Tuesday 16 April 2024

"the Scottes drew together toward Branxston, & thenglishmen them assailed", raids from the Anglo-Scottish War of 1522-1524

This weekend I travelled to Stuart's to try out his new wargaming set up. Stuart has the perfect terrain for representing the Anglo-Scots border so for our debut games in the new space we decided on two scenarios based around events that took place in the Anglo-Scottish War of 1522-1524.

The skirmish not far from Wark, June 1523

The death of James IV at Flodden did not end the threat that Scotland posed to Henry VIII's northern border. The Scots may have had a minor as King, James V, but the Tudors still had to contend with the "auld alliance" between the French and Scots which meant that any attack on one of the allies could lead to war with both. The Anglo-Scots border witnessed a rapid escalation of violence during the years 1522 to 1524 as Henry VIII launched campaigns in northern France in 1522 and 1523.  A war of raid and counter raid took place with notable events in 1523 being the English assaults on Jedburgh, https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-english-attack-on-jedburgh.html, and Ferniehurst, https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2020/04/dacres-attack-on-ferniehurst-1523.html with a Franco-Scots force striking back at Wark, https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-siege-of-wark-1523.html.  The fighting would continue into 1524 with a large raid into the West March being led by Lord Maxwell in July, https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/06/this-was-chaunce-of-warre-lord-maxwells.html, whilst at the same time to the east an English raiding party was caught by the Scots following the burning of Smailholm (see the second scenario https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2022/07/the-ill-raid-august-1513.html).

Whilst these were engagements involving thousands of English and Scots troops there were many smaller clashes in these years as English garrisons raided into Scotland or as Scots struck back across the border and attacked English settlements. An example of this is an ambush that took place prior to the larger scale fighting which followed in the autumn of 1523. Writing on 24 June 1523 Thomas Magnus, a churchman and diplomat who acted as paymaster and treasurer for the English border garrisons in that year, wrote to Thomas Dacre, Warden-general of the marches, informing him of an ambush that had taken place between the garrisons of Alnwick and Wark and a force of Scots raiders. 
Lord Leonard Grey, a professional soldier serving in the north who would take part in the French invasion that autumn and later lead an English army to victory at Belahoe in Ireland (see https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2022/08/belahoe-1539.html) was serving with men from his elder brother's retinue, his brother being Thomas Grey, 2nd Marquess of Dorset.  Leonard Grey informed Magnus that Ceton, the Captain of Wark had asked him for 100 men of his brother's retinue as following a raid by Dacre to Ednam the Scots were daily assembling around Wark Castle with 200 to 300 men. Grey had left Alnwick with 120 men and met with a younger son of Sir Richard Tempest and a gentleman named Hoothom with a force of 180 men. This force of 300 men arrived at Wark and the following morning, hearing that the Scots were approaching, Captain Ceton left Grey in charge of the castle and rode out to ambush the Scots.

Ceton sent 50 spears and 20 bows to lure the Scots in leaving the rest of the men in ambush. In the ensuing clash 25 Scots were slain and 61 taken prisoner. The English force also took many of the best horses the Scots had in the region, a standard and a "gyttern", or cavalry guidon. According to Magnus's letter one Englishman was slain and another captured. Several of the Trotter and Davidson reiver family members were captured and Davy Home was forced to flee with a spear broken either in his coat or his body.

A force of  Homes, Trotters and Davidsons assembles on the border close to Wark castle...

...ahead of them they see an English force of around "50 spears and 20 bows". 


To represent the ambush described above the Scots force started on the table facing a small force of mounted English troops, the spears and bows described in Thomas Magnus's letter. The two pictures below show the initial deployment.

As always we used our adapted Lion Rampant rules for both of the games.

The Ambush

To represent the rest of the English lying in wait “battered” markers were used to represent each hidden English unit, with their captain writing down in secret which unit each marker was for. 3 "Dummy" markers were also allowed. A unit was revealed either by a Scots unit attacking or shooting it once it was within 8” of the marker or by a Scots unit simply moving within 3” of it. The English retinue leader could not apply his morale bonus until he had been 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.

Units did not have to test for wild charge whilst hidden.


To represent the personal nature of these clashes, and the fact that some of the borderers on each side would have known each other, victory in this game was based on the taking of prisoners. A figure that was totaled up during the game and no matter which units had fled or been lost at the end it was the number of prisoners taken that counted. Routed units were assumed to have safely escaped and made it back across the border or to their garrison.

Each time a unit was in combat with another the players rolled a dice for each casualty they caused. On a 4+ that casualty was considered to have been captured (and removed from the field by non combatants!) and added to that players prisoner score.

The same rule also applied to retinue leaders if killed in a duel or combat. A captured retinue leader was worth 3 prisoner points whilst normal casualties counted as 1 prisoner point.

Casualties caused by skirmishing or shooting could not be taken prisoner.

