The Emerald Musketeers

The Emerald Musketeers

Friday, 11 September 2020

Attack On Trewes Castle

Nicholas Taylor, commander-in-chief of the Kenborough forces, convened a Council of Warre at the Kenborough civic hall. He had been forced to accept that the Royalist garrison at Trewes Castle would continue to be a thorn in his side with continual harrasment to his lines of supply and sporadic attacks against his patrols unless the castle was attacked and the “nest of vipers driven out”.

 His senior officers pointed out that the recent loss of a supply trayne carrying powder and shot from Derby (to yet another Cavalier raid) would leave the garrison pitifully short of ammunition if the proposed attack became a protracted affair, and suggested requesting the assistance of Sir John Gell and his garrison in Derby, “in the hope of delivering a swift victory and control of this strategically important fort”.

Sir John Gell was duly consulted, and not only agreed to the undertaking, but also persuaded Colonel Thomas Grantham, who was taking his regiment to join the investment of the Royalist held city of Lichfield, to detour and join him on the march eastwards through the Erewash valley.

 

On the morning of the attack, Taylor established his field headquarters between the Trewes road and the river Erewash, where both troops of the Kenborough Horse (Taylor's and Bing's), Jessop's, Wagstaff's and Hampden's regiments of foot and Hill's dragoons formed up and prepared to “march on”.

 

Seeing this activity, the Royalist garrison, made up of Sedgewick's and Harrison's horse, the Trewes Trayned Band, Blake's and Broughton's regiments of foot, sallied out from the castle and took up a defencive line on the hill, intending to cary the fight to the enemy.

 

With no sign yet of the trayne of artillery or Sir John Gell, the Kenborough men advanced in good order and deployed into line of battle.

 

Hill's Dragoons formed a firing line on the far right of the Parliamentarion line, but this exposed position saw them immediately come under attack from the Royalist cavalry facing them.

 

However it was at this moment that a loud cheering erupted from the Parliamentary line. Sir John Gell had arrived on the field via the Chertney Mill road!

The dragoons had been driven off by the cavaliers, but Colonel Bing's troopers had swiftly moved into position to oppose the Royalist horse, thereby preventing any outflanking manouver they might have attempted against the line of pike and shot. Lord Sedgewick in the meantime had held his nerve when hearing of the roundhead reinforcements arrival and had despatched his own troop of horse to delay the enemy at the bridge while he instigated an orderly retirement back to the castle gates.

 

 

Gell's horse managed to fight their way over the bridge, attempting to clear the road for the foot regiments to advance and prevent the Royalists reaching the safety of Trewes Castle.

 

It was a close run thing, but as the Parliamenarian forces closed the net around the beleaguered Royalists, all of the foot and the remains of the horse managed to return to the castle and the gates were closed.


With the castle surrounded, Sir John Gell (as the senior officer present) arranged a parley with the defenders, during which he explained that the trayne of artillery would be arriving within the hour and was expected to be deployed and in action against the fortification before the evening set in.


In the interests of avoiding uneccessary bloodshed, Lord Sedgewick was offered the terms of marching out “with colours and personal arms”, but NOT “bag and baggage” (ensuring that as much of the recently plundered powder and shot remained in the castle armoury as possible!)


This battle evolved as part of the ongoing campaign and provided the perfect excuse to make further inroads to my “projects list” as we continue to endure Covid19 lockdown - with no real sign of a return to work for our branch of the entertainment industry for some time to come!

So, I set about painting up 2mm scale duplicates of my existing 28mm ECW units (and added Gell's and Grantham's regiments of foot, which will have their 28mm counterparts added to the collection in due course) and made myself a DIY 'Travel Battle' board from an offcut of plywood and grass mat which fits rather neatly inside an old Monopoly game box. Modular roads and river sections were cut from grass mat and felt, but looking at the photo's I think the roads need replacing, ah well, just add another project to the list – along with “Trewes Hill” which was made by sticking grass mat to a carved piece of foam core........ which warped when the glue dried!

Many thanks for visiting the blog, it's been a while since the last post here thanks for Tempus doing its Fugit thing.

