After we left the last battle in this fictional campaign in a distant shire during the English Civil War, the main contestants swept through the region, taking with them many of the fighting forces for both sides. After many months of peace, the shire saw the return of the Earl of Rockforth and the return of strife in the Shire.
Lord Brooke was by now burdened by ill heath but still formed the main opposition Rockforth’s return. He funded the first military response by authorizing the ambush of the Earl which was conducted near Sheppard’s Farm. While few good units were yet available, Longe’s musketeers were a solid unit. Ballard’s Shotte were thought to be a poor unit, but as we shall see, they performed admirably during this engagement. These Tawney troops along with a small cannon and Lord Brooke’s own commanded shot, sought to delay or even defeat Rockforth’s army.
To that end, Longe’s muskets were placed in the woods with Ballard’s Shotte on the hill with the small cannon on a mound opposite. The commanded shot held the rear of what was essentially a box into which the Earl’s troops would enter.
|The Earl's army along the road, the small cannon to the left, Ballard's Shotte on the hill right and Longe's seen in the large woods|
The trap was set but would require good timing. The signal was to be the cannon but in good “Rampant-y” style it did not fire! Ballard’s men who could see the gun also did not fire (they also failed activation) but Longe’s musketeers hiding along the woods edge, who had already allowed the Earl’s sedan chair to pass, grew impatient and Longe allowed them to fire at Hampden’s passing regiment.
The Earl’s army, shocked but not disordered, readied themselves. Longe was to “shoote and scoote” but decided on another volley but the hurried order had the result of a half-hearted effect but it was enough for the Hampden pike to withdraw.
The small cannon finally fired and the shot barely missed the sedan chair. [ I made it that 4 hits were necessary to kill a horse or damage the chair in some way, 6 hits would kill the Earl ]
Hastings, leading his cuirassiers, finding a target for their wraith, charged Ballard’s Shotte but Ballard’s men surprisingly only moved back from each charge in good order like veterans [ their ‘courage’ rolls were 11 or 12 on the dice throughout the battle! ] but finally needed to retire to refuge of the chavel de frise of sharpened stakes which was their handiwork the day before, allowing them to fight off the pursing cuirassiers who finally evaporated in exhaustion.
|Ballard's Shotte prepare to meet Hastings charge|
|Chased but not beaten, Ballard's Shotte defend in the Cheval de Frise (plastics tree forms by Woodland Scenics)|
The Earl’s transport, now under great control by his retainers (rolled a 12 for activation move) moved the the protection of Hampden’s Pike and ordered them and the nearby pike of Robart’s to “take the Godd**n cannon!”
Startled by the reappearance of Longe’s Musketeers who had previously moved through the woods and were now supporting the cannon, Robarte’s pike stopped as did Hampden’s musketeers behind them for a few moments allowing the cannon to either again fire ( and probably be overrun ) or to withdraw. I rolled for their decision and they took the “save our butts” option.
We have had heard little from Lord Brooke’s commanded shot unit as it would continue to fail all of its activation rolls. Even when the Earl’s chair was passing by inches away, no orders were given. Perhaps the officer was an Earl sympathizer?
|Another failed activation by Lord Brooke's purple clad commanded shot|
The Earl’s arrival to the Shire was not the easy affair he expected.
The officer of the Commanded Shot which did not perform well was cashiered from Lord Brooke’s employ for failing each and every activation roll.
He was found dead two days later of a self-inflicted gunshot to the back of the head.
Hopefully the commanded shot will have better dice in the next battle.