Thursday, 7 November 2019

Battle of Edgehill 1642 - The Action

This is the second post on our recent refight of the Battle of Edgehill, the first, last week covered the set up for the game, orbats, rules etc with a video run through of the table set up, if you missed it, click the link below,

I will let the pictures tell most of the story, apologies for the number of pics but I think it explains things better than paragraph after paragraph of prose.

The Battle plan of both sides was pretty much the same as the actual battle, the Royalist would launch both wings of Cavalry forward at their opposing Parliamentary wings (after engaging the Dragoons on the Roundhead flanks with similar troops), send the infantry forward and try and break into the rebel lines in the hope that Rupert and the boys would be back before tea to round things off nicely for the King.

Above we see Prince Rupert leading forward his Cavalry with his own and Prince Maurices units in the fore, orders Advance to HC (Hand to Hand Combat). No point messing about with Royalist Cavalry, get it forward and get it into contact.

The Royalist left started the same, Wilmots Cavalry, less in numbers and in quality started the escalation of walk, to trot, to canter, to gallop as they advanced on the Cavalry to their fore.

This photo looking down the table with the Royalists on the right, shows the early part of the Battle perfectly, you can see Wilmot to the fore, one move away from contact,  The Parliamentary Guns opening up as the Kings front line advances, and in the distance Ruperts headlong rush into that flank.

Wilmots and Fieldings front lines meet North of Brixfield Farm.

Whilst on the other flank Ruperts Cavalry charge home after their opponents chose to stand and fire, but under the pressure of the Gallopers charge they fired their pistols before the Cavaliers were in range. Also seen is Maurice and his Regt their opponents have trotted into contact.

Wilmots Horse have the upper hand, one Parliamentary unit routs after losing 50 % of its strength whilst the other is narrowly beaten and is pushed back.

Rupert and Maurice on the other hand break both units they fight and immediately pursue their beaten adversaries.

The front lines are much closer now and musketry ripples up and down the lines. In the centre a poor morale check on one of Fieldings Regiments of Foot, under fire from Roundhead Artillery causes that brigade to pause it's advance.

Most of the Royalists have a larger proportion of Pike to Shot than the Parliament so rather than try and beat the odds in a firefight the tactic is to close to Hand to Hand combat.

On the Royalist left the Cavalry battle has bogged down, the followers of the King have the advantage but some poor dice means it's no push over. Rupert and the boys however are off the table (hence no photo). Maurice found that the unit it broke stopped directly in front of the second line leaving the Parliament in a disorganised mass of two units which the young Prince just roads straight through.

Rupert had a slightly harder fight as their opponents in the second line stood to meet them, but stood vs Elite Gallopers is always going to be a loss. So 4 Regiments of Royalist Horse leave the table in pursuit, leaving only Lord Byron and his unit on the field.

The Battle along the front line is fierce with no clear advantage to either side, both armies have Raw units and the morale of these units can be brittle, above one of Meldrums Foot units routs from contact, similar scenes are happening on both sides up and down the line.

The King surveys the action protected by his Gentleman Pensioners.

In the centre Parliamentary firepower is keeping the Royalist troops at bay who are desperately trying to reorganize the lines to get moving forward again.

But Belasyses Foot Regiments are making better headway on the Royalist right looking to make contact the next turn.

A good view along the lines at the mid point of the Battle.

The infantry contest between Meldrum for Parliament and Wentworth for the King continues to ebb and flow.

A momentary set back in the centre for the Roundheads as a Raw unit in the front line gives way, but there are no dramas as Ballards Foot step up to take their place.

Things are going the Kings way on their right, after a cross of Pike the Royalists Infantry are victorious and rout their foe, but the sight of the retreating troops was too much for the last Royalist Cavalry unit on that flank who charged headlong into a Pursuit with a unit they hadn't even been in contact with., typical !

But the blunders weren't restricted to one side, a Raw unit belonging to Essex decided it would be a good idea to chase after a unit of Royalist Foot to it's fore as it routed, it ended in tears when they crashed into another Royalist unit, this second one was Trained and had an abundance of Pike. The Essex men routed back the way they came, lesson learned.

After plenty of drawn or narrowly won melees Wilmots Cavalry throw a double 1 for morale and they rout, leaving only 1 Royalist Cavalry unit left on the table.

