Monday, 23 November 2015

Lindal in Furness; an ECW scenario for Pike and Shotte

One of the aspects of the hobby which Steve and I enjoy is trying out 'different' scenarios which   'push the envelope' for a set of rules.  Thus scenario does just that; as it features a force which is predominantly clubmen taking on a much smaller force which is mostly musketeers.  I found the bare bones for the scenario when looking through P R Newman's thesis "The Royalist army in Northern England 1642-45".
[As a side note for ECW enthusiasts this can be obtained via the British Library e-theses online service (EThOS  ) all you need to do is register]
In the thesis I found an account of the siege of Thurland Castle by a parliamentary force under the command of Alexander Rigby.  He learned of an attempt by forces from Cumberland to raise the siege and taking part of his force marched to intercept them.  The two forces met at Lindal in Furness.

Rigby's force comprised about 500 infantry, three small troops of horse and two drakes.  Ninety percent of the infantry were musketeers, with c50 pikeman in attendance.  The Royalist force was led by Sir William Harrington and consisted of c1500 men, all clubmen raised in Cumberland. Some contemporary accounts also credit the Royalists with three troops of cavalry.  The action, such as it was lasted little more than half an hour.  Seeing himself outnumbered, Rigby decided to be bold and ordered a general attack.  His cavalry overwhelmed their opponents who fled from the field.  Seeing this, the clubmen also decamped.  Over 400 prisoners were taken by Rigby whilst he admitted to only two casualties, one of whom was wounded when he accidentally shot himself in the foot!

The Royalist left
To make more of a game I strengthened the Royalist forces by including Preston's regiment of foot, a Cumberland regiment which at the time was actually serving in the Marquis of Newcastle's forces. Harrington's force was thus

Preston's Regiment            (small)
West Furness Musketeers  (small)
Harrington Clubmen
Egremont Clubmen

A second battalia was commanded by Colonel Pennington
Eskdale Clubmen
Allerdale Clubmen
Leath Clubmen

The horse were led by Colonel Strickland
Dacre troop
Walton troop
Egremont troop

The Parliamentarian force had under Rigby's command
Green musketeers
Yellow musketeers
Light gun
Detached pike company

Captain Nutter commanded the three troops of horse
Salford troop
Lancaster troop
Blackburn troop

The battlefield had the road from Barrow to Ulverston on it's eastern edge.  Two areas of enclosures were separated by Lindal Common which provided some open terrain for the cavalry.

An early Parliamentary success
The rules classify the clubmen as warband, which means they are limited to one formation.  Special rules rabble and militia  mean that they must be given orders individually thus it is difficult to co-ordinate attacks, and they fail an order test on equaling the leadership value, (standard units fail if they exceed the leadership value).

A roll for initiative was won by Harrington, who tried to advance; only one command roll was successful, with Preston's regiment moving forward.  Pennington failed to get any of his clubmen units to move forward and rather surprisingly Strickland's men also failed to move.  This hesitation seemed to inspire Nutter, who got all three of his units to push forward with some speed.  However, Rigby's men seemed quite happy behind the hedges and content to await the Royalist infantry.  The sight of the approaching Parliamentary cavalry galvanised Strickland's men, The troops of horse from Dacre and Egremont charged forward to be met by pistol fire from their opponents.  Lancaster, who opposed Dacre fired a telling volley which disorganised the Royalist horse who were forced to fall back after making no impression in the melee.  Egremont rode through the pistol fire but were worsted in the melee and also fell back.  Fortunately for the Strickland, the Parliamentary cavalry were also disordered by the melee and could not follow up.

The Eskdale clubmen cross the hedge
However, the presence of the Parliamentary cavalry persuaded Pennington's men that it would be prudent to stay behind the hedges for moment.  Harrington meanwhile continued to push forward with Preston's regiment and the West Furness musketeers.  These units were joined by Harrington's own unit of clubmen and all three advanced on Rigby's Green musketeers, with the musketeers taking up a flanking position to fire at the parliamentarians from close range.

