Saturday, October 12, 2019

1st September, Peterborough

A very busy September started with an enjoyable day just up the road in the company of Peterborough Wargames Club at Hereward.

This has become a regular outing for us and is a show that retains all the appeal of a traditional local show - organised primarily as a local club's open day.  In theory it's also a good opportunity for Northamptonshire Battlefields Society to meet and engage local people with local battlefields (although as Edgcote is our theme battle this year, 'local' is always relative: Peterbrough is just over the county line at one end of Northamptonshire and Edgcote is some 70 miles away, just inside the line at the other end).

The reality, of course, is that battles and campaigns aren't just confined to single spaces, and the Northmen at Edgcote in 1469 almost certainly came from Doncaster by the Great North Road via Stamford and the second rebellion (1470) was centred on the East Midlands and culminated at Losecote Field less than 20 miles up the road.  It's a local story.

(NBS volunteer, Paul, tells the Edgcote story)

(Northamptonshire Battlefields Society: medieval weapons and armour)

Edgcote Pictures

(Edgcote 1469: Robin of Redesdale takes up position on the East Hill overlooking Danesmoor)

Edgcote 1469: the earl of Pembroke's army was stationed on the West Hill)

(At some point during the battle or the build up, the earl of Devon leaves with his archers)

(harrassed by Robin's archers, Pembroke has no choice other than to attack across the small river)

The Show

The rest of the show had a good mix of attractions, a 'flea market' style bring-and-buy with good prices (happy punters and happy sellers - so that obviously works), bacon butties, a good mix of participation games (which are prioritised) and show games ... Dave Lanchester selling books ... Harry Sidebottom signing books ... 

And there's always the chance to try the NBS weapons for size ...

(Hereward 2019: on the NBS stand)

(Hereward 2019: Whacky Races)

(Hereward 2019: good looking and interesting games all round as usual)

At this show we had enough people to run the game with a couple of lads who would otherwise have been playing fantasy.  They picked up the basics of Hail Caesar quite quickly, commanding Robin and the reinforcements.  Paul too Pembroke's role and attacked with complete confidence.

Mirroring history, it all went horribly wrong - although in this battle, the rebels didn't allow the Herberts to try appealing for clemency a day or two later (with Warwick in Northampton): no, their heads were lopped off on the battlefield.

Warwick, of course, was never Mr Clemency, so the outcome was the same.

A great little show.  It should be on your list.

Friday, October 11, 2019

DBA Special: Book III/12 Christian Nubian

Another addition to the later ancient African group of armies (with Axumites and Nobades already available and Meroitics on the desk), this is another warriors and camels type army from the Middle Nile region and can ally with or fight against Beja and Nobades as well as fight against the Abyssinians and most of the surrounding Arab dynasties.

I painted the figures, Imogen painted the beach which I borrowed for a sandy backdrop.

The camels are Museum Miniatures with the usual adaptations that are needed to fit them on the bases.    The spearmen and mace-men are Feudal Castings.  The balance are the usual mix of Chariot, Essex, TableTop (and there's a Grumpy and a Donnington in there too!).

The broken obelisk has been knocking around for ages in my terrain box, so I turned it into a Nubian camp (changing the Camp Follower element leaves it suitable for a number of armies/periods so it's a handy item) ... It was a Hovels model, I think.  It seems good to me for anyone who has a grudge against the Egyptians.

(DBA Book III list 12: Christian Nubian)

The Mounted

I put the King in an animal skin transplanted from a Roman Aquilifer.  

(camel warriors from Museum Miniatures with some Nubian style heads swaps)

So that's a Kn or Cv general, 2 x camels, 2 x LH and a camel scout (LCm who could, instead, have been a Ps)

The Foot

I opted to take Blades and solid archers for the powerful combination of 4Bd with 4Bw (side support in close combat)

The Camp

(DBA broken obelisk camp ... in this case Christian Nubian)

There are a number of Camp Follower elements that would be suitable for this camp but here I have tried to hint at the legendary figure of Prester John ... almost certainly nothing to do with Nubia or even Ethiopia (but nevertheless maybe a distant memory of a lost Christian Kingdom somewhere beyond Arabia) 

(Prester John and the desert kingdoms, sand dunes by Imogen)

Thursday, October 10, 2019

DBA Special: II/25 Bosporan

This is a 15mm army comprised mainly of old Falcon Figures Skythian (the ancestor of the contemporary range by Lurkio) horse and a mix of Xyston and Chariot (Magister Militum) foot.  There are also figures by Alain Touler, Gladiator, Minifigs, Tabletop (now Alternative Armies) and Old Glory.  Nearly all are personalised in some way, and there are a few Irregular Corinthian helmets swapped into the mix. And I've 'mixed and matched' the shields.

