Tuesday 16 July 2024

Skirmishing Sipahis

Work on the Ottoman army continues with yet another unit of sipahis. So far all of the mounted Sipahis in my Ottoman army have been in close order, predominantly armed with lances (see the last three photos in this post http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2024/06/more-sipahis.html). This unit shows them in a looser formation using their bows. The figures are from the excellent Warfare Miniatures range https://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/shop/product-1138.html. The range is intended for the 17th to 18th centuries so the figures have been tweaked a little to bring them back into the 1500s with the removal of the pistols that they were carrying in their belts. I have also changed some of the shields that the horsemen carry.

These are great miniatures that provide a different option for fielding the sipahis. They can also be used to provide some more heavily armoured riders for my horde of Ottoman light cavalry, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2020/08/ottoman-delis-and-balkan-auxiliaries.html, as shown in the final photo. The sipahis were the mainstay of Ottoman armies and I am still tempted to add yet unit of them skirmishing with swords and lances as shown here https://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/shop/product-1140.html. Before that there are more akinji currently on the workbench which I will hopefully be able to show soon...

28mm sipahis skirmishing with bows.

Skirmishing sipahis ride out in front of a unit of sipahis with lances.

28mm Ottoman sipahis by Warfare Miniatures.

Armoured Ottoman sipahis.

A view of the unit from behind showing the shields slung over the shoulders of the horsemen.

The figures can also be used to add some heavier armoured raiders to the akinji.

Monday 1 July 2024

"Which thinge Maximilian kynge of Romanes coulde not wel remedy, nor the kyng of England without great coste and losse of men", Sir Edward Poynings and the Siege of Sluys, 1492

Last month Stuart visited for another couple of games set in the early Tudor period. I was keen to use my harbour and ships so we decided to base the games around Sir Edward Poyning's participation in the 1492 siege of Sluys. We have previously covered Poynings in Ireland in the 1490s and in the Low Countries in 1511 (see the links in the brief history below) so we thought it would be good to shed some light on another campaign in the career of one of Henry VII and Henry VIII's more "professional" soldiers.

Engraving showing the Siege of Sluys nearly 100 years later in 1587 by Frans Hogenberg. In the 1587 siege the English were part of the besieged force, defending against the Spanish, instead of being the attackers as in 1492.

The Siege of Sluys, 1492

Philip of Cleves was a powerful magnate from the Low Countries, the son of Adolph of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein, and relative of the 15th century Dukes of Burgundy. Philip had fought with Maximilian I at the Battle of Guinegate in 1479 and the two men had been friends, with Philip helping to rule the Low Countries on Maximilian's behalf when the Habsburg prince was absent in Germany. The revolt of the Flemish cities, Bruges, Ghent and Ypres, led to Maximilian being imprisoned and held hostage in Bruges at the start of 1488. To secure Maximilian's freedom it was Philip of Cleves who volunteered to take Maximilian's place on the condition that once free he would in turn grant more freedoms to the rebellious cities. Maximilian went back on this agreement and the betrayal pushed Philip into the arms of the rebels whose leader he then became. 

As the rebel leader Philip attempted to gain French support from Charles VIII but little was forthcoming. He was an able naval commander and had been admiral of Flanders from 1485 to 1488. By 1492 Philip had little territory left under his control but was still able to remain a persistent thorn in the side of Maximilian through his control of Sluys. From here he could attack shipping in the English Channel and off the coast of Flanders. Philip's ships did not spare English vessels as described by Hall in the following passage:

"You have heard before how Philip Mounsure, lord of Raveston by the aide of Bruges & Gaunt had taken the toune &. ii. castels of Sluys and was become adversarie to Maximilian, by reason of the, iii. chiefe cytyes of Flaunders: Now ye shall understand that he did not onely so fortifie as well with municions as men, both the toune and. ii, Castels, but also gat into the haven diverse shippes and barkes, & by this meanes he spoyled and toke prysoners all nacions, passing eyther by sea or by land to the mart at Antwarp, or into Brabant, Zeeland or Frisland and was ever plentifully viteyled out of Fraunce and Pycardy, to the great dammage of the Englishmen, which were spoyled dayly and taken prysoners : Which thinge Maximilian kynge of Romanes coulde not wel remedy, nor the kyng of England without great coste and losse of men. For to it behoved an army, bothe by sea and lande, for when he was set for by lande, he fled to the sea: And when he was chaced on the sea, he soughte refuge in hys twoo stronge Towers, and ever he had succours from Bruges and Gaunt."

