Tuesday 22 June 2021

"this was the chaunce of warre", Lord Maxwell's 1524 raid into the Western March and Surrey's 1520 raid on the O'More

Stuart and I have continued our Tudor based series of wargames this time focusing on a raid across the West March by the Scots in the summer of 1524 and the Earl of Surrey's first aggressive move as Lord Deputy of Ireland. These games took place a week ago and Stuart filmed a series of videos for them which can be found on his "Army Royal" Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1179255685825076/. You may wish to have a look at this as it features loads of Stuart's works in progress as well as discussions about Tudor warfare and modelling early 16th century armies. It may be worth joining just to see the videos for these games which feature my awful vests and a haircut that is not disimillar to that of an Irish kern!

"this was the chaunce of warre"

Following the English assaults on Ferniehurst, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2020/04/dacres-attack-on-ferniehurst-1523.html, and Jedburgh, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-english-attack-on-jedburgh.html in September 1523 and the Franco-Scots counterattack on Wark in October of that year, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-siege-of-wark-1523.html the hostilities on the Anglo-Scots border had continued into 1524. The summer of 1524 saw around 1,000 English engage in a chance encounter with 2,000 Scots in the East March in a border clash in which the Bastard Heron was slain whilst in the West March Hall described the following encounter:

"The vii daie of Iuly the lorde Maxwell of Scotlande, and sir Alexander Iorden with banners displayed, and Scottes to the nombre of foure thousand, entered into England at the West Marches by Carleile, and began to burne of every side: then the Englishemen assembled on every side, and so they were in nombre ii. M men, and fiercely set on the Scottes, there was a great fighte, for the space of an houre, at the last the Englishmen brake the array of the Scottes, and them discomfited, and toke CCC Scottes prisoners, the Englishmen that had taken prisoners, went away with their prisoners. For sir Alexander Iorden and his sonne and diverse other were taken prisoners and by their departyng, the compaignie of the Englishemen was muche minished. The lorde Maxwell beyng a politique man, perceived that & sodainly called his people together, and them encoraged, and began a new skirmishe, and recovered all the prisoners almost, and toke diverse English men prisoners, this was the chaunce of warre."

4,000 Scots raiders under the command of Lord Maxwell, Warden of the West March, and Alexander Gordon were caught by a force of 2,000 English borderers who were called to arms as the Scots pillaged and burnt. In an hour long clash the speed of the English attack seems to have initially given them the advantage but as a substantial part of the English force withdrew with 300 or so Scots prisoners, including Alexander Gordon and his son, Lord Maxwell counter attacked, recovering most of the Scots prisoners and turning their English captors into prisoners themselves.

The Scenario

Based on the above the main aim of this game was to take prisoners, who could then be exchanged for ransoms as was common in the border raids. As always we used our heavily modified Renaissance Rampant rules for this game, Stuart took command of the Scots and I took command of the English defenders.

When entering hand to hand combat a unit could declare that is was attempting to take a unit prisoner rather than defeat them in the normal way. Units that counter charged could also make this declaration but units that were defending could not. If a unit that declared it was attempting to take a unit prisoner won a round of combat then the defeated unit still lost any casualties it suffered but instead of then retreating and taking a courage test is remained in base to base contact with the winning unit and was then considered "captured".

A unit with prisoners could still defend itself in attacks and shoot, if it had the ability to do so, but could no longer attack other units. A unit with prisoners could move 6" per turn as a maximum. The captured unit could do nothing. If the unit with the captured unit in tow was then beaten in a round of combat or battered the captured unit was considered freed and could act as normal during its next turn. The freed unit did not need to take a courage test - they were considered relieved to have escaped!

Retinue leaders could also be captured in this manner in a challenge. If they were defeated after the challenger had declared they were trying to capture them their whole unit became captured and was moved into base to base contact with the challengers unit. The receiver of the challenge could not declare they were trying to capture the challenger so they would kill them if they won the challenge.
To get the victory points for a captured unit the unit that had taken them prisoner had to either leave by their table edge with the captured unit or have them as prisoner at the end of the game when all of the opponents forces had been defeated.

Victory were based on points which would be awarded as follows:

6 points per enemy retinue leader and their unit captured
3 points per enemy unit captured

The Scottish raiding party under Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Maxwell, and Alexander Gordon faces off against the locally raised English border force.

Lord Maxwell and his retinue amidst the Scots pike blocks.

English borderers defend the West March against the Scots raiding party.

