The Battle of Durazzo – 18th October 1081   Leave a comment

Robert Guiscard by Merry-Joseph Blondel

“Hic terror mundi Guiscardis”

Reads the epitaph on the tomb of Robert Guiscard, translating as “Here lies Guiscard, terror of the World”

Guiscard had gone to southern Italy as the sixth son of Tancred of Hauteville, a minor noble within the homeland of Normandy. Robert and decided to seek his fame and fortune in Italy, the country that news kept flowing back to northern France about as a land of opportunity for those who liked a fight. He followed his two eldest bothers, William Iron Arm and Drogo, allegedly arriving in Italy with a following of just five mounted knights and thirty foot soldiers. For some time his band roamed southern Italy, giving military service to several local Dukes and Lords, including his brother Drogo. In true mercenary fashion he switched sides depending who shook the heaviest purse in his direction, but almost always provided victory for those who could afford it.

His reputation elevated, he found through a series of deaths and conquests that he became the Duke of Apulia and Calabria, before he and his brother, Roger, set their sights on conquering Sicily. The full conquest of Sicily took some time, as well as costing the life of Roger, but having established himself as Duke of Sicily, and having fought and defeated the Byzantines several times on the Italian mainland, Robert set his next ambition as invading the Byzantine Empire, using the excuse of assisting a disrespected clergyman to invade.

He took with him his son, Bohemond and the Count of Ami, as his sub-commanders and invaded by sea, landing in modern day Albania with an army of around 20,000 men including a quantity of the feared Norman knights. Facing him was the Byzantine Emperor, Alexius I.

The Byzantines had suffered a major defeat ten years earlier at Manzikert against the advancing Muslim forces, but despite huge losses Alexius had as a new Emperor, managed to assemble an army of a formidable size (22-25,000) which included an elite unit of Varangian Guard. These feared warriors armed with deadly two handed axes were largely made up of exiled Anglo-Saxon veterans who had escaped England after Hastings and were more than happy to have a rematch against the Normans.

After landing his ships, Robert Guiscard, now aged in his mid 60.s but still very fighting fit, ordered the fleet torched; giving his men a simple message – victory or death.

 

Suggested initial set-up for The Battle of Durazzo 1081

NOTE – Responding to feedback from followers, most prefer for us to now suggest “base numbers” rather than individual figure numbers; so along the lines of the current most popular rules Mortem et Gloriam and L’Art de la Guerre, we list numbers of troops by suggested bases.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

BYZANTINE ARMY

Left to right as per map above

Melissenous – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Skirmishers – 2 bases – light infantry, experienced, javelin

Turco Light Cavalry – 4 bases – open order cavalry, experienced, mercenary, bow

Kavallarioi – 2 bases – heavy close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, lance, shield,

Kontaroi Archers* – 2 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, bow

Kontaroi Spearmen* – 3 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, spear, shield

* these can be played as one large unit of mixed troops if your rules allow.

Alexios I – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, experienced, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

Armenian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, medium armour, spear, shield

Varangian Guard – 3 bases – Close order heavy infantry, veteran, experienced, elite morale, heavy armour, 2 handed axes

Vestiaritai Guard Cavalry – 1 base – Close order super heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced elite, barded horses, armoured riders, lance

Archers – 2 bases – Open order skirmish infantry, experienced, levies, no armour, bow

Manicheans – 6 bases – Medium infantry, veteran, experienced, impetuous, swordsmen, spear, shield

Pakourianos – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Tourkopouloi Cavalry – 4 bases – Light Cavalry, veteran, experienced, bow or javelins

Latin Allied Knights – 1 base – Heavy Cavalry, veteran, experienced, mercenary, armoured rider, lance, shield

Kavallarioi – 2 bases – heavy close order cavalry, veteran, experienced, lance, shield,

Kontaroi Archers* – 2 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, bow

Kontaroi Spearmen* – 3 bases – close order infantry, medium armour, poor morale, spear, shield

* these can be played as one large unit of mixed troops if your rules allow.

Skirmishers – 2 bases – Open order, light infantry, veteran, experienced, no armour, javelins

NORMAN ARMY

Left to right as per map

Bohemund – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

Norman Light Cavalry – 3 bases – Open order cavalry, veteran, experienced, minimum armour, javelins, shield

Milites Knights – 3 bases – Close order heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced, impetuous, armoured rider, lance, shield

Sicilian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Norman Spearmen – 2 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, elite, medium armour, spear, shield, “shieldwall” capable

Robert Guiscard – Commander-in-Chief – Veteran, experienced, excellent tactician, inspirational leader, ferocious warrior

Norman Light Cavalry – 3 bases – Open order cavalry, veteran, experienced, minimum armour, javelins, shield

Milites Knights – 3 bases – Close order heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced, impetuous, armoured rider, lance, shield

Saracen Archers – 4 bases – Open order light infantry, veteran, experienced, mercenary, bow

Sicilian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Sicilian Crossbowmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, crossbow

Count Ami – Sub-Commander – Veteran, experienced, respected leader

Italian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Italian Knights – 2 bases – Close order heavy cavalry, veteran, experienced, armoured rider, lance, shield

Italian Spearmen – 6 bases – Close order infantry, veteran, experienced, levies, light armour, spear, shield

Italian Archers – 4 bases – Open order light infantry, veteran, experienced, no armour, bow

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

 

Varangian Guard of the period of Durazzo

The battle began with an an advance by the feared Varangian Guard. Guiscard tried to slow their approach by making several feint charges with his cavalry, but each time his men were forced back by Byzantine archers. As the Varangians got half way across the battlefield, the Count Ami launched a cavalry and infantry charge, swinging left to try and hit the Varangians in the side, but as his men struck their target the Byzantine left flank under the command of Pakourianos launched their own charge into the flank of the Italians, who were now at right angles to them. The Italians were routed, and made a hasty retreat off the battlefield towards the shoreline, presumably hoping to find some of their ships that were still seaworthy. As they fled, the Byzantine left wing chased after them in pursuit, which greatly depleted Byzantine numbers, and left the Varangian left flank completely exposed.

Seeing an opportunity, Guiscard ordered a full assault by all of his army, his knights and crossbowmen targeting the Varangians especially. On the Byzantine right wing, Bohemund,s men launched forward and a fierce battle ensued, before the Normans finally broke the Byzantine resolve and the army began to melt away. Alexios was almost killed when struck on the head by a Norman knight’s sword blow, his personal bodyguard, the Vestiartai surged around him, forcing back the Normans long enough to rescue their Emperor and escort him from the field, bleeding and virtually unconscious.

Bohemund’s Norman knights shatter the Byzantine cavalry

Down at the shoreline, the Italians were rallied by Guiscrad’s wife, Sichelgaita, wearing full armour and having been riding with her husband and his knights. A true warrior queen !

On the main battlefield it was only the Varangian Guard who now still stood their ground for the Byzantines. Their warriors were taking heavy casualties, mainly from crossbow fire which could not respond to. They decided to pull back in formation to the Church of St. Nicholas which was at the back of the Byzantine’s original position. Here they made a gallant last stand, refusing to surrender with the last few survivors seeking refuge inside the church building. Finally the Normans set fire to the church and the last of the Varangian Guard were burnt to their death,

Guiscard stopped his men from pursuing the Byzantines, instead they gratified themselves by looting the Emperor’s camp which had been simply abandoned in the haste to escape to safety. He spent the next few weeks consolidating his position immediately around Durazzo and made winter quarters there in preparation for a Spring campaign deeper into the Byzantine Balkans.

WARGAMING DURAZZO

This is a brilliant battle to re-fight. With lots of different troop types on both sides and despite the actual historical outcome, it is a battle between two fairly evenly matched armies that could produce an outcome either way.

Depending on your scale preference there are lots of figures available.

For 28mm fans, Gripping Beast make some great Byzantines and their Early Crusader range is perfect for the forces of Robert Guiscard. The new plastic range of Normans by Victrix are also ones to consider in your ranks, with beautiful animation and detail.

Victrix Normans

For 15mm we would obviously suggest our two “home brands”, Splintered Light Miniatures for the Normans and Lurkio for the Byzantines.

Splintered Light Normans

For smaller scales, then look at Pendraken 10mm. Although they don’t currently produce a Byzantine range, with careful buying from their Late Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman and Arab ranges, a suitable Byzantine force can certainly be put together.

You don’t even have to use figures to re-fight the battle, with the French game manufacturer, Historic.One recently launching the second edition of their game GUISCARD, which allows to you re-fight Robert’s battles across Sicily, Italy and the Balkans. You will find that in our online store too.

Finally, for those who wold just like to learn more about the period, we have several excellent books available in our Book Shop specifically about the Normans in Italy, Sicily and beyond.

