This Battle occurred when the Earl of Essex tried to take advantage of Prince Rupert's successful attack on Gloucester, which left King Charles temporarily in a weaker situation than Essex. Essex attacked but luckily for the King, his urgent summons to Prince Rupert led to a typical display of energy of that general, who managed to bring the majority of his Horse up to succour his sovereign...
The situation therefore, was not dissimilar to that of Edgehill, when two largely raw armies of very roughly equal fighting strength engaged each other in the midst of middle England...
The Royalist Army:
C-in-C: King Charles (Average)
Right Wing: Prince Rupert (Good)
20 bases of Raw Horse (S)
Centre: Astley (Good)
12 bases of Raw Foot (M)
4 bases of Artillery
Left Wing: Forth (Poor)
6 bases of Veteran Horse (S)
14 bases of Raw Horse (S)
2 bases of Raw Foot (M)
1 base of Raw Dragoons
The Parliamentary Army:
C-in-C: Essex (Average)
Right Wing: Cromwell (Good)
12 bases of Veteran Horse (D)
2 bases of Raw Foot (SH)
Centre: Skippon (Good)
14 bases of Raw Foot (SH)
5 bases of Artillery
Left Wing: Brooke (Average)
16 bases of Raw Horse (SH)
1 base of Raw Dragoons
|Essex' Army (bottom): Brooke is on the left, Skippon in the centre, Cromwell on the right; facing the King's Army: Prince Rupert|
|Looking down the lines: the Parliamentarians to the right, Royalists to the left|
|Same view, but encompassing the whole field|
|The massed Royalist Horse of Prince Rupert's wing|
|The Royalist centre under Astley.|
|The Royalist left under Forth.|
|Brooke's troopers on the Parliamentary left|
|And Cromwell's troopers - with a couple of battalia of foot mixed in - comprise the Parliamentary right|
|The battle begins with Prince Rupert leading a small attack on the left of the Parliamentary foot.|
|And is blessed with some initial success, driving one battalia back in confusion|
|After which he switches his effort to a major attack on his wing: unfortunately only half of his troopers charge home|
|The Royalists have only achieved some minor successes (routing one troop of Parliamentary Horse and disordering another) but in general, there has been little effect|
|One unit of Parliamentary foot is routed, but the other is making a creditable defence|
|Meanwhile Brooke has launched a counter-attack and has achieved some success, although Prince Rupert (right) is leading his troopers in pursuit|
|The cavalry fighting swings in favour of the Parliamentary Horse|
|Prince Rupert's troopers rout another base of Roundhead horse|
|Large numbers of Royalist Horse are already fleeing...|
|The fighting on the left is intense, confused, but broadly going in favour of the roundheads...|
|The Parliamentary foot just manage to hold off the Royalist Horse|
|Furrther ahead, again Parliamentary Foot manage to push back Royalist Horse|
|The Royalist Horse are beginning to collapse, another large group being to flee to the rear...|
|A wider shot to show the exhaustion of the Royalist Horse on their right|
|Nothing can stop Prince Rupert himself mind! More Parliamentary troopers are routed!|
|A closer look: Cromwell in person leads his troopers to victory|
|One troop of Royalist Horse is winning its battle...|
|The Parliamentary Foot have now reached musket range; a stalemate ensues as the better-armed Parliamentarians have the advantage in the firefight, but cannot cause decisive damage|
|The shot from above shows how thinned Rupert's Horse has become|
|A closer view|
|Cromwell has routed his immediate opponents and is putting severe pressure on the Royalists' left wing|
|A closer view|
|More success for the Parliamentary troopers on the same wing|
|A last desperate charge by Prince Rupert's last line has routed a couple more troops of Roundheads, but has not achieved enough to reverse the fortunes of the day|
|Unchanged in the centre; musketry discomfits the Royalists, but the Parliamentary foot feel no need to bring the affair to push of pike|
|A wider view of the broadly static centre|
|Cromwell's Horse plunge on, capturing Forth|
|A lone successful troop of cavaliers pursues! (bottom-right)|
|But is about to be hot and destroyed by Cromwell's reserves|
|The remaining cavaliers on this flank are being cleared out by the roundheads|
|Prince Rupert's Wing has practically collapsed and this leads to the collapse of the King's Army's morale...|
|Prince Rupert makes his escape by cutting down a unit of Dragoons and escaping forward..|
|The Royalist foot remain secure on their position|
|But Cromwell is victorious on his wing|
A fairly crushing Parliamentary victory!
Parliamentary losses amounted to c.1150 (600 foot, 150 dragoons, 350 horse)
Royalist losses however were c.2600 horse and 8 guns (abandoned in the retreat - the heroic gunners did manage to hold off the Parliamentary foot during the battle, despite the odds!)
Well an interesting game. And all those figures on the table looked good! But overall, quite disappointing since I think that on a systemic level, these rules, which have served me quite well for many battles, just can't cope without some major changes - the odds are just too stacked against the Royalist Horse. I did make some changes, as previously discussed, by removing the "shaken" penalties for failed charges or standard charges. And they still got made into mincemeat, because in this size of battle, it meant that so many charges just didn't happen. So, typically, in a 6 vs 6 situation, only 50% of the Royalist Horse is likely to charge home. Add to that that when this happens, the flanking Parliamentary units will eliminate much of the advantage of the extra bonus for charging. So, what to do? The problems are three-fold:
1 - I don't know how to calibrate any changes I make.
2 - Experimenting during the campaign spoils the fun of the campaign.
3 - Taken on an individual level, the rules as written seem fine.
Perhaps the solution is to start testing for charges on a brigade basis. Or allow "Swedish"-trained Horse to fight either way, depending on the situation.
On the other hand, the changes to the musketry rules (in essence, allowing all musketry to be 1 'pip' more effective, seemed to work well. It did throw up a couple of minor points however:
Should artillery be less effective against Parliamentary Foot than Royalist Foot in 1642?
Should artillery be allowed to recoil? It seems unlikely, given that it can't choose to move unlimbered?
These points are pretty minor, however.
So, I have some thinking to do about rules! And whether I should delay the campaign until I am truly happy with the way cavalry interacts.
Figures by Baccus 6mm, rules Polemos: ECW.