Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Battle of Beaulieu Abbey, 1513


Last weekend Simon Chick and I were invited to bring our collections for a Franco Tudor battle hosted by Michael Perry.

We had a great time and it was good to catch up over a game and beers thereafter. For me these annual games serve as a good pause to review a years work and indeed to focus the mind as to where I should concentrate my efforts going forward.

It was also really good to chat with Michael's wife Ninya about early 16c clothing and to have a look at her ongoing projects. Have a look at http://www.tudortailor.com/ for more information. I thoroughly recommend the books.

Unlike me Michael has had quite a few wargames and his write ups and photography really are a treat on the Perry Miniatures Facebook page. Here's his report of the game;

Initial set up

'Our annual Henrician wargame was played out this weekend. Our mates Stuart Mulligan and Simon Chick brought up their respective armies for a grand bash on Michael's wargames table. If you haven't seen their painting and conversion skills before, prepare to be amazed! Stuart has spent ten years now painting plus converting most of his army form mainly our War of the Roses range into troops of Henry VIII's 1513 French Expedition, modelling base coats and Tudor caps on most of them.

Some of the cavalry and the Landsknechts are from our old Foundry Renaissance range and there might be one or two Steel Fist miniatures in there as well! Talking about Steel Fist, the owner of that company, Simon Chick, brought forth his magnificent Burgundian horde (masquerading as French) to once more appose Henry.

Simon's army has about 180 cavalry although Michael had to cull them a bit for the game but even so they seemed overwhelming. Aly Morrison joined in and supplied three units of impeccably painted French Infantry. By coincidence, Ben Wootten, (a great New Zealand sculptor in the film business working for Weta) that we've known for almost twenty years was also visiting this weekend and was very easily drawn into the game.

Onto the game itself. Michael organized the game and set up the table. Unfortunately, there was only one proper clash during the 1513 campaign and that was more of a large skirmish so this was to be a made up action based on Henry's march to besiege Therouanne.

The aim of the game was that the French would attempt to stop the English advance as they broke camp early in the morning with their secondary goals to prevent the Abbey of Beaulieu being looted and bring back the cattle stolen by the Irish. The English objectives were the reverse i.e. to get off the far side of the board, keep the cattle and loot the Abbey (Henry actually ordered that there should be no looting on the campaign, but he had no sway with the Germans and Irish in his force).

Stuart, Ben and the legendary Dave Andrews played the English placing the English division of infantry forming up just outside the camp. Dave placed his two units of Border Horse ahead and to the left of the infantry. The rest of the divisions would issue forth from the camp on a dice role each turn, if there was room. The French, Simon, Aly and Alan, had initially two units of light cavalry (Stradiots and mounted crossbowmen) already bearing down on the Irish with the looted cattle in the centre of the table with the rest of the divisions appearing on a dice role two feet in at the far end of the table. The rules were a Rick Priestly adapted version of 'Hail Caesar'.

Irish kern returning to the English camp

The English won the toss to kick off and Ben led the way by sending his English infantry division towards the river and abbey. Dave, in control of the heavy cavalry, and Henry himself, trotted out with half the horse to the left of the field. 

Stuart managed to rouse the Germans but they were a little tardy and stayed within the camp boundaries while the other English/Irish division didn't wake from their slumbers as did the rest of Dave's horse. Michael rolled for the Irish cattle rustlers in the middle of the table and they headed towards the camp, not being tempted by the abbey's bling.


Henry leads his division of heavy cavalry

The English right begin their march

The Irish kern hurriedly returning to camp with their loot

The Landsknechts form up to leave camp

The main Irish auxiliaries break camp. They didn't play much of a part in the game but they do look great don't they !

The French initially failed to move their light cavalry in pursuit of the Irish but pretty much all of their divisions appeared on command dice rolls with, from the left, Aly's French infantry division on the far left opposite the abbey, then Aly's heavy cavalry, then Alan's infantry division followed by Simon's and on the extreme right, Alan's cavalry.

The next turn was very similar to the first for the English with Ben reaching the river and the Germans moving out of the camp and Dave's cavalry pushing forward. The French advanced at a reasonable rate (apart from Simon's infantry) with Aly's infantry moving to the right hand side of the abbey.

The French infantry move forward

The French reach the river in the middle of the board with the abbey in the background

Ben was keen to unlimber his guns this side of the river but was strongly advised to cross it and set up, which he did.

