Saturday, 30 September 2017

Rowton Heath: a Pike and Shotte scenario

Our first tabletop action for a month featured an action from the English Civil War.  This was an almost exclusively affair, which took place not far from Chester in 1645.  The King's forces had advanced northwards to try and raise the Parliamentary siege of the city.  They had been shadowed by Sydenham Poyntz with a force of  cavalry and now he and Langdale faced each other across Rowton Heath.  Each had 8 regiments of cavalry, with Poyntz having a slight edge in the quality of his troops.  In addition, Poyntz has two small units of commanded shot sent from the forces besieging Chester.  Both commanders had the objective of driving off their opponents.  The terrain is very basic, the heath was a relatively flat expanse with no major obstacles to the cavalry manoeuvres.  Along the western edge of the field are some enclosures, (cover for the musketeers) and I added a barn for interest.

The Royalist left

Parliamentary left
The battle opened with Langdale advancing quickly, perhaps hoping to neutralise the enemy musketeers on his flank.  However, his right hand brigade struggled.  Their initial charge was repulsed and as they fell back they disordered their supports.  These were then hit by the successful Parliamentary cavalry.  Against the odds, the Northern Horse held their ground and drove back their assailants; inflicting sufficient casualties to 'shake' them and force them to halt to recover.

On the opposite flank the fight was more even, perhaps favouring Langdale.  Indeed, it was only Poyntz's veteran units from the  Eastern Association which prevented a total collapse.  However, the repeated Royalist attacks pushed most of the units to 'shaken' status and soon they were driven back by the renewed Parliamentary advance.

Jones' musketeers move into position

The initial clashes on the western side of the Heath

Jones' men prepare to fire


On the opposite flank, Jones' musketeers were causing problems for Langdale's regiments as they tried to recover from their clash with Poyntz's men.  This harassing fire delayed their full recovery long enough for the refreshed Parliamentarians to gain the momentum, driving their opponents back in disorder.

Livesey's start the Royalist rot

More Northern Horse quit the field 
 In no time, over half of the Royalist units were in rout and the day was lost.

After lunch we ran the scenario again, this time Langdale prevailed.  His attacks were more co-ordinated than in the first game and Jones' musketeers seemed less effective, allowing the Royalist right the opportunity to recover from their melees.

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