Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Battle of Holmewood, 1460

Following a speedy approach march, both sides found themselves slowed by an autumn downpour.  Much of the Lancastrian strength was off the field at first, and many commanders remote from their units - hurried orders to concentrate were sent out as soon as the approaching Yorkist army was detected.  Similarly on the other side, the muddy roads forced the attackers to press on and attack piecemeal.  They had an initial advantage in that they were seeking the battle and therefore were well provisioned with arrows, but each side would need to heavily reinforce the initial clash in order to win.

The initial armies - Lancastrians on the lower-left, outnumbered two-to-one by the oncoming Yorkists!

Rutland, commanding the Yorkist Main

Rutland's Ward was largely retinue - the levies being left behind on the approach-march

Salisbury in the Vaward - his ward is small from previous losses, but he's a hardy commander

The battle develops - Norfolk proves sluggish at bringing up the Yorkist Rear through the woods  in the foreground,  but Somerset - the Lancastrian Mainward - boldly strikes forward in the centre and begins showering the Yorkists with arrows.  In the Lancastrian rear, many more units swiftly begin to arrive.

Somerset's Retinue troops prove dangerous, showering the oncoming Yorkists with flights of arrows.  Rutland soon finds himself struggling as losses mount.

Somerset clearly feels on top form today!  Charging boldly at the stalled Rutland, he swiftly overthrows part of their line and sends it fleeing!

The situation develops - Lancastrians (left) continue to get reinforcements arriving - most particularly the Newcastle levies who come up through the village on the left of their line.  On the Yorkist side, Rutland sags before the onslaught, leaving Salisbury on his right exposed in a salient, while Norfolk on the left appears unable to even locate the battle, much less join it!

The wings both finally engage - Norfolk belatedly makes it into battle against the Scots mercenaries,  while Salisbury takes the risky move of attacking the Newcastle levies before they can clear the bottleneck of the village.  In the centre, Rutland has now been halted and is fighting a holding-action!

The battle in the centre, seen from the Lancastrian side.  Neither Salisbury or Norfolk can bring their force to fully bear on the flank, leaving poor Rutland to feel the full weight of Somerset's continuing pressure.

Finally, the battle in the village ends - Salisbury's desperate bid to hold off the whole Lancastrian Rearward with a part of his own command fails, as his captain is killed and the men rout!  Now he's got the Yorkist flank in the air, with thousands of Lancastrian troops bearing down on it.

Salisbury - if not pondering retreat, at least making sure a horse is close at hand!

Somerset's troops continue to batter Rutland's troops, now mowing down the late-arriving levies with longbow fire.

The large contingent of Scots, plus some surviving Percy troops, fight against Norfolk's men and press them hard.

A notable casualty!  As the Yorkists collapse, the Scottish commander - Earl Douglas - is cut down in the melee while Norfolk's men fall back.

Somerset victorious!  As morale collapses on the Yorkist side they take to their heels, leaving the Lancastrian army commander to bask in the glow of triumph!


  1. A nice and big game, seemed to play out like a real WOTR battle, confusing and gritty.

  2. Hi Craig,

    What rules did you use for this battle? I know you have used various rule set, ACOS, Hail Caesar, Warhammer, Home-grown. Have you settled on one set as your goto set?

    I ask because I am getting ready for a second go at WOTR!

    I like your unit size, 10 figs, and single basing with movement by sabots. I'm am aiming for something similar as it allows a lot of flexibility.


    Jim Wright

  3. Craig,

    After reading the previous post I assume this is the Bloody Barons battle you mentioned. One figure = one BB base?


  4. Hi Guys, thanks for the comments!

    Jim - the rules-set here was the first outing at using Peter Pig's "Bloody Barons" rules. It's a new one for me, so I shall be posting a review/first-impressions post on them shortly.

    Regarding basing, it is indeed very flexible having one-figure per base, although I am considering getting some Warbases movement-trays with the 'dimple' cut in them to hold each figure-base in position (they tend to slide a little too easy at present!) I did indeed wind up using one figure for one base and fielded 10-base units (BB uses 8-base units as standard, but I didn't notice any problem in making them a bit bigger.)

    Cheers, and thanks for the interest!

  5. Craig,

    Looking forward to the Bloody Barons write-up. I am still searching for those "perfect" WOTR rules. Don't know where I left them, but I'm sure they are out there. Somewhere.

    Thanks to your posts and pictures I broke down and bought my first lot of metal Perry WOTR knights in full plate. Nice figures. Got to clear a "Late Roman in Britain" army off the painting table, then back to WOTR!

    Keep up the good work. Your figures and battle reports keep my enthusiasm for WOTR going. Thanks.

    Happy Holidays,