On the Royalist left, Strickland managed to get his men organised and moved forward to renew the fight with Nutter's men.  They had some success, but Nutter committed his reserve, the troop of horse from Salford and once again both sides fell back to recover.  Pennington had by now managed to get his clubmen to advance, but they made slow progress.  Rigby's Yellow musketeers decided to advance and get into musket range of the Royalists.  Their first few volleys had no effect and this seemed to encourage Pennington to press on.  The Allerdale clubmen charged forward, but were stopped by a closing volley which forced them to fall back.  Gallantly, they rallied and charged again, only to suffer the same fate.  This time the accumulated losses resulted in a rout and they played no further part in the battle.  Pennington had tried twice to get the Eskdale clubmen to charge in support of their comrades, but each time they held their ground.  Now that the Allerdale unit was broken, Eskdale decided to obey orders; ignoring the closing volley from the Yellow musketeers they charged home. Against the odds the musketeers prevailed and Eskdale had to fall back.  Pennington had by now managed to get the Leath clubmen to move forward, but their stay was short.  One volley from the Yellow musketeers was sufficient to break them and they fled from the field.

The Allerdale clubmen attempt to charge home
While Pennington struggled on the Royalist left, Harrington was slowly winning the musketry duel with the Green musketeers.  The Furness musketeers were proving effective with their flanking fire and prompted Rigby to commit his company of pikes to drive them off.  Manoeuvring into position took some time, but eventually the pikes charged and drove off the Furness musketeers.  Behind the musketeers were the Egremont clubmen.  They fired an ineffective volley at the pikes as they charged home, but managed to withstand the impact and hold their ground in the melee.

The decisive charge by the Egremont troop of horse
All this time the cavalry melee had continued, flowing back and forth across the common. Eventually, the Royalists gained the upper hand and drove the Parliamentarian cavalry from the field. The Royalist infantry definitely needed support.  Pennington's battalia had been reduced to one unit and was edging back towards the hedges.  Harrington had lost the Egremont clubmen who had given up their struggle with the pikes and routed.  His own unit of clubmen was badly shaken and on the verge of breaking, as were the Furness musketeers.  Only Preston's regiment was carrying the fight to the Parliamentary  forces.  Strickland reformed his men and the Egremont troop charged home against the flank of the Yellow musketeers, who routed.  These losses plus his lack of cavalry, persuaded Rigby that he should withdraw.  For their part the Royalists were only too happy to round up the remnants of the Yellow musketeers and tend to their wounded.

The scenario demonstrated the difficulty of handling a force with a large number of militia units.

  • The difficulty of coordinating an attack
  • The weakness of the clubmen due to feeble musketry and low melee value
The 'Follow me' order was an option, but it did put the general at risk,

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Battle of Whitemarsh, an AWI scenario

This weeks battle comes from the 1777 campaign during the AWI.  The British forces, under General Howe, had occupied Philadelphia but still needed to bring the American army to battle.  Scouts had reported to Howe that the Americans had taken up a position at Whitemarsh which covered their supply bases.  Having reorganised his forces Howe advanced on the Whitemarsh position in early December.  Three days of skirmishing convinced Howe that there was no way round the by now entrenched position and it was too strong to attack frontally, so he withdrew to Philadelphia.

American position from the left flank
Steve's scenario had Howe moving against the American forces before the entrenchments were completed, thus making an attack feasible.  The British forces consisted of three brigades, each containing four infantry units and a light gun.  On the left was Grey, whose command included a battalion of grenadiers.  In the centre, Grant with a unit of combined light companies and three line battalions and on the right, Cornwallis with  a unit of Hessian jaegers and three line battalions. Howe's plan was for Grey and Cornwallis to attack the American flanks, whilst Grant advanced against the centre, attempting to prevent Washington sending reinforcements to the flanks.

Sullivan's militia brigade
Washington had two brigades of Continental infantry; Greene on the left and Stirling in the centre, with Sullivan's brigade of militia on the right.  He had reinforced the militia by sending them the elite light infantry battalion.  His plan was to hold his position and protect his supply base.

The British attack on the left made good progress.  The first British volley sent the American skirmishers back in disorder.  This was followed up by two volleys which forced the light infantry battalion to fall back to reform.  In no time at all the forward slope of the ridge was empty of American troops.  On the other flank Cornwallis was advancing more steadily, but the jaegers were beginning to fire to some effect against the flanking battalion of Green's command.  It was in the centre that the British were having problems.  Grant's units were hampered by the wooded terrain and took time to form up.  However, they were far enough away from the American lines to be out of musketry range.

