Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold.
A English Civil War game using the Baroque supplement for Basic Impetus.
This was a historical refight of one of the closing battles of the Civil Wars with a motley crew of poor quality Royalist garrison troops defending a ridge against Parliaments New Model.
I was for the King and had a good position, occupying a long ridge that ran the width of the battle field. That was the extent of the good news. Other than three units of reasonable galloping horse my foot was pretty poor and I was up against the best that Mr Cromwell and his friends had to offer.
All I had to do though was hang on for 2 hours or so, hold the ridge and stop my army from routing. (Historically the Royalist stood for a whole half-an-hour before fleeing).
Opposite me was a mixture of good quality foot and trotting horse and units of Dragoons. Each side was also given a single artillery battery but we agreed that these would have a single dice shot (needing “6” in order to cause casualties.
We also reduced the musket range down to half the distance of those stated in the Basic Rules.
One draw back was that I had to deploy as per the historical account which meant I had a pretty thin line with cavalry on the wings and my better troops scattered along the line amongst the poorer garrison troops. Ideally I would have liked to concentrate my better troops or at least deploy some as a reserve behind the ridge.
To begin with I was doing very little. I had superior cavalry on the right so advanced these off the hill to threaten Micks left and give his Centre something to think about. Micks centre was very strong with three crack regiments of foot.
On the right I had some more galloping horse and a single unit of dragoons. I was outnumbered here but wanted to try and mess the lines up a bit to make it difficult for Mick to re-deploy and turn in to my flank if/when he got past this wing.
Mick had clearly decided to start with an assault on the left of my line. He advanced his trotting horse and dragoons and they were soon exchanging fire with my own dragoons. The first of many dreadful saving throws resulted in my dragoons being swept aside. I responded with a charge down the hill in to Mick’s advancing cavalry. The swept through one unit of trotting horse before following up in to a second and being shot to pieces my the trotters horse pistols.
Straight away my left was looking problematic.
On the right my cavalry sat staring at a regiment of foot supported by a cavalry regiment but there was no need to advance on to them. The longer the enemy stayed put the better my chances of a win.
In the centre the Parliamentarian crack units advanced on my garrison troops with grim inevitability.
I had one good unit of Foot and a weakened unit of Cavalry remaining on the left but they were massively outnumbered. I opted to withdraw these off the ridge but not too far. This would keep them out of harms way in the short term while being too much of a threat to allow Micks right to turn in to my centre (a refused flank if you like).
The musketry began in earnest in the centre now and the grim reality of the situation became apparent. After some more disastrous saving throws I immediately lost a regiment of foot and two others were significantly weakened. As a result I had a single dice for each of my remaining three units while Mick was rolling on 4 dice per each of his regiments. At this point there was no point in Mick closing with me as it was quite obvious it was only a matter of time before he could shoot me off the hill with minimum risk to his own forces.
I was nervously looking at my watch now, counting the minutes before the game ended. I was tempted to spend precious minutes rule hunting during my turn but this was not the Cavalier thing to do.
I still had a fresh infantry unit and two units of fresh cavalry on the right. I stripped one of the cavalry regiments to bolster the centre and but the writing was already on the wall.
Micks Dragoons and Cavalry pressed forward in to my refused left flank and in quick succession knocked out a further infantry unit and the weakened cavalry unit. This took my army past the break point and my army routed.
A decisive victory for Parliament with Mick losing only 2 units to my 5. However I can be quietly please that at least I lasted longer than the royalist on the day!
Given all I had to do was hold on I think I should have done more to actually slow the advance of Mick’s troops. My choices were limited by the deployment but still though I never had a shot at beating the New Model, I think I could have held them just for a bit long. The game ended after 1 ½ hours of the 2 hours allotted. Just half-an-hour longer…….