Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Braddock Down 1643 - Part 2: the refight

And so we come to the battle itself.  It was a normal club night and there was no inherent ceremony to the event, just myself and Gav getting together for one of our occasional games.

The terrain was laid out as best we could to reflect the map, and the troops likewise deployed.

Royalists closest to the camera here
 Hopton had thrown forward some of his cavalry and infantry to the area around the Middle Top house, whilst the rest of his force was disposed to the gentle ridge behind.

 Whilst the smaller Parliament force was gathered on the opposite side of the moor.

 Battle was led by the Royalists, who did not have the best of starts, kicking off their orders with a confused blunder, resulting in the entire company of foot wheeling to its' left under the impression Hopton wanted it to outflank Ruthven rather than attack him head on.

 This was a valuable delay as far as the Parliamentarians were concerned, the longer the Royalists took to advance the more chance there was of their artillery arriving.  They brought their cavalry up to secure the left flank on the boggy ground, but the right refused any orders to advance.

Hopton managed to organise his lines and make the best of the initial confusion.  he found his troops rather deeply arrayed, but clear of the fields that could've obstructed his advance.

End of turn two
 Hopton's Dragoons trotted gamely forward past the farm.

 Ruthven had brought up his reserve Scottish and  tried to present a reinforced line, but it was never going to be as stout as the Royalist line.

 However Ruthven had a greater strength, at least in numbers, of cavalry, and so tried to use them to stall or unnerve the Royalists.  Ruthvens heaviest cavalry found themselves close to Hopton's dragoons, and thus proceeded to entertain them with their swords.  Meanwhile in the rear, the Parliamentarian artillery train had arrived.

Roundhead cavalry advances
 The dragoons saw the worst of the engagement and were swiftly routed.

Curse you all!
 Ruthven's horse advanced and soon engaged Hopton's second line.  But the Royalist infantry was happy to level pike and march on the Parliament horse, given their numbers they felt assured of a victory.  Hopton's horse on his right were ordered to charge the flank of the enemy horse, but confused by such fancy words as 'attack the enemy left', turned left (blundered) and trotted off behind their own cavalry.

 Ruthven's horse were unable to hold nevertheless, 80 or so swords and pistols against some 1000 pikes was  one sided affair.

Add caption
 But the right offered more promise and Ruthven was able to commit Carew's best cavalry to a combined charge.

 Which went disastrously.

All is lost!
 The lead regiment collapsed after being fought to a standstill, and as it turned and ran it swept away its' support.  The Royalist cavalry was exhausted but held the ground.

Hopton's foot now sought to press their advantage in numbers against the Parliament foot.  Unsurprisingly at the first whiff of shot, the Cornish militia turned and fled, leaving only Ruthvens three Scottish regiments to face the five of the Royalists.

More fleeing 
 By now however the artillery train had reached the front line, and the train guards dashed ahead to enfilade the Royalist lines.  The greater fire-power of the Scots afforded them valuable time as the Cornish loyalists found themselves out-gunned and in constant disorder.

The centre becomes a grinding match
 Having failed to charge the Parliamentarian left flank earlier in the battle, a series of blunders had seen the horse from Hopton's right end up on the Liskeard road on the left.  As a unit they were ill disciplined and rash, and having achieved nothing of any use thus far in the battle, charged the first enemy they saw; who just happened to be hastily deployed artillery.

Boom boom boom boom boom, as Baldrick might wax poetically.
 Heavy cannon raked their lines and sent them into an immediate panic.  The award for most useless unit of the day was clear therefore.  At least Ruthvens Cornish foot had advanced when and where they were asked to, Hopton's cavalry couldn't manage even that.  At this stage both sides cavalry were dispersed and it was down to an infantry and artillery battle.

Crisis point
 Grenville's veterans turned the flank of the Scots, as both lines were locked, pouring a fire upon the second line whilst a fresh regiment pressed the front line to push of pike.  In hand to hand the greater numbers of pike in the Royalist units played to their favour, and overall the Scottish were severely mauled.

We're finished this day
Ruthven recognised his centre was broken and conceded the field to the Royalists.  

Gav had commanded of the Royalists, whilst I'd taken the Parliament cause, it was fair to say we had more of a scrap than occurred on the day itself, which had boiled down to the royalist cavalry chasing off the enemy horse and causing the infantry to lose heart at the first advance,  The outcome did not feel certain here, though it gradually moved to a point of inevitability.  

For a more balanced battle one could keep the same forces but allow Ruthven his artillery from the start (perhaps Hopton delays too long), or you could allow commanders to deploy troops as they see fit and see what results.  Either should produce a less certain result in my view.  

Overall this was an enjoyable little battle, and nice to get the old boys back on a table.  I realise now that I hadn't used these models in six years.  Damn!



  1. Good stuff thanks for sharing I still have a hankering to do ECW but can't commit to it yet.

  2. We might try this scenario, thank you, sir.

    -- Jeff