The Tudor scenarios continue with Stuart and myself playing out another set of games, this time focusing on Surrey's 1522 campaign in northern France and a skirmish which took place in Ireland in January 1521. As with our last games some before and after videos can be found on Stuart's "Army Royal" Facebook Group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1179255685825076/ if you wish to hear our inane ramblings and ideas behind the scenarios!
|"Boyardes" in the background with Sir Richard Wingfield's retinue in the foreground and the Earl of Surrey's retinue behind that.|
|"this is like no house of praier", the English attempt a parley with the defenders of the fortified church.|
2-3 A unit of French foot knights launched from the building and instantly attacked the unit in combat.
For this game as we were both playing as the English against each other we took identical retinues. Stuart's had Sir Richard Wingfield as the retinue leader whilst I took the Admiral, Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey as my retinue captain.
For the "adventurers" we used the rules for Bidowers from Lion Rampant but gave them 12 instead of 6 "damage" points. We are still experimenting with this unit on the table top.
As always the best way to follow the action is the photo captions but a brief description (of a chaotic game!) follows.
|Sir Richard Wingfield's retinue prepare to launch an assault.|
|A group of French defenders form up in front of a manor house on the outskirts of the town.|
|The attack begins with Surrey's troops storming the "depe ditched" church.|
|The English take casualties as they storm the fortifications but some of the French crossbowmen are driven back by arrows and shot.|
The attack started with the troops under Surrey's command heading straight for the church and storming the ditch. His troops took a few casualties from the crossbow bolts of the French defenders. As some of the archers and Spanish arquebusiers reached the ditch the Spanish unleashed a hail of shot in the direction of the crossbowmen defending the fortified church. With the crossbowmen driven back it was not long before one of the bulwarks was stormed by Surrey's archers.
Sir Richard Wingfields troops were slower off the mark but they soon joined the assault. The "adventurers" attached to his command took the lead and were soon sending volleys of arrows into the French defenders. They also entered the ditch and began to attack the remaining gun position in front of the church. Much of Wingfield's retinue was slowed by a unit of aventuriers who took pot shots from the gardens of the manor house outside the town. As Wingfield ordered the rest of his troops to support the adventurers a unit of French halberdiers emerged from a derelict building. The halberdiers pushed back some of Wingfield's archers and it took volleys from more of his bowmen and his arquebusiers in combination with a charge by his demilancers to see them off.
|The church, "more liker a castle then a Church" is under attack.|
|The troops in front of the manor house can be seen in the foreground with the attack on the church in the centre and "Boyardes" in the background.|
|English archers with Spanish Arquebusier auxiliaries, sent by Charles V, enter the ditch.|
|Some of the local troops form up in the town to organise a defence.|
|The attack intensifies with the English "adventurers" playing a prominent role.|
|Surrey and Wingfield's men storm the ditch with Spanish Arquebusiers on the left and English "adventurers", later to be known as "krekkers", on the right.|
|One of the French gun crews is driven back by the attack.|
|French halberdiers ambush some of the archers in Wingfield's retinue.|
|In the town a locally raised unit of pikemen under the Seigneur de Bournonville challenge the demilancers and adventurers.|
|At the other end of the field the French halberdiers continue to cause problems for the English assault.|
|A view of the attack on the church.|
|Adventurers with a banner of St George rain arrows on a unit of Picard pikemen.|
In the town itself Surrey's horse, a combination of demilancers and the Burgundian men at arms, held their ground as de Crequy's infantry slowly advanced. The adventurers that were nominally under Surrey's command slowed the French infantry as many of them were well practiced archers. Having seen off the aventuriers and halberdiers on the other side of the field Wingfield's men were then threatened by French men at arms who were looking for easy targets to charge and ride down. Again English archery took it's toll and they were driven off by a rain of arrows.
Surrey's men had surged even further forward and the Spanish arquebusiers that had arrived in the ships from Charles V reached the church walls. They attempted to plant some powder barrels at the foot of the walls in an effort to bring them crashing down but a lit match from one of the arquebuses touched the powder of one of the barrels accidentally causing them all to blow before they were in the correct place. With an enormous explosion the arquebusiers were destroyed, leaving the walls standing strong!
This was not the case for long as Wingfield's adventurers were close behind them, they stormed the second gun position, although the crew managed to wheel the gun back to safety, and then reached the walls which were still wreathed in smoke. They planted their barrels of gunpowder and within minutes, after another huge explosion, a hole was blown in the wall of the fortified church.
|French men at arms are seen off by the English archers.|
|There is a stand off in the town as the defenders are heavily outnumbered by adventurers, demilancers and Burgundian men at arms.|
|The Spanish auxiliary arquebusiers reach the church - they attempt to blow it up with powder kegs but one of the barrels explodes too soon and the unit is scattered!|
|Things are looking bad for the defenders of the church as two further units of adventurers return from looting a local village and join in the attack with Sir Richard Wingfield's retinue.|
|A unit of adventurers has reached the church...|
|...they plant a couple of powder kegs against the walls and are successful in blowing a hole in the defences.|
Whilst this had been going on around the church Sir Richard Wingfield's retinue had been reinforced by another two units of adventurers. They had been pillaging a village nearby and returned to the main army when they had heard the fighting start. Surrey's retinue had slowed their advance after the misfortune that had befallen the Spanish arquebusiers. A unit of archers was about to destroy one of the drawbridges to the church but de Crequy emerged from the streets of Boyardes and pushed them back in a brief melee. De Crequy could not defend the bridge for long as the relentless adventurers joined the fight and sent so many arrows in his direction that he had to withdraw with his bodyguards. This left the drawbridge in the hands of the English and a unit of billmen broke it down and left it smashed in the ditch.