Grey's brigade ready to advance
Once Cornwallis organised his line battalions their fire, added to that of the jaegers forced Greene to pull his exposed unit back to reform.  However, he had managed to move one of the units from his second line to plug the gap.  This unit was welcomed by two rounds from Cornwallis's artillery and then a couple of rounds from the British line.  Wavering, they were forced to fall back and reform, once again exposing the American flank.  As the British advanced to exploit the gap, Greene's artillery came to his rescue and forced one of the British battalions to fall back and then turned their attention to the jaegers and forced them to fall back also.

Greene reforms his flank
On the opposite flank, Grey was advancing with some confidence following his initial success.  However, the American militia proved to be of stern stuff.  Trading volleys with the British battalions, they forced one to fall back.  However, this brought the grenadiers forward and their fire broke the resolve of two militia battalions.  As Sullivan rushed to rally them, the reformed elite light infantry moved forward.  They too began to trade volleys with the grenadiers.  To their left two militia battalions attempted to stop a second British line battalion establishing itself on the ridge.

Grey's men attack the militia
Whilst the flank attacks were doing well, Grant's battalions were suffering losses from the units of Stirling's command.  Two line battalions were forced to fall back to the tree line by the American artillery.  However, the light infantry managed to keep advancing and soon engaged the American infantry.

The crisis of the battle approached.  Sullivan's command was nearing the end of it's tether.  All the units had suffered losses and further casualties may well break the brigade.  Grey increased the pressure by advancing his units up the slope of the ridge and fired volleys at closed range.  Greene on the American left  was also struggling due to heavy losses.  Would Cornwallis prevail?

The militia save the day
The action started with Grey, whose grenadiers prepared to fire volleys against the light companies.  However, the American troops managed to fire first.  Their volley struck home and forced the grenadiers to fall back.  Inspired, a unit of militia also 'got the drop' on their opponents and drove them back.  Suddenly, the ridge was empty of British troops.  Cornwallis's men fired their volleys, but the Americans stood their ground, and in their turn reinforcements arrived from the centre.

With the December light fading and hope of a breakthrough receding, Howe called off the attack and ordered a withdrawal to Philadelphia.  For his part, Washington breathed a huge sigh of relief; he had been within a whisker of losing both his flank brigades and with it the battle.  

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A Thirty Years War scenario

My wife and I have just returned from Scotland, where we visited my wargaming opponent of many years, Alasdair and his wife.  During the day we visited museums and historic sites, but for the evenings Alasdair had laid on a large scale Thirty Years War game for 'us boys'.

Swedes were opposed by Imperialists and we used the 1644 ruleset.  Alasdair had had some ideas about representing the caracole tactics used by the Imperialist cavalry and set up a scenario to try out the new mechanisms.  He took command of the Imperialists and deployed his cavalry in deep formations (4 ranks of 5 or 6 figures).  In the centre he had his infantry deployed in 'late tercios',  5 ranks deep and 11 wide.

Bavarian tercio with cuirassiers supporting their flank
I took command of the Swedes and their centre was composed of 6 brigades of infantry, (each of two regiments), with batteries of heavy guns in support..  On the flanks were the cavalry all deployed  two deep.

The standing order for the Imperialist cavalry was to use their pistols in preference to charging in with the sword, so the onus was on me to attack.  Obligingly, I sent forward my cavalry.  On my right flank, the king himself directed operations.  Inspired, the Finnish regiments surged forward and ignoring the pistol fire of the opposing reiters charged home, hacking about them with a will.  The Swedish  cuirassiers, faced by a unit of Pappenheim's  cuirassiers didn't make the same progress.

Imperialist Cavalry
 On the opposite wing, although the Swedes charged forward with enthusiasm, the Imperialists stood their ground and absorbed the first shock.  The second wave followed the first, but still the Imperialists held firm.  Now the extra ranks of the Imperialist cavalry began to join in and the pressure on the Swedish cavalry increased.

In the centre both infantry bodies had advanced to within musket range and began to exchange volleys.  Both sides had support from their artillery and losses mounted.  Two bodies of Imperialst cuirassiers moved forward to add their pistol fire, but both were decimated by the Swedish artillery and achieved nothing.

The Finns drive off the reiters
On the Swedish right, Pappenheim committed his Lifeguard to try and stem the Finnish advance. This they achieved, forcing Gustavus to commit both his regiments.  Eventually they overcame the gallant Lifeguard, but when they tried to attack some dismounted dragoons, a volley stopped them in their tracks.  Gustavus and his Lifeguard had charged into the continuing cuirassier melee. Their extra impetus tilted the balance in the Swedes favour.

