Tuesday 9 May 2017

Beneath the Walls of Therouanne

Hard to believe as it may be I have actually had a wargame! Three in fact! It only took six years since I started this blog but then again there is no point rushing things. Stuart of Army Royal, http://stuartsworkbench.blogspot.co.uk/, invited me to his for some games of Lion Rampant a couple of weekends ago. We played his adapted version of the rules, tweaked for the early 16th century, and fought three clashes in front of the walls of Therouanne. Great fun they were too! We weren't too fussed about every detail of the rules, you will notice in the pictures below we didn't adhere to the 3 inches between units rule for example, but the games had a great renaissance flavour and the activation and wild charge rules saw our troops getting into all sorts of trouble on the table without either of us being able to do much about it!

The photos below are of the games taken as we were playing them, the figures weren't posed afterwards. Because of this some parts of the games are not that well covered as I was too busy rolling dice and the lighting and photos aren't always great. Similarly I did not record every move and dice role, to be honest I would rather enjoy the game than feel like some kind of minute taker. Instead I wrote up a summary of each of the games the following day, and gave them a bit of a Tudor flavouring as well. Stuart may argue there is a bit of bias in there towards the French who I was playing!

The English under the Duke of Buckingham head along the walls in an attempt to return to their camp. They have already dispersed the Francs Archers.

Hammer and Anvil

The first game was the "Hammer and Anvil" scenario. Stuart played the English under Edward Stafford Duke of Buckingham returning from a foray along the walls of Therouanne, heading back to the English camp, and I played the French, under the Chevalier Bayard, attempting to stop them. Initially Bayard deployed out on his own with his men-at-arms, obviously in an attempt to gain some glory, accompanied by a few lowly Franc Archers. The Francs Archers were immediately dispersed by the English archers and Landsknecht shot, or Almains as the English called them. Buckingham took the fight to Bayard and the two men with their mounted retainers broke lances in a series of clashes underneath the walls. Buckingham was unhorsed and bested and flushed with victory Bayards men-at-arms rode on into the English ranks only to be defeated themselves!

Meanwhile further from the walls the English Border Horse had nearly fled the field when French reinforcements in the form of Mounted Crossbowmen and Stradiots arrived and  sent the Northern Horsemen running back. Closer to the walls the English foot pressed on despite the loss of their bowmen and leader. They easily scattered some French Aventuriers and left the field being shadowed by the Stradiots and Crossbowmen. Some of the English had made it back to their camp but not enough to secure an English victory.

Buckingham and his demilancers charge Bayard who counter charges with his men-at-arms.

Both sets of horsemen suffer losses and regroup for another clash.

The English follow up behind the Duke of Buckingham

The English Border horse attempt to escape while the clash in front of the walls is taking place.

Buckingham is coming off worse in his clash with Bayard

Having unhorsed Buckingham, Bayard crashes into the English Archers who he will send running only to be unhorsed and defeated by the supporting English billmen.

Unluckily for the Border horsemen, just as they are about to escape the French Mounted Crossbowmen and Stradiots arrive and block their path!

The English billmen and some accompanying Landsknecht Arquebusiers manage to disperse the French Aventuriers who have sallied out of the town to trap them. The are shadowed by the French Mounted Crossbowmen but make good their escape.

A Taxing Afternoon

The second game we played was the "A Taxing Afternoon" scenario. We placed six items such as barrels, pigs and wagons, amidst a small farm outside the walls that could be collected and taken back off the table to earn points. We decided to dice for the value of these when they were collected, we didn't put stickers underneath as suggested in the Lion Rampant book, but in hindsight should have perhaps used another method.

The French Mounted Crossbowmen rode into the village took a wagon and left! The Commander of the Calais Garrison, Sir Richard Carew, entered the farm with his infantry, the English Archers doing a good job of harassing Bayard and his men-at-arms. Bayard rather unchivalrously fled with some more points, he did momentarily have a change of heart and turn back to face the English but then though better of it and carried on off the table.

The English had slowly been wheeling an organ gun up into the farm which was unleashed upon the Francs Archers who had initially been successful in driving some of the English billmen back into the woods. This sent the Francs Archers running with some nasty casualties.

This game was fun but we got the scenario a bit confused with regard as to who could capture tokens which made it rather short - you can tell we don't game much!

Bayard and some accompanying infantry advance towards the farm.

The English enter the farm as well, waging war with sword and flame! Some dice can be seen in this photo, evidence I actually had a game!

A view from the walls of Therouanne. Bayard is entering the farm having lost one of his men-at-arms to galling arrows from the English Archers.

French defenders look on at the skirmishing in the suburbs.

The English archers harass the French men-at-arms while the organ gun is slowly wheeled up in support.

The Franc Archers turn the tables on the English Archers after taking a barrel from the farm. Their joy is short lived as they are about to be blasted by the English Organ gun!