Anyway, who are the Bosporans?  Well, contrary to misconceptions, they aren't from the Bosphorus (but from the other side of the Black Sea). 

(A useful Map from Battles of the Ancients with my soldiers emerging ...) 

So, the Crimea and Kerch peninsula, modern Ukraine and Russia.  The coast was colonised by Greek seafarers, and the culture mixed Greek styles with Scythian and Sarmatian influences.  

I chose the later period of list II/25 to incorporate the Sarmatian troops.  I also opted for a 'Knight' general, making for 4 x 3Kn and a 3Kn Gen.  I took Auxilia rather than hoplites, and horse archers rather than Ps.  

(DBA Bosporans: mostly from the characterful, if 'old', Falcon range)

The Cavalry General seems to be the 'percentage player's' pick.  And the forum pundits also seem to favour hoplites to thorakitai (4Ax) but I think the Ax are more historical for the 'Sarmatian' period (likewise the general) - then again (with a gamer hat on), I like to feel I have something to challenge the occasional elephant or fight in  bad going.

(Scythian horse archers - inspired by the old 'Sarmatian head-hunting girls' meme) 

Greek and Sarmatian girls brandishing Roman heads.  

Those thorakitai/peltasts.  They should probably be a bit more coordinated but I'd always envisaged this would be a colourful army.  Hand-painted shields of course.  

(DBA Bosporans: mostly Chariot figures for this rag-tag contingent)

And there's an element of Psiloi that seems to have been a tad camera-shy.

The army is 'littoral' and at Britcon I borrowed a warship camp from my Marian Romans.  Instead of a camp, for this gallery, I have photographed a 'Confused General' Barker Marker which has been in the Bosporan box with them since Manchester.  I believe Simon Bargery did these (I won it in one of the DBA League events).  This is my take on the figure:

(DBA: Confused General Shows North-style) 

This is a good, balanced army and is enjoyable to play with.  I had a few rough dice moments at Britcon but still placed mid table.  So it is quite forgiving. 

It is a good historical opponent for Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans, Pontics, Romans etc.

At Britcon, I had to play with a less decorative version due to a number of constraints.  Here is how it emerged to completion:

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

18th August, Newark, Nottinghamshire

Another Big Weekend: Part Two

Saturday at Bosworth was followed by a 2-car trip to Newark Showground for the second Partizan of the year.   The 28mm Edgcote game is sufficiently big that it and the stands won't go into one car unless it's a 4x4 or van.

(Northampton Battlefields Society at the other Partizan 2019)

But I think, generally, the contributions we make to the Partizans' History Zones is worth it and it is good to see the Society of Ancients there alongside the Lance & Longbow and Pike and Shot ... and to see Naseby making a modest appearance alongside the Battlefields Trust and Newark's Civil War Centre.

Partizan's history zone is a winning concept and is always one of the busier thoroughfares.  It would be completed by a few more 'tie-in' games and some reenactment or living history (but the show is full already so I guess this is just a vain wish list) ...

(The History Zone at The Other Partizan 2019)

It was a great show.  And it was busy.  Thriving.

Our main purpose, of course, was to promote Edgcote and the 550th anniversary of this key event in the histories of England, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and Wales.

By the way - and in case you look it up on the internet - the battle was fought on the 24th July 1469 (not 2 days later, as many books and pages which do not use primary sources will tell you*) ...

Edgcote pictures

(the battle of Edgcote at Partizan 2019)

(Humphrey Stafford's contingent at Edgcote - will he stay or will he go?)