From 1489 Henry VII had been attempting to halt the French conquest of Brittany and Philip's alliance with the French combined with his attacks on English shipping led the Tudor king to send aid to Maximilian in an effort to take Philip's final stronghold. Appointed by Maximilian the Duke of Saxony began the siege of Sluys on the landward side on 18 May 1492 to be joined in June by Sir Roger Cotton with an English fleet of twelve ships and 1,000 soldiers and sailors. In August Sir Edward Poynings joined the campaign with a small army of 900 men. Poynings and his men were heavily engaged in the fighting around Sluys with Jean Molinet commenting in his chronicles (translated from the French):

"The entire army of the siege consisted of a greater number than six to seven thousand combatants, among whom the English were the best recommended because they showed their valor and prowess as much as possible."

Hall's later chronicles give even more detail on the actions of Poyning's men describing how for twenty days the English would launch daily attacks from their fleet, sometimes up their knees in the sea. During one of these attacks a brother of the Earl of Oxford was slain whilst in another night attack the English burnt down a pontoon bridge which Philip of Cleeves had built to connect his fortifications:

"When duke Albert of Saxony had gotten Dam, he certefied the king of England that he would besege Sluyse by land, if it pleased his majestie to ministre any aide by the sea. King Henry which was wise, & forcasting in all his affaires, remebryng that Sluyse was the denne of theves to the that trauerse the seas toward the East parties, incontinet dispatched syr Edward Powniges, (a valiaut knight & hardy Capitayn) with xii. shippes wel furnished with bolde souldiours & strong artillary. Which syr Edward sayled into the have, & kept Philip mousure from sterting by the sea. The duke of Saxony beseged the one castel, liyng in a church over against it, & the Englishmen assauted the lesse castel dayly, & issued oute of the shippes at the ebbe, and although they stode in the water to the knees, yet they never gave their enemies one daye to repose or playe by the space of. xx. dayes, and every daye slewe some of their adversaries, and on the Englishe parte were slayne Vere brother to the Erle of Oxforde & fifty mor.

The lorde Philip of Ravestone, had made a bridge of boates betwene both the Castels, by the whiche one might succour the other, Which bridge the Englishmen in a night set on fyer. Then, he perceauynge that he must nedes lese his castels by force, & that the Fleminges could not aide him, yelded the castels to syr Edward Powninges, and the toune to the duke of Saxony, vpon certeyne condicions. "

During the siege news arrived that Philip's father, Adolph Lord of Ravenstein, had passed on 18 September 1492. On 2 October Philip and the Duke of Saxony made peace and Poynings took his men to join the English King who had landed in France to besiege Boulogne. Poyning's would go on to be a key military leader for both Henry VII and Henry VIII, leading campaigns in Ireland (see http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/09/poynings-in-ireland.html, and the second scenarios in https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2022/02/warbeck-deal-and-waterford-1495.html and https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2023/11/they-determined-to-repulse-fyer-by-fier.html) and returning to the Low Countries (see http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-siege-of-venlo-1511.html) to aid the Habsburgs. Philip, now Lord Ravenstein, continued in his allegiance with France accompanying Louis XII to Italy where he would become Viceroy of Genoa. It was in this role that he would command an abortive attack on the Ottomans in 1501  during which a combined force of Franco-Genoese, Venetians and Knights of Rhodes disastrously attempted to take the harbour of Mytilene on Lesbos.

Philip of Cleves banner flutters in the wind as the English fleet approaches.

The English fleet "with xii. shippes wel furnished with bolde souldiours & strong artillary".

From the deck of one of their ships Tudor troops observe the defences of Sluys.

Philip of Cleve's landsknecht pike have sallied out to defend the fortified town.

Scenario: "the Englishmen assauted the lesse castel dayly"

Our first game represented an English amphibious attack on one of Philip of Cleves' castles that guarded Sluys. Part of the sea was represented as well as some of the moat around the castle.