Leading to one of the more amusing moment when the Parliamentary Cavalry literally trotted of in pursuit of the vanquished foe (who are travelling 6" a turn faster) safe to say that they gave up the chase pretty sharpish.

The empty right flank looked tempting to Stapleton and his Cuirass who started to move out from their position in the reserve.

Guess who just got back today ? Rupert and the boys are back in town !

Finally the Royalist centre got it's act together, the Kings Lifeguard of Foot had formed up, rallying the remnants of Fieldings units behind it and the rest of Bryon and Gerrards Foot alongside them, the drums sounded and the flags waved as the second line advanced towards Essex and his troops.

Pressure was also mounting on the Parliament left, another unit broke in melee, Maurice had returned with his Cavalry and the Firelocks and Dragoons from that flank were now in range of the Thistle Farm.

As night closed in the Royalist second line charged as one at Essex and Ballard.

One of the smaller Royalist units were repelled by the fire on the way in but all the other units hit home, Gerrards Foot above was about to win it's third melee of the day.

The Lifeguard also won it's melee and the whole of the Parliament left was being pushed back, at that point the Parliament called it a day.

The other flank was pretty much in stalemate, two units had fought each other twice to a stand still draw during the game. What tipped it's Parliaments way on that flank was the last unit of Royalist Cavalry deciding to chase after a shattered Roundhead unit (the one that pursued Wilmot). Fine idea but it left the whole of that flank under threat from Stapletons Cuirass who were now free to roam around unopposed. This forced the Royalist Foot behind Byron to form a defensive line 90 degrees to the main attack to protect against the threat of the Armoured Cavalry.

The Lord Generals Foot above hold the remnants of the Parliament lines. So the Kings Men have the day but fall short of a decisive victory much like the real battle. We had pretty much recreated history. The Parliamentary Cavalry of Fielding performed better than on the day but Rupert was unstoppable. The fighting was fierce and ended up, as on the day with the Royalist right pushing the Parliament back whilst falling back themselves on their left.

Many people asked about the fate of Sir Edmund Verney, Royalist Standard Bearer, those supporters of the King (like myself) will be glad to know that this Noble Gentleman survived the Battle, having charged with the Kings Lifeguard. He still retains both hands and is appearing in twice weekly piano recitals at Radway Church.

So thats the ECW collection away for a couple of years  ! Next up Italian Wars.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Battle of Edgehill 1642 - Part 1 Set Up

Another big favourite here at YG is the English Civil War and it's hard to believe that it is over 3 years since this lot last saw the light of day !

Edgehill is of course the first major action in the ECW and many who saw action that day would be getting their first taste of battle. I have decided to break this up into two reports, this the first on will cover the set up and orders of battle whilst the follow up will cover the refight itself.

Information on the Battle is avaliable from a multitude of sources so I don't intend to harp on about the build up but instead give you a wargamers view of setting up the clash.

Parliament Cavalry on the trot
A Word on Rules and the like

Like most periods we are a little off piste when it comes to rules, for the ECW we use a modified version of Forlorn Hope. I "modernised" the basics over 10 years ago and they have worked well ever since.

The figure ratio for the game is approximately 33:1 and that has worked perfectly for this particular battle in terms of figures avaliable and the 12 x 6 table here. One good thing carried over from the original set is that each Infantry unit has a set number of figures and rather than individually counting Pike numbers and Shot numbers the unit is given a ratio of Pike to Musket.

Figures are 28mm from a collection of manufacturers including Perrys, Bicorne, Warlord and Renegade.

Royalist Foot Advancing early in the Battle
Table Set Up and Terrain 

For this I have used the medium of video ! How modern of me. For some reason the sound didn't work on the footage so I have gone for some snazzy subtitles in stead.

I managed to locate a number of maps of the Battle all of which differed in some way. The troop set up seems to be pretty constant but some maps show enclosures, a brook, small woods etc it's difficult to tell what was present on the day and what is a modern interpretation.

However I don't recall reading of the terrain having any massive affect on the Battle so I chose to leave the table relatively sparse and just the the armies get on with it.

Orders of Battle

There is a very good OOB at the link below,

So the list below is my interpretation of that for the game with the following notes,

1. Forlorn Hope rules have army lists for each year of the war in each theatre, these generate troop morale classes, pike:shot ratios etc by rolling dice, this is how the factors have been determined. So for this stage of the war there are no Veteran Infantry.

