For King & Parliament Campaign May 1643

This battle has it all. Blitz moves, traitors, flanking, rousing speeches, dramatic scenes of gentlemen wounded in battle, cavalry in mad pursuit etc. It was my best battle I fought with the For King & Parliament rules and probably one of the very best solo battles I ever played! Although I would rather play these battles with miniatures it shows that all it needs (at least for me) is a good rule set and some imagination. Although the added stakes from campaign play help quite a bit.

The Royalist Army

Before the battle I made sure of a even horse/foot quota points-wise. As the war progresses more and more seasoned units emerge. Recent losses seem to have thinned the ranks of skilled horsemen, though. The random event was “Traitor” but there was no brigade general to replace by a colonel so I ruled that the gallant gentleman I rolled for Gatring’s brigade was the traitor. Given that the Parliamentarian army fields two gentlemen accompanying the troops, it is safe to assume, the traitor found his way to the Parliamentarian camp the night before the battle.

Command…5
General Irving C-in-C

Brigade of Horse…31
Gallant Colonel Fielding
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted

Brigade of Horse…20
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned

Brigade of Foot…57
Colonel Gatring
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Pike heavy battalia -raw
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Dragoons – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned

113 points / 20 victory medals

The Parliamentarian Army

On the morning before the battle general Islington, who beat the Royalists handily at Thorne half a year ago, gave a rousing speech to his men. He even presented Sir Fleming who fled the Royalist camp under threat of his life to bring information and his support to the cause.

Command…9
General Islington C-in-C
Field artillery – seasoned

Brigade of Horse…19
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, attached shot
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Dutch”-style horse – raw

Brigade of Horse…30
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – veteran, well mounted, attached shot, gentleman
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw

Brigade of Foot…31
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried, large
Forlorn hope – raw

Brigade of Foot…16
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, gallant gentleman
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned

114 points / 23 victory medals (+1 from rousing speech)

The army has begun to field its horse in “Swedish”-style since April. Being a well liked and able general he even got the command of Baker’s Horse (veteran). The foot on the other hand is relatively fresh.

The Battle of Allerton Moor

Iconography
Parliamentarians in red, Royalists in blue
Unit with many vertical lines = horse
Unit with a horizontal line and vertical lines sticking out = pike and shot
Unit with several horizontal lines = Forlorn hope and Dragoons
Unit with three “+”-like signs = artillery
Red dice = hits
Green dice = ammo
Blue dice = dash
Red die on the left = raw
Red die in the middle = seasoned
Red die on the right = veteran
Hollow square = attached shot
Filled square = large
Question mark = untried
Hat = gentleman
Horse with + / – = well / poorly mounted

The dispositions after set-up. The Parliamentarians have one inexperienced unit of horse in reserve on their right flank, where their strong cavalry wing is situated. The fields in the center are surrounded by hedges and provide an excellent strong-point. The river is rather shallow passable anywhere but still considered rough terrain.

In a surprise rush General Irving sends his horse on the left flank up the hill. The Royalist horse completed crushes their opposition and rip a large hole in the Parliamentarian battle line from the get-go.

The men opposing the king are saved for now by successful Royalist horse pursuing without any sign of stopping. The second wave attacks meanwhile but cannot match the stunning success of the first wave. On the other side of the field the cavalry is locked in a standoff while the smoke of the first volleys of the foot begin to fog up the battlefield.

General Irving personally rode to stop his troops from pursuing and pillaging. He made it clear that such fine, distinguished gentlemen such as themselves where had a duty to fulfill before the spoils of war could be divided. Both units promptly turned their horses and fell into the Parliamentarian flank, riding another unit into the ground.

Elsewhere the fight or standoff continued without much gain.

With his entire right flank collapsing general Islington ordered Baker’s veteran horse regiment to attack and regain the initiative. With some support from other units Baker attacked and handily defeated a Royalist horse regiment, wounding colonel Gatring in the process. Islington meanwhile reordered his troops to defend the center against two directions of attack and gave up on his isolated units on his right.

The Royalists are now in firm control of their left flank. On their right they dealt with Baker’s horse but more Parliamentarian horse streamed in causing high casualties on both sides.

In the center colonel Fielding is wounded by a musket ball but keeps standing.

By midday the fighting ebbed as both sides were tired from hours of intense fighting.

