for BillS - thanks for the Osprey
“The Earl of Rockforth is dead, your Majesty”
“Who?”, asks the King.
“Percy Hewes, 4th Earl of Rockforth, Sire. Holdings along the River Tercey”
“Why doth the name seem familiar?”
“Your quoits partner yesterday?” diffidently suggests the clerk.
“Ah yes”, recalls the King, “hansome young man but not very…Is he dead?”
“Ah, no, Sire, his father; a great supporter of your divine Majesty”
“Must continue that. Send the young man. Oh and give him a chest of silver.”
“The silver will require a guard, Sire”
“Yes, yes, Hastings will do and also give him that useless Nerne and his dragoons”
Thus Howard Hewes, 5th Earl of Rockforth, escorted by a unit of cuirassiers under Hastings and a unit of dragoons we enter our second season of fictional campaigning along the Tercey during the times of the English Civil War. I am using my very old collection of Foundry figures painted almost 30 years ago and now using the new The Pikemen’s Lament rules, I hope to record my occasional solo games.
Battle of Henry’s Ford
“My Lord in Heaven, you challenge me so” Hastings muttered as a curse to his misfortune. He was informed that Hewes was ‘indisposed’ within the travelling sedan and thus will be commanding from within its confines. A rather awkward arrangement but one the new Earl insisted upon (or perhaps more myself wanting to see this model upon the table, and rolling a rather very poorly for the new Earl’s officer traits per the rules….”ineffectual” he is….)
A moment after returning to his unit during this rest at the inn at Henry's Ford near the edge of the shire, Hastings spotted the mass of riders galloping toward him with raised swords. He expected little help from the dragoons and hoped his call for assistance would ‘urry. His mood lightened slightly over this clever pun, but would Edward Urry’s elite cavalry arrive in time?
His opponent, Haribald Blare with his unit of aggressive horsemen, was tasked by Lord Brooke to capture and/or kill the new Earl and obtain the chest of silver reported to be with him. Blare was given a unit of commanded shot selected from Brooke’s own unit and shortly an elite unit of Lordship’s pikemen would follow.
With the new The Pikemen’s Lament rules in hand, I began my new campaign with a small game with support coming on a turn decided by dice.
Rather than randomly roll for each officer’s traits per the rules, I have given each of my available commanders a trait from the chart but based upon my own impression upon the look of the figure itself. While we have discovered Howard Hewes is a recluse in his sedan chair, Blare is a “careless” officer and will charge any enemy without question ( an automatic wild charge in having a “careless” officer in an aggressive unit! )
Onto the battle:
Nerne’s : Dragoons with Hewes attached @ 4 points
Hasting’s Cuirassiers : Gallopers upgraded to elite to account for their 3/4 armour @6 points
later: Urry’s elite Trotters @ 6 points
His Galloper cavalry @ 4 points with Wild Charge
Brooke’s Commanded Shot @2 points
later: Brooke’s elite Pike @ 6 points
It was thought the advantage in command by Blare would assist in the point differential ....and that my math was terrible..…
|the initial clash of Blare and Hastings|
Immediately Blare orders his horsemen into a charge against Hasting’s Cuirassiers ( he being ‘careless’ with a wild charge unit makes it automatic! ). Hastings order a counter-attack and for two turns, each side in turn attacks with confidence each time, in a frenzy of sword cuts. Meanwhile, the Commanded Shot of Brooke and the dragoons of Nerne under the ineffectual command of Hewes (giving no additional help to the dice) move to face across the field protected by rock walls. The cattle who rather stared in mute indifference to the actions of the cavalry, bolted upon finally hearing the first firing of shot, weak that it was, and moo-ved away.
|the cattle observe the cavalry action|
It is at this point my dubious dice rolling comes into serious play as I roll double ones for Blare’s activation and a further roll of a 1 has this unit pull out from the action ( as dictated in the rule’s chart). At the same time, Hewes’ activation has Urry’s Horse come on with…wait for it…a double six activation roll! Thus Urry’s unit gains a +1 morale bonus.
Brooke’s veteran pike have now entered the battlefield and the Commanded Shot
|The recluse Howard Hewes in his sedan chair. His forces win despite his lack-luster leadership abilities|
The pike go into close order while the commanded shot start their desultory fire on Urry’s boys who have moved up and started several rounds of caracole fire on the pike. The pike hold their own and so the pistolers do not force the issue. Several minutes silence on the battlefield now commence … all the initial fire activations by both sides failed for three turns in a row! This stand-off continued until surprisingly Nerne’s Dragoons finally entered into range of Brooke’s immobile pike. While not forcing it into morale failure, it did whittle away causing casualties.
|The Rockforth cavalry converge on the Brooke's remaining units. Note the black clad preacher on foot with Urry's horsemen: he is the marker indicating that the unit gains +1 morale due to a abnormally good activation roll a turn or two before.|
|The units of Hastings (top) and Urry (bottom) along with the dragoons behind the rock wall move toward the resolute pike and Commanded Shot of Lord Brooke|
Foregoing the caracole tactics, Urry’s elite trotters attacked the commanded shot virtually destroying them while Hastings unit now at half strength but full of vigour charged the pike who sustained more casualties, forcing it back and out of it’s close order formation after giving Hastings’ cuirassiers many hits from it’s wall of pike.
|Showing my new basing for the pike. Note it is only five bases to move but with all possibilities for any amount of casualties. link to previous post|
However the battle was effectively over. Both Brooke’s units failed their activation, hurt as they were, with the pike rolling double 1’s ( I honestly am the worst of die rollers ) and as a result of the rule’s chart effect, it fled down the road with Urry’s Horse merrily chasing them down.
Thus the initial clash of the 2nd Tercey campaign was a complete Rockforth victory. Howard Hewes the 5th Earl, can now continue in his late father’s footsteps and with the chest of silver safe, to form an army to fight Brooke’s forces in the near future.