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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Ripon, 1643

English  Civil War, Very Civile Actions, 28mm

Well, at least it looked pretty. The idea for this game came from a scenario in Charles S. Grant’s Scenarios for Wargames (1981) entitled “Fighting in Built-up Areas”. In our game, the defenders were Dougie Trail’s Royalists, all from the Northern Association, who were outnumbered, but held a good defensive position to the east of the town of Ripon, in Yorkshire.Picture-025 They were beset by a Parliamentarian force led by Fernando, Lord Fairfax (aka me). Unfortunately Lord Fairfax had been to two publishing receptions earlier, both of which served rather good Rioja. Consequently the Parliamentarian grip of tactics were less than it could be. In other words I was rat-arsed, launched a hasty frontal assault, and was damned by the consequences…Picture-043The same large quantities of Rioja also resulted in some of the photographs being less focused than they could have been. Well, th Royalists had two regiments of foot and one of horse, which they split into two wings. They held an outpost in a church complex on the outskirts of town, while their seasoned Whitecoats held the centre, supported by the cavalry guarding the two flanks of the town. My Parliamentarians attacked from the north and east, converging on point C on the map, while part of my force attacked the church at point E. There was no grand plan, only a wine-fuelled advance.Picture-036Inevitably it all went horribly wrong. My cavalry were in the wrong place – in my centre – and while one lot failed to make any headway against the Royalist pikes, the rest were soundly routed by the Royalist horse lurking in the fields behind the church. In fact, it all ended so badly that the Northern Horse (led by Lord Goring himself) swept aside the Parliamentarian cavalry, then a body of dragoons, then fell on the Parliamentarian guns, which were moving up a lane to deploy on the far side, beyond the church. As if that wasn’t enough, Goring’s troopers even managed to capture Rioja-befuddled Lord Fairfax himself, who was trying to stem the rout.Picture-012So much for the Parliamentarian centre. On the right the attack ground to a halt, as nothing seemed to dislodge the Whitecoats from their defences. the remaining band of Royalist horse also forced the Parliamentarians to keep a pike block back to face them, which seriously weakened the attack. The assault petered out in the face of mounting casualties. The only success came on the Parliamentarian left, where John Bright’s Regiment of foot stormed the church complex, and drove the royalist defenders from the position. Still, this wasn’t enough to change the tide of battle, and by the end of the evening it was clear that the Royalist defenders had soundly thrashed my Parliamentarians. Clearly Rioja and tactics don’t mix .


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