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!
"this is like no house of praier"
Following the raid on Morlaix in July of 1522 Surrey was given command of Calais. He arrived in the town on 9 August accompanied by 3,000 extra troops and his brother Edmund as his second in command (Edmund Howard was the younger brother who got overwhelmed holding the English right wing at Flodden, see http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2018/09/home-huntly-and-howard.html
for our refight of this part of the battle). Surrey was joined by troops provided by Charles V, at first 300 Spanish according to Hall who describes the start of the campaign as follows:
"When the lorde Admyrall had brought all his menne out of the shippes and that all the souldiors were come out of Englande and the ordinaunce set on land, then came into Caleys haven xiiii shyppes out of Spayne from the Emperor whiche set on land CCC Spanyardes whiche wer sent to serve the lorde Admyrall and under him they were put. When all thynges were ready, the lorde Admyral set in order his battels and for the forwarde he appointed sir Rober Ratcliffe, lorde Fitzwater for Capitayne, and with him divers knightes and gentlemen which capitaine kept his men in very good order.
After that battail folowed the oridinaunce, artilerie and other trusses with vitail and all necessaries, & for the capitaine of the horsemen was appointed sir Edward Gyldford, by whom the currers and vewers of the countrey were appointed. The myddle warde ledde the lorde Admyrall himselfe, and his compaignie the lorde Edmond Haward his brother with many worshipfull knightes, squiers, and tall yomen: The last battail was ledde by two valiaunt knightes of the Garter sir Wyllyam Sandes and sir Richarde Wyngfelde, and with theim was sir Richard Iernyngham with many other. In good order of battail they passed over Newman bridge the XXX day of August to a place called Calkewell & there lodged betwene y Wyndmyl & the Marrishe."
It is during this campaign that we first encounter some 400 of the auxilliary troops that accompanied the English armies of the 1520s. In 1523 a similar force were known as the "krekkers". They would be a feature of the French campaigns in the early 1520s and were heavily involved in the raiding and skirmishing that took place around the Calais Pale during the war with France in these years. Gervase Philips argues in "Irish "Ceatharnaigh" in English Service, 1544-1550, and the development of 'Gaelic Warfare" that the employment of kern in the wars in the 1540s may well have been a substitue for these auxiliaries who were so useful in raids and skirmishes. It seems these adventurers could also be a scapegoat for some of the more outrageous abuses of the army, which had to be pretty bad by 16th century standards, as they fell outside the normal organisation of the English force.
Hall has a great description of how they approached and persuaded the, initially reluctant, Earl of Surrey to allow them to accompany the English army:
"The same day came to the lorde Admyrall a certain nombre of wilde persones, as menne out of service and apprentises that ranne fro their Masters and other ydle persones, and him desired that they might be retained in the kinges wages, to who he answered, that the kyng had appointed the nobre of suche as should have wages, which was fully complete and advised theim to returne into England and not to loyter there. Then sayd a tall yoman, my lorde here be many good felowes that with your favor whould ieopard to get or lose, for their mynde is to be revenged on the Frenchemen enemies to the kyng and his realme. Good felowe sayd the lorde Admyrall, their mindes be good, but if for loack of conduite they should be caste awaye, it were a losse to the kyng and a great corage to the Frenchemen. Then all the compaignie cried, let us go in the name of God and sainct George: Then after counsail take he gave them a Penon of sainct George and bad them adventure (of whiche they were called adventurers) and farther bad theim that if they got any botie they should ever bryng it to tharmy and they should be payde to the uttermost, and then he gave them money and comaunded the weapons & so the sayd xxxi day the sayd adventurers iiiiC in nombre and mo, sette forwarde before the host"
So with 300 Spanish and 400 "adventurers" this composite force was finally joined on 2 September 1522 by 500 Burgundian Horsemen, ironically on the same spot that the Field of the Cloth of Gold had taken place only two years before. We return to Hall:
"Tewsday the second day of September the armye passed towarde Arde: and in the golden Valay where the kyng of England and the Frenche Kyng met two years before, there met with tharmy of England two capitaines of the Burgonions, the one called the erle of Egremond the Seneschal of Henaude, and the lorde of Bauers Admyrall of Flanders with v.C horsemen, like men of warre. The lord Admyrall in gentle maner received these two capitaines and their compaignie & so they ioyned theimselfes to the Englishe armye"
This turned out to be a fairly inauspicious campaign involving the raiding of smaller villages and fortresses, a siege of Hesdin being the only real event of note. One of the targets of the campaign was a fortified church in the town of "Boyardes"(?) which was attacked on 9 September 1522 and described by Hall:
"The ix day of Septembre the whole armye came before the toune of Boyardes in whiche was a Church more liker a castle then a Church, for it was depe ditched with drawe birdges and with Bulwarkes fortefied and lopes very warlike, The Admyrall beholdyng it sayd, this is like no house of praier. Then he cammauded his people to entre the dyches and plucke down the drawe bridges and set fyer in y Churche, and with gunpowder overthrew it, and brent the toune and all the villages adiacent to the same, the people cried and fledde, well was he that might save himselfe."