2. We rolled particularly well for Ruperts Cavalry but if you don't I would suggest for realisms sake that if you have a "name" unit in a brigade, roll up the entire brigade and allocate the best rolled factor to the best unit.

3. I was unable to find any break down of the total numbers (on the orbat above) other than Rupert having around 1700 Cavalry vs 1300 to his fore. Therefore I have had to estimate the size of the infantry units dividing the numbers present by 33 and then filling up the numbers required in each area with the units in our collection. Our rules need Infantry units at least 16 figures and Cavalry of at least 6, so the eagle eyed will notice the odd unit missing in name from our game, however the men of that unit have been spread across that particular command.

4. Forlorn Hope has a sub morale class of Elite, this can be tagged to any units basic morale and reflects an over confidence not necessarily linked to ability.

Prince Rupert, Standard Bearer and of course his dog "Boy"
The Royalist Army

C in C King Charles LV1
General of Foot Sir Jacob Astley LV2
General of Horse Prince Rupert LV3 (may not use LV to stop pursuits)

Prince Maurice Brig of Horse LV2
Ruperts Horse - Veteran Elite Gallopers - 12 Figures
Kings Lifeguard - Raw Elite Gallopers - 12 Figures
Maurices Horse - Veteran Elite Gallopers - 9 Figures
Prince of Wales Horse - Raw Gallopers - 9 Figures

Lord Byrons Brig of Horse LV1
Lord Byrons Horse - Trained Elite Gallopers - 9 Figures

Ruperts Cavalry 
Charles Gerrard Brig of Foot LV1
Gerrards Foot - Raw - 1 : 1 - 26 Figures
Dyves Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 20 Figures
Duttons Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 16 Figures
Medium Gun - Trained Crew

Col Fieldings Brig of Foot LV1
Fieldings Foot - Raw - 1 : 1 - 24 Figures
Lunsfords Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 20 Figures
Bolles Foot - Raw - 1 : 1 - 16 Figures
Medium Gun - Trained Crew

Royalist Foot 
Wentworths Brig of Foot LV1 
Gilbert Gerrards Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 24 Figures
Salusburys Foot - Raw - 2 : 3 - 20 Figures
Molyneuxs Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 16 Figures
Medium Gun  - Raw Crew

Belasyse Brig of Foot LV1 
Belasyse Foot - Raw - 1 : 1 - 26 Figures
Blagges Foot - Trained - 3 : 2 - 20 Figures
Pennymans Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 20 Figures
Medium Gun - Raw Crew

Nicholas Byron Brig of Foot LV2
Kings Lifeguard - Trained - 1 : 1 - 30 Figures
Lord Generals Foot - Trained - 1 : 2 - 20 Figures
Beaumonts Foot - Trained - 1 : 1 - 16 Figures

Royalist left wing
Gen Wilmot Brig of Horse LV2 
Wilmots Horse - Raw Gallopers - 9 Figures
Grandisons Horse - Veteran Elite Gallopers - 9 Figures

Lord Digby Brig of Horse LV1 
Lord Digbys Horse - Raw Elite Gallopers - 9 Figures
Ashtons Horse - Raw Elite Gallopers - 6 Figures

Gentleman Pensioners - Veteran Elite Trotters (Cuirass) - 9 Figures (must remain within 8" of the King and protect his personage)
Legges Firelocks - Trained Skirmishers - 9 Figures
Blue Dragoons - Trained (left flank)
Red Dragoons - Trained (right flank)

Forces of Parliament
The Parliamentary Army

C in C Earl of Essex LV 2
Earl of Bedford - Gen of Horse LV1
Sir John Merrick  - Gen of Foot LV2

Balfours Brig of Horse LV1
Lord Generals Horse - Raw Trotters - 9 Figures
Balfours Horse - Raw Trotters (F) - 9 Figures
Fieldings Horse - Raw Trotters (F) - 9 Figures
Brownes Dragoons - Raw Trotters (F) - 6 Figures

Parliament right wing
Sir John Meldrum Brig of Foot LV1 
Meldrums Foot - Trained - 2:1 - 20 Figures
Saye and Seles Foot - Raw - 2:1 - 20 Figures
Constables Foot - Raw - 1:1 - 20 Figures
Fairfaxs Foot - Trained - 1:1 - 20 Figures
Robartes Foot - Trained  - 1:1 - 20 Figures
Medium Gun - Raw Crew