Click on our Book Shop tab at the top to see our full selection, and all our books include FREE UK P&P.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Medieval

The Battle of Taginae – July 552AD   Leave a comment

Byzantine Emperor Justinian I

Justinian I, later known as Justinian the Great, had ideas and plans throughout his extremely long reign to capture territory in what had been the Western Roman Empire and to recreate the glory of Rome as it had been.

In the mid 6th century he decided on a campaign to try and retake the Italian peninsular, the centre of the old empire, and with this in mind he assembled an army some 25,000 men strong to invade Italy and remove the Ostrogoths who had settled there and established their own Kingdom of Italy fifty years earlier. As was typical of Byzantine armies of the time, as it had been in the late Roman era, the army was bulked up with large numbers of foreign allied troops, in this case Lombards, Huns, Heruls and Gepids. Command of this mixing pot of soldiers was given to the Empire’s Imperial Chancellor, the Armenian eunuch called Narses, who after assembling his forces in modern day Croatia, opted to march them north and around the land route into northern Italy before then turning to march directly on Rome.

Defending the Kingdom of Italy was Ostrogoth King Totila. He was veteran of fighting the Byzantines and had defeated a previous attempt to invade Italy by Justinian, even though he had been greatly outnumbered. This time he had the same problem; his main army numbered only 12,000 as he marched north to intercept the invaders, but he hoped that an extra 2,000 cavalry would meet up with him before he had to do battle.

The two armies met on the morning of July 1st on the great plain west of Taino near a small village called Taginae, and before Totila’s reinforcements had arrived. As the two armies deployed Totila could see he was vastly outnumbered and decided to play for time. He started by sending an envoy to supposedly discuss terms with Narses, but Narses knew this was a ploy, after-all Totila had not responded to any previous requests by the Byzantines to have talks before the invasion and had even now deployed for battle, so the envoy was sent back to his army without discussions. Totila’s next ploy was to send out a “champion” from his ranks and request a one to one contest. A soldier volunteered from the Byzantine ranks and the two rode out to meet each other, as the huge Goth warrior charged for the kill, it was recorded the smaller, lighter armed Byzantine was able to turn his horse at the last minute and sidestep the Goth before thrusting his own spear into his body and killing him, with huge cheers coming from the Byzantine ranks. Still not deterred, Totila put on a suit of ceremonial armour, covered in gold and decorated with purple cloth and feathers (the colour of Emperors), he rode out onto the plain and began by all accounts, give a display of his horsemanship, performing jumps and rearing up, while at the same time throwing his spear up into the air and catching it like a cheerleader’s baton. He did this for some time, while making sure he kept out of archery range from his enemy, then when seeing a signal from his officers that the reinforcements were arriving he rejoined his army and changed to less conspicuous armour so not be picked out in battle. It was now around midday and the two armies prepared for battle.

 

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Taginae

ORDERS OF BATTLE

BYZANTINE ARMY

Narses – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, skilled tactician, respected leader

Right Flank

Dismounted Horse Archers (4,000 men) 4 to 6 bases – Medium Infantry, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow with stake to front

Hun Cavalry (1,000 men) 2-3 bases – Light Cavalry, open order, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow

Centre

Dismounted Allied Cavalry (Lombards, Gepids, Heruli) (10,000 men) 10-14 bases – Heavy Infantry, close order, experienced, veteran, spears, swordsmen, shields.

Left Flank

Dismounted Horse Archers (4,000 men) 4 to 6 bases – Medium Infantry, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow with stake to front

Lombard Cavalry (1,000 men) 2-3 bases – Medium Cavalry, experienced, veteran, spear, shield.

Extreme Left Flank

Dismounted Horse Archers (1,500 men) 2 to 3 bases – Medium Infantry, experienced, veteran, good shots, bow

Kavallaroi (1,000 men) 2-3 bases – Medium Cavalry, experienced, veteran, bow.

OSTROGOTH ARMY

King Totila – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

Front Rank

Medium Cavalry (1,200 men) 3-4 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Heavy Cavalry (1,200 men) 3 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Heavy Cavalry Totila’s Guard (1,200 men) 3 bases – Experienced, veteran, elite, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Heavy Cavalry (1,200 men) 3 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Medium Cavalry (1,200 men) 3-4 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

Rear Rank

Goth Warriors (8,000 men) 8-10 bases – Experienced, veteran, impetuous warriors, spear, swordsmen, shield

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Totila, reinforced, but still outnumbered had limited options. He had attempted to capture the high ground to his right as he first arrived on the plain but had beaten to it by the Byzantines.

He had beaten the Byzantines before against these odds, so must have felt there was a good fighting chance of success. He opted fr a full force and full frontal cavalry charge, hoping to punch a hole through the Byzantine infantry which were notoriously the weakest element of their army, but he was ignorant to the fact that the Byzantine “infantry” were in fact predominantly dismounted warrior and noble cavalry, with much better fighting skills and morale.

To inspire his men, Totila took up position in the centre unit with his personal guard and the army’s champion warriors. He ordered his men to only fight with the lance and probably in true Gothic fighting style they moved forward with their lances at shoulder height, their heads down and their shields held high over them. Starting a trot to cantor they gradually crossed the plain and launched into a full speed galloping charge. At this point the Byzantine archers opened fire, their position allowing them to shoot into the flanks of the charging Goths. Totila’s men began falling in significant numbers but still they pressed on, but when they reached the “infantry” they found a solid wall of shields bristling with spears that their horses refused to ride into. Despite this, the Goth lances were longer and Totila’s men jabbed at any gap they could find or make in the wall, while in response the Byzantine’s tried to jab at the horses and men as they whirled around in front of them.

The Goths tried several times to pull back slightly to regroup and recharge, but as once they stayed too far from the Byzantine infantry they would come under a renewed barrage of arrows from the flanks. It was approaching dusk when during one of these regrouping manoeuvres that Totila was struck by an arrow not fatally, but certainly seriously, to the extent that a bodyguard of men had to escort him to the rear. Rumours rapidly spread through the ranks, some that he was wounded and others that he was dead. He was lucid enough to order his infantry forward to finish off the job of breaking the centre, but at around the same time the cavalry decided that the rumours were worth retreating for and turned to flee.

Goth and Byzantine cavalry clash at Taginae

The sight of the fleeing cavalry approaching persuaded the Goth infantry to stop their advance and retreat as well. It was also a green light for the Byzantine army to make a full assault in pursuit, with all their mounted units charging forward to engage the fleeing soldiers.

As always in these cases, it was in the rout that the greatest casualties occurred, and over 6,000 Goths were killed, including at some point King Totila himself.

Narses advanced and took Rome with little resistance, although a successor to Totila emerged, Teia, the Ostrogoths suffered another and final defeat at the Battle of Mons Lactarius later that year. The Byzantines would establish some control over Italy again which they held, in part for nearly another 600 years, and the Lombards would also carve out their own domain in the country; the destruction of both these holdings within Italy would come to an end thanks to the request for military assistance and the employment of mercenaries who then decided “why fight for others, when we can fight and make our own kingdom” – the Normans.

WARGAMING NOTES

This battlefield is extremely easy to recreate with a virtually flat plain with the exception of a one hill on the flank (see map).

Figures wise, we would say unless you are a 28mm fan with the resources to kit out the forces then we would suggest 15mm. The Plastic Soldier Company make and excellent range of plastic Goths, which can be found in our online store https://www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk/product-page/15mm-goth-army-pack-mortem-et-gloriam or can be purchased directly from The Plastic Soldier Company. For the Byzantines, we would recommend the Early Byzantine range from Lurkio Miniatures at http://lurkio.co.uk/lurk10live/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=146_79

Rules are always a personal choice, but Mortem Et Gloriam or L’Art De La Guerre seem the most popular two rule sets right now for bigger and fast play battles.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in The Dark Ages

The Battle of Lapua – 14th July 1808   Leave a comment

Alexander I of Russia

The Battle of Lupua was fought during The Finnish War, a war fought within the greater conflict of The Napoleonic Wars between Russia and Sweden.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Tilsit which brought peace between France and Russia, Alexander was obliged to join The Continental System, Napoleon’s blockade and military aggression towards Great Britain. Consequently, Russia and Britain went to to war in 1807. Considering the locations of both these two nations, it was apparent that any military action would be limited to naval engagements which prompted Russia to ask Sweden to ensure the Baltic sea channel was closed to British shipping. King Gustav of Sweden was slow to reply; he detested the French and was secretly making an alliance with Britain in hope of support against his archenemy, Denmark.

Gustav IV Adolf King of Sweden

Russia and Sweden had a long standing rivalry from previous wars and Alexander seized the opportunity to declare war on Gustav on the basis he was not following the Tilsit treaty and could not be trusted. In reality Alexander saw the opportunity to take “Finland” and by doing so, push the Swedish army hundreds of miles back away from its current close proximity to his capital, Saint Petersburg.

