Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Siege of Southchester

On Monday night we tried something very ambitious in the Shed - I decided we would try and play a siege game using the latest supplement for Pike & Shotte. I say ambitious because the Parliamentarians not only had to scale a huge city wall but also fend off a Royalist relief force.

I had anticipated six players and according set out the sides with three commands on each. Sadly one player dropped out at the last minute so yours truly ended up commanding both an assault force and the Parliamentarians intent on holding up the relief force. I was knackered by the end of the evening.

But what to call this battle, well sometime ago we fought a Very British Civil Wargame in the ficticious city of Southchester and it seemed apt to revisit this place for a battle nearly 400 years ago in the first British Civil War - of course I am talking about the English Civil War

If you interested in our VBCW game fought almost three years ago it can be found here...

The small walled city of Southchester lies on the Essex side of the River Thames. Its about 40 miles from London.

Prior to the War this estuary town was famous for its local eel fishing, a rather beautiful 14th century church and the near perfect Norman Keep.

The defenders begin to plan their strategy

The City only recently declared itself for the Crown. Parliament has quite rightly decided that this 'irritant' must be removed from their dominance of London and home counties. Raising troops loyal to the Parliamentary cause Sir William Guthrie has marched swiftly to the town and has decided an all out assault would be wiser than starving the locals out. 

His local sappers have advised him that the masonry of the walls has fallen into disrepair and that his sizeable artillery train should have no worries battering down the towns defences.

Guthrie knows that he has to move quickly to suppress this insurrection against government rule as forces loyal to the king are approaching rapidly.

View from the table - the Royalist relief force comes on from the bottom of the picture

Our game starts on a damp friday morning - the Parliamentary forces are assembled for the assault. The large siege guns have been battering the walls for the past two days and a breach is expected soon. Scaling ladders have been distributed across the assault troops   

The defenders are on the ramparts are waiting...

I haven't posted up orders of battle but suffice to say the attackers outnumbered the defenders about two to one. The defenders could only call on light artillery (postioned in all the towers bar one whilst the Rebel forces had in the region of nine medium and heavy pieces. 

We also introduced a new command unit to both side - Rabble Rousers

These religeous zealots can be used as command stands to rally troops in much the same way as an officer. They have a command rating of 7+ and can move 12" (18" if mounted). They cannot be targetted (no point in having god against you)

The Siege guns begin to belch their deadly load...one of three large batteries. The Attackers strategy was simple create some breaches and charge....

Its all very quiet on the right flank

The Attackers wait until the guns have done their deadly job....

We didn't have to wait long as the first curtain wall gave way....

The attackers pour forwards dragging their scaling ladders just in case

By now the first of the Royalist relief force had arrived under Brigadier Rolfe....

Soon followed by cavalry and supporting dragoons - the river posing now trouble to his trotters

It was time for the Parliamentarian cavalry to deploy to prevent the Royalist force from reaching the castle walls

A second breach soon followed the first - cry havoc and all that !

Under heavy fire the middle battalia of attackers forced their way up onto the breach

A lone unit of musketeers from the defenders sallied forth to try and prevent the gap from being overrun

The attackers continued to advance along the city walls

The chaos was pretty impressive - the game was living up to expectations

With the attackers so far advanced John had to use a stool to reach his advancing troops

The assault on the right flank begins - scaling ladders pushed up against the wall and a furious melee begins

More troops advance to support the right wing assault

The centre attack is losing steam and the battalia finally breaks under weight of fire

By now the left wing assault has begun - rather than force the walls I used the musketeers with their firepower to sweep the walls of its defenders

The left wing pike advance towards the now destroyed gate

Over on the right wing the Parliamentarian vavalry is coming off worse ion a firefight with the Royalist relief column  - but they are doing their job and stalling the advance. Can the city fall berfore this wing crumbles

More volleys from the attacking musketeers are reaping terrible wounds on the defenders despite the shelter of the stone walls

With the centre battalia now hiding in the fields its up to the right and left wings of the attack to press home

The gun batteries are now focussing their attention on the defenders tower mounted light guns

The breech on the left is plugged with a defending pike unit...

Reinforcements are rushed to wall expecting an imminent attack

The gates become a focus for defence

The Right Rebel wing is now over the wall and the troops are now running amok in the city

All that stands in front of them is large unit of clubmen - this is swiflty routed

Over on the Rebel Left I throw in a Pike Unit through the gate - routing the defending unit.His supports have a different view....

A frantic melee continue outside the castle walls - the relief column just cant get through

The Attacking pike gets crunched - big time and forced back from where he came

The Rebels continue to mop up along the Wall...its looking desparate for the Royalist supporters

A final volley from the left wing musketeers clears the ramparts of defenders allowing them to throw up their ladders and reach the parapets in safety...

Parliamentarian Pikes march towards the last gate intent on haring the loot and glory that awaits inside the city

The rebels now pour en masse into the city forcing the commander to surrender

A victory for the Parliament  but at what cost - casualties were horrendous. Virtually every unit had succumbed in some fashion.

A cracking game that lasted about 3 hours -

We'll visit the siege games again at some point in the future - thanks to all those that took part

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Napoleonic Project - part 6 - British Infantry Battalions

Good Afternoon All

As promised in my last two posts I am delighted to reveal the British Infantry Battalions - 12 in total. Of these I can lay claim to painting 11 of them in the past five weeks.

Part 5 can be found here

These are all based on Warbases movement trays - 4 men to a tray. Each man is based on a 25mm steel washer. The battalions are all 24 men strong (ie six bases) - the left and right trays are painted as the flank companies - grenadiers with white plumes and light companies with green plumes. Typically each of my battalions has two standard bearers, a drummer, a seargent major with Pike and an officer. In some of the units I have a sapper figure.

The figures a mix of Perry, Warlord and Victrix. They all work really well but if I had any complaint the Victrix heads are too small. The fact that these arrived already assembled meant I stuck with the heads attached otherwise I'd be inclined to have swapped them.

Most of the flags came from the box sets themselves.

Just to prove they are all painted a couple of big pictures

Interesting you can see 288 figures in this picture - when lined out in a two rank posiition this stretches to over 3 metres.

Given a regular battalion had anything from 600 to 1000 men that would make a small battalion stretch over 6 metres on the gaming table !

And onto the regiments themselves - don't worry I am not going to show everyone !

The Grenadier Guards (1st Regiment of Foot Guards)

The Royal Welsh Fusileers

£rd East Kent Regiment - The Buffs

29th Regiment of Foot (Worcestershire)

45th Regiment (Sherwood Forresters)

14th Regiment (East Essex)

95th Regiment (The Rifles)

The Gordon Highlanders

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Painting Tartan...urggh !

The Black Watch - These guys wore red plumes through out the regiment - as you can see the tartan is very feint

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So that's it on the British Infantry (for the moment) - There is still the Allied Portugal Brigade to paint and of course all those French Men.

For the moment I am turning my attention to the cavalry...More on this very soon