Friday, 7 June 2019

West Causey: a Kelhamshire ECW scenario for Pike and Shotte

We return to Kelhamshire this week and the ongoing campaigns of Sir Victor Meldrew and his erstwhile opponent, Lord Melchett.  Sir Victor had been using the barns near the isolated hamlet of West Causey for storing his supplies and a detachment of two units of commanded shot had been sent from the main parliamentary force to collect some of these supplies.  However, word of this parliamentary cache had reached the ears of Lord Melchett and he was determined to seize them for his own use. Therefore, a force of six units of infantry, two units of horse and two light guns marched to the area.  On the way they collected the Causey Hundred Clubmen, who alleged they had received harsh treatment from parliamentary forces and wanted to settle scores.

Overview of the table layout, royalists on the left
Just in time, Sir Victor learned of Lord Melchett's approach and sent reinforcements to West Causey.  By chance, these reinforcements were of almost the same composition as those accompanying Lord Melchett.  Marching through the night Sir Victor managed to get his men to West Causey before Lord Melchett's men arrived but their deployment was rather haphazard.  On Sir Victor's left, Sir Richard Clayton had command of two units of foot and one of the commanded shot units.  Colonel Ezekial Cooper commanded a similar force on the right with one light gun and one a slight rise in the centre, optimistaically called locally "The Heights", Sir Victor had the reserve of one foot unit, plus the East Clayton Trained Bands and a medium gun.  Just to Sir Victor's right was stationed Colonel James Livesey with two units of horse.

The parliamentary right and centre.
When Lord Melchett arrived at West Causey he saw that there was going to be stiffer opposition than he had at first thought.  Undeterred, he deployed ordered Colonel William Saville to deploy his three units of foot on the right, Sir James Fotheringay to deploy his three units on the left whilst the horse under Hesketh Fleetwood remained in reserve.  By their own choice, the clubmen also stayed in reserve.  A brief reconnaissance showed that the parliamentary centre was protected by an area of boggy ground, Lord Melchett therefore decided to attack on the flanks and feint at the centre, hopefully preventing Sir Victor from reinforcing his flanks.

Fotheringay's foot prepare to advance
On receiving Lord Melchett's orders, Sir James galloped over to his brigade and issued the command to advance.  His first objective was to secure an enclosure on the parliamentarian right and then advance over a small hill to secure the barn which contained a portion of the supplies.  His leading regiment, Gerard's, stepped out with a will and rapidly advanced on Spencer's regiment which held the enclosure.  Spencer's first volley was ineffective, Gerard's reply was not and they followed up with a charge.  Still recovering from the royalists' volley, Spencer's closing volley did nothing to dissuade their attackers who quickly gained the advantage.  In no time at all Spencer's broke, running towards the rear and disordering Cooper's own regiment of foot which was supporting them.  One saving grace for the parliamentarian left was that Gerard's themselves became disordered advancing into the enclosure.  This gave Cooper a chance to respond to the setback.

Gerard's charge home

Spencer's take to their heels
 Colonel Saville was not enjoying the same success.  Taylor's regiment had become entangled in an enclosure which blocked their advance; and then Rodney's Redcoat regiment somehow misunderstood their order to advance and instead fell back, disordering Assheton's regiment in the process.   A rather scathing enquiry from Lord Melchett asking Saville if he required any assistance did not improve the latter's mood and his colonels suffered the consequences.  Eventually order was restored and the royalist right began to move forward.

Seeing Fotheringay's progress, Lord Melchett sent orders for Fleetwood to advance in support.  Nothing happened, a further, more succinct order was sent and this seemed to have the desired effect.

Sir Victor was not without his own problems.  Seeing the fate of his right wing, he sent orders for his reserve foot unit to move to the right to assist Cooper and also Livesey was to advance his cavalry and threaten the flank of the royalist attack. However, the two moves became tangled and it took some time before they could be put into effect.

