Saturday, January 11, 2014

A field, somewhere in England, 1461

Some time ago, I mentioned that my Wars of the Roses campaign was heading towards a monster, everybody-fights-for-the-crown battle spectacular, which would definitely be deciding the fate of the Lancastrian and Yorkist houses.  This idea was first floated in - I am amazed to say - April of last year!  Over the summer I organised and gathered miniatures, then over autumn I painted them up.  Now, in winter, I have finally been able to resolve the great clash of arms.  

First, I thought that I should take a bit of time and explain what the thinking was behind me setting up the field.  I wanted to pick somewhere that was vaguely semi-plausible as a historic battlefield, and hopefully add in a little 'flavour' to the terrain.  

I knew from the campaign that the Lancastrians were marching from London to attack the Yorkists massing at Gloucester.  I searched maps along the rough route of the land where they might have met, and wound up selecting - basically at random - an area slightly to the north of Cirencester.  Partly it was from 'old fashioned' roads in the area such as the Fosse Way, and partly it was because of a nearby small river (I had river sections of terrain I wanted to use!)  I settled on an area close to a tiny village called Baunton, just east of the river Churn.  

The pic above is from Google Maps, of course.
After looking around a little, and checking old historical WOTR battle maps on wikipedia, I reasoned that I had a good notion on an approximate realistic 'size' of battlefield.  Here's the rough sketch, with the proposed wards in place for 'The Battle of Baunton', very roughly to scale:

It assumes, as per the scenario setup, that the Lancastrians have marched west and the York army has adopted a defensive position from which to fight, and where Henry VI's army cannot simply bypass them.  I then sketched up a rough notion of the significant battlefield terrain:

The Yorkists are on gently rising farmland, with the River Churn protecting their right flank and a roughly-wooded and steep-banked area, called Wiggold Covert, protecting their left.  To their front are the odd isolated clump of trees, perfect for breaking up the formations of any attacking army.  The trees, and indeed most of the terrain, is straight off a modern map and therefore probably has only the lightest resemblance to how it would have been historically, of course - what we're after here is inspiration, not an accuracy which is probably impossible anyway!  Here it is, done up with a bit of colouring-in:

And when realised on the tabletop, it looks like this!

Viewed from the north-west, so the Yorkist table-edge is on the left and the Lancastrian edge is on the right
Also, I have added in captains for all the units.  I actually managed to do them all historically, with appropriate 'real' people - I only had to add in three fictional ones, which were for the Burgundian mercenary pikemen (I used an online medieval German name-generator) and one captain for some mercenary spearmen who I named after a friend of mine that stays up near Dingwall - so I named him Lord Walldingham, to give him something suitably Anglicized.  

That's it: nothing left for it now but to heat up some dice, get on the tabletop and have ourselves a game!


  1. Fantastic! I love your analysis of the terrain and turning that into a tabletop battlefield.
    I look forward to seeing which way the Crown falls in the Battle of Baunton!