Tuesday 13 February 2024

Raising the siege of Edgerton House: an ECW Kelhamshire scenario for Pike and Shot

 Lord Melchett's and Sir Victor Meldrew's struggle for control of Kelhamshire continues to generate interesting battles.  This, the latest installment, is part of a mini campaign where Sir Victor is attempting to raise the siege of Edgerton House.  Edgerton House is owned by Sir William Edgerton, a staunch supporter of the Parliamentary cause.  He has used his home as a base to raid nearby Royalist areas and generally be a thorn in the side of Lord Melchett.  Having had enough of the troublesome Sir William, Lord Melchett has besieged Edgerton, entrusting his senior engineer Jakob Van Oord, with the technical aspects and Sir Harvey Nicholls with the military prosecution of the siege.  Sir Harvey has three units of foot plus a unit of commanded shot.   Van Oord's artillery consisted of 2 medium guns and a mortar and these were beginning to seriously damage the defences of Edgerton House.  Sir Harvey had sent his only unit of horse off on a scouting/foraging mission.

Sir Victor is determined to come to the aid of Sir William and has gathered a force to relieve Edgerton House.  In an earlier action, Lord Melchett had tried to intercept Sir Victor's force, but had been unsuccessful.  This means that Sir Victor is now approaching Van Oord's siege lines and Sir Harvey is going to have to hold off the attackers and hope (pray?) that help comes in time.

View of the table, with the Royalist siege lines on the left

Sir Victor's force consists of 4 units of foot, 2 light guns and 4 units of horse plus a unit of dragoons.  The foot and artillery were under the command of Colonel William Wanless and their advance was preceded by the dragoons.  The cavalry were advancing on another road to avoid congestion.  Their commander, Sir Andrew Goldshaw had been injured at the earlier action and command now fell upon the relatively inexperienced Colonel Edward Robinson.  Sir Victor was accompanying the foot, urging them forward at their best pace.

As the infantry column advanced along the road, Sir Harvey's cavalry appeared on their left.  Sir Victor anxious to secure his flank, took command of one Colonel Wanless's regiments and led it to the left to face the enemy cavalry.  Meanwhile, the Parliamentary horse had arrived and were moving quickly towards the enemy siege lines.

Sir Victor supervising the advance of his infantry

Sir Harvey was having difficulty getting his men to face the threat to their rear.  One unit misheard the order and instead of about facing, moved towards Edgerton House.  Others struggled to manoeuvre within the siege lines and only the commanded shot responded quickly.  Van Oord was somewhat reluctant to move his guns, but the mortar responded fairly quickly and was soon lobbing shells (or bombs) at the advancing Parliamentary troops.

The Royalist siege lines

The advance of the Royalist commanded shot convinced Colonel Robinson he should attack and he pressed forward to gain room to deploy.

The Parliamentary cavalry advance

It was at this juncture that Sir Roystron A'Dammes and Lord Melchett appeared with a brigade of Royalist cavalry and a unit of dragoons.  Lord Melchett sent the dragoons to his right to harass the Royalist cavalry still in column on the road and then Sir Royston led the cavalry towards Edgerton House.
Sir Royston arrives with the Royalist cavalry

Colonel Wanless had ordered the dragoons to line a hedge and dissuade the Royalist cavalry foragers from approaching the infantry column.  His main concern however, was the road junction ahead, where the columns of infantry and horse were both trying to get forward.

The dragoons cover the flank

The log-jam where the roads meet

The leading Parliamentary cavalry regiment had deployed and charged the commanded shot.  The second regiment had deployed and moved against the returning foragers.  Against the odds, the commanded shot repulsed the Parliamentary cavalry, forcing them to retire in disorder.  The second regiment had more success against the returning foragers.  The Royalist horse were driven back towards the siege lines, but the Parliamentary horse did not follow up  and consequently suffered heavy casualties from musketry fire from the Royalist infantry which had at last sorted themselves out.

Sir Victor was still leading his infantry regiment around to the left to bring it onto the hill close to the Royalist siege lines, but poor going made for slow progress.  Sir Harvey ordered the commanded shot into the woods flanking the road the cavalry were advancing along.  To make matters worse, the dragoons also moved to a position flanking the road.  Colonel Robinson pulled back his horse regiments, leaving room for Colonel Wanless to deploy one of his regiments to attempt to drive off the Royalists.  The Parliamentary light guns also deployed to add their firepower.

Lord Melchett had taken his Lifeguard of Horse to the left to try and add further to Colonel Robinson's woes, but Robinson had a unit in reserve and this moved to counter the Royalist attack.  A prolonged melee ensued with the initiative passing back and forth and resulting in both units having to fall back to recover.