The Armies

The Scots

Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Maxwell

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Lord Maxwell) 
3 Units of Lowland Pike
2 Units of Border Foot
1 Unit of Bow 
1 Unit of Arquebusiers
1 Unit of Border Horse

Sir Alexander Gordon

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Sir Alexander Gordon) 
3 Units of Lowland Pike 
1 Unit of Retinue Foot 
1 Unit of Bow 
1 Unit of Border Horse

The English

For the English I was unable to find who captained the local forces so for the English leaders in this scenario two of the local border captains who were active in 1524 were drafted in. Lord Thomas Dacre's son, William Dacre, who would be warden of the West March himself from 1527 to 1534 and  Thomas Wharton, who was knighted in 1527 and was later to play a big part in the 1540s Anglo-Scots Wars. Their inclusion is pure speculation and they may well have played no part in the historical raid this scenario is based on.

William Dacre

1 Unit of Foot Knights (William Dacre) 
2 Units of Garrison Archers 
2 Units of Garrison Bill
1 Unit of Border Horse 

Thomas Wharton

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Thomas Wharton) 
2 Units of Border Foot
1 Unit of Border Horse
1 Unit of Shire Bill
2 Units of Shire Archers

"the lorde Maxwell of Scotlande, and sir Alexander Iorden with banners displayed, and Scottes to the nombre of foure thousand"

The English advance on the Scots raiders.

The first blood is shed as the English drive back some skirmishing Scots border horse.

The lines draw closer.

Initially the fighting was to the advantage of the English. A unit of Scots border horse was sent reeling back by English arrows and the whole of the English force moved purposefully towards the Scots lines. On the English right flank some English border horse harrassed some of Maxwell's pikemen whilst at the other end of the field, on the English left, the men under Dacre's command took up a position in a shallow stream.

The troops raised by Maxwell and Gordon for this raid were obviously veterans of border warfare, well enough equipped to suffer little harm from the English archers arrayed before them. Within a short time hand to hand fighting had broken out, one of the first melees being an inconclusive challenge between Wharton and Lord Maxwell as Wharton and his men tried to capture the Warden of the West March. Wharton and his men did succeed in taking a large body of Scots pikemen prisoner but their success was to prove short-lived.

English border horse outflank the Scots left wing.

English and Scots archers trade arrows.

The English left wing take up a position in a shallow stream.

In the centre of the field the English bear down on Maxwell and his men.

Maxwell and Thomas Wharton, the local English captain, clash inconclusively.

A large body of Scots is captured by the English Foot Knights.

On the English left flank William Dacre captures more Scots.

The Scots strike back with a unit armed with polearms capturing some of the English archers.

On the English left flank the forces under William Dacre were initially successful in pushing forward and capturing some of the Scots raiders but they soon met with disaster. Gordon's troops captured some of Dacre's archers and they were hurriedly taken behind the Scottish lines. Dacre attempted to capture Sir Alexander Gordon and was instead brought down in the shallow waters of the stream. Even worse was to befall the English in the centre of the field as not only were the large body of Scots prisoners freed as the English attempted to escort them off the field but Thomas Wharton himself was bested in a melee and captured.

With both of the English captains out of action the morale and organisation of the English forces crumbled. Those in the centre who had been under Wharton's command tried to put up a fight, with the border horse on the English left flank attempting to ride around and rescue Wharton as he was led from the field. Their path was blocked by the closely packed ranks of Scottish pikemen. Maxwell's borderers made short work of the remaining English forces in the centre which soon turned in flight. Dacre's men put up a stiffer fight but could not take any of the opposing Scots prisoner. They left the field in a more organised manner than Wharton's men but the day had been a victory for the Scots. Wharton had been taken prisoner along with a number of English archers from Dacre's forces, "this was the chaunce of warre".

This first game was a resounding victory for Stuart and his Scots, by capturing Wharton and the archers he had scored 9 victory points to my 0!

Alexander Gordon battles William Dacre in the shallow water and Dacre is brought down.

In the centre of the field the Scots prisoners are freed. 

In a local border tower the English archers look on and can see that things are not going to plan!

The Scots are overwhelming the English centre. Within minutes Thomas Wharton is captured. The English force now has one captain captured and the other incapacitated.

Scots pike defend the stream against the English as their comrades escort the prisoners from the field.

English archers put up a fight against the Scots pike but are put to flight as the English centre collapses.

The Enlish left flank engages in a vicious melee with the Scots.

