Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life; currently concentrating on a re-fight of the entire English Civil War, but with numerous discursions into battles from many different periods. 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.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

ECW Campaign Battle 10: The Battle of Penderleath

The remnants of Lord Goring's army were finally brought to bay by the Earl of Bedford's pursuing army on some featureless high ground near Penderleath, above Penzance.  With more courage than sense perhaps, the murmur was for "one more battle" and "faith in God and the King"...

However, the Cornishmen were facing odds of nearly three-to-one and they prepared to sell their lives dearly...

The Royalists:

Sir Bevil Grenville (Poor)

10 bases of Raw Horse (S), 1 base of Raw Dragoons
4 bases of Veteran Foot (SH), 4 bases of Raw Foot (SH)
2 bases of Guns

The Parliamentarians:

The Earl of Bedford (Poor)

22 bases of Veteran Horse (D), 1 base of Veteran Dragoons
8 bases of Veteran Foot (SH), 2 bases of Raw Foot (SH)
3 bases of Guns

n.b. I was playing on a different table in a different room which isn't set up the best for photography at present, so please forgive the slightly dubious photo quality.  Hopefully I will be able to remedy this before the next battle.

Historical Note: The King's War has the Parliamentary commander as John Russell, Earl of Bedford but Wiki indicates that the Earl was William who (initially!) fought for Parliament, whilst his younger brother John fought for the King.  Can anyone shed any light on this?

The Set-Up:

Parliamentarians advancing from the East (left); the Royalists are defending a partial line of hills (right)

The Royalist infantry occupy a hill in the centre (bottom) facing the Parliamentary centre (top)

Another shot of the same

The Royalist left (right).  Unusually, the left wing is composed of Foot; Grenville felt that the veteran Foot would hold the open ground better than his raw Horse

Another view of the Royalist Left

Another view of the Royalist centre on the hill, with the afternoon sun behind them

The Royalist Horse is deployed on the lower slopes on the right of the position

The Parliamentary Left made up of 12 troops of Horse
 The Battle:

Bedford begins by ordering a general advance of the Foot in the centre, but the Royalist artillery discomfits some of the Foot battalia (top-left)

Bedford then advances the Horse on his left; Grenville decides that to await the advance of Bedford's veteran troopers would be to court certain defeat, so he personally gets his raw troopers to charge

One of those strange combats in which the underdog wins every battle!  Mixed fortunes as different troops of Horse advance and recoil

another shot of the same

One of the Royalist troops breaks (foreground); a second Royalist troop, initially winning, is now collapsing under pressure (right)...

Increasingly desperate, Grenville leads another charge - again, his personal example sees his troopers into contact!

And sword in hand, his troopers get rather the better of the fight

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Foot has managed to close into effective musketry range; but the fire from the Cornish Foot keeps them at bay

However, on the left side of the hill, the Parliametary Foot has delivered a stinging fusillade on the Royalist Foot and guns

Grenville's troopers rout a troop of Royalist Horse! (centre)

As the enemy is so close, Grenville feels he must order another charge; this time however, his troopers cannot move, weariness and fear finally telling

Parliamentary Foot and Horse crash into Grenville's shaken troopers...

Meanwhile, the left side of the central hill has been taken by the Parliamentarians with the Royalist Foot in rout and their guns captured

Soon afterwards, Grenville's troopers are routed and he himself is wounded and captured

The musketry of the Royalist Foot still prevents their opponents' advance; Bedford therefore tries to outflank the position (right)

The second brigade of Royalist Horse tries to charge but its troopers refuse, clearly nervous after the destruction of the leading brigade

The broad sweep of the action on the Royalist Right: two small brigades of Royalist Horse now face an outflanking move by four brigades of Parliamentary Horse and a brigade of Foot

After a stern but short combat, the Parliamentary Foot clears away one of the Royalist reserve battalia from the far side of the central hill (centre)

The frontal Parliamentary attack was defeated but Bedford's flank attack is delivered just in time and the Royalists are in deep trouble (centre)

A close up: the Royalist Foot is very disorganized and is wavering...

The Royalist Horse is under pressure and beginning to waver too...

The central hill falls to Bedford's Foot

Whilst more of his Foot advance into the depth of the Royalist position

The remainder of the Royalist Horse rout...

And gallop form the field! (right); the battle is over

Game Results:  A predictably one-sided victory for Parliament in the end.  Bedford lost only c.450 men, evenly divided between his Horse and Foot; but the Royalists lost nearly 1900, also evenly divided between Horse and Foot.  Only the Royalist Foot on the left and the Dragoons got away...but even that was useless, because the surviving Royalist Foot decided, seeing the generous treatment of Bedford to the prisoners, to join Bedford's army!
Although hardly famed for his skill, Bedford has won the Southwest for Parliament...

Game Notes:  Fairly straightforward this, although the Royalists did initially put up a good show; in particular, the Royalist Horse defied the odds somewhat to execute three successful charges during the battle (little good though it did them).  This to my mind justified Grenville's unorthodox deployment: putting his raw troopers uphill seemed to give them that extra impetus and confidence to enable them to charge home successfully.  The mechanical effect of this was to let them fight the first round of the subsequent cavalry combat at even odds, rather than suffer a -2 on an opposed D6 roll if the Roundheads had been permitted to attack on the trot (and -3 if the combat was on the flat). However, despite some initially stout resistance, Parliamentary numbers and skill proved irresistible.  Otherwise, all fairly standard stuff.  One point of minor interest is that Polemos: ECW and Polemos: SPQR are generally quite tough on involving commanders in combat - the odds of something bad happening are 50:50 in anything other than a won combat.  In other games, the risks are much lower, so the normal technique is to always plunge in and if the general happens to get killed, that was just bad luck.  In these two games, I need a very positive reason to risk putting a commander into combat.  Here it felt justified for Grenville, who was fighting against the odds; Bedford on the contrary knew it was his battle to lose and therefore stayed well away from any swordplay.

Figures by Baccus 6mm.  Rules were Polemos: ECW.


  1. Great battle report again!! Thanks!

  2. Thanks John - another one will be published soon, hopefully.