour, bow, average morale

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As we have said several times already in this article, exact details are few and far between in this period, but we do know the following.

After several days of harassing and hit and run raids, the British decided to launch a full assault on the Saxon forces, presumably feeling their 2 to 1 superior numbers would carry the day.  But unlike the veteran and battle hardened Saxons, most of the British forces had been hastily mustered from surrounding areas without a lot of training for such an enemy or such a large scale fight.

We know that Aelle, having learnt from past experience, opted to split his forces in two, with a proportion still facing the fortress walls ready to confront any attempt to break out and attack from the rear, while the remainder took on the British relief force.

Whether there was an attempt to break out, we don’t know, but what is recorded is that the Saxons won a resounding victory, destroying or routing the relief force and successfully capturing the fortress. It is written that once Anderitum was taken, that Aelle ordered all its occupants, both military and civilian, to be killed, maybe as part of a plan to now bring over more Saxons from the continent and ensure that his newly won Kingdom of Sussex would be populated just by his own people.

 

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

By most standards, this is a small battle, and although we have given numbers for MeG and ADLG, it would equally lend itself to many of the “Warband” sized rules for the period like Saga.

Figure wise, this is certainly not a “Dark Age” for wargaming choice, with large variety of figures from several suppliers in several scales. The imminent next edition of WS&S magazine is reviewing a huge selection and will no doubt be a useful guide for anyone interested in this period.

Our own offering is LURKIO FIGURINES who produce an excellent range of 15mm Post Roman British,  and can be found here https://thelittlecorporal.co.uk/post-roman-britons-214-c.asp

As well as the complete range of British, Saxons, Picts, Scots-Irish and more in our exclusive SPLINTERED LIGHT MINIATURES range here   https://thelittlecorporal.co.uk/1518mm-dark-age-historical-265-c.asp

You will also find a good selection of books in our “Bookstore” section on this period. All at www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk

 

Posted 25/09/2022 by The Little Corporal in Category 1, The Dark Ages

The Battle of Blaauwberg – 8th January 1806   Leave a comment

By the time of the Napoleonic Wars most European countries had established overseas empires in one way or another. The relatively modern independent country of The Netherlands had been no exception to that, using her citizen’s maritime skills to develop colonies in the Far East, the Americas, and Africa. As with most of these colonies, their purpose was primarily to use them as bases for commerce and trade, however in times of war they were also useful bases for refitting and resupplying ships or attacking your enemies from.

When at the start of the Napoleonic Wars the Netherlands were captured by the French and then set up as a client puppet state known as the Batavian Republic, it sent a red flag warning to Britain. The “Jewel of the British Empire” was India, and to sail to and from to India ships had to pass the Cape of Good Hope, and modern day South Africa. This territory had been colonised by the Dutch some time earlier, but now the Dutch were allied to the French and potentially a French naval base could be created there to cut Britain off from India. London decided something had to be done and from 1805 attempted to blockade various French ports to stop troops being transported to the Cape. In addition to this, an invasion of the Cape was planned, for Britain to seize the colony and deny it to the French and her allies.

Sir David Baird was given command of the task force to capture the Cape

 

 

Lieutenant-General Sir David Baird, a veteran of the fighting in the British Empire, was given command of the expedition which would involve a fleet of nine warships and a dozen transport ships, carrying almost 6,000 men to invade. As the fleet embarked, news was received that the French had slipped past the blockade at Rochefort and that potentially 2,000 French soldiers were also on their way to the Cape.

Until French reinforcements arrived, the area around the Cape was under the command of Jan Willem Janssens, who had a rather mixed bunch of troops at his disposal. these included two regular battalions of Dutch infantry, some Dutch dragoons, a Dutch artillery unit, 200 French marines, a battalion of German mercenaries, another unit of cavalry made up of local burghers, and several colonial units, including Hottentots, Mozambique slaves, and artillery from the Javanese army. In total around 2,100 men.

A French privateer ship that ran aground near the Cape on January 2nd was able to warn Janssens that a British fleet was about to arrive and on the 4th the fleet was spotted off the coast. The colony was put under martial law and all men mobilised for the defence. Bad weather stopped the landing for a couple of days, but on the 6th and 7th they started to disembark. Even then the sea was still a challenge and 36 Highlanders were drowned when their landing boat capsized. Some of the Dutch dragoons skirmished along the shoreline but with little effect. Janssens was reluctant to face the British on the beach; despite it offering an opportunity to engage them while disembarking and not in formation, the Royal Navy warships could wipe out his forces with their heavy guns. He therefore decided to make his defence a little inland, out of sight of the warships. Under the heights of Blaauwberg (anglicised at Blue Berg) he formed his line, as two British infantry brigades marched in from the sands.

 

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Blaauwberg

 

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE using a 1:25 figure ratio

 

British Army

Sir David Baird – Commander-in-Chief  – veteran, experienced, respected leader

1st British Highland Brigade

72nd Duke of Albany’s Own Highlanders (800 men) 32 figures – regular army, well trained. excellent morale, musket and bayonet

71st Fraser Highlanders (800 men) 32 figures – regular army, well trained. excellent morale, musket and bayonet

93rd Sutherland Highlanders (800 men) 32 figures – regular army, well trained. excellent morale, musket and bayonet

2nd Brigade

59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot (800 men) 32 figures – regular army, well trained. good morale, musket and bayonet

83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot (800 men) 32 figures – regular army, well trained. good morale, musket and bayonet

24th South Wales Borderers (800 men) 32 figures – regular army, well trained. good morale, musket and bayonet

 

Batavian Republic Army

Jan Willem Janssens – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, experienced, inspiring leader

Detached Jagers & Sharphooters (250 men) 10 figures –

Dutch Horse Artillery (4 guns and crew) 1 model and crew – 4lb cannon, regular army, well trained, good morale

Burgher Dragoons (150 men) 6 figures – Militia cavalry, poor training, good morale, dragoon musket & sword

Waldeck  (German) Jagers (200 men) 8 figures – regular army, skirmishers, well trained, poor morale, musket & bayonet

Hottentot Light Infantry (300 men) 12 figures – Militia infantry, poor training, good morale, musket & bayonet

5th Waldeck (German) Infantry (350 men) 14 figures – regular army, well trained, poor morale, musket & bayonet

23rd Dutch Infantry (350 men) 14 figures –  regular army, well trained, good morale, musket & bayonet

Javanese Foot Artillery (10 guns and crew) 3 models and crew – 8lb cannon, militia army, average trained, excellent morale

French Marines (300 men) 12 figures –  regular navy, well trained, excellent morale, musket & bayonet

9th Dutch Jagers (200) 8 figures –  regular army, skirmishers, well trained, good morale, musket & bayonet

Dutch Dragoons (150 men) 6 figures – regular army cavalry, well trained, good morale, dragoon musket & sword

Dutch Horse Artillery (4 guns and crew) 1 model and crew – 4lb cannon, regular army, well trained, good morale

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As the morning sun began to warm the plain, the British advanced in two distinct groups with a low berg separating them. The Dutch began shelling with artillery as the British advanced. The Burgher Dragoons galloped forward and took some shots from the saddle at the approaching infantry, before retiring back to their lines.

Still 90 metres away from contact, the 71st Fraser Highlanders let out a cry to charge with bayonet and at that, without even firing a single shot, the two German Waldeck units ran away ! Leaving a huge gap in Janssens centre. Despite this his line held. As the British came on closer to engage, the Jagers on the right flank began to fall back, leaving the Batavian defense to the Dutch regular and colonial troops, with the French Marines. Despite being exposed on the flank the Marines fought ferociously , as did the Javanese gunners to their front, who with a number of Mozambique slaves in their crews, kept the firing up on the British units. Janssen saw his army’s casualties mounting; despite the remaining units bravery, they could not withstand the onslaught in such large numbers, and he gave the order to retreat. The regular Dutch and Marines, began to make their exit, but still the colonial Hottentots and Javanese fought on a little longer, holding back the British advance at great cost to their themselves.

Finally they broke under pressure, and fled to catch up with their retreating comrades in arms. Janssen and his army moved in the Hottentot interior, 5okm from Cape Town, which the British advanced on and took the following day. The Dutch Cape Colony was now in Britain’s possession and would become in the next few years a part of the British Empire and the nation of South Africa, from where Britain would engage in more colonial expansion into neighboring countries in the decades to come and take on the Boers and the Zulus to name but two.

 

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

At first glance this battle may look like a foregone conclusion, but not so. The Batavian force did largely put up a stiff resistance, and had the German units held the line, maybe they could have stalled the British. It would be a good idea when gaming this battle to set some time limit for the British to win the field, and if they don’t within that time count it as a Batavian victory. Remember a French army force is on its way ! If the British can be stalled a couple of days then reinforcements may arrive which would put a very different slant on the battle.

With the relatively small number of units this should be an easy one to pitch for experienced Napoleonic gamers with a decent sized collection, likewise newbies with just a few units can get a feel for the period too. For the more exotic troops, I’d suggest looking at Colonial ranges of figures, but all should be somehow available to field. Happy Gaming.

Posted 29/06/2022 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of Dara – 530AD   Leave a comment

The only known image of Belisarius from the period

 

In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, there began a general ambition by the Byzantine hierarchy to restore the Empire’s territory back to the height of the Roman Empire from where it had evolved. Consequently a series of campaigns began across Italy, North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East, to rebuild the former glory.  It should be noted that at this point in history, the enemies faced by the Byzantines were far more numerous and better organised than those that Rome had first faced centuries earlier. These were now the evolved enemies that had defeated Rome just 100-150 years earlier.

Through the military commanders there began to appear one who seemed more able and gifted at strategy than some others, that being Flavius Belisarius.  He had been born around 500 AD in modern day Bulgaria, then part of the Byzantine Empire, and after joining the army as a young man, had risen through the ranks and performed sufficiently to be noticed first by Emperor Justin and then by Emperor Justinian, to be asked to create a new unit of elite Royal bodyguard cavalry. This developed into a force of over 7,000 men, and soon Belisarius was given field command of entire armies and the title Magister Militum.

However, long before Belisiarius and even before the Byzantine Empire, the Sassanid Persians had been a regular thorn in the side of the Romans on their eastern frontier. The Sassanids had attempted to relive the art, culture and territorial grandness of their ancestors, the Achaemenid Persians. Centuries of conflict between Rome and the Sassanids had worn down both the financial and material ability to keep up hostilities. By the time the Byzantines faced the Sassanids it was common for both sides to pay off the other for periods of peace, as well as raid each other to “collect” needed funds in the way of booty. It was during one such period of raiding then peace that the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius took the advice of his generals to build a forward base in Persian territory at Dara (sometimes called Daras). By the time the Persians were in the position to intervene the fortification had been constructed and garrisoned.

A few years later, a dispute between Byzantine Emperor Justin and the ageing Persian Emperor Kavadh caused a declaration of war by the Sassanids and they invaded Byzantine territories that buffered up to the Caucasus Mountains such as Iberia and Lazica. The Byzantines responded by invading Sassanid territory further south, but with mixed results., although things were looking better until Emperor Justin died.  The new Emperor Justinian looked to shore up the frontier and sent Belisarius with reinforcements to secure and hold the fortress at Dara.

The Sassanids, although considered by many wargamers as a mainly cavalry army, had learnt from Rome and the Byzantines, the art of siege warfare and the use of siege engines. This made them a dangerous enemy, more than most cavalry based armies of the period, so as they approached Dara in 530AD, Belisarius knew he had to defeat them in the field before they could deploy a siege line around the fortress.

Despite being outnumbered hugely; 40,000 Sassanids to 25,000 Byzantines and allies, Belisarius rode out his army to meet the Persians in the field outside the city.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Dara

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a figure ratio approx 1:100 and suggested base numbers for MeG/ADLG/DBM style rules

Sassanid Persian Army

Perozes – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, experienced, competent leader

Front rank left to right

Clibanarii (5,000 men) – 50 figures – 5 bases – heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, bow

Light cavalry (1,000 men) – 10 figures – 2 bases – skirmish order light cavalry, no armour, trained., veteran, bow

Levy infantry (6,000 men) – 60 figures – 10 bases – close order infantry, light armour, trained, “levy” morale, 1/2 spear & shield, 1/2 bow

Clibanarii (5,000 men) – 50 figures – 5 bases – heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, bow

Light cavalry (1,000 men) – 10 figures – 2 bases – skirmish order light cavalry, no armour, trained., veteran, bow

Second rank left to right

Clibanarii (5,000 men) – 50 figures – 5 bases – heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, bow

Levy infantry (6,000 men) – 60 figures – 10 bases – close order infantry, light armour, trained, “levy” morale,  spear & shield

Clibanarii (5,000 men) – 50 figures – 5 bases – heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, bow

Rear rank

Guard Cataphracts (6,000 men) – 60 figures – 6 bases – heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, impact cavalry

 

Byzantine Army

Belisarius – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, excellent tactician, strategist, inspirational leader

From left to right

Herul Cavalry (300 men) – 3 figures – 1 base – Medium cavalry, experienced. veteran, light armour, spear, shield

Hunnic Light Cavalry (3,500 men) – 35 figures – 4 bases – Light cavalry, open order, experienced, veteran, light armour, bow

Kavallarioi Cavalry (2,500 men) – 25 figures – 3 bases – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, armour, bow

Skoutatoi Infantry (10,000 men) – 100 figures – 10 bases – Heavy infantry, experienced, average morale, medium armour 3/4 spear, shield, sword, 1/4 bow (or depending on rules, all with spear but with a “support” factor to represent the archers)

Sunicas Boukellerioi (600 men) – 6 figures – 1 base – Heavy cavalry, experienced , veteran, armour, lance, bow

Belisarius Guard Boukellerioi (1000 men) – 10 figures – 2 base – Heavy cavalry, experienced , elite, armour, lance, bow

Simmas Kavallarioi Cavalry (600 men) – 6 figures – 1 bases – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, armour, bow

Kavallarioi Cavalry (5,000 men) – 50 figures – 5 bases – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, armour, bow

 

WARGAMING NOTES

The battlefield is open and flat with the exception of a hill on the left side of the Byzantine lines, the hill is “low” and passable. The Byzantines also dug a long ditch in front of their lines as shown on the map, with the centre protruding. This can be represented by a wall or fence if needs be. It is passable, but should leave troops crossing it “disorganised” or “disrupted” for one game turn after passing it.

LURKIO 15mm Sassanid commander, Perozes, readies for battle

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Dara was a big battle, and a long one. The two armies formed up and faced each other for three days before fighting properly started. The first two days saw  “champions” challenge each other in single combat and a few skirmishers exchange arrows with little results, but on day three (which our suggested set up map represents) the combat began.

It is also a prime example of Belisarius’s military skill, fighting as he preferred, from a defensive position. Over the previous century the Byzantines had dominated their battles with the use of highly effective and mobile cavalry, who were used to overrun, overwhelm, ambush and ride down the enemy. The Byzantine’s response to this tactic was to increase their own cavalry arm, but even still the Sassanids had the definite advantage. So to help counter this unpredictable mobile threat, Belisarius ordered the construction of a long ditch in front of his lines, designed to extend forward in the centre for a tactical reason and in anticipation of how the Sassanids would attack. The ditch was not impassable, but designed to slow down and disorganise troops as they crossed it.

On day three, both armies formed up ready for battle once again, but the Sassanids did not begin an immediate attack. They sat and waited, knowing that the Byzantines normally ate before noon. They hoped by denying them the ability to eat because of being in battle lines would make them weaker if attacked by the Persians, who normally ate much later in the day. So it was in the afternoon when the Persians began their attack, and fortunately for Belisarius it was as he had predicted and hoped for when he had the ditches constructed and his army deployed.

As the afternoon began, the Persians made a general advance along their entire front to within bow shot distance and both armies exchanged volleys of arrows, but he numerical superiority of the Persians was countered by the fact they were firing into the wind, which dulled the effect of their shooting. Once the supply of arrows was exhausted the Persian right wing advanced to contact. Their tactic, as Belisarius had predicted, was going to be to defeat the Byzantine cavalry first, then once they had fled the field, surround and destroy the unsupported infantry in the centre.  As the Sassanid cavalry closed on the Byzantines they were slowed by having to cross the defensive ditch, but even so they were soon pushing back the Byzantine left wing. But just before the Byzantine and Hun cavalry broke, the Heruls who had been concealed by the hill, galloped over the top and charged down the side into the Sassanid flank. At the same time the cavalry Sunicas, who had been concealed from the Sassanids by the massed infantry in front of them, suddenly launched a charge into the other Sassanid flank. Pityaxes men, now surrounded on three sides, began to falter and then broke and fled back to the safety of their own infantry. leaving 3,000 dead behind them.

Frustrated, Perozes brought his Guard Cataphracts over to his left flank to support the two Clibanarii units of Baresmanas and then ordered an attack on that wing. Belisarius and his officers spotted the move, and brought the remnants Sunicas’s cavalry and the Heruls along the back of their lines in readiness to bolster the defence. Once again the Sassanid charge was slowed by having to cross the ditch, but as they recovered on the other side they began to push back the Byzantine cavalry of John and Cyril. Belisarius employed a similar tactic as before, allowing the Persians to pass his centre troops before unleashing his hidden cavalry reserve in their flank, with Simmas and Sunicas getting behind the Persian lines while he personally led his Guard cavalry into the side of the formation. Once again the Sassanids were being attacked on three sides simultaneously and began to waver. Sunicas personally killed Baresmanas in the melee, and 5,000 other Persians were killed in the fighting too.  After witnessing the Persian right wing defeated and retreat, and now the left wing almost destroyed too, the levy infantry in the centre threw down their weapons and ran for their lives. The Byzantines made a full advance and pursued the fleeing Persians, cutting down all they could catch before Belisarius called a halt. The Persians had a reputation of being able to rally and recover in defeat and he didn’t want his victorious army suddenly caught in the disarray of a pursuit and defeated in a battle they had just won.

The war would continue, but for now Belisarius had saved the fortress city of Dara.

Although not used at Dara, a Sassanid elephant, one of their favourite troop types. (LURKIO 15mm)

 

 

WARGAMING OPTIONS

Due to the large numbers of men fighting at Dara, we would suggest a “bases” set of rules where you can scale things down as far as you want if you don’t have mountains of figures.  So the likes of Mortem et Gloriam, ADLG, DBM, etc would be our suggested choice.

For figures, several suppliers make figures in various scales for these two armies, though bizarrely, quite a few only produce either one of the other. One of the exceptions to this, and in our opinion the best range for these forces is LURKIO FIGURINES who produce a full range of Sassanid Persians, Early Byzantines, Huns and figures suitable for Heruls too! They can also be bulked up with plastic figures made by The Plastic Soldier Company, who use the Lurkio sculptures to create plastic box sets of Sassanids and Huns. All of these can be found on our website, as well as 10mm Sassanids by Pendraken.

On a personal note, both these armies are great fun to play, either in an historical context as in this battle, or in the club/competition circuits against random opponents. My second ever wargames army was a Sassanid Persian army, and even as an inexperienced 14 year old gamer, it never let me down against all sorts of enemies. Early Byzantines are often overlooked by gamers, who tend to go for later Byzantine armies with the Varangian Guard and other elite units to play with, but it was the early Byzantines, the armies of Belisarius and Justinian etc that brought the Byzantine Empire to its height, and the closest it would ever come to the ancestral glory of Rome.

Happy gaming.

The Byzantine Empire at it’s greatest in 555AD

 

 

 

 

Posted 13/01/2022 by The Little Corporal in Ancients, The Dark Ages

The Battle of Killiecrankie – 27th July 1689   Leave a comment

BACKGROUND HISTORY

The coronation of the Roman Catholic James II of England (James VII of Scotland) following the death of his older and Protestant brother, Charles II, raised old tensions and concerns throughout the realm. The English Civil Wars, some forty years earlier and for some, still in living memory, had in part been fueled by religious differences as well as politics. The country didn’t want to return to that period of history, nor to the Elizabethan Age, where one could quite easily be executed for their religious beliefs.

In 1685 the Duke of Monmouth attempted to overthrow the King with a rebellion, but support never really amounted to much and it became just a local uprising in the South West of England which was snuffed out at the Battle of Sedgemoor in Somerset. The Bloody Assizes (trials and executions of anyone and everyone with even a tenuous link to the uprising) that followed were designed to send a message to all who dared to consider challenging James.

Tensions rose further though in 1688 when James’ wife Mary gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward Stuart, suddenly giving the nation the prospect of another Catholic heir to the throne. Behind closed doors, Protestant politicians and men of power were secretly discussing a solution, and they came up with inviting the Dutch noble, William of Orange, to take the British crown. William was Protestant, he was the son of Charles II’s eldest daughter and was also married to James II’s Protestant daughter, Mary, so it could be argued he was “in the Royal family” already.  Taking no chances, he gathered an army of 70,000 men and landed on the south coast and marched towards London. Resistance was minimal, in fact almost non-existent, prompting this change of monarchy to be known as “The Glorious Revolution”, by the fact there wasn’t mass bloodshed. James, his wife and young son, fled to France to live in exile, but with hopes to return and reclaim the crown.

The Stuarts were a Scottish family, and The Highlands of Scotland was still very much a Catholic region, with its culture and heritage being linked more to Ireland than to southern Scotland. So it was of no surprise that support to restore James to the throne should start here.  The previous year, before the revolution, James had promoted one of his most loyal Catholic subjects, John Graham of Claverhouse known as “Bloody Clavers”, to the title of Lord Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee. In return Dundee had sworn to fight for James until his dying days. A message from James to Dundee as he fled for France gave Dundee the authority to literally fight if necessary, in the name of King James. After political talks in the Scottish parliament went against Dundee and it was agreed to accept King William as the monarch of Scotland as well, Dundee openly began a rebellion for James.

After declaring Dundee “outlaw”, along with other Highland Clan chiefs who supported him, William instructed one of the few British officers in his army that he fully trusted, Major General Hugh Mackay of Scourie, already a veteran of the War of Grand Alliance which raged in Europe. MacKay felt confident, he could muster between 3-4,000 well armed soldiers, compared to the estimated 2,000 Highland rebels, who he considered as untrained, levies.

Williamite Government soldiers by LURKIO FIGURINES (15mm)

 

 

KILLIECRANKIE

Dundee knew he had a hard task ahead of him, and that he needed a quick victory in battle to gain more support from other parts of Scotland and strengthen his forces. He identified Blair Castle as being a target and route through to the Lowlands of Scotland, the castle was owned by the Earl of Atholl, who upon hearing of the approaching Highlanders decided to leave the castle and gave over it defence to his son, Lord John Murray, who was a supporter of King William, however Dundee had already instructed Patrick Stuart of Ballechin (a relative of the Murrays) to seize the castle in the name of James, forcing Lord Murray to lay siege to his own castle !

Upon hearing of Dundee’s advance, MacKay gathered his forces to meet him and the two armies approached each other from opposite directions. Dundee from the west and taking his army through the long grass and bracken to form up on the hillside overlooking the River Garry, while MacKay, needing a road for his baggage train and artillery, approached from the east through the valley of the Killiecrankie Pass and through which the rive ran alongside them.  Despite being on the lower ground MacKay was still confident in his numerical superiority and trained firepower as the two armies formed up to face each other.

Suggested set up for the Battle of Killiecrankie

 

 

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using 1:20 figure/man ratio and suggested bases for “base rules”

Jacobite Army

John Graham of Claverhouse,  1st Viscount Dundee – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, tactician, inspirational leader, fearless

Clan Maclean (200 men) 10 figures/4 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Irish Regiment (300 men) 15 figures/6 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Clan Ranald  (400 men) 20 figures/8 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Clan Glengarry  (300 men) 15 figures/6 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Dundee’s Cavalry Guard (50 men) 2 figures/1 base – close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, sword, pistols

Dunfermline’s Cavalry (40 men) 2 figures/1 base – close order cavalry, veteran experienced, well trained, sword, pistols

Clan Cameron  (240 men) 12 figures/5 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Clan Macdonald  (500 men) 25 figures/10 bases – open order infantry, warband, experienced, impetuous, mixed weapons, 1/4 musket, 1/4 broadsword, 1/4 Lochaber axe,  1/4 spear/dagger

Optional – if used, to be located at the Commander’s choice of location

Lochiel’s Snipers (50 men) 2 figure (1 base) – skirmish order infantry, veteran, experienced, sniper, musket

 

Williamite Government Army

Major-General Hugh MacKay of Scourie – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, tactician, respected leader, over confident

Lauder’s Fusiliers (200 men) 10 figures/4 bases – close order infantry, veteran, experienced, well trained, musket

Kenmure’s Scottish Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

Ramsey’s Anglo-Dutch Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, inexperienced, trained, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Balfour’s Anglo-Dutch Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, inexperienced, trained, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Annandale’s Horse (60 men) 3 figures/1 base – close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, sword, pistols

Belhaven’s Horse (80 men) 4 figures/2 bases – close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, elite, sword, pistols

Leven’s Scottish Regiment (600 men) 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

MacKay’s Anglo-Dutch Regiment 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, veteran, experienced, well trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

Hasting’s English Regiment 30 figures/12 bases – close order infantry, experienced, trained, 1/3 pike, 2/3 musket

Artillery (3 small cannon) 2 models/2 bases – 3lb regimental gun, inexperienced, trained crew

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Although confident in his numerical advantage, MacKay was an experienced enough soldier to know that attempting a frontal assault uphill toward the Jacobite lines would be futile against such a strong defensive position. His men were largely inexperienced, with the more battle hardened regiments having been shipped to Holland to fight the French. He therefore ordered his men into firing lines, and for much of the battle had them firing their muskets and small cannon uphill towards the Jacobite lines, causing next to no casualties.

The Jacobites waited patiently, holding their position, although they did send forward a small unit of snipers to occupy a derelict building on the lower slopes to harass the enemy, but these were driven off by a detachment of men from MacKay’s Regiment. MacKay himself was disappointed that this very minor firefight hadn’t prompted a larger response from the Jacobites, as the day was passing and he was determined to do battle before nightfall and avoid the possibility of the Jacobites moving on under cover of darkness.

As the sun began to set behind the hills, Dundee ordered his men to ready themselves to attack. Seeing movement on the slopes in front, MacKay likewise ordered his men to form into Platoon firing lines, three men deep rather the conventional six, which would allow all his man to give fire. His plan was to create a wall of musket shot so intense it would halt the Jacobite army and then he could counter charge to finish them off.