Generals keep shifting troops and rallying wavering men. The second wave of Parliamentarian horse moves on the right.

The second wave’s attack is met with success and both sides have 8 victory medals left. On the other side of the field a spend and beaten horse regiment closes in on the Royalist flank in a rather unexpected move.

The flank attack, although poorly executed nearly ends in a disaster as General Irving falls off his horse in the tumult. Now, all three Royalist commanders have been wounded! After some minutes of rest Irving shrugs his dizziness off. If Colonels Gatring and Fielding can fight on wounded who would he be to retire to the rear.

The end of the battle. Royalists cleared the hedges in the center of enemy troops and break the Parliamentarians will to fight. With only 4 victory medals left a narrow win for the Royalists but at long last the first win in a major battle since the civil war started.

The Aftermath

As I changed the amount of SP (strategy points) earned per battle I thought it is only fair to grant the Parliamentarians the points from earlier battles. So for this turn the Royalists receive 5 SP for a narrow win and their adversaries receive 3 SP for a loss and another 3 SP from earlier wins for a total of 6 SP.

After the battle of Draycott in February the Royalists were in no position to attack the south and shifted to the northern part of England where the still hold popular support. Allerton Moor was a win the battered men of the King direly needed for their morale. It also brought West Yorkshire and Derbyshire to the fold. South Yorkshire was quickly retaken by the Parliamentarians, however.

After some month support for the Parliamentarians in Wales was eroded enough that Dyfed declared their neutrality.

Parliamentarians continued the siege of Oxford but the garrison still holds strong after many month. Parliamentarian support still grows south of the “fortress line” which alleviates their loss of land in the north and in Wales.

Portable Napoleonic Battle of Lauerritz

I decided to give the battalion level rules in Robert Cordery’s new book Portable Napoleonic Wargame (Eglinton Books, 2018) a try. After I played a game with the Divisional rules from the book I was disappointed by rule shortcomings and strange combat modifiers. Shooting seemed very effective while melee wasn’t. Two units sharing the same grid space posed quite a few rules questions. The battalion scale rules field a maximum of one unit per grid space which alleviates one problem I had.

The Scenario

Somewhere in Germany during the Befreiungskriege. Two French brigades are sent to the village of Lauerritz to secure the army’s flank. The allies have Russian and Austrian troops on the move against the French. They have more men but leadership is not unified between the allies.

To represent the situation I opted for more strength points for the allies and the use of command decks. The turn sequence is still IGOUGO but sides draw from a deck of playing cards to see how many units they can act with each turn (much like DBA’s pips).

French Army

The French command deck consists of cards with the values 3, 4 and 5.

1st Brigade
General d’Brigade Jeunet (6 SP)
3 battalions of line infantry (each 4 SP average)
1 artillery (2 SP average

2nd Brigade
General d’Brigade Foire (6 SP)
2 battalions of grenadiers (both 4 SP elite)
2 battalions of line infantry (both 4 SP average)

Austro-Russian Army

The allied command deck consists of cards with the values 2, 3 and 4.

Austrian Avant-Garde Brigade
General Tannhaus (6 SP)
2 Battalions of Grenzer (both 5 SP average)
2 Regiments of Hussars (both 3 SP average)

Russian Brigade
General Fedorovitch (6 SP)
3 battalions of line infantry (5 SP poor)

The Battle

The battlefield with fields in the center and Lauerritz to the east of them. French will enter via the road from the south (bottom). The Russians will enter from the west, also using the road. Finally the Austrians will arrive from the center of the northern map edge.
The little green dots are painted 1 Euro cent coins to depict the square grid. I put coins down on every second grid point to reduce the clutter on the battlefield.
The allies arrive and fan out their troops. Austrians farther away to the top.
The french position their artillery behind the fields which stop movement when entering (my own rule) and grab Lauerritz.
Austrian Hussars dash forwards. In the back the other unit of Hussars move around Lauerritz in a flanking maneuver. Both units are shot to pieces without achieving anything in the coming turns.
Firefights erupt west of Lauerritz. Units are constantly pushing and advancing.
After several turns the french finally manage to charge but melee is actually quite harmless compared to shooting in these rules.
The end of the game. Russians manage to flank the french but melee stays indecisive for several turns. Meanwhile another Russian unit flanks around this combat zone and destroys the french artillery. A win for the allies who forced the French to retreat.

