This week I visited Michael & Alan Perry to play a different approach to 'The Last Apostle' skirmish scenario. With troops from my own collection bolstered by those from Michael's, Aly Morrison and Simon Chick we were able to use the scenario as a backdrop for a much larger engagement, I'll let Michael tell the rest;
The rescue of St John the Evangelist 28th July 1513
'Yesterday we had the great pleasure of hosting a game with Stuart Mulligan, Simon Chick, Aly Morrison and Rick Priestly. Stuart, over the last eight years, has amassed a large and extremely impressive Henrician army as well as the better part of a French one. Most of these he has converted from our Wars of the Roses range, the old Foundry range and a few Steel Fist miniatures plus some of his own sculpted base coated manikins (available from Stuart at email@example.com...if he hasn't run out!). Simon bought along a beautifully painted Burgundian cavalry wing to flesh out the French forces while Aly brought along three units of untested French foot, and Rick was there for...decoration:) The game was set up by Michael and we used Rick's Wars of the Roses adaptation of Hail Ceasar for the rules.
The game was set during Henry VIII's inavsion of France in 1513 and based on the recovery of one of Henry's beloved twelve large bombards, known as 'the apostles' which was heading, with the English army, to besiege the French held town of Therouanne. After leaving Tournehem, the Middle Ward of the army with Henry out paced the artillery accompanying it and gradually the big guns were left behind. Somehow, the three ton gun called 'St John the Evangelist' slipped into a river leading to a hundred carpenters detailed with the job of rescuing it. A large French force had been watching and swooped on the defenseless labourers, all were killed or captured but the French left the St John where it was. Henry was not amused and sent back the Earl of Essex to recover it.
That was real story behind the game but Michael tweaked the facts to produce a workable scenario. In the game Henry's Middle Ward has turned back as soon as it was known the the St John was in trouble and also in time to possibly stop the French getting there first. Stuart, Simon and Aly asked to be French as there were a lot of their newly painted figures as yet to see battle. Aly took the one infantry 'division' in the centre of the French set up zone, with Stuart and Simon on the flanks with wings of cavalry. A second infantry 'division' would eventually arrive behind the first. Rick had control of Henry's large infantry 'division' with Michael taking the English cavalry plus a small 'division' of German Landsknechts while Alan controlled the guard around the St John and a small 'division' of infantry. A dice was alternately rolled at the end of each turn, on a 6 the bombard had been lifted from the river.'
'We rolled to see who would place the first 'division' in their set up area and then alternated until all units had diced to come 6" on. As it was the only one to fail was the second French infantry 'division'. Then we rolled to see who moved first. The English won and Michael rolled to move his cavalry as fast as possible to the river to protect the gun, however, he threw a double 6, a blunder, sending the small elite of the army careering straight towards a mass of French Gendarmes!
Luckily, Stuart's heavies, opposite, failed their command and didn't move in the first turn, although Aly's infantry did and managed to get a couple of long range shots off at the English horse, but to no avail. Rick and Alan's infantry made a slow advance, Alan heading towards the river and Rick's straight ahead. Michael's infantry remained where they were.
On the French right flank Simon's heavy cavalry casually sauntered down the slope heading for the gun and it's guard of Landsknechts. The next turn everything moved slowly apart from Rick's 'division' that started to form a battle line.
Michael's heavy cavalry halted their unintentional charge and veered off to the left while receiving more bolts from Aly's crossbows, but no harm done. Alan's English infantry headed for the St John, occupying the farm on the way. The French, now reserve, infantry still hadn't made an appearance. Simon's cavalry were having problems picking up the pace in order to reach the submerged gun before the English and, apart from the small mounted units of archers and Stradiots, Stuart wasn't making any headway to move his gendarmerie.'
The Demilancers & Border Horse deploy
The English Centre deploy
The Demilancers make an unsupported headlong charge toward the French Gendarmes
Another shot of the Demilancer's wild charge with German cavalry attempting to keep up. This was a perturbing start the game !
The Gendarmes with supporting Men at Arms and Mounted Archers deploy and uncharacteristically remain calm and aloof .....for 3 turns thanks to my dice rolling. This was the first time seeing these all together as a completed unit, having worked all summer to reach this with the game as an unofficial deadline it was a delight to have met it and see them arrayed.