|"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.|
We tried something different for this game with the two of us each controlling an English retinue and competing with each other to achieve objectives against a French defence that was part static and part controlled by ourselves, depending on who "won" control of the French for that turn.
Our two English retinues had 5 objectives:
The two bulwarks
The two drawbridges
To take a bulwark a unit needed to move into it either by destroying the gun in the bulwark in combat or entering after the gun crew had retreated.
To blow up the church each player secretly assigned 3 infantry units in their retinue to carry powder barrels. If the unit carrying a powder barrel was routed or was destroyed the barrels would be revealed and another English unit could pick them up by moving into contact with them. A counter was used to represent the barrels once they were revealed.
To attempt to blow up the church an English (or allied) unit carrying the powder barrels had to be in base to base contact with any part of the building. Instead of an activation they could try and blow up the church. To do this they chose three numbers from 1-6 and rolled a D6. At the same time the other player placed a D6 under his palm showing a number he had chosen on the dice. If the player rolled one of their 3 numbers the church was considered blown up. If the other player's hidden number was rolled then the unit attempting the action was also blown up and removed from play regardless of whether the church had been destroyed!
To destroy a drawbridge a player had to have at least one base from a unit in contact with the drawbridge at the start of their activation phase. As an ordered activation, they could use that unit to try to pull down the drawbridge (instead of Moving, Attacking, or Shooting). If there were 7 or more models in the unit the bridge was pulled down on a roll of 8+ on 2D6; if there were 6 or fewer models in the unit the bridge was pulled own on a roll of 9+ on 2D6.
As we each commanded an English retinue the French were mixture of static units, randomly controlled units and units that could emerge by surprise out of certain locations.
Each of the two bulwarks had a culverin in it and the ditch had two units of aventuriers defending it behind wooden stakes. The only movement these units could make was to return to their position if they had retreated out of it. All of the static units could try and activate every turn. They would activate before the randomly controlled units. They behaved as follows:
The aventuriers would always try and shoot at the nearest enemy unit.
The culverins would shoot at the nearest enemy unit at long range on a 4-6 on a D6 each turn. They would always fire at an enemy unit within half range. They could fire at a 90 degree angle from the bulwarks.
Randomly controlled units
On the French table edge the following units were deployed:
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Retinue Leader Antoine de Créquy - he was killed at the siege of Hesdin a year later)
2 Units of French Men at Arms
2 Units of French Pikemen
1 Unit of Gendarmes
2 Units of Aventuriers
We both started with 5 playing cards. Each turn we played a card and whoever played the highest got to control the randomly controlled units for that French turn. We both then took another card. These units behaved like a normal retinue and a failed activation would end their turn.
If Antoine de Créquy was killed they would all have to take a courage test but they did not have to test once 50% of the retinue was destroyed.
There were 4 buildings that could potentially hold an ambush when our units passed them. We had to roll 2D6, consulting below, for any of our units that passed within 8" of these buildings. This happened until a unit sprang from the building. Our units with counter charge or evade could use these skills against the emerging surprise units. The buildings that held these "surprise units" were the ruined building near Richard Wingfield's retinue, two of the buildings in the town and the fortified church.
The 2D6 result as an English or allied unit passed the four buildings could mean:
2-3 A unit of French foot knights launched from the building and instantly attacked the unit in combat.
3-5 A unit of French halberdiers launched from the building and instantly attacked the unit in combat.
6-7 A unit of arquebusiers emerged and shot at the unit at close range.
8-11 Nothing happenened
12 One of the passing unit saw silverware in the building and seized it. This gave 1 victory point for the person whose unit was passing the building.
Once a surprise unit had emerged from a building we no longer needed to roll when a subsequent unit passed it. The surprise unit would act with the randomly controlled units once it had launched its ambush.
Our retinues were awarded victory points as follows:
1 Point for any gained from the "surprise unit" buildings if a 12 was rolled when passing.
3 Points for each Bulwark taken.
2 Points for each draw bridge pulled down and destroyed.
5 points for blowing up the fortified church.