Thoughts about the rules

Given how many lightweight rules alternatives there are on the market and for free the portable rules are lacking too much to be played in my opinion.

The above depicted melee was what broke it for me. The way modifiers work, the Russian flanking unit is less susceptible to lose men when flanking. So far so good. But is the French unit in dire straights for being flanked and in combat against two enemies? No, it isn’t. In fact the rather slim chances of losing men are further reduced to a 1 in 6 by the general supporting the French. They can literally fight for a dozen turns without effect while on other parts of the battlefield a unit can be shot to pieces quickly. Not to say that the artillery and musketry modifiers are more to my liking.

Adding to that, I can pretty much play many rules systems with a 1-2 page rules overview (QRS) but the rules layout of this book is standing in the way of clarity in my opinion. Said modifiers are formulated in lists of whole sentences which have to re-read quite a few times to find the ones that apply. A QRS is not included. There are good parts though. The decisions to suffer casualties vs push back tied to unit experience is a clever mechanic forcing the players to make though choices. In the end, though, I will rather move on to other rules that work in my opinion.

For King & Parliament Campaign February 1643

The bloody civil war drags on into 1643. Even though the supporters of the King have been dealt two crushing defeats, their strategic situation seems stable.

The Royalist Army

During the last month the troops got a better supply of ammunition which should prove useful during the battle (random event: Add 1 ammo to a unit of your choice)

Command
General Humphreys (C-in-C)
Field Artillery – seasoned

Battalion of Horse
General Calden
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried

Battalion of Horse
Colonel Firebrand
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, gallant gentleman
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, +1 ammo

Battalion of Foot
Colonel Lyre
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – veteran, large
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned
Rabble – raw

101 points / 19 victory medals

The Parliamentarian Army

With the ongoing war troops slowly build up experience. General Horton’s army is a good example of that, though leaders were hard to come by as Horton got the task to stem the Royalist tide from Gloucester.

Command
General Horton
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned

Battalion of Horse
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned, attached shot
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried

Battalion of Horse
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned, attached shot

Battalion of Foot
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Forlorn hope – raw

109 points / 19 victory medals

The Battle of Draycott

Humphreys and Horton meet in the area of Avon. The Royalists want to use Gloucester as a stepping stone into the south and Horton’s army marches to prevent that.

Most terrain was removed which lead to a very open battlefield. The Parliamentarians anchored their left flank on a forest and fielded a gun-line similar to what the Royalists tried unsuccessfully at Thorne.
Horse clashes on the flank while the Royalists move up their foot under heavy gunfire.
The battle is marked by indecisiveness and phlegmatic troops. Parliamentarian horse slowly push the Royalists back due to attached shot and good untried saves. The foot fares less well. Confusion in the ranks (stratagem) make a lead battalia turn their flank to the enemy (center). Luckily the Royalist flank charge is not as devastation as hoped by General Humphreys.

Meanwhile the weak Parliamentarian left is overrun by rabble and pike & shot.
The supposedly superior Royalist horse is yet again trumped by the “Dutch”-system. General Calden’s reserve battalion of horse is unleashed for a flank charge to salvage the situation. Meanwhile the foot is fighting at a rather slow pace.
Calden’s horse penetrates deep into the Parliamentarian flank in coordination with a renewed attack of the foot.
Royalists break through on the Parliamentarian left but the situation is saved as Horton’s horse manage to decimate their foes.
End of the battle: With almost the entire Royalist horse strewn over the field or fleeing the Parliamentarians under Horton managed to win with 6 victory medals left.

General Humphreys and Colonel Firebrand are summoned before the king. I doubt we will see them again…

Aftermath

Yet again Parliamentarians win the battles but fail to exploit this on the campaign map. Particularly due to another failed roll when besieging Oxford (third in a row). The battle at Draycott (in Avon) leaves no doubt who is in control of the south though.

The Royalists snatch the last neutral areas they have access to and start a successful campaign to undermine Parliamentarian support in West Yorkshire.

Campaign Notes

I’ve tried two different random generation methods for armies but both properly suffer from the difference in cavalry of both sides. Next time I will try to balance the point cost of the horse battalions somewhat better. The points for winning games is also not high enough. I will amend the campaign rules before the next game.