As once the sun disappeared behind the skyline, Dundee ordered his army to advance, and in true Jacobite fashion the predominately barefooted warriors, soon built up speed to a full racing charge down the slopes, discarding everything about them other than their weapons. The largely inexperienced Williamite army fired their first round at 100 paces, and frantically began reloading, as the screaming Scots continued down the hill. A second round of shot felled a small number of the Jacobites, but still they charged forward. Determined that his plan would work, MacKay ordered a third reload as the Highlanders began to close, this final close range volley caused the most damage but did not stop them , the result was that none of the Government army had time to fix their “plug” bayonets, and were literally cut down by the fanatical sword and axe wielding Highlanders.

Despite his greater numbers, within minutes the Williamite lines broke and MacKay’s army fled the field, losing over 2,000 dead behind them. The Jacobite victory may have been swift once the attack began, but it was also costly for them too, losing around 680 men, but most importantly costing the life of Dundee, “Bloody Claverhouse” himself, who was struck down by shot during the final moments of the charge which he led personally.  This would have a major impact on the Jacobite cause, which petered out after their defeat at Dunkeld a few weeks later. MacKay would be sent back to fight overseas, where he was killed in 1692 at the Battle of Steenkirk in Holland.

The Battle of Killiecrankie

 

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Although at first glance this may seem a one sided encounter, with the use of different tactics or maybe dare I say, lucky dice rolls, the outcome could be far more of a contest with either side gaining victory.

To simply the battlefield the river didn’t really play any part other than slow up the routing Government troops at the very end, and neither did the woods to the right. So for a simple set up the only really important feature being the high ground that the Jacobites occupied and charged down.

For rules, the main commercial ones for this period are Under Lily Banners by The League of Augsburg team,  Lace Wars by Partizan Press, Black Powder by Warlord Games, and DBR by Wargames Research Group, although a quick search on the interweb, will also lead you to several lesser known sets and free PDF downloads too, which are often fun to play.

Figures are a  little more difficult for an accurate depiction. Most “Jacobite Wars” ranges focus on The ’45 Uprising, some 60 years later, when British uniforms were more akin to the Seven Years War. If that doesn’t bother you then for 28mm fans the Front Rank Figurines range is very good, and for fans of smaller scales try the Pendraken 10mm range.

However, for accurate representation on the table, Dixon Miniatures make a superb 28mm range for the British in their League of Augsburg range and for fans of smaller scales then there is nothing more suitable than the 15mm Lurkio Figurines range who produce both British and Jacobites for this earlier period of the uprisings and can be found on our website at https://thelittlecorporal.co.uk/17th-century-55-c.asp

 

 

Posted 22/12/2021 by The Little Corporal in 17th Century, Category 1

The Battle of Saint-Aubin-Du-Cormier – 28th July 1488   Leave a comment

The Duchy of Brittany, at the northwestern tip of France. had considered itself an independent region to the rest of France since the Battle of Balon in 845AD when the Breton called Nominoe defeated Charles the Bald of West Francia. Over the centuries the Bretons had supplied mercenaries and allied troops to fight for most of its neighbours, including Duke William of Normandy and his invasion of England in 1066, but by the late medieval period it was finding it harder to maintain its independent status against the expansionist plans of the French monarchs wanting a united France.  Brittany found itself repeatedly allying itself with England and Burgundy in an attempt to resist French aggression, however with the English being occupied with its own civil war, the War of the Roses, then the death of Charles the Bold of Burgundy in 1477, Brittany suddenly found itself virtually alone.

It was also around this time that the French monarchy embarked on centralising control of the nation, and looked to end the older medieval and feudal regional control, this caused a rift between the crown and several dukes, barons and nobles, who found sanctuary in Brittany whilst plotting against the king.  The French king saw this as a potential hotbed of treason and demanded Brittany hand over the nobles residing there. When Duke Francis II of Brittany refused, hostilities broke out.  Knowing his Dukedom would not be able to take on the might of France on its own, Francis sent out pleas for help to other dissatisfied nobles, as well as to Henry VII of England and Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire, warning them of the dangers of an over powerful France in their midst.

Henry VII declined from sending troops but offered to negotiate a peace treaty, however on of his nobles, Edward Woodville from the Isle of Wight, defied the king and personally supplied 700 English longbowmen.  The Bretons decided to bluff the French by dressing many of their own archers as the English to try and suggest that Henry VII was assisting them in full. As for Maximilian I, he was suddenly pre-occupied by a rebellion in Flanders, which meant he was unable to support Brittany as Francis had hoped.

It meant that for the Battle of Saint-Aubin-Du-Cormier, the Breton army consisted of a mixture of local professional and levy soldiers, a number of local knights and men-at-arms, a small number of English archers, Gascon crossbowmen, Spanish infantry sent from Castille and Aragon, and a small number of Landsknecht pikemen.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Saint-Aubin-Du-Cormier, 28th July 1488

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE

In response to popular request, we are listing these armies as actual numbers, present, suggested figures on a 1:25 ratio, and as the number of stands if using rules such as MeG or ADLG.

Breton Army

Marechal de Rieux – Commander in Chief – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Levy – (1700 men) – 68 figures – 7 bases – medium infantry, light armour, militia, trained, militia morale, 1/3 bow 1/3 halberd 1/3 spears/swords

Men-At Arms – (600 men) – 24 figures – 2 bases – heavy knight cavalry, armoured, well trained, experienced, impetuous, lance, shield

Breton Infanry – (300 men) – 12 figures – 1 base – close order infantry, medium armour, trained, steady morale, spears, swords, shields

English Archers – (600 men) – 24 figures – 2 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, very experienced, well trained, excellent morale, longbow, sword

Gascon & Bearn Crossbowmen – (2500 men) – 100 figures – 10 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, experienced, well trained, crossbow

Castillian & Aragonese Infantry – (1000 men) – 40 figures – 4 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, experienced, well trained, 1/2 pike 1/2 halberd

Breton Archers (imitation English archers)- (1000 men) – 40 figures – 4 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, experienced, trained, longbow, sword

Knights & Men-at-Arms – (2000 men) – 80 figures – 8 bases –  heavy knight cavalry, armoured, well trained, experienced,  impetuous, lance, shield

Landsknechts – (850 men) – 34 figures – 4 bases – close order infantry, light armour, well trained, experienced, pike

Artillery – ( 3 Culverins) – 2 models – 2 stands – light cannon and crew, trained

 

French Army

Louis II de la Tremoille – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Gascon Crossbowmen – (700 men) – 28 figures – 3 bases –  close order infantry, medium armour, experienced, well trained, crossbow

Knights & Men-at-Arms – (2 x 600 men) – 2 x 24 figures – 2 x 3 bases –  heavy knight cavalry, armoured, well trained, experienced,  impetuous, lance, shield

Royal Guard Archers – (200 men) – 8 figures – 1 base –  close order infantry, medium armour, very experienced, well trained, excellent morale, longbow, sword

Archers – (2 x 1400 men) – 2 x 56 figures – 2 x 6 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, experienced, trained, longbow, sword

French Infantry – (2 x 1500 men) – 2 x 60 figures – 2 x 6 bases – close order infantry, light armour, trained, average morale, 2/3 pike 1/3 halberd/polearm

Swiss Infantry – (3000 men) – 120 figures – 12 stands – close order infantry, light armour, well trained, veteran,  elite, 5/6 pike 1/6 halberd

Artillery – ( 1 Culverin & 4 Large Culverins) – 3 models – 3 stands – medium cannon and crew, trained

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The Breton army deployed first, in readiness for the French advance, who arrived in a fragmented approach giving the Bretons their best chance of a quick victory, but disagreements within the Breton command meant that the French were allowed to deploy without interference and they set out in a strong defensive formation.

Around mid afternoon the Breton army began their attack, using their English archers and supporting units, they hit the French hard forcing back those sent forward to meet them, but when Edward Woodville was killed the attack slowed and halted by the French. However, during this attack the French artillery had been hard pounding the Breton centre, causing significant casualties to the Breton cavalry especially. The commander of the Breton knights, Alain d’Albert requested permission to advance, which Francis granted, but d’Albert moved only the cavalry forward, without support, which created a gap in the Breton the lines.  This opportunity was spotted by the French cavalry commander, the Italian Captain, Jacques Galliota, who immediately led a large into the gap to try and force a wider break for the French infantry behind him. Galliota was killed in this daring attack, but his men succeeded in forcing a wider opening, through which the French infantry charged forward.

To add extra dram in the Breton ranks, around this time a French cannon ball appears to have overshot and struck a Breton magazine, causing a massive explosion behind their lines. This sent panic through the ranks, which again the French capitalised on. Their attack pressed home and a slaughter ensued, with over 5,000 of the Breton army killed, including all the English archers who made a gallant stand against overwhelming odds. The French lost around 1,500.

Francis II was forced to accept a peace treaty which obliged him to hand over the renegade nobles, as well as promise the marriage of his daughter, who was his sole legitimate heir to the Duchy, to marry into the French monarchy, thereby absorbing Brittany into France.

Although the war dragged on for two more years, in modern Brittany and their political nationalist movements, this battle and its consequences is marked as the date that France stole Brittany’s independence.

WARGAMING NOTES

This battle occurs right at the very end of the Medieval period, in fact some would say on the cusp of the Medieval/Renaissance changeover, but for the purposes of refighting this battle we have found late Medieval rules are best, be they specific for the period like Never Mind The Billhooks, or more all encompassing like MeG and ADLG.

Figure wise, those with Wars of the Roses armies or Burgundians and French Ordonnance will be able to field this battle with minor additions such as the Landsknects and Swiss.

 

Posted 14/12/2021 by The Little Corporal in Category 1, Medieval

The Battle of Durazzo – 18th October 1081   Leave a comment

Robert Guiscard by Merry-Joseph Blondel

“Hic terror mundi Guiscardis”

Reads the epitaph on the tomb of Robert Guiscard, translating as “Here lies Guiscard, terror of the World”

Guiscard had gone to southern Italy as the sixth son of Tancred of Hauteville, a minor noble within the homeland of Normandy. Robert and decided to seek his fame and fortune in Italy, the country that news kept flowing back to northern France about as a land of opportunity for those who liked a fight. He followed his two eldest bothers, William Iron Arm and Drogo, allegedly arriving in Italy with a following of just five mounted knights and thirty foot soldiers. For some time his band roamed southern Italy, giving military service to several local Dukes and Lords, including his brother Drogo. In true mercenary fashion he switched sides depending who shook the heaviest purse in his direction, but almost always provided victory for those who could afford it.

His reputation elevated, he found through a series of deaths and conquests that he became the Duke of Apulia and Calabria, before he and his brother, Roger, set their sights on conquering Sicily. The full conquest of Sicily took some time, as well as costing the life of Roger, but having established himself as Duke of Sicily, and having fought and defeated the Byzantines several times on the Italian mainland, Robert set his next ambition as invading the Byzantine Empire, using the excuse of assisting a disrespected clergyman to invade.

He took with him his son, Bohemond and the Count of Ami, as his sub-commanders and invaded by sea, landing in modern day Albania with an army of around 20,000 men including a quantity of the feared Norman knights. Facing him was the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I.

The Byzantines had suffered a major defeat ten years earlier at Manzikert against the advancing Muslim forces, but despite huge losses Alexius had as a new Emperor, managed to assemble an army of a formidable size (22-25,000) which included an elite unit of Varangian Guard. These feared warriors armed with deadly two handed axes were largely made up of exiled Anglo-Saxon veterans who had escaped England after Hastings and were more than happy to have a rematch against the Normans.

After landing his ships, Robert Guiscard, now aged in his mid 60.s but still very fighting fit, ordered the fleet torched; giving his men a simple message – victory or death.

 

Suggested initial set-up for The Battle of Durazzo 1081

NOTE – Responding to feedback from followers, most prefer for us to now suggest “base numbers” rather than individual figure numbers; so along the lines of the current most popular rules Mortem et Gloriam and L’Art de la Guerre, we list numbers of troops by suggested bases.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

BYZANTINE ARMY

Left to right as per map above

Melissenous – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Skirmishers – 2 bases – light infantry, experienced, javelin

Turco Light Cavalry – 4 bases – open order cavalry, experienced, mercenary, bow

Kavallarioi – 2 bases – heavy close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, lance, shield,

Kontaroi Archers* – 2 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, bow

Kontaroi Spearmen* – 3 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, spear, shield

* these can be played as one large unit of mixed troops if your rules allow.

Alexios I – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, experienced, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

Armenian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, medium armour, spear, shield

Varangian Guard – 3 bases – Close order heavy infantry, veteran, experienced, elite morale, heavy armour, 2 handed axes

Vestiaritai Guard Cavalry – 1 base – Close order super heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced elite, barded horses, armoured riders, lance

Archers – 2 bases – Open order skirmish infantry, experienced, levies, no armour, bow

Manicheans – 6 bases – Medium infantry, veteran, experienced, impetuous, swordsmen, spear, shield

Pakourianos – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Tourkopouloi Cavalry – 4 bases – Light Cavalry, veteran, experienced, bow or javelins

Latin Allied Knights – 1 base – Heavy Cavalry, veteran, experienced, mercenary, armoured rider, lance, shield

Kavallarioi – 2 bases – heavy close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, lance, shield,

Kontaroi Archers* – 2 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, bow

Kontaroi Spearmen* – 3 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, spear, shield

* these can be played as one large unit of mixed troops if your rules allow.

Skirmishers – 2 bases – Open order, light infantry, veteran, experienced, no armour, javelins

NORMAN ARMY

Left to right as per map

Bohemund – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

Norman Light Cavalry – 3 bases – Open order cavalry, veteran, experienced, minimum armour, javelins, shield

Milites Knights – 3 bases – Close order heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced, impetuous, armoured rider, lance, shield

Sicilian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Norman Spearmen – 2 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, elite, medium armour, spear, shield, “shieldwall” capable

Robert Guiscard – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, experienced, excellent tactician, inspirational leader, ferocious warrior

Norman Light Cavalry – 3 bases – Open order cavalry, veteran, experienced, minimum armour, javelins, shield

Milites Knights – 3 bases – Close order heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced, impetuous, armoured rider, lance, shield

Saracen Archers – 4 bases – Open order light infantry, veteran, experienced, mercenary, bow

Sicilian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Sicilian Crossbowmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, crossbow

Count Ami – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Italian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Italian Knights – 2 bases – Close order heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced, armoured rider, lance, shield

Italian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Italian Archers – 4 bases – Open order light infantry, veteran, experienced, no armour, bow

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

 

Varangian Guard of the period of Durazzo

The battle began with an an advance by the feared Varangian Guard. Guiscard tried to slow their approach by making several feint charges with his cavalry, but each time his men were forced back by Byzantine archers. As the Varangians got half way across the battlefield, the Count Ami launched a cavalry and infantry charge, swinging left to try and hit the Varangians in the side, but as his men struck their target the Byzantine left flank under the command of Pakourianos launched their own charge into the flank of the Italians, who were now at right angles to them. The Italians were routed, and made a hasty retreat off the battlefield towards the shoreline, presumably hoping to find some of their ships that were still seaworthy. As they fled, the Byzantine left wing chased after them in pursuit, which greatly depleted Byzantine numbers, and left the Varangian left flank completely exposed.

Seeing an opportunity, Guiscard ordered a full assault by all of his army, his knights and crossbowmen targeting the Varangians especially. On the Byzantine right wing, Bohemund,s men launched forward and a fierce battle ensued, before the Normans finally broke the Byzantine resolve and the army began to melt away. Alexios was almost killed when struck on the head by a Norman knight’s sword blow, his personal bodyguard, the Vestiartai surged around him, forcing back the Normans long enough to rescue their Emperor and escort him from the field, bleeding and virtually unconscious.

Bohemund’s Norman knights shatter the Byzantine cavalry

Down at the shoreline, the Italians were rallied by Guiscrad’s wife, Sichelgaita, wearing full armour and having been riding with her husband and his knights. A true warrior queen !

On the main battlefield it was only the Varangian Guard who now still stood their ground for the Byzantines. Their warriors were taking heavy casualties, mainly from crossbow fire which could not respond to. They decided to pull back in formation to the Church of St. Nicholas which was at the back of the Byzantine’s original position. Here they made a gallant last stand, refusing to surrender with the last few survivors seeking refuge inside the church building. Finally the Normans set fire to the church and the last of the Varangian Guard were burnt to their death,

Guiscard stopped his men from pursuing the Byzantines, instead they gratified themselves by looting the Emperor’s camp which had been simply abandoned in the haste to escape to safety. He spent the next few weeks consolidating his position immediately around Durazzo and made winter quarters there in preparation for a Spring campaign deeper into the Byzantine Balkans.

WARGAMING DURAZZO

This is a brilliant battle to re-fight. With lots of different troop types on both sides and despite the actual historical outcome, it is a battle between two fairly evenly matched armies that could produce an outcome either way.

Depending on your scale preference there are lots of figures available.

For 28mm fans, Gripping Beast make some great Byzantines and their Early Crusader range is perfect for the forces of Robert Guiscard. The new plastic range of Normans by Victrix are also ones to consider in your ranks, with beautiful animation and detail.

Victrix Normans

For 15mm we would obviously suggest our two “home brands”, Splintered Light Miniatures for the Normans and Lurkio for the Byzantines.

Splintered Light Normans

For smaller scales, then look at Pendraken 10mm. Although they don’t currently produce a Byzantine range, with careful buying from their Late Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Arab ranges, a suitable Byzantine force can certainly be put together.

You don’t even have to use figures to re-fight the battle, with the French game manufacturer, Historic.One recently launching the second edition of their game GUISCARD, which allows to you re-fight Robert’s battles across Sicily, Italy and the Balkans. You will find that in our online store too.

Finally, for those who wold just like to learn more about the period, we have several excellent books available in our Book Shop specifically about the Normans in Italy, Sicily and beyond.

Click on our Book Shop tab at the top to see our full selection, and all our books include FREE UK P&P.

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

The Battle of Taginae – July 552AD   Leave a comment

Byzantine Emperor Justinian I

Justinian I, later known as Justinian the Great, had ideas and plans throughout his extremely long reign to capture territory in what had been the Western Roman Empire and to recreate the glory of Rome as it had been.

In the mid 6th century he decided on a campaign to try and retake the Italian peninsular, the centre of the old empire, and with this in mind he assembled an army some 25,000 men strong to invade Italy and remove the Ostrogoths who had settled there and established their own Kingdom of Italy fifty years earlier. As was typical of Byzantine armies of the time, as it had been in the late Roman era, the army was bulked up with large numbers of foreign allied troops, in this case Lombards, Huns, Heruls and Gepids. Command of this mixing pot of soldiers was given to the Empire’s Imperial Chancellor, the Armenian eunuch called Narses, who after assembling his forces in modern day Croatia, opted to march them north and around the land route into northern Italy before then turning to march directly on Rome.

Defending the Kingdom of Italy was Ostrogoth King Totila. He was veteran of fighting the Byzantines and had defeated a previous attempt to invade Italy by Justinian, even though he had been greatly outnumbered. This time he had the same problem; his main army numbered only 12,000 as he marched north to intercept the invaders, but he hoped that an extra 2,000 cavalry would meet up with him before he had to do battle.

The two armies met on the morning of July 1st on the great plain west of Taino near a small village called Taginae, and before Totila’s reinforcements had arrived. As the two armies deployed Totila could see he was vastly outnumbered and decided to play for time. He started by sending an envoy to supposedly discuss terms with Narses, but Narses knew this was a ploy, after-all Totila had not responded to any previous requests by the Byzantines to have talks before the invasion and had even now deployed for battle, so the envoy was sent back to his army without discussions. Totila’s next ploy was to send out a “champion” from his ranks and request a one to one contest. A soldier volunteered from the Byzantine ranks and the two rode out to meet each other, as the huge Goth warrior charged for the kill, it was recorded the smaller, lighter armed Byzantine was able to turn his horse at the last minute and sidestep the Goth before thrusting his own spear into his body and killing him, with huge cheers coming from the Byzantine ranks. Still not deterred, Totila put on a suit of ceremonial armour, covered in gold and decorated with purple cloth and feathers (the colour of Emperors), he rode out onto the plain and began by all accounts, give a display of his horsemanship, performing jumps and rearing up, while at the same time throwing his spear up into the air and catching it like a cheerleader’s baton. He did this for some time, while making sure he kept out of archery range from his enemy, then when seeing a signal from his officers that the reinforcements were arriving he rejoined his army and changed to less conspicuous armour so not be picked out in battle. It was now around midday and the two armies prepared for battle.

 

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Taginae

ORDERS OF BATTLE

BYZANTINE ARMY

Narses – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, skilled tactician, respected leader

Right Flank

Dismounted Horse Archers (4,000 men) 4 to 6 bases – Medium Infantry, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow with stake to front

Hun Cavalry (1,000 men) 2-3 bases – Light Cavalry, open order, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow

Centre

Dismounted Allied Cavalry (Lombards, Gepids, Heruli) (10,000 men) 10-14 bases – Heavy Infantry, close order, experienced, veteran, spears, swordsmen, shields.

Left Flank

Dismounted Horse Archers (4,000 men) 4 to 6 bases – Medium Infantry, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow with stake to front

Lombard Cavalry (1,000 men) 2-3 bases – Medium Cavalry, experienced, veteran, spear, shield.

Extreme Left Flank

Dismounted Horse Archers (1,500 men) 2 to 3 bases – Medium Infantry, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow

Kavallaroi (1,000 men) 2-3 bases – Medium Cavalry, experienced, veteran, bow.

OSTROGOTH ARMY

King Totila – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

Front Rank

Medium Cavalry (1,200 men) 3-4 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Heavy Cavalry (1,200 men) 3 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Heavy Cavalry Totila’s Guard (1,200 men) 3 bases – Experienced, veteran, elite, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Heavy Cavalry (1,200 men) 3 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Medium Cavalry (1,200 men) 3-4 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Rear Rank

Goth Warriors (8,000 men) 8-10 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Totila, reinforced, but still outnumbered had limited options. He had attempted to capture the high ground to his right as he first arrived on the plain but had beaten to it by the Byzantines.

He had beaten the Byzantines before against these odds, so must have felt there was a good fighting chance of success. He opted fr a full force and full frontal cavalry charge, hoping to punch a hole through the Byzantine infantry which were notoriously the weakest element of their army, but he was ignorant to the fact that the Byzantine “infantry” were in fact predominantly dismounted warrior and noble cavalry, with much better fighting skills and morale.

To inspire his men, Totila took up position in the centre unit with his personal guard and the army’s champion warriors. He ordered his men to only fight with the lance and probably in true Gothic fighting style they moved forward with their lances at shoulder height, their heads down and their shields held high over them. Starting a trot to cantor they gradually crossed the plain and launched into a full speed galloping charge. At this point the Byzantine archers opened fire, their position allowing them to shoot into the flanks of the charging Goths. Totila’s men began falling in significant numbers but still they pressed on, but when they reached the “infantry” they found a solid wall of shields bristling with spears that their horses refused to ride into. Despite this, the Goth lances were longer and Totila’s men jabbed at any gap they could find or make in the wall, while in response the Byzantine’s tried to jab at the horses and men as they whirled around in front of them.

The Goths tried several times to pull back slightly to regroup and recharge, but as once they stayed too far from the Byzantine infantry they would come under a renewed barrage of arrows from the flanks. It was approaching dusk when during one of these regrouping manoeuvres that Totila was struck by an arrow not fatally, but certainly seriously, to the extent that a bodyguard of men had to escort him to the rear. Rumours rapidly spread through the ranks, some that he was wounded and others that he was dead. He was lucid enough to order his infantry forward to finish off the job of breaking the centre, but at around the same time the cavalry decided that the rumours were worth retreating for and turned to flee.

Goth and Byzantine cavalry clash at Taginae

The sight of the fleeing cavalry approaching persuaded the Goth infantry to stop their advance and retreat as well. It was also a green light for the Byzantine army to make a full assault in pursuit, with all their mounted units charging forward to engage the fleeing soldiers.

As always in these cases, it was in the rout that the greatest casualties occurred, and over 6,000 Goths were killed, including at some point King Totila himself.

Narses advanced and took Rome with little resistance, although a successor to Totila emerged, Teia, the Ostrogoths suffered another and final defeat at the Battle of Mons Lactarius later that year. The Byzantines would establish some control over Italy again which they held, in part for nearly another 600 years, and the Lombards would also carve out their own domain in the country; the destruction of both these holdings within Italy would come to an end thanks to the request for military assistance and the employment of mercenaries who then decided “why fight for others, when we can fight and make our own kingdom” – the Normans.

WARGAMING NOTES

This battlefield is extremely easy to recreate with a virtually flat plain with the exception of a one hill on the flank (see map).

Figures wise, we would say unless you are a 28mm fan with the resources to kit out the forces then we would suggest 15mm. The Plastic Soldier Company make and excellent range of plastic Goths, which can be found in our online store https://www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk/product-page/15mm-goth-army-pack-mortem-et-gloriam or can be purchased directly from The Plastic Soldier Company. For the Byzantines, we would recommend the Early Byzantine range from Lurkio Miniatures at http://lurkio.co.uk/lurk10live/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=146_79

Rules are always a personal choice, but Mortem Et Gloriam or L’Art De La Guerre seem the most popular two rule sets right now for bigger and fast play battles.

 

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

The Battle of Lapua – 14th July 1808   Leave a comment

Alexander I of Russia

The Battle of Lupua was fought during The Finnish War, a war fought within the greater conflict of The Napoleonic Wars between Russia and Sweden.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit which brought peace between France and Russia, Alexander was obliged to join The Continental System, Napoleon’s blockade and military aggression towards Great Britain. Consequently, Russia and Britain went to to war in 1807. Considering the locations of both these two nations, it was apparent that any military action would be limited to naval engagements which prompted Russia to ask Sweden to ensure the Baltic sea channel was closed to British shipping. King Gustav of Sweden was slow to reply; he detested the French and was secretly making an alliance with Britain in hope of support against his archenemy, Denmark.

Gustav IV Adolf King of Sweden

Russia and Sweden had a long standing rivalry from previous wars and Alexander seized the opportunity to declare war on Gustav on the basis he was not following the Tilsit treaty and could not be trusted. In reality Alexander saw the opportunity to take “Finland” and by doing so, push the Swedish army hundreds of miles back away from its current close proximity to his capital, Saint Petersburg.

On February 21st 1808 the Russian army crossed the border into southern Finland and hostilities began. Sweden was in an awkward position, as it also feared an attack from Denmark, meaning it had to spread its army to potentially defend both fronts. Over the next few months Russia made advances north and west, capturing the lower half of Finland until the summer when Swedish counter attacks put the Russians, for a while, on the defensive. One of the first of these counter-attacks came on the 14th July 1808 near the small town of Lapua in western Finland.

