Sunday, 27 November 2011

Denbigh Green

We are back with the English Civil War this week,with a scenario based on the Battle of Denbigh Green. The Royalist forces are trying to raise the Parliamentary siege of Chester and a force of cavalry with a few companies of foot are approaching the siege lines. The besiegers gather up some cavalry and three small regiments of foot to oppose the Royalists. Overall the cavalry forces are fairly equal, but the Parliamentarians have more foot. neither side has any artillery. The battlefield is split in two; with open heathland (Denbigh Green) to the west and enclosed fields to the east. The small Royalist force of infantry have taken up position in the enclosures covering the road down which the Parlamentary foot must approach.

With his infantry delayed, the Parliamentary commander ordered forward his cavalry; he had a slight edge in quality as three units of Royalist horse were recent recruits. The front lines advanced and soon the melee spread across the Green as more men joined the fray.

Both commanders tried to move their reserves around the melee to flank their opponents, but the Royalist commander also manouvred his men to enable two troops of horse to reinforce one of the melees in the same move, thus gaining an advantage. All along the front the Royalists were gaining the upper hand, belying the relative inexperience of many of their troopers. The Parliamentary commander was forced to commit more and more of his reserve just to hold the line.

On the eastern flank the Parliamentary foot began to arrive in column of march along the road.

A forlorn hope of firelocks had taken up position in a walled orchard and were engaged in a musketry duel with two companies of Royalist musketeers. Honours were fairly even in the fight, but the firelocks were in danger of being outflanked. The first unit of parliamentary foot came under fire from more musketeers and deployed to their left to attempt to clear one of the enclosures. The fire from the Royalists caused quite a few casulaties and the deployment was slow, but eventually the unit was formed and after firing one volley they charged their opponents. Even with the advantage of pikes they failed to push back the Royalists and a slogging match began over the hedges.

The Royalist commander could see that with the disparity in numbers it was pointless to try and hold the position, so he ordered his men to fall back to the next hedge line. His stand had delayed the Parliamentary advance and also given time for the Royalist supports to take up blocking positions.

Back on the Green the melee continued. By using all his reserves the Parliamentary commander had managed to gain momentum amd two intermixed bodies of horse had routed their opponents. However, they now required time to re-organise themselves. As the units milled about and officers attempted to restore order the Royalist commander committed his carefully husbanded reserve. Charging the disorganised Parliamentary horse they routed them and the Parliamentary commander had to watch half of his cavalry force routing into the distance. He also had a unit which had pursued their beaten opponents off the field so his force was now much diminshed. He moved to his last intact unit and taking command led them against the Royalists. A determined melee swung back and forth but slowly the momentum moved to the Royalists. As the fight continued the other Parliamentary cavalry were forced to surrender and with the day lost the Parliamentary commander offered his sword to his conquerer.

Although victorious the Royalists did not have sufficient cavalry in hand to pursue their advance. Nor were they able to attack the enemy foot who had taken up positions in the enclosures. So, gathering their captives and wounded they fell back towards Denbigh.