On February 21st 1808 the Russian army crossed the border into southern Finland and hostilities began. Sweden was in an awkward position, as it also feared an attack from Denmark, meaning it had to spread its army to potentially defend both fronts. Over the next few months Russia made advances north and west, capturing the lower half of Finland until the summer when Swedish counter attacks put the Russians, for a while, on the defensive. One of the first of these counter-attacks came on the 14th July 1808 near the small town of Lapua in western Finland.

Swedish Major-General Count Carl Johan Adlercreutz with an army made up largely of Finnish regiments numbering 4,700 men and 18 cannon, marched south to attack a hastily fortified position held by a 4,000 strong Russian force led by Major-General Nikolay Rajevski. After initial exchanges of musketry by skirmishers on both sides, the main Swedish army began to emerge from the heavily wooded approach road around 4pm and it immediately began to deploy for an attack.

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of Lapua – 14th July 1808

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a man/figure ratio of 20:1

Russian Army

Maj.General Rajevski – Commander-in Chief – Experienced, veteran, hesitant, respected leader

5th Brigade

23rd Jaeger Regiment (440 men) – 22 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Kaluga Infantry Regiment (480 men) -24 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Artillery battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 3lb cannon

14th Brigade

2 x Battalions of the Petrov Infantry Regiment (2 x 480 men) 2 x 24 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Kaluga Infantry Regiment [one company] (120) – 6 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Artillery battery (5 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

21st Brigade

2 x Battalions of the Veliki Infantry Regiment (2 x 480 men) 2 x 24 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

2 x Battalions of the 26th Jaeger Regiment (1 x 480 men, 1 x 240 men ) 1 x 24 figures, 1 x 12 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Artillery battery (5 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

Artillery battery (3 guns) – 1model – experienced, trained, 3lb cannon

Artillery battery (3 guns) – 1model – experienced, trained, howitzer

Cavalry Units

Cossacks (40 men) – 2 figures – light horse, open order, veteran, elite, lance, carbine, pistols, sabre

Grodno Hussars (2 x 80 men) 2 x 4 figures – light horse, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

Swedish Army

Maj.General Adlercreutz – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, poor tactician, respected leader

2nd Brigade

Pori Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (440 men) 22 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Pori Infantry Regiment 2nd battalion (380 men) 19 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Pori Infantry Regiment 3rd battalion (380 men) 19 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

5th Finnish Artillery – (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

4th Brigade

Savo Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (240 men) 12 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Savo Infantry Regiment 2nd battalion (240 men) 12 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Savo Infantry Regiment 3rd battalion (240 men) 12 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

2 x Battalions of the Savo Jaeger Regiment (2 x 160 men) 2 x 8 figures, – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Karelian Jaegers (240 men) – 12 figures – experienced, well trained, excellent morale, musket

Karelian Dragoons (80 men) – 4 figures – heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

Savo Artillery (8 guns) – 3 models – experienced, good morale, 1 x 3lb, 1 x 6lb, 1 x howitzer

ARRIVING IN MARCH COLUMN FROM ROAD TOP RIGHT

3rd Brigade

Hame Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (320 men) – 16 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Hame Infantry Regiment 2nd battalion (220 men) – 11 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Hame Infantry Regiment Jaeger battalion (380 men) – 19 figures – experienced, elite, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Infantry Regiment 1st battalion (220 men) – 11 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Infantry Regiment Jaeger battalion (160 men) – 8 figures – experienced, elite, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Dragoons (80 men) – 4 figures – heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

2nd Finnish Artillery – (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, trained, 6lb cannon

1st Brigade

Turku Infantry Regiment – (380 men) – 19 figures – experienced, well trained, good morale, musket

Uusimaa Dragoons (80 men) – 4 figures – heavy cavalry, veteran, elite, carbine, pistols, sabre

1st Finnish Artillery – (3 guns) – 1 model – experienced, trained, 3lb cannon

Russian skirmishers engage the advancing Swedes through the woods

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As Adlercreutz’s army emerged from their advance along the approaching road, he deployed them immediately choosing to attack south against the main Russian defences, maybe missing an opportunity to thrust straight ahead at the Russian left flank and outflank the main force which sat behind hastily constructed barricades of logs and ditches.

He did however send the 2nd Brigade to face the left flank, but then ordered them to halt their advance until the 4th Brigade could deploy to their left to give them support, the result was the 2nd Brigade took quite heavy casualties from Russian artillery and Jaegers while awaiting the order to advance again.

The Swedish 4th Brigade also faced heavy fire, but they did manage to cause some chaos in the Russian ranks when their artillery fire managed to set the hamlet in the Russian lines on fire. Russian wounded had been placed in the buildings and number burnt to death before they could be rescued.

Meanwhile, on the left, the Swedish 2nd Brigade couldn’t stand waiting and taking casualties any longer and without waiting for orders they launched a charge against the Russian defenders in front of them. Traversing the makeshift barricades, they went in at the bayonet and overwhelmed the defenders sending them running and leaving the Russian left flank exposed.

The Pori infantry regiment had distinguished itself, but was now quite exhausted from casualties under fire and then hand to hand combat. As they momentarily rested their supporting 3rd and 1st Brigades began to emerge and form up at the rear.

Sensing numbers were going against him, Rajevski ordered a general retreat while he still had control of his army. They made an organised withdrawal with cavalry covering their departure.

In actual fact the overall numbers were very similar, 4,700 Swedes to 4,000 Russians, the latter having the advantage of the crude barricades, a better defence or maybe even a Russian victory could have been achieved by a more determined commander.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

As Napoleonic era battles go, this is quite a small one, so should be an easy project to recreate. The table is relatively flat with the exception of the right edge, where most of the trees are too. The river should be impassible apart from at the bridge.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of the River Idle – 616AD   Leave a comment

King Raedwald of East Anglia circa 620AD

The Battle of the River Idle was an engagement between the armies of two early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, Bernicia and East Anglia, the latter kingdom being led by King Raedwald, the most likely contender to be the noble buried at Sutton Hoo and owner of the now world famous helmet.

The cause of the battle begins a number of years earlier, from when Aethelfrith became the King of Bernicia (the northern part of Northumbria) and began to exert his authority in neighboring regions. His ascent to power is a bit of a mystery, however one consequence of his kingship appears to be the exile of Edwin of Deira (a kingdom at the southern part of Northumbria). Aethelfrith soon styled himself as King of Northumbria in total, and began to threaten the kingdoms bordering his. Meanwhile Edwin found himself seeking refuge wherever he could find it. Edwin first found sanctuary in Gwynedd in Wales, but after several attacks by Aethelfrith’s Northumbrian army on the Kingdom of Gwynedd he decided to move on, Mercia being his next refuge. When that ended he moved further east to East Anglia and the court of King Raedwald.

Replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet

Aethelfrith initially tried to bribe Raedwald to either kill or hand over Edwin, but the newly converted christian Raedwald refused, and after allegedly being lectured to by his wife on his moral duties he instead decided to raise an army and march on Aethelfrith in an attempt to restore Edwin to his kingdom.

Gathering together as many men as he could, he, his son, and Edwin marched north towards the southern Northumbrian border in modern day Yorkshire, taking the old Roman Road running from Lincoln to Doncaster. Hearing of the advance, Aethelfrith also mustered his forces, but with the pressure of time was unable to match the numbers of men advancing towards him. Despite this, his men were largely experienced veterans and they decided to make a defensive stand at the River Idle where the Roman Road crossed it via a gravelly causeway, prone to flooding in bad weather.

Taking position on the west side of the river, they waited for Raedwald approaching from the east.

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of the River Idle 616 AD

Historical Note

The Battle of the River Idle took place at the height of the Dark Ages, and many accounts of events and the people involved were later destroyed by Viking raids on religious buildings where most documents of the time were written and stored. We have put this account together having studied and cross referenced over fifty books and articles relating to this engagement, to create what we feel is a very probable summation of events and the forces fighting. It is though, as with so much early history, subject to different opinions and interpretations of the evidence available.

Wargaming Note

We have again listed forces both by the numbers of actual men involved, for those who wish to scale down accordingly for their own preferred rules, and we have also suggested numbers of bases to use for those playing the more modern rules such as MeG or ADLG.

