Sunday, 18 November 2018

Earthworks and Cats on Pikes!


While the work on my 1540s Landsknecht Pike Block continues (they will be finished eventually!), I thought I would post up some pictures from the Summer of my repainted set of Earthworks. The original paint work on them can be seen here: http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-siege-of-pavia-october-1524.html, in one of the Pavia games Stuart and I played early in the year. With a new battlefield of a different coloured earth it was also necessary to repaint the Earthworks. In the photos you will also notice a couple of the Sconces in the same style as Stuart's ones that we used in that game. These were made by David Marshall of TM Terrain and are really useful terrain pieces. I included some contemporary pictures of these Sconces in the write up of the Pavia games, linked above.

The repainted Earthworks are resin and nearly 20 years old! They were from a manufacturer called Stronghold Miniatures if I remember correctly. The pieces are so old that I had painted them up before painting my old battlefield. The battlefield was a really dark reddish earthern colour, see the link above, simply because I had already painted the Earthworks that way! In fact they even appeared in the background of a couple of photos in my first ever post on this blog: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-wEYLfsje4_s/Tb8fOKHDcMI/AAAAAAAAACA/ELcgIOgKy-0/s1600/100_0661.JPG. They were definitely in need of a good repaint!

Getting the Earthworks to match the same colour as the earth on the terrain boards, the ditches and the Sconces did not go well. I tried all sorts of different paint mixes and when I did get the same match it just made the Earthworks look like Blancmange, it didn't work well, something to do with the texture of the resin. For this reason I repainted them in a slightly browner earth tone which although not perfect seems to fit the other earth well and stops the Earthworks looking too different from the rest of the terrain. What do you think? I would be interested to know if the contrast is still too great? I suppose freshly dug earth or repaired Earthworks would look different to older fortifications anyway or is this just my excuse!

The Earthworks from behind with the Sconces in front. Note the Gateway to the Earthworks on the left and the Sally Port on the right.

The two Sconces in front of the Ditch and Earthworks, again note the Sally Port, this time on the left.

The Earthworks Gateway.

When I bought these years ago I tried to order a really extensive set of pieces that could be used for loads of different defensive set ups. There are some nice touches to the set including a breached section, bastions, corner and end pieces, a gateway and a smaller sally port to allow the defenders to sally out unoticed and disrupt an assault. It's great that with a fresh lick of paint they are still going strong. Even a cursory reading around the subject of 16th Century Warfare will reveal that earthern defences were a key part of both attack and defence. They had been used extensively in Ancient Warfare and onwards but the rapid increase in the use of gunpowder weaponry that the late 15th to early 16th Century witnessed made them even more necessary. Many of the key Italian Wars battles, Garigliano, Ravenna and Bicocca to name but a few, were centred around assaults on Earthworks, it's difficult to playout the battles, sieges and skirmishes of the era without a decent set of them. These really do the job, especially when combined with the Trenches on the boards and the castle pieces I have already collected.

Below are some photos of the Trenches and Earthworks in action from a game I played out over the Summer. The game was set in the Autumn of 1503 where a stalemate had developed between the French and Spanish forces on either side of the Garigliano River. Eventually this was resolved by Gonzalo de Cordoba's daring attack across the river which won the Battle of Garigliano on 29th December 1503. Prior to this however the French under Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, had formed a fortified bridgehead across the river and attempted to dislodge the Spanish in a number of assaults from this position. Gonzaga passed command to Ludovico of Saluzzo when these attempts failed and before the Spanish attack in late December. My refight of one of these French assaults turned out to be rather dull with the French failing miserably in the face of a trench and the defended Spanish Earthworks so I didn't write a blog post on it. It is a conflict I will play out again at some point but with a few tweaks. The photos shown below are all from the game.

A small redoubt, this time the end sections have been added to the set up.

Swiss mercenaries attempt to storm defended Earthworks in the early 1500s.

Early Landsknecht defend the Earthworks against a Reisläufer assault in the War for Naples. 

