1/. It is small enough to game in a single meeting.
2/. It is a cavalry fight. Something that happened an awful lot in the ECW but such battles are not gamed that often. This seems to be largely because Joe Wargamer "hates painting horses" - though my sample is not scientific if I had a quid for every time I'd heard that I would not need to sell soldiers for a living. Personally I don't get it . With the possible exception of medieval housed horses that need heraldry,h orses are easier than the riders so I've never understood what all the anti-cavalry fuss is about.
In order to re-fight Winceby I needed almost all the ECW cavalry I own - without including the 30 or so Cuirassiers or 20 mounted Dragooners. This even though the battle had less than 4000 combatants in total ended up being 200 plus mounted figures plus a mere 30 dismounted dragoons (I do not consider that my ECW forces have anything like enough Horse. I need to almost double it).
For the game forces were almost even with each side haveing around 100 cavalry . The Royalists having a tiny numerical edge with 20 dragoons in 2 units as against the single 10 man roundhead unit.
|The table at the beginning of the game. Royalists at the top of the picture. Rounhead first line under Cromwell in the foregground. Roundhead second line on the bottom edge.|
The Royalists had 3 commands as against the Roundheads 2 but since the Roundheads in question were Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell the the Royalist had a job on.. With 5 players plus myself as Umpire the stage was set for an interesting afternoons game based firmly on the historical precedent. Terrain was of the simplist being merely 2 low ridges- actually wooden blocks beneath the cloth and a few hedges on the roundhead right- which should have been on the left !!! Not that it made any difference.
Our groups decided some time ago that although we have terrain boards for our public demos for these pub games simplicity and portability are more often the norm.
Rules used were Forlorn Hope- still the best ECW set I have found despite the very pretty but possibly a bit generic Pike and Shotte (though I have not yet seen the new ECW supplement) and the rather odd but not uninteresting "To defy a King". Such lightweight fluff as Pikemans Lament need not detain our thought processes. So Forlorn Hope it would be.
|Royalist Horse advance slowly .|
The Royalists got off to a bright start advancing their dragoons and sorting out the roundhead dragoons in the hedges in pretty short order. The Parliamentarians advanced their whole first line under Cromwell cautiously in response. Instead of following up their initial success the Cavaliers stood and waited for a couple of turns .... So did the Roundheads - although the Cavaliers did extend their second line to to their right a little in an effort to stop the possibility of a Parliamentarian outflanking move in that direction.
At last after an awful lot of fiddling about both sides front lines clashed. The charges all being initiated by the Cavaliers. The ensuing melee was long and - to begin with- largely bloodless owing to the huge number of totally bum dice thrown by both sides indeed at one point the Umpire waxed somewhat Churchillian
"Never in the field of tabletop conflict have so many bum dice been thrown so many times by so few"
|Another view of the Cavaliers|
Eventually the Cavaliers routed one of Cromwell squadrons but in turn their centre was routed and other squadrons pushed back. Now appeared a spectre. In the hope of a quick victory the Cavaliers had pushed part of their reserve- including its commander into the front line. This error had consequences. In the melee Saville could not leave his troops to summon up his reserves so they simply stood about without orders while on the other flank Fairfax - after a couple of false starts- bum dice again- was set fair to cross the hedge and outflank the hard pressed Cavaliers. So it was all over bar the shouting. The Cavaliers conceding the game at this point.
|Cromwells division moves forward.|
Figure were all from my ECW collections being about 60% Old Glory 25mm and the rest Hincliffe from my shiny retro collection . As always our thanks go to Landlady Jean for excellent Beef Butties and chips and sundry pints of Consett Brewey's White Hot- an excellent session beer. Though it was rumoured that some of the Cavaliers were seen imbibing of strange bottle beverage called "cider" no wonder they lost .
|The melee gets a bit intense. Cromwell getting stuck in.|
|All over bar the shouting. The Cavaliers conced at this point as their Flank will be turned.|