Alan's central division of French infantry were moving in column to reach the river quicker which spurred Dave to, what everybody thought was a rash decision, charge one of his Border horse units across the river and into Alan's infantry. Dave needed three moves so as not to end stationary in front of crossbows and artillery. He made it, ploughing through one unit of crossbow into the next, routing both.

Border Horse leap through the river to attack

The second unit of Border horse headed across the river to engage the Stradiots that were pushing forward but fell short. By this stage all divisions were on the board with the remaining cavalry and infantry of the English moving up to form a battle line their side of the river.

Ben pushed forward to capture the abbey at the same time as Simon's mounted archers but the English got there first. Dave held King Henry and his horse ready to counter charge Alan's heavies as soon as they crossed the river but Alan charged first although didn't reach, leaving them in the river.

French Ordonnance Archers

Aly had, by now, pushed forward an ominous division of heavy cavalry towards Ben's artillery with the intent to unleash them diagonally across the river into the centre of the yet unformed English line but started receiving artillery and small arms fire from Ben which recoiled one unit. The centre of the English line was then plugged by Stuarts German pike and shot which changed Aly's plan.

Organs guns and a culverin with bill in support prepare to receive cavalry

Landsknecht Pike form up to plug the centre

Henry's cavalry with landsknechts in support, their arquebusiers to their flank begin to move into firing positions


Ben forced his way through the abbey with a unit of bow and bill as well as foot knights and out the other side into a hail of arrows and Aly's artillery.

Another of Aly's horse units fell back being stung by arrows and gun shot which made up his mind to charge straight forward into Ben's three light guns. The result was predictable! The horse fell back in disarray exposing the last unit to more ranged fire which broke the division.

The organ guns unleash their volleys

Stradiots leave to fight another day

On the left flank Dave charged his horse, led by Henry. Alan counter charged. There were three units of heavy horse a side with the English having an advantage of two more in support plus one more commander i.e. Henry.

The initial cavalry charge and counter charge.

The first of the three clashes was a draw the second an English win but the third, with Henry in the fray, was a rout for the English. Henry was unharmed and quickly joined the English unit of horse that had won and second a round of combat was fought.

In this second desperate encounter the French narrowly lost but both sides were broken with English unable to pursue.

Henry is led away

All the cavalry on the field were now spent and the infantry were hardly engaged but a veil was drawn over the game as the pub was calling. The game was considered a draw although the Irish had managed to bring most of the cattle to the camp and the abbey was still contested but Henry was not going to push through to Therouanne easily...'


The game has given me resolve to push on with work on my Tudors, I'd like to work on some more artillery pieces and cavalry before I'm content for any more work on the French.

Seeing all of the infantry in their coats was a real boost and I'm very glad I decided to replace the previous units in my collection with these, they really add some period detail to the collection.

Of course a great contrast to all those white coats is the Irish, I think some auxiliaries would also be a perfect addition. It's coming up to almost 10 years since I started this army and my enthusiasm is just as great as at the start.

It never ends !

All the best

Stuart

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Marching Retinue Bowmen



I've been working on this unit for quite a while making steady progress in between other projects as each figure required a fair bit of conversion.

I must say that I'm really pleased with the results, I've definitely got the hang of sculpting coats and creating a sense of movement which I hope is apparent.  I've really enjoyed painting them too, the livery badges and other small details really make the figures stand out and as a group with their accompanying Pike they make for an impressive sight.




The figures began life as Perry WOTR marching bow and bill which I converted in the usual fashion. The 2 musicians required a bit more work by using plastic Ansar figures as dollies then working up with various bits.

You can read more about the accompanying unit of pike and some info on Brandon here.

Here are the figures prior to basing;



These were all converted from the Perry marching bow pack with the exception of the figure on the far right which was an open handed marching billman. The encased bow and arrow bag came from the Perry Light Horse plastic set.

All are in livery coats as laid down by Henry VIII for this campaign and each has Brandon's livery badge of a crowned lions head on the left sleeve. A surviving example of this badge can be seen on the terracotta fragment below from his residence at Suffolk Place, now in the V&A collection described as;

'This relief fragment in cream coloured terracotta formed part of a decorative frieze at Suffolk Place, Southwark, the palace of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, brother in law to Henry VIII. This and other reliefs were excavated on the site of the house in 1937.