Wanless had ordered the dragoons to move to the woods on the left of the infantry on the hill and had also sent a second unit to join the one which was already established there.  It was at this point that Sir Royston arrived in the centre with his cavalry.  His leading unit deployed and then charged up the hill to attack the Parliamentary infantry.  An ineffectual volley failed to stop them and the cavalry charged home.  Try as they might the Royalist cavalry couldn't break into the infantry formation and had to fall back to recover.  As the Royalist cavalry fell back, the Parliamentary infantry were subjected to fire from the Royalist artillery and foot.

The Parliamentary foot began to waver, even though they now had supports.  Sir Royston decided to try again.  Gathering another regiment of horse he charged up the hill again.  Even though they were now shaken and disordered, the Parliamentary foot held their ground and delivered a volley which stopped the charge in it's tracks.

Meanwhile Colonel Wanless was trying to push back the Royalists lining the lane.  The fire from the light artillery was having little effect against the dragoons and so he ordered a charge.  Naturally, the dragoons evaded, but did not move away quickly enough and they suffered heavy casualties as the foot fired a volley to hurry them on their way.

Wanless orders an attack on the Royalist dragoons

The Royalist artillery, ably directed by Van Oord, targeted the Parliamentary infantry and soon reduced one gun to a heap of wood and metal.  Desperate to save his other gun, Wanless ordered it to pull back, which meant that the Royalists now turned their fire on Robinson's cavalry.  Suddenly there was a loud explosion and the mortar exploded, killing its crew and the hapless Van Oord who was directing its fire.                                      

From his position on the hill near the siege lines, Sir Victor decided that further progress was going to be difficult.  He would need time to clear the commanded shot from their position in the wood and any attack by his horse or foot would be in the teeth of artillery and musketry fire.  Also, Sir Royston still had the advantage in numbers of horse, in spite of his losses.  Summoning one of his staff he ordered them to find a couple of volunteers to try and break through the siege lines and inform Sir William that he, Sir Victor, was having to pull back the army and that he should seek terms from Sir Harvey.

For his part Lord Melchett was keen to harass Sir Victor all the way back to his base and set about organising a vigorous pursuit by as many men as Sir Harvey and Sir Royston could spare.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Vapnartak 2024

It was an early start on Sunday as we set off over the Pennines to York for the Vapnartak show.  Will had organised the Lance & Longbow participation game for this event and he opted for the battle of Montgisard set in the Holy Land in 1177.  Will used 20mm figures and this allowed him to field larger armies and make the game a bigger spectacle.

The centre and left wing of the Saracen army, with the baggage train strung out behind it.


Two units from the Frankish army 

Will's scratch built Saracen camp

The game ran three times during the day with victory going to the Franks on each occasion, but with one close result.  Members of the public took part in each game and plenty of people stopped and asked questions.

Other games on offer included

Gripping Beast with their Ecorcheurs game


At the far end of the 2nd Mezzanine was Ken (Yarkshire Gamer) Riley's Battle of Mentana game from the wars of Italian Unification.  The location of the game meant that you could only take photos from one side and that was against the light.  I feel a game like this should have been in a more prominent position, giving people a chance to appreciate it from all sides.

Also on this floor was Sally Forth with their Pulp Action Venice game.

A beautifully presented game with plenty of people to explain the mechanisms and also the modular buildings which allow for various  roof designs.

The Harrogate club had a 'Kiss me Hardy' game

It was very busy in the morning, but as usual numbers eased in the afternoon.  Our society stand had a good day, selling about £100 of books and flag sheets.  Will, Andy and Steve ran the game and Andy also provided some much needed refreshment during the day.  Rhankyou to all the members of the public who joined in the game and made it such a success.

For more pictures/comment you can look at Will's blog here, or Andy's blog here.  Video reports can also be found on youtube.

Monday 29 January 2024

Prelude to Vapnartak 2024

 This coming Sunday, the wargame amateur show calendar creaks into motion once again with a trip to York for the Vapnartak show.  Once again the Lance & Longbow Society will be present with a stall of society publications and a participation game.  This years offering is a scenario based on the battle of Montgisard in 1177.  The game has been devised by Will, so I don't have any pre-show photographs.  If you are attending the show you are most welcome to drop by and chat, perhaps even roll a few dice.

My apologies for the almost 2 month break in posts, life and a departure on holiday of the 'literary muse' are the main culprits.  We have been meeting regularly for games, but I just haven't got around to reporting them.  All being well, normal service will resume.

A shot from a WSS game in January.  The Allies were attacking the flank of the French line and two dragoon regiments are trying to hold the hedge line. 

Monday 4 December 2023

RECON at Pudsey

Initially the show was cancelled as the club was having difficulty finding someone to organise it, however, Matt from the Pit Gaming Shop stepped in to take over.  So, on a cold and frosty morning we set out over the Pennines to Leeds.  The tables and chairs were all set up when we arrived so setting up our game was straightforward.  Once the doors opened, it wasn't exactly a flood of people coming in, but sufficient to give a good atmosphere.  A reasonable spread of traders were present and they seemed to be busy in the morning, but after lunch the usual decline set in.

