Monday, May 24, 2010

The Battle of Lutterworth, 1455

The initial deployment

Battle Plans
The Lancastrian centre is supported by hedgerows, plus Buckingham, as an old soldier, has a Feint planned to draw on the impetuous York. The rest of the army is to sit tight and fire arrows on the enemy.
York's plan is to advance and pin with his centre and left, then outflank on the right with Warwick and roll up the line. All morning the two armies remain drawn up for action, with heralds passing back and forward between York and the king, with the former demanding that Somerset be handed over and the latter refusing. Eventually despairing of any kind of peaceful settlement, York orders the attack.

Hosts arrayed - Yorkists on left, with Warwick's outflanking ward closest

Warwick himself, with his boys!

Buckingham in the Lancastrian Centre, behind their hedge-line

Turn 1
Yorkist advance begins. Somerset (in the Lancastrian vaward) shakes off his Lethargy, which is pretty handy!

Turn 2
Flights of arrows begin descending on the Yorkists as they advance. No losses, but some courage loss in one of York’s Captains. (Good job all the troops are reliable retainers, with no arrayed locals getting involved.)

Turn 3
Yorkist Rearward (Salisbury) halts and fires back. Salisbury loses a bit of courage through happenstance (a 'Gloomy Captain' in the ranks!) but his return fire is much heavier, Galling Somerset’s troops with heavy casualties.
Turn 4
Salisbury uses his ‘Energetic’ quality to recommence his ward's advance after firing. Northumberland fires on March’s troops, as the Yorkist centre overlaps onto the Lancastrian Rearward. Warwick out on the flank stops and fires flights of arrows himself, which hit Pembroke hard on the Lancastrian flank with Galling fire. Northumberland uses his ‘Inspiring’ style to hold up their morale, hoping to keep the flank in play long enough for the centre to repel York.

Turn 5
Buckingham pulls back the Lancastrian centre in a feint to draw on York, but as he does so the Lancastrian army runs low on arrows. Unable to fire back or sit tight to be battered by the Yorkist return-fire, the whole ruse of Buckingham's is rather undermined as while the centre pretends to retreat, both flanking wards rush forward. This seems to be the reason anyway for failure, as York manages to hold off the impulse to advance pell-mell and keeps an ordered advance. Damn! Warwick fires more flights of arrows and Pembroke, badly outnumbered and taking losses, routs off the field. Retainers of York's son Edward (including the 13-year old presumably safely to the rear ranks) charge into Northumberland's troops and press them, but the Percy retainers gather round their standards hoping to buy time for the centre.

The Lancastrian Feint in the centre, as the hedge-row is 'abandoned'

Turn 6
Salisbury stops at short range and fires a 'sharp archery' sheaf into the faces of the enemy ward – his old soldiering experience comes in handy! Somerset's company routs from the losses and the uncommitted Devon takes over the Lancastrian vaward, which falters under the incoming fire and comes to a halt in its advance. March repulses Northumberland on the other side of the line. The Yorkist centre collides with the enemy Main at the hedge-line as the Lancastrians advance back from their feint to catch the Yorkists mid-crossing. While battling over and through this obstacle, Lord Clifford bests a Yorkist company. Similarly successful, Buckingham manages to repulse York and his troops press on against them, crossing the hedge as they advance but losing the advantage of the terrain.

Both sides locked, York on the left and Buckingham/Clifford on the right

Turn 7
Is Buckingham wise to emerge from behind cover? Divine approval quickly arrives (as 'A Celestial Omen' happenstance appears) and the sun parts the clouds dramatically just as they advance. This encourages the Lancastrian centre as they press on, although there's fighting all along the line now. All battles through the Yorkist right and centre continue, plus the new one to the left as Salisbury charges home against Devon (narrowly winning the fight at first, thanks to an unseen ditch thwarting his advance. Damn this farming countryside!) All fights result in protracted battles. In the Lancastrian Vaward Lord Egremont is wounded in the fray (which is the worst place to be wounded!)

The battle in full-swing.

Turn 8
Warwick's rapid flanking move peters out, but he uses his 'energetic' style to encourage a regular advance. He strikes Northumberland's flank but the Yorkists are thwarted as he plays 'Stand off, Apace' and the attackers can't break through. Clifford's fine defence in the centre is belaboured and he routs when March's reserve company finally manages to rush up and join the Yorkist troops already engaged with him, when simple numbers rout the Lancastrians. Lord Clifford himself is swept up and taken prisoner in the retreat. Buckingham had been pushing York back but is now becoming dangerously isolated. Salisbury's battle proved a protracted and bloody one, with Devon being wounded and the injured Lord Egremont being killed.

Warwick's crushing flanking move goes in - "Percy, I'm coming for you!"

Turn 9
The Lancastrians are breaking up but still have each ward in existence, and they issue withdraw orders to each. However Northumberland's surrounded and outnumbered ward is unable to get cleanly away from the enemy flankers on each side, and flies apart under the strain. Warwick gets wounded lightly in the struggle with his hated enemy, but the Yorkist captain assigned to watch over the youthful March is killed – as is Northumberland. Looks like the score is settled! York disengages with the still-numerous enemy centre, and Salisbury has one last fight with Devon's men who get away intact, but with Devon killed in the closing battles.

The end result: A Yorkist victory!

The field, with the Lancastrians broken up into isolated pockets of fast-withdrawing survivors.


  1. I'm following your WOTR project with interest. I've just downloaded the Perfect Captain's rules too.

    What size table are you fighting your battles on?


  2. Hi Jim,

    I used to game in the loft, but thanks to my ill-advised plan to 'rearrange' everything up there I've managed to create an unworkable mess for myself! As a result I'm forced down to my little 4-seater dining room table, which happens to be 2.5ft x 4.5ft. It should probably be a little bigger, but does the job nicely!

    Cheers, and good luck with your own Perfect Captain games!