At the end of the game the player with the most "prisoner points" was considered the winner.


Every time any ranged unit shot or skirmished (including evasion moves) if rolling 12 dice and 5 1s or 2s were rolled then the unit was out of ammunition and could not shoot/skirmish anymore. If 6 dice were rolled (as the unit was at half strength or less) and 3 1s or 2s were rolled then the unit ran out of ammunition. An ammunition marker was then placed by the unit.

A view of the table from above. On the left is the Scots force whilst the English spears and bows from the garrisons of Wark and Alnwick are in the centre. The rest of the English garrison, led by Captain Ceton is lying in ambush.

A view from the Scots lines. It looks as if they are only facing a small party of English. 

The Armies

Stuart chose to play as the English for this game so I took on the role of the Scots raiders.

Captain Ceton and the garrisons of Wark and Alnwick

Starting on the table:

1 Unit of Demilancers
1 Unit of Border Horse
2 Units of Mounted Archers

Lying in Ambush (see rules above):

1 Unit of Demilancers (Retinue Leader - Captain Ceton) 
1 Unit of Garrison Billmen
2 Units of Garrison Archers 
2 Units of Border Horse
1 Unit of Borderers

Davy Home and the Homes, Trotters and Davidsons

1 Unit of Demilancers (Retinue Leader - Davy Home) 
3 Units of Border Horse 
1 Unit of Scots Pike
3 Units of Borderers
2 Units of Retinue foot
1 Unit of Scots Arquebusiers

The objective of taking prisoners totally changed the nature of this game and resulted in a fast and furious clash which is briefly described below. The pictures also tell the bitter tale of border rivalry that played out!

Much to the surprise of the Scots the smaller English force attacks immediately.

The English demilancers drive the Scots troops back, capturing some of them in the process.

English border horse join the attack on the Scots party.

Captain Ceton laid the trap perfectly. As the Scots appeared on the horizon they rushed towards the small group of English horsemen thinking they could quickly overpower them, hopefully taking many of them prisoner. They were surprised and alarmed when instead of fleeing the English demilancers and border horsemen charged straight into them. A confused melee ensued, with some of the Scots being captured and more slain.

As the fighting continued previously hidden units of English appeared and joined the fray. This escalation of the fighting drew more and more of the Scots into the action with both sides taking heavy casualties. These raiders from the Home, Trotter and Davidson family had clashed with members of the garrison of Wark before and there were old scores to be settled.

Davy Home and his men have been surprised by the ferocity of the English attack but, still thinking they have they numerical advantage, they are lured down the hill to attack the English archers.

As the Scots advance Captain Ceton and a force of demilancers and border horse break from cover and charge into the Scots...

...a fierce melee develops in which both sides take casualties and capture enemies from across the border.

Old rivalries play out as bands of border horse in the Scots and English armies clash with one another.

The engagement develops into a chaotic clash of arms.

Captain Ceton is slain in the fighting but the Scots curse as the Captain of the Wark garrison would have fetched a good ransom.

The English borderers attempt to capture Davy Home but his well armoured retainers fight them off.

Both the Scots and English were taking casualties in the fighting. Captain Ceton and his armoured demilancers charged from their cover and rode headlong into the chaotic melee. Ceton was unable to get to the leader of the Scots force, Davy Home, but he cut down many of the Home clan in the fighting. The Scots fought back and Captain Ceton, sensing the tide was turning, sounded a withdrawal.

The English began to disengage, some of them making off with prisoners who they knew they would be able to ransom back to their reiver families across the border. As Captain Ceton attempted to escape he was chased down and slain as were some of the other English borderers who attempted to flee. The Scots were left on the field but it had been no victory for them. Both sides had sustained heavy losses and both had captured 20 prisoners. The clash had ended in the draw and it had been a bloody morning on the border.

Having given the Scots a bloody nose and taken a score of them prisoner the English force disengages and heads back to Wark. A detachment of English borderers is ridden down by the vengeful Scots but the easy victory they had hoped for has been stolen from them and the morning has ended in a costly draw.

"the Scottes drew together toward Branxston" 

Another small scale clash took place on 21 May 1524. Knowing that a market was held in Berwick every Trinity Sunday 500 hundred Scots crossed the border in order to rob the merchants and traders on their way to the market. Whilst the Scots were initially successful, taking goods and wealthy prisoners, their presence became known to the local English garrisons and a fight developed in which both sides took casualties as the Scots attempted to escape with their loot. According to Hall's chronicle the Scots raiders were successfully fending off the attack until the arrival of the Lord of Fulbery with 50 light horse. This prevented many of the Scots from escaping and two hundred were captured in the ensuing rout.

