Friday, 2 September 2016

Battle of Winceby 1643: a scenario for the Pike and Shotte rules

For our ECW game this week I decided to base the scenario on a historical battle rather than to the fictional Kelhamshire.  The choice settled on Winceby in Lincolnshire, a purely cavalry affair and although each force consisted of only c60 horse and 10 dragoons Steve and I had a most enjoyable days gaming.

Information on the battle can be found on:-

the Battlefields Trust website

Historic England

On my 6'x 4' table I arranged the terrain with the flanking features of Slash Hollow and Snipe Dales along the long edges.  A couple of barns were also included, though I suspect that they were not there in 1643.  Each army had 6 units of horse and one of dismounted dragoons.  One of the accounts says that the dragoons were deployed as a Forlorn Hope to cover the deployment of the horse.  Therefore we decided that there would be 3 rounds of musket exchanges prior to the battle starting. (In our post action chat we decided that it would have been interesting to dice to see if individual units were able to form up during this initial skirmishing)

The Pike and Shotte rules rate the early Parliamentarian horse as 'caracole'  , but as Cromwell's Eastern Association horse were present his command were rated the same as the Royalists.  The Parliamentarians thus had two brigades,  Cromwell's and Manchester's.  Opposing them were Widdrington's and Saville's brigades

Manchester's Horse

Cromwell's Horse
Saville's force
A roll of the dice gave Steve command of the Royalists and after the skirmishing between the two 'forlorn's' his cavalry moved forward.  Manchester's men were slow to respond, but Cromwell's seemed keen and quickly closed with Widdrington's leading regiment.  Shuttleworth's (for parliament) lost the melee and had to retire, but their victors had suffered too many casualties to follow up their triumph.  Indeed as they reformed they were charged by Cromwell's second regiment, Nutter's who drove them back in confusion.  Indeed their precipitate retreat disordered the unit behind them who were also driven off by Nutter's.  In no time at all, Widdrington's brigade was in danger of being destroyed.

Widdrington's men take on Shuttleworth's
However, not everything was going the Parliamentarian way, Shuttleworth's were charged by the Queen's regiment (from Saville's brigade before they had recovered from their lost melee and were routed.  The Queen's regiment swept on and reached a position where it threatened the rear of Manchester's brigade.  At this point Manchester leading unit was struggling to hold it's ground against the Royalist attack, but even so he had to order his reserve regiment to turn to face the threat from the Queen's regiment.  Slow response to this order by Clayton's regiment meant that Queen's had time to recover  from their earlier melee before the attack was launched.  When it was the Parliamentarians were overwhelmed by their more numerous opponents and driven from the field, it was only poor command (and accumulated losses), by the Royalists which saved Manchester from disaster.
Nutter's driven from the field.
Cromwell was still pushing forward, but accumulated losses slowed his progress.  Although battered, Widdrington still had all his units available, as did Saville and they outnumbered the Parliamentarians two to one.  One final attack by Widdrington routed the gallant Nutter's and they tumbled by through their supporting unit Livesey's who became disordered.  With only one viable unit I had no choive but to acknowledge Steve's victory.

The Parliamentary dragoons stand against the Royalist attack
After lunch we re fought the battle and this time the Parliamentarian's prevailed as they did historically, even down to driving Royalist units into 'Slash Hollow'.

Two enjoyable games with fortunes swinging back and forth.  The rules do make cavalry melees very fluid affairs, with opportunities to recover from setbacks.  It also drives home the need to retain a reserve.

1 comment:

  1. nice to see my local battle being refought. did you give Cromwell an increased chance of falling off his horse?