2mm really is at its best when used for BIG battles, but I hope I've demonstrated here that it's just as usefull for fighting same sized engagements we would normally employ 28mm miniatures for, but on a TINY compact, portable “table”. Your thoughts and comments are as ever, most welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 7 June 2020

All At Sea


Following their hard (Br)exit from Urop after a desperate forced march (see here: Retreat From Corona), the Emperor Mordred believed the troublesome Britorcs had been taught that they were no match for the glorious Ferach Grande Armee,, and despite the elves disastrous defeat at the battle of Trafalgore, the remnants of the Ferach navy had been tasked with enforcing the Emperor's “Continental System” – the trade war designed to bring the “Nation of Shoplifters” to their knees.
So it was that Emmanuel Jean-Michel Macaron, commander of the frigate L'Espadon was sailing towards the Isles of Wights, a collection of rocky islands which screened the Britorcan port of Portsmuff.
Once past Castle Rock, Macaron would head due north towards the Albion coast before turning again, north west and hope to pick off any blockade runners.
The Ferach captain was just contemplating the fact that he'd be "In Irons" (sailing directly into the north Westerly wind) once he began patrolling along the coastline, when his thoughts were disrupted by a cry from up in the crows nest - "Sail Ho!"
The Britorc flagship HMS Hammer of Albion, under command of Admiral Barkly had left Portsmuf ahead of a fleet of loaded transport ships bound for Algarvey and was now rounding the Isles of Wights.


Initial set up with the wind blowing from the top left corner (NW)
The following encounter uses "Galleys & Galleons" rules by Ganesha Games, and models from Games Workshop's "Dreadfleet".
L'Espadon is Quality 3 and Combat 4. She's galleon rigged has the razée trait (so she's fast and maneuverable), trained gun crews and drilled soldiers making up her boarding party.

HMS Hammer of Albion is Q4 and C6. Galleon rigged with high castles and reinforced hull. As well as trained gun crews and drilled soldiers, her crew includes veteran NCO's, a master gunner and a pilot, as befits her Captain General's flagship status. (So she should be capable of out-fighting her opponent, but is slower and less maneuverable)

The Hammer of Albion had the initiative, but Barkly could only bring her about onto a southerly facing (only passed one activation!) while L'Espadon approached and swung into the wind, which had now moved two points to blow from due north.
(Macaron passed two activations and added the razée bonus move. However, he rolled a "double" which results in a wind shift, and now the elves are 'In Irons' facing the wind while the orcs have the advantage of the wind behind them)
The Britorc crew apparently recovered from the surprise of meeting an elven ship this close to home (they passed two activations - which also produced a "double"), with the wind shifted back to the north west, Barkley allowed the Hammer to sail forward and delivered a broadside towards the elven ship.

Apart from raising some impressive plumes of spray and ripping a few holes in her sheets, L'Espadon was unaffected by the broadside. However, Macaron only managed to bring the frigate about to take advantage of the new wind direction and make a razée move as he aimed to cut between the enemy galleon and Castle Rock

(At this point, both ships failed activation and so were limited to making a turn. L'Espadon was already on her most favourable facing, so it was only Barkly who brought his bow around to starboard by a few degrees)

The imposing bulk of HMS Hammer of Albion slid forwards while the elves held their breath in anticipation of the broadside - which came thundering in moments later!
The frigate took heavy damage and a fire broke out midships - the order "All hands to the pumps!" rang out across her decks.
(The Ferach ship would now have to spend three consecutive successful activations to extinguish the fire)
Macaron realised that he was in trouble, and though he was tempted to return a broadside before taking evasive action while his crew fought the fire, he decided to make a run for it.
(He attempted two activations, failed both with a "double" which shifted the wind to due west. This was in his favour thanks to his current heading, but he could only make a razée move)


Barkly (failed to activate) brought his flagship about, while L'Espadon moved slowly past Castle Rock with her deck alive with activity as the crew fought the fire. (Macaron passed two activations which he used to fight the fire, the movement was thanks to his razée bonus)


 With HMS Hammer of Albion hot on her heels,the crew of L'Espadon manage to extinguish the fire.


(Passing two activations plus razée allows her to out-distance the orc flagship.)
A timely victory since the transport ships were now approaching the Isles of Wight, and would now have a clear run to Algarvey. Barkley would shadow the army, but doubted the enemy frigate would return to trouble them.
The orcs are returning to the Peninsular under the command of Wheeling-Turn!

I've been wanting to give these rules a try for quite a while, and "lock down" has provided the opportunity to get the ships built and painted in faux Napoleonic livery, and allow me to neatly slot this game into my "Napoleonique" campaign which will now be appearing here on The Emerald Musketeers - I really need to read some O'Brian books so I can try and use the correct period nautical jargon in future!
If you've found any points of interest from this little seaborne skirmish, I'd love to hear from you, and I hope you'll be following The Duke of Wheeling-Turn's fortunes as he attempts to liberate Al Garvey and Catalucia from the grip of The Emperor Mordred's tyranny!

Saturday, 16 May 2020

For Parliament or For King


“For Parliament or For King” is a set of wargame rules written by one 'Stephen Gilbert' of this parish. It was also the question posed to Percival Bennet of Cherington village just prior to his arrest.