Swedish Major-General Count Carl Johan Adlercreutz with an army made up largely of Finnish regiments numbering 4,700 men and 18 cannon, marched south to attack a hastily fortified position held by a 4,000 strong Russian force led by Major-General Nikolay Rajevski. After initial exchanges of musketry by skirmishers on both sides, the main Swedish army began to emerge from the heavily wooded approach road around 4pm and it immediately began to deploy for an attack.

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of Lapua – 14th July 1808

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

Russian Army

Maj.General Rajevski – Commander-in Chief – Experienced, veteran, hesitant, respected leader

5th Brigade

23rd Jaeger Regiment (440 men) – 22 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Kaluga Infantry Regiment (480 men) -24 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Artillery battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 3lb cannon

14th Brigade

2 x Battalions of the Petrov Infantry Regiment (2 x 480 men) 2 x 24 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Kaluga Infantry Regiment [one company] (120) – 6 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Artillery battery (5 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

21st Brigade

2 x Battalions of the Veliki Infantry Regiment (2 x 480 men) 2 x 24 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

2 x Battalions of the 26th Jaeger Regiment (1 x 480 men, 1 x 240 men ) 1 x 24 figures, 1 x 12 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Artillery battery (5 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

Artillery battery (3 guns) – 1model – experienced, trained, 3lb cannon

Artillery battery (3 guns) – 1model – experienced, trained, howitzer

Cavalry Units

Cossacks (40 men) – 2 figures – light horse, open order, veteran, elite, lance, carbine, pistols, sabre

Grodno Hussars (2 x 80 men) 2 x 4 figures – light horse, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

Swedish Army

Maj.General Adlercreutz – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, poor tactician, respected leader

2nd Brigade

Pori Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (440 men) 22 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Pori Infantry Regiment 2nd battalion (380 men) 19 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Pori Infantry Regiment 3rd battalion (380 men) 19 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

5th Finnish Artillery – (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

4th Brigade

Savo Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (240 men) 12 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Savo Infantry Regiment 2nd battalion (240 men) 12 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Savo Infantry Regiment 3rd battalion (240 men) 12 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

2 x Battalions of the Savo Jaeger Regiment (2 x 160 men) 2 x 8 figures, – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Karelian Jaegers (240 men) – 12 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Karelian Dragoons (80 men) – 4 figures – heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

Savo Artillery (8 guns) – 3 models – experienced, good morale, 1 x 3lb, 1 x 6lb, 1 x howitzer

ARRIVING IN MARCH COLUMN FROM ROAD TOP RIGHT

3rd Brigade

Hame Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (320 men) – 16 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Hame Infantry Regiment 2nd battalion (220 men) – 11 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Hame Infantry Regiment Jaeger battalion (380 men) – 19 figures – experienced, elite, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (220 men) – 11 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Infantry Regiment Jaeger battalion (160 men) – 8 figures – experienced, elite, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Dragoons (80 men) – 4 figures – heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

2nd Finnish Artillery – (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

1st Brigade

Turku Infantry Regiment – (380 men) – 19 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Dragoons (80 men) – 4 figures – heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

1st Finnish Artillery – (3 guns) – 1 model – experienced, trained, 3lb cannon

Russian skirmishers engage the advancing Swedes through the woods

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As Adlercreutz’s army emerged from their advance along the approaching road, he deployed them immediately choosing to attack south against the main Russian defences, maybe missing an opportunity to thrust straight ahead at the Russian left flank and outflank the main force which sat behind hastily constructed barricades of logs and ditches.

He did however send the 2nd Brigade to face the left flank, but then ordered them to halt their advance until the 4th Brigade could deploy to their left to give them support, the result was the 2nd Brigade took quite heavy casualties from Russian artillery and Jaegers while awaiting the order to advance again.

The Swedish 4th Brigade also faced heavy fire, but they did manage to cause some chaos in the Russian ranks when their artillery fire managed to set the hamlet in the Russian lines on fire. Russian wounded had been placed in the buildings and number burnt to death before they could be rescued.

Meanwhile, on the left, the Swedish 2nd Brigade couldn’t stand waiting and taking casualties any longer and without waiting for orders they launched a charge against the Russian defenders in front of them. Traversing the makeshift barricades, they went in at the bayonet and overwhelmed the defenders sending them running and leaving the Russian left flank exposed.

The Pori infantry regiment had distinguished itself, but was now quite exhausted from casualties under fire and then hand to hand combat. As they momentarily rested their supporting 3rd and 1st Brigades began to emerge and form up at the rear.

Sensing numbers were going against him, Rajevski ordered a general retreat while he still had control of his army. They made an organised withdrawal with cavalry covering their departure.

In actual fact the overall numbers were very similar, 4,700 Swedes to 4,000 Russians, the latter having the advantage of the crude barricades, a better defence or maybe even a Russian victory could have been achieved by a more determined commander.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

As Napoleonic era battles go, this is quite a small one, so should be an easy project to recreate. The table is relatively flat with the exception of the right edge, where most of the trees are too. The river should be impassible apart from at the bridge.

 

The Battle of the River Idle – 616AD   Leave a comment

King Raedwald of East Anglia circa 620AD

The Battle of the River Idle was an engagement between the armies of two early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Bernicia and East Anglia, the latter kingdom being led by King Raedwald, the most likely contender to be the noble buried at Sutton Hoo and owner of the now world famous helmet.

The cause of the battle begins a number of years earlier, from when Aethelfrith became the King of Bernicia (the northern part of Northumbria) and began to exert his authority in neighboring regions. His ascent to power is a bit of a mystery, however one consequence of his kingship appears to be the exile of Edwin of Deira (a kingdom at the southern part of Northumbria). Aethelfrith soon styled himself as King of Northumbria in total, and began to threaten the kingdoms bordering his. Meanwhile Edwin found himself seeking refuge wherever he could find it. Edwin first found sanctuary in Gwynedd in Wales, but after several attacks by Aethelfrith’s Northumbrian army on the Kingdom of Gwynedd he decided to move on, Mercia being his next refuge. When that ended he moved further east to East Anglia and the court of King Raedwald.

Replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet

Aethelfrith initially tried to bribe Raedwald to either kill or hand over Edwin, but the newly converted christian Raedwald refused, and after allegedly being lectured to by his wife on his moral duties he instead decided to raise an army and march on Aethelfrith in an attempt to restore Edwin to his kingdom.

Gathering together as many men as he could, he, his son, and Edwin marched north towards the southern Northumbrian border in modern day Yorkshire, taking the old Roman Road running from Lincoln to Doncaster. Hearing of the advance, Aethelfrith also mustered his forces, but with the pressure of time was unable to match the numbers of men advancing towards him. Despite this, his men were largely experienced veterans and they decided to make a defensive stand at the River Idle where the Roman Road crossed it via a gravelly causeway, prone to flooding in bad weather.

Taking position on the west side of the river, they waited for Raedwald approaching from the east.

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of the River Idle 616 AD

Historical Note

The Battle of the River Idle took place at the height of the Dark Ages, and many accounts of events and the people involved were later destroyed by Viking raids on religious buildings where most documents of the time were written and stored. We have put this account together having studied and cross referenced over fifty books and articles relating to this engagement, to create what we feel is a very probable summation of events and the forces fighting. It is though, as with so much early history, subject to different opinions and interpretations of the evidence available.

Wargaming Note

We have again listed forces both by the numbers of actual men involved, for those who wish to scale down accordingly for their own preferred rules, and we have also suggested numbers of bases to use for those playing the more modern rules such as MeG or ADLG.

The battlefield should be completely flat, as the whole area was a flood plain. The battle appears to have been fought in summer months, so in addition to the causeway road, an area either side (denoted on the map by black dots), which was gravel used to build the road on is also passable for soldiers. The rest of the river should be impassible.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Northumbrian Army

King Aethelfrith – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, warlord, feared leader

Noble Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Atheling Eanfrith – Sub-Commander – Modest experience, respected leader, impetuous

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Allied British Cavalry (300 men) 1 or 2 bases – Medium cavalry, experienced, good morale, spear, shield

Skirmishers (400 men) 6 to 8 bases – light infantry, open order, experienced, good morale, half bows, half javelins

East Anglian Army

King Raedwald – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, warlord, inspirational leader

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1500 men) 3 or 4 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Atheling Raegenhere – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, warlord, inspirational leader

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Levy (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – medium infantry, basic training, levy/militia morale, spear, shield

Lord Edwin – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Levy (1500 men) 3 or 4 bases – medium infantry, basic training, levy/militia morale, spear, shield

Skirmishers (400 men) 6 to 8 bases – light infantry, open order, experienced, good morale, half bows, half javelins

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As King Raedwald approached the River Idle he divided his army into three battle groups, Edwin on his left flank with largely Levy infantry who had been hastily mustered to make up numbers, himself in the centre with his best men, and his son and heir on the right flank with more warriors and a small amount of Levy. He sent his skirmishers forward first to capture the crossing, but they were met by Aethelfrith’s skirmishers on the opposite bank and they faced each other off exchanging arrows and javelins while the main army units came forward on both sides.

Aethelfrith decided his best tactic would be to kill Edwin, he was after-all the reason that Raedwald had attacked, and maybe if Edwin was dead a truce could be made. With that in mind he charged his battle group across the causeway supported by the British cavalry, as he reached the opposite bank he veered off to his side to attack Edwin’s battle group while his son Eanfrith, followed his father and hit into Raedwald’s group. However a grave mistake had been made, Aethelfrith had veered off in the wrong direction, towards Raegenhere rather than Edwin. He and his men fought like like demons to break into the opposing shieldwall and kill the commander, thinking it was Edwin. The British cavalry made a flank charge and between the two attacks Raegenhere’s group began to break up formation, allowing the enemy to cause mayhem in a killing spree.

Several sources claim that the blood chilling roar of Raedwald when he heard his son had been slain, momentarily brought everyone to a silent halt in the fighting. More than likely a Saxon legend rather than fact, but roar or not, the news his son had been killed made Raedwald into a berserk killer. His men crushed down Eanfrith’s shieldwall and scattered them, cutting down anyone who stood to fight. The real Edwin and his men chased them over the causeway in pursuit while Raedwald turned to take on the now trapped and isolated men of Aethelfrith. Sensing disaster the British horsemen fled, leaving the two veteran warlords with their best men to slug it out.

Splintered Light Miniature “King Raedwald”

The two sides reformed and faced each other before they both launched themselves into a charge, neither shieldwall holding. As the melee tuned into a brutal hacking and stabbing of men, the more experienced Northumbrians began to take the advantage, but before they could seize victory Raedwald pushed through to Aethelfrith and with his heart full of vengeance for his son’s death he cut him down, before decapitating him and holding his head aloft to show his victory. Aethelfrith’s men ran for their lives and Raedwald had won the day.

THE AFTERMATH

In killing Aethelfrith, Raedwald had effectively taken the Kingdom of Northumbria, and could at this point have declared himself king, but true to his promise to Edwin, he escorted him north and ensured he was installed as King Edwin of Bernicia, Deira, and Northumbria.

Eanfrith, Aethlfrith’s son, went into exile with the Picts in Scotland, where he married a Pictish princess. Years later in 633, after King Edwin was killed battle at the Battle of Hatfield Chase by King Penda of Mercia and King Cadwallon of Gwynedd, Eanfrith crossed the border and seized the crown of Bernicia, a title that lasted only a few months. After travelling with a small bodyguard to Wales to make an alliance with Cadwallon, Cadwallon had him and his men murdered. Eanfrith’s brother Oswald then became king and would go on to become one of the better known Saxon kings in history as well as Saint.

King Raedwald would continue his reign until 624, during which time he was granted the title of Imperium by the Church of Rome for defending the faith in England. He was, more than likely, buried at Sutton Hoo, laid out with weapons, jewels and armour in a 90 foot long Saxon longboat, before it was covered by a giant mound of earth where he lay undisturbed until 1939.

 

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

The Battle of the River Coa – 24th July 1810   Leave a comment

The British Light Division defending the bridge over the River Coa – image painted by Christa Hook

In the 1810 Napoleon had a new master plan for an attempted third invasion of Portugal that would finally defeat the British and Portuguese armies, hopefully sending Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future titled Duke of Wellington, back to England as a defeated and spent force. Marshal Andre Massena was therefore given command of a new army of 65,000 men to carry out this campaign.

The River Coa is unusual for Portugal in that it runs north to south, almost parallel with the Portugal/Spanish border, albeit a few miles inside Portugal, as opposed to an east to west route which most rivers in that country flow. For Wellesley it offered a natural barrier that would be an obstacle to the French advance and consequently he sent out written orders to his officers that he wanted all British and Portuguese units to be pulled back to the west of the river so as to form a defence.

Brigadier General Robert Craufurd, a stubborn, moody commander, prone to outbursts of fowl language when angered, and also a strict disciplinarian, was in command of the British Light Division, approximately 5,000 men made up of three British and two Portuguese light regiments of infantry, including the famous 95th (Rifles), as well as two light cavalry units and a handful of artillery guns. Despite receiving Wellesley’s instructions to pull back across the Coa River, he decided, for whatever reason, to ignore them and kept his forces on the east side of the river. Maybe he considered the French to be too far away to be a threat, or maybe he sought personal glory by seemingly standing up to the enemy, either way, he was shocked that just two days after receiving Wellesley’s orders the entire French VI Corps, over 20,000 men led by Marshal Ney appeared, advancing on his position.

The speed of Ney’s advance swept past a small British picquet unit and quickly threatened Cruafurd’s main force, leaving him no option but to attempt a fighting retreat as his men retreated across the only bridge in the vicinity, over the otherwise impassable Coa River.

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of the River Coa

Wargaming Notes

The area, as can be seen from our map, was a hilly, craggy region with limited routes that units can advance through without severe disorganisation. The river itself needs to be classed as an impassable obstacle, unless crossing at the bridge.

The British had a very small picquet force of about 40 men and one cannon at a windmill on high ground (marked on our map); it’s your choice whether to field this force or not as the French totally disregarded it, simply rushing past in their pursuit of catching the main British force.

As with previous recent articles, we are listing the suggested army lists by regiments to be fielded rather than actual figures to be used as we appreciate that because of the sheer number of differing Napoleonic rules currently played this seems the easier way for players to translate this information to their preferred set.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

British Army

Brig.General Robert Craufurd -Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, respected leader.

1st Brigade

Lt-Colonel Sydney Beckwith – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

1/43rd Regiment of Foot – Experienced, veteran, good morale, musket

1/95th (1/2 battalion) Regiment of Foot (Rifles) – Experienced, veteran, elite, rifle

3rd Portuguese Cacadores – Experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

2nd Brigade

Lt.Colonel Robert Barclay – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

1/52nd Regiment of Foot – Experienced, veteran, good morale, musket

1/95th (1/2 battalion) Regiment of Foot (Rifles) – Experienced, veteran, elite, rifle

1st Portuguese Cacadores – Experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

Cavalry Brigade

Brig-General George Anson – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

14th Light Dragoons (3 Squadrons) – Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, good morale, carbine, sabre

16th Light Dragoons (2 Squadrons) – Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, good morale, carbine, sabre

1st King’s German Legion Hussars (4 Squadrons) – Experienced, veteran, elite, carbine, sabre

Chestnut Troop Royal Horse Artillery (6 guns) – Experienced, veteran, elite, 6lb cannon

French Army

Marshal Michael Ney – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, impetuous, inspiarational leader

2nd Division

Maj.General Julien Merment – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, respected leader

25th Line Infantry (2 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

27th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

50th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

59th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

3rd Division

Maj. General Louis Loison – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

66th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, veteran excellent morale, well trained, musket

82nd Line Infantry (2 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

32nd Line Infantry (1 battalion) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

20th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

The Hanoverian Legion (2 battalions) – experienced, average morale, trained, musket

Legion du Midi (1 battalion) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

1st Division (present but never made contact)

Maj.General Jean Marchand – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, respected leader

76th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

39th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

69th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

6th Light Infantry (2 battalions) – experienced, excellent morale, well trained, musket

Cavalry

Brig-General Auguste Lamotte – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

3rd Hussar Regiment (3 squadrons) – Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, elite, carbine, sword

15th Chasseurs a Cheval Regiment (3 squadrons) -Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, elite, carbine, sword

15th Dragoon Regiment (4 Squadrons) – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, dragoon musket, sword

25th Dragoon Regiment (4 Squadrons) – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, dragoon musket, sword

Foot Artillery (4 batteries of 6 guns) – Experienced, veteran, good morale, 8lb cannon

Horde Artillery (2 batteries of 6 guns) – Experienced, veteran, excellent morale, 8lb cannon

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The French advance was swift, so much so that they completely ignored the small British picquet force left isolated on high ground as they raced to catch the main British army. The 95th (Rifles) stepped forward to initially cover the retreat hoping their longer range and more accurate Baker guns would slow the French. In response the French firstly opened up with artillery on the Green Jackets, and then Voltigeurs closed to start an exchange of fire, before sensing their superior numbers, the Voltigeurs launched a bayonet charge, forcing the (5th to pull back.

The Rifles woes were increased when the small Portuguese garrison of Almeida mistook their dark uniforms for French soldiers and began a long range artillery bombardment on them, causing even more tension in the ranks.

The French cavalry advanced to attack the British 43rd Regiment, though they were slowed and disorganised by the undulating terrain by the time they reached their target. However other French infantry units were able to mange the broken terrain better than the horsemen, and soon Craufurd could see his only line of retreat being threatened . He ordered an immediate withdrawal across the bridge, the cavalry crossing first as the infantry followed along the road behind. A supply wagon overturned in their haste which for a while blocked the British escape, and to cover the incident the 43rd Regiment was ordered to take up a defensive line along the rivers edge south east of the bridge to give covering fire.

Miraculously holding back the French advance through determined fire assisted by difficult terrain, the British and Portuguese began to pass through the bottleneck bridge and get to the west side of the Coa from where they gave volleys of fire to hold back the French advance log enough for the 43rd to make their escape across the bridge too.

Pursuing the British, the French 66th Regiment attempted to storm the bridge but were forced back by the intense musketry pored at them from the other side of the river. A force of amalgamated elite French light infantry then attempted to take the bridge, now covered with the bodies of the dead and dying, but again were beaten back.

Ney opted instead to secure his position by attacking the town of Almeida; but Craufurd, shaken by his narrow escape, decided to withdraw his men under cover of darkness, leaving both the town and the bridge to the mercy of the French.

The bridge today.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic WarsEdit

The Battle of the Standard (Northallerton) – 22nd August 1138   Leave a comment

Coronation of King Stephen

After the death of Henry I in 1135, a power struggle for succession that turned to civil war broke out across England and Normandy.

Before his death Henry had asked his barons and earls to swear their allegiance to his daughter, Matilda, and for her to become Queen. But as soon as he died, their moods changed, unsure as to be ruled by a woman, and one who was married to the Count of Anjou, a rival of Normandy.

Stephen of Blois, King Henry’s nephew, made a claim to the throne, and many barons rallied to his banner. He was crowned King of England in December 1135, but war was now on the cards.

The war largely centred around the old capital and religious centre of Winchester in southern England, however there was also fighting in Normandy, the east of England , and today’s battle, in northern England. Today, Northallerton is a busy and attractive market town about 15 miles south of where we, The Little Corporal are based. Back in 1138, it was just a small hamlet and became the site of this decisive engagement purely by chance in so much that it sits the distance of one day’s march north of York, from where the English Royalist army was marching from.

1138 was a troublesome year for Stephen, with several barons rebelling in southern England that needed his personal attention to put down the uprisings. Seeing that Stephen had his hands full, King David I of Scotland, who was Matilda’s uncle, took the opportunity to invade England in support of his niece. With an army around 16,000 strong he marched south.

As Stephen was otherwise engaged in the south, he entrusted the defence of the north largely to two men; William of Aumale, the Earl of Yorkshire, and Archbishop Thurstan of York. Between the two of them, through preaching and persuasion, they raised an army of Yorkshire levies which were bolstered by professional knights and archers, bringing their numbers up to possibly 10,000 men. Still far short of the numbers David advanced with. As a morale boost for the smaller army, Thruston had created a carroccio, a wagon upon which was mounted a ship’s mast. At the top of the mast was fastened a pyx containing the holy host and from the mast was hung four religious banners; those of the cathedrals of Durham, York, Ripon and Beverley. It was a method of creating a “sacred” army banner and rallying point that had been used for sometime by the Italians, as well during the early Crusades, but was the first, and to my knowledge, the only time such a banner has ever been used in England. It is this elaborate holy wagon that of course gave this battle its name – The Battle of the Standard.

Setting off from York to intercept the Scots, Aumale’s army made only one day’s march before meeting the Scots on the foggy morning of 22nd August near Northallerton.

 

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of the Standard

Wargaming Notes

Due to popularity now of ancient & medieval rules like Mortem et Gloriam and L’Art de la Guerre, which use “bases” rather than individual figures like the traditional WRG rules and Shock Of Impact, we are now listing suggested base numbers in our Orders of Battle instead of figure numbers. As always, our army lists, although thoroughly researched, are just a suggestion and designed to be as generic as possible so you can apply them to whichever rules you prefer.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Scottish Army

King David ! of Scotland – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, competent leader.

Royal Knights (200 men) – 1 base – mounted medium knights, veteran, elite, lance, shield

Prince Henry of Scotland – sub-commander – Experienced, impetuous, ordinary leader

Knights (2 units of 250 men) – 2 bases – mounted medium knights, impetuous, lance, shield

Bowmen (2 units of 1,000 men each) – 2 x 2 bases – bowmen, medium infantry, experienced, bow

Spearmen (4 units of 1,500 men each) 4 x 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, spear and shield

Galwegian Warriors (4 units of 2,000 men each) 4 x 4 bases – medium infantry, impetuous, unarmoured, swords and shields.

Royalist Army

William d’Aumale – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, competent leader

Household Knights – (200 men) – 1 base – mounted medium knights, veteran, elite, lance, shield

Carrocccio & Guard – (Scared banner/camp with 200 men) – Camp base + 1 base – dismounted knights, heavy infantry, veteran, elite, swordsmen

Yorkshire Levy – (5 units of 1,000 men) – 5 x 2 bases – heavy infantry, mediocre morale, spear, shield

Bowmen – (2 units of 1,000 men) – 2 x 2 bases – bowmen, medium infantry, experienced, bow

Dismounted Knights – (2 units of 750 men) 2 x 2 bases – dismounted knights, heavy infantry, veteran, swordsmen

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

William d’Aumale, having a much smaller army, and despite the “divine standard” supplied by Archbishop Thurstan, opted for a practical way to bolster the morale of his newly raised Yorkshire Levy. He had the majority of his knights dismount, and placed them in the front line interspersed with archers; a formation normally attributed to much later battles of the 100 Years War. Having his knights present and relatively static, he hoped would steady the more nervous levies. The only knights that remained mounted were his own Household guard which he no doubt kept mobile in case of an emergency exit being needed.

Across the battlefield King David had initially planned to deploy in a similar fashion. He was an experienced commander and knew how to fight the Anglo-Normans. However his Galwegian allies demanded that they lead the battle and take the front line. David eventually gave in to their demands as they did make up almost half his army and he had witnessed them defeat English knights before, but that was on a far smaller scale and in advantageous terrain. This battle was very different.

The Galwegians took the front line and with screams and war-cries, launched their charge across the open ground towards the English army. Fast moving, but unarmoured, they came under devastating clouds of arrows unleashed by the English bowmen. Despite taking considerable casualties they pressed home their charge and smacked into the wall of dismounted knights who had filled the line as the bowmen moved back. Their sheer weight of numbers and ferocious fighting style began to push back the knights and the front line levy units, who thankfully held under the pressure. The Galwegians kept up the fight and forced the English line back to the carroccio which had it’s own guard of knights. The reserve Yorkshire Levy were now committed to the fight too and eventually the Galwegians were halted and then pushed back before being routed.

All the while King David had watched from the opposite hill without sending his other troops forward, but his impetuous son, Price Henry decided to support the Galwegians and launched a charge of his cavalry without orders from his father. But it was too late, by the time his men hit the English lines most of the Galwegians were either dead or fleeing and Henry found himself and his knights fighting alone. William d’Aumale launched his own Household knights to counter attack the Scots cavalry in the flank as they battled with the Yorkshire Levy, which quickly sent them into retreat.

It was now that King David decided to send forward the rest of his army, another 8,000 men, but it was too little and certainly too late. Half way across the battlefield his fresh troops were confronted with fleeing Galwegians and Henry’s knights in full retreat. The remaining Scots immediately halted and opted to turn around and fall back too.

Despite their smaller numbers, the English Royalist army had won. The Scots lost over 10,000 men, mainly Galwegians who were reported on by an eyewitness as “looking like hedgehogs, there were so many arrows in their bodies”. English losses were minimal.

POST SCRIPT

As I hope you can see from the account of the battle, it could have all been different with different tactics, or even just a speedier intervention by David’s reserves. It would certainly make an interesting re-fight in miniature, and if you do re-fight it from this the article then please send us a picture of your game and we’ll send you some freebies.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

We have both games and books available on this site if you want to learn more about The Anarchy, just click on the images below to see more information on each item.

 

 

The Anarchy – “Cry Havoc” hexmap game

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

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 & 30YWEdit

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 ACWEdit

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 ACWEdit

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 ACWEdit

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 CenturyEdit

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 MedievalEdit

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

 

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 AgesEdit

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 CenturyEdit

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 CenturyEdit

The Battle of Arroyo Molinos – 28th October 1811   Leave a comment

General Rowland Hill, Allied Commander at Arroyo Molinos

In October 1811 the battle lines between French and British forces lay roughly along the Spanish-Portuguese border. Marshal Marmont’s Army of Portugal had retreated to the north-west of Spain, while Marshal Soult and the Army of the South were occupied in Andalusia. Between these two armies, in the central border region of Estremadura, was D’Erlon with a Corps sized force attempting to maintain lines of communication between the other two field armies. As part of this exercise he instructed General Jean-Baptiste Girard with his division, to occupy a gap in the line between the River Tagus and River Guadaina. After clearing the area of Spanish guerillas so his men could forage without attack, Girard took up position in Caceres.