Essex Brig of Foot LV1 
Essex Foot - Trained  - 3:2 - 26 Figures
Chomleys Foot - Raw - 2:1 - 24 Figures
Mandevilles Foot - Raw - 2:1 - 24 Figures
Whartons Foot - Raw  - 2:1 - 24 Figures
2 × Medium Gun - Raw Crews

Parliament Foot and Stapletons Cuirass 
Ballards Brig of Foot LV1 
Lord Generals Foot - Raw - 3:2 - 32 Figures
Brookes Foot - Raw - 2:1 - 24 Figures
Ballards Foot - Trained - 2:1 - Trained
Holles Foot - Raw - 1:1 - 20 Figures
Medium Gun  - Raw Crew

Stapletons Brig of Horse LV1 
Lord Generals Lifeguard (Cuirass) - Trained - Trotters (F) - 6 Figures
Stapleton Cuirass - Trained - Trotters (F) - 6 Figures

Ramseys Cavalry 
Sir James Ramseys Brig of Horse LV1 
Drapers Horse - Raw - Trotters (F) - 6 Figures
Balfours Horse - Trained - Trotters (F) - 6 Figures
Bedfords Horse - Raw - Trotters - 6 Figures
Mordaunts Horse - Trained - Trotters - 6 Figures
Peterborough Horse - Trained  - Trotters  - 6 Figures

Yellow Dragoons - Raw - 9 Figures (right wing)
Red Dragoons - Raw - 9 Figures (left wing)

The Yellow Dragoons 
So that's our set up, I'll post up a battle report next week.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Op Compass Game 7 - Sandstorm

Lumbering Matildas slowly crossing the Desert whilst sand swirls around the troops as they advance into the unknown, would adequately describe Game 7 of our ongoing Op Compass Campaign and what follows is the Scenario and AAR.

Italian troops wait for something to emerge from the Sandstorms 
If you want more information on the Campaign I have set up a separate page which is updated regularly with updates on rules along with links to all the previous games,

The games are based on an excellent book by Robert Avery which is available from The Toofatlardies, there is a direct link to purchase the
book on the Resource Page.We use 28mm figures with this scenario taking place on an 8 x 6 table using a home brew set of rules, based on Iron Ivans Disposable Hero's.

Ratty and Mole discuss their latest adventures
Historical Background 

Its the 10th December 1940, the previous day (see our recent games) the Italian Forts at Tummar fell, the British Forces moved onto the Sidi Barrani position. Part of the force was detailed to take a small hamlet known as Alam el Dab.

The weather was appalling, a high wind whipping up sand and dust into a constantly changing fog / sandstorm, visibility rapidly changing minute by minute. As the British advanced the cloud of dust lifted long enough for the Italian Artillery to destroy the approaching lorries, the British Infantry helpless, only able to watch as their lift home disappeared.

Italian 75mm Field Gun
As quick as the visibility increased it dropped back to nothing, the British troops now supported by their old friends the Matildas of 7RTR swept forward into a cloud of dust towards where they believed the Italians to be.

Table Set Up and Terrain 

This battle is fought over an 8 x 6 table. The game begins with the Italian positions hidden.

Table Set Up
You should just be able to see on the table a series of yellow dots, these are dividing up the table into 24 equal squares to help with plotting positions and artillery. The terrain is random scrub and rocky outcrops with a single building representing the position of Alam el Dab.

The following Special Rules are in force (see Resource Page for full details),

Difficult Going and Breakdown.

New Rule - Variable Visibility - to represent the fluidity of the distance troops could see in this battle Visibility is limited to 9" plus 1d10 inches. Visiblity is determined once at the start of a new turn and again on the turn of an event card, giving a maximum of 3 and a minimum of 1 change in Visibility per turn. Whilst in force all firing is considered to be at long range.

Spoiler - The Brits have a secret objective, the game ends when they take all three gun positions, the British players should not know this until the game ends.

British Briefing

Italian Artillery has once again proven it's worth, take you troops into the mist and capture their positions. Be careful, the sand is soft, our tanks break down and visibility can change at any time.

Best suited for 3 players. Each Task Force has the following,

1 x Matilda Infantry Tank
1 x British Infantry Company consisting of,
HQ Section with 1 x Officer, 1 x Radio Operator and 1 x Sgt with SMG
Support Section with 1 x 2 man 2" Mortar Team and 1 x 2 man Boyes AT Team
3 x Infantry units of 1 x Sgt with SMG, 1 x Bren Gun and loader plus 7 Privates with Rifles

So 3 tanks and 111 men to get the job done. One TF will start in the centre of the table whilst the others will start equidistant from the centre tank and the table edge.

