Wednesday, 9 November 2011

English Civil War - The Battle of Middlewich

Firstly the scenario, which was roughly carried out as it appears here.  Luke played the part of the Parliamentarian General; Sir William Brereton, Michael turned into Colonel Robert Ellice, leading the Nantwich trained bands, and finally Red became Major-General Thomas Aston of the Royalists.  I played the part of the umpire, resisting the Royalist attempts to bribe me with chocolate buttons (if its isn’t giant I’m not interested), setting up scenery and scenario rules and sorting out the (exceptionally few) contentious issues.


Right chaps, one half decent scenario loosely based on a historical punch-up and not needing every model in our collections coming up!  

The historical punch-up is the March 13th 1643 Battle of Middlewich, which I happened to come across in one of my olde worlde miniature wargames magazines.  The original battle saw the Parliamentarian commander; Brereton, attack into the Royalist held town (Major-General Sir Thomas Aston presiding) town of Middlewich from the West, while the Parliamentarian foot from Nantwich were supposed to attack from Nantwich in the South.  Although the foot were late onto the field the Royalists, despite their slightly superior numbers, were defeated and the die hards made a half-hearted last stand at the church in the centre of the town before surrendering.

Onto our own fight, and we’ll try out the previously suggested changes, including the powder limitations, the stamina increase and rules for dragoons.  A quick check of the map reveals that each side has 4 ports apiece, which is a pity because now nobody will get a bonus round of powder!  Each side will need the following units:

To represent Brereton and his men:
2 regiments of horse, standard size, either type.  1 regiment of foot, standard size, with a 2:1 ratio of muskets to pike (alterations to the shooting ability to follow!)  1 Forlorn Hope.  1 General in charge of the horse, 1 brigade commander in charge of the foot.

To represent the Nantwich Trained Bands:
2 regiments of foot at standard size with a 1:1 ratio of muskets.  1 brigade commander to lead.

1 General.
1 brigade commander leading 3 regiments of horse; small in size but any type, with the marauders special rule.
1 brigade commander leading 2 regiments of dragoons.
1 brigade commander leading 2 regiments of foot, standard sized with a 1:1 musket/pike ratio.
1 brigade commander leading 1 regiment of foot, standard sized with a 1:1 musket/pike, plus 2 Falconets.

Special rules: All Royalist troops, with the below exceptions, are considered raw, and as such are Freshly Raised and Unreliable.
The exceptions are the horse and the artillery. The Parliamentarian troops, being the better trained, have no special rules attached.
The troops and battlefield will be laid out following a vague map in the mag, the Nantwich trained bands will arrive FOW style as reserves.

Victory goes to the convincing holders of the town when all is said and done, we’ll try and remember brigade morale rolls, and to confirm there will be a river involved.

The Battle Itself

Following last weeks large punch-up this was a much smaller affair, with Brereton’s men (Luke) attacking from one end across a river, and Ellice’s Nantwich bands (Michael) arriving late from the other, splitting Aston’s (Red) forces in two as they tried to hold onto the town.  Victory for the Parliamentarians would be gained if they captured the Royalists fall-back position - historically a church, but in our case a walled enclosure.

Brereton’s men arrive to the left of the river, and the Royalist rush to man the hedgerows.

The Royalists starting positions, most of their foot being held back to deal with the expected Natnwich foot.

Brereton steals a march, using the unguarded second wooden bridge to cross the river.

His efforts to bring the Royalist dragoons to battle however are thwarted by some nifty evading.

Meanwhile his foot move up to the stone bridge, but the Royalist foote and dragoons are waiting for them, and a musketry battle begins.

The Nantwich foot arrives, obviously extremely keen to get stuck in with one regiment trading musketry with a Royalist foot regiment, and the other charging straight into the Royalist fortified positions on the edge of the houses!  The assault fails, and both sides start to slug it out with muskets.

Meanwhile disaster for Brereton as his horse regiments are both scattered by the well handled smaller Royalist horse.  Having succeeded here the Royalists turn back to aid the fight against the Nantwich foot, leaving the two regiments of dragoons and the single Royalist foot regiment to fight Brereton’s foot.

Brereton is only slightly dismayed however, throwing his Forlorn Hope across the river, and trading ineffective fire with the enemy.

A full battlefield shot, with the Royalist foot looking comfortable in their houses while the Nantwich Trained Bands flounder.

Brereton grows desperate and despondent.  His Forlorn Hope have fled, his ammunition exhausted, and disorder and further casualties following every turn from the dragoons and enemy foot following him, it doesn’t look good for the Parliamentarian cause.

And then Aston makes a mistake, sending his foot out to fight on even terms against the Nantwich foot, who promptly break both regiments, and see off all three of the enemy horse regiments!  The way is open for an assault on the walled enclosure at the centre of Middlewich.

Brereton has taken his chance; launching his regiment with its failing strength across the river in the hope of achieving two things; firstly to distract and pin the enemy away from the other end and the Nantwich foot, and secondly to get stuck in finally!  The Royalists had run out of ammunition at this point and were unable to prevent the charge.  However it was in vain, as the Royalist foots position behind the hedgerow proved too tough and Brereton started the tramp back to Whitchurch.

Only one Parliamentarian regiment was still in the field, and the last band of Nantwich foot swept down upon the centre of the town with victory in their sights.  The Falconet missed and the gun crew put up a stout fight, drawing a turn of combat, but were chased off second time round and the Parliamentarians had their victory!

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