To the west lay Wellington’s army, preparing for it’s attack into Spain and it’s forthcoming assault on Badajoz. Wellington had been cautious as ever and watching Soult’s army with great interest to to gauge whether he was planning on moving north to reinforce Badajoz or maybe attack the Allied army in the field. As the weather began to turn more inclement and the autumn rains started, he decided that Soult was not about to move towards him, and called on General Hill leave the main army with an enlarged division size force to attack Girard in Estremadura. With two brigades of British Infantry, a British Cavalry Brigade, a Portuguese Infantry Brigade and joined by Spanish cavalry, Hill set off east in search of Girard. As he marched into Spain the weather became increasingly worse, with driving icy rain and heavy winds, but after several days march he reached the town of Alburquerque where his men began a day’s rest. Quite soon though Hill received news via Spanish intelligence; Girard was only 50km (32 miles) away at Caceres and his force resting up in the bad weather. Without delay Hill reassembled his force and began a three day march through the storms, arriving in the neighbouring village of Malpartida, only to then be told that Girard and his men had now left Caceres and was on the move south towards Arroyo Molinos. Marching another 28 miles in driving rain, Hill reached Arroyo Molinos in the darkness of the night on the 27th. He ordered his to rest best they could in the dark and with no lights or camp fires. It would be a tiring and miserable night for the Allies.

Meanwhile Girard had his men were in the village, taking cover from the storm and unaware of the danger building around their positions. Only their pickets had to brace themselves against the weather, and by the direction of the wind coming at them it meant they had turned their backs on the man road where Hill had advanced from, allowing the British-Allied army to advance within one mile unobserved.

On the morning of the 28th Girard had his men fall in ready to continue their march south, and they began to assemble on the south side of the village. It was at this point that Hill’s army, now in three columns came into sight, advancing towards the village from the north, before diverging in an attempt to surround the French.

 

 

Suggested initial set-up for the Battle of Arroyo Molinos

ORDERS OF BATTLE – Using a suggested figure/man ratio of 1:50

BRITISH/ALLIED ARMY

General Rowland Hill – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, good tactician, inspirational leader

First Column

92nd Gordon Highlanders (600 men) – 12 figures – veteran, elite morale, musket

34th Cumberland Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – veteran, well trained, disciplined, musket

71st Highland Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – veteran, elite morale, musket

50th (Queens Own) Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – veteran, well trained, disciplined, musket

6 x 6lb artillery guns and crew – 2 models – veteran, well trained, disciplined

Second Column

28th {North Gloucestershire) Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – veteran, well trained, disciplined, musket

9th (East Norfolk) Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – experienced, well trained, steady, musket

24th (Warwicks) Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – experienced, well trained, steady, musket

4th Portuguese Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – experienced, trained, steady, musket

6th Portuguese Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – experienced, trained, steady, musket

10th Portuguese Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – experienced, trained, steady, musket

18th Portuguese Regiment (600 men) – 12 figures – experienced, trained, steady, musket

Third Column

2nd King’s German Legion Hussars (400 men) – 8 figures – open order light cavalry, experienced, well trained, disciplined, sword, carbine

9th & 13th Light Dragons (600 men) – 12 figures – light cavalry, experienced, well trained, disciplined, sword, carbine

Independent Units

2 x Spanish Cavalry Regiments ( 2 x 300 men) 2 x 6 figures – close order heavy cavalry, experienced, trained, brittle morale, sword, carbine

FRENCH ARMY

General Jean-Baptiste Girard – Commander-in Chief – experienced, cautious, respected by men

1st Brigade

34th Ligne Regiment in 3 battalions (2400 men) – 40 figures – experienced, trained, steady, musket

40th Ligne Regiment in 3 battalions (2400 men) – 40 figures – experienced, trained, steady, musket

3 x assorted artillery guns and crew – 1 model 6pdr – experienced, trained, steady

2nd Brigade

27th Chasseurs A Cheval (300 men) – 6 figures – open order light cavalry. veteran, elite, disciplined, sword, carbine

10th Hussars (300 men) – 6 figures – open order light cavalry. veteran, elite, disciplined, sword carbine

20th Dragoons (400 men) – 8 figures – close order heavy cavalry, experienced, well trained, steady, sword, carbine

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As the British in the first column began to swarm through and around the village, Girard ordered his men to form squares and his cavalry to protect his southern route. The French infantry formed two giant squares, but this was a tactic used against cavalry, not infantry. The Two Highland regiments reaching the south side of the village fired volleys into the massed ranks, but worse was to come when the British artillery set up outside the village and fired grape shot into their ranks.

Meanwhile it was the Spanish cavalry who rode fastest to reach the most southerly point and block the road the French hoped to exit by. Girard ordered his cavalry to “own the road” at whatever cost and his Dragoons charged into the Spanish ranks. Despite their nervous disposition the Spaniards fought hard, so hard the Chasseurs A Cheval also moved forward to bolster the French attack, it looked like the Spanish would break when into the French flank charged the 2nd KGL Hussars and 9th Light Dragoons. Fighting was desperate, the French in a frenzy to keep the road in their control but the larger numbers of British and Spanish cavalry began to sway the fight. The French cavalry commander, General Bron, was said to have shot dead two British troopers as they charged down on him, but then surrendered to the British Light Dragoon trumpeter, presumably hoping he wouldn’t be ready to kill him. 200 French cavalry surrendered with even more killed.

Seeing his orginal exit route now blocked, Girard, now wounded himself, ordered his infantry into a fighting retreat south, and then around the Sierra De Montanchez, but as they reached the bend around the mountain range, they found the British and Spanish cavalry had beaten them to it. Not only that, but behind them now came charging British infantry in pursuit with their bayonets at the ready. In desperation Girard and some men scrambled up the face of the Sierra De Montanchez, leaving over 1,500 men behind who quickly surrendered to the British.

Spanish cavalry and guerillas pursued the fleeing French for over thirty miles, killing the vast majority. Girard though escaped, he would recover from his wounds and escape and serve Napoleon right through to the 100 Days Campaign, where he would be mortally wounded at Ligny, dying a few days later.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

We have opted for the 1:50 ratio for the current trend of few figures, but those with established collections at 1:20 ratio would look very impressive.

It may be interesting also to rearrange the French at the start into columns as they must have been immediately before forming squares, then the French commander decide for himself ha would be his best opening move.

Victrix 28mm Napoleonics, great figures to start the period with.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic WarsEdit

The First Battle of Tapae – 87 AD   Leave a comment

Victrix 28mm Dacians launch their attack

At the beginning of 86AD, the Dacian King Duras ordered his men across the Danube to attack the Roman province of Moesia, (what is now present day Bulgaria), catching the Romans completely by surprise and wiping out the Roman V Legion. The emporer Domitian, enraged by this intrusion into the Empire, gathered forces together and personally led the IV, I and II Legions into Moesia and reestablished Rome’s authority. He then looked to invade Dacia itself and bring “the barbarians” under Roman rule, however before this was attempted Domitian returned to Rome and left the expedition under the command of Cornelius Fuscus, Prefect of the Praetorian Guard. Keeping one Legion in Moesia, Fuscus marched the other two into Dacia (modern day Romania) where to attack the heartland of the Dacian tribes he had to march through “The Iron Gates”, a natural pass between forested mountain ranges leading into Transylvania.

Here the Dacians waited in readiness to face the might of Rome.

Suggested initial set up for the First Battle of Tapae 87AD

ORDERS OF BATTLE – Using a 1;50 figure ratio

ROMAN ARMY

Cornelius Fuscus – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, elite, over confident

2 Sub-Generals – veteran, experienced, over confident

Units as per map, right to left

Auxiliary Archers (800 men) – 16 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, experienced, trained, steady, bow

Legionaries (4200 men) – 84 figures – close order heavy infantry, armour, large shield, experienced, veteran, disciplined, pilum and sword

Cavalry (600 men) – 12 figures – close order heavy cavalry, armour, experienced, trained, steady, shield, spear, sword

Legionaries (4200 men) – 84 figures – close order heavy infantry, armour, large shield, experienced, veteran, disciplined, pilum and sword

Cavalry (600 men) – 12 figures – close order heavy cavalry, armour, experienced, trained, steady, shield, spear, sword

Artillery (several heavy stone throwers and crew) – 1 model and crew – lightly armoured crew, experienced, veteran, well trained

Auxiliary Infantry (1200 men) – 24 figures – open order, lightly armoured infantry, experienced, trained, steady, spear, javelins and shield

DACIAN ARMY

At the mouth of the pass

King Decebalus – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, elite, inspirational leader

Flaxmen (1200 men) – 24 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, flax (two handed cutting weapon)

Warriors (1200 men) – 24 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, sword, shield

Warriors (1200 men) – 24 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, sword, shield

Dacian Cavalry (500 men) – 10 figures – open order light cavalry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, javelins, shield

At top of map (r to l)

Sub- General – Sub-Commander – veteran, elite, ferocious warrior

Archers (1000 men) – 20 figures – open order, light infantry, veteran, trained, bow

Sarmatian Heavy Cavalry (600 men) – 12 figures – close order heavy cavalry, light body armour, lance, bow

Warriors (2000 men) – 40 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, sword, shield

Warriors (2000 men) – 40 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, sword, shield

Flaxmen (2000 men) – 40 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, flax (two handed cutting weapon)

Sarmatian Cataphracts (600 men) – 12 figures – close order extra heavy fully armoured cavalry, horse armour, lance, bow

At bottom of map (r to l)

Sub- General – Sub-Commander – veteran, elite, ferocious warrior

Archers (1000 men) – 20 figures – open order, light infantry, veteran, trained, bow

Sarmatian Cataphracts (600 men) – 12 figures – close order extra heavy fully armoured cavalry, horse armour, lance, bow

Bastarnae Allied Infantry (2000 men) – 40 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, fanatical fighters, flax (two handed cutting weapon)

Warriors (2000 men) – 40 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, sword, shield

Warriors (2000 men) – 40 figures – open order infantry, warriors, experienced, veteran, ferocious fighters, spear, sword, shield

Bastarnae Allied Cavalry (300 men) – 6 figures – open order lightly armoured cavalry, veteran, fanatical fighters, javelins, shield

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Due to the outcome and period of the battle reliable sources are near impossible to find to give an accurate description of what exactly happened, however the better sources to agree on certain events.

As the Romans marched through the Iron Gates pass, the Dacians prepared an ambush towards its end. King Decebalus positioned himself at the end of the pass with a small force, with the intention of tricking the Romans to advance to make contact. As they neared the Dacian force ahead of them, the ambush was sprung. The archers on both sides of the pass emerged from the dense woods and showered the Romans with hail of arrows, immediately followed by the Dacian forces pouring over the ridges and charging down on to the Romans below. The Bastarnae and Dacian Flaxmen carved into the Roman legionaries with their deadly and fearsome flax weapons, while the Sarmatian cavalry completely destroyed their Roman counterparts.

The Roman infantry attempted to make a stand, but without cavalry support they soon began to get lose their cohesion as both the Dacian warriors and now the Sarmatian cavalry repeatedly charged into their ranks. In the chaos of battle Fuscus was killed, causing even more disorder and soon almost two entire legions lay massacred. The only Romans who were deliberately captured rather than killed were the artillery crews, who were rounded up and forced to train the Dacians how to use use their new captured “toys”; to which they would make good use of in future battles against Rome.

So important was The Iron Gates pass, it would be the site of three more battles between these enemies in the coming years. Not all with the same outcome as this first one.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Due to the scant records of this battle, we have chosen forces for each side as we believe they would likely to have been, but feel free to make slight alterations.

Bastarnae Allies charge out the woods – image Victrix Ltd

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

The Battle of Kircholm – 27th September 1605   Leave a comment

Polish Winged Hussars charge into the Swedish ranks

The Polish-Swedish War had broken out in 1600 as a dispute as to who should control Livonia and Estonia, as well as being an ongoing dispute over the Swedish throne which had started in the 1597-99 civil war. Sigismund III Vasa of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had been the king of Sweden until that civil war, when his uncle, Duke Charles had usurped the crown and had himself declared King Charles IX of Sweden. The ill feeling between the two would make for a fierce conflict in the Baltic.

A number of early battles drained the Polish economy to the point that paying soldiers became almost impossible and Charles decided to take advantage of this by landing an army in Estonia with the intention of securing Riga while the Poles struggled to defend it. To add insult to injury, showing off that he could still pay for soldiers, Charles employed large numbers of Dutch and German mercenaries to swell his ranks, even a unit of Scots, bringing his invasion force to almost 11,000 men, of which 2.500 were cavalry and 11 artillery pieces.

The Polish Crown refused to contribute money to raising and army, and it looked like Charles would this time win without even fighting; that was until the Great Hetman of Lithuania, Jan Karol Chodkewicz offered to personally pay soldiers wages from his own fortune. Even so, money was not limitless and time was of the essence to defend Estonia, so after a quick assembly of forces, Chodkewicz set of to face Charles with just 3,600 men, most of whom though were the famous Polish Winged Hussars.

The two armies met at Kircholm which about 11 miles south-east of Riga. Charles’s men had made a overnight march in heavy rain to reach the Poles and to grab a strong position to deploy. There was high ground overlooking Kircholm where the Swedes and allies formed up in a checkerboard formation, leaving gaps in their lines to funnel the Polish cavalry into if they charged. The Poles in the low ground below and outnumbered almost 3 to 1 didn’t look to have much chance in defeating Charles, but as proud and patriotic fighters for their homeland, they were prepared to try and fight.

Suggested initial set up for the battle of Kircholm

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a figure scale of 1 figure = 20 men

POLISH-LITHUANIAN COMMONWEALTH ARMY

Jan Karol Chodkiewicz – commander in chief – elite, veteran, tactician, inspirational leader

Polish 1st line (top to bottom)

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Haiduks Infantry (300 men) 15 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Haiduks Infantry (300 men) 15 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

Polish Cossacks (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – open order light cavalry, trained, steady, reliable, lance, sword, pistols

Polish Artillery (5 cannons) 2 models and crew – trained, steady, muzzle loading medium field gun

Detached cavalry

Polish Cossacks (4 units of 100 men) total of 20 figures – open order light cavalry, trained, steady, reliable, lance, sword, pistols

Polish 2nd line (top to bottom)

Haiduks Infantry (200 men) 10 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Lithuanian Tartars (3 units of 100 men) 15 figures – open order light cavalry, skirmishers, elite, veteran, lance, javelins, sword, pistols

Polish Cossacks (1 units of 100 men) total of 5 figures – open order light cavalry, trained, steady, reliable, lance, sword, pistols

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Across the river

Lithuanian Tartars (3 units of 100 men) 15 figures – open order light cavalry, skirmishers, elite, veteran, lance, javelins, sword, pistols

Polish 3rd line

Winged Hussars (7 units of 100 men) total of 35 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Polish last line (top to bottom)

Winged Hussars (2 units of 100 men) total of 10 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, veteran, fearless, body armour, warhorse, lance, sword, pistols

Haiduks Infantry (200 men) 10 figures – open order infantry, stubborn, veteran, solid, musket

SWEDISH ARMY

King Charles IX of Sweden – commander in chief – veteran, tactician, impetuous

Swedish 1st line (top to bottom)

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Swedish musketeers (600 men) 30 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Swedish 2nd line (top to bottom)

German Reiters (2 units of 250 men) total of 25 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish Landsryttare (2 units of 250 men) total of 25 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

German Reiters (2 units of 250 men) total of 25 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish 3rd line (top to bottom)

Dutch infantry (600 men) 30 figures -trained, steady, 1/3 pike 2/3 musket

Scots infantry (600 men) 30 figures – trained, veteran 1/2 pike 1/2 musket

Swedish musketeers (4 units 600 men) 120 figures – trained, conscript, brittle, musket

Swedish artillery (11 cannon) 4 models – trained, steady, muzzle loading medium field guns

Swedish 4th line (top to bottom)

Swedish Landsryttare (250 men) total of 12 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

German Reiters (250 men) total of 12 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish Landsryttare (250 men) total of 12 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

German Reiters (250 men) total of 12 figures – heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

Swedish Landsryttare (250 men) total of 12 figures -heavy close order cavalry, trained, unsteady, trotters, pistols

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Assessing the two army’s positions, Chodkiewicz could see any attack by his men would be suicidal, Charles commanded a very strong position indeed. So Chodkiewicz tried to lure him down from the heights by sending forward his light cavalry to harass the Swedes and annoy them enough to break formation. This went on for several hours, with only light casualties on both sides, but still the Swedes refused to move. It looked like the encounter would end as a stalemate, Chodkiewicz tried once last tactic, passing the order to his men to about turn and retire from the field. It was of course a feint withdrawal, but Charles fell for it, and ordered his army to advance from the heights and pursue and engage the Poles as they retreated.

As once the first two lies of Charles’s army were in the low ground Chodkiewicz ordered another about turn and immediate charge of his elite Winged Hussars.

On the Swedish right flank the Poles charged into the Reiters and completely smashed their formation, sending them in an immediate rout to the rear. On the opposite flank, it was a similar story, where Winged Hussars destroyed the Swedish and German cavalry with the impact of their charge. Charles ordered forward all his remaining cavalry, but as the Hussars continued to fight, now assisted by Polish Cossacks and the Lithuanian Tartars, they too were routed at the first contact and fled the field.

The Swedish infantry were all that remained to fight, and as the Polish infantry advanced to exchange musket volleys the Swedish numbers would look to win this dual, but as they charged the Polish infantry, so too charged the now regrouped Winged Hussars into the Swedish rear and flanks, cutting them down with sabre slashes.

In fear of being completely surrounded the Swedes fled, and Chodkiewicz won the day. It was however a Pyrrhic victory. The Swedes lost so many men (about 8,000) that they withdrew back to Sweden to seek safety, however the Poles, despite only losing about 300 men, lost many more valuable trained warhorses. The Winged Hussars mounts were big, powerful and trained warhorses, who would bite and hoof the enemy, not just carry their riders, but their sheer size and bulk made them an easy target for their enemy’s muskets and pikes. Their size would protect the riders, but at a sacrificial cost to themselves. The loss of so many mounts meant the Poles were unable to capitalise on their victory and follow up by completely dispersing Swedish forces in the Baltic states.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This period is a personal favorite of mine, ever since a “Jackanory” story on TV some 45 years ago that introduced me as child to Winged Hussars. I’ve loved them ever since.

There are a number of suppliers making suitable figures.

In smaller scales Pendraken make excellent 10mm figures suitable, and Essex Miniatures offer a good 15mm choice too. If 28mm is your thing, Warlord Games make a few suitable figures, including Winged Hussars, but Foundry Miniatures have a good collection with infantry etc as well.

Rules for me are a choice of two for this – DBR by Wargames Research Group, or Hussaria which is published by The Pike & Shot Society (listed on our Society’s page)

If nothing else, masses of Winged Hussars look very impressive charging across the table – so give it a go.

 

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

Battle of Dranesville – 20th December 1861   Leave a comment

Union artillery fire down onto advancing Confederates at Dranesville

After the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in October, both sides retired their armies into winter quarters, only occasionally sending out small forces on foraging and scouting missions. It was one such foraging mission that Brigadier General J.E.B. Stuart in command of a mixed brigade, approached Dranesville from the South, escorting wagons collecting what they could to feed the main army.

By coincidence a Union force led by Brigadier General Edward O.C.Ord was travelling East to West along the Leesburg Pike at right angles to Stuart’s force. Ord also had a mixed brigade, although he had started with over twice the number Stuart had, he had left half behind at Colvin Run Mill to guard his lines of retreat in case of an emergency. So when these two forces both ran into each other it was a complete by chance encounter and both sides having roughly the same amount of men.

First contact was made when Stuart’s advance cavalry pickets stumbled upon the marching Union force; they were quickly driven off back to their main army by Union cavalry, and at that point both small armies deployed for battle.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Dranesville 20th December 1861

ORDERS OF BATTLE – Using a 1 to 50 figure scale

UNION ARMY

Brig.General Edward O.C. Ord – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, experienced, tactician

6th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

9th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

10th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

12th Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

Kane’s 1st Infantry Pennsylvania Reserves (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

1st Pennsylvania Reserve cavalry (300 men) 6 figures – regular, trained, steady, revolvers, sword, carbine

1st Pennsylvania Reserve Artillery (8 guns and crew) – 4 models – regular, trained, steady

CONFEDERATE ARMY

Brig.General J.E.B.Stuart – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, experienced, elite, inspirational leader & tactician

1st Kentucky Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – experienced, trained, stubborn. muzzle loading muskets

10th Alabama Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – regular, trained, steady, muzzle loading muskets

11th Virginia Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – elite, veteran, stubborn, muzzle loading muskets

6th South Carolina Volunteers (800 men) 16 figures – inexperienced, trained, nervous, muzzle loading muskets

Detachments of 1st North Carolina & 2nd Virginia Cavalry (250 men) 5 figures – elite, veteran, impetuous, pistols, sword, carbine/shotguns

Sumter Georgia Artillery (4 guns and crew) – 2 models – regular, trained, steady

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

After the initial contact between cavalry pickets the Union army wheeled around to face Stuart’s men and the Confederates spread out from line of march to battle deployment. In the surprise of suddenly going into battle, the 6th South Carolina mistook the 1st Kentucky, who were deploying immediately to their front, as the enemy and fired off a volley into their ranks. The Kentuckians, in shock, turned about and fired back before both units realised they were friendlies and resumed their original positions. The sound of firing to their front though, roused the Union’s 9th Pennsylvania regiment into thinking they were missing the battle and they charged across the open ground, but were halted in their tracks by volleys from the Confederate lines and quickly retreated back to their starting point.

An artillery dual then commenced, the opposing sides being only around 300 yards apart, and after a brief but intense exchange of fire the Union’s greater numbers prevailed and the Georgia battery was knocked out of action. Ord then organised his force into a long skirmish line and advanced towards Stuart’s men, his cavalry concealed in the woods ready to charge into an opportunity or likewise cover a withdrawal if necessary. The two infantry lines faced off each other for over two hours with repeated volleys, the Confederates suffering most by remaining in a close order formation.

At mid-afternoon Stuart was satisfied that his foraging wagons had retreated sufficiently to now be safe and he ordered his brigade to retreat also and rejoin them. Ord pursued Stuart’s men for only half a mile before returning to the main road and continuing on his march to Langley.

The following day Stuart returned with reinforcements to attack Ord again, but found the previous day’s battlefield deserted so returned to the main army again. .

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

We have chosen this battle as our first American Civil War offering as it is a relatively small and even sided affair that could go either way quite easily. Also from the numbers involved it is almost possible to re-fight this battle immediately with the Perry Miniatures American Civil War Battle In A Box (only an extra Union artillery piece would be needed or be “implied”)

The Union army is pretty standard as far as capabilities, morale, equipment and training is concerned, where you will note the Confederate units are bit more varied which adds a little character and surprise to their performance on the field.

For those wanting larger looking battles simply change our suggested figure scale to maybe 1:25 or 1:20 and it would then lend itself well to a 10mm scale engagement.

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

The Battle of El Mansurah – 8th February 1250   Leave a comment

Fierce fighting in the town of El Mansurah

After the losing the city of Jerusalem a second time in 1244, Pope Innocent IV requested yet another crusade to try and recapture the holy city. King Louis IX of France gave the idea his full backing and began to assemble what would be known as the Seventh Crusade. Louis was supported by his two brothers, Robert d’Artois (appointed his second in command), and Charles d’Anjou; he was also joined by an English contingent led by William of Salisbury as well by the Holy Orders of the Knights Templar and Knights Hosptillar. In their planning they decided that the power base of the Muslim forces was Egypt, and that rather than attack Jerusalem again they should attack Egypt and Cairo and in doing so destroy the Muslim armies at the source.

After making diplomatic arrangements with the Mongols, an invasion of Egypt was agreed; the Seventh Crusade would attack the Muslim forces in Egypt while the Mongols attacked the Muslim’s eastern forces in Turkey, Syria and Persia.

The Crusade initially went to plan, the christian forces landed near Damietta and local forces fled before they arrived at the town, although Louis’s army was harassed by Muslim skirmishers their advance to Cairo continued without any great events. In fact they received only good news as they marched, being reinforced by Louis’s third bother, Alphonse de Poitiers, and receiving the news that Ayyubid Sultan, as-Salih Ayyub had died.

As they progressed towards Cairo their route was blocked by a canal near the town of El Mansurah, The Muslim army was camped on the opposite side outside the town, and were quite relaxed in the belief that the canal was impassable and the crusaders were now stuck.

However a local sold information to the crusaders of a ford downstream that was passable at this time of year. With a Vanguard force of 1500 knights, including 300 Knights Templar and William’s English knights, Robert d’Artois made a secret crossing under strict orders from Louis not to attack the Muslim army, but instead protect the canal bank while more crusaders crossed and a temporary bridge could be assembled.

 

Suggested initial set-up for the Battle of El Mansurah

ORDERS OF BATTLE

We are suggesting a scale of 1-50 men as this is quite a large battle’ but you can adapt these to suit your favorite rules.

