Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Post Gloucester part II

Above is the situation shortly after we resumed battle.  The Parliamentary forces are covering the road and are trying to get two units of infantry plus the wagons down that road to the safety of the enclosures.  On the right the Royalist infantry are attempting to pin the Parliamentarians frontally, whilst moving around their (the Parliamentary) left flank.  In the distance the Royalist dragoons are meleeing the Parliamentary cavalry.

As the game resumed I enjoyed two quite sizeable chunks of luck.  Firstly, my dragoons not only managed to survive the first charge of the Parliamentary horse but then, against the odds held their position and then began to push their opponents back.  When the Parliamentary cavalry routed, my raw dragoons predictably followed them, but in the nick of time (ie the table edge), managed to cease pursuit and rally.  With no immediate threat in the area, they then began to move towards the Royalist centre to offer support where necessary.

The second stroke of luck was that the charge by the remaining Parliamentary cavalry against the right of my line was defeated.  The infantry stood their ground and fired a volley at short range, then won the resulting melee.  As the cavalry fell back they were treated to another volley which finished them as a fighting force.

With the Royalist right secure, Rupert led his cavalry reserve up onto the ridge to seek out an opportunity for a battle-winning charge.  He espied a unit of green-coated infantry which was operating as the rearguard, blocking the road.  If that unit could be defeated, the whole Parliamentary line would be at his mercy.  Giving the matter no further thought, he led the charge.  As the cavalry galloped forward the infanrty stood firm and levelled their weapons.  A close range volley emptied a good number of saddles and as blows were exchanged Rupert's horse stumbled and fell.  Without their leader the cavalry wavered. More men fell and the Royalists routed; sent on their way with another volley.

Command of the Royalists now devlved to Wilmot, who was busy trying to maintain the pressure against the Parliamentarian right.  He only had one unit in position and this was facing two opponents.  The weight of shot was beginning to take its toll, but if he advanced his supporting commandded shot too far forward they would be easy prey for the Parliamentary pikes.  Long range musketry duels were favouring the Royalists but they would not prevent the Parliamentary force from escaping.

In desperation Wilmot scraped together the remaining remnants of  the Royalist cavalry which had made the initial attack.  (We have a house rule which allows below strength units to amalgamate at a penalty of reducing their morale level eg standard becomes raw.)  These were sent forward to take on the Parliamentary guns which were doing a great deal of damage.  This attack was made just in time as the first unit of Parliamentary infantry had reached the security of the enclosures and another was on its way.

The ragbag of Royalist cavalry advanced between the gaps in their infantry and charged the enemy guns.  Seeing them approach, the gunners opted for the safety of nearby infantry formations.  However, having charged the cavalry now forgot their initial orders to disable or carry off the guns and instead continued forward intent on seizing the draft horses as remounts.  Their recklessness cost them dear.  Not only did they lose men to a volley from nearby infantry, but the crew of the light gun darted forward and fired a round of hail shot into their disordered ranks.  Thus the last of the Royalist cavalry made its way towards the rear, leaving the infantry to try and win the battle.

Wilmot did his best.  Pressure increased on the Parliamentary rearguard and the Trained bands unit was reduced to under 50%.  However, it was the green coats who saved the day for Parliament.  Reforming after their victory over the Royalist cavalry they met and defeated a determined charge by the Royalist red coats.  Over enthusiastic officers waved their swords and their men took it as a sign for the pursuit.  In no time the unit was running after their foes, chasing them back the way they had come.  With their flank threatened a unit of commanded shot had to reform to meet the new threat and the pressure on the Parliamentary centre weakend.  Taking their chance the remaining infantry began to fall back towards the road.  Wilmot's only reasonably fresh units were the commanded shot and they could not face the pikes so gradually the action ceased with the battered Parliamentary forcecontinuing its march eastwards.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable scenario which had the benefit of making the commanders consider how to deploy their troops for the action and also incorporated a 'fighting retreat' at a point when most battles finish and the players shake hands.


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