Hall's account of the event is given below:

"The. xxi. day of May beyng Trinite Sondaie. v. C. Scottes in the morning by several fordes, entered into Englande, and laye couertly by the high waie, to distresse merchauntes and merket men that should passe to Benvike (Berwick), that day to the faire: for euery Trinite Sondaie, ther is kept a great faire, whiche the Scottes knewe well, and as they laye thus lurking, thei robbed many merchauntes, and toke rich prisoners, but at the last they were perceiued, then the Alarms rose, and people began to gather, the Scottes drew together toward Branxston (Branxton), & thenglishmen them assailed, which so manfully them defended, that if the yong lorde of Fulbery, had not come with one. C. light horsmen, the Scottes had gone away with their botie, but then began a sore fight, many were hurt on both sides, and some slain, and at the last the Scottes fled, and in the chace there were two hundred Scottes taken prisoners, and the residue fled and saued themselfes."

The "v. C. Scottes" head back from the high way to Berwick, laden with plunder and prisoners. They pass a convent as they return to Scotland.

The Scots find their path blocked by an English force hastily raised from the local border garrisons.


In this game the Scots were attempting to retreat with their loot whilst a force of English attempted to block them. The Lord of Fulbery and the cavalry would arrive behind the escaping Scots as the crossed the river.

The Scots started at one end of the table and had to get as many units off the other side with their loot. 

As the first game had been a closely fought draw Stuart and I decided that he would remain in command of the English and I would play as the Scots again. We continued to the use the Munitions  rules from the first scenario as we felt they really changed the dynamic and made the first game more challenging.

"by seueral fordes, entered into Englande"

Once the first Scots unit was across the river the English player could roll 2 dice at the start of their turn to see if the the Lord of Fulbery arrived with the cavalry. On the first time rolling after a Scots unit had crossed the river a 9+ would bring on the cavalry. The following turn it would be an 8+  and so on. Lord Fulbery's cavalry could only enter the table via move activations. They could not enter via skirmish or attacking activations.

"thei robbed many merchauntes, and toke rich prisoners"

As loot the Scots had 1 rich merchant as a prisoner for ransom, 2 wagons and 3 livestock counters. At the start of the game these were allotted to 6 Scots units (mounted or on foot). These units could move a maximum of 6" per turn and would loose the prisoner, livestock or wagons if they were defeated in combat or battered. They units could not attack or skirmish but could shoot whilst they had control of the prisoner, livestock or wagons. Units could pick up the "lost" prisoner, livestock or wagons by moving into base to base contact with them. They were then considered to have picked up the loot and could move with it. The prisoner, livestock or wagons could be picked up by both the Scots and English units. 

If lost the wagons would not move but the prisoner would move D6+2 inches in a random direction at the start of every turn and the livestock would move 2D6 inches in a random direction at the start of every turn.

Victory points

Victory in this game was based on who had managed to secure the most loot.

If a Scots unit left the table with the prisoner, livestock or wagons the Scots would get the points for that particular loot whilst if the English had the prisoner, livestock or wagons in their possession (ie held by units) at the end of the game they would get the points for what they held. 

The points for the loot were:

3 for the Rich Merchant Prisoner
2 for the Wagons
1 for each of the Livestock ( the 3 livestock "counters" were represented by cows, sheep and a final "counter" of pigs and goats)

A view of the table from above. The Scots and their plunder are on the right whilst the English are on the left. The Scots must get as much plunder as possible across the river to the table edge behind the English. Once a unit of Scots crosses the river then the Lord of Fulbery will enter the table from behind them (on the right) with a force of English cavalry.

The English party hastily assembled to face the raiders, comprising of borderers and men from the local garrisons.

The Armies

The Scots

1 Unit of Demilancers (Retinue Leader)
3 Units of Border Horse 
2 Units of Pike 
1 Unit of Retinue Foot
1 Unit of Scots Arquebusiers
3 Units of Borderers

The English

The force attempting to block the Scots:

2 Units of Shire Billmen
2 Units of Shire Archers 
1 Unit of Border Horse 
1 Unit of Mounted Archers 
1 Unit of Borderers

Lord of Fulbery's Cavalry who arrive in pursuit of the Scots:

1 Unit of Demilancers (Retinue Leader - Lord of Fulbery)
2 Units of Border Horse 
1 Unit of Mounted Archers

This game turned into an epic fight with action taking place all over the field. I have tried to summarise some of this below which, along with the help of the photos, should give some idea of what happened!

Undaunted by the English blocking their path the Scots head for the river in an effort to make it back to Scotland with their loot.

They have captured a rich prisoner in the form of a wealthy merchant.

The English attempt to slow the Scots with border horsemen and mounted archers.

The English send a rain of arrows into the advancing Scots...

...but the Scots march to the border continues.

As the Scots drive the stolen livestock forward they see that the English have been reinforced by a small artillery piece.

