Five years ago we visited Edgehill on the way to Bosworth – photo of the battlefield from the garden of a nearby pub.
On Tuesday night we refought the battle of Edgehill using To the Strongest Rules. If you haven’t come across these before, they are a measurement lite, slick set of Ancients rules that also work very well for the Renaissance with the addition of some new troop types.
This battle was smaller than our previous effort of Marston Moor, and was completed in 2 and a half hours from getting the boxes of troops out until decisive victory. It could have been finished 45 minutes earlier, but the Royalists managed to hang on… that’s right, Parliament ended the war at the first attempt.
The Royalists deployed first and took the first move. They started with 14 victory medals to lose, as against 16 for Parliament. Both sides deployed with lrge brigades of foot in the centre, Cavalry on the flanks and commanded shot and dragoons in the rough ground at the edges. The Royalists start with a cautious advance on both flanks, and some ineffective firing from the artillery.
The musket fire from the Parliamentarian shot can be seen in the far distance. To speed up the game, this time I ruled that at the end of a turn all units would automatically reload – so to fire more than once in a turn you stil have to fire – reload – fire which limits the possible machine gun effect of multiple actions. Plus the smoke looks good. Parliament’s forces seized the hedges in the rough ground, and their horse advanced a little too.
The Royalists reply in kind, smoke billowing across the battlefield. rupert moves forward to personally supervise the skirmishing on the right.
Disaster strikes for the Royalists! The well hedged Parliementary shot despatch the advancing Royalist dragoons and Prince Rupert of the Rhine goes down with a musket ball in the brain! The Royalist right is now without a commander and much harder to co-ordinate. The Parliamentary horse have moved up to support the shot in the rough ground and contain the Royalist Cavaliers.
Royalist Horse on both flanks charge to contact in an effort to get their main attack going. They are superior to the troops they are facing, but short on pistols (only 1 shot per unit rather than 2). On the left they disorder the Parliament Horse as they charge in, but fail to despatch them, and are disordered in combat themselves.
The Parliamentary shot continue their excllent battle by routing some more Royalist dragoons on the left, and supporting their cavalry with fire to rout the Royalist attack. The Royalists are now risking demoralisation on both flanks and have yet to make any impact on the forces facing them.
The Royalist commander goes for the only option left, and the foot advance to firing range. The second cavaliers unit engages the enemy of the left.
The Parliamentary shot have advanced on the right, and open fire on the leaderless Royalist cavaliers from the safety of the hedged fields.
Firing continues across the field as the Royalists form a solid line. The commander had trouble keeping all of his troops within earshot while riding about to motivate them.
As the cavalry fights continue, the Parliamentary dragoons clear out the final Royalist troops in the rough ground. 4-0 to Parliament and command of both flanks, somewhat surprisingly.
The Royalist foot advance to support their horse on thr right. The artillery fire has slowed now as more gunpowder is brought forwards, although both sides have been completely ineffective anyway.
Smoke all along the line as Parliament opens fire. The Royalist horse on the left have routed, bowing to inevitability. The Royalists have lost 12 out of 14 points, leaving them on the verge of breaking. The Parliamentary commanders relax, assured of victory. They have cleared the Royalist left flank and can now roll up the centre at leisure.
The Royalist commander gets more of the foot into action, and wheels the left of the line to protect the flank.
Parliament replies in kind. Although the musketry is effective, the sheer size of 2,000 man brigades means it will take a while to grind them down. The commanders ride along, rallying and encouraging their troops.
The cavalry take 2 hits, the light infantry and artilley 1, and most of the infantry take 4 hits – so the infantry battle will be a slow affair.
Firing on the right, advancing on the left to crush the hing of the position.
Royalist cavalry in desperation charging into the rought ground on the righ to get at the musketeers firing at them. Charging even in the flank across hedges is fairly ineffective.
Surely it is all over now…
The Cavaliers finally kill a unit of Parliamentary horse on the right… supporting fire has kept them disordered and while their quality makes them difficult to kill, that means their attacks are ineffective. The main Royalist weapon has been nullified.
Thourough outflanking – but only by small units of musketeers.
The royalists on the right kill the other unit of horse, and face the dilemma of cavaliers – lacking a commander they have a 50% chance of rallying the horse from pursuit – but if they fail that is the commanders go. Or they can leave the horse to pursue into whatever is in front of them, and then potentially on to Kineton…
The Royalist position is holding…
…and after firing again, the second flank collapses to the fire from the musketeers.
It was a fun game, the focus was on the tactical situation, not looking up rules. The rules themselves work well for the period, but unit sizes are very important and big units can really bog the game down – we’ll see how that works with more play. I’ve been asked to think up army lists for Turks, so we may well be fighting different styles of warfare in some of our next games.
Keep up with To the Strongest here: http://bigredbat.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/TotheStrongest!
I took the army lists from here http://www.gmtgames.com/tacw/TACWPlaybook.pdf and the terrain from my copy of Edgehill Revisited. There’s another version of Edgehill that is in another of the GMT booklets, so we may do that another time.