The battlefield should be completely flat, as the whole area was a flood plain. The battle appears to have been fought in summer months, so in addition to the causeway road, an area either side (denoted on the map by black dots), which was gravel used to build the road on is also passable for soldiers. The rest of the river should be impassible.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Northumbrian Army

King Aethelfrith – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, warlord, feared leader

Noble Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Atheling Eanfrith – Sub-Commander – Modest experience, respected leader, impetuous

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Allied British Cavalry (300 men) 1 or 2 bases – Medium cavalry, experienced, good morale, spear, shield

Skirmishers (400 men) 6 to 8 bases – light infantry, open order, experienced, good morale, half bows, half javelins

East Anglian Army

King Raedwald – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, warlord, inspirational leader

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1500 men) 3 or 4 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Atheling Raegenhere – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, warlord, inspirational leader

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Warriors (1000 men) 2 or 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, swordsmen. “shieldwall”

Levy (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – medium infantry, basic training, levy/militia morale, spear, shield

Lord Edwin – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

Noble Warriors – (500 men) 1 or 2 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, veteran, elite, swordsmen, “shieldwall”

Levy (1500 men) 3 or 4 bases – medium infantry, basic training, levy/militia morale, spear, shield

Skirmishers (400 men) 6 to 8 bases – light infantry, open order, experienced, good morale, half bows, half javelins

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As King Raedwald approached the River Idle he divided his army into three battle groups, Edwin on his left flank with largely Levy infantry who had been hastily mustered to make up numbers, himself in the centre with his best men, and his son and heir on the right flank with more warriors and a small amount of Levy. He sent his skirmishers forward first to capture the crossing, but they were met by Aethelfrith’s skirmishers on the opposite bank and they faced each other off exchanging arrows and javelins while the main army units came forward on both sides.

Aethelfrith decided his best tactic would be to kill Edwin, he was after-all the reason that Raedwald had attacked, and maybe if Edwin was dead a truce could be made. With that in mind he charged his battle group across the causeway supported by the British cavalry, as he reached the opposite bank he veered off to his side to attack Edwin’s battle group while his son Eanfrith, followed his father and hit into Raedwald’s group. However a grave mistake had been made, Aethelfrith had veered off in the wrong direction, towards Raegenhere rather than Edwin. He and his men fought like like demons to break into the opposing shieldwall and kill the commander, thinking it was Edwin. The British cavalry made a flank charge and between the two attacks Raegenhere’s group began to break up formation, allowing the enemy to cause mayhem in a killing spree.

Several sources claim that the blood chilling roar of Raedwald when he heard his son had been slain, momentarily brought everyone to a silent halt in the fighting. More than likely a Saxon legend rather than fact, but roar or not, the news his son had been killed made Raedwald into a berserk killer. His men crushed down Eanfrith’s shieldwall and scattered them, cutting down anyone who stood to fight. The real Edwin and his men chased them over the causeway in pursuit while Raedwald turned to take on the now trapped and isolated men of Aethelfrith. Sensing disaster the British horsemen fled, leaving the two veteran warlords with their best men to slug it out.

Splintered Light Miniature “King Raedwald”

The two sides reformed and faced each other before they both launched themselves into a charge, neither shieldwall holding. As the melee tuned into a brutal hacking and stabbing of men, the more experienced Northumbrians began to take the advantage, but before they could seize victory Raedwald pushed through to Aethelfrith and with his heart full of vengeance for his son’s death he cut him down, before decapitating him and holding his head aloft to show his victory. Aethelfrith’s men ran for their lives and Raedwald had won the day.

THE AFTERMATH

In killing Aethelfrith, Raedwald had effectively taken the Kingdom of Northumbria, and could at this point have declared himself king, but true to his promise to Edwin, he escorted him north and ensured he was installed as King Edwin of Bernicia, Deira, and Northumbria.

Eanfrith, Aethlfrith’s son, went into exile with the Picts in Scotland, where he married a Pictish princess. Years later in 633, after King Edwin was killed battle at the Battle of Hatfield Chase by King Penda of Mercia and King Cadwallon of Gwynedd, Eanfrith crossed the border and seized the crown of Bernicia, a title that lasted only a few months. After travelling with a small bodyguard to Wales to make an alliance with Cadwallon, Cadwallon had him and his men murdered. Eanfrith’s brother Oswald then became king and would go on to become one of the better known Saxon kings in history as well as Saint.

King Raedwald would continue his reign until 624, during which time he was granted the title of Imperium by the Church of Rome for defending the faith in England. He was, more than likely, buried at Sutton Hoo, laid out with weapons, jewels and armour in a 90 foot long Saxon longboat, before it was covered by a giant mound of earth where he lay undisturbed until 1939.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in The Dark Ages

The Battle of the River Coa – 24th July 1810   Leave a comment

The British Light Division defending the bridge over the River Coa – image painted by Christa Hook

In the 1810 Napoleon had a new master plan for an attempted third invasion of Portugal that would finally defeat the British and Portuguese armies, hopefully sending Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future titled Duke of Wellington, back to England as a defeated and spent force. Marshal Andre Massena was therefore given command of a new army of 65,000 men to carry out this campaign.

The River Coa is unusual for Portugal in that it runs north to south, almost parallel with the Portugal/Spanish border, albeit a few miles inside Portugal, as opposed to an east to west route which most rivers in that country flow. For Wellesley it offered a natural barrier that would be an obstacle to the French advance and consequently he sent out written orders to his officers that he wanted all British and Portuguese units to be pulled back to the west of the river so as to form a defence.

Brigadier General Robert Craufurd, a stubborn, moody commander, prone to outbursts of fowl language when angered, and also a strict disciplinarian, was in command of the British Light Division, approximately 5,000 men made up of three British and two Portuguese light regiments of infantry, including the famous 95th (Rifles), as well as two light cavalry units and a handful of artillery guns. Despite receiving Wellesley’s instructions to pull back across the Coa River, he decided, for whatever reason, to ignore them and kept his forces on the east side of the river. Maybe he considered the French to be too far away to be a threat, or maybe he sought personal glory by seemingly standing up to the enemy, either way, he was shocked that just two days after receiving Wellesley’s orders the entire French VI Corps, over 20,000 men led by Marshal Ney appeared, advancing on his position.

The speed of Ney’s advance swept past a small British picquet unit and quickly threatened Cruafurd’s main force, leaving him no option but to attempt a fighting retreat as his men retreated across the only bridge in the vicinity, over the otherwise impassable Coa River.

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of the River Coa

Wargaming Notes

The area, as can be seen from our map, was a hilly, craggy region with limited routes that units can advance through without severe disorganisation. The river itself needs to be classed as an impassable obstacle, unless crossing at the bridge.

The British had a very small picquet force of about 40 men and one cannon at a windmill on high ground (marked on our map); it’s your choice whether to field this force or not as the French totally disregarded it, simply rushing past in their pursuit of catching the main British force.

As with previous recent articles, we are listing the suggested army lists by regiments to be fielded rather than actual figures to be used as we appreciate that because of the sheer number of differing Napoleonic rules currently played this seems the easier way for players to translate this information to their preferred set.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

British Army

Brig.General Robert Craufurd -Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, respected leader.

1st Brigade

Lt-Colonel Sydney Beckwith – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

1/43rd Regiment of Foot – Experienced, veteran, good morale, musket

1/95th (1/2 battalion) Regiment of Foot (Rifles) – Experienced, veteran, elite, rifle

3rd Portuguese Cacadores – Experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

2nd Brigade

Lt.Colonel Robert Barclay – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

1/52nd Regiment of Foot – Experienced, veteran, good morale, musket

1/95th (1/2 battalion) Regiment of Foot (Rifles) – Experienced, veteran, elite, rifle

1st Portuguese Cacadores – Experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

Cavalry Brigade

Brig-General George Anson – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

14th Light Dragoons (3 Squadrons) – Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, good morale, carbine, sabre

16th Light Dragoons (2 Squadrons) – Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, good morale, carbine, sabre

1st King’s German Legion Hussars (4 Squadrons) – Experienced, veteran, elite, carbine, sabre

Chestnut Troop Royal Horse Artillery (6 guns) – Experienced, veteran, elite, 6lb cannon

French Army

Marshal Michael Ney – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, impetuous, inspiarational leader

2nd Division

Maj.General Julien Merment – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, respected leader

25th Line Infantry (2 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

27th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

50th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

59th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

3rd Division

Maj. General Louis Loison – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

66th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, veteran excellent morale, well trained, musket

82nd Line Infantry (2 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

32nd Line Infantry (1 battalion) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

20th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

The Hanoverian Legion (2 battalions) – experienced, average morale, trained, musket

Legion du Midi (1 battalion) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

1st Division (present but never made contact)

Maj.General Jean Marchand – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, respected leader

76th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

39th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

69th Line Infantry (3 battalions) – experienced, good morale, well trained, musket

6th Light Infantry (2 battalions) – experienced, excellent morale, well trained, musket

Cavalry

Brig-General Auguste Lamotte – Sub-Commander – Experienced, veteran, inspirational leader

3rd Hussar Regiment (3 squadrons) – Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, elite, carbine, sword

15th Chasseurs a Cheval Regiment (3 squadrons) -Light cavalry, experienced, veteran, elite, carbine, sword

15th Dragoon Regiment (4 Squadrons) – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, dragoon musket, sword

25th Dragoon Regiment (4 Squadrons) – Heavy cavalry, experienced, veteran, dragoon musket, sword

Foot Artillery (4 batteries of 6 guns) – Experienced, veteran, good morale, 8lb cannon

Horde Artillery (2 batteries of 6 guns) – Experienced, veteran, excellent morale, 8lb cannon

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The French advance was swift, so much so that they completely ignored the small British picquet force left isolated on high ground as they raced to catch the main British army. The 95th (Rifles) stepped forward to initially cover the retreat hoping their longer range and more accurate Baker guns would slow the French. In response the French firstly opened up with artillery on the Green Jackets, and then Voltigeurs closed to start an exchange of fire, before sensing their superior numbers, the Voltigeurs launched a bayonet charge, forcing the (5th to pull back.