The Imperialist cuirassiers rout
The Imperialist heavy cavalry broke and routed back past the artillery and their commander.  It took time for Gustavus to redeploy his remaining cavalry to threaten the Imperialist centre.  However, Tilly had used the delay to move his reserves to form a new flank.

The Swedish left breaks
At this point we called a halt and discussed the impact of the rule amendments.

1          Pistol fire was pretty ineffective.  (no surprise there !)
2          If the deep formations retained their command, their numbers would tell
3          There needed to be some way to allow the Imperialsts to charge when opportunities presented             themselves.  Perhaps by passing a command test.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Return to Shevardino

In July, Steve and I played through a Shako scenario based on the battle for the Shevardino Redoubt.  (link).  Although we had a good game, we thought that the position was rather cramped on my 6 x 4 table and Steve kindly offered his 8 x 6 table for a re-run.  The same terrain was used (see map below), except for increasing the depth of the woods and broken ground on the Russian left, through which the Polish infantry had to advance.

With the experience of the first game I bolstered Voyeikov's forces on the Russian right by adding a horse battery and a regiment of Uhlans; also Duka's cuirassier division gained a fourth regiment.

The Polish infantry move through broken terrain
On the French left Compans struggled to make decisive progress as a marshy stream ran across his front and Voyeikov had deployed his cavalry forward making it hazardous to cross unsupported, Eventually, the French did cross, but only after considerable manoeuvring to try and find an unopposed crossing.This delay allowed the Russian skirmishers to whittle away at the French infantry, the 5th Legere in particular really struggled.  In the centre, Teste had no such problems.  His main concern was the batteries of guns supporting the redoubt he had been ordered to attack.  As his men moved forward they began to take casualties as the roundshot tore through the columns.  On the right, Bruyere's light cavalry, led by the 2nd Hussars and 4th Chassuers, moved forward to try and pin the Russian jaegers in place whilst Krasinski's Polish infantry moved onto their flank.  To try and maintain some freedom of manoeuvre, Gogol ordered his hussars to charge the French cavalry. Sweeping forward the Alexandrinsk Hussars overwhelmed the 2nd Hussars, driving them from the field.  Without pausing they then charged the 4th Chasseurs and also defeated them, forcing the French to retire and reform.  Unfortunately, the exuberance of the Russian hussars had carried them beyond their supports and before they could reform they were charged by 4th Lancers.  Caught at such a disadvantage the Alexandrinsk were driven back in confusion and took so many casualties they were out of action for the rest of the battle.   Bruyere had only one fresh unit, the 3rd lancers and decided to wait whilst the rest of his command reformed.  This allowed just enough time for Sievers to bring forward his dragoons to support Gogol.  

The Alexandrinsk Hussars driven back by the French lancers
Sievers leading dragoon regiment, the Riga dragoons, crested the small hill on Gogol's right and Saw Sulkowski's Polish light cavalry which had just arrived. Supported by horse artillery, the dragoons charged the Polish uhlans.  As they swept forward they ran into fire from the newly arrived French artillery reserve which emptied some saddles.  The uhlans won the melee, but decided to fall back rather than take on the second Russian dragoon regiment, Neu Russland.
With all the cavalry in the area, the infantry of both armies mostly adopted square formation or, in the case of the 4th Polish infantry remained in the wooded broken ground.  However, when a battalion of the 15th jaeger formed line to attack the 2nd battalion pf the 4th Polish infantry as they moved out of the woods, the colonel  of the 4th Chasseurs decided to ride them down.  Unfortunately, his move was spotted by the colonel of the jaegers and the battalion rapidly formed square.  Inevitably the French light cavalry made no impression against the square, losing heavily from the volley fired by the jaegers as they closed.  With their morale shattered, the chasseurs fell back and took no further part in the battle.

