The Battle of Herbert’s Road was in fact a series of linked confrontations between the nefarious forces of that renown Royalist Lord Flasheart (myself), and those of Colonel Oliver Cromwell (Luke) and his famous and incredibly frustrating ironsides. Cromwell having defeated Flasheart comprehensively at the Battle of Tarvin a week previous the Royalist was keen to put his additional recruits from the Battle of Chester to good use bringing the rebel down a peg or two. To achieve this he firstly set two ambushes across a road that goes nowhere, from nowhere, and the only local is called Herbert and is quite mad, hence the title.
Having left his subordinates to set up a proper roadblock with Stradling’s foote and the Kings lifeguard, Flasheart raced ahead and sought to achieve surprise by blocking the road with Talbots foote and attacking the enemy flanks with his horse. He hadn’t counted on the enemy horse being led by an aggressive commander (yes, Chris Fazey once more changed coats and took command of the Parliamentarian horse), which swiftly pressed and then routed his horse for the same losses of their own. Unfortunately the rebels could afford to lose a few regiments of horse, and their foote advanced upon the hastily effected barricade and sent Talbot packing, despite the attempted intervention of the last of Flasheart’s horse.
His troops completely scattered, Flasheart was unable to backtrack down the road to where his brigadier; Sir Hugh of Beeston, prepared a more substantial blockade for the remaining troops of Cromwell’s army. With the Parliamentarians pulled towards the lure of the King’s Guard regiment on the road, Sir Hugh led Stradlings foote in an outflanking manoeuvre which could their enemies on the hop, and almost succeeded in putting them to flight. A last ditch counter attack by a rebel pike block put pay to this gallant effort however, and the King’s Guard struck a deal for a truce while their fell back.
There was still time in the day for Flasheart to pull his troops together for one last attempt at defeating Cromwell, and he picked a much more traditional clearing to do so. The Royalists deployed in the rarely seen Tercio formation; pike blocks in the centre and muskets on the edges, with the horse to the right. With daylight (time) ebbing away both sides knew there was no time to waste if a result was to be gained, however, even the rebels were surprised when a couple of open command orders left their foote regiments scant feet from the Royalists in turn 1! Their horse (the redoubtable Fazey having left) were more sluggish, and blundered around at the back. The Cavaliers didn’t hesitate and charged with pikes levelled at the heart of the enemy, to the enemies horror!
The 3 pike blocks pushed through, with Talbots and Stradlings arriving on the other side to face the rebel horse, who promptly charged the pike regiments fronts! Both sides expected the horse regiments to be sent packing swiftly, but unbelievably the heavy Parliamentarian horse barely flinched, and they started to push the pike back, sending them running. The Royalist horse crashed into the side of the rest of the rebels horse, causing much damage, while musket fire continued elsewhere, wiping out whole units of rebel foote. Cromwell decided the losses were becoming more than he could stomach, just moments before Flasheart had similar thoughts, and the Roundheads retreated.
|Flasheart's desperate first attempts to stop Cromwell, foiled by the Ironsides!|
|Stradling's foote comes close to victory.|
|The Royalist Tercio (bottom).|
|The Royalist pike blocks push onwards.|
|The fearsome charge of the Ironsides!|
At the end of the frantic fighting Luke’s forces have claimed the village of Great Sankey as an additional recruiting ground, while Flasheart has secured the border town of Oswestry with its hillfort. More information at: http://btsdcampaign.blogspot.co.uk/