The Battle of Witham Hill, 1643
16th March 2023, 9 Comments
The English Civil War, For King & Parliament, 28mm
The two Seans wanted an English Civil War game this week, but we kept it small as time was short. As there were three of us, then two had to be on one side. Both Seans opted for the Royalists, I prefer the Parliamentarians, so that was easily sorted. We played the game on a 6×4 foot table, dominated by Witham Hill, a few miles to the south-east of Grantham. A small Parliamentarian army – part of the Eastern Association – was advancing into Rutland when it was cornered by a larger Royalist army. So, it took up a defensive position at Witham-on-the-Hill, and awaited the onslaught. In this one my Parliamentarian force was commanded by General Crawford, who had two regiments of foot (Crawford’s and Montagu’s), supported by two regiments of horse (Fleetwood’s and Manchester’s). The foot lined the hill, while the cavalry led by Col. Sidney were grouped on the right flank. For their part the Royalists, all from the Northern Army lined up opposite them, just east of the road. the two Seans had three regiments of foot (Newcastle’s, Byron’s and Langdale’s), supported by three regiments of horse (Lucas’, Carnaby’s and Howard’s).As the sides were uneven, we made a Parliamentarian foot regiment veteran (Crawford’s bluecoats), and a Royalist horse and foot raw (Howard’s and Langdale’s). Inevitably, we started with a cavalry clash. Two Royalist regiments charged the Parliamentarian’s, which, being “Dutch style” horse, met them at the halt, firing pistols as the enemy closed in. Surprisingly, it worked quite well, and Lucas’ Royalist horse were disordered. Still, Lucas’s troopers charged their pistols as they closed in, and managed to score a hit on the enemy. For some reason Carnaby’s horse was tucked in behind Lucas’, so they didn’t get to fight. That meant that the Parliamentarian horse fought Lucas’ in the next round, and scored another hit on it. That meant it broke and fled the field. First strike to Parliament. Buoyed up by this the two Parliamentarian regiments tried to advance, but Carnaby’s counter-charged, and another melee erupted. This time though, the Royalists didn’t achieve anything, but in turn suffered a hit. Then, Fleetwoods on the right flank charged in, and routed Carnaby’s horse. It was an impressive start! By then the action had switched to the hill. After a hesitant start the Royalist line advanced, with Langdale’s redcoats going around a small copse to hit the flank of Montagu’s, while Byron’s hit them frontally. Newcastle’s foot were on the left-hand end of the Royalist line, facing Crawford’s bluecoats on the hill. Strangely though, it didn’t come to “push of pike” – just a heavy firefight. In the exchanges, both sides took casualties, but for some reason the Royalist numbers didn’t really count for much. After a couple of turns of this firefight, both Parliamentarian regiments were disordered, but so too were the two Royalist whitecoat regiments – in Byron’s case carrying two hits. One more and they’d break. Meanwhile the Parliamentarian cavalry had rallied from their disorder, and resumed their advance, determined to wipe out Howard’s Royalist horse – the last on the field. Instead, both sides charged, countercharged – and achieved absolutely nothing. So, with everyone’s three “Dash” markers expended, both sides were unable to charge again. Their bolt had been shot.In the end though, that last Parliamentarian push wasn’t needed. Instead, up on the hill the musketeers of Crawford’s bluecoats scored another hit on Byron’s whitecoats, and the Royalist regiment fled the field. That meant the two Seans were put of Victory tokens. Both sides had seven for this game, and you lose two for each cavalry unit (three for the larger Parliamentarian ones), and three for a regiment of foot. the Seans had lost seven, so they ‘had to quit the field. So, the game ended in a Parliamentarian victory – huzzah! All in all it was a fun little game, even for the Seans, and it a surprisingly evenly balanced scrap too.
Thanks, Angus. Another good game and excellent write up. Very enjoyable.