Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Battle of Brampton 1643

I've managed to get a couple of Black Powder games in of late; nice to put some historical miniatures on the table again for the first time in a while.  Myself and James agreed to an English Civil War game based on my usual light modifications of the BP rules; for a scenario I took the very first from the venerable Charles Grant Scenario book.  Seriously, if you don't have a copy of it, track one down!

The scenario called for one force to defend a number of redoubts around the some critical villages at the head of a river crossing, and ideal situation for my West Country forces to face one another in.

I took command of the Parliamentarians tasked with attacking the redoubts, whilst James led the Royalists in defending them.  The scenario demanded he deploy three of his four guns to the redoubts, from which they could not move or redirect their fire.  Nevertheless , the position of these was such that the key approaches were well covered, on top of this he could deploy his final gun and selection of troops as he saw fit along a limited position.

For my part I had more infantry and cavalry, but less artillery, and would need to bring the latter to positions of deployable fire; not an easy task for 17th century guns.  I deployed my cavalry to the open right, expecting to face his Horse in return, whilst my infantry brigades deployed to storm the village defences.

My initial intent was to try to rush the artillery on the Parliament right, their flank covered by dense woodland, and then to turn on the rear of the village.  But alas my cavalry proved unwilling to the task and slow to rouse.  This allowed James to counter their advances and initially hold the advantage.  I was obliged therefore to advance on the village.


The initial attempt proved to be against the common ground on my left;  James had maintained a range of reserve regiments and began to redeploy one of these in anticipation of the attack.  However the position of his regiment in the hedged field proved unassailable; stymieing my assault.

Things progressed better elsewhere though, as my cavalry managed to force the open ground from the hands of the enemy; but effectively cross-fired by artillery as it was, were unwilling to push across it to the rear of the Royalists.  Additionally James had moved to occupy the village inn and its' grounds, obliging me to a heavy attack on the village; two regiments of foot attacking the inn whilst my forlorn hope attacked one of the enemy redoubts.


The pressure was mounting.

Having manged to cross the ground without loss to the largely ineffectual gunnery of the village artillery placements, the forlorn hope attempted to carry the day in a desperate fight.

On the other side of the village a cavalry charge against one gun was fought off with rammers and linstocks.  it took an infantry assault to take the gun, but this piece was not deployed to a redoubt.  The inn was wrested from the control of the royalists, but not without loss.  Likewise the forlorn hope overran the gun in the centre of the village; but by this time my left flank had collapsed and retired.

My chances of victory now depended on the original plan of overrunning the forest edge redoubt and threatening the royalist lines from behind.  But luck was against me.  Again James' canny use of reserves and the difficulty of attacking the dug in defences made such attempts lead only to failure. 


Eventually my cavalry broke, and with that all hope of taking control of the field drained away.  The Royalists held Brampton and its' critical ford, whilst the Parliamentarians had to withdraw and lick their wounds.

As ever, another scenario by Mr. Grant proves its' worth, avoiding the cliches of a simple line-'em-up-and-knock-'em-down game.

Personally, it's another defeat though.  I haven't won a battle in a while now!


1 comment:

  1. Great looking game and fine report. Shame about the result, but the night is always darkest before the dawn! ;-)