The victory conditions were simple. Philip of Cleves and the defenders of Sluys would force the English to retreat if they routed or killed Sir Edward Poynings and "Vere brother to the Erle of Oxforde" whilst Poynings' English would win if they could plant two flags upon the ramparts of the castle walls as per the rules below.

If either Sir Edward Poynings or "Vere brother to the Erle of Oxforde" was killed or routed and one flag was planted on the walls the game would be considered a draw and with both sides withdrawing.

As always both games were played using our adapted version of Lion Rampant.

"& issued oute of the shippes at the ebbe"

No English troops started on the table. The English attack would be launched from five rowing boats with the fleet supporting. Before the game started the player in command of the English army wrote the location at which his troops would land by boat and how many units would be in each boat. The English player had to have at least one unit in each of the five rowing boats but otherwise could have as many units in a boat as he wished.

The English player had to announce the turn before the rowing boats landed that they were heading in and the rowing boat models were then placed as if they were about to land. The following turn the troops in the rowing boats could attempt to move, shoot, attack or skirmish from the location where they were landing. 

To lead from the front Sir Edward Poynings and "Vere brother to the Erle of Oxforde"'s units had to be the first two units to disembark and lead the attack.

"he did not onely so fortifie as well with municions as men, both the toune and. ii, Castels"

The castle walls had a sally port and gates and were surrounded by earthworks in which the defending player could hide his men, writing down which gateway or earthwork held which unit. The English player did not know where the hidden units were. During the defending player's turn these units could exit their hiding places with a shooting, skirmish, attack or move activation. In the attack or move activation they would leave the building to carry out the action. If they shot they were also placed outside of the building or earthwork in the direction of who they were shooting at. If a unit failed an activation whilst hidden it was be placed outside of the hiding place in front of the direction it would have acted in before the Engish player the took their turn. This represented the troops giving away their position but failing to act. Once out of hiding a unit was committed to the fight and could not go back into hiding or back into the fortress walls. A challenge could not be called from hiding.

The defending Cleves player could not hide his pike units in the manner described above. They had to start on the table.

Storming the walls

The English player gave four of his units ladders to assault the walls. The ladder models were placed by the units to represent this. The units carrying ladders could move, shoot and attack as normal. If the unit was broken or destroyed it would loose the ladder. To pick up the ladder an English unit needed to move into contact with it and the next turn it would be considered to be carrying the ladder. 

Philip of Cleves's units could not pick up the ladders.

The English units carrying ladders could storm the walls or artillery towers to plant the St Georges Cross! They could do this by moving into contact with the walls or artillery towers. On the following turn an attack activation would mean they had stormed the walls with the ladders but they had to roll a D6. On a 1-2 the unit took D6 casualties in the attack. On a 3-4 D3 casualties and on a 5-6 no casualties. The unit could then act as normal but could not place another flag on the walls. Once a ladder had been used to storm the walls it could not be reused.

The guns of the castle walls and the boats

Both sides in the game had support from either the cannon in their towers or on their boats. We both started the game with 5 playing cards. Every turn we would play a card and the player who played the highest would get the artillery support that turn. The player with the artillery support placed a template deciding where he wanted the shot to land. This could be anywhere on the board. He would then roll a scatter dice and 2D6. The template would deviate by that amount. Any unit with a base under the template would take a 6 dice attack hitting on 5+ with a minus one to the unit's armour. We then replace our played cards and took another to add to our remaining 4 cards ready for the next round. 

A view of the table. The English can land troops from the seashore to the right and from the moat in the bottom left. Philip of Cleves' defending troops can be placed in the five circular earthern "sconces" that can be see in the photo or can attack out of the town gate, which is in the top left, or the sally port, which is in the large tower to the left and next to the gate.

Philip of Cleves men prepare to defend the fortress walls.
The Armies

For both games Stuart took command of Sir Edward Poynings and the English whilst I captained the forces of Philip of Cleves and his rebel garrison of Sluys.