(Edgcote 1469: rebel reinforcements under Gates and Parr)

(On his way to the action?  The earl of Warwick somewhere in central England)

(On his way to the action?  King Edward somewhere in central England)

(In the thick of it: Henry Tudor stuck as a guest of the earl of Pembroke)

(Edgcote 1469: there would be no negotiaing and no quarter given) 

Although we were mostly using the wargame display as an interpretative tool in the morning, in the afternoon we had a full(ish) play-through of the battle.  

Confident that his superiority in archers would dictate the course of the engagement, Robin of Redesdale stood firm on the East Hill, just sending sufficient archers forward to the watercourse as a welcoming party.

(Edgcote at the other Partizan: Robin of Redesdale is able to bring up his reinforcements) 

Gates and Parr were quickly on the scene and pushed up to cover the flank.

The earl of Pembroke, meanwhile, mounted up his personal division to clear the archers and brave an uphill challenge to Robin's Yorkshiremen.  

The attack became fragmented, and although Stafford joined the battle, he was not in line during the opening phases (so the rest of the Royalists took the brunt of the arrowstorm - and although many of you will know I think that that term is generally misleading and overused, in this instance it was indeed more a storm than a shower).

(Edgcote at the other Partizan: the earl of Pembroke makes an uncoordinated attack) 

Taken one-by-one by a solid, mutually supporting line, each of Pembroke's divisions were repulsed.

(Edgcote at the other Partizan: Pembroke's line fragments and retires) 

Humphrey Stafford (lord of Southwick and newly created earl of Devon) was last to arrive and gamely tried to rescue the situation.  He died in the fighting ... cut down and given no quarter.

(Edgcote at the other Partizan: Humphrey Stafford falls in the combat and is given no quarter)

This was the first deployment of my new skull-markers, which I purchased at Britcon for indicating downed commanders.  Actually (and unexpectedly) I think they need basing up to properly look the part. But, in case you think they look a bit GW, in fact they mesh perfectly with the 'dance of death' motif which is entirely contemporary with the battle and which resonates through the Welsh poetic accounts.

(Edgcote 1469: the dance of death, the dance of the earls ... the dance of the men of Doncaster)

This battle was fought out by William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, supported by Humphrey Stafford, earl of Devon, and by Robin of Redesdale, supported by sir Geoffrey Gates (of the Calais Garrison) and sir William Parr from the earl of Warwick's army.  No other forces arrived or intervened.  So a good quick battle, gamely played and fairly historical (although in 1469, Robin needed the intervention of a further force under John Clapham to swing the balance) ...

As may be evident, the battle was fought with 28mm figures using an adpapted version of Hail Caesar and the circular battlefield (inspired by the medieval wheel of fortune) has an approximate 6ft diameter.  We reckon about 2,000 men a side fought on Danesmoor in 1469.  It was a disaster for Pembroke and Devon, and the medieval nobility of South Wales was nigh on wiped out in the rout after the battle.  A dance of death indeed.

The rest of the show ...

I had a little bit of time at lunch to get some sense of the rest of the show.  

Great stuff all round although most of my break was spent chatting with Simon Miller over the 'To the Strongest' interpretation of Boudicca's last battle (sometimes called 'the battle of Watling Street'.) - I'm always interested as it features centrally in my Lost Battles of Northamptonshire talk (so 'lost' we don't even know if it was fought in Northamptonshire) and is one I attempted many year ago at History in Action (at Kirby Hall) using Armati.

(a familiar set up for the end of Boudicca's rebellion)

(The other Partizan 2019: the Britons mass for the attack)

Simon went with the Mancetter interpretation although his campaign graphic supporting the game amply demonstrated how easily it could be part of Northamptonshire's lost history.

 (Boudicca's rebellion: smoke tracks the advance of the Iceni)

Shopping wise, it has to be said, Partizan has always had very little to distract me ... it tends to be all one scale, all one style and very 'on trend'.  That's fine as, as the stand and the game and the History Zone pretty much fill the day on their own.

Next up for us is Hereward, the ever friendly local show in Peterborough.  We'll have Edgcote again, if you were thinking of dropping by ... copies of the new book, and the author on hand to sign copies.

* they almost all have the same date as they have almost all copied each other rather than checked the facts thoroughly