CRUSADER ARMY

VANGUARD

Robert d’Artois – Vanguard commander, veteran, experienced, impetuous

French Knights (900 men) 18 figures – extra heavy armoured cavalry, impetuous, veteran, lance, shield, heavy armour

William of Salisbury – sub-commander, veteran, experienced, tactician, steady

English Knights (300 men) 6 figures – extra heavy armoured cavalry, disciplined, veteran, lance, shield, heavy armour

Guillaume de Sonac (Grand Master of the Temple Knights) – sub-commander – veteran, elite, disciplined, inspirational leader

Kinghts Templar (300 men) 6 figures – extra heavy armoured knights, veteran, elite, disciplined, excellent fighters, stubborn, lance, shield heavy armour

MAIN FORCE

King Louis IX – Commander-in-Chief, veteran, experienced, tactician

Knights (700 men) 14 figures – extra heavy armoured cavalry, impetuous, veteran, lance, shield, heavy armour

Knights Hospitaller (300 men) – 6 figures – extra heavy armoured knights, veteran, elite, disciplined, excellent fighters, stubborn, lance, shield heavy armour

Spearmen (1000 men) 20 figures – heavy infantry, trained, steady, veteran, medium armour, spear and shield

Crossbowmen (2000 men) 40 figures – heavy infantry, trained, steady, veteran, medium armour, crossbow

Alphonse de Poitiers – sub-commander – veteran, elite, disciplined, inspirational leader

Knights (900 men) 18 figures – extra heavy armoured cavalry, impetuous, veteran, lance, shield, heavy armour

Spearmen (1000 men) 20 figures – heavy infantry, trained, steady, veteran, medium armour, spear and shield

Crossbowmen (2000 men) 40 figures – heavy infantry, trained, steady, veteran, medium armour, crossbow

AYYUBID ARMY

Fakhir-ad-Din-Yusuf – Commander-in Chief – experienced, veteran, steady

Toassin Cavalry (1000 men) – 20 figures – armoured cavalry, trained, veteran, disciplined, lance, bow, shield, medium armour

Turcoman Cavalry (500 men) – 10 figures – light cavalry, skirmish order, trained, steady, javelins, shield

Ahdath Infantry (1000 men) – 20 figures – medium infantry, militia, nervous, unreliable, spear, shield

Baibars – sub-commander – veteran, ferocious fighter, inspirational leader, elite

Mamluk Guard Cavalry (600 men) – 12 figures – armoured cavalry, veteran, elite, disciplined, lance, bow, shield, medium armour

Kipchack Mamluk Cavalry (1000 men) – 20 figures – light cavalry. open order, trained, veteran, steady, javelins, bow, shield

Ahdath Infantry (1000 men) – 20 figures – medium infantry, militia, nervous, unreliable, bow, shield

Sudanese Archers (1000 men) – 20 figures – light infantry, open order, trained, experienced, steady, bow, shield

Sudanese Spearmen (1000 men) – 20 figures – light infantry, open order, trained, experienced, spear or javelins, shield

Faris-ad-Din-Aktai – sub-commander – experienced, impetuous, nervous

Turcoman Cavalry (500 men) – 10 figures – light cavalry, skirmish order, trained, steady, javelins, shield

Toassin Cavalry (1000 men) – 20 figures – armoured cavalry, trained, veteran, disciplined, lance, bow, shield, medium armour

Sudanese Archers (1000 men) – 20 figures – light infantry, open order, trained, experienced, steady, bow, shield

Sudanese Spearmen (1000 men) – 20 figures – light infantry, open order, trained, experienced, spear or javelins, shield

Ahdath Infantry (1000 men) – 20 figures – medium infantry, militia, nervous, unreliable, javelins, shield

ADDITIONAL CITIZEN FORCES INSIDE THE TOWN

Militia/Citizens (1000 men) – 20 figures – light infantry, open order. militia, untrained, unpredictable, half armed bow, half armed javelins or slings

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Having crossed the canal, Robert d’Artois decided to disregard his brother’s orders and instead attacked the Ayyubid camp immediately. Both the Templar’s Grand Master and William of Salisbury tried to persuade him otherwise, but asserting his authority and claiming that they would dishonor the cross by not attacking, he led an all out charge on the camp.

The Ayyubids were taken totally by surprise and the crusaders inflicted heavy casualties, killing Fakhir-ad-Din-Yusuf in the attack. In panic the Ayyubids fled to El Mansurah with Robert and his knights in hot pursuit, however once inside the walled town the knights found themselves trapped and fighting for their lives. The narrow streets hampered their movement and citizens took to the roof tops throwing clay tiles and rocks down onto the knights below. The Muslim army rallied and overwhelmed Robert’s men, killing Robert himself, as well as William of Salisbury and the Grand Master of the Templars. Only five Templar knights and less than fifty other knights escaped the massacre and out of the town.

Meanwhile Louis had been moving the remainder of his army across the canal and was furious at Robert’s attack. His force was little more than half across when the survivors returned, this time with the Ayyubids in hot pursuit.

Louis made a defensive crescent formation protecting the ford and a hastily assembled bridge while the remainder of his men crossed the canal, all the while under repeated attacks. It was only when the crossbowmen (who were at the rear) crossed the canal, that Louis was able to put up a defense strong enough to force the Ayyubids back.

During the night the Muslims returned and made several ferocious night-assaults on the crusaders bridgehead, inflicting casualties and terror throughout the ranks. After regrouping and resting the Ayyubids attacked again two days later, once more being fought back, but now losses on the crusader army were mounting. A third of all the knights were now dead, half had no horses left alive, and the contingents from the Holy Orders had been wiped out.

The battle was a disaster for the crusaders; unable to advance or retreat Louis’s army stood it’s ground but eventually began to fall to disease as well as being surrounded by an Egyptian flotilla sent down the canal. Surrendering to the Ayyubids, all those who were sick or weak were massacred (about 7,000 men), the remainder (including Louis IX King of France) were held prisoner until he was able to secure release with a ransom payment of over one million gold bezants. Once released, Louis remained in Outremer for several more years but was unable to muster any realistic fighting force and the Seventh Crusade came to an end.

ADDITIONAL RULES FOR WARGAMERS

‘ll note that we have left it up to you to decide if the vanguard should charge straight in to Ayyubid camp, or follow orders. If it does charge in then the Ayyubids should all be classed as disorganised and/or demoralised to reflect their surprise and rout to El Mansurah.

If the crusader player decides not to instantly attack then we would suggest each game turn a D6 is rolled by the Ayyubid player, on a 6 they become alerted and can deploy, otherwise the crusaders can keep crossing the canal unobserved. Maybe after three game turns of crossing if a 6 has not been rolled, allow a 5 or 6 then 4,5,6 etc to reflect the growing noise and dust clouds that must have developed. making their presence more obvious.

If alerted by a successful dice roll the Ayyubids will no longer be disorganised/demoralised, but can deploy in good order.

 

 

 

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

The Battle of Wissembourg – 4th August 1870   Leave a comment

French Algerian Turcos defend the northern gates from the Bavarian Division

The Battle of Wissembourg was the first major battle of the Franco-Prussian War, which occurred 150 years ago this year.

France had declared war on Prussia on the 19th July after feeling they were being hoodwinked by Chancellor Bismark of Prussia trying to install a Prussian ally to the throne of Spain after Queen Isabella had died without an obvious heir. For some time France had been watching Prussia with both caution and envy as it grow in power; absorbing some of the smaller German states and defeating both Denmark and Austria in swift overwhelming conflicts, so it didn’t take much of an excuse to declare war to try and demonstrate French military might. Despite their impetuous declaration of hostilities the French were ill prepared for war. Prussia, as did the rest of Europe, expected France to make an immediate invasion across the Rhine as it’s tactics in wars with Prussia had been for generations, but in reality they were both slow and disorganised in mobalising it’s forces. Helmuth von Moltke (the Elder), Prussian Field Marshal, waited with his forces to repel an attack, which when it didn’t materialise, made him incredulous that France should have declared war when they were not ready to fight. He therefore began what was supposed to the second stage of his mater plan; the Prussian invasion of France.

By the beginning of August both nation’s armies were on the move; the French began to advance on the Prussian border and even displaced the small garrison from the border town of Saarbrucken which gave them a very false sense of victory. Marshal MacMahon, French commander of the I Corps then deployed his men along the frontier to stop a Prussian advance, but due to tenuous supply links and still an overall lack of manpower (mobilisation was still far from complete), he spread his men too thin on the ground. One such isolated force was that led by General Douay and the 2nd Division stationed at Wissembourg.

Douay was blissfully unaware that advancing on his Division (8,600 men) were three Corps strength units (over 60,000 men); the Bavarian II Corps and the Prussian V & XI Corps. The Prussian forces maneuvered around the town at a distance to keep the French in the dark as to what was about to happen, then at 9am on the 4th August the Bavarian II Corps appeared from the woods to the north of the town making Douay hastily deploy his men to face the threat. The first major battle of the war was about to begin.

Suggested set up for the Battle of Wissembourg as at 9am 4th August 1870

ORDERS Of BATTLE – using a scale of 1 to 40 figures to men

FRENCH ARMY

General Abel Douay – commander in chief – veteran, experienced, inspirational leader

3 x battalions Turco infantry (3 x 720 men)- 18 figures per battalion – veteran, experienced, aggressive, excellent fighters, A class troops armed with Chassepot (advanced breech loading rifle)

5 x Line Infantry battalions (3 x 720 men) – 18 figures per battalion, regular, well trained, experienced, steady, good fighters, armed with Chassepot (advanced breech loading rifle)

3 x Squadrons of Hussars (3 x 120 men) – 3 figures per squadron, regular, well trained, experienced, steady, good fighters armed with sword and carbine

3 x Squadrons of Chasseurs a Cheval (3 x 120 men) – 3 figures per squadron, regular, well trained, experienced, steady, good fighters armed with sword and carbine

1 x Battery of Mitrailleuse (6 machine guns & crew) – 1 model & crew, regular, well trained, experienced, steady, good fighters, early machine gun

2 x Batteries of 4lb cannon (12 cannon & crew) – 2 models & crew, regular, well trained, experienced, steady, good fighters, 4lb muzzle loading cannon

PRUSSIAN ARMY

9am Set Up

II Bavarian Corps

General Hartman – sub-commander – experienced, cautious, average ability

7 x Line Infantry battalions (7 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – trained, nervous, unreliable fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifles)

2 x Jager Skirmisher battalions (2 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – well trained, steady, average fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

1 x Regiment of Chevau-legers (640 men) – 16 figures – light cavalry, trained, impetuous, armed with sword and carbine

1 x Battery of Krupp C64 4lb cannon (6 guns & crew) – 1 model & crew – regular, trained, steady, with 4lb rifled breech loading cannon

2 x Batteries of Krupp C61 6lb cannon (12 guns & crew) – 2 models & crew- regular, trained, steady with 6lb rifled breech loading cannon

Arriving from 10am (see map top right hand corner)

Prussian V Corps

General von Kirchbach – sub commander – experienced, well trained, steady

1st Column (17th Brigade)

2 x Line Infantry battalions (2 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – well trained, steady, disciplined, average fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

3 x Jager companies ( 3 x 240 men) – 6 figures per battalion – experienced, well trained, disciplined, good fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

3 x Squadrons of Dragoons (3 x 160 men) – 4 figures per squadron – experienced, well trained, good fighters, disciplined armed with swords and carbines

1 x Battery of Krupp C64 4lb cannon (6 guns & crew) – 1 model & crew – regular, trained, disciplined, good fighters with 4lb rifled breech loading cannon

2nd Column (17th Brigade)

2 x Line Infantry battalions (2 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – well trained, steady, disciplined, average fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

1 x Jager company ( 1 x 240 men) – 6 figures per battalion – experienced, well trained, disciplined, good fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

1 x Squadrons of Dragoons (1 x 160 men) – 4 figures per squadron – experienced, well trained, good fighters, disciplined armed with swords and carbines

1 x Battery of Krupp C64 4lb cannon (6 guns & crew) – 1 model & crew – regular, trained, disciplined, good fighters with 4lb rifled breech loading cannon

Arriving at 11am (see map mid right hand side)

Fredrich Wilhelm – commander in chief – excellent ability, inspirational leader, veteran

Prussian XI Corps

General Bose – sub commander – experienced, well trained, steady

6 x Line Infantry battalions (6 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – well trained, steady, disciplined, average fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

1 x Jager battalion ( 1 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – experienced, well trained, disciplined, good fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

1 x Squadrons of Hussars (1 x 160 men) – 4 figures per squadron – light cavalry,experienced, well trained, good fighters, disciplined armed with swords and carbines

1 x Regiment of Hussars (1 x 640 men) – 16 figures per squadron – light cavalry,experienced, well trained, good fighters, disciplined armed with swords and carbines

1 x Battery of Krupp Horse Artillery C64 4lb cannon (6 guns & crew) – 1 model & crew – regular, trained, disciplined, good fighters with 4lb rifled breech loading cannon

2 x Batteries of Krupp C61 6lb cannon (12 guns & crew) – 2 models & crew- regular, trained, disciplined, with 6lb rifled breech loading cannon

Arriving at 11am (at top right hand corner of map)

Prussian V Corps

3rd Column (18th Brigade)

6 x Line Infantry battalions (6 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – well trained, steady, disciplined, average fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifle)

1 x Regiment of Dragoons (1 x 640 men) – 16 figures per squadron – experienced, well trained, good fighters, disciplined armed with swords and carbines

1 x Batteries of Krupp C61 6lb cannon (6 guns & crew) – 1 model & crew- regular, trained, disciplined, with 6lb rifled breech loading cannon

Arriving at 12:30 pm (top of map from Bavarian starting point)

2 x Line Infantry battalions (2 x 960 men) – 24 figures per battalion – trained, nervous, unreliable fighters armed with Needle gun (primitive breech loading rifles)

NOTES FOR WARGAMING

We have described small arms as “primitive breech loading” and “advanced breech loading” this is to differentiate the French Chassepot rifle which had much longer range than the German Dreyse Needle gun and rules should be adjusted to reflect this.

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle started soon after 9am when the Bavarians brought three batteries of artillery into action, firing on Wissembourg which started several fires. Bavarian infantry then began to cross the countryside towards the town but were halted by the garrison’s accurate long range rifle fire. General Hartman committed more men to the attack which prompted General Pelle (commanding the forward Turcos in Wissembourg) to commit all his men to the defense and call up a battery of 4lb guns. Despite the appearance of the Bavarians, General Douay was slow to respond, believing it was only a small skirmishing force, although he did at least send a messenger to Marshal MacMahon to inform him of the encounter with the enemy.

Prussian artillery position outside Wissembourg

By 9:30 the Bavarians had reached the outer wall of the town and desperate fight took place around the Bitsche Gate (see top picture) between Bavarian Jagers and the Algerian Turco troops. A defensive ditch stalled the Jagers who suffered enormous casualties losing half their numbers to the exceptionally stiff defense put up by the Algerians.

At the same time, French artillery began to inflict damage on the Bavarian batteries who then stopped giving artillery support to their infantry, changing to an artillery dual with the French guns. With a reprieve from artillery fire, the Algerian Turcos mustered an energetic counter attack and pushed the Bavarian infantry away from the town back towards their starting point on;y for their pursuit to be in turn halted by the Bavarian cavalry and infantry reserves. Douay now began to see the situation as more dangerous than he first thought and deployed the rest of his men and guns. However, no sooner had he done so and Prussian forces began to appear to the north east of the town as the V Corps arrived on the field. As they closed on Wissembourg, Douay realised he was facing a much larger force and ordered the advance units of Turcos and guns to pull back to his position on high ground to the south of the town, which sounded far easier than it was as they came under intense artillery fire from the Bavarians to the north, while the Prussian V Corps guns unlimbered and fired from the flank onto both the retreating Algerians and their intended destination, who then decided to remain in Wissembourg for cover. Just as the Prussian XI Corps came into view directly east of the French position and Prussian shell struck a French ammunition caisson from the mitrailleuse battery, this was directly next to General Douay who was killed instantly as the ammunition exploded. General Pelle took over command and ordered a further withdrawal at the sight of the advancing XI Corps. The main French force began to fall back to the railway station where desperate fighting took place with savage bayonet charges while in the town the Turcos were finding themselves increasingly cut off from the rest of the army. They continued to put up stiff resistance and forced back several Bavarian assaults despite the now overwhelming numbers, eventually some managed to withdraw to the main position, but others along with the town garrison became surrounded. Having run out of ammunition and cut off the survivors in Wissembourg surrendered.

The French were now in panic, and continued south to try and escape the three pronged Prussian advance. They made a final defense before quitting the high ground, ragged lines of infantry attempted to stop the Prussian advance but the artillery fire delivered by the powerful Krupp guns blew the French defence to pieces apart from those defending a chateau on the hill.

This walled and fortified building proved hard for the Prussians to capture, but gradually they made progress; first capturing overlooking fields that allowed them a better firing position before eventually dragging three Krupp guns up the hill to blast the walls. In the final firefight the Prussian General Kirchbach was shot in the neck, though luckily he survived the wound. By 2pm the chateau was surrounded and its defenders out of ammunition, with no alternative they surrendered. It had been a gallant and costly last stand by a few, who by distracting the enemy for so long had allowed the rest of the French forces to escape the field who’s withdrawal was covered by 300 fresh reservist troops who arrived in the last moments by train.

The first battle of the war had been won by Prussia, but some would say only by it’s overwhelming numbers. The French, especially the colonial Turco troops had put up determined and heroic fighting and it is debated that had the French been reinforced they could have dealt a blow to Prussia instead.

 

 

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 19th Century EuropeEdit

The Battle of Lens – 20th August 1648   Leave a comment

Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, directs the French army at Lens

The battle of Lens was the last major battle of the Thirty Years War, a conflict that had at some point involved most European nations and had devastated the continent with bloodshed, famine and social displacement.

After the decisive French victory at Rocroi in 1643, they had gone on to capture a string of towns and fortifications along the French – Spanish Netherlands border (Flanders). In an attempt to gain Austrian support in their conflict with France, Spain appointed Archduke Leopold Wilhelm to command the Spanish Army of the Netherlands. With a major offensive in 1647, Wilhelm captured three important towns in the disputed area and looked set to overturn the gains made by France in the previous years.

The King of France, Louis XIV, or rather the advisers to the 10 year old king, recalled Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Conde from his struggling campaign against the Spanish in Catalonia and appointed the talented and dashing 27 year old as Commander in Flanders with the mission of defeating the Spanish on France’s northern border. Conde wasted no time at all and with his 16,000 strong army captured the Town of Ypres; but celebrations were short lived when news came that Wilhelm was laying siege to the town of Lens with 18,000 men. Conde immediately regrouped his army and set off to face the Spanish army.

 

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Lens 1648

ORDERS OF BATTLE

We are adopting a looser style of suggestions for setting up battles in view of the multitude of rules available on the market and commonly used now for most periods, we therefore suggest the number of units as opposed to the number of figures so gamers can adapt to their preferred scale and unit size

 

SPANISH ARMY

Archduke Leopold Wilhelm – Commander in Chief – Experienced, nervous, cautious

Right Wing

Prince de Ligne – sub-commander – Experienced, rash, unsteady

6 units of Walloon Cavalry – heavy cavalry, trained, unpredictable, pistols and sword

Centre

Baron de Beck – sub-commander – Experienced, veteran, reliable, inspiring

1st line

5 units of infantry mixed pike and shot formations (40/60 ratio) – Trained, veteran, steady morale

1 unit of Caballos Cavalry – heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, elite, pistol and sword

3 batteries of cannon – heavy field guns, trained, steady, reliable

2nd line

4 units of infantry mixed pike and shot formations (40/60 ratio) – Trained, veteran, steady morale

2 units of Dragoon Cavalry – open order, trained, unreliable, pistol and sword

Left Flank

Prince Charles de Salm – sub commander – Experienced, rash, unsteady

5 units of Walloon Cavalry – heavy cavalry, trained, unpredictable, pistols and swords

FRENCH ARMY

Louis II de Bourbon Prince of Conde – Commander in Chief – Experienced, Veteran, Inspiring, Tactician

Right Wing

Aumont – sub-commander – Experienced, veteran, cautious

5 units of Chevaux-Legers Cavalry – Heavy cavalry, trained, experienced, unpredictable

Centre

Chatillon – sub-commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

1st line

5 units of infantry mixed pike and shot formation (30/70 ratio) – 4 units – Trained, veteran, reliable and the remaining unit (the Picardie infantry)- Veteran, elite, stubborn fighters

2 batteries of cannon – heavy field guns, trained, steady, reliable

2nd line

3 units of infantry mixed pike and shot formation (30/70 ratio) – Trained, veteran, reliable

2 units of Gendarmes Cavalry – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, elite, pistols and swords

Left Wing

Gramont – sub-commander – Experienced, veteran, steady, reliable

4 units of Chevaux-Legers Cavalry – Heavy cavalry, trained, experienced, unpredictable

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As dawn broke on the 20th, Conde, seeing the strength of the Spanish army and its disposition decided to withdraw. His army had been deployed all the previous day and was now low on food rations, It was decided to retreat back to a village called Neus where his supply train could meet up with them, and an order was given to fall back in full battle order.

To cover the withdrawal, the French artillery gave volleys of covering fire, while the right wing of cavalry formed up to make a rearguard. Baron de Beck’s cavalry, without orders, saw their chance to win the field and charged the French cavalry rear guard, routing them. For a moment the French position was doubtful as Conde’s page was captured and almost the Conde himself. The elite Picardie infantry rallied the routing cavalry by dashing to support them and halt their pursuers.

It was now 6:30am and Beck was pleading with Wilhelm to let the Spanish army launch a full attack while the French were in disarray. Ever cautious, Wilhelm refused, maybe suspecting a trap, until eventually after more than a hour of dithering, he agreed. He then summoned his personal priest, said prayers and then galloped off the battlefield leaving his army to its own future. However by now, having recovered from the initial cavalry assault, Conde ordered his army to about turn and face up in battle formation again to take on the Spanish. His army began a general advance towards the Spanish with his artillery pounding the Spaniards as their sub-commanders attempted to bring together an orderly response. Conde personally led the infantry and frequently stopped their advance to ensure they didn’t lose formation, which had the bonus that the Spanish artillery found it hard to hit their targets being unable to predict their advance speed.

As the two armies closed, the French left wing cavalry led by Gramont came to the Spanish Walloons who at 20 paces discharged their pistols which killed, wounded or unhorsed the entire French front line, however, undeterred the French second line of cavalry charged in and routed the Walloons off the field. A similar event took place on the opposite flank, with the French receiving the Spaniards fire first before then charging in while they hurriedly tried to reload and routing them off the field.

In the centre of the field things were different, the Spanish led by the inspiring Beck were pushing back the French and some units were at breaking point, including the French Guards and Scottish Guards regiments. Once again it was the Picardie regiment that saved the day, standing firm against the Spanish and acting as a rallying point for other units. After bitter fighting for some time, the French cavalry returned, satisfied that they had scattered and destroyed their Spanish counterparts as a fighting force. On their return they supported their infantry and with weight of numbers began to successfully surround the Spanish infantry.

Unlike at Rocroi, where the Spaniards made an heroic last stand, at Lens they simply surrendered and 6,000 prisoners were captured. So many in fact it took several days of relay marches to escort them back to Arras for internment.

Although the battle brought an end to the Thirty Years War, France and Spain would remain at war another 11 years, with France also suffering from a civil war during this period too. Events that taught the boy king Louis XIV the importance of taking initiative in political issues and through his tendency to assert power, kept France at war with someone almost his entire 72 year reign.

French infantry training with muskets

The Thirty Year War saw a massive change in weapons and tactics. The primitive arquebus, commonplace in the 1620’s was replaced almost entirely by the more accurate and powerful musket by the 1640’s. The Spanish tercio formation (pike block with extended corners of firearms troops) became replaced by the Dutch formation (a block of pikes with firearms troops in line either side). Cavalry became lighter armoured and more mobile, the old fashioned gendarme knights disappearing, replaced by faster moving cavalry with modest or no body armour.

In the UK, the English Civil War always seems a far more popular period, for obvious reasons, but the Thirty Years War and the overlapping 80 Years War (Dutch Independence) offer even more troop variations and interesting engagements to play. Well worth reading up on and playing a few games.

 

The Battle of Majadhonda – 11th August 1812   Leave a comment

After the French Army of Portugal’s heavy defeat at Salamanca in late July, it began to meander it’s way back east, taking a wide berth across the the top of Madrid. To the south of Madrid, and initially unaware of the French defeat at Salamanca, was Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s brother and newly installed King of Spain. He had a an army of 16,000 men with him and on hearing of the defeat decided to make a dash to Madrid, but when he realised Wellington was still stationary he positioned himself west of the city in his path.

Wellington, wanting to ensure his men were properly supplied at all times to maintain discipline, delayed his pursuit until his wagon trains caught up and were able to reequip his men with ammunition and rations. By the time he set off he had two choices, to pursue the mauled French Army of Portugal to the north or to capture the capital city. He decided to send a smaller force north to keep the French moving away while his main army would advance on Madrid. Joseph Bonaparte opted to pull back to the city and it was on the 11th August that the vanguard of Wellington’s army ran into the rearguard of Joseph’s army which had been ordered to delay the advancing British-Portuguese army.

Suggested starting positions for the Battle of Majadhonda

ORDERS OF BATTLE – we usually provide a numbers of men to models comparison, but as there are so many different Napoleonic rules out there with vastly differing unit sizes we are simply going to list units for you to select your own preferred unit size.

FRENCH ARMY

General de Division Anne-Francois-Charles Trelliard (Overall commander of French forces at the battle) – excellent leader, inspiring, veteran

4 regiments of line dragoons – heavy cavalry, well trained, veteran, sword and dragoon muskets

(13th, 18th, 19th & 22nd dragoon regiments)

General de Brigade Guiseppe Frederico Palombibi – excellent leader, reliable, veteran

1 Regiment of Italiene Napoleone Dragoons – heavy cavalry, trained, steady, sword and dragoon muskets

1 Regiment of Westphalian Cheveau-legers – light cavalry, well trained, steady, sword

General de Brigade Chasse – experienced leader, reliable, veteran

1 Battalion of 2nd Nassau Infantry – trained, experienced, musket

1 Battalion of Spanish La Mancha Infantry – trained, unsteady, musket

2 8lb artillery cannon and crew – trained, experienced, steady

BRITISH-PORTUGUESE ARMY

Brigadier General Benjamin D’Urban (overall Allied commander at the battle) – experienced leader, veteran

3 Regiments of Portuguese Dragoons – Light cavalry, trained, unsteady, unreliable, sword, dragoon carbine

(1st, 11th & 12th Portuguese Dragoons)

2 6lb artillery cannon and crew – trained, experienced, unsteady

Colonel de Joncquieres – excellent leader, inspiring, veteran

2 Regiments of King’s German Legion Heavy Dragoons – Heavy cavalry, well trained, veteran, sword and dragoon muskets

(1st & 2nd KGL Dragoons)

Colonel Colin Halkett

2 Battalions KGL Lights – Regular infantry, skirmish trained, veteran, disciplined, muskets

(1st & 2nd Light Battalions KGL)

2 6lb artillery cannon and crew – trained, experienced, disciplined

Major-General Ponsonby – experienced, inspiring leader, veteran

3 Regiments of British Heavy Dragoons – heavy cavalry, well trained, veteran, sword & dragoon muskets

(5th Dragoon Guards, 3rd & 4th Heavy Dragoons)

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Wellington’s advance guard arrived at the village of Las Rozas on the morning of the 11th August, the KGL troops dismounted to rest in the village while a few scouts were sent forward with the Portuguese dragoons and four artillery pieces following them in support should trouble be sighted.

Meanwhile, and unaware of the British in Las Rozas, Trelliard’s men were entering Majadhonda, as they appeared on the far side of the village they spotted the scouts and behind them, the Portuguese and immediately began to attack.

The first line of four dragoon regiments charged across the plain while D’Urlon attempted to get his Portuguese dragoons to counter-charge. Instead, they turned and fled, abandoning the cannon which were overrun by the French. As the fleeing dragoons reached Las Rozas they galloped into the heart of the village where they attempted to rally in the market square.

The sound of the approaching horses and pistol fire had alerted the KGL units in the village who hurriedly mounted a defense, with infantry fire from the buildings and the cannon quickly positioned supported by dismounted dragoons, blocking entry to the French.

