Sunday, March 29, 2020

Siege Warfare primer

The games tabletop is dominated by the field battle, for the simple reason that it is much more exciting and both sides get to 'take actions' that provide an entertainment.

Yet to simulate the period, the siege is far more prevalent.

This is a new video discussing the siege warfare of the period.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Parliament on parade

I was able to get to a printer on Friday and have the flags for the New Model Army battalia

I decided to set up a little parade to showcase the different painting of the troops in my Parliament force.

the New Model Army battalia, with some ordinance and the new dragoons in the foreground
the earlier painted battalia of Parliament forces, the green flag "Shepherds" are at the vanguard
half of the Parliament foote that are in my collection

closer view of the older battalia

overview of the New Model battalia

one of the newest command stands

the recently finished dragoons forlorn hope, with dismounted horse behind them

Now I can say that I have fully two of the armies for the war of the three kingdoms, also known as the English Civil War.  All that remains now are the Scots ...

Friday, March 27, 2020

Battle of Stratton May 1643

Among the most valuable prizes taken by the Parliamentarians was Hopton's correspondence, including a letter from the King's Secretary of State ordering Sir Ralph to march into Somerset in order to link up with Royalist forces from Oxford under the command of the Marquis of Hertford, still the King's Lieutenant General in the West, and Prince Maurice.  Delighted by this insight into enemy plans, Stamford, still at Exeter, forgot his gout and 'leapt out of [his] chair for joy'.  He saw an opportunity to both frustrate Hopton's strategy and at last to conquer Cornwall for Parliament.
Stamford spared no effort in raising the largest possible field army for what he saw as the deciding contest of the war in the West.  Parliamentarian garrisons in Devon were stripped of every man who could be spared, and more troops were brought in from Somerset.  By these means Stamford was able to muster an army of 1,400 horse and 5,400 foot, of which he assumed personal command.  Advancing to Torrington in the north Devon, Stamford then crossed the Cornish border, heading towards Sir Bevil Grenville's heartlands around Stratton.  Here on 14 May, the Parliamentarians occupied a steep-sided, flat-topped ridge which is now called Stamford Hill.

Hopton meanwhile had been taking his own steps to bee the threat.  With no certainty of the point at which Stamford would make his attack, the Royalists, as on previous occasions, had had to spread their forces to cover as many threatened points as possible.  Lord Mohun's Regiment, 900 strong, was stationed at Liskeneard; Sir Nicholas Slanning, with 1,000 men, was at Saltash; 700 men under John Trevanion were at Launceston; and Sir Bevil Grenville, still with the strongest regiment of 1,200 men, was in the vicinity of Stratton.  In an effort to raise more troops, on 12 May the Royalist Commissioners of Array met at Bodmin and ordered the third man out of every hundred in the militia to be levied for active service, whilst Sir Francis Bassett made feverish efforts to raise additional funds.
On the same day as the Commissioners met at Bodmin, Hopton, at Launceston, learnt of Stamford's advance towards north-east Cornwall, and set off northwards to meet him, gathering in his troops as he went.  The Royalists reached the village of North Pethervin that night and camped on the common outside.  They had had little time to gather supplies, and both officers and men had to content themselves with a dry biscuit apiece.  The next day, after morning prayers, the Royalists marched on towards Stratton.
On their way they had a brief skirmish with some Parliamentarian horse and dragoons.  These may have been from the force of 1,200 commanded by Sir George Chudleigh that Stamford had just detached with orders to attack Bodmin and break up Royalist attempts to muster the posse comitatus there.  Their departure left Stamford with about 200 horse and something over 5,000 foot.  The latter included Sir John Northcote's 1,200-strong Devon Regiment and Merrick's 700 greycoats who had saved the day for the Parliamentarians in the action at Launceston.  Added to these were various smaller units and some of the Devon Trained Bands.

The skirmishing with Chudleigh's departing cavalry had slowed Hopton's march so that he only reached the village of Week St Mary, about five miles [south] of Stratton, that night.  Once again dining frugally on a biscuit each, the Royalists stayed on the alert in the darkness in case of enemy attack.  Stamford, however, had no intention of quitting the strong position which he held.  The steep-loped hill was protected on its southern side by a number of small, hedged fields at its foot, whilst the eastern side was too steep to be easily assailable, and was shielded by the River Neet running at its foot.  The defenders had the further advantage of an ancient earthwork at the summit.  The various possible crossing points of the Neet were defended by parties of Parliamentarian musketeers, but towards nightfall the Royalists drove off one outpost near Efford House and crossed the river, the other Parliamentarian pickets falling back on their main position.
That night the Royalist commanders held a Council of War.  They had few choices open to them.  They would have to attack Stamford's strong position the next day, before Sir George Chudleigh's horse could return.
~ from The Civil War in the South-West by John Barratt pp. 31-34