Gordon's men drive the English back and the Scots are victorious having captured one of the English captains and some of the English archers.

"in which space he had many battailes and skirmishes with the wild Irishe."

The spring of 1520 saw Henry VIII appoint Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, to the office of Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was replacing Gerald FitzGerald, the 9th Earl of Kildare who had been accused of maladministration and called to London. Having landed in Dublin with a force that included 100 men of the Royal Guard* on 23 May it was not long before he was sending a litany of complaints to England about his lack of money and troops. In June he wrote to Wolsey  "to show my lord Cardinal that I have long ago told him that it is impossible for me to sign the indenture he has sent, binding me to serve the King with 50 archers and demi-lances on horseback, 50 footmen, all English, 100 Irish horsemen and 300 kerne. Cannot furnish more than the above number of English, 50 Irish horse and 150 kerne, which, with my other charges, will cost me more than I receive from the King and all the revenues of my lands in England. If war continue, it will be impossible to maintain that number."

Hall describes Surrey's time in Ireland as such "In this year the kyng beyng infourmed, that his realme of Ireland was out of ordre, discharged the erle of Kildare of his office of deputie, and thereunto (by means of the Cardinall as men thought) was appoynyted therle of Surrey lorde Admirall, to who the Cardinal did not owe the best favor. Wherfore the saied erle of Surrey in the beginning of Aprill, tooke leave of the kyng, and the duke of Norffolke his father, and passed into Ireland, and had with him diverse gentlemen, that had been in the garrison of Tourney, and one hundred yomen of the kynges garde, and other to the nomber of a thousande menne. Where he by his manhod and wisedom brought the erle of Desmonde and diverse other rebelles, to good conformitie and ordre: and there he continued in great hardnes two yere and more, in which space he had many battailes and skirmishes with the wild Irishe." 

One of Surrey's first acts in an attempt to pacify the Irish clans or septs was to launch a raid to the Southwest of the English Pale into the territory of Connell O'More (also spelt as O'Moore in some sources)

*Sources differ on this as Anita Hewerdine in "The Yeomen of the King’s Guard 1485-1547" states that 220 Yeomen of the Guard accompanied Surrey.
The Scenario

In this game Surrey with a mixed force of English and Irish auxiliaries was attempting to raid and burn O'More territory whilst Connell O'More's forces would arrive and attempt to defend them.

The game was played down the length of the table and started with the English deployed at one far end with two units of Irish deployed in defence of their crops and cattle in the centre of the table. The English had to attempt to burn the crops and take the cattle. The Irish player allocated the rest of his retinue to be in hiding along either of the two long sides of the table, noting down in secret which units were hiding along which edge. These could then be brought into play using a move activiation by the Irish player.

The cattle were placed in a central location and could be picked up by a unit in base to base contact with them. The unit could then move a maximum of 6" per turn and would loose the "cattle counter" if the unit was defeated in combat or battered. The unit could not attack but could shoot whilst it had the cattle. Both the Irish and English units could move the cattle.

To burn the crops the English player had to have at least one base from a unit in contact with a field at the start of their activation phase. As an ordered activation, they could use that unit to try to set fire to the field (instead of moving, attacking, or shooting). If there were 7 or more models in the unit the fire was started on a roll of 8+ on 2D6; if there were 6 or fewer models in the unit the fire was started on a roll of 9+ on 2D6.

To make this game even more chaotic rather than using the normal Lion Rampant turn system we copied the Bolt Action order dice system. A bag was filled with two sets of coloured dice, each set having the correct number of dice for units in each retinue. Each turn a dice was pulled out of the bag and the army it represented could then take a turn with one unit. If that unit failed its activation this didn't end the turn but meant that unit alone could not act that turn and another dice was then chosen. As units were destroyed or routed the dice that represented them were removed from the bag. We also added a "joker" dice. If this was drawn the turn was immediately over. Challenges and rolls for battered units were made by both players at the beginning of each turn.

Victory points were awarded as follows:

3 points per cattle counter that left the field from an armies table edge
3 points per field burnt for the English

We also added the "boasts" from the original Lion Rampant game so that victory points could also be gained from achieving whatever boasts were randomly selected. We took three each from a set of printed out cards that had the boasts set out on them.

For this game Stuart played as the O'More and I played as Surrey's English.

Yeoman of the guard, demilancers and kern in the service of the Earl of Surrey.

The Earl of Surrey's small army launches its raid into O'More territory.