Sir Edward Poynings and the English

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Sir Edward Poynings - Retinue Leader)
1 Unit of Foot Knights (This unit included "Vere brother to the Erle of Oxforde"
1 Unit of Garrison Billmen 
2 Units of Garrison Archers 
1 Unit of Shire Archers
2 Units of Shire Billmen

Philip of Cleves and the rebel defenders of Sluys

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Philip of Cleves - Retinue Leader)  
2 Units of Landsknecht Pike
1 Unit of Landsknecht Arquebusiers
1 Unit of Arquebusiers
2 Units of Crossbowmen
2 Units of Armoured Halberdiers

Most of the flags shown in the photos are from Pete's superb range https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/petes_flags but for Philip of Cleves heraldic banner Charlie's excellent blog, Full Harness, was used https://fullharness.blogspot.com/2022/12/burgundian-flag-sheets.html.

The captions to the photos below provide a narrative to the games whilst a brief description also follows.

First to attack from the English fleet is a member of the De Vere family and brother of the Earl of Oxford, famed for commanding at Barnet, Bosworth and Stoke. As the rest of the English struggle to row to the shore De Vere's brother is attacked by well armed and organised rebels and so is "slayne Vere brother to the Erle of Oxforde". 

At the other end of the walls Poynings and a separate force land from boats in the moat and prepare to storm the walls with ladders.

"the Englishmen assauted the lesse castel dayly, & issued oute of the shippes at the ebbe, and although they stode in the water to the knees, yet they never gave their enemies one daye to repose or playe by the space of. xx. dayes."

More English land on the shore...

...and rush towards the walls.

The defenders of Sluys could see an attack was imminent as the English fleet drew nearer to the shore. They had already been attacked by the English numerous times over the past days as "the Englishmen assauted the lesse castel dayly, & issued oute of the shippes at the ebbe". First to land was the brother of the famed Earl of Oxford. Unfortunately for the De Vere brother the rest of the English were not as quick to disembark from their rowing boats and join the attack. As he pushed forward with his men at arms rebel defenders sprang from the earthworks outside the walls. In the brief melee that followed the De Vere brother was slain. 

With the English guns on board their warships firing into the fortress the rest of the English disembarked and prepared to storm the walls of Sluys. Philip of Cleves had ordered his men to ready on the shoreline in an attempt to stop the English landing but he had not counted on them using rowing boats to attack along the moat. Poynings led the attack from the moat and it looked as if he had caught the rebels off guard.

Poynings' men press the attack but they are coming under fire from rebels in the sconces and from the guns on the walls of Sluys.

English soldiers and sailors advance on the walls with siege ladders.

The defenders advance on the English in an attempt to drive them back into the sea. The guns of the English ships fire on them and cause significant casualties.

A battle has developed on the beach with Philip of Cleves leading the counter attack on the English.

Where the walls are less well defended the English troops rush towards them...

...and it looks as though some of the archers may be able to scale them despite being fired on by the defenders.

The fighting on the beach continues...

...but it looks as though the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

More of Cleve's troops emerge from the gatehouse and rush to defend the walls.

A fierce battle developed on the beach with Cleves leading his men into the fray. The English who had landed on the shore put up a brave fight but the rebels concentrated their defence on this point and it wasn't long before the English soldiers and sailors were fleeing back to the rowing boats and attempting to escape from the rebel troops. The scaling ladders they carried were dropped and the attack on this part of the walls was defeated.

Further along the walls Poynings personally led the attack and was having more success. Rebel troops were issuing out of the gates and the sconces in front of the walls but Poynings' archers were doing a good job of keeping them at bay with a rain of arrows. This allowed some of his archers to reach the fortress walls but the gunfire of the defenders was enough to prevent them from successfully scaling them and planting the St George's flag. The English slew many of the rebels in the fighting here but Poynings was badly injured when he was struck by a gun shot from the walls. His trumpeter sounded the retreat and his men retreated. Poynings was carried back to the rowing boats by his men to be taken to a surgeon on board the English fleet. The attack on Sluys had failed.

Poynings leads from the front but his men are being driven back by the crossbow and gunfire of the rebels.

A view of the whole table. Two separate fights have developed: one at the top of the table on the beach and one at the other end where Poynings has landed from the moat. It is at the moat end of the table that the English still have a chance of storming the walls.

The English on the beach are defeated as their countrymen look on in horror from the fleet.

At the other end of the walls a group of English archers attempt to plant their ladder and raise the St George's Flag on the fortresses walls...

...the archers are forced to withdraw as Poynings is badly injured by a gunshot from the walls. His trumpeter sounds the retreat and the surviving English return to their boats and row back to the fleet.