Having taken rich pickings on the high way to Berwick the Scots began their journey back across the border in high spirits. They had planned to return to Scotland via the "several fordes" they had used to enter England. They were annoyed to see some of the local English garrison troops and borderers had formed a party to try and stop them. The Scots raiders pressed on regardless and kept in good order despite attacks by the English cavalry and volleys of arrows from the English archers. Even the reinforcement of the English with a small artillery piece from a local border fortress did not daunt the retreating raiders.

As the Scots crossed the shallow waters of the river the fighting got heavier. English billmen and archers joined the fray but the Scots held their formation and over ran each English unit as it attempted to face them. It was looking as though they would get back with all of their newly acquired riches, be these the goods loaded onto wagons, the livestock they had rustled, or the rich merchant they had taken prisoner who could be ransomed for a small fortune.

Scots border horse and English mounted archers clash in the shallow waters of the river.

A view of the field as the Scots near the river
The Scots drive forward into the English arrow storm.

A group of borderers are first to cross the river with their livestock.

It looks as though many of the Scots are going to escape.

The English attempt to stop the Scots from crossing.
English billmen clash with the escaping borderers. They inflict casualties before being driven off. The first group of raiders make it back to Scotland with their plunder.

As the Scots neared the border they heard the blare of trumpets behind them. It became apparent that the "yong lorde of Fulbery" had arrived in pursuit with "one. C. light horsmenand panic began to set into their ranks. The Scots captain turned back and attacked the horsemen as they arrived, attempting to buy time for his men in a rearguard action. The Lord of Fulbery charged into the leader of the Scots raiding party and quickly slew him, an action which had a terrible effect on the morale of the Scots.

Terrified that they were going to be ridden down by the English many of the retreating Scots panicked and fled. Some of the herds of rustled livestock were abandoned as was one of the loot laden wagons. The biggest blow for the Scots came when the wealthy merchant managed to escape in the rout. His ransom would have been worth a fortune but the wily merchant saw his opportunity and took it, disguising himself in the cloak and bonnet of a fallen Scotsman.

The organised Scots withdrawal across the border turned into a series of running fights all across the field as different groups bitterly fought over the stolen goods and livestock. The English artillery piece was put to good use, sending a lethal hail of shot into the Scots as they attempted to pass it. Two bands of Scotsmen managed to escape with herds of livestock. The most vicious fighting was over the wagons which were both captured and recaptured multiple times by the Scots and English. Eventually the Scots made off with one of the wagons leaving the other to the English. It was a narrow and very hard fought victory for the surviving Scots who crossed the border cursing their luck for letting the merchant escape.

Behind the Scots "the yong lorde of Fulbery" has arrived. The Scots captain fights a rearguard action...

...but is slain by the Lord of Fulbery outside the convent. The death of the Scots captain has a terrible effect on the raiding party's morale.

The Scots raiders have been reinforced by more border horsemen but the cattle they have stolen are won back by some English border horse.

Alarm spreads through the Scots ranks as they learn their captain has been slain and that the Lord of Fulbery is hot on their tail with his cavalry. In the panic the rich merchant manages to escape and slip away disguised as a Scottish soldier. The Scots raiders have lost their most valuable prisoner!

Things get worse for the retreating Scots as the English put up a hard fight, putting many of them to flight in disorder.

A local English garrison has deployed an artillery piece which causes havoc as the Scots attempt to escape with their loot loaded into wagons.

One wagon in particular is much fought over and despite their best efforts the Scots are unable to escape with it.

After much hard fighting one of the wagons does make it off the field. It has been a narrow victory for the Scots, who are still confused and cursing that the wealthy merchant has somehow managed to escape!

This was a great debut for Stuart's wargaming set up. Two really close and very fun games that also looked spectacular on his terrain. The prisoner rule in the first game totally changed the way we normally played and turned what would have normally been a game with lots of skirmishing and archery into a blood bath. We both threw unit after unit into hand to hand fighting in an attempt to capture more prisoners. Stuart captured lots of prisoners in his initial charges which then meant I was constantly chasing his "prisoner score" only matching it right at the end of the game when we both had 20 a piece. It was a fun special a rule which I think we will revisit.

The second game was also a very close and hard fought affair, especially once the Scots captain had been killed and about half of my units suddenly failed their courage checks and began to flee. The unit holding the merchant routed and the random movement of the escaped prisoner meant he fled the field, followed by much cursing from me! At one point there was something happening in every corner of the table, which is quite rare in these games.

As peace returns to the borders we are already planning our next set of games and there will hopefully be more to come in the summer.

Monday 1 April 2024

“because without that nothing is done here”, the relief of Jajce, 1502

Over the Easter break my friend Tom visited and battle was joined once more. We wanted to get the Ottomans back on the table and decided to game one of the many border clashes that took place as the Ottoman Empire pushed it's boundaries ever westward during the 1500s. It took place around Jajce, a Hungarian held fortified town that would come under increasing pressure during the first quarter of the 16th century. Most of the information for the below account comes from pages 315-317 of Tamás Pálosfalvi's excellent "From Nicopolis to Mohács, A History of Ottoman-Hungarian Warfare, 1389–1526".

