Saturday, 16 July 2016

Crecy ...LR style

The following blog post contains images of unpainted miniatures on the tabletop which sensitive wargamers may find offensive.  Viewer discretion is advised.

The historic Battle of Crecy with Lion Rampant

My current medieval collection is based on the English of the mid-14th Century.  Thusly I am thinking that I should do the French to oppose my rather large contingent of mostly longbow and to do so with a group of early version of GW “Bretonnian” mounted knights that I have at the ready.  But how would games play with only these MAA types - not withstanding the rule that only half your contingent can be of one troop type?   As one of the famous battles of the era , The Battle of Crecy in northern France comes to mind, as it is well documented as any of the period and is noted for its wild charges by masses of mounted knights.

I set up this battle for Lion Rampant, my current rules-de-jour.   I was going to bore myself with a turn by turn account to document the affair the effect of the rules to the historical account.  However in the herky-jerky motion that is Lion Rampant’s initiative play and my failure to make most of those due to my poor die rolling I decided just to give an overall of account. [ed note: I had 3 turns of both sides missing their initiative rolls which, in LR, means nothing happens. Lots of my 1s rolled. Yes, three turns of the boys just staring at each other... On the other hand the turns are quick to do -grin- ]

So if the short version is wanted:
The French mounted knights finally charged but were repelled and were slaughtered by the bowman. The famous Genoese crossbowmen gave poor account of themselves per history.  The new weapon of the cannon (apparently making its debut on the battlefield at this time)  fired twice (!) and the pits (anti-horse defence) was rather effective and the men-at-arms did their job. And yes, the arrow-storms were lethal.
In general the game account went quite well according to historical play with the French beaten off with over 3x the casualties sustained by the English.

While I still do not understand the strict gap requirement (and it certainly does not make for good photographic shots)  but in keeping with the rules the deployments for the English units were a minimum of 3 inches away from each other. The French will have two moves to meet the English line ( 20 inches ) and with the width equal to that of the English line could also have three units of mounted knight across and a reserve unit having the king one move to the rear.  This is unlike the actual battle which had three successive lines of knights however with the initiative rolls as they are in LR, this would allow at least some degree of charging and perhaps not allow the concentration of bow fire upon only one unit at a time.
The English 'line' of 2 archer units with the dismounted MAA in the centre.  Cannon holding right flank along the River Maye.  A mere 3 inches looks much larger when viewing a photo does it not? 

Oh, yeah, the Genoese crossbow were allocated a position in the front, per history, but I modified their stats to reflect their actions during that day in 1346:

Attack : ---      Attack Value : ---
Move : 6+ Defence Value: 5+
Shoot : 7+ Shoot Value/ Range : 4+ / 12”
Courage 6 Max move: 6”
Armour: 2 Special: no attacks allowed

The crossbowmen were without their shielding pavises (in the luggage) and already aware of the effect of the longbow from previous engagements during the campaign and with their
weapons affected by the rainstorms, they were reluctant to force the issue.  Thus the low courage, armour and shoot effects with no attacks allowed.
In keeping with the original rules and its mandates, I gave each side only 24 points (rather a small version of the battle!) but did allow the addition of two units of the crossbow and as they are certainly downgraded…and historically run over!….they were at 3 points apiece providing the historically more numerical French an additional 6 points.

Keeping with the historical affair, I had the English with two weird types of ‘units’.  The cannon which might have been first used in a major battle at Crecy; and the use of pits dug by the archers in front of their positions.  For rules the pits had an attack value of 6 (12 dice) with the hits added to any which the archers could add in combat.  This reflects the disruptive factor they effect.  One might just make it 6 dice for hits.  This minimizes the effect a bit more but continue to add any hits thus made onto the total from the archers in combat.
French knights fall prey to the pits in front of the archers and the arrows. In the background, the two remaining knights of the right group try to gain the courage for another charge at the English MAA. They will, unfortunately be shot down by arrows fired by the archers to their right. The banner bearer to indicate the unit is made of 'expert' archers to represent the skilled longbowmen.

The other interesting weapon was the cannon.  I copied other wargamer’s thoughts on the matter allowing an automatic fire of the cannon but requiring a 10+ to have loaded (and thus fire again).  Attack value is 6 and the range is limitless.  The special rule is “Boom” which has the target unit test for courage regardless of hits.
The effect of the cannon during the game was to take out one knight but it's unit passed the courage.  After all the English units had passed initiative during a turn later in the game, I could again roll for loading initiative ( no turn to ‘lose’ at it were) and indeed rolled a 10.  So it could fire again. (no effect this time)  However this rule does a wonderful job at simulating in fun way, the slow firing and perhaps little effect of this weapon.
The six figure crew of the cannon. The stand of spears I made so that it may be assumed by any opponent that they do have arms and may indeed for for the gun if charged! (I hope....)

Now, do I use these unhistorical Bretonnian leviathans?  Big horses, big men, big silly helmet crests.  And with the want to only have mounted knights in my retinue and now the knowledge that in a set piece battle they well might lose each time, do I paint them?  Hmm.

Nevertheless the Battle of Crecy was a successful try and went quick. Very much a ‘bathtubbing’ affair.
Dice to match my livery colours! Together with 'battered' markers


  1. The Matt Black uniform - common to many troop types throughout the ages. :-)
    Sounds like it was a good way to spend a couple of hours.

    1. Good point about the black. Black Knights...lots of Black Knights!
      and yes, a good way to spend a few hours!
      thanks for the comments, Stuart

  2. Look like Templar Knights to me!

    1. Quite right, quite right...but off on crusade to rid the world of the heathen English???
      I have decided they will be painted in French heraldry after all.
      take care.