Ahead of the English an O'More stronghold can be seen in the distance with the cattle herd in the centre.

The O'More cattle herd or "creaght" is defended by a small group of horsemen and some kern with arquebuses.

Connell O'More views the English approach from the tower.

The Armies

The Earl of Surrey's Army

2 Units of Demilancers (One is the Earl of Surrey)
2 Units of Border Horse
1 Unit of Irish Noble Cavalry
4 Units of Kern
1 Unit of Yeoman of the Guard
2 Units of Shire Archers
1 Unit of Shire Bill

Connell O'More

3 Units of Irish Noble Cavalry (1 Unit is Connell O'More)
5 Units of Galloglass                  
2 Units of Horseboys                 
1 Unit of Kern with shot
4 Units of Kern 

English border horse and kern in the service of the Crown advance.

The fighting starts as the O'More cavalry skirmish with the Crown's kern and border horse.

It took no time for the action to start in this clash. Surrey's men had barely begun to advance when their path ahead was blocked by the arrival of skirmishing O'More cavalry. On either side of the English cries of "Aboo" rang out from the woods and galloglass, kern and horseboys charged into the flanks of Surrey's army. The English left was held by kern in the service of the Crown and northern border horse. These troops were little troubled by the ambush, instead putting up a stout defence and sending the O'More horse and kern back in flight.

On the other side of the English army the galloglass struck right at the heart of Surrey's small army and, supported by the horseboys, they caused chaos. Some of the galloglass were brought down by the archers only for more to emerge from the woods and replace them. As the fighting raged Connell O'More ordered some of his kern and their attendants to get his herd of cattle to safety.

As the English attempt to advance galloglass supported by horseboys ambush the English force.
There is panic in the English ranks as the O'More ambush them.

The ambush is from both sides with O'More kern, galloglass and cavalry attacking Surrey's border horse and kern.

The kern from both sides skirmish in the woods.

A running fight has developed between these lightly armed troops.

As the English advance is stalled, kern and horseboys begin to lead some of the cattle to safety.

The cattle are herded away from the advancing English.

The O'More forces on Surrey's left have been driven back...

...meanwhile his right flank is still under pressure as more galloglass join the fray terrifying the English troops.

The English archers are quickly put to flight.

Surrey himself, with his mounted bodyguards, steadys his troops. 

In the woods on Surrey's left his kern were successful in keeping ambushing units at bay. On his right yet more galloglass charged forward. The English archers suffered badly in the melee with them and fled in all directions. It wasn't until the English billmen engaged that these professional Gaelic warriors were driven off, although the billmen themselves were spent as a fighting force after the bloody clash. The presence of Surrey admist the English part of his army meant some of the archers rallied and the line held.

Connell O'More entered the fray in an attempt to inspire his troops but he found himself surrounded by hostile kern who soon pushed his horsemen back as they launched arrows and darts in his direction. As he slipped back from the battlefield, many of his expensive galloglass having already been slain, the whole of the O'More force began to retreat. His men had succeeded in getting half of his cattle herd or "creaght"  to safety but he was forced to abandon his fields and the rest of his cattle. A brave and resolute band of galloglass formed the rearguard and put up a stalwart defence against a charge by Surrey's demilancers, a unit comprised of the "diverse gentlemen, that had been in the garrison of Tourney". As these axemen sold their lives dearly the rest of the O'More army escaped, Surrey's men putting the septs' crops to the torch.

This game really was chaos, especially using the random dice bag method for activating units. The O'More under Stuart achieved victory points for saving two of the "cattle counters" and also for achieving a "boast" that meant they had to get a unit closer to my starting table edge than any of my units during a turn. Overall the game was a victory for Surrey's forces as once all the O'More warriors had gone the crop fields were left to the mercy of the raiding Lord Deputy and his men as were half of the cattle. The English also scored 5 points for achieving two "boasts" as Surrey had got through the entire game without attacking or ever being attacked and his army had killed the most costly O'More unit, defeating all 5 units of galloglass.

Connell O'More joins the fray surrounded by his mounted nobles.

In the stream Irish horse in Surrey's service clash with some of the O'More nobility and drive them back.

The galloglass that caused havoc amidst the English archers are finally stopped by a unit of billmen.

Connell O'More and his nobles are pushed back and he leaves the field.

Half of the cattle herd is driven to safety.