Tiplady's advance
Saville's brigade was still making little progress.  Although the initial confusion had been sorted out, the advance lacked co-ordination.  Taylor's regiment pressed forward with some purpose, but this was not matched by Rodney's or Assheton's.  To Lord Melchett's evident disdain, the Causey Hundred clubmen took a vote and decided to advance in support of Saville's men.  Cautiously, they began to edge forward, keeping well away from Livesey's cavalry which had begun to advance.  Taylor's regiment had almost reached the small stream when the parliamentary artillery stationed on The Heights found their range and began to inflict significant casualties on the advancing foot.  Clayton's foot also joined in with musket volleys and Taylor's men reeled under the weight of fire.  The officers tried to steady the ranks, but losses continued to mount up and soon the remnants of the regiment were running back towards West Causey.

On the royalist left, Fotheringay had ordered the Green regiment forward to support Gerard's.  They were opposed by Tiplady's regiment the reserve foot which had been ordered to support Cooper by Sir Victor.  After an exchange of volleys the two foot regiments came to melee.  After a brief struggle Tiplady's broke, routing back towards their own lines.  Behind them were Livesey's cavalry who managed to avoid becoming disordered by the fleeing infantry.  With Colonel Livesey at their head, the parliamentary cavalry charged the Green regiment.  His gallant charge saved Tiplady's regiment from destruction, but at a heavy cost.  The leading regiment suffered heavy losses from the closing volley fired by the royalists; and even more from the resolute pikemen defending their musketeers.  Defeated, the parliamentary cavalry had to fall back to reorganise.  Now was the time for Fleetwood to exploit this opportunity, but his command was too far back and chance was missed.  Meanwhile, Gerard's had driven back Cooper's regiment with musketry.  However, when they attempted to push forward out of the enclosure and towards the supply barn they came under close range artillery fire and musketry and they had to fall back to reform.

Tiplady's rout

Livesey's cavalry charge home
On the royalist right, Saville ordered Rodney's regiment to subdue the musketeers in the parliamentary centre, whilst Assheton was to advance on the commanded shot on the extreme left of the parliamentary position.  With the assistance of the attached artillery, Rodney's soon established the upper hand over Clayton's men and Assheton's crossed the small stream and charged the commanded shot.  Clayton's commanded shot hoped to fire a volley and then evade, but they left it too late and the royalist foot were clambering over the hedge as the commanded shot fired.  It was a one-sided contest and soon the commanded shot were running back towards The Heights.

In the centre, Fleetwood's command had at last regrouped and moved forward.  However, they were too far forward and began to lose men to fire from Cooper's commanded shot.  In an attempt to force the issue Fleetwood ordered his leading unit to charge Livesey's men who had just recovered from their failed charge.  All this achieved was even more casualties on the royalist horse who advanced into close range but could not close due to the losses they had suffered.  As the battered unit fell back it was charged by the parliamentary horse.  Caught at a disadvantage the royalists broke, disordering their supporting regiment which was  then assailed by the victorious parliamentarians.  The royalists put up a brave resistance, but eventually they gave way and fled the field.

Saville's men were sensing victory.  Assheton's regiment having cleared the hedge pushed on towards the supply barn.  Behind them, the Causey Hundred clubmen elected to follow in their wake.  The determining factor here was the presence of the East Clayton Trained Bands; no love was lost between the two units and there were a few personal scores to settle.  Assheton's were opposed by Clayton's own regiment of foot, but they drove it back with musketry and then charged.  The parliamentarian regiment staggered under the impact, but just managed to stand its ground.  "One more push", thought Assheton "and we'll get to the barn".

Clayton's commanded shot are defeated
On The Heights Sir Victor saw that the crisis of the battle was at hand.  His sole reserve were the Trained Bands, would they rise to the occasion?  Before he had the chance to issue an order, Sir Victor saw the Trained Bands surge down the hill towards the open flank of Assheton's regiment.  Concentrating on the enemy before him, Assheton did not see the threat and his men staggered under the impact.  He hoped the clubmen would support him, but they had become disordered crossing the hedge by the stream.  Assheton's men fought on, but Clayton's regiment had been re-invigorated by the attack of the Trained Bands.  Slowly, the initiative swayed to the parliamentarians and it was the royalists who were having to give ground.  The edging back became all too quickly a rout and in the rush to the rear the clubmen were also swept away.  Over the hedge and stream the fugitives ran towards West Causey.

