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

18 comments:

  1. What a stunning looking game Stuart! Great to see your superb figs getting love.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Simply lovely.

    Great photo's, very atmospheric

    ReplyDelete
  3. A superb looking game - the Irish look great herding the cattle in!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great looking game! Very inspiring narrative and photographs.
    And superb terrain and figures :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. A magnificent show of force and talent! What a joy it must be to do battle with such luminaries in the hobby using such handsome troops.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Gaming with wargaming royalty Stuart. Well done. I have always admired the work of Simon Chick ever since I saw the photograph of his Burgundian army all those years ago.Your units are an inspiration, I particularly like your French archers, a cracking unit.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow! That is some stunning photography and fantastic looking armies!

    Christopher

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's a very fine looking array of troops.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great pictures and figures !
    Thanks for pleasure !
    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Any great report, with your amazing figs. Glad to see that you motivation is still going strong.

    ReplyDelete
  11. An excellent day ...
    In excellent company...

    All the best. Aly

    ReplyDelete
  12. Some gorgeous eye candy here, lovely stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fantastic looking game, gorgeous figures and terrain!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
  14. Excellent looking game Stuart

    ReplyDelete
  15. Magnificent Stuart!

    I have been researching Breton units from the "Mad war" which will be my next project, using inspiration from your collection!

    cheers
    Matt

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a real pleasure to admire such wonderful pictures! Wonderful figures and terrain, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. The figures are works of art, absolutely beautiful!
    Dave.

    ReplyDelete