The Rifles woes were increased when the small Portuguese garrison of Almeida mistook their dark uniforms for French soldiers and began a long range artillery bombardment on them, causing even more tension in the ranks.

The French cavalry advanced to attack the British 43rd Regiment, though they were slowed and disorganised by the undulating terrain by the time they reached their target. However other French infantry units were able to mange the broken terrain better than the horsemen, and soon Craufurd could see his only line of retreat being threatened . He ordered an immediate withdrawal across the bridge, the cavalry crossing first as the infantry followed along the road behind. A supply wagon overturned in their haste which for a while blocked the British escape, and to cover the incident the 43rd Regiment was ordered to take up a defensive line along the rivers edge south east of the bridge to give covering fire.

Miraculously holding back the French advance through determined fire assisted by difficult terrain, the British and Portuguese began to pass through the bottleneck bridge and get to the west side of the Coa from where they gave volleys of fire to hold back the French advance log enough for the 43rd to make their escape across the bridge too.

Pursuing the British, the French 66th Regiment attempted to storm the bridge but were forced back by the intense musketry pored at them from the other side of the river. A force of amalgamated elite French light infantry then attempted to take the bridge, now covered with the bodies of the dead and dying, but again were beaten back.

Ney opted instead to secure his position by attacking the town of Almeida; but Craufurd, shaken by his narrow escape, decided to withdraw his men under cover of darkness, leaving both the town and the bridge to the mercy of the French.

The bridge today.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Napoleonic Wars

The Battle of the Standard (Northallerton) – 22nd August 1138   Leave a comment

Coronation of King Stephen

After the death of Henry I in 1135, a power struggle for succession that turned to civil war broke out across England and Normandy.

Before his death Henry had asked his barons and earls to swear their allegiance to his daughter, Matilda, and for her to become Queen. But as soon as he died, their moods changed, unsure as to be ruled by a woman, and one who was married to the Count of Anjou, a rival of Normandy.

Stephen of Blois, King Henry’s nephew, made a claim to the throne, and many barons rallied to his banner. He was crowned King of England in December 1135, but war was now on the cards.

The war largely centred around the old capital and religious centre of Winchester in southern England, however there was also fighting in Normandy, the east of England , and today’s battle, in northern England. Today, Northallerton is a busy and attractive market town about 15 miles south of where we, The Little Corporal are based. Back in 1138, it was just a small hamlet and became the site of this decisive engagement purely by chance in so much that it sits the distance of one day’s march north of York, from where the English Royalist army was marching from.

1138 was a troublesome year for Stephen, with several barons rebelling in southern England that needed his personal attention to put down the uprisings. Seeing that Stephen had his hands full, King David I of Scotland, who was Matilda’s uncle, took the opportunity to invade England in support of his niece. With an army around 16,000 strong he marched south.

As Stephen was otherwise engaged in the south, he entrusted the defence of the north largely to two men; William of Aumale, the Earl of Yorkshire, and Archbishop Thurstan of York. Between the two of them, through preaching and persuasion, they raised an army of Yorkshire levies which were bolstered by professional knights and archers, bringing their numbers up to possibly 10,000 men. Still far short of the numbers David advanced with. As a morale boost for the smaller army, Thruston had created a carroccio, a wagon upon which was mounted a ship’s mast. At the top of the mast was fastened a pyx containing the holy host and from the mast was hung four religious banners; those of the cathedrals of Durham, York, Ripon and Beverley. It was a method of creating a “sacred” army banner and rallying point that had been used for sometime by the Italians, as well during the early Crusades, but was the first, and to my knowledge, the only time such a banner has ever been used in England. It is this elaborate holy wagon that of course gave this battle its name – The Battle of the Standard.

Setting off from York to intercept the Scots, Aumale’s army made only one day’s march before meeting the Scots on the foggy morning of 22nd August near Northallerton.

 

Suggested initial set up for The Battle of the Standard

Wargaming Notes

Due to popularity now of ancient & medieval rules like Mortem et Gloriam and L’Art de la Guerre, which use “bases” rather than individual figures like the traditional WRG rules and Shock Of Impact, we are now listing suggested base numbers in our Orders of Battle instead of figure numbers. As always, our army lists, although thoroughly researched, are just a suggestion and designed to be as generic as possible so you can apply them to whichever rules you prefer.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Scottish Army

King David ! of Scotland – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, competent leader.

Royal Knights (200 men) – 1 base – mounted medium knights, veteran, elite, lance, shield

Prince Henry of Scotland – sub-commander – Experienced, impetuous, ordinary leader

Knights (2 units of 250 men) – 2 bases – mounted medium knights, impetuous, lance, shield

Bowmen (2 units of 1,000 men each) – 2 x 2 bases – bowmen, medium infantry, experienced, bow

Spearmen (4 units of 1,500 men each) 4 x 3 bases – heavy infantry, experienced, spear and shield

Galwegian Warriors (4 units of 2,000 men each) 4 x 4 bases – medium infantry, impetuous, unarmoured, swords and shields.

Royalist Army

William d’Aumale – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, veteran, competent leader

Household Knights – (200 men) – 1 base – mounted medium knights, veteran, elite, lance, shield

Carrocccio & Guard – (Scared banner/camp with 200 men) – Camp base + 1 base – dismounted knights, heavy infantry, veteran, elite, swordsmen

Yorkshire Levy – (5 units of 1,000 men) – 5 x 2 bases – heavy infantry, mediocre morale, spear, shield

Bowmen – (2 units of 1,000 men) – 2 x 2 bases – bowmen, medium infantry, experienced, bow

Dismounted Knights – (2 units of 750 men) 2 x 2 bases – dismounted knights, heavy infantry, veteran, swordsmen

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

William d’Aumale, having a much smaller army, and despite the “divine standard” supplied by Archbishop Thurstan, opted for a practical way to bolster the morale of his newly raised Yorkshire Levy. He had the majority of his knights dismount, and placed them in the front line interspersed with archers; a formation normally attributed to much later battles of the 100 Years War. Having his knights present and relatively static, he hoped would steady the more nervous levies. The only knights that remained mounted were his own Household guard which he no doubt kept mobile in case of an emergency exit being needed.

Across the battlefield King David had initially planned to deploy in a similar fashion. He was an experienced commander and knew how to fight the Anglo-Normans. However his Galwegian allies demanded that they lead the battle and take the front line. David eventually gave in to their demands as they did make up almost half his army and he had witnessed them defeat English knights before, but that was on a far smaller scale and in advantageous terrain. This battle was very different.

The Galwegians took the front line and with screams and war-cries, launched their charge across the open ground towards the English army. Fast moving, but unarmoured, they came under devastating clouds of arrows unleashed by the English bowmen. Despite taking considerable casualties they pressed home their charge and smacked into the wall of dismounted knights who had filled the line as the bowmen moved back. Their sheer weight of numbers and ferocious fighting style began to push back the knights and the front line levy units, who thankfully held under the pressure. The Galwegians kept up the fight and forced the English line back to the carroccio which had it’s own guard of knights. The reserve Yorkshire Levy were now committed to the fight too and eventually the Galwegians were halted and then pushed back before being routed.

All the while King David had watched from the opposite hill without sending his other troops forward, but his impetuous son, Price Henry decided to support the Galwegians and launched a charge of his cavalry without orders from his father. But it was too late, by the time his men hit the English lines most of the Galwegians were either dead or fleeing and Henry found himself and his knights fighting alone. William d’Aumale launched his own Household knights to counter attack the Scots cavalry in the flank as they battled with the Yorkshire Levy, which quickly sent them into retreat.

It was now that King David decided to send forward the rest of his army, another 8,000 men, but it was too little and certainly too late. Half way across the battlefield his fresh troops were confronted with fleeing Galwegians and Henry’s knights in full retreat. The remaining Scots immediately halted and opted to turn around and fall back too.

Despite their smaller numbers, the English Royalist army had won. The Scots lost over 10,000 men, mainly Galwegians who were reported on by an eyewitness as “looking like hedgehogs, there were so many arrows in their bodies”. English losses were minimal.

POST SCRIPT

As I hope you can see from the account of the battle, it could have all been different with different tactics, or even just a speedier intervention by David’s reserves. It would certainly make an interesting re-fight in miniature, and if you do re-fight it from this the article then please send us a picture of your game and we’ll send you some freebies.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

We have both games and books available on this site if you want to learn more about The Anarchy, just click on the images below to see more information on each item.