The stage was set for the tabletop battle of Stratton, which Rob, of Codsticker's Historicals, and I played out on December 28, 2019.

 a video of laying out the terrain

the table was massive, with ALL the hedgerows Rob and I could muster on it
with the troops deployed, Royalists are to the right in this image

Royalist right wing with troops in column to press up the road

Rob's view of the same moment on the field - with the Parliament up on the hilltop in the distance top left

early cannon fire from the many guns em-placed in the iron age earthworks

the field at start of turn two, the Royalists had started off across the stream in a couple of places

Sir Grenville's column on the Royalist right was halted in the narrow lanes on the slope

Merrick's pikes blocked the way at the top of the slope

deviating from plans the horse start up the road, only to be jumped by a pike block from the hedges
 The Royalists chose to advance quickly up both flanks, using horse to cover the rear of one column, these horsemen were surprised in close quarters of hedges by a massive well-disciplined Parliament pike block, the horsemen fled the field!

Northcott's then chased off another horse unit!

meanwhile in the center Royalists had managed to push though the hedgerows

by turn four the flanks had been stopped and only a minor push had moved in the center, where artillery had now been moved to be able to start firing on the lane-way and at the hedges which had been breached
two batteries were opening up on the lane-way bringing the columns to a full stop

further flanking forces got into position to keep away the Royalist right flank

Royalists end up sheltering behind the brow of the hill as artillery continues to hit them

Royalist dragoons perform very well in driving off and then fully routing the shotte opposite them

Royalist horse never managed to get back into anything like a good order as Parliament ordinance continued to score hits

a last ragged stand at the hedgerows for Chudleigh of Parliament, the unit was broke this turn
A series of bad command rolls in turn four and five brought the Royalist actions to a near stand-still.  Saving throws were still working for them, enough to keep them in the fight, just not enough to win the day against the first line of defenders.

The horse on the Royalist left were forced to retire out of cannon and musket range due to the Parliament second line moving out from the earthworks to the hedgerows just outside the earthworks.  Stratton's defensive plan was working out ... so far.

the field at Turn 6
the Dragoons managed to push away and rout the shotte on the Royalist left, the much diminished horse were now not able to help on the far wing any more
Chudlegh ended up fleeing with his pike & shotte regiment, his replacement is seen here holding off the left center for Parliament
We ended up the game in turn nine.  There was more time for the Royalists, they lacked the manpower to press on any further.  A series of early command die rolls going against the Royalists caused the army to 'stall', this caused the commander to loose patience with the plan and push forward the horse too soon, leaving them vulnerable in the narrow lane-way.

Everything else just descended from there for the Royalists as the Parliamentary troops really only rolled average after turn three.

Royalists withdraw from the field, with their artillery in good order towards the end of turn nine.

I leave you with a series of final pictures from the tabletop at the end of turn nine.

Royalist view of the center

Royalist view of the left of center

Royalist left wing

Royalist view of center right

Royalist view of right wing

butcher's bill
So there ends our first 'setting the stage' battle for our Campaign in the West.

A total reversal for the Royalists, however we did not see Cornwall as being all that easy to 'capture', especially with Royalist help pouring into Devon, there would be no choice for Stratton other than falling back on the river Avon and protecting the port of Bristol.  Our differences in the coming campaign were going to come with less effective Royalist units, that would have to recruit, and better Parliament force composition, by bringing off the guns from this battle - that were lost historically - and preserving some veteran forces that were routed historically.

All in all a good start at the 'show' of such a large tabletop game for the two game players and modellers in Rob and I.

Incredible LEIPZIG video essay.

This video essay covering the Battle of the Nations is worthy of time.

Monday, March 23, 2020

ECW: New Model Army Battalia

I cleared off my painting space today as the Pike & Shot battalia for the New Model Army was finished painting and had been matte coated.

Flags are, as yet, unfinished as the ravages of the isolation preparation and ongoing work to keep a house of five people -sort of- functioning.

overall view of the four pike & shotte regiments
I am hoping to either get out to print the flags soon, or I shall start a painting of some stand in ones for use on the tabletop.


I am in workups to do live tabletop and computer versions of board games via electronic means.

Currently I'm setting up a account and shall be preparing to run some games in the coming week.

I'll be doing the games on my smaller table at first since my wife needs the main dining room table for sewing issues.

Much of that will be done by April 13 and I plan to run a couple of different table top games the following weekend.

It would be wonderful to connect with more of you live.

no flags yet

these troops are sporting the 'full point' of the pikes like my Oxford Royalists

a grim addition to the Parliament forces

Monday, March 02, 2020

Development of the Pike & Shot tactics

A good video on the progress of the different tactics of the Spanish, Dutch and Swedish techniques of use of Pike & Shot: