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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Buxley Abbey, 1643

English Civil War, Very Civile Actions, 28mm

 I don’t know why we don’t game the English Civil War more often. As a period It offers spectacle, colour and excitement, and we always seem to enjoy ourselves into the bargain. The premise of this game was that the a small Royalist garrison was penned up around an Abbey somewhere in Lincolnshire, where it was being languidly besieged by Maj. Gen. Crawford, commanding a small Parliamentarian force from the Earl of Manchester’s Eastern Association. It contained two regiments of foot (Crawford’s and Russell’s) and one of horse (Fleetwood’s), plus a substantial artillery train (the sakers Jezebel and Raven).DSCF2573All was going well until the arrival of a Royalist relief force, led by Sir Richard Dacre – his own brigade of horse, plus Bagot’s Regiment of blue-coated foot. The idea was that they would burst upon the scene from the Parliamentarian flank, and could either re-supply the garrison (for a marginal victory) or drive off the besiegers (for an outright win). Dougie Trail, commanding the forces of tyranny, opted for the latter course.DSCF2574It all went horribly wrong from the start. First the pikes of Bagot’s regiment came crashing through a tree-lined hedge into the left wing of the Parliamentarian line, routing a block of Crawford’s musketeers, then going on to capture Raven, which was promptly turned on its old owners. Dacre’s royalist cavalry deployed in the open ground between the hedges and the Abbey, and Fleetwood’s Parliamentarian horse deployed to meet them. Then the Royalist gun outside the Abbey fired, causing casualties to the leading squadrons of the enemy horse. The troopers promptly routed, sweeping the rest of the regiment off the field as they went!DSCF2558Meanwhile the rest of Crawford’s Regiment managed to halt the advance of Bagot’s foot, ably supported by fire from Jezebel. Parliamentarian musketeers sheltered behind another hedge and poured fire into the flank of the Royalist pike block, and Crawford’s pikes then bested their Royalist counterparts. The attack against the Parliamentarian encampment had been halted, but out in the open field things continued to go wrong for my poor little army. The Royalist Trained Band garrison defending the Abbey sallied, and their pikemen routed a sleeve of Montagu’s muskets. the disordered remnants of the Parliamentarian horse returned to the fray, only to be repulsed. Finally Dacre’s horse charged Montagu’s pikes, who held their ground, but only just.DSCF2581At that point I conceded the game – the best I could have hoped for was to skulk away through the fields, where the hedges would protect my foot and remaining gun from the marauding Royalist cavaliers. While Crawford’s foot did well, the rest of the Eastern Association should have been ashamed by their craven performance!DSCF2585


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