Spanish Arquebusiers and Landsknecht provided by Maximilian I defend Spanish Earthworks against a French assault from their bridgehead across the Garigliano River in the Autumn of 1503.

While on the subject of fortifications I couldn't resist including a couple of rather odd things I discovered a while back but have never written a blog post where these findings fit in. I was reading through Ambroise Paré's "Journeys in Diverse Places", which can be found online: https://www.bartleby.com/38/2/Paré was a surgeon to the French Monarchs in the Mid 16th Century and wrote a fascinating account of the campaigns he took part in, one of which was the Siege of Metz in 1552. As one of the defenders he notes how during the siege the Imperialists knocked down one of the City Walls only to find a large Earthwork behind it:

"The wall having fallen, our men cried out at those outside, “Fox, fox, fox,” and they vented a thousand insults against one another. M. de Guise forbade any man on pain of death to speak with those outside, for fear there should be some traitor who would betray what was being done within the town. After this order, our men tied live cats to the ends of their pikes, and put them over the wall and cried with the cats, “Miaut, Miaut.

Truly the Imperials were much enraged, having been so long making a breach, at great loss, which was eighty paces wide, that fifty men of their front rank should enter in, only to find a rampart stronger than the wall. They threw themselves upon the poor cats, and shot them with arquebuses as men shoot at the popinjay."

It seems that as a taunt to the Imperialists besieging the city, the French hung live cats from their pikes and dangled them over the defences! This seems odd but it also reminded me of an image I had seen before depicting the Siege of Padua in 1509, completed around 1521. The image, shown below, depicts an assault on a bastion of Padua where the defenders are holding a cat out on a pike while the attack is taking place! Was this some 16th Century Siege tradition? Does it have something to do with traitors or cowardice? If anyone knows anymore about the meaning of this taunt and if it was something that went on regularly I would be interested to know more? The traditions and cultures of 16th Century Warfare always fascinate me.

That is probably enough rambling for today, I'd better get back to finishing this next block of Landsknechts!


The Siege of Padua, Agostini c.1521


Saturday, 20 October 2018

Landsknecht Arquebusiers, Mid 16th Century


Todays post shows the first part of my current project, a set of Landsknechts to cover the mid 16th Century. I know for a lot of wargamers a Landsknecht is a Landsknecht which is fine but, as you may have noticed from my previous posts on this topic, I do love to obsess over the finer details of how their fashions, arms and armour changed from around 1500 through to the end of the 16th Century. I have had my eye on The Assault Group "Royal Swiss" figures for a while now and already having some Mid 16th Century Tudors and more generic pike and shot I was keen to get them into my collection somehow. A unit of Swiss was not really what I wanted and it doesn't take much to turn them from Swiss into convincing mid century Landsknecht.

So far I have painted up the armoured part of the pike unit, the unarmoured ranks and command are yet to be done. The shot are complete and shown here. Beards or moustaches have been added to most of them, as Landsknecht images from the 1530s to 1550s tend to show them with impressive facial hair! They also all wear Katzbalgers, the characteristic German short sword, at jaunty angles as seen in the contemporary art work. The extra bits and pieces on the Warlord Games Plastic Landsknecht sprues were really useful for converting these. Any of the stitched on crosses that the figures had sculpted on them have been removed. I think the pike and command will have more elements that clearly demarcate them as being from the middle of the 1500s so will leave a full discussion of the images and armour for when the pike are completed. I have included a couple of period images just to give an example of the look I am aiming for.

Assault Group Miniatures "Royal Swiss" converted into Landsknechts.

Landsknecht Arquebusiers for the Mid 16th Century.

Landsknecht Shot c.1530-1550.

The Landsknecht Arquebusiers in the tapestry image below don't differ that much from those of the 1510s and 1520s and at a pinch this arquebusier unit would be fine for the mid 1520s right up until the mid 1550s when the "Pluderhosen" become pretty much universal for the Landsknecht. If you have a look at the picture of the armoured soldier from the Códice De Trajes and the armoured "work in progress" figures the style of infantry armour of the mid 1500s becomes clearer. While the Arquebusier miniatures fit into a wider time frame I feel the armoured troops are more specifically for the 1530s and 1540s. I have 40 figures yet to paint for the pike and command and need to do all the pikes for them. Hopefully this shouldn't take too long despite Landsknecht being very time consuming. So far these have been a joy to paint though.