Suffolk Place was a vast house built between 1518 and 1522 by Charles Brandon for his wife Mary Tudor, sister of Henry VIII. It is the earliest example of a Tudor courtyard house known to have carried this type of extensive terracotta decoration. This use of terracotta quickly became fashionable and appeared on other buildings commissioned by Henry VIII's courtiers, including Cardinal Wolsey's York Place (later Whitehall) and Hampton Court Palace. '

The relief is made of moulded clay that was dried and fired to create terracotta (literally 'cooked earth'), a material suitable for use as external decoration. Although building projects such as Suffolk Place were on a vast scale, by using a cheap raw material and a reproductive method of manufacture the buildings could be decorated economically and speedily.'




As the main command figures are in the accompanying Pike unit there are no banners or captains with these. I took a while to decide not to have an additional banner but I wanted the feel of them being part of a larger retinue. I did however decide to add 2 musicians and a billman as a guard.



Both of the musicians used figures from the Perry Ansar set as dollies. The drummer arms and drum are from the Warlord Landsknecht Pike plastic set which were fairly straightforward to add. The heads for both are also from the Ansar set with hair, bonnet and plumes added.

Here's the drummer prior to painting;



Drums of this type begin to make their appearance from Western Europe into the British Isles in the late 15c where they were described as swech 'swiss' drums. 

I thought I'd include one to add to the general din and as a nod to Brandon wanting the very latest in fashion for his retinue. 

In reading up on this I also found that James IV had a troop of Moorish drummers which could be fun to do, perhaps to accompany his herald arriving in the English camp. In English armies they become more commonplace into the mid 16c.


The piper was a challenging build. He was built in the same way as the drummer though I cut off the chest of the Ansar figure and added a chest from a Warlord figure to achieve the mail mantle. The Pipe was a scratch build using green stuff and brass wire.

I had to add the head first to dictate where the mouthpiece would be then sculpted the pipe from there. The hands took a while to get right using a number of variants which didn't quite work but I eventually found a great fit with the arms of a loading handgunner from the Perry mercenaries set, the fingers seemed to be in just about in the right place. Here's the figure prior to painting;



The idea for the piper came from this wonderful German account of Henry VIII's meeting with Maximilian on 14th August 1513:

"He had not many mounted men, but had his footguards or halberdiers with him, of whom about 300 all clad in one colour ran with him on foot. [From a tower the King showed the Emperor] what belonged to the town (the town of Therouanne and state of the siege).

Whilst both lords were on the tower the King had placed all his people who were in camp in lines everywhere three or four deep. He conducted the Emperor through to inspect this. They are really big strong men having a captain to every hundred, and their pennon on a long spear as our horsemen carry them. It is carried with both hands in front against the breast.

Some have English bows, some crossbows, certain of them maces with long handles and certain of them long spears; and almost all are clad in long white coats edged with green cloth and wear breast plates, and steel caps on their heads. For their field music they have a fluteplayer (schalm) and a bagpiper (sackpfeiffer) who play together and certain of them a trumpet."


Bagpipes were not peculiar to Scotland, within this period there are examples in English, Irish, French and particularly Breton as well as German and Swiss sources.


The figures are based in two stands of 5. All my archers are based in 5's to demonstrate that they generally operated in more compressed groups. This has the right look and works well for whatever games I use them in.


For my games of Renaissance Rampant I count the double base of 10 figures as 12 and roll 12 dice as standard with casualties recorded using a casualty marker like this;


Being of a slightly better standard with a noble magnate as their commander I will represent these as Retinue / Garrison bow as opposed to the standard Shire bow, here are the rosters that I use for comparison;

UNIT NAME
Retinue / Garrison Longbowmen
POINTS
6
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6+
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
5+
Shoot Value / Range
4+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Longbow*

*Ignore -1 at ranges of 12” or more

UNIT NAME
Shire Longbowmen
POINTS
4
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6+
Move
6+
Defence Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 18”
Courage
4+
Maximum movement
6”
Armour
2
Special Rules
Longbow*

I hope you enjoyed this post, it's definitely been one of my slower units to create, especially for a 10 figure net result given the time but it's certainly been fun for me. I'm sure they'll be slaughtered to a man on their first outing !

Bye for now

Stuart



Saturday, 19 May 2018

Renaissance Rampant rule adaptations



The Lion Rampant adaptation that Oli and I use for our wargames will be published in the June issue of Wargames Illustrated, WI 368.

We still continue to make tweaks to these as we play, generally to the army listings but the principle remains along the format that I write about in the article.