Other KGL dragoons were remounting in the square and with the rallied Portuguese made a counter charge out of Las Rozas and chased the French back towards Majadhonda, this time to be stopped by the Nassau and Spanish infantry who had now formed up with artillery across the road. Their volleys and cannon fire stopped the KGL and Portuguese dragoons, the latter once again fleeing back to Las Rozas while the KGL attempted a more structured fighting withdrawal, as the French dragoons exchanged musket fire from the saddle with them.

Finally as the KGL dragoons had almost been beaten back to Las Rozas, Major-General Ponsonby appeared with his three British heavy dragoon regiments, they had been following the advance guard along the road and had cantered forward when hearing cannon fire. The fresh British cavalry charged in to the French and Italian dragoons, with the now exhausted KGL dragoons attempting to join in. The melee was furious and intense with the French initially holding their ground until it became apparent that more British troops would soon be arriving behind Ponsonby, at which point the French withdrew, passing through Majadhonda and catching up with the main army as it pulled back to Madrid.

Although the British ultimately captured the battlefield, Trelliard had succeeded in delaying their advance for precious time allowing the main French army to distance itself from Wellington’s force.

Wellington praised his KGL men for such gallant fighting, while the Portuguese were rated as unreliable and under orders to only ever be used if alongside British cavalry who could show them how to fight.

British Heavy Dragoons by Perry Miniatures

This is a relatively small battle with only 2,000 – 2,500 men on each side and would lend itself to skirmish rules as well as standard rules like Black Powder.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic WarsEdit

The Battle of Raphia – 22nd June 217BC   Leave a comment

Over 175 elephants fought at Raphia

Following the death of Alexander the Great , his Empire broke up into several kingdoms, initially ruled by his generals. As time passed these new nations became more diverse and hostile towards each other. Two of the largest of these kingdoms was the Seleucid Empire which covered most of modern day Iran and Iraq, and the Ptolemaic Egyptian Empire which extended around from Egypt to modern day Israel, Syria and Southern Turkey. These two empires clashed and soon found Syria and Palestine to be their war zone. In 217BC Antiochus III, the Seleucid Emperor invaded and overran Ptolemaic Palestine, prompting Ptolemy IV to raise an army and counter-attack. Both armies relied heavily on foreign mercenaries, but despite this diversity they were in many ways very similar, still fighting largely in the phalanx method that had been mastered by Alexander over 100 years earlier.

The two armies met at Raphia near modern day Gaza, on a large flat and featureless plain, both forces being huge; 70,000 vs 65,000 men.

Initial deployment at the Battle of Raphia

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a figure ratio of 1 to 100 – halve these numbers (except elephants) for 1 to 200 if needs be.

SELEUCID ARMY

Antiochus III – Commander in Chief – veteran, good tactician

Heavy Agema Cavalry (2000 men) – 20 figures – Extra heavy cavalry, barded hoses, cataphract armour, lance, veteran, superior morale

Light cavaly (2000 men) – 20 figures – Open order cavalry, javelins, shield, trained, steady

Greek Mercenaries (5000 men) – 50 figures – Medium infantry, pike, shield, trained, steady

Elephants (60 animals) – 3 models – unarmed driver, tower with 3 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, 1 javelins, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (1200 men) – 12 figures – open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady

Macedonian Phalangites (20,000 men) – 200 figures – close order, light armour, pike, shield, trained, steady

Macedonian Argyraspids (10,000 men) – 100 figures – close order, light armour pike, shield, veteran, elite

Arab Infantry (10,000 men) – 100 figures – open order, no armour, javelins, poor quality morale

Cissians, Medes & Carmanians (5,000 men) – 50 figures – open order, no armour, javelins, shield, steady

Cardacian & Lydians (1500 men) – 15 figures – open order, no armour, javelins, shield, steady

Heavy cavalry (2000 men) – 20 figures – light armour, lance, trained, steady

Elephants (40 animals) – 2 models – unarmed driver, tower with 3 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, 1 javelins, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (800 men) – 8 figures – open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady

PTOLEMAIC ARMY

Ptolemy IV – Commander in Chief – veteran, good tactician

Heavy cavalry (3,000 men) – 30 figures – light armour, lance, veteran, trained

Royal Guard (3,000 men) – 30 figures – close order infantry, light armour, pike, shield, veteran, elite

Libyan Peltasts (3,000 men) – 30 figures – open order infantry, spear, javelins, shield, trained, steady

Elephants (40 animals) – 2 models – unarmed driver, tower with 2 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (800 men) – 8 figures – open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady

Macedonian Phalangites (25,000 men) – 250 figures – close order, light armour, pike, shield, trained, steady

Egyptian Phalangites (10,000 men) – 100 figures – close order, light armour, pike, shield, trained, poor morale

Greek Mercenaries (8,000 men) – 80 figures – medium infantry, pike, shield, trained, steady

Galatians (2,000 men) – 20 figures – medium infantry, javelins, shield, steady

Thracians (2,000 men) – 20 figures – medium infantry, 2 handed sword, javelins, shield, steady

Heavy cavalry ( 2,000 men) – 20 figures – light armour, lance. trained, steady

Elephants (40 animals) – 2 models – unarmed driver, tower with 2 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (800 men) – 8 figures – open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady

clash of pikemen

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The 60 elephants on the Seleucid right flank, engaged and easily beat the 40 elephants of the Ptolemaic army, forcing them back onto their own men and routing the infantry on that flank. Antiochus personally led the cavalry on that wing and chased the Ptolemaic cavalry off the field too. On the opposite wing it was Ptolemy who was winning the upper hand, his cavalry outflanked the Seleucid cavalry and his Greek mercenaries beat the Arab, Medes and other allied troops.

Only the centre phalanxes now remained and both sides advanced into contact, ater hard fighting the Ptolemaic army began to win the fight, encouraged by Ptolemy personally while Antiochus was still away from the battle pursing the cavalry from the initial flank success. When he returned he found his army in rout from the battle and Ptolemy victorious.

Ptolemy lost 1500 infantry and 700 cavalry, Antiochus lost 10,000 infantry, 300 cavalry and a further 4,000 taken prisoner.

WARGAMING NOTES

This is an especially large battle for the Ancient period and with the addition of sub-commanders would lend itself to a multi player game to give it more pace.

Although the battle description sounds quite decisive, in reality it could have easily gone either way, and that also applies to wargaming the battle; eveything to is to play for.

 

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

The Battle of Krimisos 341BC   Leave a comment

Greek troops of the period

The Corinthian general, Timoleon, had been invited by the people of Syracuse to come to Sicily and restore democracy in the city-state, which had been governed by a succession of Greek tyrants. After restoring order in the city, Timoleon began looking to western Sicily and to try and rid the island of its Carthaginian occupants as well. This started with the liberation of several smaller Greek towns and cities on the island and then successive raids into Carthaginian territory, but his actions provoked an unexpected response when the Carthaginian generals Asdrubal and Hamilcar assembled an army of 70,000 men with troops sent especially from Carthage to conquer Sicily completely.

When news of this invasion force reached Syracuse, the population went into a panic and several hundred of Timoleon’s soldiers deserted. Despite this, he gathered together an army as best he could and with less than 10,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry he marched westward to meet the Carthaginians. Timoleon knew that to cross into central Sicily the Carthaginians would need to cross the Krimisos river (modern day Freddo river), and that there were very limited crossing points, and having identified which point the Carthaginians were approaching, he deployed his army in readiness.

He chose a hill which overlooked the crossing point and a vast plan below, a Spring mist was in the air on the morning of the battle, which shrouded the entire hillside and the Syracuse army. Totally unaware of their presence due to poor scouting, the Carthaginians proceeded to cross the river right in front of Timoleon’s men who stood in perfect silence listening to the marching army below. Eventually the hot Sicilian sun burnt the morning mist away and both armies came into view.

Suggested set-up for the start of the Battle of Krimisos 341BC

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using 1 to 50 scale

SYRACUSAN ARMY

Timoleon – Commander in Chief – excellent tactician, veteran, elite

Light Cavalry (600 men) – 12 figures – unarmoured, open order cavalry, javelins, disciplined, steady, veterans

Heavy Cavalry (400 men) – 8 figures – unarmoured, close order cavalry, javelins, disciplined, steady, veterans

Skirmishers (800 men) – 16 figures – open order infantry, javelins, disciplined, steady, experienced

Syracusan Hoplites (2000 men) – 40 figures – light armour, close order, long spear, large shield phalanx, trained, average

Greek Mercenary Hoplites (2000 men) – 40 figures – light armour, close order, long spear, large shield, phalanx, disciplined, steady, veterans

Greek Mercenary Bodyguard Hoplites (2000 men) – 40 figures – heavy armour, close order, long spear, large shield, phalanx, disciplined, elite, veterans

Syracusan Hoplites (1500 men) – 30 figures – light armour, close order, long spear, large shield phalanx, trained, average

Skirmishers (600 men) – 12 figures – open order infantry, javelins, disciplined, steady, experienced

Slingers (300 men) – 6 figures – open order infantry, slings, disciplined, steady, experienced

Cretan Archers (600 men) – 12 figures – open order infantry, bows, disciplined, steady, elite, excellent shots, veteran

 

CARTHAGINIAN ARMY

Asdrubal – Commander in Chief – experienced, veteran, rash

Hamilcar – Sub-Commander – experienced, veteran, good

Chariots (200 vehicles) – 4 models – 4 horse heavy chariots, unarmed driver and two crew with javelins, disciplined, steady experienced

Sacred Band (2500 men) – 50 figures – armoured, close order infantry. long spear, shield, disciplined, elite, veterans

Citizen Infantry (3000 men) – 60 figures – light armour, close order infantry, long spear, shield, trained, steady

Sicilian Hoplites (3000 men) – 60 figures – light armour, close order infantry, long spear, shield, phalanx, trained, poor

Light Infantry (2000 men) – 50 figures – unarmoured, open order infantry, javelins, shield, trained, average

Campanian Cavalry (1000 men) – 25 figures – light armour, open order cavalry, javelins, disciplined, trained, steady

Sicilian Cavalry (1000 men) – 25 figures – unarmoured, open order cavalry, javelins, trained, poor

Libyan Spearmen (2000 men) – 50 figures – light armour, close order infantry, long spear, shield, trained, steady

ADDITIONAL WARGAMING NOTES

The Carthaginian Army was on the march at right angles to the hill when the mist cleared, so should be initially deployed in marching columns, facing across the table width, with large gaps between each unit. The river is fordable, however it’s geography made it slow to negotiate, so any troops crossing should be heavily penalised on movement and arrive “disorganised” on the opposite bank.

Historically there were several other Carthaginian units following this column, but because of the terrain, and battle ahead of them, they did not arrive on the battlefield or take part at all, we have therefore left these out of the Orders Of Battle.

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As the mist began to clear, the Syracuse army which had been stood silently on the hill, could see the previously just heard Carthaginians strung out in an open marching column in front of them. Noting the Carthaginian army was effectively cut in two by the river, Timoleon decided to strike. His cavalry charged down the hill to prevent the enemy from being able to form up in battle lines properly while his infantry marched in order down the slopes to attack. The Carthaginian chariots, leading the march column, turned about and galloped towards the Syracusan cavalry in an attempt to break up their formations but the cavalry evaded their charge and moved to attack the flank near the river ford, while the Syracusan light infantry assaulted the chariots and forced them to flee.

The Syracusan and Greek Hoplites now hit into the still disorganised Carthaginian ranks and with the exception of the Scared Band, broke them to a rout, the Syracuse cavalry in hot pursuit, cutting down the panicked men.

Greek cavalry pursue the fleeing Carthaginians

The Carthaginians yet to cross the river, watched in horror at the site of their comrades being beaten and decided to abandoned the crossing and turned to run also.

Suddenly a violent thunderstorm erupted, making the rout even more difficult, with both slippery mud underfoot and the river becoming swollen and faster moving.

The light skirmishers took over the pursuit to the river, where many Carthaginians drowned. The Syracuse and Greek Hoplites though turned their attention to the Scared Band, which had stood firm, and continued to do so. Totally surrounded, they fought and died to the last man.

Despite being hugely outnumbered, Timoleon had won the day, the Carthaginians had lost over 10,000 men dead, including the entire Sacred Band, and another 5,000 men had been captured.

In the following years there were several more battles between Syracuse and the Carthaginians, the latter often being supported by the Greek tyrants wanting control of the city-state again. Timoleon though kept the city safe, and eventually a peace was agreed with both sides occupying opposite sides of the island. Timoleon went on to be made the new ruler of Syracuse and the city-state enjoyed a new era of peace and prosperity until his death, when once again power struggles would ignite war.

 

 

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

The Battle of Falkirk Muir – 17th January 1746   Leave a comment

The Jacobites charge at Falkirk Muir – the last Scottish victory

The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 (known as The ’45) had begun in August 1745 when the “Young Pretender”, Charles Stuart affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie had landed in Scotland at Glenfinnan and raised the standard for the Stuart claim to the throne.

The Stuart’s had be dethroned two generations earlier, when the last Stuart king, catholic King James II (youngest son of Charles I and younger brother to Charles II) had been overthrown by the arrival of the protestant William of Orange at the request of parliament. Through the early 1700’s James II’s son, also James, and known as the “Old Pretender” had stirred up rebellion in Scotland with the 1708,1715 and 1719 Jacobite Rebellions, now thirty years later, his son Charles would attempt the same, and come far closer than he would realise to achieving his goal.

The whole thing was perfectly timed for maximum opportunity. Britain was heavily engaged in war on the European mainland and the Austrian War of Succession fighting their favourite enemy, the French. Consequently many of the best British regiments were on the Continent fighting and home defence was largely reliant on local yeomanry forces. In addition, the French had offered Charles support, both financial and in the promise of a French invasion of southern England if his rebellion could invade the north and draw the British army’s attention away from the south. After an inspiring victory at Prestonpans in September, the Jacobites decided to invade England. Advancing past Carlisle, Preston and Manchester, the Scots continued their march south heading for London. Their plan though was not going quite to plan; they had hoped to gather English support for the Stuart cause as they advanced, which had largely failed to materialise. In addition, the promised French invasion hadn’t happened, in fact worse had happened, with news of several veteran British regiments returning from Europe and now forming up in London under The Duke of Cumberland’s command. Afraid of being cut off from Scotland, the Clan leaders told Charles that they were returning and began the long march home. After a small engagement at Clifton Moor in Cumbria, the Scots crossed the border and back into Scotland.

The Clan leader’s plan was now to clear all Government forces out of Scotland and make the British come to them, they hoped that if they maintained the rebellion long enough that the British government would seek peace by agreeing terms, hopefully with an independent Scotland. To start this process, in early January they began to lay siege to the Government stronghold of Stirling Castle. Lieutenant-General Henry Hawley, veteran of several major battles in Europe, set off with a relief force of 7,000 men, many of them veterans, from Edinburgh. They arrived at Falkirk on the 15th January. Charles Stuart gathered as many men as could be spared from the siege and on the morning of the 17th the two armies prepared for battle.

Initial deployment at the Battle of Falkirk Muir

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a 1 to 25 figure ratio

BRITISH / GOVERNMENT ARMY

Lieutenant General Henry Hawley – Commander in Chief – experienced, average ability

Left Wing

Ligonier’s Dragoons (300 men) – 12 figures – Heavy cavalry, veteran, trained, sword

Cobham’s Dragoons (300 men) – 12 figures – Heavy cavalry, veteran, trained, sword

Hamilton’s Dragoons (300 men) – 12 figures – Heavy cavalry, veteran, trained, sword

First Line of Battle

Wolfe’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Cholmondeley’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Pulteney’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Royal’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, elite, musket

Price’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Ligonier’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Second Line of Battle

Blakeney’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Munro’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Fleming’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Barrel’s Regiment of Grenadiers (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, elite, musket

Battereau’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Reserve Forces

Howard’s Regiment (400 men) – 16 figures – Veteran, trained, musket

Glasgow Militia (1000 men) – 40 figures – Militia, raw, musket

JACOBITE ARMY

Lord George Murray – Commander in Chief – experienced, inspiring leader

First Battle Line (Highlanders)

MacDonald’s Clan (800 men) – 32 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Cameron’s Clan (600 men) – 24 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

MacPherson’s Clan (600 men) – 24 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Fraser’s Clan (500 men) – 20 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Mackintoshes Clan (500 men) – 20 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Mackenzies Clan (500 men) – 20 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Farquharsons Clan (750 men) – 30 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Stewart’s Clan (750 men) – 30 figures – veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Second Line of Battle (Lowland Scots)

Athol Brigade (750 men) – 30 figures – veteran, militia, steady, musket

Ogilvy Brigade (750 men) – 30 figures – veteran, militia, steady, musket

Gordon Brigade (750 men) – 30 figures – veteran, militia, steady, musket

Reserve Forces

Irish Piquets (750 men) – 30 figures – veteran, trained, steady, musket

Scottish Hussars (150 men) – 6 figures – Light cavalry, veteran, trained, steady, sword

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

On the morning of the 17th January, the Jacobite army took up position on the moor overlooking the British camp. Hawley had a very poor opinion of the Jacobite army, a view that would cost him dearly later, but in holding this view he felt confident the Scots wouldn’t dare attack him. When skirmishing fire started to echo around his camp, he decided otherwise, and hastily ordered his men out onto the moor to face the Scots. The weather was a mix of sleet and snow which had made the ground very soft, and failing to take note of this the British artillery guns got bogged down in a sodden marsh north of the battlefield and took no part in the fighting.

The British cavalry charge the Clans

In line with his poor view of the Scots, Hawley believed that a determined cavalry charge against their leading Clans would rout the entire army, so placed all three of his Dragoon regiments opposite the Clans MacDonald and Cameron. Predicting Hawley’s plan, Lord Murray dismounted from his hose and took his command in the MacDonald Clan to ensure that his orders were followed precisely.

At 16:00 the British cavalry began their charge, finding the wet ground heavy going. Murray stood in the front line of his men and held the order to fire until the troopers were within 50 paces when they fired a deadly volley that hit the cavalry like a wall of lead. A handful made contact with the Scots, but the vast majority halted their charge and turned in panic, with two routing regiments ploughing straight into their own infantry behind them. With in minutes the entire left wing of the British army had disintegrated, all the Scots had to do now was attack Hawley’s right wing.

The Jacobites rout the British Dragoons

Luckily for Hawley, his right wing was still solid, and his veteran troops received the Highland charge and held their ground, managing to even send some of the Jacobites running back, before eventually pure weight of numbers overwhelmed the remaining British regiments, who broke and followed the retreat back to their camp.

As they routed through the marshy ground they met Captain Cunningham, the captain of artillery, who was still there trying to rescue his train and guns from the mud. Seeing the entire army pass by in panic, he abandoned his guns and joined the rout; later he committed suicide with the shame of missing the battle and losing the entire artillery train.

It was now dark and the weather had worsened to a storm, which deterred the Jacobites from a pursuit. Had they done so they may have changed history, but instead the British army was allowed to restore order and retreat to Edinburgh, where they would go on assist Cumberland in his advance into the Highlands and final victory at Culloden in April.

WARGAMING THE JACOBITE REBELLION

Although a relatively short conflict, it is a piece of history that to this day stirs emotions. There are plenty of figures out there to play too, from 54mm right down to 6mm. In the popular scales, we especially like the 28mm range from Front Rank Figurines and the 15mm range from Essex Miniatures. For those who enjoy the look of “big battles” on the table then the 10mm Pendraken range is a perfect mix of detail, convenient size, and low cost. You can find these in our online store.

Pendraken 10mm Jacobites

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

The Battle of Lansdown – 5th July 1643   Leave a comment

Parliamentary cavalry attack

The West Country was quite an active war zone during the early part of the English Civil War, with the two former friends, Sir William Waller and Sir Ralph Hopton now finding themselves on opposite sides of the conflict and trying to outwit and defeat each other. The early part of 1643 saw the Royalists, led by Sir Ralph Hopton, win a number of victories over Waller and as result they were able to break out of the Devon/Cornwall peninsular and move east through Somerset towards Wiltshire in an attempt to join up with the King’s army at Oxford.

One of the natural barriers the Royalists had to consider was the River Avon, which in most of it’s length can be either deep or with strong currents, often both. The Royalists aimed for one of the few safer crossing points at Bradford, south east of Bath. Waller and his army, which was near Bath, moved out to attempt to block the Royalist advance, taking position on high ground blocking the route to Oxford. On the 3rd July, Waller’s defensive position was sufficient to make Hopton look for another route, although not before his musketeers had caused some heavy casualties on the Parliamentary scouting cavalry. Hopton effectively looked to sidetrack Waller, but Waller also moved sideways and took up a new position blocking Hopton’s advance along the ridge and slopes of Lansdown Hill. Realising that he would be unable to avoid battle forever, Hopton formed up his army to face Waller’s prepared defenses.

Suggested initial positions for the Battle of Lansdown 5th July 1643

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a 1 to 25 figure ratio

ROYALIST ARMY

Sir Ralph Hopton – Commander in Chief – Excellent, veteran, inspiring

5 Regiments of Cornish Infantry (5 x 800 men) – 5 x 32 figures (16 pike/16 musket) veteran, elite, steady – half armed with pike/half armed with musket

4 Regiments of Horse (4 x 400 men) – 4 x 16 figures – Medium cavalry, trained, impetuous, experienced, sword and pistols

2 Regiments of Horse (2 x 400 men) – 2 x 16 figures – Medium cavalry, elite, impetuous, veteran. sword and pistols

1 Regiment of Dragoons (300 men) – 12 figures – Mounted infantry, elite, steady, veteran, musket

PARLIAMENT ARMY

Sir William Waller – Commander in Chief – Excellent, veteran, inspiring

5 Regiments of Foot (5 x 800 men) – 5 x 32 figures (16 pike/16 musket) veteran, trained, steady – half armed with pike/ half armed with musket

4 Regiments of Horse (4 x 400 men) – 4 x 16 figures – Medium cavalry, veteran, trained, steady, sword and pistols

2 Regiments of Cuirassiers (4 x 400 men) – 2 x 16 figures – Armoured heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, steady, sword and pistols

1 Regiment of Dragoons (300 men) – 12 figures – open order infantry, veteran, elite, steady, musket

Artillery – 4 models of heavy guns – veteran, trained, steady

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

By the date of this battle, Hopton was running low on ammunition so had to consider his plans carefully. After facing Waller’s position it became apparent to him that Waller did not want to move forward to do battle, so Hopton ordered his army to withdraw. At the same time, Waller did not want Hopton to escape again to another route, so launched his cavalry down the slopes to attack the Royalists as they moved off. After an initial cavalry melee, the Royalist cavalry broke and began to pull back, but the Cornish infantry stood their ground and faced off the enemy. Two of Hopton’s more reliable cavalry regiments, his own and that of Prince Maurice, joined the defiant Cornish in the stand, together they managed to turn the defense in to an offense and began to slowly push up the slopes of Lansdown Hill.

A counterattack by Waller’s cavalry was once again beaten back and the Royalists began to boost their morale with a slow but steady advance along the entire front; Dragoons pushing up along the flanks while the Cornish infantry marched onward and upwards. As they neared the lip of the slope though the fighting intensified, with Waller’s men throwing every effort into not letting the Royalists get a foothold on the top plateau, once again many of the Royalist cavalry fled, with only around 600 troopers remaining in the fight. Colonel of infantry, Sir Bevile Granville, inspired the Cornish foot by taking to lead their advance, holding off three cavalry charges, they finally stepped onto the plateau and as they did so, Sir Granville was shot and fell dead. Despite this loss the Royalists now pressed on and secured their foothold with more men, the Parliamentarians pulling back to another defensive line, this time behind a stone wall (at the top of the map). The exhausted Royalists now stood firm along the brow of the hill and declined from advancing further for now, preferring instead to rest and make camp. Waller’s men appeared to be doing the same, and throughout the night the Royalists watched the flickering camp fires across the plateau, only to discover in the morning that they had been duped, and Waller’s men had actually withdrawn in the night, leaving fires to confuse their enemy..

It was a hard fought battle on both sides, but for now still not decisive for either side. A few days later that decisive battle would come at Roundway Down.

 

 

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

The Battle of Lundy’s Lane – 25th July 1814   Leave a comment

Brigadier General Winfield Scott is severely wounded at Lundy’s Lane

At the beginning of July 1814 the US military launched an offensive across the Niagara River, capturing Fort Erie, they then proceeded north. The overall plan of the US was to try and capture major cities in Canada in hope of using them as bargaining chips with the British to get them to stop attacking US shipping and encouraging the native American Indian tribes to raid US settlers. Defeating the British at the Battle of Chippawa on the 5th July, the Americans continued to push back the British with flank marches threatening to cut the British off from their rear supply bases until finally the British withdrew to Fort George on the shores of Lake Ontario. Here the British were safe from attack as a number of British warships patrolled the lake and were able to give heavy artillery support to the fort if required, The Americans didn’t have the guns to take on the navy vessels so took up base at Queenston, a few mile south of Fort George. It wasn’t long however before Canadian Militia with native Canadian Indians, loyal to the British, began harassing and raiding the American base and supply lines, which then forced them to then fall back to secure their lines of supply and communication. As soon as the Americans withdrew, the British under the command of Major General Phineas Riall and Lt.General Gordon Drummond advanced to Lundy’s Lane, a few miles north of Chippawa, and here on the evening of 25th July the US army and British met.

 

Initial suggested deployment for the Battle of Lundy’s Lane

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a 1 to 25 figure ratio

BRITISH ARMY

Major General Phineas Riall – Commander In Chief – veteran, skilled

Lieutenant General Sir Gordon Drummond – Sub-Commander – veteran, excellent

Royal Scots Battalion (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

Glengarry Light Infantry (450 men) – 18 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

Assorted Light Infantry (240 men) – 10 figures, veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

41st Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

89th Infantry (500 men) – 20 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Royal Artillery (24lbs and Rocket teams) – 2 gun models & 2 rocket models – veteran, elite

ADDITIONAL BRITISH FORCES ARRIVING DURING THE GAME

Native Militia (340 men) – 14 figures – tribal warriors, musket and tomahawks

8th Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Canadian Militia (500 men) – 20 figures – trained, militia, smoothbore musket

19th Light & Canadian Dragoons (150 men) – 6 figures – light cavalry, veteran, elite, sabre

103/104th Infantry (480 men) – 20 figures – veteran, solid, smoothbore musket

Royal Artillery (6lb guns) – 2 models – veteran, solid

AMERICAN ARMY

Major General Jacob Brown – Commander In Chief – veteran, skilled

Brigadier General Winfield Scott – Sub Commander – veteran, excellent, inspired

SCOTT’S BRIGADE

9th US Regular Infantry (320 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

11th US Regular Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

22nd US Regular Infantry (320 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

25th US Regular Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

US Artillery (6lb guns) – 3 models – veteran, elite

ADDITIONAL US FORCES ARRIVING DURING THE GAME

PORTER’S BRIGADE

New York Militia & Dismounted Dragoons (380 men) – 15 figures – trained, militia, smoothbore musket

5th Pennsylvanian Volunteers (340 men) – 14 figures – trained, militia, smoothbore musket

RIPLEY’S BRIGADE

21st US Regular Infantry (415 men) – 16 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

23rd US Regular Infantry (340 men) – 14 figures – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

US Artillery (12lb guns) – 2 models – veteran, elite

2nd Light & New York Dragoons (150 men) – 6 figures – light cavalry, veteran. elite, sabre

ADDITIONAL WARGAMING NOTES

Both Orders Of Battle have troops for initial deployment and then additional troops arriving during the game, our suggestion would be that sufficient games turns are allowed to take place that represent approximately an hour of time elapsed ( whichever rules you choose to use) before these additional troops begin to arrive from their respective table edges. They should arrive in column but may then move to deploy immediately they are the table if desired.