Percival answered “The one true King, King Jesus!” and was placed under arrest as a Roundhead sympathiser, to be taken to Trewes Castle to stand trial. The arresting party (joined by the Cherington 'clubmen' who were keen to see justice done) set off via Lansby Vale, intending to take the road over Mickle Hill.


Ensign Ambrose Hale was in charge of a company of musketeers returning to Kenborough garrison after an unsuccessful foraging expedition, hoping to perhaps at least bag some wild game as they made their way through Lansby Wood.
Ambrose recounts: The companie was traversing the woods in two sections, each with great care and stealth, keeping sharp lookout for any woodland game that might be taken. We heard the Trewes partie who were most noisesome in theyre approach, and we took up our positions in ambuscade.... thinking that we would engage the enemie or let him go by if his numbers were too great.

Quite aptly then, the following encounter was resolved using Stevies excellent rules, which are scaled at 1 figure represents approximatley 25 men (or 1 leader or “character”), and 1 inch equates to 20 paces.
Herebert Asheton leads a company from the Trewes garrison and has been joined by Samuel Gascoigne, in charge of the Cherington clubmen.
Ambrose Hale commands the right wing of the Parliamentarian muskets, and his second in command Godfrey Glover is on the left.
The Royalists start at the table centre line, and the Parliamentarian ambuscade deploys within ten inches of their own table edge.

Here then is the rest of Ambrose's account of the action: 
The enemie, for we knew them as such from their colours. advance towards us along the track which runs threw Lansby Wood. The head of the collum in good order, but what sounded more like a linch mobbe at the rear.
As they reached the clearing we gave fire, and the collum was halted by the surprise and our hail of shotte.
The enemie, in some confusion, turn'd to face us and we gave them another volley as at this same time, the unruly companie began to advanse from the rear.

Our continued fire held the enemie, and was beginning to take its tolle. But meanwhile the clubmen, impeaded by the wood, continued a slow advanse for many of their number were slow'd by the brambles amongst the trees.

The enemie before long began to return our fire with volleys of shotte of theyr own,
and soon after we were charged by the clubmen, whereby we did fight them with the butts of our pieces.
(The dice in the photo below were typical of the rolls made throughout the ensuing melee - the clubmen must have marched out under a ladder when they left Cherington!)


The fight went on with the clubmen, and tho' we had the better of them they held theyr ground for a long time. During our fight we could hear that ensign Hale and his men were now also engaging the enemie, with a fight that did continue untill we had seen off our foe.
Steeling ourselfs, we then advanced upon the enemie who were firing theyr pieces at ensign Hales men.


This bodie of men turn'd and met us hand to hand in the clearing.
(I'd been throwing a D3 each time a rank containing a "character" received a casualty, and on this occasion the officer took the fatal blow)


T'was during this desperate fight that the enemie captain was struck down, upon which, the Royalist soldiers took to theyr heels.
Upon our advance, we discovered the enemie had been taking a prisoner, mister Percival Bennet of Cherington and a supporter of The Cause. 
Having won the day we returned to Kenborough. Without any hoped for game birds but a feather in our cap non the less!


Godfrey Glover, a talented artist, painted “The Kings Men Retreat” in oils as a memento of his first engagement of the Great Rebellion - it hangs to this day in Kenborough Town Hall.

The rules worked very well indeed and gave a nice period feel to the game. I especially liked the fact that once a firefight starts, it's the difficult to stop, which was historically the case. Also worthy of note was the morale rules, which have a cumulative effect on a unit, but require NO record keeping.
Definitely added to my arsenal for future use!!

Many thanks for visiting, and please accept my apologies for my rendition of 17th century English - but that was how it was written in this (fictitious) part of the Erewash Valley!
If you are in "lock down" I hope you're coping well, and if you are out working I hope you're staying safe, and as always your comments or queries are most welcome.

Greg.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

UFFETON FIGHT

"Being ye true and accurate account of the conflict", (which follows on from the "raid on Trewes Castle armoury" which can be found here:-   Civil Warre In The Erewash Valley  )
 
 




 
Lord Sedgewick mustered troops from Hathlom House, Trewes and the castle garrison and led the battalia from Trewes Castle towards Kenborough, intent on retribution for the audacious raid that the roundheads had made on the castle armoury.
 
 

Local intelligence alerted the Parliamentarion garrison and the commander-in-chief Nicholas Taylor sallied out to intercept Sedgewick's route, deploying in a defensive posture at the village of Uffeton 



Parliamentarian deployment.