Advance into the unknown
Italian Briefing 

Once again you find yourself trapped in a difficult position with the seemingly unstoppable Matildas heading towards you. This time you have the advantage of cover and limited Visiblity, hold on as long as you can and cause as much casualties to the attackers as you can. Defend your guns to the last.

Your forces consist of,

1 HQ Section of Officer and Radio Operator 
8 "Blackshirt" units each with 1 Sgt with SMG, 1 x 2 man LMG Team and 7 Rifles.
1 x 65mm Gun and 3 crew
1 x 75mm Field Gun and 4 crew
1 x 100mm Field Gun and 4 crew.

The above photo shows the layout of the Italian positions, only place the terrain and troops on table once they are visible, the Italian player chooses where in the line their three gun pits go.

The position was a series of fox holes rather than a formal trench system hence the use of barbed wire. The Italian positions are static and could easily be played by an umpire or as a solo game.

Italian Artillery can fire over open sights at any target they can see, if they have no target they will fire at random. Dice for one of the 12 squares on the British side of the table, take the centre of that square as the aim point and then randomly deviate by 2 x d10 inches, reroll for each gun.

Italian AT Gun pretending to be a 65mm Gun behind a Renaissance Gabion, it's all accurate
How did we get on 

Once again a good time was had by all, these scenarios really throw up some interesting match ups and with the randomness of the rules players are definitely kept on their toes. The Visablity  rule worked really well and we all got the feel of a swirling sandstorm with targets frustratingly appearing and disappearing usually at the most inappropriate moment.

It's broke Sir
Round 1 went to the Italians without an initial shot being fired, "Hedgehog" one of the three Matildas broke down the first time it tried to move, the random roll produced an unfixable fault and that was it. Next turn the Italian Artillery landed a 100mm shell on the engine deck just to make sure.

The game settled down into a now you see it now you don't gun fight with the variable Visibility, the Brits taking quite a few casualties from the Italians in their fox holes and the randomly landing Artillery.

Things were going well until the tank Gremlin struck again, this time it was Mole in the centre of the attack, who broke down, it was fixable but with Italian small arms easily in range no one was getting out to fix it ! With the Artillery falling else where Mole quickly became a Pillbox, if only it had an AP round.

With the tank stalled, the British went headlong with fixed bayonets into the Italian positions. The Blackshirts held firm and held their fox holes, just.

But the fight drastically reduced the numbers of the defenders and next turn a fresh wave of British troops took the position.

The elation was short lived as the extra move forward revealed more Italians in the Hamlet.

On the British right the last mobile Matilda "Ratty" kept it's slow but seemingly unstoppable crawl towards the wire in front of it, rifles and LMG fire isn't much use against an Infantry Tank.

The Brits in the wire wisely decided to move away from the Hamlet and charged one of the Italian Gun positions, it fell but not without a fight.

The Italian Commander was busy on the radio, but no help came.

On the British left the tankless ("Hedgehog" smoking in the background) company had been wandering around blind for some time, the sandstorm preventing it from seeing anything of value, gradually the advance revealed that the Italian positions were not a straight line and the units moved to engage the flank positions.

The game built up to a nice close, the British had broken into the Italian positions in one location and a couple of others were holding on, however they had taken some pretty heavy casualties, three units had already been wiped out and it was touch and go if there was enough men left to do the job.

Everything came to a head in the final turns, on the right "Ratty" rolled over one of the Italian positions and with the gun position next to it taken that side of the table was taken.

In the centre there was another bayonet charge and again the first unit was wiped out at the wire whilst the remnants of the second one taking the position.

Whilst on the flank the British managed to roll over the 100mm Field Gun with hardly a shot fired.

The game ended when the Pillbox, sorry Matilda in the middle finished off the final Italian Gun and the British objective was complete, but not without considerable losses which were pushing 50% at game end.

So points wise I am going to give the Italians one (for the High casualties) and 3 to the British giving a Campaign Total of 18 to 10 in favour of the Brits.

Game 8 will be up soon, next time after a few games relying on the strength of the Matildas the British are back in the flimsy early Cruiser Tanks. But before then we will be playing on the fields of Edgehill and the Italian Wars Project will see the light of day again.