For the third game we fought a slightly larger skirmish outside the walls of Therouanne as some of the French garrison sallied out to test the English besiegers. The Landsknechts in English pay, intent on plunder, went straight for some French wagons defended by Francs Archers who sent the "Almaynes" running. This was a sideshow to the main event in the centre which saw the English and French manouvering and harassing each other around some hedges in the centre of the field.

On the English left, Buckingham initially sent the Stradiots reeling only to see them rally and slowly weaken his horsemen through skirmishing attacks. Border Horsemen and Mounted Crossbowmen skirmished with each other as the forces drew nearer. The French commander and his Gendarmes, (Bayard had hung up his spurs for this clash!) thundered into the English infantry initially causing chaos but quickly realising they had bitten of more than they could chew and being defeated in the hedges! Similarly Buckingham and his horsemen were brought down by the French as the Stradiots lured them nearer. This was the  last success for the French defenders however as they soon found themselves under a rain of English arrows and were slowly pushed back to their walls.

The Stradiots and Mounted Crossbowmen tried to counter attack again but the fight was over. The Francs archers who had successfully pushed back the Landsknechts early on were shooed away by the Border Horse and English bowmen and the entire French force melted into the ditch as men attempted to get back to the safety of the walls. Therouannes guns fired a final salvo at the English as they drew nearer to cover the French as they fled the field.

The English besiegers advance to contain the French sally

The French defenders who have left the town gates in an attempt to test the English.

The English advance, the Landsknechts on the English right flank are heading straight for a couple of French wagons.

The Francs archers take casualties from their English counterparts.

Overview of the French defenders

The two forces test each other in the centre.

A French gun fires a morale boosting shot from the walls but this does little to deter the English.

A Landsknecht in the French Garrison. He doesn't seem too concerned with the fighting outside the walls. I love the brickwork on Stuarts fantastic custom built terrain.

The clash is in full swing! Again note the dice - an actual game!

At the top of the field the Stradiots have fled from Buckingham and his demilancers while at the bottom of the field the Landsknechts in English pay, or Almains, advance on the Franc Archers only to be put to flight.

The Border horse and Demilancers advance on the French.

The French centre, the French Gendarmes are about to charge and defeat the Border Horse going on to then be defeated themselves. 

The French Gendarmes have charged in and caused havoc only to be quickly defeated by the English infantry in the hedges.

The English right flank.

Another view from the walls of Therouanne, the French are starting to give ground to the English.

The English infantry in the centre have taken a bit of a battering but are rallying to press on into the French.

The English on the right flank start to drive the French back towards Therouanne.
The French light horse, Stradiots and Mounted Crossbowmen, attempt to stall the English as the rest of the French melt back into the ditch and attempt to get back into Therouanne.

I really enjoyed these games and will be playing Lion Rampant again. Stuart was a fantastic host and hopefully I will be able to host a game or two next time. Some of his rule tweaks can be found here: http://stuartsworkbench.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/lion-rampant-aar.html, however we have already amended these slighty on reflection of how the games went. Of course the games have also given me a whole host of future project ideas. Some casualty bases, Stuarts were superb, and perhaps some more skirmish style bases of halberdiers that could be used either in Lion Rampant or as part of a Forlorn Hope for my full collection are a few ideas I may try soon.

The two generals!


  1. A specatuclar report, no doubt! Three great looking games, beautiful terrain, figures...and walls!

  2. Excellent reporting Oli and not a mention of beer !

    I really thought the 16c tweaks to the rules worked well and gave a definite period feel.

    Looking forward to the next time


    1. Hahaha! Stuart if I got onto the subject of beer that could be a whole other subject for a blog!

      I agree some more Tudor flavoured clashes will be great

  3. Well, that is fantastic to get some gaming in after working on a project for six years! However, I would REALLY enjoy seeing your fine collection out on the gaming table in a LARGE scale action soon.

    1. Like a true Condottiere I have so far avoided committing my forces to a large scale action!

      But it has been thought about, it's just a question of logistics and rules Jonathan!

    2. "Like a true Condottiere I have so far avoided committing my forces to a large scale action!"

      Well played!

  4. A splendid sight to see and behold! A real pleasure. And, Yes, go for the large scale battle! I want to see them too.

    1. Cheers Michael - A bigger game will take place sometime - but it could be a while!

  5. Good to see you get some games in for sure...next, Pavia? :-)

    1. Cheers Peter, the entire War of the League of Cambrai is up next!

  6. Great games and great report/pics. Looking forward to having a try out of LR rules very soon.

    1. Cheers Simon, I think you will enjoy the rules, especially with Stuarts tweaks to them. They capture the period flavour really well.

  7. Great looking games and nice to see you get your figures out. It's funny I was playing lion rampant on Friday night , it's great fun. I must try it with the 16th century mods.
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain, yes it works really well with the 16th century mods you should definitely give it a try.