Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

ECW Refight Battle 01: The Battle of Cricket St. Thomas, September 1642

General Situation: The early manoeuvring in the Southwest has come to an abrupt end.  Hopton, commander of the Royalist forces in the area, has deemed himself storng enough to attack the local Parliamentarian stronghold of  Lyme, as he has heard that his opposite number, the Earl of Bedford has retired towards Sherborne.  However, local intelligence informed Bedford of Hopton's intentions and movements, so he has reversed his movements to intercept the Royalists.  Bedford comes across Hopton on the line of march and orders the attack...

The Armies:

Hopton (Good): 4000 Foot (2 Veteran Foot (M) bases, 6 Raw Foot bases (M) ), 4 Guns (2 Arty bases)
Hertford (Poor): 750 Horse (6 Veteran Horse (Sw) bases)

n.b. M - 1:1 pike:shot ratio; Sw - Swedish tactics

Bedford (Poor): 4000 Foot (2 Veteran Foot (SH) bases, 6 Raw Foot bases (SH) ), 4 Guns (2 Arty bases), 1500 Horse (10 Raw Horse (D) bases, 1 Raw Dragoon base)

n.b. SH - 1:2 pike:shot ratio; D - Dutch tactics

The Battle:

The Royalists defend the bottom, Parliament advances from the top.  The Earl of Bedford has decided to mass his horse on his right (top-left) to try and overpower the Royalist left-flank, whilst holding off the Royalist right with infantry.

Looking along the line from the Royalist left/Parliamentary right.  Will Royalist skill overcome Parliamentary numbers?

Foot and guns in the centre, facing each other across the streams.

View from the Royalist reserve through the centre

Undaunted by the numerical disparity, the Royalist cavalry charge into the Parliamentary horse.

Hopton, seeing that the Parliamentary left flank is refused and defensive, moves his right wing to attack

The cavalry melee on the Royalist left-flank:  the veteran Royalist troopers push their raw opponents backs

The ebb-and-flow of combat: two bases of Parliamentary horse get pushed back (they are all double-ranked); but in the centre it is the Royalist troopers getting the worse of it

Looking along the line as both sides break their opponents!

The Royalist cavalry have pursued forward in disorder, but the Earl of Bedford is preparing to lead his second line into the fray

Same position, but wider shot: note that the Parliamentary cavalry's first-line is preparing to being crossing the stream into the flank of the Royalist infantry

Roundhead infantry splash forward through the stream; but note the Royalist right is nearly ready to engage the infantry holding the Parliamentary left

Bedford routs the remaining Royalist troopers - his right wing has triumphed

The foot exchange musketry, but the Royalist horse declines to charge!

The foot begin to get to grips in the centre; superior Parliamentary firepower is discomfiting the Royalist foot

The Royalist foot close in and rout their Roundhead opponents on the right; the Royalist cavalry are then (finally) persuaded to trot into the fray

The Marquis of Hertford quickly turns a battalia of foot about to confront the victorious Parliamentary cavalry

Crunch time in the centre as the foot approach push of pike the Royalist cavalry break the remaining Parliamentary foot on the far side of the stream.  In true Royalist style, they then pursued their defeated opponents off the battlefield and didn't return in time to achieve anything useful!!

The battle in the centre goes this way and that, with neither side gaining a clear advantage...eventually two bases of each side are broken

Realizing the game is up, Hopton breaks out forward across the stream to avoid the flanking Parliamentary cavalry, abandoning his remaining foot and guns

As Parliamentary horse and foot close in from all sides, the remaining Royalists surrender, including the Marquis of Hertford.

Position at the end of the battle.
 Game Result:
A clear win for the Earl of Bedford and Parliament.  Both sides "won" the flank where they were strongest, but the Parliamentary forces were able to exploit this by turning the flank of the centre more quickly.  Typically, the wildness of the Royalist cavalry's pursuit did not help!  Overall, losses were very high:
Royalists: c.560 killed and injured, 2100 captured inc. the Marquis of Hertford, 4 guns
Parliamentarians: c. 560 killed and injured

Marquis of Hertford

Game Notes:
As ever, the Polemos ECW rules gave a good, believable game.

I have no serious quibbles, although I think that some of the modifiers are quite big (i.e have a  very large influence on an opposed D6 roll, the basic combat mechanic).  Shooting is normally ineffective, artillery fire almost always so. I'm not certain that the (admittedly very difficult) balance between musketry and pike action is quite right, but this is a very debatable point.  My review of these rules is here. The main area I still have queries with is the army-level morale mechanism, which I have mentioned before.  The solitaire mechanism I use is here.

Figures from Baccus 6mm.  The table is 5'x3'. I think the building was from Timecast.

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