As the O'More's escape the field some of the galloglass form a reargaurd and sell their lives dearly being charged down by the demilancers, "diverse gentlemen, that had been in the garrison of Tourney". The O'More have saved some of their herd but their crops and the other half of the cattle are left to the English.

 I really enyoyed these two games. It was great to see all of Stuart's rapidly growing Scots forces on the table and it was a lot of fun to do a game set in Ireland with my Irish collection facing his Tudors. The Bolt Action dice bag method was something we haven't tried before and it was a lot of fun although it did manage to confuse us quite a bit. We kept forgetting which units had and which hadn't yet activated, I think we need to consider how to bring this method more effectivley into our games. As is normally the case these games are always a source of further inspiration. I feel there will be more raids across the Anglo-Scots border and more warcries of "Aboo" from the Gaelic Irish in the near future!

Friday 11 June 2021

"have at the wicket!" Surrey's raid on Morlaix, July 1522

I visited Stuart recently to continue our series of Renaissance Rampant games. This time, keen to make use of Stuart's superb buildings, we decided to play two scenarios focused on the raid of the Breton town of Morlaix in the summer of 1522.

Surrey's raid on Morlaix, July 1522

In a renewal of Henry VIII's conflict with France July 1522 saw Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and Admiral of England, led an assault on the Breton town of Morlaix. Using the knowledge of local mariners he was guided into the bay and, according to Hall, landed 7,000 men and 14 light guns or "Faucons" which would be dragged to the town by the men. Hall describes how the local gentry skirmished with them before fleeing in the face of gunfire whilst the towns walls and suburbs were defended by crossbowmen, arquebusiers and guns in the places of greatest jeopardy. The English used their artillery to blow open a smaller gate or "wicket" which they stormed through under cover created by the smoke of their guns. They then opened one of the main town gates and forced the Breton defenders back, taking the town. Surrey also sent a detachment of men to raid the chateau of the governor of Morlaix, and supporter of Breton pirates, Mériadeck de Guicaznou, at place called Lezireur a few miles from the town.

Hall's description of the action (and a very comprenhensive list of the fleet's participants!) is as follows: 

"Now let us returne to the lorde Admyrall of Englande whiche departed fro Hampton as you have heard and so with his Navy sayled and skoured the seas, and at last came on the costes of Britaigne, and commaunded the wysest Masters and Marriners to boy the haven of Morles, which was done, and so the next nighte all the flete came to the haven of Morles in safetie and moored thier shippes together. Then all men were commaunded to harnes and to avaunce their standardes, & all souldiers to geve their attendance on their capitaines, and then the lorde Admyral appointed and caused xiiii pieces of ordinaunce called Faucons to be brought to land and drawen furth with stregth of men. Then when all menne that shoulde go forwarde were landed, the lorde Amyrall with banner displayed tooke lande on the Estside of the haven the fyrst day of Iuiye, and with him a fayre band of souldiers, as the lorde Fitz Water, the Baron Curson, sir Richarde Wyngfield, sir Richard Iernyngham, sir Wyllyam Barantine, sir Adrian Foskew, sir Edwarde Donne, sir Hery Sherborne, and the vice Admyrall, sir Willyam Fitzwillyam, sir Edmond Bray, sir Gyles Capel, sir Willyam Pyrton, sir Ihon Cornewalles, sir Ihon Wallop, sir Edward Echyngham, sir William Sidnay, Anthony Broune, Gyles Huse, Thomas More, Ihon Russell, Edward Bray, Henry Owen, George Cobham, Thomas Owdayle, Thomas Lovell, Robert Iernyngham, Anthony Knevit, sir Ihon Tremaile and the Master of the kynges ordinaunce, sir Willyam Skevyngton, and Ihon Fabian serieant at armes, by whom this enterprise was chiefly moved as was reported, with many other gentlemen and souldiers, to the number of vii M. The lorde Admyral and sir Richard Wyngfeld brought these men in good order of battail with banners displaid. The alarme rose in the countrey and came to the toune of Morles wherby the gentlemen of the countrey shewed theimselfes prickyng, but when they heard the Gunnes they fledde as though they never used warre. They of Morles armed theimselfes & went to the walles and shut the gates and laide ordinaunce where was most ieopardie. The Englishemen had gone five long myle and were now come to the subberbes of the toune: then the Englishemen archers shot, and the Brytons them defended: then the Admyrall commaunded the toune to be assauted, then the lord Fitz Water and the Baron Curson quartered the toune on all sides: The Englishemen shot with long bowes, and the Brytons with crosse bowes, whiche defended themselfes manfully. Before the port Morvet where is a Meason de dieu, At this gate gave the assaut sir Richard Wyngfelde, Nycholas Carew, Frauces Bryan, sir Ihon Wallop and all their bendes havyng with them thre pieces of ordinaunce called Faucons, whiche the master Gunner oft tymes shot, but the Britons has set the gate full of hacbushes, then the Gunner sayd, have at the wicket, and in the smoke of the gunnes let us entre the gate,  the gentlemen assented, then the sayd sir Christopher Gunner strake the locke of the wicket so that it flew open, then in the smoke ranne to the gate the said Christopher and the other forenamed gentlemen, and when Christopher came to the gate he found the wicket opened & entred and the gentlemen folowed, the Brytons defended them selfes, but thei were put backe or slaine, then was the great gate opened and then entered the souldiers that were on the other side of the toune. When the Brytons on the walles saw the towne gotten, some fled at the posterne and some by another way, the best way they could. Therle of Surray with baner displayed toke the market place. Then the souldiers fell to pillage and rifled the chestes and ware houses of marchauntes, for the toune of Morles was very riche and specially of lynnen clothe, the gentlemen suffered the souldiers to do what they would. When the souldiers had taken their pleasure of the toune as much for a trueth or more then they could beare away.