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle began late in the day at around 6pm when the US 1st Brigade led by Brig.Gen Winfield Scott emerged from the heavily wooded lower ground. The British began to hard pound them with their massive 24lb guns and inflicted heavy casualties, despite this Scott’s brigade advanced, with the him ordering one unit, the US 25th, to swing out to the right in a flanking move and try and capture the Lundy Lane crossroads. Scott’s men succeeded in pushing back the British, who in the centre pulled back the infantry, leaving their artillery in a forward and exposed position. Meanwhile on the US right flank the 25th made good ground and came across a number of British wounded making their way to rear positions, including the British C-in-C, Phineas Riall, whom they captured and took prisoner.

Despite these gains Scott’s troops were suffering heavy casualties and were struggling to maintain the momentum, when as dusk fell the remainder of the army arrived, Porter’s & Ripley’s Brigades as well as cavalry and more artillery with the C-in-C Jacob Brown. Seeing the situation they immediately deployed for battle and took over the front line allowing Scott’s men to pull back to the second line as a reserve and in some hope of relief from their intense fighting. Seizing the moment the fresh US infantry in the front line rapidly advanced to the British positions and poured murderous musket fire into the exposed Royal Artillery guns that were forming an over extended front, they then charged the survivors of the volley with bayonets and captured the British guns intact.

As light fades, the US infantry charge the British artillery guns

British reinforcements began arriving on the field of battle, but in the fading light and confusion of the situation were immediately repelled by US forces, the situation for the British was now dire. Second in Command (now the commanding officer), Sir Gordon Drummond **(note he also fought at Alexandria in 1801 – see our previous Battles For Wargamers March 21st), in desperation rallied men and formed up into the most basic of battle lines and launched a counter attack, in response the Americans threw all they could back at them and stopped the recapture of the British guns. A second attack, the same plan as the first, was launched and again the Americans held the British back, though not without considerable casualties including Brig.Gen Scott who after committing his men again to the front line battle was severely wounded.

At midnight, Drummond, himself wounded in the neck by a musket shot, rounded up every man he could find to attack a third time. By now there was no longer any formed battalions or units, just simply soldiers of all regiments grouped together to fight. In what became a massive melee of bayonets and musket butts, the two sides again battled over the captured British guns, the Americans again forcing the British to pull back.

From a force of over 2,500 only 700 US soldiers were still now in fighting condition, and all of those were exhausted. Both Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott were wounded (Scott severely) and ammunition and water was running low, reluctantly Brown ordered the US army to withdraw.

The British, despite still having over 1,200 men capable of fighting were unable to pursue or follow up due to the exhaustion of their men too.

Historically the battle was seen as inconclusive, “a draw”, but was by all accounts one of the bloodiest and fiercely contested battles of the 1812 War and in Canadian history, which should make for it being a fantastic battle to re-fight in miniature.

 

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

The Battle of Minatogawa – 5th July 1336   Leave a comment

Shogun Ashikaga Takauji – head of the Ashikaga Clan

Japan was in a period of internal power struggles in the wake of the Mongol Invasion in the late 1200’s. The Ashikaga Clan began challenging the old Imperial Order and this eventually spilled over into civil war known as the Nanboku-Cho Wars.

Initial engagements between the two factions favoured the Imperial forces loyal to Emperor Go-Daigo and by February 1336 the Ashikaga Clan was on the defensive, and the loyal Imperial general, Natta Yoshisada set about gathering forces to finish off the threat. However as Yoshisada launched hi offensive, previously loyal samurai, Akamatsu Norimura decalred support for the Ashikaga cause, forcing Yoshisada to divert hi attention and forces to besiege Norimura’s Shirohata Castle. This delay in pursing Ashikaga gave him time to muster new forces, persuading more clan leaders to his cause and assemble a new and bigger army to counterattack the Emperor’s army.

Another samurai clan leader devoutly loyal to the Emperor was Kusunoki Masashige, he counselled the Emperor to make peace with the Ashikaga but his suggestion was dismissed, with both the Emperor and Yoshisada claiming the Ashikaga army was now ready to be finally crushed once and for all. However, in April 1336 the newly reinforced Ashikaga forces won a victory at Tatarahama, capturing the island of Kyushu. By the summer Ashikaga’s army was gathering even more strength and they began to advanve towards the Imperial capital, Kyoto.

Again the loyal subject, Masashige, counselled the Emperor suggesting their army was not able to beat Ashikaga and should instead leave Kyoto and take refuge in the heights of Mount Hiei from where they could launch guerilla style raids on Ashikaga’s supply routes until such time they were strong enough to face them again in open battle. Appalled at the thought of abandoning the capital city, Emperor Go-Daigo ordered the still over confidant Yoshisada to face Ashikaga’s army in battle and that Masashige and his clan should be the vanguard. Loyal to the end, Kusunoki Masashige obeyed, along with his brother, Masasue, but not before sending his 10 year old son, Masatsura, back to the family stronghold having made him promise to always be loyal to the Emperor and to carry on the family name.

Initial deployment – Battle of Minatogawa

ORDERS OF BATTLE – suggested scale 1 figure = 25 men

IMPERIAL ARMY

Vanguard

Kusunoki Masashige – Sub-Commander – Excellent tactician, Inspirational Leader, veteran, elite

Samurai Masashige Clan (700 men) – 28 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Left Wing

Nitta Yoshisada – Commander-in-Chief – Over confident, veteran, elite

Mounted Samurai (400 men) – 16 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Samurai (400 men) – 16 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Centre

Odate – Sub-Commander – Average, veteran, steady

Samurai (600 men) – 24 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, steady, longbow and 2 handed sword

Right Wing (rear)

Wakiya – Sub-Commander – Average, veteran, steady

Mounted Samurai (200 men) – 8 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Ashigaru (800 men in 2 units) – 2 x 16 figures – Medium infantry, light armour, trained, steady, halberd

 

ASHIKAGA ARMY

Shiba Clan

Shiba – Sub-Commander – Good, veteran, elite

Mounted Samurai (250 men) – 10 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Samurai (250 men) – 10 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Ashigaru (500 men) – 20 figures – Medium infantry, light armour, trained, steady, halberd

Tadayoshi Clan

Ashikaga Tadayoshi _ Sub-Commander – Excellent, veteran, elite

Mounted Samurai (1000 men) – 40 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Samurai (500 men) – 20 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Ashigaru (1500 men) – 60 figures – Medium infantry, light armour, trained, steady, halberd

Shoni Clan

Shoni – Sub-Commander – Good, veteran, elite

Mounted Samurai (250 men) – 10 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Samurai (500 men) – 20 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Ashigaru (750 men) – 30 figures – Medium infantry, light armour, trained, steady, halberd

Ashikaga Clan

Ashikaga Takauji – Commander-in-Chief – Inspirational, excellent, veteran, elite

Mounted Samurai (250 men) – 10 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Samurai (500 men) – 20 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Ashigaru (750 men) – 30 figures – Medium infantry, light armour, trained, steady, halberd

Hoskawa Clan

Hoskawa – Sub-Commander – Excellent, veteran, elite

Mounted Samurai (1500 men) – 60 figures – Heavy cavalry, armoured, elite, veteran, lance, 2 handed sword

Samurai (500 men) – 20 figures – Open order armoured infantry, elite, veteran, longbow and 2 handed sword

Ashigaru (2000 men) – 80 figures – Medium infantry, light armour, trained, steady, halberd

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The Imperial army positioned themselves in what they felt was strong defensive position. Lacking any naval forces, they formed up along the coast and facing the river, Minato-Gawa with Masashige on the far river bank as a vanguard, his rear protected by the rest of the army.

Ashikaga’s plan was a three pronged attack and it is difficult to recall any other battle in history where everything fell into place and worked as this plan did from the start.

Tadayoshi advanced first towards Masashinge, drawing him forward which allowed both Shiba and Shoni on the flanks to begin an encirclement.

Meanwhile Hosokawa who commanded almost half the army in ships off the coast, sailed beyond the Imperial army tp the mouth of the Ikuta-Gawa where he disembarked some 4,000 men behind the Imperial army and attacked their flank. Wakiya’s men fought briefly, but then began to flee, the panic spreading along the coast line as Hosokawa’s men advanced. Yoshisada attempted to a defence and turned his men and advanced to meet Hosokawa, but in doing so left an undefended gap on the shoreline, where Ashikaga Takauji now landed his men, totally unopposed. Yoshisada, now fearing encirclement, fled the field with his men. The only Imperial forces now left on the field were those of Kusunoki Masashige, the samurai clan leader who had advised against the battle, but still honoured and obeyed his Emperor and agreed to fight.

It was a blazing hot summer’s day and as the sun beat down on the armoured samurai they repeatedly beat back attack after attack by the now overwhelming numbers of Ashikaga’s army, several hundred men fighting several thousand. For over six hours the totally surrounded men of Masashinge kept fighting against all odds. Finally, suffering from multiple wounds, Masashinge ordered his remaining men to do the thing of honour, and as their attackers momentarily withdrew to regroup for another attack, Kusunoki Masahinge, next to his brother and with his loyal men, all knelt and simultaneously committed harikari (suicide by disembowelment). The battle was over.

Ironically, Yoshisada and the Emperor then fled the capital for Mount Hiei.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Medieval, The Far EastEdit

The Battle of Alexandria – 21st March 1801   Leave a comment

Following Napoleon’s ill-fated campaign in Egypt and Syria in 1798/99 and his subsequent departure back to France, leaving his Armee d’Orient behind, the British decided the time was right to challenge the French on land and they sent an expeditionary force of around 21,000 men led by Sir Ralph Abercromby. This invasion force landed at Abukir on March 8th 1801 (see our Instagram post 08/03/2020 for information on this landing) and after fighting on the landing beaches and another engagement at Mandara on the 13th March, the British advanced on Alexandria. Here they met the main French force under the command of Jacques-Francois Menou. Having suffered casualties and stationing men in the line of communication behind him, Abercromby now fielded 14,000 infantry, 200 cavalry and 46 cannon. The French, 8,500 infantry, 1,400 cavalry and 46 cannon, although a smaller force on paper the French were all veterans of desert warfare. With the sea on one flank and Lake Abukir on the other, the British deployed their forces in readiness for the French attack.

Initial deployment of The Battle of Alexandria 21st March 1801

ORDERS OF BATTLE – we usually provide a numbers of men to models comparison, but as there are so many different Napoleonic rules out there with vastly differing unit sizes we are simply going to list units for you to select your own preferred unit size.

BRITISH ARMY

Sir Ralph Abercromby – Commander in Chief – excellent leader, inspired

Guards Division

1 Battalion Coldstream Guards – elite, smoothbore musket, well trained

1 Battalion 3rd Guards – elite, smoothbore musket, well trained

1 battery of cannon – trained, steady, 9lb guns

Coote’s division

3 Battalions – trained, steady, smoothbore musket,

Cradock division

4 Battalions – trained, steady, smoothbore musket

Cavan division

6 Battalions – trained, steady, smoothbore musket

1 battery of cannon – trained, steady, 9lb guns

Cavalry

3 squadrons light Dragoons – elite, sword, carbine, well trained

Doyle’s division

4 Battalions – trained, steady, smoothbore mushet

Stuart’s division

3 Battalions – trained, veteran. smoothbore musket

1 squadron light Dragoons – elite, sword, carbine, well trained

Abercromby’s command

3 Battalions – trained, steady, smoothbore musket

1 Battalion (42nd Scots) – elite, solid, smoothbore musket

1 Battalion (28th Gloucesters) – trained, solid, smoothbore musket

1 battery of cannon – trained, steady, 9lb guns

In the Sea

4 gunboats – trained, steady, 18lb guns

In the lake

3 Armed barges – trained, steady, 6lb guns

 

FRENCH ARMY

Jacques-Francois Menou – Commander-in-Chief – veteran, average leader

Lanusse division

4 Battalions – veteran, steady, smoothbore musket

1 battery of cannon -veteran, steady, 12lb guns

Rampon division

2 Battalions – veteran, steady, smoothbore musket

1 Battalion Grenadiers – veteran, elite, smoothbore musket

1 battery of cannon – veteran, steady, 12lb guns

Reynier division

5 Battalions – veteran, steady, smoothbore musket

1 battery of cannon – veteran, steady, 12lb guns

Cavalry division

2 squadrons chasseurs – veteran, elite, sword, carbine

4 squadrons hussars – veteran, elite, sword, carbine

4 squadrons dragoons, veteran, elite, sword, carbine

Bron division

2 squadrons chasseurs – veteran, elite, sword, carbine

2 squadrons hussars – veteran, elite. sword, carbine

2 squadrons dromedaries – veteran, guard, sword, carbines

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The French made a full frontal assault on the British, with the three divisions advancing in column at speed, as they advanced Rampon’s 32nd and 26th battalions veered off to their left to reinforce the Lanusse division and make the main assault along the coastline and the ruins, The fighting here was particularly hard and Abercromby was forced to bring forward his reserves to hold the line. The forward unit was the 28th (North Gloucesters) who finding themselves surrounded by infantry to the front and dragoons to their rear, famously formed into two lines one forward and one rearward facing, fighting back their foes they became the only regiment in the British army to be given a second cap badge, to be worn on the back of their caps to show they could fight from both directions.

The 42nd (Black Watch) advanced to support the forward units and captured a French standard which was then fiercely contested by French dragoons. It was at this point that Sir Ralph Abercromby found himself isolated from his men and several French dragoons charged in to him. Fighting courageously he fought them back with his sword until support arrived to save him, but not before he was dealt a critical wound that he would die of a week later.

In other sectors of the battle, the Guards easily maintained their position on the high ground and fought back the French assault, To the left, the French cavalry and dromedaries were repulsed by steady musket fire before making contact,

By 8:30pm the battle began to wane, the French weary and disheartened began to withdraw back to the city. The British had proven themselves as a new force to be reckoned with; despite the veteran experience of the French, the British had succeeded in achieving extremely fast and consistent volley fire to hold their line. It would be a characteristic that would put fear in the French for the next fifteen years.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic WarsEdit

The Battle of Mons Graupius – 83AD   Leave a comment

Since 43AD when the Romans invaded Britain they had been gradually securing and colonising more and more of the country. By the 80’s it was largely the north of Britannia (modern day Scotland, Cumbria and Northumberland) that remained unconquered. The Governor of Britain, Gnaeus Julius Agricola (pictured left) decided to launch a northern offensive to try and bring “Roman Rule” to the entire province and from 79AD began campaigning in the lowlands of Scotland, before then making a major offensive up the north east coast, his men marching while a fleet of supply ships sailed in support along the coastline for a constant resupply of provisions, men and arms.

The exact location of the battle remains uncertain to this day, but it is generally believed to be in the far north east of Scotland. Agricola chose his forces carefully, using mainly Auxiliary infantry rather than the usual Legionaries. Auxiliary infantry were generally slightly lighter equipped, so could be more maneuverable over the rugged Highland terrain, but also they were recruited from the provinces rather than Rome itself, which gave Agricola troops more familiar with the harsher weather of northern Britannia, Batavians and Tungrians making up the majority of his men.

In contrast, the Caledonians (the Celtic people who lived in Scotland) were masters at fast movement and managing to thrive in the wilds of the Highlands. Traditionally living in tribal settlements which they relocated as and when the need arose, several of these tribes came together to form a Caledonian Confederacy led by Calgacus in the face of a common enemy, Rome. In total they were able to muster almost 30,000 warriors at Mons Graupius, and army more than twice the size of Agricola’s expedition force.

Initial Deployment at Mons Graupius

ORDERS OF BATTLE working on a scale of 1 to 50 men as this was a large battle

ROMAN ARMY

Agricola – Commander in Chief – excellent tactician

Auxiliary Infantry (8000 men) 160 figures – Open Order Heavy infantry, well trained, steady, veterans, spear, sword, large shield

Equites Alares (2 x 1500 men) 2 x 30 figures – Heavy cavalry, well trained, solid, veterans, javelins and shield

Reserves

Legionary Infantry (3000 men) 60 figures – Close Order Heavy Infantry, well trained, solid, veterans, heavy throwing weapon, sword, large shield

Equites Alares (2 x 500 men) 2 x 10 figures – Heavy cavalry, well trained, solid, veterans, javelins and shield

CALEDONIAN ARMY

Calgacus – Commander in Chief – fanatic warrior

Chariots – (400 vehicles) 8 models – light 2 horse chariot, 1 unarmed driver & 1 warrior with javelins and shield, fast, impetuous, veterans

Skirmishers (2000 men) 40 figures – light infantry, javelins, shield

Cavalry – mixed with skirmishers (2000 men) 40 figures – light cavalry, impetuous, javelins and shield

Cavalry – on flanks (2 x 1000 men) 2 x 20 figures – light cavalry, impetuous, javelins and shield

Warriors (20000 men) 400 figures – Open Order Medium Infantry, javelins, long sword, shield

ADDITIONAL WARGAMING NOTES

Due to the size of these armies you should add several sub-commanders to both forces as per your preferred rules allow.

The battlefield should be a central large flat plain with a gentle slope behind Roman lines and a large hill, steeper hill behind the Caledonians, a stream runs across the Roman front which is easily crossed with minimal disruption to infantry, but a more onerous disruption for the chariots. Woods are dense where marked on the map.

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Agricola deployed his Auxiliary Infantry to his front behind the stream to offer some protection from the chariots, He protected his wings with cavalry and finally deployed his smaller legionary units to guard the camp with a small cavalry reserve. It must have been a frightening sight to see the Caledonian army gather underneath the shadows of Bennachie mountain, the sloping ground allowing the Romans to appreciate the full scale of the force they were facing.

The Caledonians gather beneath Bennachie

The battle began with the Caledonian chariots zigzagging in front of the Roman lines exchanging missile fire with the front franks. Agricola then ordered his cavalry forward on the wings, these superior cavalry quite quickly routed the Caledonian cavalry off the field and made the skirmishers fall back in amongst the ranks of their warriors for protection. The Roman Auxiliary infantry then began to advance which prompted the Caledonian warriors to charge down the slopes to meet them. The mass of foot soldiers, causing the chariots to scatter or be trapped within the melee which broke out.

Romans and Caledonians clash

The better armed and more disciplined Romans began to cut through the charging Celts, who were more used to fighting as individuals rather than in coordination with each other. The rear ranks of warriors tried to move out to the wings in an attempt to outflank the Romans, but found the Roman cavalry, having disposed of the Celtic cavalry, now outflanked their position. Panic began to set in the Caledonian ranks and their troops began to run, seeking the protection of the dense woods behind. The Romans in pursuit, cut down hundreds of men before they reached the safety of the treeline. Once in the woods, the lightly equipped Celts could escape the heavier Romans who now were victors of the battle. Agricola claimed 360 Roman soldiers killed, to over 10,000 Caledonians.

Scotland was never conquered by the Romans. Soon after Agricola’s victory Roman attention was turned to threats on their eastern frontiers, depleting forces in Britannia. Later attempts by the Romans found the Caledonians impossible to defeat. Unlike the Britons in England with permanent fortified settlements and seats of power that the Romans captured and destroyed, the Caledonians were used to temporary settlements, and simply kept literally “upping sticks and moving” away from the Roman threat whilst maintaining communities and their seats of power. Without towns, cities or forts to capture, the Romans never quite got to grips with how to win a war against them.

 

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

The Battle Of The Herrings – 12th February 1429   Leave a comment

Since October 1428, the English had been laying siege to the French city of Orleans. In February 1429 a wagon train loaded with supplies was despatched from English occupied Paris to the besieging troops at Orleans; 300 wagons and carts loaded with arms, cannonballs, and most notably, 80 barrels of herrings (from where the battle takes it’s name), to feed the English soldiers during the meatless season of Lent. The French assembled an intercepting force of 4,000 men and artillery to be led by the dashing and accomplished 28 year old military commander, Charles de Bourbon. Included in his retinue was a Scottish contingent of 600 men under the command of Sir John Stuart of Darnley.

After passing through the town of Rouvray-Sainte-Croix, the English convoy began to cross a featureless flat plain, it was here that their forward scouts reported the approaching French force. The English commander, Sir John Fastolf, (later made famous as a fictional version of himself as Falstaff in Shakespeare’s plays) knew his options were limited. His wagon train too was too slow to outrun the French, and his cargo too valuable to simply abandon it, so even though he would be heavily outnumbered, he took the decision to stand and fight. He ordered the wagons and carts to form a circle (laager) and for his men to plant sharpened stakes in the ground to protect the front and gaps between the vehicles. His men, 1000 Paris Militia and 600 English longbowmen, were positioned inside the wagon fortress, to wait for the French to make their move.

Battle of the Herrings – Initial Deployment

ORDERS OF BATTLE

ENGLISH ARMY

Sir John Fastolf – Commander In Chief

Longbows (600 men) 24 figures – Armoured, Trained, Veterans, Excellent Morale, Longbow & 2 Handed Sword

Simon Morhier of Gilles – Sub-Commander

Paris Militia (1000 men) 40 figures – Armoured, Militia, Average Morale, 2 Handed Bills & Swords

Wagons in a complete circular laager with stakes around the entire perimeter

FRENCH ARMY

Vanguard

Sir John Stuart of Darnley – Sub-Commander

Scottish Men At Arms (150 men) 6 figures – Dismounted, Armoured, Impetuous, Good Morale, 2 Handed swords

Scottish Foot (450 men) 18 figures – Light Armour. Impetuous. Good Morale, Spears & Side Arms

Wings

French Men At Arms/ Knights (2 x 500 men) 2 x 20 figures – Mounted, Heavy Armour, Impetuous, Good Morale, Lance

Main Body

Charles de Bourbon – Commander In Chief

Crossbowmen (600 men) 24 figures – Light Armour, Trained, Average Morale, Crossbow

Brigans (1500 men) 60 figures – Medium Armour, Trained, Average Morale, Spears & Shields

Artillery – 4 models of Organ Gun “Light” – crew, Trained, Average Morale

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Seeing the English withdraw inside their laager, Charles de Bourbon, a young and “modern tactician”, decided to bombard the defences with artillery. Bringing his guns forward with his crossbowmen he began a barrage of shot and bolts into the English wagon fortress. The term “barrage” is used loosely here, as in medieval warfare the deployment and use of gunpowder weapons to their best was still an unknown. Even so, sources say that the French were beginning to inflict damage on the English defences when the Scots became impatient and suddenly launched into a charge, forcing the French artillery & archers to cease firing in case they hit their allies. The English longbowmen stepped into the gaps between the wagons and launched volley after volley of deadly arrows into the Scots, mowing them down, including Sir John, before they ever made contact with the English. In an impetuous moment, seeing their comrades be shot down, the French cavalry charged to try and support the brave Scotsmen, only to also be shot down in droves. Among the wounded knights was Jean de Dunois ” The Bastard of Orleans”, who was to later play a big part alongside Joan of Arc in the retaking Orleans.

As the Scots and French Men At Arms fell in front of them, the English noted that the main body of French infantry was still a long way behind and advancing very slowly. they seized the moment and rushed out from their wagon circle and cut down the remaining wounded and hesitant enemy, sending the swifter of foot into a rout back to their lines. As the fleeing French cavalry hit the main body of advancing French infantry their resolve dissolved also, and the entire French army turned to run.

Losses are put at just 4 English killed, compared to the Franco-Scots losing 120 Men At Arms and 500 others (mainly Scots).

WARGAMER RULE ADAPTATION

Sources suggest that had the Scots not charged, that the French artillery would have eventually either routed the English, or forced them into another tactic. To recreate the Scots impetuous nature we would suggest a dice roll at the start of each game turn, a 5 or 6 on a D6 triggering the Scots charge.

To recreate this battle we suggest the Perry range of miniatures, which you will find in our online store. Their range includes English archers, foot soldiers, Men At Arms, Knights, Mounted Knights and French infantry. Use the code “Herring” at the checkout and get 10% off until the 1st March 2020.


 

 

The Battle of Tewkesbury – 4th May 1471   Leave a comment

Edward IV (House of York) had seized the English crown some ten years earlier after his overwhelming victory at the Battle of Towton in 1461. He held the deposed King Henry VI (House of Lancaster) as a prisoner, however Henry’s wife, Margaret of Anjou and their son, Edward Prince of Wales remained at large and ran a “Court in Exile” from France whilst plotting how to regain the English crown, if not for Henry, then for their son Edward. When Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (known as “the Kingmaker”) changed his allegiance from the Yorkists to the Lancastrians, Edward IV was forced to flee the country only to return not long after with his mind set on stamping out the Lancastrian claim to the throne for good.

At the Battle of Barnet on 14th April 1471, Edward IV won a resounding victory. Richard Neville was killed and Henry VI again was captured and placed in the Tower of London. By coincidence on the same day, Henry’s wife, Margaret and their son Edward, landed in England again, at Weymouth, with a fresh Lancastrian army. Hearing of her husband’s defeat as she arrived her heart must have sunk, however she quickly devised a plan to move her force swiftly to Wales where Jasper Tudor, Henry’s half-brother, was positioned with more men. If they could link up and create a large army they could wipe out Edward IV. The race was on.

As Margaret moved north, Edward IV began a march from London to try and catch her. In need of supplies she lost time in Bristol gathering provisions, before marching north further, this time to Gloucester, the first crossing point over the River Severn and taking her into Wales. Gloucester was however loyal to King Edward, the city’s elders and garrison refused to open the gates to let her pass through. With no time to force her way in, she opted to move further north still, to the next river crossing, situated in the small Abbey town of Tewkesbury. It was here that King Edward, after force marching across the country, caught up with the Lancastrian army who had little choice but to turn and face Edward for battle.