3 points in the other retinues leader was killed.
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.
The two retinues were:
1 Unit of Foot Knight's ( (Sir Richard Wingfield and Sir Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey for each of the two retinues)
1 Unit of Demilancers
1 Unit of Burgundian Men at Arms
1 Unit of Spanish Arquebusiers
2 Units of Shire Archers
2 Units of Shire Bill
2 Units of "Adventurers"
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.|
The Last stand of Edward Plunkett, 4th Baron of Dunsany
Surrey's campaigns in Ireland had initially gone well in the Summer of 1520, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/06/this-was-chaunce-of-warre-lord-maxwells.html
. The Anglo Irish Lord, Sir Piers Butler, joined Surrey bringing in Mulroney O'Carroll to offer his submission. O'Carroll had caused much grief to the Pale, probably at the hand of the Earl of Kildare. While being held in England Kildare was suspected of writing to the Gaelic lords and urging them to make war on Surrey in the hope that they would cause such chaos that Henry would have to send Kildare back as the only man who could effectively govern Ireland. With the help of Butler and a truce with Hugh O'Donnell, ruler of Tyrconnel, who wanted Surrey's aid against his rivals the O'Neill, Surrey marched north and pushed back the McMahons of Oriel, a sept allied to the O'Neill. This led to a withdrawal of hostilities by the O'Neill.
The peace did not last for long. As winter set in Surrey's army suffered badly from sickness and morale plummeted. Things got so extreme that 18 English soldiers were caught plotting to steal a small boat with which they would then attack a larger ship and become pirates! Surrey was kept alert by rumours that the Gaelic lords who had offered submission were already planning to attack as soon as the chance arose. By January the O'Connor and the O'Carroll had begun to attack the English Pale. The O'Connor fought a skirmish with Edward Plunkett, 4th Baron of Dunsany, on 23 January 1521. Plunkett was experienced in the warfare of Ireland and fought at Knockdoe in 1504. There is some irony to the fact that back then he had fought under the banner of Gerald FitzGerald, the 8th or Great Earl of Kildare, when in 1521 he was fighting in a war that Surrey suspected had been devised by the Great Earl's son, the 9th Earl of Kildare. In the skirmish Plunkett's horse broke a leg leaving the Anglo-Irish Lord to be slain by the O'Connor.
|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... |
Other than how Edward Plunkett met his demise I could find out little else about this skirmish. As the last game Stuart and I played that was set in Ireland was based on Surrey attacking the O'More, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/06/this-was-chaunce-of-warre-lord-maxwells.html
, I thought this game would be a good opportunity to have the Irish attacking the English or Anglo-Irish. Plunkett's forces deployed at one end of the table with the ditch at the other end representing the start of the English Pale. Plunkett and his men were returning from a cattle raid. Plunkett and his retinue had to traverse the length of the table and escape by crossing the ditch into the Pale to exit by the other table edge. The O'Connor had to attempt to stop them.
The English had 3 cattle "counters" that they could give to three of their units and would get victory points for each cattle counter that reached the ditch. With a counter a unit could move a maximum of 6" per turn and would lose the "cattle counter" if they were defeated in combat or battered. They could not attack but could shoot whilst they had the cattle. Both the Irish and English units could move the cattle.
Edward Plunkett's units had to get across the ditch and exit by the other side of the table.
The O'Connor deployed on two sides of the table ready to ambush the Anglo-Irish.
Victory Points were awarded as follows:
Edward Plunkett, 4th Baron of Dunsany
2 Points for every unit that made it across the table and exited.
5 Points if Edward Punkett exited
3 Points for every cattle "counter" that made it to the ditch.
3 Points if Brian O'Connor was slain.
1 Point for every English unit that did not make it across the table and exited.
2 Points for every cattle "counter" that did not make it across the table and exited.
3 Points if Edward Plunkett was slain.
|...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.
Brian O'Connor Faly, Lord of Uí Failghe
3 Units of Irish Noble Cavalry (one is Brian O'Connor)
3 Units of Galloglass
1 Unit of Kern with shot
1 Unit of Household Kern
2 Units of Kern
1 Unit of Horseboys
Edward Plunkett, 4th Baron of Dunsany
2 Units of Demilancers (one is Edward Plunkett, 4th Baron of Dunsany)
1 Unit of Border Horse
3 Units of Kern
2 Units of Shire Archers
2 Units of Shire Bill
|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.