Landsknecht Arquebusiers during the attack on Goleta in 1535, the tapestries depicting the Tunis Campaign were made in the 1540s.

Códice De Trajes, 1547 Habsburg Soldiers

WIP - The Landsknecht Mid Century Pike so far, note the addition of beards to a lot of the TAG figures.

WIP - The Armoured Mid 16th Century Landsknecht so far

While on the subject of Landsknecht, last month I posted some pictures of my Reenactment kit and wondered if any of you would like to see pictures of the Wargames Foundry event at Stoke in June. Rather than put up any pictures here I am going to post links to some really good photos on Facebook that show the event in detail. All of the albums can be viewed without actually joining Facebook, even if it tries to get you to log in you don't need to! They show recreations of what the English, Irish and German troops who took part in the battle in 1487 may have looked like. I am well aware that the German troops in 1487 certainly didn't look like those shown in the photos but at least there was some acknowledgement that these mercenaries took part and I reckon they have made an admirable effort to look like the earlier 16th Century Landsknecht. I guess not everyone can be obsessive about the clothing of German mercenaries over 500 years ago.The albums can be found here https://www.facebook.com/pg/gwp.reenactment/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1756661851079936 here https://www.facebook.com/pg/photosm/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1038639542978954 and here https://www.facebook.com/pg/photosm/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1037975319712043. If you do take the time to look at these you will see that we were filming a documentary about the battle which can be viewed here https://nottstv.com/programme/rediscovering-notts-the-forgotten-battlefield/ . I will warn you now though it's a pretty bad documentary but you may find it fun.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

1513 Flodden Tudor English and a Reenacting update.



Perhaps not the most inspiring title for this post but over the Summer, while I had some time off work, I had a look at the army I can now muster for the English at Flodden. The beauty of this set up is that aside from the flags, which I specifically collected or printed out to represent some of the English Leaders at Flodden, most of the rest of the army is made up of figures that I already had for other projects. The white coated Bill and Bow and the Border Horse were painted for the English that campaigned in France in 1513. The unliveried archers are fairly generic and have been fielded as Frenchmen or "Rebels" in my games. Similarly most of the guns and some of the polearmed troops are also generic but really look the part here when fielded under the English Banners.

I have only included a few of the Banners and Standards that were carried at Flodden, many of the English Nobility and Gentry from the Northern Counties and the Royal Fleet took part. What I have done is included the Banners of the leaders of each of the English "Battles". So we have the Earl of Surrey and his two sons Thomas Howard, the Lord Admiral, and Edmund Howard who struggled in the opening stages of the clash ( my previous blog post covers this). In charge of the reserve is Lord Dacre and his Borderers while sir Edward Stanley takes the English left flank.

As many collectors of this period will know, although there are bits and pieces here and there for the Flodden Campaign, no manufacturer really covers it in depth and does it justice. Perhaps one day this will be rectified. Despite this I hope these pictures demonstrate that with a careful selection of figures and some conversion work a convincing Flodden English Army can be put together. The figures used here are of course plenty of the Perry's Late Medievals, some Wargames Foundry Wars of the Roses Infantry and Landsknechts, lots of converted Assault Group figures, some Steel Fist dismounted Men-at-Arms, Stuart's Tudor Dolls and a fairly large number of Old Citadel figures. I think there are nearly 70 of the Old Empire Archers from Citadel that were sculpted by the Perrys in the 1990s! The flags are a mix of Pete's Flags, Freezywater and even a few home print outs. I have Ray Rousell to thank for the home printed ones: https://onelover-ray.blogspot.com/search/label/Flodden%20flags.


An English Army of 1513

Edmund Howard, accompanied by Henry Gray and Christopher Savage.