Night has fallen on the besieged town of Sluys.

"Which bridge the Englishmen in a night set on fyer"

The second game focused on the English attacking the pontoon bridge by night. The pontoon bridge can been seen in the photos below. The objective of this game was simple, the English had to destroy the bridge and the rebels had to protect it.

The counters (see below) representing two thirds of the English and 2 dummy counters were deployed outside the fortifications and harbour whilst 3 units of the defending forces were deployed around the harbour and fortifications with 2 dummy counters. The defending Cleves player had to divide his remaining units to be either within the castle walls or in the castle at the other end of the pontoon bridge whilst the English player had to choose 3 units to arrive in the carrack. We had to write down which units were where before the game started. See the photo of the table below to show the locations of the forces.

Night Movement

To represent the dark counters were used for each unit, and we wrote down in secret which unit each counter was for. A unit was revealed either by an enemy unit attacking or shooting it once it was within 6” of the counter or by an enemy unit simply moving to within 3” of it. Retinue leaders could not apply their morale bonus until revealed and all counters could "move" activate on a 6+ and move 6” until they were revealed. If units wanted to “reveal” themselves earlier, for example if the Retinue Leader wanted to give his leadership benefit, they could do so by declaring this when they activated. Once “revealed” units did not disappear again. Declaring a challenge would reveal a unit.

Night Shooting

To further represent the darkness all ranged attacks were halved for this game.

"by the whiche one might succour the other"

The turn after the first shooting or combat between units took place the defending Cleves player could activate more of his forces. Those within the castle walls on the table could leave via the gates or sally ports using move activations that turn. Due to the Night Movement rules they would remain as counters until discovered as above.
To activate the units in the other castle, at the other end of the pontoon bridge, the defending player had to roll 2D6 the turn after the fighting started. On a 10+ units from the other castle could begin to arrive along the pontoon bridge via move activations. On the following turn they could arrive on a 9+ and so on. Due to the Night Movement rules they would remain as counters until discovered as above.

"shippes wel furnished with bolde souldiours" 

The English player had to choose three units to land from the carrack during the fighting. To activate the troops landing from the carrack, the English player had to roll 2D6 the turn after the fighting started. On a 10+ the troops from the carrack could arrive along the shoreline via move activations. On the following turn they could arrive on a 9+ and so on. 

The troops from the carrack were not allowed to land within 10" of the pontoon bridge.

"the Englishmen in a night set on fyer"

Victory in this game centered around the English attempt to burn down the pontoon bridge.
To burn the bridge the English player had to have at least one base from a unit in contact with the bridge at the start of their activation phase. As an ordered activation, they could use that unit to try to set fire to the bridge (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 started on a roll of 9+ on 2D6.

Every turn after the bridge had been set on fire the English player would roll a D6. Once he rolled a 5+ the fire was considered to have burnt down the bridge.

The defending Cleves player could attempt to put out the fire if he also had a unit in base to base contact with the bridge at the start of his activation phase and it was still burning and not destroyed. As an ordered activation, he could use that unit to put out the fire. If there were 7 or more models in the unit the fire was put out on a roll of 8+ on 2D6; if there were 6 or fewer models in the unit the fire was put out on a roll of 9+ on 2D6. 

If the fire was put out the English player could attempt to set fire to it again and it could be put out again as per the rules above.

The English would win the game if the bridge was destroyed.

A view of the table. The pontoon bridge can be seen in the centre, with the other end being connected to the other Castle. The English will attack from the left with their carrack landing more troops on the shore, see the red arrows in the photo above. Philip of Cleves will have a few units defending outside the town and reinforcements will arrive from the gates and from the other castle via the pontoon bridge, see the yellow arrows in the photo above. 

"The lorde Philip of Ravestone, had made a bridge of boates betwene both the Castels, by the whiche one might succour the other".

The Armies

Sir Edward Poynings and the English

3 Units would land from the Carrack (see the table photo above)

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Sir Edward Poynings - Retinue Leader) 
1 Unit of Foot Knights 
1 Units of Garrison Billmen 
3 Units of Shire Billmen
3 Units of Shire Archers

Philip of Cleves and the rebel defenders of Sluys

3 Units would start on the table in defensive positions
3 Units would arrive from the castle walls
3 Units would arrive over the pontoon bridge (see the table photo above)

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Philip of Cleves - Retinue Leader) 
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Landsknecht Captain)
2 Units of Landsknecht Pike
1 Unit of Landsknecht arquebusiers
1 Units of Demilancers
1 Unit of Crossbowmen
2 Units of Armoured Halberdiers

The fighting starts when a group of heavily armoured landsknecht clash with English archers as they patrol the walls in the moonlight.