 
 

The Anarchy – “Cry Havoc” hexmap game

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in Medieval

The Battle of Guisborough – 16th January 1643   Leave a comment

Guisborough is today a bustling market town on the edge of industrial Teesside, in medieval times it had been a bustling market town thriving on the visitors from far and wide who came for pious reasons visiting the enormous Priory founded in the 12th century by Robert de Brus, an ancestor of the later and more famous, Robert the Bruce of Scotland. In the time of the English Civil War it was a shadow of it’s former self, the Priory having been destroyed during the Reformation; however it was still important strategically. Positioned south of the Tees Valley it was a gateway to the River Tees and beyond that, to Royalist Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Guilford Slingsby was a part f the Yorkshire gentry with estates around Hemlington ( now a suburb of Middlesbrough where we are based) , and had been the private secretary to the Earl of Strafford up to his forced execution by Parliament in 1641. When the Civil War broke out he naturally supported the Royalist cause and raised a regiment of his own, both foot and horse, and realising the importance of Guisborough, moved his men there to guard against Parliamentarian attacks on supplies crossing the River Tees between Royalist held Newcastle and Royalist York.

On the Yorkshire coast however, at Scarborough, loyalties lay with Parliament, and local commander Sir Hugh Cholmley, decided to take action, especially after hearing the the Royalists intended to send a garrison to nearby Whitby. After being reinforced by two troops of dragoons from Sir Matthew Boynton, he set out in mid January across the Moors, a forty mile march in mid-winter, to threaten Guisborough.

After what can only be imagined as a very challenging march across difficult terrain in freezing weather, the Parliamentarian forces arrived at Guisborough on the 16th January.

Suggested initial deployment for the Battle of Guisborough

Wargaming Notes

The Battle of Guisborough was quite a small engagement, with hundreds rather than thousands of troops being involved. It would lend itself to large skirmish rules such as Pikeman’s Lament, or if fought with really small scale figures could even be recreated on a one to one scale.

For the purposes of our lists below we are suggesting a figure scale of 1:10

ORDERS OF BATTLE

ROYALIST ARMY

Guilford Slingsby – Commander-in Chief – Inexperienced, Inspirational Leader

Slingsby’s Horse (100 men) – 10 figures – cavalry, experienced, good morale, sword, pistol, carbine

Slingsby’s Foot (400 men) – 40 figures – 20 close formation infantry, inexperienced, basic training, enthusiastic morale, light armour, pike – 20 open order infantry, inexperienced, basic training, enthusiastic morale, unarmoured, musket.

 

PARLIAMENTARIAN ARMY

Sir Hugh Cholmley – Commander-in-Chief – Experienced, Respected Leader

Cholmley’s Horse (80 men) – 8 figures – cavalry, experienced, trained, average morale, sword, pistol, carbine

Cholmley’s Dragoons (60 men) – 6 figures – mounted infantry, experienced, average morale, sword, musket

Boynton’s Dragoons (110 me) – 11 figures – mounted infantry, experienced, good morale, sword, musket

Cholmley’s Foot (130 men) – 13 figures – 5 close formation infantry, experienced, average morale, light armour, pike – 7 open order infantry, experienced, average morale, unarmoured, musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

When Slingsby saw the Parliamentarian forces approaching Guisborough he confidence was buoyed by the fact he knew he outnumbered his enemy, and consequently his force sallied forth out of the town and positioned themselves on the open ground about a mile south of the Priory.

The Parliamentarians formed up opposite and then both sides advanced on each other. Slingsby’s Horse were made up largely of Dutch veterans he had employed as mercenaries and they charged forward into the mounted dragoons and halted their advance. A melee ensued lasting sometime between the mounted forces, until Slingsby happened to glance over his shoulder and saw his infantry behind him in total disarray.

The more numerous mounted troops of Cholmley, along with his infantry, had advanced beyond the cavalry melee and straight into the Royalist infantry. Despite their inexperience, the Royalists had initially stood their ground, before being gradually pushed back through the Priory ruins and to an area now called “Wars Fields” where they made their final stand. Slingsby could see that rallying his men was near impossible, but tried all the same, only to suffer gun shot wounds to both legs and fall from his horse while his men fled.

Slingsby was taken prisoner and due to his wounds had both legs amputated above the knee; three days later, aged 32, he died of his injuries and was buried at York Minster. Victorious, Cholmley advanced his men to Yarm, another market town in the Tees Valley and at in that time the site of the first bridge from the river mouth over the River Tees, which they secured to stop supplies from Newcastle to York.

Post Script

As said earlier, this isn’t a grand battle, more of a large skirmish, but an interesting one and certainly not a forgone conclusion depending on your own tactics and dice rolls. It grabbed our attention having taken place just a few miles from where we are based.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ECW & 30YW

The Battle of New Bern – 14th March 1862   Leave a comment

General Ambrose E. Burnside

Union thinking in the early part of the American Civil War was to bring it to a speedy end by blocking Confederate supplies and the movement of men and materials. The area around the city of New Bern presented itself as an ideal target for such a tactic, with the Neuse River being a potential thoroughfare for Confederate ships bringing up supplies, bit also the North Carolina Railroad ran only a short distance inland. The capture of this area could inflict a double hardship on Confederate logistics.

Union General, Ambrose Burnside put together a plan of attack which would involve combined operations. On the 12th March vessels of the US Navy transported and disembarked Burnside and his men about 15 miles away from Fort Thompson at New Bern, the ships then proceeded upstream and on the 13th began a bombardment of the initial Confederate positions which lay several miles south of the battle area, The Confederate forces were largely made up of fresh recruits and militia who soon took fright at the naval shelling and pulled back to another defensive line along Butler’s Creek and across to the fort itself on the river bank. This retreat allowed Ambrose to make a rapid and unopposed advance on to the fort and surrounding area, and the night of the 13th both armies lay only a short distance from each other. At 7:30am on the 14th, General Ambrose launched his attack.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of New Bern

ORDERS OF BATTLE – as we have recently, we are describing unit size generally, rather than specific, allowing our information here to be used for a variety of rule sets and personal preferences.

Confederate Forces

Brig.General Lawrence O’Bryan Branch – Commander in Chief – experienced, inspirational leader

Latham’s Brigade

26th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

33rd North Carolina Regiment (large regiment) – trained, inexperienced, average morale, smoothbore musket

7th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

27th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Brem’s Brigade

35th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

37th North Carolina Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Harding’s Brigade

1/2 North Carolina Cavalry (small unit) – trained, experienced, good morale, sword and pistol

2/2 North Carolina Cavalry (small unit) – trained, experienced, good morale, sword and pistol

Carolina Militia (large unit) – poor training, inexperienced, brittle morale, smoothbore musket

4 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

Fort Artillery

2 gun battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 24lb cannon

Union Forces

Brig.General Ambrose E. Burnside – Commander in Chief – experienced, good tacticain, respected leader

1st Brigade

25th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

24th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

27th Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

23rd Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

10th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

6 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

2nd Brigade

21st Massachusetts Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

51st New York Regiment – trained, inexperienced, average morale, rifled musket

9th New Jersey Regiment – trained, inexperienced, good morale, rifled musket

51st Pennsylvania Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

2 gun artillery battery – trained, experienced, good morale, 6lb smoothbore

3rd Brigade

4th Rhode Island Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

8th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

5th Rhode Island Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

11th Connecticut Regiment – trained, experienced, good morale, rifled musket

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The battle opened at 7:30am on the Union’s left flank with an assault on the 26th NC who were dug in on high ground across the creek. The initial artillery barrage made little impression firing up to the elevated position of the Confederates and the infantry were soon called to cross the creek and attempt to scale the slopes on the opposite bank. The Confederates had made crude field works along the ridge with felled trees and undergrowth which they found good protection from the advancing Union musketry. Their advance was halted by determined fire from the 26th NC and were forced back to regroup and rally.

On the opposite wing the artillery exchange was fairly evenly matched and both sides inflicted casualties, but again it was the Union troops who advanced, only this time to a similar number of defenders. The exchange of musketry began to swing in the Confederate’s favour and with brief but determined charge of bayonets, the Confederates sent the Union troops back to their starting positions.

Burnside was getting increasingly frustrated with the situation, afterall, his forces outnumbered the enemy over two to one and he took a moment to ponder how to break the line. He noted that the battlefield was divided in two by the North Carolina Railroad, which by its nature required flat and easily crossed terrain. The Confederates defending this rail track were the North Carolina Militia, an inexperienced and rather battle nervous unit. Burnside therefore brought up his 3rd Brigade to attack in column through the gap of his two other brigades and straight up the rail track to attack the militia unit. An assault he led personally

Burnside directs the assault along the rail track

His plan worked; the militia were not willing or able to fend off the Union attack for long and soon broke, opening a gap for Burnside’s men to exploit and get behind the Confederate line. The 33rd NC were sent to help plug the gap but the Union assault became so intense they too fell back. Regiments within the 3rd Brigade found themselves having to “leapfrog” to the lead position of the assault as their leading units ran out of ammunition, so fast were their volleys into the defenders ranks.