Thomas Howard, Early of Surrey, whose men also fly Henry VIII's Dragon Standard, accompanied by Sir Marmaduke Constable and Lord Scrope.

Troops from Sir Edward Stanley.

The English Reserve under Lord Dacre

Dacre's Border Horse.

English Light Guns between the "Bill and Bow" Blocks.

Another picture of the Border Horse.

Surrey's Block with Thomas Howard, the Lord Admiral, and Edmund Howard in the distance.

The English centre under the Earl of Surrey.

An Early Tudor English Army for Flodden 1513.

The Border Horse form the reserve.

As the Summer is now over I thought you may like to see the developments in my Reenactment "Kit" for this year. I took part in an event every month from June through to September which is pretty good going for me. One of these was an event to commemorate Stoke Field at the Wargames Foundry which was a strange collision of both of my hobbies in one weekend, although they obviously overlap in many ways. While my wargaming collection is very much geared towards the 16th Century I indulge in my passion for the later 15th Century through my reenacting.

In terms of my armour the brigandine that I ordered last year has been completed by Ash of Armour Services Historical: https://www.armour-services-historical.co.uk/. It is based on the brigandine worn in Hans Memling's Beheading of John the Baptist and I think you will agree is a bloody good replica of the one worn in the painting! Over 400 rivets have been used in it to create the look seen below. It also has accompanying laced on "Spaulders" which are not worn in the original painting but were widely used in the period. The Pastrana Tapestries, depicting the Portugese King Alfono V's victories in North Africa and made in Flanders, contain many great representations of lots of brigandines with spaulders being worn, I have included a detail from this below.

Anyone that has painted the Perry Late Medieval Plastics will be interested to know that the the "studded" effect on the miniatures wearing brigandines is an attempt to try and represent the rivets seen here. One of the Light Cavalry Plastics even has the brigandine spaulders as well. It is a stunning piece of armour and I am very pleased with the final look it gives when worn with my maille and other pieces of armour. I am trying to create a look that could be straight from a Late 15th Century Illustration rather than looking like a "reenactor" and I feel I am getting closer to that goal with this.

Detail from St John Altarpiece, Hans Memling c.1479, showing the brigandine.

Detail from one of the Pastrana Tapestries woven in Tournai, late 15th Century. Note all the brigandine spaulders that are worn by the troops.

The finished replica.

My interpretation of a late 15th Century Infantryman.

In terms of my "civilian" style 15th Century "kit" I feel I have also moved closer to my goal of trying to look like someone who has stepped out of an art work or manuscript. Last year my "Mahoitred" doublet was completed. Mahoitres are the puffed shoulders which make you look like the incredible hulk, with a much bigger physique than you really have, when a coat or gown is worn over them! My doublet is based on the executioner's one in the Dieric Bouts Altar Piece, the detail of which is shown below. To complete the look I added a "Sleeveless Livery" or vest to this. I am not sure these garments really have an official name but they are basically a skirted vest that covers the points that fasten your doublet as well as your cod piece and backside. Those of us used to painting Landsknechts will be familiar with all sorts of scandalous attire but in the late 15th Century you were not considered fully dressed if simply wearing doublet and hose.

Of course there were all sorts of occasions when doublet and hose would be all that was worn, context is always key, but in terms of formal attire a coat or gown would normally be worn over the doublet, the doublet essentially being a foundation garment. If it was too warm to wear a full gown or coat, or perhaps the arms needed to be more free for movement, then a sleeveless version like this could be worn. Initially these items of clothing seem strange but when you take the time to have a look at the art of the period they appear all over the place. Many of you will note the similarity to the military style liveries worn over armour in the late 15th Century and the civilian ones are indeed very much the same. Whether or not the civilian ones were always in a Lord's colours like the military vests seems more open to question. There are lots of images of these, a few of which I have shown below, and it seems that while some may have been in a Lord's chosen colours in others they seem to just be another civilian garment. They may equally have been in the colours of a guild or fraternity rather than have been in the colours of a particular household, it's hard to say.

