Monday, 30 November 2015

Cropredy Bridge 1644; an ECW scenario for Pike and Shotte

This week's scenario is on a bigger scale than Lindal in Furness, making full use of Steve's 8 x 6 table. Background to the battle  can be found here on the site created by the Battlefields Trust.  The dice determined that I took command of the Parliamentarian forces which Steve had set up with most of their cavalry already across the River Cherwell.

A general view of the field looking south
The Parliamentary forces are on the right of the photograph with Butler's brigade nearest the camera and Van Druske's deploying in front of the village.  There are still two units of Van Druske's brigade on the road and behind them are a brigade of foot and the army artillery commanded by Wemyss.  At the far ford a  further cavalry brigade commanded by Waller is deploying whilst a brigade of foot wait to cross.

Butler deploys for action
Reacting to the Parliamentary advance, the Royalist forces turned to face the threat, some units acting more quickly than others.  The most alert seemed to be Astley's brigade of foot which moved quickly towards the enclosures and village in the centre of the battlefield.  When it was my turn to move, my plan, such as it was, quickly unravelled.  I had intended that the two brigades of Middleton's command (Van Druske and Butler) would both attack the Royalist vanguard and prevent the Royalist army moving north.  Butler edged forward cautiously (average die rolls gave him only one action for each of his units.  The problems increased when Van Druske discovered a world full of 5's and 6's when his command die were rolled and not one of his five units moved !  This meant that Middleton's foot, plus the artillery were stuck on the wrong side of the river.

The Royalist foot struggle across the Cherwell
Waller was also having problems.  Two of his cavalry units advanced, but a third resolutely held it's position, thereby blocking the ford and preventing any infantry crossing the river.  Waller's dragoons did move with some purpose, they rapidly got into position to take one of the enclosures near the village and provide covering fire for Waller's cavalry. However, this was the full extent of their activity.  For the next three moves they failed to pass the command roll which would have allowed them to dismount and therefore stood there 'like piffy on a rock bun' whilst the Royalist dragoons took pot shots at them.

View from behind the Royalist centre
Move two saw the first clash, with The Royalist cavalry charging into Waller's horse. The resulting melees were closely contested with both sides experiencing some success.  However, the Royalists had their fresh units ready to exploit their victories whilst Waller's support was still languishing by the river, having failed to move yet again  On the Parliamentary left, Butler continued his advance, whilst Van Druske spent the move attempting to manoeuvre into position to support him.  His rear regiment was still hampering attempts by Middleton's foot to deploy away from the road and allow the artillery to come forward.  To make matters worse Astley now had a unit of foot in position to fire into the mass of cavalry as they deployed.  When Van Druske managed to cajole his reluctant troopers to advance in support of Butler, who was now struggling to hold back the more numerous Royalist horse, they had to run the gauntlet of flanking fire.  The Parliamentary horsemen took significant casualties, but managed to maintain their order  as they moved forward.  Their arrival tipped the balance in favour of Parliament, pushing back the Royalist horse and threatening to cut the road north.

Wilmot enters the fray
In the nick of time for the Royalists, Wilmot arrived with two units of horse which charged straight into the fray.  These rolled up the front line of the Parliamentary horse and routed the remnants.  The fleeing cavalry carried away their supports and soon all of Middleton's cavalry was falling back.  On the opposite wing a sort of truce had developed.  Waller and Northampton were both reordering their regiments ready to resume hostilities.  It was at this point that we had to finish for the day, but the battle will be played to a conclusion soon.


  1. Nice pictures and beautiful figures!

  2. I really like your buildings and hedges.

  3. All the terrain features are Steve's. The buildings are by PMC, I am unsure about the hedges.