The article is accompanied by some photographs of my collection along with some from the Perry's as well as Wargames Foundry. The images were taken from my blog and help the narrative, I would of course have liked more but I can't complain at 8 pages ! I'm pleased with the way it turned out and hope it offers some inspiration for you to amend the rules for your own games or indeed use ours.











My desk is looking somewhat chaotic against my usual focus as I have 5 projects on the go so it'll be as much of a surprise to me as to which will be completed first. Suffice it to say that there are some particularly cool conversions coming up.

This year marks 10 years since I started painting again and working on the armies of 1513, at times it feels a bit idiosyncratic but there's no sign of any let up and to do what I'd like to do (at my pace) there's easily another decade in it, lots more units, scenarios and excellent terrain and building projects, it almost feels like an illness at times !

Well on that note, cheerio for now.

Stuart

Stuart

Monday, 7 May 2018

Renaissance Rampant AAR Tudor Rebellion !


This weekend I hosted a series of 3 linked games with fellow Renaissance enthusiast Oli of the Camisado blog. Oli and I have complementary collections of Italian Wars figures for which we have spent the last year or so working to create an Italian Wars amalgamation of the Lion Rampant & Pikeman's Lament rules as a basis for our wargames. The main focus was to create some bespoke army lists for our early Tudor and French collections as well as some period additions which we feel bridge the gap between the rule sets. 

Our games often have a loosely historical theme and this weekend was no exception. To give you the best feel for the games we played we will present them in a shared post. Here I shall introduce the scenarios, historical background and a few photographs and over on Oli's blog you can read the after action reports and see the majority of the photographs.

As is somewhat evident I've long been fascinated by the Tudor period and particularly the exploits and intrigue during the early part of Henry VIII's reign. Though the Wars of the Roses had come to an end the Yorkist threat remained ever present and no more so than in 1514; a year after the invasion of France and victory at Flodden a very real adversary lay just across the Channel.

There now follows a short summary of the De la Pole family line. If you'd like to know more about this and other threats to the Tudor dynasty I thoroughly recommend a read of The Last White Rose by Desmond Seward.


With the death of his only son in 1484 Richard III elected his nephews John, Edmund, William and Richard de la Pole as legitimate heirs. Richard's death at Bosworth derailed this somewhat but for the the De la Pole's it was not the end. In 1487 John landed with an army of German and Irish mercenaries in an attempt to raise rebellion once more in England. He did not get the anticipated support and met his end at the Battle of Stoke Field.

Edmund fled to the low countries and initially gained protection from Maximilian I but political intrigue meant that he also met his end in England. Henry had him executed in 1513 as he left to invade France.

William was somewhat less keen to cause trouble but Henry VII had him imprisoned in the Tower in 1502 where he would remain in captivity for the next 37 until his death.

Richard had other ideas, he also fled to the continent but took shelter in the French court of Louis XII where following the death of Edmund he was championed by Louis as King of England. He did not shy from danger giving military service to Louis and later Francis I. He was present at the siege of Therouanne commanding a force of 6000 Landsknechts (I believe this was in the relief army rather than the besieged). This number rose to 12'000 in 1514 as Louis funded preparations for an invasion of England with Richard at its head. By June everything was in place with the Scots offering a route over the border, a repeat of 1487's rebellion seemed likely only this time a battle hardened commander would lead a professional force.


Unfortunately for Richard diplomacy ended his ambitions as Louis made peace with Henry. Richard continued to serve the French crown and his ambitions but was killed commanding a contingent of Landsknechts at the Battle of Pavia. Upon hearing news of this from an imperial messenger Henry is said to have cried 'All the enemies of England are gone - give him more wine !'

As host I put together the following 3 linked games to represent Richard's Invasion. As this was a mini campaign of sorts we also tried out using the boasts from the LR & PL rules as a means to gain additional points.