The fighting escalates as Poynings leads his men in an attack on the garrison's pickets.

With the garrison distracted by the clashes outside the walls one of the fleet's carracks arrives.

Sluys was quiet in the moonlight and the troops guarding the harbour had little reason to suspect an attack. The night came alive when a patrolling unit of landsknecht discovered a group of English archers sneaking along the walls. The landsknecht charged the archers and forced them to flee but this let another group slip past them towards the pontoon bridge that linked the two castles of Sluys to each other over the estuary.

Around the harbour the defenders were horrified to hear a rousing cry of "God for Harry, England, and Saint George!" as Poynings led a charge into the sentries. In the melee that followed the rebels were overrun allowing the English to rush towards the pontoon bridge. At the same time an English carrack quietly slipped into the harbour allowing a force of men at arms, archers and mariners to disembark and secure the bridge.

Unopposed the carrack quietly enters the harbour...

...and the English troops disembark.

As the fighting along the walls continues...

...the defenders become aware of the troops that have landed in the harbour. Armoured horsemen charge out of the gates but they are driven back by English men at arms.

Poynings pushes his attack an in effort to join up with the men who have landed in the harbour.

English archers climb onto the pontoon bridge...

...and a force of English mariners battles with Philip of Cleve's and his retinue as Cleve's attempts to drive the English off the pontoon bridge.
A view if the table from above. In the centre the English are on the pontoon bridge but the garrison of Sluys is attempting to drive them off. To the left Poynings is attempting to push through the towns sentries and reach the bridge.

Moonlight illuminates the pontoon bridge as the English attempt to set it alight.

The English carry flaming torches... 

...and the bridge is "set on fyer".

The English triumph is short lived. Just as the bridge catches fire troops rush across from the fortress on the other side and put out the flames with seawater!

Seeing the English on the bridge Philip of Cleves called the garrison to arms and men rushed from the gates of the fortress. The defenders efforts to take back the bridge were frustrated by a tough group of English men at arms and sailors who held it against Cleves and a troop of his cavalry that were first to sally from the gates. This gave the English archers on the bridge enough time to set it alight. They cheered as it burnt in the moonlight.

Before the bridge could burn down rebels from the other fortress across the water raced along it. Using the seawater they were able to douse down the flames and save the bridge from destruction. As soon as they had put the fire out they charged into the archers. Chaos ensued as the men fought along the pontoon bridge with many falling to their deaths in the dark waters.

A brutal fight takes place along the pontoon bridge...

...and many drown as they fall in the chaotic fighting.

Outside the town walls Sir Edward Poynings and Philip of Cleves engage in personal combat. Cleves is brought down, a severe blow to the defenders morale.

Whilst the fighting continued on the water, on the shore Poynings and Cleves met one another in a personal combat. Cleves was quickly defeated by Poynings and as their leader was carried back into the fortress the morale of the defenders waivered. As reinforcements arrived from the town and from the other castle along the bridge Cleves personal defeat was not enough to turn the tide. It had been very close but the English had not been able to destroy the bridge and as dawn broke they returned to their fleet.

Despite the loss of their leader the rebels continue to push the English back from the pontoon bridge...

...and as dawn begins to break Poynings calls the attack off and retreats.

With very clear objectives these proved to be two fast and furious games that hung in the balance at key moments. Stuart was unlucky to loose the De Vere brother so early in the first game but despite this if his archers had managed to storm the walls when they reached them at the far end of the table it would have been a draw. Similarly in the second game it looked as the English were going to burn down the bridge only for the rebels to put out the fire and then prevent the English from setting it alight again despite further attempts. It was great to use lots of different terrain elements in the games; the harbour, castle walls, boats and pontoon bridge. These pieces really made everything come to life.

Stuart and I have more games planned soon and, whilst of course staying in the same era, we have decided upon a very different theatre of war for our next clash of arms...