The relief of Jajce, 1502

The defeat of Louis II, King of Hungary, on the field of Mohacs in August 1526 was a climactic event that followed years of border warfare between the Ottomans and the Hungarians as successive Ottoman Sultans pushed the borders of their territory further and further west. One of the key locations in these border struggles was the fortress town of Jajce, in modern day Bosnia-Herzegovina, which lies on the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. In the 14th century Jajce had been the capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror captured the town in 1463 and garrisoned it with Ottoman troops only for Matthias Corvinus and his Black Army to wrestle the town off the Ottomans in the autumn of the same year. As soon as Jajce fell to Corvinus the Ottomans attempted to take it back in 1464. Over the following decades the town proved to be a key bastion in Hungary's defensive line against the Ottomans. 

As the 16th century began the pressure on Jajce increased with Corvinus's son, John Corvinus, Ban of Croatia (a Ban was the Hungarian title for the military governors of the Kingdom's outlying territories) destroying an Ottoman wagon fort which had been set up to oppose Jajce in the autumn of 1501. Following this relief most of Jajce's garrison was dismissed for the winter meaning that when the Ottomans prepared to besiege the town again in 1502 the fortress-town was vulnerable. The 1501 siege had been led by Iskender Pasha, the Sanjak-bey (military governor) of the Ottoman ruled part of Bosnia. In 1502, one of Iskender Pasha's sons oversaw another attempt to take Jajce,  and another relief force was hastily prepared in Buda.  John Corvinus was in Buda and as Ban of Croatia was the man whose duty it normally would have been to relieve the town but instead of Corvinus being chosen to the lead the relief a captain relatively inexperienced in fighting the Ottomans named János Tárcai, and better known for his financial expertise, was chosen.

None of the counties who were called upon to raise troops answered the call and so the relief force was comprised solely of royal troops and those provided by Hungarian barons. A small army of around 4,000 men was raised of which at least 2,000 were light cavalry and 50 were armoured men at arms. To provision the beleaguered town Tárcai took 2,000 wagons with his army, 1,000 of them being laden with wine, a report of the campaign stating "because without that nothing is done here". Tárcai's army left Buda in the first weeks of June and was 5 miles from Jajce on the evening of 2 July. Being able to see the town's garrison from his position on a hill top his men formed a wagenburg to protect themselves as night fell. Upon receiving information that 1,000 of the akinji (Ottoman irregular light cavalry see https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2020/01/ottoman-raiders-akinji-and-azabs.html) had left the siege lines to attack another Hungarian garrison Tárcai ordered the men at arms and light cavalry to give chase in an attempt to cut the akinji off whilst they were away from the main Ottoman force. The heavily armoured men at arms found it difficult to keep up with the light horse in the night and returned to the wagenburg.

The following morning, with the Hungarian light cavalry still in pursuit of the akinji, the wagenburg was attacked by a force of perhaps as many as 10,000 Ottomans under the leadership of Iskender Pasha's son. A bloody battle ensued around the wagenburg but the Ottomans fell back hoping to lure the defenders into a pursuit and defeat them when they had abandoned the cover of the wagons. Tárcai's men did give chase but only enough to draw the Ottoman cavalry back to the wagenburg again. The wagenburg's artillery had been readied and as the Hungarian infantry retreated back inside the pursuing Ottoman horsemen were subjected to lethal hails of shot and retreated with heavy casualties.

By now the 1,000 akinji had returned to the Ottoman army, successfully evading the Hungarian light horse by returning via a different route. That evening the Hungarian light horse also returned and in the morning escorted some of the supply wagons into the town. Undeterred by their losses the day before the Ottomans attacked again, this time targeting the supply wagons as Tárcai's army attempted to relieve the garrison of Jajce. The Hungarian light cavalry charged the Ottomans whilst the 50 heavily armoured men at arms made their own charge into the besiegers. This shattered the Ottoman morale and the army broke and fled leaving over 1,000 of their number dead around the town.

Despite this successful and dramatic relief of Jajce the Ottomans would continue to besiege the town with equally dramatic relief efforts being made. In 1518 Petar Berislavić led an army of around 10,000 men, 3,000 of which were provided by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, to relieve the town. In 1525 Krsto Frankopan led 6,000 men to Jajce's relief, earning him the sobriquet of the "Hero of Jajce" in Europe. Following Mohac's Jajce would still remain in Hungarian hands eventually falling to an attack by Ghazi Husrev Beg and Murad Beg Tardić in January of 1528.

A view of the table from behind the Ottoman lines. In the foreground is a timber and earthen fort that has been erected by the Ottomans to blockade Jajce. At the top of the hill is the Hungarian relief force forming up outside its wagenburg.