Teste's advance continues
Whilst all this was going on, Compans was making slow progress on the French left.  The 3rd Etranger regiment (Irish Legion) had managed to move round the left of Voyeikov's line and caught the 2nd battalion of the 8th Jaegers in the flank and drove them from the field. Pushing on, the 1st battalion of the Irish attacked the remaining battalion of the 8th Jaegers.  As the jaegers turned to face this threat it allowed the 5th legere to cross the stream unhindered.  Voyeikov's cavalry was on his right, countering the threat posed by the battalions of the 10th line.  His horse artillery was doing a great job supporting the cavalry, but the pressure was increasing.  He was relieved when a courier arrived from Gortchakov with orders to fall back to support Beverovsky's position around the redoubt. However, this manoeuvre was made rather more difficult when St Germaine's heavy cavalry division (cuirassier and carabiniers) arrived and immediately moved in support of Compans.  In no time at all Voyeikov's infantry were all but destroyed by the combined attack of infantry and cavalry. The remnants were saved by the brave advance of the Tenguinsk and Bielevski regiments from Neverovsky's division and also the intervention of Emmanuel's dragoons.  The over-confident French heavy cavalry were repulsed by the squares and then driven back by the dragoons, blunting the French advance.  Gortchakov had been able to allow Neverovsky's counter-attack because Mecklenburg's Grenadier division had arrived and was taking up position on the right of the redoubt. Compans also received further infantry support when Morand's division arrived on his left.
St Germaine's heavy cavalry advance
In the centre, Teste continued his advance.  The French skirmishers were now engaging the Russian infantry and the infantry battalions were ready to close.  However, losses from the Russian artillerycontinued to mount, the 9th Legere in particular seeming to be the 'target of choice'.  The French reserve artillery was unable to support the advance as it had been slowed by the advance of Sievers' dragoons, so Teste's infantry suffered. 

13th Polish infantry caught in line by the Neu Russland dragoons
On the French right, the cavalry battle became more intense as Wathiers Heavy Cavalry Division (cuirassiers and dragoons) moved forward against Gogol's hard pressed infantry.  The battered remains of Sievers dragoons were glad to see Duka's Cuirassier Division moving in their support. Soon the field was filled with cavalry regiments charging, meleeing and falling back to reform. Gogol tried to extract his infantry, but Krasinski had at last managed to get his infantry organised and supported by the French reserve artillery they crushed the jager battalions one by one. Their stubborn resistance had tied up resources which should have supported Teste and also delayed the advance of the Polish infantry which should have combined with the Wurttemburgers of Marchand's newly arrived division on the left flank of the Russian position.  The cavalry melee was to continue for the remainder of the battle, with the French gradually gaining the upper hand, but the Russian cuirassiers had done enough to prevent the French cavalry intervening in the fight for the redoubt.

Heavy cavalry melee on the French right
On the French left it was predominantly an infantry battle.  Emmanuel's and St Germaine's commands fell back to reform.  Indeed, the French were so shaken by their losses that they took no further part in the battle; a great loss to Compans attack on Mecklenburg's grenadiers.  Compans and Morand moved forward, preceded by a swarm of skirmishers.  The Russian guns exacted a price for the advance, but still the French pressed forward.  The Irish found themselves in the front line yet again and were attacked by the Kiev and Moscow grenadiers.  As the grenadiers closed the Irish fired a volley which stopped both battalions in their tracks.  The Irish charged, ignored the Russian volley and drove the grenadiers backwards.

The Irish stand against the Russian grenadiers
However, this proved to be the high water mark of the French advance.  Morand's division had suffered severely from the Russian heavy guns and when the third of the battalions of the 46th Line was forced to retreat due to casualties, the attack stalled.  In the centre Teste's division had come to the end of it's tether.  Swept by canister and the volleys from the Russian infantry the battered remains of the French infantry began to fall back.  The Russians had held the redoubt and inflicted heavy casualties on the French, but had suffered themselves.  It would be up to Kutusov to decide whether to remain in position, or fall back to the Borodino line further back. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Hadrian's Wall

I will get back to wargame reports eventually, but over the weekend we visited Hadrian's Wall.  It is 40 years since I was last in the Housesteads fort area and that was for a rather rushed visit.  With more time I was able to appreciate the use of terrain and the amount of work which went into the construction of this defensive wall.

A shot from near the Steel Rigg carpark, just west of Housesteads fort.  The route of the wall can be seen on top of the Whin Sill feature and in the distance, leading up to the small wood.

With the clouds brushing the tops of the surrounding hills and late autumn shafts of sunlight failing to instill any warmth, you felt every degree of windchill from the sneaky breeze.  For the garrison of 800 men it must have been a thankless posting, I bet many wondered which God they had angered.

The guiding within the remains of the fort is useful, helping to interpret the foundations which have been excavated.  From the north wall you can see the line of the wall to the east; the gap in the valley is the location of a later gate allowing easier access for wagons.  The original north gate being bricked up.