Simon's cavalry on the move with Aly's French to their rear
Aly's French Infantry. These looked great and this was their first outing, they performed really well throughout the game checking the English advance with determination for several turns almost completely unsupported due to the failure of our reserve to show up for 4 turns. Aly painted these for the Ordonnance of Charles VIII and they look great, really colourful in their livery jackets, it served to remind me that I must get some Franc Archer bowmen and infantry with polearms done for my own collection.
Aly's centre out on a limb, the reserve were to deploy to their rear in the woods but were remaining somewhat reluctant.
Simon's Burgundian Cavalry (masquerading as French for the game) begin to form into a wing to engage the approaching English relief force. This against the backdrop of his newly commissioned Flemish Manor House which was making its first outing in this game.
Another view of the Manor complex built by David Marshall of TM Terrain, it really is a sight to behold with eye watering detail.
Back to the game;
'Turn three and four saw the English form into a recognizable battle line with Michael's cavalry spurring their horses to close the gap and joining up with Alan's Landsknechts guarding the gun and Alan's infantry spreading themselves either side of the farm.
Rick had arrayed his infantry and was advancing on the weak French centre taking out one of Aly's crossbow units. Michael's Landsknechts of the right flank moved in unison with Rick although turning to cover the flank that was being threatened by Stuart's light cavalry. Rick sent his Gentleman Pensioners to confront the Albanian Stradiots.
Stuart also had a sudden burst of activity and sent his Gendarmes in a parallel chase up the board towards the St John. Simon approached Alan's gun guard and started peppering them with bolts from his mounted crossbows. The French reserve infantry finally turned up and headed to bolster up Aly's beleagued centre and left flank. As Stuart's cavalry came within striking distance Simon charged in one of his heavy cavalry units supported by his mounted crossbows. Michael counter charged with a demi lancer unit with Alan's Landsknects and an English bow and bills in support, both fell back with maximum casualties.
Then Stuart struck, crashing into Michael's two cavalry units with his Gendarmes taking fire from artillery and bow on the way in. Stuart lost a freshly painted unit of Gendarmes in the melee and his 'divisional' commander and his other unit disengaged. Michael's cavalry 'division' was now broken and fell back behind the infantry.'
The French reserve finally arrive !
The Landsknechts on the English Right Flank move into the fray after being harassed by Stradiots and Mounted Archers. I'll never tire of looking at these figures they're amongst the favourites in my collection.
The aforementioned mounted archers making their debut in this game, they harried and generally irritated the enemy with vigour. These are converted plastic light cavalry on metal horses from the WOTR range, as usual with converted Ansar heads. I'll do a separate post on these soon.
French Men at Arms with Gendarmes behind race to plug the gap in the line and check the English cavalry advancing to the Gun.
Failing to meet up with Simon's heavy cavalry which had now disenagaged with heavy casualties my Gendarmes thundered in in an attempt to break the Tudor brigade for good. Receiving artillery, arquebus and Longbow fire as they went in they crashed into their opposite number causing further casualties. Alas they first rank Gendarmes (newly painted for the game) succumbed to their wounds and left the field. I'll do a post on these soon too.
The English centre forming in line
'With two cavalry units battered on the French side and a brigade in retreat that side of the board had an uneasy stand off but to top things off Stuart rolled a 6 and the Bombard was lifted from the river. The Tudor right flank then moved to the ridge and prepared to charge, firing volleys from the organ guns with arquebus and bows joining the din.
The French returned fire to less effect with the culverins unlimbering and missing at point blank range in the final turn. There was also the distracting stradiots and mounted archers in the extreme flank which checked the landsknecht pike for a few turns until the Pensioners saw them off.
The pub then seemed to be the best option. So, an English victory in that they rescued St John the Evangelist but equal damage was done to each side'
The Bombard is loaded ! without a second to lose
The English Cavalry division make a hasty retreat with the Bombard in tow
The Organ Guns deliver their deadly fire with Longbows in support, I really must get more of these as they looked great.
The French reserve form up in front of the English.
Their culverines with Lansquenet arquebusiers and crossbowmen form up to release a volley to their opposite number but it was innefective. At this point we ran out of time and the pub was calling.
a couple more shots from the game
The Culprits, Left to Right; Rick Priestly, Aly Morrison, Simon Chick, Me, Alan Perry, Michael Perry.
Bye for now