Sunday, 10 December 2017

Braddock Down 1643, An ECW scenario for Pike and Shotte

The game this week is more of a 'what if' rather than an true representation.  Historically, the battle of Braddock Down was a rather one-sided affair, with the Parliamentarians under Ruthen breaking as the Royalist line advanced and fired a volley.  Some details can be found on the Battlefields Trust website .  There is also a scenario on the Too much Lead blog

An overview of the terrain from behind the Royalists
In our game the  Royalists have more infantry,(5 regiments to 4),  but their regiments are 1:1 ratio of muskets to pike; whereas the Parliamentarians are 2:1 ratio of muskets to pike.  In addition, the quality of the Parliamentary infantry is unknown at the beginning of the game.  The first time a six is rolled against a unit in the shooting phase they take a command test; pass and they are 'trained'; fail and they are 'raw'. In the end, 3 of the 4 units were raw, which was fairly accurate historically.  The Parliamentarians have the greater number of cavalry, with all 4 of their units being standard size whereas two of the 4 Royalist cavalry units were small.  However, two of their units need to pass a second command test to carry out a charge order.  (Historically, some units were reluctant to charge). 

The Parliamentarian forces
 A roll of the dice allocated the Parliamentary command to Steve, whilst I took the Royalists.  My plan was simple, attack and at first things seemed to be going well, with my infantry making swift progress towards the enclosures.

I had thought Steve would stand on the defensive, but in true 'no plan survives first contact with the enemy' fashion, Steve also advanced and volleys were exchanged across the hedgerows.

The Parliamentarian commanded shot
The Parliamentarian commanded shot did their best but the weight of shot began to tell and then one of the Royalist regiments charged across the field and drove them back at point of pike.  However, their success was short-lived as volleys from the supporting regiments drove the Royalists back to reform.

On the flanks the cavalry now entered the fight.  I expected the Royalists to prevail, but was sorely disappointed.  First my right wing cavalry were driven back and then the left flank was held to a draw.

The Royalist's right wing flees
The inconclusive fight on the left
I sent the Royalist infantry forward once again and they managed to drive off one infantry regiment, but only after a protracted fight.  By this time my right wing cavalry had been driven from the field and I had to try and hold them back with one of my left wing regiments.  However, this left one Parliamentary cavalry regiment free to attack elsewhere and they charged my militia.  They defied the odds to drive off the first attack, but it was only a temporary respite.  In no time the cavalry charged again and this time there was no miracle; the militia routed.

The rout of the militia
However, they were not finished; again defying the odds, they rolled double six to rally.  There was to be no escape, another charge from the relentless Parliamentary cavalry drove them from the field.

The end of the militia
All the Parliamentary cavalry now combined to drive the few remaining Royalist horse from the field.  This they accomplished and the outlook for my infantry looked grim.  They had established a superiority over their opponents but now had no escape route.

The Royalists drive back the Parliamentary infantry
 At this point I conceded, in the enclosures I was safe from the cavalry, but how would I manage to escape?

An interesting scenario with an intriguing interplay between firepower and pike and trained v raw.

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