Facing a renewed frontal attack from the 2nd Brigade and hearing fighting off to their left, the 26th NC began to get nervous and soon were falling back into the woods behind them before turning in retreat to the city of New Bern to the north.

Swinging right, the 3rd Brigade were threatening the flanks of the 35th and 7th NC, while the 1st Brigade once again attacked from the front. Despite courageous efforts from the rebel regiments it soon became apparent that they would be surrounded and cut off if they stood their ground much longer. They too, opted to retreat to New Bern, destroying bridges on their way to prevent a speedy pursuit by Burnside. Unfortunately this left some Confederates trapped behind to be taken prisoner.

It had been a hard victory for Burnside with 90 killed and almost 400 wounded. The Confederates had lost 63 killed and 100 wounded, but over 400 were taken prisoner in the retreat.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

Despite all focus currently being on Warlord Games Epic Battles series, this battle would lend itself to any rules and any scale. Terrain is relatively simple, with no extreme hills, just a few gentle slopes along the waterways, the most dominant feature being the rail track, so depending on which scale you play it may be time to get the old Hornby set out the loft for this one.

The fort played little to no part in the land battle, so at a push could be omitted from the table if yo wish.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

Culp’s Hill 2nd July 1863 – The Battle of Gettysburg P.A.   Leave a comment

The battle of Gettysburg is probably THE most famous and well known battle of the American Civil War. It was the high tide mark for Confederate forces and probably the best opportunity for the South to win the war. As the battle lasted for three days and involved close to 200,000 men, it is a challenge to wargame in full for all but the most determined and committed of wargamers, usually involving an entire club or team effort. So today we have selected one section of that epic battle; Culp’s Hill.

From the map on the left of the entire battle, you can see that Culp’s Hill stood at one end of a ridge of high ground south of the town which extended west then south to include the probably more well known Cemetery Ridge before ending with the two promontories, Little Round Top and Big Round Top.

The Battle of Gettysburg was actually not planned, but rather an escalation of opposing scouting parties meeting and through engaging, gradually sucking in more and more reinforcements from their respective main armies, until eventually one of the largest battles of the war was created.

The first day of battle largely saw a build of men on both sides and initiatives being taken by divisional and brigade commanders, as both the Union’s General Meade and the Confederate’s General Lee were some way back in their respective lines of advancing troops. Like I said, this battle wasn’t planned, or even desired at this location, but happened purely by chance and circumstance.

As evening drew in on the first day, the Union realised that the high ground south of Gettysburg was critical if the battle was to be won, and so they took up defensive positions along this long ridge, using timber and rocks to create a line of barricades where they could, and then readied themselves for the Confederate assault that would surely come the next day.

Culp’s Hill saw some of the most ferocious and continuous fighting of the battle, starting on day two and going on throughout the third. Our Battle For Wargamers today is the beginning of this two day struggle for Culp’s Hill, with the forces initially deployed on the morning of the 2nd July. On the following day both sides would send in reinforcements, but for the purposes of this article and to keep the battle to a manageable size for most, we are looking at just the first day and as to whether the Union defenders can hold the hill against the Confederate attacks long enough to be reinforced that night for the next day.

 

Suggested initial set-up for “Culp’s Hill” Gettysburg

As there are so many different rule sets for the ACW including the much awaited Epic Battles by Warlord Games, with regiment sizes ranging from maybe a dozen figures to sixty, we have opted this time not to suggest unit sizes by the number of figures, leaving that to your choice depending on your preferred rules.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Union Army

Brig.General James S. Wadsworth – Commander In Chief – experienced, inconsistent, respected leader

I Corps – 1st Brigade – (The Iron Brigade)

Brig.General Solomon Meredith – Sub-Commander – experienced, determined, inspirational leader

19th Indiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

24th Michigan Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

2nd Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

6th Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

7th Wisconsin Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

Steven’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

I Corps – 2nd Brigade

Brig. General Lysander Cutler – Sub-Commander – experienced, excellent tactician, respected leader

7th Indiana Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

76th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

84th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

95th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

147th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

56th Pennsylvania Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

XII Corps – 3rd Brigade

Brig.General George S. “Old Pappy” Greene – Sub-Commander – veteran, excellent tactician, inspirational leader

60th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

78th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

102nd New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

137th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

149th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

Kinzie’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

Rugg’s Artillery battery – experienced, solid morale, 12lb Napoleon guns

XI Corps – 1st Brigade

Colonel George Von Amsberg – Sub-Commander – veteran, experienced leader

82nd Illinois Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

45th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

157th New York Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

61st Ohio Regiment – experienced, solid morale, musket

Confederate Army

Major General Edward “Clubby” Johnson – Commander In Chief – veteran, temperamental, respected leader

II Corps – Steuart’s Brigade

Brig.General George H.Steuart – Sub-Commander – veteran, inspirational leader

1st Maryland Battalion – veteran, solid morale, musket

1st North Carolina Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

3rd North Carolina Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

10th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

23rd Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

37th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

II Corps – Williams’ Brigade

Col. Jesse M.Williams – Sub-Commander – veteran, inexperienced of brigade level command, respected leader

1st Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

2nd Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

10th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

14th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

15th Louisiana Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

II Corps – Jones’ Brigade

Brig.General John M. Jones – Sub-Commander – veteran, inspirational leader

21st Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

50th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

42nd Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

44th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

48th Virginia Regiment – veteran, solid morale, musket

Union troops defend Culp’s Hill

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Most of the Union soldiers defending Culp’s Hill had seen action the previous day before being ordered to take up position on the high ground. Brig,General Wadsworth had followed the orders but in line with his inconsistent leadership, he failed to order his brigades to “dig in” and it was only thanks to his brigade commanders, such as “Old Pappy” Greene who had been a civil engineer for a period, that orders were given to create field fortifications. As his brigade had been given a mile and half stretch of the ridge to defend, it was good foresight on his part.

The Confederate division commander, Major General Edward Johnson was also not without his failings. On the first day he had failed to attack Cemetery Ridge before it was properly defended; action that if taken could have ended the battle there and then, but then on the evening of the 1st July, having re-positioned at the foot of Culp’s Hill, he directly refused superior orders to attack immediately, stating he would rather rest his men and for morning, which gave the Union soldiers time to create barricades and fortify their position.

Lee’s plan on the morning of the 2nd July was to attack the ridge at opposite ends simultaneously with Longstreet’s I Corps attacking Little and Big Round Tops while Ewell’s II Corps would attack Culp’s Hill. However Lee did not want II Corps to fully commit, but rather just cause enough of an attack to hold all the Union troops on the hill in place and not be sent to the other end as reinforcements. Ewell initially used artillery (off map) to shell the hill, but this failed to do the job intended and several Union brigades left Culp’s Hill to reinforce further along the ridge, leaving the troops as laid out on our suggested set-up map. At this point Ewell saw no alternative but to launch a frontal assault, and the three Confederate brigades made their first attempt at scaling the slopes. By now it was late afternoon and in the wooded slopes visibility became strained, especially with the clouds of gun smoke that hung in the air.

On the Confederate right flank, Jones’ Brigade found things the hardest going. It was here that the slopes were steepest and littered with boulders, which although offered some protection also broke up their formations as they advanced. Advancing and firing as they went, the Confederates were suddenly confronted by Greene’s fortifications which seemed impassable. the 60th New York regiment poured fire down on the southerners from behind their barricades and Jones’ men were forced back. Jones himself suffered a serious leg injury and was carried from the field. Despite the apparent ease with which the Union soldiers had stopped Jones, several of their officers admitted that had it not been for the barricade Greene had insisted on, then they would have been overwhelmed on the ridge by both the ferocity of Confederate charge and the density of their musketry which had largely been absorbed by the fortifications.

In the centre the Louisiana regiments made their assault, dusk was turning to darkness and for the Union defenders it was only when flashes of musket shots appeared that they could see where their enemy was. The ground here was a little easier than where Jones had tried, but was still an exhausting challenge, especially in the dark. Upon closing in on the Union positions, Williams’ men were also aghast at the substantial defences running along the ridge, but a firefight that lasted several hours ensued. Finally the Confederates began to fall back as their casualties grew from the musket fire of the 78th and 102nd New Yorkers.