The finished look is shown in the last image below, I am sure next year I will want to tweak and change it again! As with my miniatures the reenacting is always a work in progress and the idea of ever completing an outfit doesn't really seem likely. Turning back to the miniatures I am currently working on yet another block of Landsknechts for the 1530s to 1550s this time. I am not sure I will have them ready by next month but they are on the way.

Barthélemy d’Eyck, 1450-60 Le Livre des Tournois. Note all the Sleeveless "Liveries" or "vests" worn by the men in the image.

Histoire de Renaud de Montauban, c.1470. Note the Sleeveless "Liveries" with a white edging.

A good view of one of these garments from the back, Histoire de Renaud de Montauban, c.1470.

A possible English Source for one of these garments, Literary Source from Morgan Library Museum England c.1470.

My doublet is based on this image, Justice of Emperor Otto III Beheading of the Inoccent Count and Ordeal by Fire Dieric Bouts c.1473-1475.

The finished look with a "Mahoitred Doublet" and "Sleeveless Livery".

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Home, Huntly and Howard


Last weekend Stuart of Army Royal, http://stuartsworkbench.blogspot.com/, and I engaged in mortal combat once again. This time the setting was the Anglo-Scots border in the Autumn of 1513. We felt that as Stuart's collection is specifically aimed at the English French campaign in the Summer of 1513 and I have slowly been building forces that can be used to put together a Scots army for 1513 this would be a great setting for our games. Using our ever evolving Lion Rampant rules we played three different scenarios all set around James IV's invasion of England in this fateful year. As normal the pictures are of the actual games and I didn't record the action blow by blow but the captions of the photos should give a fairly good indication of the way the games turned out. For all of the games Stuart commanded the English while I played the Scots.

Border Horse from the Kerr Clan ride out to secure the bridge.


 The Fall of Etal Castle

James IV's initial crossing of the Border in 1513 was marked by the taking of some English fortresses, most notably Norham on 29th August but another, smaller fortress, taken was Etal. For our first game we decided to play out a fictional defence of Etal by an English force attempting to delay the Scots advance. Both of us would start with 18-22 points of figures in a Lion Rampant Retinue on the table. These Retinues would race for control of the bridge in the centre. Whoever gained the bridge first would then role a D3. This was the number of turns it would take for their larger 38-42 point Retinue to arrive while the side that didn't reach the bridge first would wait double the turns rolled for their larger force to arrive.

The Scots would gain "Glory" for every unit that left the table at the opposite end, this would mean they could start encircling Etal for a brief siege. The English would gain "Glory" for every Scots unit destroyed. We also used the Honour Special Orders from Pikemans Lament to add another level to the game objectives. The forces were as follows:

The English

The English Garrison's Sortie
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Marmaduke Constable, Retinue Leader)
2 Units of Border Horse
1 Unit of Shire Bow

The English Relief Force
1 Unit of Foot Knights (The Earl of Surrey, Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Edmund Howard)
1 Unit of Demilancers (Lord Scrope)
1 Unit of Shire Bill
1 Unit of Shire Bow
1 Unit of Retinue Bill
1 Unit of Retinue Bow
1 Culverin

The Scots

The Scots Scouting Party
2 Units of Border Horse (1 of which was Dand Kerr, Retinue Leader)
2 Units of Highlanders

The Scots Invasion Force
1 Unit of Foot Knights (James IV, King of Scotland, Retinue Leader)
2 Units of Scots Pike
2 Units of Shire Bow
2 Units of Retinue Bill (Borderers)
1 Unit of Highlanders
1 Unit of Demilancers


The Sortie from the Garrison attempt to delay the Scots advance.

James IV leads his invasion force towards Etal Castle.