In the museum you can see a selection of late Roman arrow heads which were discovered during the excavations.

Once the Roman troops left the wall became a very useful 'quarry' for the locals to use.  Over a thousand years later they used the ruins of the southern gatehouse to construct a Bastle House as a defence against Border Raiders.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Farewell to the Vulcan

When I read that the Vulcan would not be flying after the end of this month, I thought that I had missed the chance to see it in the air again.  However, by chance one of it's final flights happened to pass within 10 miles of home and so yesterday afternoon I popped up the road to see it go by.

I found a quiet spot with a good view to the north, where the Vulcan was expected before turning west and flying past my position.  All went well until the Vulcan turned west further south, ie behind me!  Naturally, the other side of the lane was lined with trees and therefore I couldn't get a photograph although I did get a few glimpses through the branches.

Here is a still from a video clip I took at the International Air Tattoo six years ago, when the Vulcan made an appearance.  A truly iconic aircraft.

There is a website which gives details of the Vulcan

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lathom convoy; an ECW scenario for Pike and Shotte

Rather than return to Kelhamshire, I decided that the latest ECW game should have some element of historical fact about it.  The whole scenario was fictitious, but there was a protracted siege of Lathom House during the ECW.  For the purposes of the scenario the Royalist commander of Liverpool (Sir Roderick Murgatroyd), has organised a convoy of supplies to bolster the defenders of Lathom House. The Parliamentarian commander (Ferdinando Assheton),  prosecuting the siege has got wind of the convoy and ordered part of his force to take up a blocking position at a vital bridge.

This is a general view of Assheton's deployment.  In the distance on the Parliamentarian left are the two regiments of Starkie's brigade of horse; in the centre are three regiments of foot under Assheton's command and by the road in reserve are Shuttleworth's brigade of horse.  A unit of commanded shot is deployed on the far right covering the ford.  By the bridge is a light gun and in the toll house is a unit of dragoons.  The river is fordable by both horse and foot (not artillery or wagons, they must use the bridge), but there is a risk of disorder.  Assheton's objective is to stop the convoy leaving the table towards Lathom.
Sir Roderick has deployed Hoghton's brigade of horse (two regiments) on his right, Gerard's foot (3 regiments) is in the centre accompanied by a light gun and Tyldesley's horse (two regiments) are facing the ford.  On the road is the convoy, under the command of Sir James Moylneux.  The column is led by a unit of dragoons; with the wagons, escorted by two units of commanded shot, following. With the sides fairly evenly matched, Sir Roderick realised that forcing a crossing would not be easy; he therefore pushed his dragoons forward, intending to occupy the toll house.  In the centre his artillery moved forward to 'soften up' Gell's regiment, prior to a general advance by Gerard's brigade. He ordered his cavalry to move forward and engage the enemy horse with pistol fire, but not to cross the river.
As the dragoons trotted down the road and began to deploy they came under fire from the defenders of the toll house; surprised, they fell back and requested reinforcements. To their right, Hoghton's men had moved up to the river, but Starkie's men had moved back out of range.  On the Royalist left, the gun was quickly in action and soon found the range causing significant casualties in Gell's regiment.  Tyldesley's men remained a couple of moves back from the ford, waiting for the Parliamentary infantry to be forced to fall back due to losses.

Sir Roderick ordered the dragoons to move round the toll house and support Hoghton's cavalry by the river.  He also ordered one unit of commanded shot from Molyneux's command forward, to take on the Parliamentary dragoons in the toll house.   The commanded shot were to be supported by the green regiment from Gerard's brigade.  Assheton had begun to move his infantry more to the centre of his position to oppose Gerard's brigade, but he had had to halt Cunliffe's regiment to counter the Royalist dragoons.  Cunliffe rather exceeded his orders, because, not only did he reform to face the dragoons, he then advanced across the river and charged them!.  Not surprisingly the dragoons did not wait to receive the pike charge, firing a parting volley, they quickly mounted their horses and fell back.  In the process they fell into disorder and Sir Roderick had to gallop over and in concert with Sir James Molyneux rally them.