The drawbridge on the other side of the church was a scene of even greater carnage. First the remaining French gun fired a hail of grapeshot into some of Wingfield's billmen whilst a unit of French gendarmes thundered over the bridge and drove back his archers. Once again it was a fearless band of adventurers who sent the gendarmes back with their warbows and then dismantled the drawbridge. In the town some fighting had taken place with Seigneur de Bournonville and his Picard pikemen engaging with the demilancers and then the Burgundian men at arms. The charges were inconclusive and the French defenders withdrew. Whilst Surrey's men had taken one of the bulwarks and one of the drawbridges the glory had most definitely gone to Wingfield's men who had achieved the same whilst also storming the fortified church.
|Antoine de Créquy and his bodyguards force some of the archers back from one of the churches drawbridges.|
|On the other side of the church one of the French gun crews is still bravely defending. They fire a deadly load of hailshot into an attacking unit of billmen.|
|The other drawbridge is defended by a small unit of gendarmes who charge down the archers. The adventurers in the ditch make it to the drawbridge and pull it down.|
|De Bournonville and his pikemen put up a brave fight in the town.|
|As de Créquy is pushed back off the drawbridge by yet more of the English adventurers, a unit of billmen pull it down. The church has been taken.|
|Edward Plunkett, 4th Baron of Dunsany and his troops return from a cattle raid into the O'Connor territory.|
|Little do they know that the O'Connor lie in wait of them as they reach the English Pale. Some wait in the woods...|
|...while others are just in front of the ditch that demarks the Pale.|
|Seeing the O'Connor lying in wait Plunkett's men prepare for a fight.|
For this game Stuart took control of the O'Connor and I took command of the Anglo-Irish.
|Kern in Anglo-Irish employ go forward to skirmish with the O'Connor.|
|Brian O'Connor Faly, Lord of Uí Failghe, rides out to confront Edward Plunkett.|
This fight started badly for the O'Connor. As Plunkett's men saw the Gaelic warband lying in wait for them they took up a defensive formation, ordering their kern to the front to skirmish with O'Connor's infantry. Units of galloglass charged into Plunkett's men causing casualties but being quickly brought down by both the English and Irish archers in Plunkett's employ. Brian O'Connor Faly himself rode forward with his nobles. As his cavalry splashed through the shallow waters of the stream he called out Edward Plunkett but could not get near enough to draw him into a challenge. The archers in the Anglo-Irish force shot volley after volley at Brian O'Connor Faly and the Lord of Uí Failghe rode from the battlefield, many of his kern and galloglass withdrawing with him.
It looked as though that was the end of the attack and Plunkett's troops continued to drive the cattle down the hill towards the English Pale. They were horrified to see most of the Gaelic troops turn back from their flight and begin another attack with renewed vigour. Brian O'Connor may have fled back to safety but the main retreat had been a feint!
|Galloglass charge into Plunkett's men.|
|Brian O'Connor Faly and his nobles are pushed back by a hail of javelins and arrows and for a moment his kern and galloglass falter, with some of the kern turning and fleeing into the woods.|
|But this seems to just be a feint, the O'Connor return with renewed vigour.|
|Another unit of galloglass launches at the billmen from the Pale.|
|Still in control of the cattle the English archers attempt to keep the enemy kern at bay whilst O'Connor horsemen ride forward to hurl darts at the Palesmen.|
|Edward Plunkett and his demilancers can see the fight developing in front of them.|
|O'Connor troops charge from the woods.|
|In the shallow stream galloglass supported by horseboys clash with billmen.|
The remainder of the O'Connor cavalry stepped up their skirmish attacks across the stream, whilst a murderous mixture of arquebus shot, darts and javelins were aimed at the Anglo-Irish as they tried to advance. The O'Connor themselves were hard to target either taking cover in the woods or using the shallow stream to protect them as they darted in and out of the trees. More galloglass launched themselves at Plunkett's men and succeeded in defeating his billmen.
By now the kern in Plunkett's service had turned and fled whilst his toughest infantry had been defeated in combat with the galloglass. With his demilancers he attempted to ride through the O'Connor trap and reach the safety of the Pale. Plunkett was brought down by an Irish dart in a skirmish with O'Connor cavalry and his last unit of demilancers could not push through the units of kern blocking their path to the Pale ditch. The Anglo-Irish force disentegrated with no hope of reaching their destination. The ambush had been a success and not only had the O'Connor retrieved their cattle they had also slain the 4th Baron of Dunsany.
|Plunkett and his small force form a defensive position.|
|Plunkett's escape is blocked by units of O'Connor Kern.|
|Edward Plunkett is brought down in the hail of arrows and javelins launched by the O'Connor kern and horse.|
|As the English archers flee back into O'Connor territory a unit of demilancers make a last stand as they are overwhelmed by the O'Connor forces.|
These games were both very different and I really enjoyed them. The attack on the fortified church was a real visual feast with so many beautiful buildings and fortifications as well as lots of different units on the field. The idea of fighting on the same side but in competition with each other worked really well and I am keen to try this out again. Perhaps a game along the table where two players compete in an assault on a town where first they must win the ditch and earthworks, then a breach in the walls, then possibly more earthworks and then a fight into the streets. Something like that would be a lot of work to prepare but a lot of fun to game through. The Anglo-Irish game was quicker but had a very different feel. We changed the "I go - you go" method of the game, instead drawing cards to see which unit activated when. This created a real element of chance and tension and helped to reflect a hit and run type of skirmish . There will certainly be more fights beyond the Pale to come.