Things went badly for the English from the start in this game. They failed to get to the bridge first, this wasn't helped by them initially having to negotiate rougher terrain than the Scots. The Garrison's Sortie suffered at the hands of the Highlanders and Border Horse who rapidly pushed them back to the point where only Sir Marmaduke Constable and his Foot Knights remained. He sought cover from the arrows of the Scottish Light Horse and Infantry by getting into the ditch that surrounded Etal. Unfortunately this left him vulnerable to the Highlanders who swiftly attacked and laid him low!

As the Scots main invasion force slowly moved forward under the watchful eyes of their King the castle's relief force arrived atop the hill. The Scots scouts were quickly dispersed by the English reinforcements with only Dand Kerr and a few of his Border Horse riding to safety, enabling them to play a further part in the clash. As the siege train crept forward the English had plenty of time to establish a defensive position while sending their Demilancers forward to disrupt James IV's advance. They were struck by particular bad luck when their Culverin crew decided today was not the day to stand on a hill and fire at an advancing invasion force and promptly fled the field without firing a shot. The Scots were met with opposite fortune as more Highlanders arrived on the field to join the attack.

The Scots Border Horse force the English back.

The aged Marmaduke Constable attempts to shelter in the castles ditch after his ill advised attempt to stall the Scots.

The Scots invasion force moves forward.

English reinforcements arrive in the form of men under another old soldier, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, his son Edmund Howard and Lord Scrope (We thought Sir Rhys Ap Thomas's Raven Standard was pretty close to that of Lord Scrope for this game!)

The English secure the top of the hill while the Demilancers ride on ahead to disrupt the Scots column.

The Scots are about to reach the river.

Etal Castle with the Scots advancing in front.

Lord Scrope's horsemen cross the bridge in an attempt to disorganise the marching Scots pike.

The Scots approached in a very slow but organised manner. This allowed the Highlanders, Kerr's remaining Border Horse and the Scots Archers to all shoot at the feared English Bowmen at the same time as they crossed the river and advanced up the steep terrain towards the castle. The Scots took casualties from the English arrows but there were enough of them to rout the English Archers. With their Bowmen gone the English Billmen and Foot Knights were forced to abandon their defensive position and attack the now larger Scots host. The Demilancers bravely charged one of the Scots Pike blocks but were defeated. They then engaged in another clash with the Scots armoured Horsemen, causing casualties to the Scots, but they could not stop the advancing army.

On the top of the hill the English faired badly having lost both their Archers and Artillery. A savage melee ensued both in and around the defensive ditch of Etal and the advancing Scots Highlanders and Kerr's remaining Border Horse suffered. For a moment it even looked as if an attempt on James IV's life might be made by the surrounded English but it was not to be. Scottish numbers were just too great and having lost many men the English Foot Knights and Billmen retreated leaving Etal's garrison to surrender.

English Archers valiantly defend the hill top against waves of Highlanders, Islesmen and Borderers.

The two Howards with some of the Earl of Surrey's best troops brace themselves for an assault.

The English Demilancers charge the Scots pike and a brief melee ensues.

The Scots plunge waist deep into the river.

Having lost their archers the English prepare to sell themselves dearly.

Edmund Howard shows similar valour to that shown at Flodden as he stands firm against the Scots tide. They are too numerous however and the English retire leaving the garrison of Etal to their fate.

 Flodden Field; Edmund Howard vs Lord Home and the Earl of Huntly

Our second game was something of an epic. We decided to refight the famous clash at the start of the Battle of Flodden. This involved Lord Home's Borderers and the Earl of Huntly's Lowlanders and Highlanders crashing down the slopes of Branxton Hill into a beleaguered Edmund Howard, the youngest son of the English Army general, the Earl of Surrey. Many of his men fled leaving him and his retinue in a desperate position as they were surrounded by the Borderers and Highlanders. Sir Henry Gray was captured and Christopher Savage was killed. Maurice Berkeley, captain of the Mary George had been sent to stiffen Edmund Howard's ranks with 200 Marines. He too was cut down. Howard had his standard bearer killed and was thrown to the ground three times before the timely intervention of Lord Dacre and his mounted reserve. His Border Horse charged into the melee and John "The Bastard" Heron, who had been one of the protaganists in the escalation of hostilities between England and Scotland, cut his way through to Howard to save him. Howard himself killed Davy Home, Lord Home's brother, in combat.