A view of the table from the top of  the hill with the Hungarian wagenburg and Tárcai's relief force in the foreground. The Hungarians will attempt to escort the supply wagons to the walls of Jajce. At the top of the photo are the Ottoman besiegers. Jajce is not represented on the tabletop and is assumed to be behind the Ottoman earthworks. 


The scenario combined elements of the events that took place around Jajce in early July 1502, putting them all into one action. As János Tárcai's relief army camped on a nearby hill around 5 miles from Jajce the table represented the wagenburg of the relief army and a section of the Ottoman siege lines at the bottom of the hill (see the two photos above). Jajce was not represented as its walls would lie beyond the Ottoman earthworks.

The Ottomans did not have heavy guns as this was the army of a Sanjak-bey, comprised mostly of irregular forces. The siege was one of blockade rather than an attempt to take Jajce by assault.

As always we used our modified Lion Rampant rules for the game. Each army consisted of two retinues. The game started with the akinji and Hungarian light horse retinues off the table as in the events described above 1,000 akinji left to raid another Hungarian garrison and the Hungarian hussars and horse archers left in pursuit of them.

The Supply Wagons

In this scenario the Hungarians had three supply wagons that they had to try and get to the other side of the table. Hungarian cavalry and infantry units could move the wagons. When accompanied by a unit the wagons could move a maximum of 6" per turn and the unit lost the wagon if they were defeated in combat or battered. Units could not attack whilst still holding the wagon but could shoot whilst they had control of the wagon. Other Hungarian units could pick up "lost" wagons by moving into base to base contact with them. The unit was then considered to have picked it up and could move with it. Once a unit reached the other end of the table with a supply wagon then the wagon was removed but the unit could remain in the game.

The Wine Wagon

As János Tárcai's relief army brought 1,000 wagons laden with wine,“because without that nothing is done here”, the Hungarians also had a "Wine Wagon". This could be moved around in the same way as the Supply Wagons but, unlike the Supply Wagons, could also be picked by Ottoman units if they managed to get control of it . The Wine wagon allowed any friendly unit within 12" to reroll an activation fail. So if the Hungarians had the Wine Wagon this applied to their units whilst if the Ottoman troops had the Wine Wagon this applied to Ottoman units. Many of the Ottoman Balkan troops were not muslim and the Ottoman army still benefited from the Wine Wagon.

The Wagenburg

The Hungarian wagenburg was a static feature at the top of the hill. At the start of every Hungarian turn it could automatically fire a close range artillery shot at any Ottoman unit with 12" from any point in the wagenburg. To destroy the wagenburg the Ottomans had to get a unit into base to base contact with it. On the following turn instead on an activation the Ottoman unit could role a D6  and on a 4+ the unit was considered to have broken into the wagenburg and destroyed it. If the unit failed it was considered a failed activation and the retinue's turn ended. For every other Ottoman unit in base to base contact with the wagenburg the unit attempting to destroy it would get a +1 to the D6 roll. So, for example, if four Ottoman units were in base to base contact with the wagenburg one unit could activate to destroy it and would automatically succeed as they would receive +3 to  the D6 roll. If 2 units were in base to base contact and from different retinues then each would successfully destroy the wagenburg on a 3+ and the second unit could attempt if the first failed as they would be in separate retinues.

The arrival of the akinji and the Hungarian light horse

As explained above these two retinues did not start on the table but their arrival was triggered by events in the game. Once a unit of Ottomans had crested the top of the hill and moved onto a tile at the top the following turn the Ottoman player could roll to see if the akinji arrived. On the first turn after a unit reached the hill top a 10+ would bring on the akinji. The following turn it would be a 9+  and so on.
Once a Hungarian unit had got a unit to the bottom of the hill the following turn the Hungarian player could roll to see if the Hungarian light cavalry would arrive. On the first turn after a unit got to the bottom of the hill a 10+ would bring on the light cavalry. The following turn it would be a 9+  and so on.

Whichever of the light horse retinues, akinji or Hungarians, arrived first then the player commanding them rolled a D6 and a 1-3 would mean the retinue arrived from one long edge of the table whilst 4-6 would be the other. We did not know which sides they would arrive from before hand. When it was known what side the first light cavalry retinue would arrive from then the opposing light horse would arrive from the other side of the table once their arrival was triggered as per the rules above.

Units from these retinues could only enter the table via move activations. They could not enter via skirmish or attacking activations. These light horse units could arrive along their designated table edge, as rolled for above, but they could only enter along the centre. This meant these units couldn't enter closer than 24" from either table end.

If a starting Ottoman or Hungarian retinue was wiped out in its entirety before triggering the arrival of the akinji or Hungarian light horse then its light cavalry retinue would arrive the turn after the retinue was wiped out.


