Wednesday, 13 March 2013

English Civil War - The Battle of the Toupees

Firstly the scenario: for those interested we used the scenario in the Puke & Shotte book for the battle between the Swedes and the Imperialists (around pg 142), where the Swedes have to capture the building with the Imperialist gold train in it before turn 8 (and darkness).  They slightly outnumber their enemy, but have to attack, and the building with the gold in could be one of three, and they don’t know which one until they get inside!

For our game the Parliamentarians (and some Swedes) took the place of the Swedes, while my Royalists were the Imperials, and the gold is replaced by that most precious of collections – Lord Flashearts Toupee set!  Michael and Luke (Sir Michael de Blondeville and Oliver Cromwell respectively) commanded the Parliamentarians, Cromwell on their left, Sir Michael on their right, while I commanded the Royalists in the absence of Chris (stomach bug), Red (car bug) and Aidan (train bug).  It at least meant I got to field my entire army as the mighty Lord Flasheart, plus some traitorous Swedes who swapped sides for the evening.

The Battle:

Lord Flasheart committed his army to battle to save his precious collection of Toupees, not daring to imagine the harm it would do his, and the Royalist PR machine if the toupees were discovered, or worse, captured!  He had, of course, left them in the place he had spent the previous night, so that would be the Dark Age hamlet then.  The other two choices had been the farmhouse in the centre, and the manor on the right.  He looked across the battlefield, saw the Swedes and thought “Good, we’ll only have to fight Cromwell and his lot today, those Swedes are incapable of taking an order”.  At this point Sir Michael rolled 4 of less on virtually all of his command rolls, causing jaws to drop open.  He continued to do this regularly throughout!

Sir Michael wasn’t the only one quick off the mark; Cromwells ironsides and cuirassiers also leapt off the starting line, and were within 6” of the manor in turn one!  A one-sided fight ensued between Parliaments finest and Brigadier Wolfe’s Royalist horse around the manor, watched by the traitor Swedes within.  The ironsides were more than a match for the vaunted Royalist horse, and the brigade broke and fled.

In the centre the Parliamentarian foote closed with the Royalist troops around the farmhouse, and engaged in a close ranged musketry battle before Talbots pike (Royalists) charged the musketeers, and a Parliamentarian pike block charged the dragoons in the farm house, and a messy mass of melee erupted.  The Swedes far right (their horse) became distracted by a bunch of dragoons in a wood, and spent the entire battle trying to force them away, with eventual success.  That meant the horse were unable to assist the Swedes foote attack, which, supported by 3 cannon, massed for a move into the Dark Age hamlet.  Sir Hugh of Beeston (the left hand Royalist brigade commander), thinking to support the Royalist left and stall the Swedes foote, ordered the traitor Swede regiment on that flank forwards – blunder – charge!  Sadly not into contact, just into the open in front of the Swedes army.  Musketry erupted along the line as the Royalist musketeers traded fire with their counterparts, and came off generally worse against the tougher Swedes.

Back on the Royalist right and the traitor Swedes in the manor were in trouble; parliamentarian dragoons had taken part of the manor, and now the ironsides and cuirassiers were assaulting the walls.  The traitors pike was caught in the flank by horse and destroyed, while the musketeers manning the main wall suffered a similar fate.  The horse and dragoons then massed for an attack on the last of the traitors in the main building of the manor, long since abandoned to its fate by the Royalists who were keener to preserve their centre.  The assault went in and the manor was there’s – but no toupee!

In the centre the parliamentarian assault on the farmhouse continued, with a combination of musketry, close quarter fighting, and even a Royalist Saker firing grapeshot all being involved in a the melee around the building.  The Royalist units were eventually driven back or shaken while the parliamentarian pike regiment was joined by musketeers in assailing the farmhouse walls.  The dragoons inside thought this was a bit much to do by themselves and broke, with the parliamentarian musketeers occupied the building – no toupees here either!  This was, however, the moment when the Royalist army broke, of their three brigades the horse of Brigadier Wolfe had long since vanished, while the Bishop of Bath & Wells’ brigade of infantry, desperately trying to hold the centre, had been worn down by incessant parliamentarian attacks, and was spent as a force.  Only Sir Hugh’s brigade on the left had any strength left, not assisted by his traitor Swedish regiment, which once again blundered horribly when told to assault the Swedish flank!

All now rested on the battle for the Dark Age hamlet, which was obviously where a character of Flashearts nature would have spent the previous evening!  The Swedes had begun pushing in from the edge, scattering musketeers as they came, however in the centre they found the King’s Guard pike block, and it was time for a proper fight with the Swedish sending in their own yellow-coated pikemen to push them out.  It was their turn to fail however, with the King’s Guard standing firm, and pushing back and shaking the Swedish pike for no losses of their own!  Sir Hugh looked to finish the issue, throwing Hopton’s pike block forward to the right of the hamlet (to little joy against another tough-as-nails Swedish musketeer sleeve), and ordering the traitor Swedes to attack through the hamlet itself.  Needless to say they blundered again!  Musketeers from the King’s Guard had occupied the building where the toupees were located, and a last gasp effort was made by some Swedish commanded shot to push them out, but it was a very long shot which failed.  Darkness fell, and the Royalist army, battered, bruised, broken, had held on to whisk Lord Flashearts toupee collection to safety, and to claim victory!

The initial setup, Royalists on the right, Swedes top left, Parliamentarians next to them.

The results of the Parliamentarian first turn!  Swift moving.

The feared ironsides!  Even more so now they are nicely painted!

The ironsides charge towards the manor on the right.

The parliamentarian foote closes with the farmhouse and a  fight ensues!

The traitor Swedes blunder for the first of 3 times, and end up standing in front to take the sting of the Swedish firepower.

The traitor swedes in the manor, and in trouble.

The final major fight; the King's Guard (red) pushing back the Swedish pike (yellow).

Post-Battle Analysis:

Nothing is more scary that a Swedish army that can pass a command check, and Michael finally started to make them, and not just in ones or twos, but three moves at a time!  Luke’s horse were also as keen to join battle, hurtling down towards the manor and scattering my own horse with ease (ironsides are truly terrifying!).  They then proceeded to wipe out the manors defenders with ease.  The parliamentarian attacks on my centre also cost me a number of casualties, especially from close range musketry before the assaults went in, and the dragoons in the farmhouse, once the brigade was broken, hadn’t a good enough saving throw to survive. 

The Swedes on my left, however, and despite their swift movement, had been unable to commit enough infantry to the attack on the hamlet, while their horse was distracted trying to run down some more dragoons in a wood, and this lack of strength in the hamlet would cost them the battle.  Oh, and if anyone is considering using Michaels troops against him, think again – I issued his regiment with 4 orders, which resulted in 3 blunders!  Revenge, perhaps, for me knocking some of their number on the floor earlier!

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