However, Cunliffe's impetuosity had placed his unit in a bad position.  Intending to support the dragoons in the toll house, he now instead found himself threatened by Hoghton's horse.  To protect themselves, the unit formed hedgehog, but now were vulnerable to fire from the second commanded shot unit and the reformed dragoons, in addition to the pistols of Hoghton's troopers.  They could expect no support from the dragoons in the toll house who were trying to beat off a determined assault by the green regiment.  In the end the dragoons were successful, but it was only a temporary respite.

Struggle for the toll house
In the centre, Gell's regiment  was struggling.  Losses from the Royalist artillery were increasing and, when Gerard moved forward Taylor's regiment the pressure increased further.  A devastating first volley from the Royalist infantry broke the defenders' morale and they routed from the field, leaving a gaping hole in Assheton's line.  Sensing that now was the time, Sir Roderick ordered Tyldesley to advance across the ford to support Taylor's men.  As the Royalists reformed after crossing the ford they were charged by Shuttleworth's leading regiment.  They had time to counter charge and won the ensuing melee, but were disordered in the process.  This gave just enough time for the Parliamentary horse to pass through their supports and begin to reform.  Assheton's commanded shot now began to fire on the Royalist cavalry and with casualties rising and threatened by a fresh regiment of Parliamentary cavalry the Royalists fell back across the ford.  Assheton was saved by Gerard's red regiment being very slow in moving up to support Taylor's men.  The delay enabled Assheton to get the yellow regiment in place to support his artillery and when Taylor did advance he was met by a veritable storm of musketry  and artillery fire.  Disordered by the river crossing and shaken by their casualties, the  Royalist infantry routed.  It required all of Gerard's efforts to halt them.

Starkie caught in flank
It seemed that the advantage lay with the parliamentary forces, but, on their left the pendulum began to swing in favour of the Royalists.  Cunliffe's regiment, thinned by musketry fire broke and routed across the river.  As the infantry milled around in disorder the Royalist cavalry gathered sensing easy prey.  Starkie placed himself in front of one of his regiments and crying 'Follow me brave fellows' plunged into the river with the intention of charging the royalist horse assembled on the far bank.  His men followed him across and the impetus of their charge enabled them to overcome their opponents. To his right, Starkie saw the commanded shot firing at the toll house and beyond them the supply wagons.  Waving his sword above his head he led his men towards the wagons, hoping to win the day with a decisive charge.  The Parliamentary cavalry closed on the infantry, but suffered heavy casualties from a closing volley.  They also lost men to fire from the dragoons who covered the flank of the musketeers.  Their charge lost its momentum and the melee was indecisive.  This allowed time for Hoghton to reform his men and lead them in a charge against the flank of Starkie's cavalry. Caught at a disadvantage, Starkie's men broke, their gallant commander losing his life in the rout.

Hoghton's remaining regiment now crossed the river and charged Starkie's second unit.  The melee was indecisive and both units fell back to reform.  Hoghton's men accomplished this quickly and charged again.  Their target this time was Cunliffe's regiment which was still trying to recover from their losses.  They stood no chance when the Royalist cavalry hit them, the majority turned and ran, a few stood, but they were cut down.  Hoghton's second regiment, fresh from their victory over Starkie now joined the fray and together the two Royalist units charged the last cavalry on the Parliamentary left.  If this attack succeeded few, if any of the Parliamentary army would escape.  Against the odds, fighting like demons, the Parliamentary cavalry drove off both their assailants, buying Assheton a little more time.

Cunliffe's men routed
The end was nigh for the Parliamentary dragoons in the toll house.  Casualties were rising and a second attack by the green regiment was imminent.  As the Royalist infantry charged home, the dragoons resolve cracked.  Assheton galloped over to try and rally them but he was felled by a stray bullet from a volley by the Royalist commanded shot.  The dragoons took to their heels and ran from the field.  Attempting to restore Parliamentary fortunes, Shuttleworth led his cavalry forward, but his leading regiment was hit in flank by Tyldesley's men and driven back in disorder.

With their general dead, four units routed from the field and the majority of the remainder in a shaken condition, the Parliamentary army quit the field, allowing the convoy to progress to Lathom.

Another seesaw action under the Pike and Shotte rules.  For this battle we watered down the 'disorder' result, For trained regiments it required 2 6's to impose disorder by  musketry and/or artillery.  This meant that in the whole game we only had 2 or 3 instances where musketry/artillery inflicted disorder, the majority of disorder results were caused by melee.  We felt that this gave a better game, though perhaps we may remove the recovery roll (the extension of the elite unit bonus instituted for the Gloucester game link