We thought this would be a great scenario to play through and decided to make the killing or capturing of the various "Characters" in this clash as the way to achieve victory. The battle was fought with Lord Home's troops deploying along the top of a ridge with Edmund Howard in the centre of the table. Neither Huntly or Dacre's Retinues started on the table. As the Scots player I could decide when to activate Huntly's forces who would enter via move activations on the English right flank. As soon as Huntly's men joined the battle the possibility of Dacre joining was then rolled for in subsequent turns. He would arrive from behind Edmund Howard's Retinue first on an 11+ on 2D6, then 9+, then 7+ and so on. Again his Retinue could only enter via move activations.

"Glory" was awarded as normal but each side also gained the following:
The Scots got 5 Glory for killing/capturing Edmund Howard, Christopher Savage, Henry Grey, Maurice Berkeley, Lord Dacre or John "The Bastard" Heron. If Dand Kerr killed John "The Bastard Heron" they got 7 Glory for this (this was to represent the feud between the Kerrs and John Heron).
The English got 5 Glory for killing/capturing Lord Home, Davy Home, the Earl of Huntly and Dand Kerr. They got 7 Glory for safely getting Edmund Howard off the table behind the English lines.


Branxton Hill, 9 September 1513. The English Right Flank under Edmund Howard faces Lord Home and the Earl of Huntly.

After many of the Lancashire and Cheshire levies have fled, being unhappy under the command of a Howard, Edmund Howard is left with a core of Men-at-Arms, including Christopher Savage and Henry Gray, and 200 Marines under Maurice Berkeley, captain of the Mary George.

Home's Borderers, including many members of Clan Kerr, a border famly keen to avenge the death of March Warden Robert Kerr in 1508.

The armies for this Battle were as follows:

The English

Edmund Howard

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Edmund Howard, Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Christopher Savage)
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Henry Gray)
1 Unit of Retinue Bill (Maurice Berkeley)
2 Units of Shire Bill
2 Units of Shire Archers
1 Culverin

Lord Dacre

1 Unit of Demilancers (Lord Dacre, Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Demilancers (John "The Bastard" Heron)
4 Units of Border Horse

The Scots

Lord Alexander Home

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Lord Home, Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Davy Home)
1 Unit of Retinue Bill (Dand Kerr and his Borderers with Polearms)
4 Units of Scots Pike
1 Culverin

Alexander Gordon, The Earl of Huntly

1 Unit of Foot Knights (The Earl of Huntly, Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Scots Pike
6 Units of Highlanders (divided up as 2 Units each of Galloglass, Kern and Redshanks from the Irish lists I am working on)


After an inauspicious start by Home, the Earl of Huntly flanks Edmund Howard's troops with Highlanders and Pikemen from his Gordon Estates.

A fierce melee develops in the centre as the beleaguered English defend themselves on two sides.

This game did not start like the real Flodden at all! Home's troops simply could not get off the hill to attack, some even starting to move backwards as English archery and Artillery started to take its toll. This led Huntly to come crashing in on Edmund Howard's right which distracted Howard's Retinue sufficiently to allow Home's Retinue to move down the hill and also get into the fight. The English Archers and Artillery all fell as the Scots swarmed down the hill but their arrow and firepower had already seriously weakened the brittle Scots Pike. To make matters worse for the Scots, Lord Dacre was quick to arrive on the scene and his Border Horsemen soon started to pick off bands of Gordon Highlanders.

The fighting in the centre of the field was still very close and it looked like it could go either way. The Scots had a success when Lord Home personally defeated Edmund Howard in combat and it seemed Howard's Retinue would collapse. Home's personal retinue was then mauled by Christopher Savage and a body of Foot Knights before Alexander Home himself was bested by Lord Dacre. The Scots had not counted on the ferocity and tenacity of the English Foot Knights and Billmen! Sir Henry Gray fought his way out of a perilous situation as the Gordons surrounded him. The melee swayed back and forth but the Scots Pike units faltered while the Highlanders began to be ridden down by Dacre's Borderers.