Steurat’s men on the left flank made the best progress, advancing again in the dark, they were a difficult target for the Union defenders. The 3rd North Carolina regiment made contact first, but unfortunately where the defences were strongest and a point blank range volley of muskets from the Union men felled them in droves, scattering the survivors down the hill. Further to the left though, the 23rd and 10th Virginia regiments managed to outflank the 137th New Yorkers, forcing them back to a new position at 90 degrees to their original one in an attempt to hold back the Confederates. This was the most success of the night for the southerners, and they inflicted over 30% casualties on the 137th NY. Miraculously, the regiment held the line, for had it fallen at this end it would have likely opened up a route that that Confederates could have exploited to get behind the Union fortifications and capture the ridge, not just at Culp’s Hill, but potentially all along the Union lines.

The intensity of the fighting here, was heard along Cemetery Ridge, causing so much concern that Union reinforcements were sent along the line to support the Culp’s Hill defenders. Likewise, for the Confederates, that tenuous but definite foothold on the ridge on their left flank, would give them sufficient hope to bring up reinforcements too. The following morning the battle would recommence in even greater numbers and would see some of the most sustained and intense fighting of the entire Battle of Gettysburg, but we will share that scenario another day.

Confederates attack Culp’s Hill

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

At first glance the battlefield may look a challenge for recreating, but it is in simple terms just a long piece of high ground easily represented with foam blocks or “books under the cloth” as we did back in the day, with a few trees scattered along the slopes to represent the pine trees covering the hill. The creek on the right plays no significant part in the battle so could be omitted is it makes life easier.

The important thing is to play to an agreed time scale, so you represent the passage of time and to end the game at around midnight when reinforcements for both sides would start to appear and completely reshape the engagement for the following day.

If the Union manages to hold the line as it did on the 2nd July it should be considered a Union victory, but if the Confederates manage to either break the line or turn the flank as they almost did that evening then a Confederate victory should be declared.

Even though this is just a small section of the overall Battle of Gettysburg, it is still quite a sizable tabletop game to play, probably lending itself to smaller scales such as 10mm or the new “Epic” scale when it releases next month. But whatever scale you use we would love to see some pictures come in of your recreation of this engagement and we will feature them in our new “Gamers Gallery” that we are starting soon to share the hobby with others.

And finally don’t forget you can still pre-order the Epic Battles Bumper Bundle for just £99.99 if you hurry, we have only a handful left at this price. Just click on the image below to see the full details and order yours.

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW

The Battle of Raymond – 12th May 1863   Leave a comment

In Spring 1863, General Grant and the Union Army of Tennessee set out to capture Vicksburg and in doing so, control the Mississippi River. Having crossed the river about 15 miles south of Vicksburg on the 29th April he advanced first in a north easterly direction towards the state capital, Jackson, where the Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and his army were positioned. Grant wanted to both eliminate them as a threat to his siege of Vicksburg and also to capture and disrupt himself the railroads and supply lines that ran through Jackson.

As his army marched towards Jackson they came to Fourteen Mile Creek a short distance south of Raymond. His army, which in total consisted of three corps, was spread out across a broad front with Raymond on their far right flank.

The Confederate Brig.General John Gregg was dispatched to Raymond with a strike force of around 3,000 men with the orders to block and hold the Utica Road and to hit the flank of the advancing Union troops. However, poor intelligence had suggested that the Union forces advancing directly towards Raymond consisted of only a single brigade, when in actual fact it was the entire XVII Corps of almost 12,000 men.

First contact was made early on the morning of the 12th May when skirmishers from both sides exchanged shots across the creek, but by 9am the Union commander, Maj.General James Birdseye McPherson, decided that the Confederates were not just a skirmish line, but a larger force, and ordered his forces to form up for battle.

Suggested initial set up for the Battle of Raymond

ORDERS OF BATTLE – using a man to figure ratio of 20:1

Confederate Army

Brig. General John Gregg – Commander in Chief – experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

1st Tennessee Regiment (420 men) 21 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

Bledsoe’s Missouri Battery (3 guns) 1 model – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

7th Texas Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

3rd Tennessee Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

41st Tennessee Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

50th Tennessee Regiment (440 men) 22 figures – experienced, steady morale, musket

10th Tennessee Regiment (300 men) 15 figures – veteran, battle hardened, steady morale, musket

30th Tennessee Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, steady morale, musket

Union Army

Maj.General James Birdseye McPherson – Commander in Chief – veteran, experienced, good tactician, inspirational leader

Third Division

Brig.Gen John A. Logan – sub-commander – experienced, respected leader

1st Brigade

20th Illinois Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

31st Illinois Regiment (520 men) 26 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

45th Illinois Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

124th Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

23rd Indiana Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

2nd Brigade

30th Illinois Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

20th Ohio Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

68th Ohio Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

4th Minnesota Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

78th Ohio Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

3rd Brigade

8th Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

81st Illinois Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

7th Missouri Regiment (400 men) 20 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

32nd Ohio Regiment (510 men) 26 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

Artillery

1st Illinois D Battery (4 guns) – 1 model – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

1st Michigan H Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Ohio 3rd Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Ohio 11th Battery (6 guns) – 2 models – experienced, steady morale, 12lb cannon

Seventh Division – not shown on map but available to arrive as reinforcements behind the Third Division after 1:30pm

Brig. General Marcellus M. Crocker – sub-commander – experienced, respected leader

1st Brigade

48th Indiana Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

59th Indiana Regiment (520 men) 26 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

2nd Brigade

17th Iowa Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

10th Missouri Regiment (500 men) 25 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

80th Ohio Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

3rd Brigade

93rd Illinois Regiment (460 men) 23 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

5th Iowa Regiment (540 men) 27 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

10th Iowa Regiment (560 men) 28 figures – inexperienced, trained, musket

26th Missouri Regiment (480 men) 24 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, musket

Cavalry Battalion

2nd Illinois A & E Companies (80 men) 4 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

4th Missouri F Company (50 men) 3 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

Ohio 4th Independent Company (60 men) 3 figures – experienced, well trained, steady morale, sabre, pistol and carbine

The Rebel Charge by Mort-Kunstler

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

Skirmishing had started around 7am between the Union’s vanguard and some Confederate militia from Raymond who were patrolling south of the Fourteen Mile Creek on the Utica Road. Despite a determined attempt to hold back the Union soldiers, the militia were no match for the regulars and found themselves retreating back across the bridge to the north bank, before eventually making their way back to Raymond. The defence of the creek was now the responsibility of Gregg’s strike force.

As the Union skirmishers advanced down into the gully where the creek ran there was a sudden crack of volley fire from the trees opposite and three cannon opened fire, scattering the Union troops and sending them running back to their lines. This prompted Union Maj.General John A.”Black Jack” Logan to rapidly deploy his division and bring the artillery forward to form a formidable battery of 22 guns. Despite being outnumbered, Gregg opted to attack rather than defend, and sent the 7th Texas Regiment forward to assault the bridge and Union troops advancing on the Utica Road, while the Tennessee Regiments all advanced along the creek and seized the bridge on the Lower Gallatin Road. The windless day meant the gun-smoke hung in the air and soon the battlefield was a chaotic disorderly fight with many units on both sides simply following their own junior officer’s intuition rather than following an overall plan. The more experienced Confederates began to push back the Union line and almost succeeded in routing the entire Union Third Division, but in that critical moment, when all looked lost for Brig. General Logan as he rode among his fleeing men shouting at them to stand and fight, Brig.General Crocker and the Seventh Division arrived in support. Suddenly faced with five fresh Union brigades, the now exhausted and battle scarred Confederates began to fall back. Logan managed to rally the majority of his men once they saw their reinforcements arriving and combined, they counterattacked along the entire front. By mid-afternoon the Confederates had only one cannon remaining in action and some infantry regiments had suffered over 50% casualties. Fearing that even more Union soldiers may be yet to arrive, Gregg reluctantly ordered the army to withdraw, and in a fighting retreat they managed to pull back to Jackson and General Johnston’s army.

WARGAMING THE BATTLE

This is a fantastic engagement to re-fight on the table, pitching the battle hardened Confederates against the more numerous but less experienced Union regiments.

There needs to be an account of time kept when playing the game, the battle started as per our map above at 9am and there should be sufficient game turns played to represent at least four hours of time passing before Brig.Gen Crocker and the Seventh Division begin to arrive. An agreed method of dicing their arrival would also be good as their advance on to the battlefield would have been gradual in a line of march.

We make no apologies for timing this Battle For Wargamers to wet the appetite of all those eagerly awaiting the launch of the fantastic new Epic Battles Range of ACE figures by Warlord Games in mid-March. The figures for that would lend themselves perfectly to this battle, simply changing the number of figures we have suggested with a number of bases instead to represent either small, medium or large regiments.

Use the discount code RAYMOND10 and get an extra £10 off our pre-order bundle

If you pre-order yours from us having read this battle, we are offering an extra £10 off our Epic Bundle (as above) and an extra 10% off all the rest of the range as well as our ACW books,

Use the discount code RAYMOND10 for the bundle and RAYMONDoff on other sets and books.

 

Posted 13/09/2021 by The Little Corporal in ACW