The Battle of Tewkesbury – 4th May 1471

ORDERS OF BATTLE

YORKIST ARMY

Left Division

Richard Duke of Gloucester (future Richard III) – sub commander

Dismounted Knights (200 men) 8 figures – Full Plate Armour, Superior Fighters, Elite, Veterans, 2 Handed Weapons

Billmen (400 men) 16 figures – Armoured, Excellent Fighters, Trained, Veterans, 2 Handed Bills

Archers (750 men) 30 figures – Light/Minimal Armour, Trained, Veterans, Longbows

Artillery – 2 models – “Organ” gun – Light cannon, trained crew

Centre Division

King Edward IV – Commander in Chief

Dismounted Knights (200 men) 8 figures – Full Plate Armour, Superior Fighters, Elite, Veterans, 2 Handed Weapons

Billmen (400 men) 16 figures – Armoured, Excellent Fighters, Trained, Veterans, 2 Handed Bills

Archers (750 men) 30 figures – Light/Minimal Armour, Trained, Veterans, Longbows

Artillery – 2 models – “Organ” gun – Light cannon, trained crew

Right Division

Lord William Hastings – sub commander

Dismounted Knights (200 men) 8 figures – Full Plate Armour, Superior Fighters, Elite, Veterans, 2 Handed Weapons

Billmen (400 men) 16 figures – Armoured, Excellent Fighters, Trained, Veterans, 2 Handed Bills

Archers (750 men) 30 figures – Light/Minimal Armour, Trained, Veterans, Longbows

Artillery – 2 models – “Organ” gun – Light cannon, trained crew

Cavalry Detachment

Currours (200 men) 8 figures – Light Armoured Cavalry, Trained, Vetrens, Lance

 

LANCASTRIAN ARMY

Left Division

John Courtenay, Earl of Devon – sub commander

Dismounted Knights (250 men) 10 figures – Full Plate Armour, Superior Fighters, Elite, Veterans, 2 Handed Weapons

Billmen (500 men) 20 figures – Armoured, Excellent Fighters, Trained, Veterans, 2 Handed Bills

Archers (1000 men) 40 figures – Light/Minimal Armour, Trained, Veterans, Longbows

Artillery – 1 model – “Organ” gun – Light cannon, trained crew

Centre Division

Lord John Wenlock – Commander in Chief

Edward Prince of Wales – sub commander

Dismounted Knights (250 men) 10 figures – Full Plate Armour, Superior Fighters, Elite, Veterans, 2 Handed Weapons

Billmen (500 men) 20 figures – Armoured, Excellent Fighters, Trained, Veterans, 2 Handed Bills

Archers (1000 men) 40 figures – Light/Minimal Armour, Trained, Veterans, Longbows

French Crossbowmen (200 men) 8 figures – Medium Armour, Trained, Mercenaries, Crossbow

Artillery – 1 model – “Organ” gun – Light cannon, trained crew

Right Division

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset – sub commander

Dismounted Knights (250 men) 10 figures – Full Plate Armour, Superior Fighters, Elite, Veterans, 2 Handed Weapons

Billmen (500 men) 20 figures – Armoured, Excellent Fighters, Trained, Veterans, 2 Handed Bills

Archers (1000 men) 40 figures – Light/Minimal Armour, Trained, Veterans, Longbows

Artillery – 1 model – “Organ” gun – Light cannon, trained crew

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle opened with an exchange of massed archery and artillery fire, the Yorkist army having the numerical advantage having brought theirs and captured guns from Barnet. Lord Somerset then split his division, leaving a screen of archers in their original position, he led a flanking action of knights and billmen in an attempt to catch the Duke of Gloucester in the side. King Edward had foreseen this plan and had hidden 200 Lancers in woods on a small hill to the left. As Somerset advanced passed the hill and charged Gloucester’s flank, the cavalry themselves charged into Somerset’s rear. Even so, Somerset’s men began to push back Gloucester’s force before the cavalry attack in the rear began to take it’s toll. Bizarrely, both Wenlock and Devon’s divisions simply stood and watched.

After fierce hand to hand fighting, Somerset’s men made a run for it, many being cut down in an area now known as “Bloody Meadow”. Lord Somerset himself only just escaping capture, ran to Lord Wenlock in a fury at his men not supporting his advance, and promptly killed Lord Wenlock, cleaving his skull with a battle axe. At this Edward IV ordered a general advance and all three Yorkist divisions charged the Lancastrian army. With Wenlock dead, and no overall commander, the Lancastrian army struggled to fight with any cohesion. In the ensuing melee, Edward Prince of Wales was slain and soon the entire Lancastrian army was in rout. Hundreds of fleeing men were either cut down or drowned trying to escape.

Lord Somerset and several other nobles took sanctuary inside Tewkesbury Abbey, the Abbot initially refusing any armed pursuers inside. After a couple of days though he realised that Edward IV was going to be King for a while longer now he had won such a decisive victory, and upsetting the King may not be such a good idea. He therefore let Somerset and his companions be removed from the Abbey where they were beheaded.

With Edward, Prince of Wales dead, as well as Somerset and Richard Neville, the Lancastrians had few people left to lead their cause. To make sure they had even fewer, Edward IV now ordered the captured Henry VI to be killed too, leaving himself as undisputed sovereign of England until his death in 1483, when “The Wars of The Roses” would start again.

 

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

The Battle Of Dreux – 19th December 1562   Leave a comment

The Battle of Dreux was the first major engagement of the French Wars of Religion. Having conducted two successful sieges, capturing Bourges and Rouen from the Huguegnots, the Catholic commander, Francis de Guise led his army into the Seine region in an attempt to stop the Huguenot army led by Prince Louis of Conde, linking up with an English army of 3,000 men in Le Havre. These English allies, led by the Earl of Warwick, had been sent by Queen Elizabeth the first to bolster the protestant cause in France, but to date they had spent most their time holed up in the port. Having made plans to rendezvous with the English on the banks of the Seine, Conde marched north along the Chartes-Dreux-Rouen road. Notoriously bad for sending out scouting parties ahead of his main army, on the 19th December Conde found his path blocked by the Catholic army who were drawn up in battle formation across the road. After some Catholic cannon shots at the Huguenot light cavalry, Conde set up for battle himself and for two hours both armies just stood and faced each other. Thinking that the Catholics were not going to fight after all, Conde ordered his men to withdraw, but as they did began the Catholics launched their attack and once more the Huguenots took up battle positions. Below is a plan of how the two armies were set up at the start.

 

The Battle of Dreux – 19th December 1562

 

ORDERS OF BATTLE

The Catholic Army

Left Wing – led by Constable Montmorency

Gendarmes (1000 men) – 20 figures – lance armed mounted knights – regular quality

Light Horse (500 men) – 10 figures – arquebus – poor quality

Swiss Infantry (5000 men 75% pike 25% arquebus) – 100 figures – superior quality

French Infantry (5000 men 40% pike 60% arquebus) – 100 figures – poor quality

8 Cannon – 1 model – regular quality

Right Wing – led by Francis de Guise

Gendarmes (1000 men) – 20 figures – lance armed mounted knights – regular quality

French Infantry (4000 men 40% pike 60% arquebus) – 80 figures – regular quality

Spanish Infantry (3500 men 50% pike 50% arquebus) – 70 figures – regular quality

Landsknecht Infantry (2500 men 75% pike 25% arquebus) – 50 figures – regular quality

Gendarmes (250 men) – 5 figures – lance armed mounted knights – good quality

14 cannon – 2 models – regular quality

The Huguenot Army

Left Wing – led by Louis, Prince of Conde

Gendarmes (600 men) – 12 figures – lance armed mounted knights – superior quality

Reiters (1400 men) – 28 figures – pistol armed cavalry, armour – regular quality

Light Horse (500 men) – 10 figures – arquebus – poor quality

French Infantry (1500 men) – 30 figures – arquebus – regular quality

Landsknecht Infantry (2000 men 75% pike 25% arquebus) – regular quality

5 Light Cannon – 1 model

Right Wing – led by Admiral Coligny

Gendarmes (500 men) – 10 figures – lance armed mounted knights – superior quality

Reiters (1000 men) – 20 figures – pistol armed cavalry armour – regular quality

French Infantry (1500 men) – 30 figures – arquebus – regular quality

Landsknecht Infantry (2000 men 75% pike 25% arquebus) – regular quality

 

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

At around midday, Louis Prince of Conde led a cavalry charge that pushed back the Catholic Swiss and resulted in six cannon being captured, as well as Constable Montmorency. However the Swiss being the superior fighters that they were, were able to compose themselves back in to good order and fend off a second cavalry attack made by the German Reiters. On the opposite wing, Admiral Coligny led a cavalry charge that defeated the opposing Catholic cavalry. Unfortunately rather than using this advantage, Coligny and his men pursued the Catholics off the field. Having recovered from the second cavalry assault, the Catholic Swiss now advanced, pushing back the Huguenot Landsknechts. At this point the Catholic Landsknechts also fell on their Huguenot counterparts who immediately surrendered.

Francis de Guise then led a full assault with his Gendarmes, Light Horse, French and Spanish infantry, which crushed Conde’s remaining infantry and captured Conde himself. Coligny and a few of his cavalry now returned to the battlefield, but seeing that all was lost for the Huguenots, departed again.

The Catholics had succeeded in stopping the Huguenots from joining up with the English. They had captured 22 standards that they proudly hung up in Notre Dame cathedral and the Huguenot Landsknechts were sent back to Germany weaponless, although some in their mercenary nature joined the Catholics instead.

Coligny retreated to Orleans, which the Catholics would begin besieging the following year and where Francis de Guise would meet his end after an assassination attempt by a Huguenot spy.

Cavalry charge at the Battle of Dreux

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

Stuart Asquith – RIP   Leave a comment

It is with great sadness that we note the death of one of the hobby’s “giants”, Stuart Asquith, who passed away on November 3rd.

We are deliberately reporting this in our Battles For Wargamers section because over 40 years he contributed so much to writing such articles himself for magazines, as well as writing over 20 books on the hobby too.

It was his “Battles For Wargamers – The Battle of Dreux” article in Military Modelling magazine, April 1981, that truly got me hooked as a 12 year old schoolboy to start wargaming seriously.

I never met Stuart, which has partly given him a mystique status to me. He was the wargamer who started my passion for the hobby simply through his writing, and I’m sure he has inspired many many more through the years. His death is a great loss for wargaming as a whole.

Our deepest sympathy and thoughts go out to his wife, family and friends.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Category 1Edit

The Battle of Mentana – 3rd November 1867   Leave a comment

Soldiers of The Papal States attack the Garibaldini

The Battle of Mentana was one of the last battles of the Risorgimento (translates “to rise again”), or as they are often called, The Italian Wars of Unification. Since the fall of the Roman Empire the “boot of Italy” had been a host of various kingdoms and city states, quite often at war with each other and often manipulated by larger European states for their own gain. In 1848 a whole host of uprisings and revolutions across Europe began. Italy was no exception, and a unification movement started by politicians was joined with the start of military action by the famous revolutionary Guiseppe Garibaldi and his “1000 redshirts”. During the next 18 years there were intermittent wars between the new Italian Republican movement and Italy’s kingdoms and northern foreign occupiers, Austria.

By 1867 Italy was one unified nation with one exception – Rome. The traditional capital of the nation was still an independent state known as The Papal States, ruled by the Pope and supported heavily by France. Garibaldi decided to take matters into his own hands and with a force of volunteers marched towards Rome. It had been plotted that an uprising would occur inside the city to distract the Papal military as Garibaldi attacked the city itself. However, the uprising did not go to plan and Garibaldi pulled his forces back to the small town of Mentana about 20km from Rome, in hope that either more volunteers would swell his ranks or that the unified Italian state would send its army too. Neither materialized, and on the 3rd November a joint army of Papal and allied French soldiers approached the town.

As always, we don’t suggest specific rules for this battle, but rather give you a description of forces that you can adapt to your own preferred set.

FRANCO-PAPAL ARMY

General Kanzler – C-in-C – veteran, strategist

PAPAL COLUMN

General de Courten – Sub Commander – veteran

2 Battalions Papal Zouaves (1500 men) – 2 units of 30 figures – elite, percussion rifles

1 Battalion Carabineri (500 men) – 20 figures – regulars, trained, percussion rifles

1 Battalion Papal Infantry (500 men) – 20 figures – regulars, trained, percussion rifles

Papal Dragoons (200 men) – 8 figures – heavy cavalry, elite, swords, carbines

1 Artillery Battery (6 pieces) – 3 models – 4lb rifled muzzle loading cannon- regulars, trained

FRENCH COLUMN

General de Polhes – Sub Commander – veteran

1 Battalion Chaseurs a Pied (400 men) – 16 figures, elite, breech loading rifles

4 Battalions Line Infantry (1600 men) – 4 units of 16 figures, veteran, breech loading rifles

Chassuers a Cheval (100 men) – 4 figures – light cavalry, veteran, swords, carbines

1 Artillery Battery (4 pieces) – 2 models – 4lb rifled muzzle loading cannon – regulars, trained

GARIBALDINI ARMY

Guiseppe Garibaldi – C-in-C – elite, inspirational

4 Battalions Garibaldini – (1600 men) – 4 units of 16 figures, veteran, percussion riles

3 Battalions Garibaldini – (1200 men) – 3 units of 16 figures, veteran, percussion rifles

3 Battalions Garibaldini – (1200 men) – 3 units of 16 figures, trained, percussion rifles

3 Battalions Garibaldini – (1200 men) – 3 units of 16 figures, trained, percussion muskets

3 Battalions Garibaldini – (1200 men) – 3 units of 16 figures, trained, percussion muskets

Guides – (200 men) – 8 figures – light cavalry, veteran, swords, carbines

1 Artillery Battery – (6 pieces) – 3 models – 4lb rifled muzzle loading cannon – veteran

The opening positions of the battle Red= Garibaldini, Yellow= Papal, Blue= French

The battlefield should have the town of Mentana on a hill with a road diagonally across the table and through the town. The road should be in a shallow valley running either side and away from of the town.

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Garibaldi, advised of the enemy’s advance from the south east positioned the majority of his force in the town, with his artillery on high ground behind. One brigade (3 battalions) he sent forward on the high ground to guard the road.

General Kanzier, before in sight of the town, dispatched the 1500 Elite Zouaves in an extra wide flanking move (not shown on the map above), heading west with orders to then advance north to behind the town. His remaining forces approached the town along the main road. Papal forces leading and the French approximately 5km behind.

Stage 1 of the battle – The Papal forces advance

The Papal forces engaged the advance units of the Garibaldini along the roadside and after some intense fighting they cleared the hills and advanced on to the town itself. On the southern hill, Monte Guarneri, they established their own artillery to support their advance. However the Papal advance was halted at the foot of the slopes to the town by intense rifle and musket fire, accompanied by the Garibaldini artillery on Monte San Lorenzo. Several attempts to scale the steep slopes failed and the assault began to grind to a halt.

The French column arrives

The Garibaldini began to launch an enveloping counter-attack on the Papal forces who were now becoming increasingly outnumbered and outgunned. It was at this point the French column which had been about 5km behind the Papal column, appeared on the field. Veteran troops armed with the new Chassept breech loading rifle and with an exceptionally long effective range, they advanced en masse in column and into the fight.

The French assault the slopes as the Papal Zouaves arrive behind the town.

It was at this point, perfectly timed, that as the French assaulted the slopes, the 1500 Papal Zouaves appeared behind the town having completed their flank march. The rapid and disciplined firepower of the French, coupled with the unexpected attack in the rear by the Zouaves proved to much for Garibaldi. Seeing his escape options narrowing he decided to leave, pulling his staff officers out the town too, they left the remaining soldiers to their fate. The defence of Mentana soon collapsed, with many fleeing and others taking refuge in the castle at one end of the town. The following morning those hiding in the castle surrendered.

Rome would remain an independent state for another three years; in 1870 with the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, all French soldiers were recalled to France to defend their country. Soldiers from the united Italy entered the city a couple of months later and Italy became the fully unified country that we know today.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in 19th Century EuropeEdit

The Battle of Poitiers 1356   Leave a comment

The French advance on foot under a hail of arrows

The Battle of Poitiers on September 19th 1356 is regarded as the last battle of the “Edwardian” phase of the Hundred Years War between England and France. The English army was led by Edward III’s eldest son, Prince Edward “The Black Prince” who had won his spurs at Crecy some ten years earlier. The French army was led by King John himself, accompanied by most of the nobility of France as well as his 14 year old son and heir, Philip.

As is our rule in Battles For Wargamers, we do not list for particular rules, but rather a broad outline of forces and events that you can use to your own favourite ruleset.

Working on a scale of 1:50 men

ENGLISH ARMY

Left Flank

Earl of Warwick – Knight – sub-commander

Earl of Oxford – Knight – sub-commander

Dismounted Knights (500 men) 10 figures – elite, veteran. heavy armour, swords and shields

Medium Infantry (500 men) 10 figures – regular, steady, light/minimal armour, spear and shields

Longbowmen (1500 men) 30 figures – veteran, excellent shots, unarmoured, longbow and side arms

Centre Division

Edward the Black Prince – Knight – CinC

Sir John Chandos – Knight – sub-commander

Dismounted Knights (1000 men) 20 figures – elite, veteran, heavy armour, swords and shields

Dismounted Squires (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, veteran, heavy armour, swords and shields

Dismounted Men At Arms (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, steady, armoured, halberds/bills

Right Flank

Earl of Salisbury – Knight – sub-commander

Earl of Suffolk – Knight – sub-commander

Dismounted Knights (500 men) 10 figures – elite, veteran. heavy armour, swords and shields

Medium Infantry (500 men) 10 figures – regular, steady, light/minimal armour, spear and shields

Longbowmen (1500 men) 30 figures – veteran, excellent shots, unarmoured, longbow and side arms

A total of 160 wargames figures + commanders

FRENCH ARMY

Forlorn Hope

Jean de Clermont – Knight – sub-commander

Arnoul D’Audrehem – Knight – sub-commander

Mounted Knights (400 men) 8 figures – elite, impetuous, heavy armour, barded horses, lance & shield

Mounted Knights (400 men) 8 figures – elite, impetuous, heavy armour, barded horses, lance & shield

Vanguard

Gautier De Brienne – Knight – sub-commander

Men-At-Arms (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, steady, armoured, halberds/polearms

Militia (1000 men) 20 figures – trained, poor, light/minimal armour, swords & sidearms

Crossbowmen (1500 men) 30 figures – regular, steady, light armour, crossbow & sidearms

1st Division

Dauphin Charles – Knight – sub-commander

Men-At-Arms (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, steady, armoured, halberds/polearms

Light Infantry (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, steady, light/minimal armour, spear and shields

Militia (1000 men) 20 figures – trained, poor, light/minimal armour, swords & sidearms

2nd Division

Philippe D’Orleans – Knight – sub-commander

Men-At-Arms (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, steady, armoured, halberds/polearms

Light Infantry (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, steady, light/minimal armour, spear and shields

Militia (1000 men) 20 figures – trained, poor, light/minimal armour, swords & sidearms

3rd Division

King John of France – Knight – CinC

Geoffroi De Charny – Knight – sub-commander

Dismounted Knights (1000 men) 20 figures – elite, impetuous, heavy armour, swords and shields

Dismounted Squires (1000 men) 20 figures – regular, impetuous, heavy armour, swords and shields

Men-At-Arms (2000 men) 40 figures – regular, steady, armoured, halberds/polearms

Militia (1000 men) 20 figures – trained, poor, light/minimal armour, swords & sidearms

Crossbowmen (500 men) 10 figures – regular, steady, light armour, crossbow & sidearms

A total of 316 wargames figures + commanders

The battlefield should have a gentle, steadily increasing slope from one end to the other, with the French positioning at the lower end facing uphill and the English on the top of the slope facing downhill. There should also be some hedgerows along the upper slope that in reality the longbowmen positioned themselves behind.

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The Black Prince positioned his men among the hedges and tress in a defensive formation, the longbowmen standing behind a particularly prominent thick hedge through which a road ran at right angles.

King John was advised by his Scottish commander, Sir William Douglas, that the French attack should be on foot, as horses were particularly vulnerable to English archers, the arrows fired with a high trajectory falling on the unprotected necks and backs of the mounts. King John took this advice, his army in the main leaving its horses with the baggage and forming up on foot.

The French attack began with a mounted charge by the forlorn hope of knights commanded by two Marshals of France; Barons Clermont and Audrehem. The force reached a gallop, closing in to charge down the road into the centre of the English position. The attack was a disaster, with those knights not shot down by the English archers dragged from their horses and killed or secured as prisoners for later ransom.

The English archers then began firing at the massed French infantry as they made their way forward in heavy armour up the slope. The 1st Division commanded by the Dauphin finally reached the English lines, having suffered a hail of arrows but with far fewer casualties and disorder than if they had been on horseback. Savage and brutal hand to hand fighting ensued and the opposing forces fought for over two hours before the French, exhausted, began to fall back in retreat. However their retreat was met by the 2nd Division’s advance and the the two merging caused considerable confusion and disarray in the ranks, and soon both Divisions were retreating. King John decided to try and steady his army by advancing his 3rd Division, encouraging some retreating men to turn again and join his advancing men.

From the crest of the slope, the English too were getting a confused vision of events before them, seeing the 1st Division repulsed and then the 2nd Division retreat without even making contact with them, the Black Prince thought the entire French army was leaving the battlefield. Eager not to let them slip away, he ordered some of his knights to mount their horses and in an encircling move to the right, trap the retreating French while his main army charged forward down the slopes to give chase.

Mounted English knights appearing at the rear of the French army led King John’s men to panic and run in any direction to avoid being trapped. King John and his son, Philip the Bold, found themselves encircled by English soldiers and surrendered. Fleeing French soldiers found the city of Poitiers gates locked and unable to escape many were killed or captured including a large number of French nobles. Reports after the battle quoted 3,000 French dead with only 40 English being killed, and French prisoners included the King and his son, 17 great lords, 13 Counts, 5 Viscounts, and over 100 Knights.

The capture of King John and his son Philip

 

 

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

The Battle Of Lodi 10th May 1796 – (the creation of The Little Corporal)   Leave a comment

The storming of the bridge at Lodi

We have chosen this battle as our FIRST battle for wargamers for extra special reasons; it is said that after this battle Napoleon’s leadership inspired his men so much that they then adopted for him the term of endearment “The Little Corporal”; admiring he had risen through the ranks to greatness and then during the battle he personally positioned and aimed cannon, a role usually done by artillery corporals.

The Battle of Lodi was a fighting rearguard action by the Austrians against the French Revolutionary forces led by General Napoleon Bonaparte.

Despite numerical superiority, the French found it a hard fight as the Austrians commanded a strong defensive position. From a wargame perspective the outcome is far from certain and it results in a tense game.

We deliberately do not list battles for particular rules but rather give a general advice for you, the wargamer, to “adopt, adapt and improve” to your own personal choice of rules.

Working on a scale of 1:50 men with advice on morale etc

FRENCH FORCES

C in C – Napoleon Bonaparte (inspired/tactical genius)

Infantry Regular Division (12,000 men) – 240 figures fielded as regiments/brigades (regulars/trained)

Elite Infantry Light Infantry – Carabiniers (3000 men) – 60 figures fielded as regiments/battalions (elite/disciplined/light infantry)

Cavalry – Hussars and Dragoons (2000 men) – 50 figures fielded as two units (elite/disciplined)

Artillery – (30 guns) – represented by five artillery models

AUSTRIAN FORCES

C in C – Sebbottendorf (good)

Infantry (6000 men) – 120 figures fielded as regiments/battalions (regulars/trained)

Cavalry (1000 men) – 4 figures as lancers – 6 figures as hussars – 10 figures as dragoons (Kingdom of Naples cavalry)

Artillery – (14 guns) – represented by two artillery models

The battle layout as it was

The battlefield table should consist of a river running from edge to opposite edge with a narrow bridge spanning the banks. On the French side there should be a small walled town/village.

The French (excluding cavalry) should initially deploy within the town/village. Austrians should deploy on the opposite river bank. French cavalry should arrive on the Austrian side from the Northedge of the table after 2 game turns plus the result of 1 D6 roll.

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Napoleon’s army was aiming to capture Milan from the Austrians, therefore it was necessary to cross the river Adda on a 170-yard-long wooden bridge at Lodi, in defense of which Beaulieu had left a rear guard of some 12,000 men and 14 cannon.

Bonaparte decided to storm the bridge, even though the Austrian guns completely dominated it. He sent a cavalry contingent up the river to cross and then sweep down on the Austrian right flank. He formed his grenadiers into columns in the shelter of the city walls and gave them an inspirational speech. Then, to the cries of “Vive la République,” they stormed the bridge. This attack faltered, but generals André Masséna and Louis- Alexandre Berthier soon led another attack across the bridge. In light of the heavy Austrian fusillade on the bridge, many French troops jumped off and opened fire from the shallow part of the river. A counterattack by the Austrians was foiled as French cavalry arrived just as more French infantry attacked the bridge.

The cavalry sabered the enemy gun crews and routed the Austrian forces, which left behind their artillery, several hundred dead, and almost 2,000 prisoners.

Bonaparte was a whirlwind of action. Observing from close range and from a church tower, he took personal charge of every detail. He even positioned the cannon along the river, earning for himself the sobriquet “the little corporal” for doing work normally assigned to a soldier of that rank. Bonaparte’s strength lay not just in his military skills but in emotional leadership, something that had not been particularly necessary in his previous engagements. He had inspired his men to undertake the rather daunting task of running across a bridge into concentrated Austrian fire.

The Austrian retreat from Lodi opened the road to Milan and gave the French troops new confidence. Lodi was far more important than simply a battle that opened the way to Milan. Beyond its somewhat limited military significance, the battle created a change in Bonaparte’s attitude toward his future: He now knew he was a leader. In exile at St. Helena he wrote that it was at Lodi that he first saw himself as able to achieve great things.

Lodi also had an important effect on Bonaparte’s troops. It was there that they first observed him in action and finally gained complete confidence in him. It was the beginning of the special relationship between Bonaparte and his men; indeed, Lodi marked the beginning of their personal devotion to him that would last some twenty years.

The Battle of Lodi was not just a milestone in the meteoric career of Napoleon Bonaparte but all in the French rank were Massena, Berthier and Lannes – all future Marshalls of Imperial France.

INSPIRED? QUOTE “lodi” in our online store and until the 10th September get 25% off French and Austrian Napoleonic figures – minimum spend £50 (may not be used in addition to other offers)

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