Saturday, November 19, 2011

Preparation for Pudsey Recon - Vienne 1356

I've touched upon the topic of my doing a Display/Participation (more of the former I suspect) game to round of the year at the Pudsey Recon games show in the blog before.  My intention being to refresh and dig out my massive Medieval collection for the job.

Stage one was to audit what models I actually had, it turned out a fair few.  The Combination of English, French, Flemish, German and Navarrese troops I have in my Hundred Years War collection came to some 600 infantry and 80 cavalry, not to mention 6 cannon!  Nevertheless there were some gaps and some models that could be improved upon, hence recent painting activity.

Stage two was to pick a battle, and for various reasons I've selected Poitiers, not least in that I'd already done a small and simplified version of the battle earlier this year, and fancied a second go at it.

Stage three has been to get the research right.  To that end Ive been busy boning up on the period with a couple of useful tomes:

Next, I felt I needed to do my bit to promote the show, which thanks to the terrible weather was far too quiet last year!  To be frank they do themselves few favours, by being rather 2001 about promotion rather than 2011.  But I can help with that:

The full address for the venue is:

Pudsey Civic Hall, Dawson's Corner, Pudsey, Leeds, LS28 5TA 

Or just off the Leeds outer ring road at the roundabout shown below:

The event this year is on 3 December, and runs from 10-4pm, with a host of the usual traders, and a Bring and Buy, and Hordes of The Things (15mm) tournament.  I will be looking forward to seeing if the bar this year has it's usual overpriced fare and jug of mint sauce on hand...

Lastly, I've begun to get some games of Hail Caesar in again, to ensure I'm comfortable with the rules for the show.  For a first practice run, I trotted out the lads for a hypothetical battle based on the Poitiers campaign.

Edward the Black Prince's Chevauchee, or great raid, was being harried hard by King John II, But Edward envisaged being able to beat the larger French enemy in detail if it could be caught crossing the Vienne river that lay between him and the French.  In the end he never achieved this, and had to fight in more compromised circumstances (though ultimately, victoriously, in a close run battle), but this game supposed that the Gascons and English were able to catch the French crossing over the river.

The game was thus set with the French in mid crossing; only one unit was allowed over the bridge per turn and the bulk of their force was in column when the English appeared.  The river was impassable save by the Bridge (the Vienne in real life is at least 100m wide in the region of Poitiers); other terrain was largely inconsequential.

The French with the first turn were able to face the Gascon knights and Shire yeomanry in some order, but made little progress.  The Gascons under Captal de Buch advanced to, trying to form a supported attack along the river bank, but finding the supporting bowmen to be in some confusion, and too far back to engage early.

The first contact was made by the Gascons, and met with some success, though by the open woodland the French had the upper hand, near the River the Gascons killed or captured many French nobles.

The French had to reinforce with Pavisiers, and sent Genoese crossbowmen into farmland west of the river in the hope of flanking the enemy.

By the woods the French chivalry found itself massively outnumbered, it's impetuosity leading to it being trapped by exhausted Gascon knights supported by the Wolds, and Welsh bowmen and the personal retinues of both the Gascon and English commanders.

They managed to capture most of those left, but by now, both sides' cavalry was blown.  An open field stood littered with the wounded and dying where once they had been.  The French continued slowly to reinforce the bridgehead.  whilst the English attempted to get into bow range.

Sadly for them, a mixture of blundered commands and weak spirit when faced by greater numbers saw the English retire out of range; and the battle ended as a tactical draw, but a strategic victory for the French, who retained the Bridgehead to bring the rest of their troops over.

A useful practice with small forces, not as Steve, who played the English assumed, the actual game I intended for the show; it's far too small for my blood Steve!  No, this warm up was little more than a third the size, and mainly served to remind me of the rules I usually forget.

Back to the painting and scenery scrounging then...


  1. Looking forward to seeing your game, not tried hail Caesar for medievals yet.


  2. Great looking game just the same. Still to try out HC, maybe one day.