 


 
The artillery commanding the Uffeton Road, but with a restricted arc of fire.
 




Parliamentarian C-in-C Nicholas Taylor and his staff.

 

 
Sedgewick's scouts reported that the Parliamentary forces had positioned a field piece on the Uffeton road and had taken up positions on either side of the village. The Royalist commander ordered his foote to form up in line on either side of the horse, who would remain on the road and "drive off the malignants"! (Ensign Castledine nodded enthusiastically at the thought of taking revenge on the crop heads that had caused him to take an embarrasing ducking in their previous engagement!)
 
 

As they marched onto the field of battle, the Trewes Trayned Band (Royalist "blue regiment") received fire from Hill's dragoons lining the fence to their front.


 


From the road, Castledine couldn't believe his eyes! The body of men in the enclosure were the very scoundrels who had caused his troop to route while attempting to recapture the ammunition wagon! Disregarding his previous orders, he led Sedgewick's Horse off the road and prepared to charge the dragoons.
 

 
 

This unexpected manouver caused no small amount of confusion as the Trayned Band were forced to halt their advance, and also had their line of fire partially blocked. To make matters worse, the Royalist horse were now staring down the barrels of the rapidly reloaded muskets being presented over the common land fence!
 

The volley was devastating cutting down half of the cavaliers, yet failing to break their spirit (They PASSED the morale test!).
 

 

Castledine cursed, then cursed again as Sir James Harrison, the brigade commander galloped over to try and encourage the shattered regiment to charge........

  



….to no avail. The raw cavaliers took to their heels and set off pell mell towards Trewes sweeping their hapless ensign and Sir Harrison along with them.
 

Unruffled by the departing horse (units of foote have become quite used to seeing the cavaliers gallop hither and yon about the battlefield during training manouvers!) the Trewes Trayned Band stood their ground, but were startled by a flock of wild birds taking flight* and failed to give fire on the dragoons. (* a Random Event the startled musketeers fired their weapons at the birds) 
 
 
 
The Random Event card in the hastily prepared deck! 

The red D6 = "10's" and the result is read on the Random Event table
 
 

It was a slightly one sided fire fight, weighted in the dragoons favour thanks to the cover afforded them by the fence, and the Trewes foote soon found themselves faltering, and with the enemy horse off the field, Taylor ordered his own troopers out onto the left flank.
 


 

The sight of the approaching mounted troops was obviously too much for the Trewes Trayned Band, who turned about and began to march off. Henry Blake's regiment of foote (Royalist "red regiment") gave fire, rather unsportingly trying to shoot their opponent's commanding officer,
 

 
 
who decided to retire out of range after ordering Wagstaff's foote (Parliament "blue regiment") forward.
 

 
 

A cry went up from the musketeers on the right sleeve of Blake's foote - "Alarum! We are about to be attacked to our flank!". Sure enough, Hill's dragoons were now preparing to give way to the advancing body of Wagstaff's foote, and in so doing they were positioning themselves on the exposed Royalist flank.





 
 

Lord Sedgewick conceded that the day was lost and called the retreat. The remainder of the battalia shouldered their arms, about faced, and marched off in good order the the "Huzzahs" and cat calls of the Parliamentarian forces.
 
 
I hope, dear reader, that you will have taken into account that this battle was fought by inexperienced soldiers in the very early stages of the English Civil War. There would certainly be a few veterans who had gained experience in the Thirty Years War, but the bulk of the armies would be made up of enthusiastic (or conscripted) amateurs, and so I rated all units as "Raw" for this battle.


I'm using "Victory Without Quarter" by Clarence Harrison which are available as a free download from Quinda Studios, which assume a scale of 20 to 30 men per figure - so if you thought this was a "strange skirmish action" as you read the AAR, it might make more sense now if you re-read it from the perspective of a "battle" :-)


The rules have a great period "feel" to them and are 'solo friendly' thanks to the card driven mechanic. The "Order Deck" can (and mine WILL) be be made up with photo's of your actual miniature units as per the author's suggestion, but for this game I simply took a cheap deck of playing cards (2 packs for £1 in the cheapo stores) and marked them with a Sharpie. You only require one card per "unit" plus two "Artillery" and "Reload" cards, one "Turn Over" card, and one optional (but I highly recommend it) "Random Event" card.


The campaign itself is based around "Tinker Fox" by The Perfect Captain yet another EXCELLENT download available for free, though you have the option to make a charitable donation via the captains web site.
 
Many thanks for dropping by, and if you have any comments or queries then the Comments section below is just the place for you. We appreciate your company here at The Emerald Musketeers and would love to hear from you!


Article by Greg.