Sunday, 26 February 2017

Burton under Moor; an ECW scenario for Pike and Shotte

This week's scenario comes out of reading a book about the destruction caused to goods and property by the English Civil wars. (Stephen Porter's book "The Blast of War") .  It brought home how much of the fighting was about securing resources and/or denying them to the opposition.  So I set up this very basic scenario based in the fictional Kelhamshire, where Sir Victor Meldrew, commanding the Parliamentary forces, was anxious to secure the fodder and provisions from the village of Burton under Moor.  An added attraction was that the lands involved belonged to a prominent Royalist supporter.  Sir Victor's plans had not gone unnoticed and Lord Melchett, commander of the Royalist forces in the county, was determined to prevent Burton under Moor's bounty falling into the wrong hands.  Both sides had ordered a brigade of horse to the area, with a further brigade of horse in support if required.
An overview of the battlefield

Burton under Moor
A roll of the dice allocated the role of Sir Victor to Steve.  Another roll indicated his reserve brigade would arrive at the end of turn 4.  Lord Melchett's reserves would appear one turn later.  

The Parliamentary Horse prepare to defend Burton
At first, Lord Melchett's cavalry moved more purposefully than their opponents, but in the true Royalist tradition the advance was not particularly well co-ordinated.  Lord Melchett began to grow uneasy as the leading regiment, Gillibrand's, charged forward without waiting for their supports.  He sent an aid to Sir Fleetwood Hesketh ordering him to have a care, but the injunction was too late. With assured skill, Colonel Livesey ordered his regiments so that Nutter's, which was in the lead, was well supported and they met and defeated the charging Royalists, driving them back and hampering the regiments following them.  With his reinforcements under Colonel Starkie, almost ready to enter the field, Sir Victor ordered Colonel Livesey to reorder his ranks and then make a general advance when both brigades could act in concert.

Hesketh used the time to also regain command of his regiments and deploy to meet the full parliamentary force.  Hoping to gain the maximum ground for Sir James Tyldesley's brigade to deploy when they arrived, he once again moved forward.  Combat erupted across the field as the two lines engaged.  The fight swayed back and forth and when the lines parted, the parliamentary horse had been forced back slightly and Tyldsley's men were deployed ready to drive home the Royalist advantage.

The Parliamentary reinforcements charge home
As Sir Victor, Livesey and Starkie galloped around rallying their men, Tyldsley swept forward. However, once again the attacks were uncoordinated and the parliamentary line held.  Following this clash the fight once again swung back and forth.  First, the royalists would break through and then the parliamentarians would drive them back and advance in their own right, only to be checked in their turn.

Gradually regiments were worn down and the husbanding of reserves became vital.  In this, Sir Victor's brigades were better placed.  Sensing that the battle was in the balance, Lord Melchett ordered an all out attack by what remained of his men.  Once again the royalists swept forward with a purpose.  A stiff fight ensued, but the greater numbers eventually prevailed and when Livesey sent forward his last reserve, Shuttleworth's, they swept away their opponents and the remaining Royalist's quit the field.  With his command in a battered state Sir Victor was happy to order a day's rest at Burton, whilst orders were sent for the dragoons to advance and form a garrison for the village.

Parliament gains the upper hand
This scenario was set up to try out a few amendments to the 'sweeping advance' section of Pike and Shotte.  In essence this instituted a dice roll to see if an advance took place.  Also we felt that the greater move for 'galloper' cavalry (12" against 9") should only be applied to charges and sweeping advances where a melee would result.  The amendments seemed to work well when used with our rout rules (which replaced the break rules that removed a broken unit immediately.)

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