If the Hungarians got all of the  Supply Wagons across the table or if all 4 retinues were reduced to half strength then the game would end
Victory was decided by victory points which were awarded as follows:

6 points for every Supply Wagon that reached the other side of the table
6 points if a Hungarian unit held the Wine Wagon at the end of the game
1 point for every enemy unit destroyed or routed
3 points if the son of Iskender Pasha was killed or routed

12 points if the Wagenburg was destroyed
6 points if an Ottoman unit held the Wine Wagon at the end of the game
1 point for every enemy unit destroyed or routed
3 points if János Tárcai was killed or routed

The Ottoman besiegers of Jajce form up for battle in front of the siege lines. They will attempt to prevent the relief of the town and to destroy the Hungarian wagenburg.

János Tárcai and the Hungarian relief army have camped on a hill from which Jajce, 5 miles away, can be seen. From this position they will attempt to relieve the besieged frontier town. The wagenburg is well equipped with artillery to defend against an Ottoman attack.

The Armies

János Tárcai and the Hungarian relief army

János Tárcai, the infantry and men at arms

1 Unit of Foot Knights (János Tárcai - retinue leader)
2 Units of Hungarian Men at Arms
2 Units of Pavise Infantry with arquebuses
2 Units of Pavise Infantry with crossbows
2 Units of Halberdiers

The Hungarian Light Cavalry

4 Units of Hussars (One contains the retinue leader)
2 Units of Hungarian Horse Archers
2 Units of Balkan Cavalry

The son of Iskender Pasha and the Ottoman army of Bosnia

Iskender Pasha's son and the Ottoman besieging army

2 Units of Deli's (One is Iskender Pasha's son and his bodyguard - retinue leader)
2 Units of Sipahis
2 Units of Voynuks
3 Units of Azab Archers
1 Unit of Azab Hangunners
4 Units of Azabs

The Akinji

6 Units of Akinji (One contains the retinue leader) 
2 Units of Balkan Cavalry

Tom chose to play as the besieging Ottomans so I took control of Hungarian relief army. A brief write up of the game follows and the captions to the photos are a great way to follow the action.

A view up the hill from the wooden tower that forms part of the Ottoman siege works.

The Ottoman forces surge up the hill under the leadership of Iskender Pasha's son.

János Tárcai's small relief army, having marched from Buda in the previous weeks, begins the relief attempt.

The Hungarian troops escort the relief wagons down the wooded slopes of the hill in good order.

The Ottoman and Hungarian forces head towards each other.

The Hungarians shelter behind a wall of pavises. They know they will face a storm of arrows when the Ottomans attack them.

As dawn broke on 3 July 1502 János Tárcai organised his troops and left the safety of the wagenburg in an attempt to deliver the supply wagons to the besieged fortress town of Jajce which lay just 5 miles away. The Ottoman forces surrounding Jajce formed up under the command of the son of the local Sanjak-bey and prepared to meet the relief force as it made its way down the hillside. The two forces advanced towards each other cautiously until each army could see the banners of the enemy through the wooded the slopes.

The Ottomans were the first to attack sending lightly armed azabs through the trees in an attempt to halt the Hungarian march. The azabs did succeed in slowing the Hungarians but only so they could redress their ranks before send a hail of shot and rain of crossbow bolts into the azabs. As the azabs fled back down the slopes of the hill the far more heavily armoured voynuk auxiliaries moved up and charged into the Hungarian force. In a series of fierce clashes the voynuks pushed the Hungarians back but their morale was poor and they turned and fled having only taken a few casualties. The son of Iskender Pasha cursed as he had lost his best infantry and failed to halt the march of the relief force.  

The first Ottoman attackers, Azabs armed with arquebuses and with melee weapons, are driven back by the Hungarian arquebusiers and crossbowmen.

Battle lines form on the slopes of the wooded hill.

The Hungarians face some of the Ottoman's many Christian troops, the heavily armoured voynuks.

A view of the table as the two forces are about to clash.

Battle is joined and the Hungarian infantry drive back the attacking voynuks.

The Hungarians maintain their cohesion as the Ottomans launch successive attacks.

There is fierce fighting but the Hungarian infantry push the azabs and voynuks back...

...the voynuks are broken and flee the field. Iskender Pasha's son has lost his best infantry.

The Hungarian relief army has taken casualties but resumes the march to relieve Jajce.

Iskender Pasha's son now sends his personal bodyguard of elite delis into the fray...

...the delis succeed in breaking some of the Hungarian units but take casualties themselves in the bloody hand to hand fighting.

Having lost their best infantry the Ottoman's sent their fearsome deli's and their sipahis into the fray. The delis were more successful than the voynuks and routed a portion of Tárcai's force but they were unable to halt the advance of the Hungarians who were now joined by a small party of Balkan horsemen who had returned ahead of the main body of their light cavalry.