The lorde Admiral comaunded the trumpettes to blow, & comaunded all men to set fyer in al places of the toune (the holy places only except) the fayre market place was set on fyre & the subburbes brent ardatly. Wherfore all men were commaunded to their standardes, and aboute vi of the clocke the army retreted, and as they passed they brent the villages and places."

More details of the attack are provided in David Childs "The Warship of the Mary Rose, the life and times of King Henry VIII's flagship". He notes how an officer in the garrison of Morlaix, a man named Latricle, was accused of lowering the drawbridge to let the English in and how a chaplain in the town, Jehan Pinou defended the gates bravely using an arquebus before himself being shot. Childs also details the grisly story of Suzanne Le Borgne, a chambermaid in the town who, once it was taken lured over 80 of the English into a cellar where they were locked and drowned when a sluice gate was opended to flood it! She was chased upstairs in the house she worked in and thrown from a window by the English. Six or Seven hundred of the looting English were caught and slain by some of the Count of Laval's men as they drank at fountains outside the town, leading one of them to still be called the Red Fountain.

Captain Latricle's garrison sally out of Morlaix to defend the suburbs.

The gatehouse of Morlaix.

"have at the wicket"- The assault on the gates of Morlaix

For this scenario two English retinues deployed outside the town with the table representing the suburbs of Morlaix leading up to the gates. A religious building was just outside the gate to represent the "Meason de dieu" described in Hall.  

The town garrison under Captain Latricle were deployed just outside and along the walls in preparation to the defend the suburbs. Once the first English gun had fired the mounted relief force, under the Count of Laval, would arrive on the following French turn on a 2D6 roll of 9 or more. The next turn they would arrive on an 8 or more and so on. They would arrive in the suburbs with the exact arrival point being diced for. The units from the mounted relief force would enter the table via normal move activations.

The English objective was to shoot open the town gates and enter the town

The French/Breton objective was to save the town by attempting to stop the assault on the gates.

The guns and the gates

The English had 3  light guns which they had to get within 12" of the gates to attempt to shoot them open. They fired using our normal gun activation rules and then on a 5+ on a D6 this would smash the gates open. We increased the speed of moving the light gunes to 5" a turn.

Jehan Pinou 

A priest miniature was placed on the town walls. Every French turn, before anything else had taken place he could take a shot with a range of 18" and hitting on a 4+. Once he had scored a hit the target unit could attempt a saving throw by rolling equal to or under its armour on a D6. So a unit with armour 2 had to roll 2 or under on a D6 and a unit of armour 4 had to roll 4 or under. If they saved nothing would happen but if they failed they automatically lost a casualty and had to take a morale check as normal. To be removed from play an English unit could target Jehan Pinou in a missile attack. They then had to roll at least 3 6s in their roll or 12 or 6 dice (depending on casualties) in order to remove him from play.

As you will see, he never got a chance to do this!

Captain Latricle

To represent his possible disloyalty if his Foot Knight unit rolled a blunder in an attempt to activate, before the gates were opened, then the gates would automatically open to the English! This may also mean that the English then had no need to use their light guns and alert the Breton relief force.

