The English Civil War: October 1642
Sherborne and Oxford re-assured the King of their continuing loyalty.
Hopton moved quickly to Sherborne having recruited heavily, hoping to both relieve the Siege of Sherborne and also defeat Bedford - Bedford decided that discretion was the better part of valour and retreated upon Salisbury. The Earl of Essex however decided to try and exploit the King's separation from Prince Rupert and launched an attack upon the King's army near Warwick. Prince Rupert however, after leaving a small garrison within Gloucester, quickly marched to the King's aid in time to take part in the Battle of Ettington. Not that it did much good, as the King was quite badly beaten and forced to retreat upon Worcester. Realizing that this would probably spell the end of Oxford, the King sent a message to Byron permitting him to negotiate terms. Byron did so, and was allowed to join the King in Worcester with his garrison upon immediate surrender of the city. Fearing that the campaign in middle England would be lost, King Charles sent Forth to York to begin recruiting there. The Fairfaxes were quiet around Carlisle, conducting some much needed training, as did Prince Rupert around Worcester. Derby marched out of his stronghold at Preston to take Lancaster.
Derby has 1000 at Lancaster
1000 at Preston
Newcastle has 5000 at Newcastle
Forth has 1000 at York
1000 at Newark
The Fairfaxes have 5000 at Carlisle
1000 at Hull
1000 at Manchester
Prince Maurice has 5000 at Shrewsbury
King Charles has 12000 at Worcester
1000 at Gloucester
Earl of Essex has 14000 at Warwick
2000 at Bristol
Foppington has 4000 at Oxford
Meldrum has 1000 at Grantham
Hopton has 7000 at Sherborne
Ballard has 4000 in London
Waller has 3000 in Portsmouth
Bedford has 3000 in Salisbury
With a victory in the field against the King and his capital, Oxford, being taken, clearly Parliament had a much better October than Charles I. The minor Royalist successes - the succour of Sherborne and the taking of Lancaster could hardly compensate.
Charles will need reinforcing by Prince Maurice to match Essex and Foppingham in middle England. However, Newcastle now has sufficient forces to threaten Fairfax, or merely hold him, whilst the Royalists rebuild their cause in Yorkshire.
Hopton can probably defeat Bedford, unless the latter unites with Waller. However, his mere threat may be able to stop the Parliamentarians' campaign to reduce further Royalist fortresses in Southern England.
The King may be down, but not out...
I made an error regarding the rules in the Battle of Ettington, which entirely worked against the Royalist side. I also made an error of remembrance, forgetting that Royalist cavalry fighting in the Swedish style (i.e. charging, sword-in-hand) are not forbidden by the Polemos tactical rules from using the Dutch style (i.e. trotting forward to fire pistols before closing)! Therefore, although I didn't void or replay the results of the battle, what I did rule was that the casualties of both sides would be added to the recruiting pools, thus the Royalists would lose only their tactical position, not their overall strength, as a result of my mistake. This seemed as fair a way as any of moving the game on without letting my errors spoil things too much.
As ever, comments on the strategies being employed by both sides would be very much welcomed!