Riding amidst the deli's Iskender Pasha's son neared the crest of the hill and the Hungarian wagenburg. Disobeying their orders to hang back and guard the wagenburg a unit of Hungarian men at arms charged down the hill and into the bodyguard of Iskender Pasha's son. One of the men at arms rode straight for the Ottoman commander with his lance levelled and moments later the Ottoman force had lost their leader. This affected the already poor Ottoman morale and more units fled meaning the Hungarians could continue their advance unhindered.

A unit of Balkan sipahis charge the Hungarians but Tárcai's men hold firm.

The Ottoman's have sustained heavy losses in the fighting on the slopes and the path to the gates of Jajce looks clear.

Against orders a unit of Hungarian men at arms rashly charges down the slopes and into the Ottoman commanders bodyguard...

...the men at arms rash decision pays off and Iskender Pasha's son is slain. His death has a catastrophic impact on Ottoman morale.

As the Hungarians reach the foot of the hill their 2,000 light cavalry return. The have been unable to catch the akinji that they had ridden off in pursuit of the night before.

Hungarian hussars and horse archers race onto the battlefield.

The last units of the Ottoman besieging force are slain...

...allowing the Hungarians to pass through the siege lines and deliver much needed supplies to the beleaguered town of Jajce.

A cheer went up in the ranks of the Hungarian relief force as they reached the foot of the hill and prepared to push through the Ottoman siege lines. The infantry were heartened to see the banners of their hussar and horse archer units on the slopes as their light cavalry returned from their pursuit of the akinji. The Hungarian light horse may have failed to catch the Ottoman raiders during the night but their return meant they could aid the infantry as they escorted the relief wagons.

There were brief melees in the Ottoman siege lines as the last units of azabs attempted to prevent the Hungarians from breaking through. These attacks did little to halt the advance of Tárcai and his men and the first of the wagons were delivered to the gates of Jajce. The Ottoman threat was not over though as it became clear the akinji were also returning to the siege, having evaded the Hungarian light cavalry they had ridden to the aid of the besieging army via a different route. But had they arrived too late?

Moments after the Hungarian light cavalry arrive the akinji also return to the siege lines. Having taken a different route through the woods and evaded the Hungarian horse the akinji now charge into them...

...a chaotic cavalry melee takes place on the wooded slopes.

Many Ottoman and Hungarian cavalrymen are slain as a fast paced battle develops between the two forces of expert horsemen.

Whilst the fighting takes place on the slopes the Hungarian relief force is able to get more wagons through to Jajce.

Hussars and akinji skirmish with one another in the hills surrounding Jajce.

Despite his inexperience János Tárcai has led a successful relief of the town and remained in control of the wine supply.

With a thunder of hooves the akinji charged along the wooded slopes and a furious cavalry battle developed as the Ottoman and Hungarian light horsemen fought one another on the hillside. Arrows flew and lances and spears broke as the hussars and akinji clashed. Despite killing many of the Hungarian horsemen the charge of the akinji was unable to decide the day. They had arrived too late.

As the fighting continued on the wooded slopes Tárcai's infantry and armoured men at arms were now through the Ottoman siege lines and all of the supply wagons were delivered to the grateful defenders of Jajce. The wagenburg had not been tested by the Ottomans who had also lost their leader. Tárcai had successfully relieved Jajce and managed to defeat the besieging Ottoman army. The 1502 siege of Jajce had ended.

The akinji are driven off as the Hungarians gain the upper hand in the cavalry battle.

Tárcai's men at arms pass through the Ottoman siege lines and deliver the final relief wagon to town. Jajce has been relieved and will not fall to the Ottomans this year. 

 This was one of those wargames where things just go very badly for one of the forces! Tom suffered some terrible luck with the early routing of both of the voynuk units. This was followed by a blunder by my men at arms which, instead of causing trouble for my army, meant they charged down the hill into the Ottoman leader's unit only for him to be slain. This had the knock on effect of then causing the flight of more Ottoman units. The Ottomans never managed to reach the hill top, being very much focused on breaking into the Hungarian infantry formation as it marched downhill, meaning when the akinji did arrive it was far too late in the day for them to have any effect.

The game ended with a total defeat for the Ottomans, we tallied up the victory points as 49 for the Hungarians and 7 for the Ottomans, but we had a lot of fun despite the one sided result. Tom was a great sport about the terrible turn of events that beset his forces and we had a lot of laughs about some of his dice rolls. The wagenburg, wooded slopes and Ottoman earthworks set the atmosphere for the game which really had the feel of a bloody border skirmish. As described in the initial background Jajce was besieged numerous times during the first two decades of the 1500s and we may do a series of games based around the Hungarian relief efforts. Whilst pitched battles between the Ottomans and Hungarians were rare these kind of clashes were common and provide a great basis for scenarios.