The English Raiders

Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey, the Admiral

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey)
1 Unit of Foot Knights
1 Light gun
2 Units of Garrison Archers
1 Unit of Garrison Bill  
1 Unit of Shire Bill 

Sir Richard Wingfield

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Sir Richard Wingfield) 
1 Unit of Foot Knights   
2 Light Guns
2 Units of Shire Archers
1 Unit of Shire Bill

The Defenders of Morlaix

Captain Latricle

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Captain Latricle)
1 Unit of Foot Knights 
2 Light Guns 
2 Units of French Halberdiers 
2 Units of Aventuriers 
1 Unit of French Arquebusiers

The Count of Laval

1 Unit of Gendarmes (The Count of Laval) 
2 Units of Men at Arms 
1 Unit of Ordonnance Archers with bows
2 Units of Ordonnance Archers with demi lances 

Stuart took control of the English and I took the role of the town's defenders. A brief description of the action follows but as always the photos are the best way to follow the games.

A small field gun is wheeled through the gates to defend against the imminent assault.

Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and Admiral of the fleet, and his retinue.

Sir Richard Wingfield with his guns and men at arms in readiness to attempt to break open the gates.

English raiders from Surrey's fleet, intent of looting and buring the Breton town of Morlaix.

As the English begin the assault on the town the garrison's crossbowmen take up a defensive position.

As Surrey and Wingfield's men raced to the town gates the garrison's crossbowmen took up position on the outskirts of the town in an attempt to slow the assault. The crossbowmen exchanged shots with the English archers, the cover of the hedgerows prevented them from being driven back by the English arrows. It did not take long for the Tudor fleet's billmen and armoured gentry to reach the hedgerow and they soon pushed the crossbowmen back. One of the town guns that had been wheeled out in an effort to protect the gate opened fire at longer range on the English but it was not enough to stop the attack.

In support of the crossbowmen the garrison's arquebusiers and halberdiers also sallied out, led by the more wealthy townsmen who were fully armoured. The merchants who had invested in fashionable armour, as much for prestige as for war, now found they had a very definite need for their expensive purchases! They clashed with Sir Richard Wingfield and his troops and a vicious melee took place in the suburbs. The arquebusiers managed to get very close to the attacking English in the confines of the suburbs and a series of volleys of shot helped to slow their advance.

A view of the English assault from the town walls.

Another unit of Breton troops defend the suburbs of the town.

The English have nearly reached the suburbs.

The fighting in the outskirts of Morlaix begins with English foot knights leading the assault.

Billmen and men at arms charge the crossbowmen outside the"Meason de dieu".

One of the garrison's light guns opens fire on the attackers.

Some of the English gentlemen in full harness are hit by the French gun.

Arquebusiers and Crossbowmen of the garrison are pushed back by the English knights and gentlemen.

The road leading to the gate is filled with Breton infantry.

Halberdiers from the garrison face down Sir Richard Wingfield and his men at arms.

The town's defenders have put up a fierce fight in its defence.

Sir Richard Wingfield is brought down in the fighting in the town's outskirts.

The English were halted by the wall of halberdiers and arquebusiers that met them in the suburbs. Despite the suspicions surrounding his loyalty Captain Latricle did not open the gates to Surrey's men, instead leading the town's defenders in a courageous sally from Morlaix. Sir Richard Wingfield was brought down in the fighting and the fleet's billmen were forced back. In the excitement of the attack one of the English gunners fired his gun at the defenders (the unit rolled a blunder when moving and then got a fire at the nearest enemy result!). This alerted the Count of Laval's men to the danger and they hurried to the town gates.

As the Earl of Surrey and his household men reached the fighting Captain Latricle was slain. It looked as though the English may have a clear route to roll their guns up to the gates and break into Morlaix. But it was not to be, the local Breton nobility under the Count of Laval had overcome their fear of the English and rode to the town's rescue. The archers and gun crew were ridden down and as the Admiral had his trumpeter sound the retreat to the waiting English fleet the townspeople could breathe a sigh of relief. Morlaix was saved and the clergyman Jehan Pinou had not fired a shot!

Surrey's billmen are forced back by fully armoured men from the garrison of Morlaix.

Captain Latricle leads his men in the counter attack in the suburbs.

More English hurry to join the attack...

...but they are too late as help has arrived for the garrison.

The Count of Laval has arrived and his men ride down the English attackers.

Howard and his bodyguards succeed in killing Captain Latricle but they are too late...

