Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Battle of Lawford Heath, 1459

The day of battle dawns, and the two armies line up. The Yorkists have York himself in the Centre, his son the Earl of March on the left, and Salisbury on the right. Facing them are the Lancastrians with Buckingham heading the centre, while Exeter takes their right & Wiltshire the left. Wiltshire is an 'amateur' commander and also 'Timorous', so he's the likeliest to quit out if the going gets rough. Also, Buckingham has also prepared a feint to lure in the impulsive York - how will it all turn out? Let's see, through my pics of the game (which I've also added some handy name-markers to!)

The Setup (Yorkists in white lettering, Lancastrians in red.)

The battle begins! Initially promising to have the wind behind the Lancastrians, the Yorkists get a bonus when the wind direction suddenly shifts in the opening moments and removes the disadvantage they had been facing.

"To Arms! A York!"

York in pride of place, surrounded by retainers.

"Buckingham for the king!"

The king's lines, just before they 'run away' back up the slope. Crafty old Buckingham!

The advance underway. The Yorkists advance, and Buckingham's ruse works like a charm. York loses his head and orders all his men to rush on, throwing his central battle into disorder. Meanwhile, Exeter on the Lancastrian right decides to charge onward to strike Edward of March down in short order.

Charge! Buckingham's view from the hill as his right surges forward under Exeter. It duly strikes poor Edward full-force and nearly knocks his company to pieces. The Yorkists take heavy losses, including the Lord Clinton. The whole ward buckles back and comes within an ace of breaking, but the tireless and inspiring Edward (even though he's in his late teens) manages to just barely hold out and stalls Exeter just short of breaking through.

The centres grow close, with total disorder reigning in York's ranks. They are thrown into disorder by archery, lose out in exchanges, and can only advance at a slow, stuttering pace. Still, at least it's not going totally Lancaster's way - Confused old Wiltshire orders the Lancastrian left to advance slightly, but then can't manage to stop it. It keeps on drifting further and further forward, away from Buckingham's flank and towards Salisbury's ward opposite.

Full-contact along the lines as the armies grapple from one end to another

Wiltshire vs Salisbury. The pair lock together with much bloodshed. The Yorkist Baron Powys is killed in the scrum, and only Salisbury hastily throwing in the reserve holds it together. Wiltshire may be a fool, but his men know how to fight!

Disaster in the centre! York finally strikes Buckingham's lines and comes off worst. York is himself cut down in the struggle - the great rebel himself, dead on the field! At this, Wenlock's company cracks and runs, threatening a wholesale collapse. The Yorkist cause is in crisis, and the day hangs in the balance.

On the Yorkist left, March continues to hold out (doubtless unaware his dad has just died in the centre). This proves to be all that is required however, as reinforcements finally rush to the scene and fling themselves onto the flanks of Exeter's ward. At this, the exhausted Lancastrians crack and flee. Lord Audley is captured in the rout and taken prisoner, and Exeter himself is killed by the anonymous swords of the commoners in the chaotic rout. The whole Lancastrian right wing has collapsed!

Battle's end (Routers' names are in brackets)

This proves the crisis for the Lancastrian cause also, but while the Yorkists merely faltered a little, the Lancastrians go all to pieces. The faint-hearted Wiltshire suddenly remembers something he must attend to elsewhere, and the Lancastrian left wing begins to withdraw. Doubtless Buckingham in the centre is cursing his unreliable noble!

The routers and withdrawers back away, and the state of play becomes clear. Shrewsbury is killed in the rout, Lord Dudley dies, while Lord Wenlock gets captured by the Lancastrians. The Yorkists have seven hugely battered companies left to square up against just two of Lancastrians. It looks bad, and shortly as the two exhausted armies face off against each other, the withdrawing Wiltshire convinces the Lancastrians to quit the field. York surges on against them in pursuit. From despair to triumph! What a narrow and glorious victory for York! Pity he's dead, and all that...

The hero of the day, Edward Plantagenet, Earl of March


  1. Hi Craig,

    No wonder Buckingham was having a bad day, his flag is upside down! Is that a signal for help?

    I notice you put each company on a single stand. Do you still use the 3 figures per band or something else?

    Are the dice the courage markers?

    I have received my Old Glory WOTR figures (25mm), which I like and have used many times in the past. They are some of best figure OG has. I'm a slow painter, but I have gotten 4 stand of MAA completed. I have archers for 8 stands laid out for priming and painting.

    I am basing 3 figures on a 40mm square base. Works for me. And several other rule sets I have.

    I also received my box of Perry plastic WOTR figures. They are maybe a half a head taller than the OG figures. About the same bulk. They would actually mix with the OG in the same unit as long as the OG figures are standing up, not crouched. I'm saving the Perry figures for last in the painting queue.

    I am making two sets of flags for the lads. One historical WOTR and one medieval of my own design. I put the flags on thin aluminum tubing that slides over the brass wire I use for flag poles. It's easy to change flags, slide one off, slide one on.

    Now that you've played a couple of games, what do you think of the "A Coat of Steel" rules?

    I have read them several times and they are starting to make sense. Playing a game with them using figures is still some time off. This time around I am refusing to test the rules using cardboard counters. I like the look of the figures and flags. I have a couple of other rule sets on hand if I find ACOS doesn't fill the bill.

    Keep up the excellent reports. I appreciate the work involved.


  2. Hi Craig, again,

    I think I just realized what your basing scheme is. 1 figure per band instead of 3, all bands of one company on one movement base?

    For example, Ferrers has 660 men in his company, which is represented by 11 figures on one movement base. Seems to work just fine as the rules won't care one bit about what a band is made of. Also lets you fight really large battles with fewer figures and less space.

    A good idea.

    Care to give a little background or set me straight if I am wrong? Inquiring minds want to know.



  3. Hi Jim, thanks for the comments!

    It dawned on me around turn 2 that Buckingham's banner was the wrong way round, so although I reversed it (after much swearing) there was no way I was going back to re-stage the early battle-setup photos! Hence the way his banner switches about halfway through - I thought maybe nobody would notice, but you were too sharp! :-)

    Your own figure-buying plan sounds like it's progressing nicely! I am largely playing my games based on practical requirements, so for me figures are varying in use. Commonly I'm using:

    a) the conventional basing system for small battles,
    b) One base representing a 'contingent' in A Crown of Paper rather than a 'band', or
    c) One figure per band, rather than a base of 2 or 3 figures.

    I'm personally finding the c) option most satisfying for big battles, and it looks good on the table-space I have available!

    I find the ACoS rules very good, and they 'feel' better than the DBA/WMA-style ones that distinguish units by troop types rather than have mixed companies. My only complaint is the preparation time required (no off-the-cuff games with this set!) and the fiddly number of things you need to remember in combat - I'm currently working on a spreadsheet to automate a fair bit of it, but more of that later!