The tide had clearly turned. Davy Home and Dand Kerr went down in the fighting and the Scots quickly melted away. The Earl of Huntly managed to make a fighting retreat and escape the field but it was a resounding English victory. Admittedly the loss of Edmund Howard was a big shock but all the other English "Characters" had made it through along with nearly all of Dacre's Retinue while the Scots had lost all of their "Characters" save the Earl of Huntly, and suffered far heavier casualties than the English. There really was a touch of the historical Flodden in this game after all.

A view of the fighting from Branxton Hill. 
Lord Dacre arrives in time to steady the English lines.

It is looking like a close call in the centre of the battlefield.

Lord Home bests Edmund Howard in a challenge! The battle hasn't all gone the way it did historically.

Home is then attacked by Christopher Savage, loosing members of his personal retinue.

Finally Home is challenged by Lord Dacre and felled, again another twist on the real Battle in which Home was one of the few higher ranking Scots nobles to survive.

Things are still looking worrying for the English with Sir Henry Gray about to be overwhelmed by the Gordons.

But the arrival of Dacre's Border Horse is enough to see off the remaining Gordon troops. The Earl of Huntly has escaped the field.

A Sting in the Scottish Tail?

The final game was another fictional encounter, but like Etal Castle was based on something that did happen after Flodden. On the morning after Flodden, 10 September 1513, the Captain in charge of securing the guns, Sir Philip Tilney, was attacked by a body of Scots Border Horse who unsuccessfully attempted to recover their artillery. In our game we had one of the captured Scots guns being removed from a shallow river where it had fallen off it's carriage whilst on the way back across the border. This was mainly because I wanted to use Stuart's excellent model of a gun being recovered on my new river terrain!

We played the "Defending the Indefensible" scenario from Lion Rampant with the gun being the objective that the Scots needed to get into contact with in order to win the game. The forces were as follows (amusingly we both chose exactly the same forces for this game which wasn't planned):

The English

1 Unit of Retinue Bill (Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Demilancers
2 Units of Shire Bow
2 Units of Border Horse

The Scots

1 Unit of Retinue Bill (Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Demilancers
2 Units of Shire Bow
2 Units of Border Horse


The English gunners struggle as one of the large Scots guns captured at Flodden has become trapped in a shallow river.

Home and Kerr troops that have survived the battle see this as the perfect opportunity to exact some revenge and take back the valuable artillery piece.

This was a very straightforward game, to be honest it's a scenario that leads to a quick result, but it was also really close. Seeing that the English had not actually positioned a unit around the fallen gun the Scots raced down the hill and towards the river in an attempt to reach it before English troops could move further down the baggage train to aid the defence. Two Units of Scots Border Horse and some more heavily armoured Borderers (Demilancers) hurtled forwards leaving the Scots foot behind. 

The English Archers defending the gun and struggling labourers did a good job of thinning the ranks of the Border Horse but the more heavily armoured horsemen made it into the river. Just as it looked as if they would reach the artillery piece the English Border Horse rode to the rescue and in a bloody skirmish in the shallow water they pushed back the Scots Horse. Having had their Cavalry shot and mauled the Scots Infantry retreated. They weren't going to be recapturing any guns today.

The Kerr Horsemen race forward to take the gun.

So too do some more heavily armoured horsemen from Lord Home's retinue

The Scots nearly reach the gun but English Border Horsemen crash into the river in time to stop them. In combination with their archers they see the Scots off and keep possession of the gun.

Of course after fighting out such dramatic and fierce border clashes we had to refresh ourselves with the obligatory beer or two! These were great scenarios to play through and it was also a real treat to use the new terrain for the games. I am not sure what part of the Early 16th Century we will choose for our next clashes but I have a feeling the Anglo-Scots Border Wars will be something we definitely return to in the future.

Far from the Scottish border the two "Generals" enjoy a few beers!