...the arrival of the Breton reinforcements has stopped the English assault.

The Burning of Lezireur

For this scenario the walled chateau stood in the centre of the table. The stream did not count as difficult terrain for movement but gave cover for those in it and was difficult terrain for combat. There were four locations that the English had to try and burn. Two were the two gates in the walls of the chateau, one was a mill on the stream and the other was a rural building outside the chateau. The English objective was to try and burn these with the French attempting to stop them.

The French player could position one unit defending the Manor house in the centre and the rest deployed along a table edge. The English deployed along the other table edge.

To burn one of the four buildings the English had to have at least one base from a unit in contact with it at the start of their activation phase. As an ordered activation, they could use that unit to try to set fire to the objective (instead of Moving, Attacking, or Shooting). If there were 7 or more models in the unit the fire started on a roll of 8+ on 2D6; if there were 6 or fewer models in the unit the fire was started on a roll of 9+ on 2D6.

The English Raiders

2 Units of Foot Knights  (One is the retinue leader)
1 Unit of Garrison Archers
1 Unit of Shire Archers
1 Unit of Retinue Bill        
1 Unit of Shire Bill               

Mériadeck de Guicaznou and the chateau's defenders

1 Unit of Gendarmes (Mériadeck de Guicaznou) 
2 Units of Men at Arms 
2 Units of Aventuriers 
1 Unit of French Halberdiers
1 Unit of French Pike

Troops rush to defend the chateau.

An English raiding party appears on the horizon.

The defenders of the chateau look worried.

English raiders from Surrey's fleet race towards the chateau.

The chateau of Lezireur.

Unlike the main assault on Morlaix this raid went very much in favour of the English. Initially the mounted Breton defenders, units of men at arms from the local countryside, rode straight at the English raiding party and for a moment it looked as though they would be driven off without even reaching the chateau. The English momentarily fell back into the stream and the impetuous men at arms charged into the shallow waters after them. The Bretons had fallen for the trap and once their momentum was lost the billmen and archers easily defeated them.

Whilst this was going on the chateau's owner, Mériadeck de Guicaznou, charged the some of the fleet's men at arms with his gendarmes only to be defeated in the melee. He immediately turned his horse and fled. Seeing both their captain and all the armoured cavalry fleeing led to a general rout amongst the infantry! The pikemen and halberdiers put up brief resistance against the English but they were quickly defeated. Smoke rose from the chateau as the English men at arms broke in and the archers spread out accross the local area to burn the surrounding buildings. One unit of Breton crossbowmen looked as though they would defend the mill but they fled as it became clear the chateau was lost.

The English cross the bridge to reach Lezireur's gates.

In no time at all the raiders are at the chateau walls.

Crossbowmen defending Lezireur are forced back by English billmen.

The chateau's owner, Mériadeck de Guicaznou, charges the English men at arms only to flee after a brief melee!

On the other side of the chateau the English are driven back by Breton mounted men at arms. The inexperienced local nobility are quickly defeated once they have ridden into the stream to get at the English.

Reinforcements in the form of halberdiers and mounted archers advance to proctect the chateau.

Having defeated a unit of billmen a unit of Breton men at arms are lured into the stream by the galling shots of the English archers and defeated.

Lezireur's walls have been breached and the chateau is set ablaze!

Outside the walls the Breton defenders are driven back by the English.

The chateau has been taken!

With the flight of Mériadeck de Guicaznou, the pikemen who were supporting him are attacked and driven to flight by the English men at arms.

Having taken the chateau the English burn the surrounding buildings. It has been a successful raid.

 Another great couple of games with the buildings and figures really helping to bring 16th century Brittany to life. The raid on Morlaix was a game we'd intended to do for a while and I felt that Stuart's excellent terrain meant we could really do it justice. The first scenario also gave us a chance to use lots of light field guns, something we had been struggling to get the right balance for in the rules. We may have finally sorted them but no doubt minds will change over the next sets of games and another rewrite will happen! I guess the process of sorting out these things is all part of the enjoyment.

I was surprised that the English never got to attempt to fire at the gates in the first scenario, the premature firing of one of the English guns as a result of a blunder was a real disaster. It was a terrible time in the English attack for the mounted defenders to arrive as the scenario rules linked their arrival to the English use of their guns. The total rout of the Breton forces in the second scenario was also very amusing. They put up a terrible defence and gave Stuart's recently converted English looting and burning infantry ample opportunity to burn and pillage the chateau!