We were putting on our usual 'Lion Rampant' participation game, this time a fictional clash from the 1396 Danube Crusade, which ended in the crushing defeat of the Crusader forces at Nicopolis.

Let battle commence: Crusaders on the right

In the first game the Crusaders struggled against the Ottoman centre and although they did some damage, the Ottoman archery was effective in whittling the knights numbers down before they were able to charge into melee.  The Crusader left also fared badly and by the close of the first game...

All that remained of the Crusader centre, about to be encircled

The mounted knights and men at arms had been wiped out and only the foot knights remained and they faced four Janissary units.  Losses on the flanks took the total of lost units to 8 and with over half of the army lost the Ottomans claimed victory.

After lunch we played through again and once again the knights fared badly.  Even though they were only required to achieve a score of 3+ on two d6 they still contrived to fail a morale check and had to fall back.  Coupled with repeated failures to charge (5+ required on two d6), they suffered from the repeated showers of arrows.  Nevertheless, with defeat seemingly inevitable, a last desperate  charge by the men at arms managed to inflict a casualty on the Sipahi of the Porte, who were led by the Ottoman army commander.  There is a chance of killing  a general involved in melee (double one is required on two d6), the Crusader player rolled the dice... double one.  Victory dragged from the jaws of defeat!!

During the lunch break I managed to have a look at two nearby games.

Peterborough Wargames "What a Pirate"

   These were taken before the group re-set for a game in the afternoon session.

East London with two games using the "Emperor of the Battlefield" rules 

Many thanks to Andy, Bob, Steve and Will for helping with the game and to John, a willing volunteer who tackled our version of 'Lion Rampant' 


Sunday 26 November 2023

Ridley Scott's 'Napoleon' : A quart into a pint pot?

 When I first saw the trailer for this film and having in mind his previous hits 'Gladiator' and 'Kingdom of Heaven' I thought this is a film I will enjoy.  Well, I went to watch it last Thursday and left feeling somewhat underwhelmed.  Overall, the film felt disjointed, scenes in Paris being followed without any explanation by battle action.  For instance, Napoleon was crowned (or crowned himself) emperor and before you know it, he is at Austerlitz.  The battle scenes were well presented, though, as usual, the cavalry charges were long distance gallops, rather than the more measured advance the regulations prescribed.  In addition everything felt rushed, perhaps the subject matter was too great for just one film?  One curious move was to have the infantry digging shallow trenches at Waterloo, not something I have ever come across when reading about the battle.  Also, at the end of the battle the Prussians seem to be coming from the French left (ie the west) rather than the right. 

Joaquin Phoenix is too old to play a 24 year old at the siege of Toulon (1793) indeed he doesn't seem to age at all between then and Waterloo, over 20 years later.  This again would support a two film approach, however, given the costs involved this is unlikely to happen.  As a spectacle the film succeeds, as a film about Napoleon, I feel it misses the mark. 

Thursday 2 November 2023

A day out to FIASCO at Leeds

 At the weekend, for the first time in over a decade, Steve and I visited Leeds to attend the Fiasco show.  In the foyer, Ken Riley (aka Yarkshire Gamer) was putting on an AWI game portraying the Battle of Germantown.

Once inside the show proper the majority of the games on offer were much smaller and often demonstrated particular rule sets.  One such was this Dark Ages game by the Wargames Shop.

Kirklees Wargames Club brought their Wars of the Roses, Battle of Ferrybridge game, using the Basic Impetus rules

A game I saw at Phalanx in June by All Hell let Loose, was also present.  Once again the dramatic presentation drew lots of attention.  

Legendary Wargames presented a Sudan game

There has been a lot of interest in the Black Seas models and rules  produced by Warlord Games and the SRWGC had a game on show.

A handy way of keeping track of the individual ship states

One thing I liked was the 'pared down' treatment of the ship models, no ratlines and reduced rigging.  Giving one of the models the suggested levels of rigging etc is a stretch for my meagre model making skills.  These models are still very presentable, so it may be a way I can at last tackle the backlog of work at the wargame amatuer shipyard.

The trade was well represented and I was particularly glad to see two particular traders.  Firstly Irregular Miniatures who provide an excellent service, but I normally only see at the Vapnartak show each February and secondly Stonewall Figures.  Now, I haven't seen Stonewall since the days of the Triples Show at Sheffield.  Their 15mm Napoleonic range is very extensive and the figures have a good 'presence'.  Chatting to the owner, it seems that the Fiasco show is the only one he attends in the North, being based in Cornwall, it is hardly surprising.  However, it was nice to be re-acquainted with the  range and it sparked an urge to fill some of the gaps (real or otherwise) in my Napoleonic collection.

The bonus of the Fiasco show is that the Armouries is very close and the two venues can be seen on the same day.  All in all, a Grand Day Out.