Part 1
July 1514, Richard De la Pole has landed at Leith and moved South at the head of a Rebel army. After gaining local support the first ward of the army makes its way over the border to advance inland when sight of the English is made.
Set up
The game is played with a large ridge running across the middle of the board, obscuring visibility for both sides. The Rebels deploy along the Western edge and must exit via the Eastern edge. The English must try their best to stop them.
Special Rules
·         Players roll to see who starts.
·         Counters are used for movement until a unit crests the hill at which point the army seen by the unit is revealed and the other army stays hidden until an enemy unit does the same.
·         All units activate on 6+ and move 7 inches until revealed.
·         Units behind the crest of the ridge cannot fire upon targets at the other side of the crest. 
Ending the mission
Play until only one side has units on the table.
Victory conditions
The Rebels gain 1 point for each unit they get off the table, the English gain 1 point for each Rebel unit they destroy.
Opposing Forces

The English, 36 points

1 Unit Shire Bow, 4 points
1 Unit Shire Bill, 5 points
1 Unit Retinue Bow, 6 points
1 Unit Retinue Bill, 6 points
1 Unit Foot Knights, 6 points
1 Unit of Demilancers, 5 points
Culverin, 4 points 

The Rebels, 36 points

2 Units of Landsknecht Pike, 8 points
1 Unit of Landsknecht Arquebusiers, 5 points
1 Unit Mounted Crossbowmen, 4 points
1 Unit of Rebel Foot Knights, 6 points
1 Unit of Rebel Shire Bow, 4 points
1 Unit of Rebel Men at Arms, 5 points
Culverin, 4 points

Here are some photographs from our game which featured a newly commissioned set of ridge boards from David Marshall of TM Terrain.
You can read the outcome over on Oli's blog, it was an entertaining game made especially more fraught by the initial obscured movement.





Part 2,
The White Rose is proving his worth and days are turning into anxious weeks as he consolidates his hold. Louis XII & The Duke of Albany both send promised reserves to bolster the invasion for a march on the Capital. The English fall back and make a stand at a vital river crossing.
Set up
As per Scenario E in Lion Rampant.
Special Rules
·         A non-battered unit counts as holding the objective when it begins the owner’s activation phase as the only unit placed on the objective.
Ending the mission
Play until one side has accumulated 5 Glory points.
Victory conditions
A player gains 1 point each time they begin an activation phase with one of their units occupying the objective at the start of their turn. 
Opposing Forces 

The English, 36 points

1 Unit Shire Bow, 4 points
1 Unit English Pike, 4 points
1 Unit Retinue Bow, 6 points
1 Unit Retinue Bill, 6 points
1 Unit Border Horse, 5 points
1 Unit of Demilancers, 5 points
2 Organ Guns, 6 points

The Rebels, 36 points

1 Unit of Landsknecht Pike, 4 points
1 Unit of Landsknecht Arquebusiers, 5 points
1 Unit of Scots Pike, 4 points
1 Unit of Kern & Horseboys 6 points
1 Unit of Gallowglass 4 points
1 Unit French Men at Arms, 5 points
1 Unit Ordonnance Archers, 4 points
Culverin, 4 points

Unfortunately I took less photographs during this game as my mind was focussing upon stemming the tide of Rebels making toward the bridge. The game was over very quickly.


This hill was also part of the recent terrain commission, I added some small brass tubes into it to accommodate twisted wire trees from The Model Tree Shop.


Part 3,

End Game. De la Pole has reached the outskirts of London, Henry takes the field to defend his right to the throne.

Set up

As per Scenario A in LR. The forces deploy along the N and S edges. The board is rolling countryside (possibly with walls at one end.)

Special Rules

None, it's a fight to the death.

Ending the mission

Play until death or a player concedes defeat.

Victory conditions

Players gain 1 point for each enemy unit destroyed or routed.

Opposing Forces

Each side is split into two retinues comprising 30 points worth of troops from the forces listed in the preceding 2 games plus 20 additional points of troops. (the English from the English listings and the Rebels from the English/French/Irish listings).
This was a long hard fought battle fought all day with a very close finish. Due to the size of the armies the two retinues a side worked well and aided the smooth ebb and flow. The large size of the game was easily accommodated by the rules and very much the more enjoyable for that though for ease we ignored the 3" rule. It was refreshing for the absence of long addition and tables that some of the Battle rulesets inevitably come down to. There was a great period feel and you could almost hear the sound of the guns (which I might have spent a bit too long photographing).







For our games Oli took the part of the Rebels and provided troops for them to serve alongside my Landsknechts in French service and Men at Arms. His recently completed Irish alongside Scots and Rebel infantry made for a visual feast and complemented by my Tudor collection the games were a convincing adaptation of the historical background.

As you can see the forces we used were larger than Lion Rampant was intended so these are very much mini battles but I don't see why the scenarios couldn't be adapted for more typical games.

Oli's report will be up in a week or so, a wait worthwhile to hear the result of the Yorkist cause.

We had a great time and even managed to get to the pub and drink responsibly.

All the best

Stuart