Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thoroton Aftermath

Before hastening south to continue the 'Wars of the Roses' clash of arms, it's worth having a quick review of the results in the last scrap at Thoroton. I've mentioned before about my great advocacy of using a board game for campaigns then resolving battles as tabletop games, so here's a little example of how I handle converting from one to the other.

Both sides went into Thoroton with a strength of 13cv's (where cv in the 'Richard III' game stands for 'combat value') which I happen to broadly take as about a thousand men each. On the tabletop, I placed out about 82 or 84 figures per side with my rather arbitrary efforts to field an 'A Coat of Steel' scenario, or almost exactly equal strength (each model being about 80-ish men.)
The outcome of the battle and ensuing rout was the loss of 12 out of 84 for the Yorkists and 34 out of 82 for the Lancastrians - put another way, a loss rate of 15% and 40% respectively.

Going by the percentages, the 13cv of the Yorkist army should be reduced to 11cv, with losses falling primarily among the Norwich Levies and Norfolk's personal retinue. These were both the largest counters/blocks in the game, so that seems entirely right.

The Lancastrian losses are a bit more awkward to assess, not least because Northumberland's command was wrecked and the man himself killed, but also Somerset completely missed the fighting - thus giving them 100% and 0% losses respectively.

Going by the global loss of 40% however, we can see the need to remove 5cv in total, leaving a remainder of 8cv (ouch!) With Northumberland's 4cv block removed, that just leaves 1cv more to come off, and we can apply that to the Newcastle Levies to reflect their shambolic and half-hearted efforts on the day.

The end results for casualties then are 4000 dead on the field itself (1000 Yorkists, 3000 Lancastrian) plus a further 3000 lost in the rout and pursuit (1000 Yorkist, 2000 Lancastrian.) This seems about right, proportionally.
It's up to personal opinion whether Somerset was lucky/unlucky to avoid getting swallowed up in this disaster, largely depending on whether you feel his presence would've changed the outcome, or if he simply would've swelled the casualty lists. As it is however, the fact he survived unscathed means the Northern rebellion is still a going concern for the Yorkist regime with 8000 men in the field and the potential for many more reinforcements to come, against
11000 Yorkists who are already urgently needed elsewhere.

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