Victory for Clayton's regiment and the Trained Bands
Their troubles were not over.  After defeating Fleetwood's cavalry, Livesey had been faced by Fotheringay's remaining infantry regiment.  Having been repelled once, Livesey was not keen to repeat the experience.  Instead he turned to the left and threatened the flank of Rodney's regiment.  However, beyond them were the disorganised rabble of men routing towards West Causey.  Using one regiment to threaten Rodney's, Livesey led his other regiment against the fleeing royalists.  A few lucky men found sanctuary in the enclosures or houses of the village, the majority were cut down in the open.

For Lord Melchett it was another defeat, he drew off what remained of his forces.  Sir Victor was just happy to have held on to his supplies.  Although victorious he had suffered heavy losses and with night drawing on pursuit was out of the question.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Partizan 2019

This Sunday, Steve and I visited the Partizan show.  As last year a very good range of games were on offer, with something for everyone.  What follows are mainly shots of games reflecting my personal periods of interest, my apologies to those clubs/individuals whose games are not included.

Beginning with the Medieval period, the Northampton Battlefield Trust had a demonstration game of the Battle of Edgecote, 1469, which featured an unusual circular battlefield.

Next to this game was the Lance & Longbow game of the Battle of Bauge presented by Simon Chick.

The Chesterfield Old Boys had "The mad war of 1489" which featured an eclectic mix of nations taking part in the battle of Concarneau.

Kallistra had the battle of Mohi 1241, a clash between Hungary and an invading Mongol army.

These small figures lend themselves to creating the scale and mass of large battles, in 25/28mm you would need something like a tennis court to present this battle.

Moving forward in time Grimsby Wargames Society demonstrated a GNW scenario with Swedes, Poles and Russians, (other nations' troops were drafted in to make up the numbers).  I was particularly drawn to the masses of well-painted Hinchliffe pancerni as I have a soft-spot for that manufacturer's ranges for this period.

Close by was another game from this period put on by the League of Augsburg, involving Ottomans and Russians.  This featured some home built mobile defences which were a regular feature of war in eastern Europe.

Moving forward in the 18th century Crann Tara had a game based on a British expedition to the West Indies during the Seven Years War.

North Hull Wargames Club had a demonstration game of the Battle of Brooklyn from the AWI using 20mm figures.

The Napoleonic period games on offer included two from outside the European theatre, The Boondock Sayntes with Assaye

and the Perry Twins with the Battle of Mandara from the Egyptian campaign.

Dales Wargames had a game based on Waterloo

The Old Guard had a hex based version of Vimeiro

Now I rarely game 20th century warfare, but the offering from the Earlswood Wargames Group, 'Angriff Auf die Abtei' really caught my eye.

The Old Pikeys Wargames Group had a WWII game based on Arnhem, 'Oosterbeek 1944, The Witches Cauldron'. 

All the games I have mentioned so far have been demonstration games, but 40% of the games on offer were participation games.  They come in all guises and give the gamer a chance to try out different rules, periods and styles.  Three particularly caught my eye, curiously all featuring far eastern countries.

Terry Broomhall's 'Test of Honour' Samurai game

Too Fat Lardies had a WWII game set in Malaya in 1941.

Finally there was Victorious Games '55 minutes in Peking'. 

Steve and I tried this game, each taking control of two groups of Boxers.  Whilst my groups suffered heavy casualties meaning that on the one occasion that they managed a breakthrough they failed morale and had to retreat; Steve enjoyed more success as can be seen.

Steve receiving his award as 'Best Boxer' for his exploits
Partizan is a very good show, well organised by the Newark and club and in an excellent venue.  It is well worth a visit and the next opportunity is on August 18th for 'The Other Partizan'