The English Civil War, For King & Parliament, 28mm
We returned to Yorkshire this week, and the continued struggle between the Earl of Doncaster and the Earl of Rotherham. This small set piece battle was set a few miles east of Doncaster. I say set piece, ’cause both sides had small, matched forces. My alter ego the Parliamentarian Earl of Rotherham had three regiments of foot, led by his General of Foot, Sir William Boothroyd.As for Sean 1’s Royalists (or rather the Early of Doncaster’s, he had a similar three regiment force, led by the Royalist General of Foot, Sir Stankey Arkwright. Both sides also had three regiments of “Swedish style” horse. The Parliamentarians were led by Sir Benjamin Harrison, and the Royalists by Sir Edward Greenwood. The game was played on a 6×4 table, covered in a grid with 20cm squares. Sean 1was helped out by Sean 2, who commanded his cavalry. Both sides advanced from the beginning, but the Royalist foot had a nice square hedged field to form up in, which gave them a little bit of extra cover. The Parliamentarians had some too, but the cavalry had a nice open field to fight in, apart from the hamlet of Hatfield Woodhouse, on the Parliamentarian left and the Royalist right. As usual, the first into contact were the cavalry. Col. Thomas Richardson’s Parliamentarian horse charged Sir Edward Longfellow’s Royalist horse, and were routed. Then, Longfellow’s Horse rashly tried to charge Sir William Boothroyd’s regiment of foot – the bluecoats – and were repulsed. Then the Parliamentarians ‘moved up another cavalry unit, Tobias Arkwright’s, to finish them off. Meanwhile, over on their flank, by the hamlet, the Earl of Rotherham’s Parliamentarian horse clashed with the Col. Josiah Hartley’s Royalist horse, and while the clash wasn’t conclusive, both sides withdrew, having been disordered. They tried charging in again, and this time the Parliamentarians were swept from the field. Unfortunately for Col. Hartley, his regiment headed off the table in pursuit! While all this was going on the two infantry lines came up to each other, the Royalists in their field, and the Parliamentarians on the lane which ran across the battlefield. Sir Percy Barraclough’s yellow-coated foot and the Sir Stanley Arkwright’s whitecoats on their right proved pretty resilient though, despite the lack of their supporting third regiment in their brigade, which refused to advance. While the infantry fired at each other, the cavalry fight reached its climax. Boothroyd’s bluecoats were forced to retire , after taking musket hits. To save the day though, Col. Arkwrights horse moved up to cover them, and charged the Royalist horse of Col. Longfellow’s, which were duly routed. However, the white-coated foot of Col. Arkwright managed to save the day for the King.They wheeled to their right, and poured fire into the open flank of Arkwright’s Parliamentarian horse. The Parliamentarians were routed, just as the last Parliamentarian cavalry led by Colonel Harrison were broken by a charge from Sir Edward Greenwood’s Royalist horse. That meant I’d lost the last of my three cavalry units, while the Royalists still had one in the field. It was all starting to unravel – at least for me and my Parliamentarians. The only bright spot was tat the only remaining unit of Royalist horse – Greenwood’s – were blown, having used up all their “dash” markers. I could still win the infantry fight, but then the third Royalist foot regiment – the white-coated Barnsley Trained Bands emerged from an apple orchard on my right, and joined in the firefight. This was something of a blow. My guys were running out of ammunition, and my commander, Rotherham himself, was over on the other flank, trying to rally the bluecoats. At that point things unravelled. my right-hand regiment of foot, the red-coated Earl of Rotherham’s, suffered three hits from musketry, and were lifted from the table. That was me then – forced to retire. It was a nice little game, and it looked great. Thanks to that, losing it to those contemptible malignant scuzzy Royalists didn’t matter so much! Of course, there’ll be a rematch soon, and I’m sure that next time the Earl of Rotherham returns to the fray he’ll have his revenge! These games are so colourful and the system works so nicely that they’re always a real pleasure to take part in.