Saturday, September 4, 2021

DBA Special: IV/83a/b Wars of the Roses Yorkist/Tudor at Bosworth (54mm)


These bespoke armies were configured during the development phases of V3 and represent my thinking of how the historical orbats translate for DBA.  I'll point out the deviations where they occur.

The number figures on a base is also not as specified (purely in order to have a comfortable fit for the 54mm figures on a conveniently sized element stand).  The bases are 80mm wide, which allows for a 4 ft wide table.  The mounted are all 'Kn' and are 2 to a base.  The foot are all 3 per base except for hand-gunners/psiloi, but there are several double bases (so 6 figures in 2 ranks).

(me using the 54mm DBA game to explain the battle to cricket legend Freddie Flintoff)
Each army has  3Kn general

 Richard has 2 more Kn although Northumberland can only move on a Pip roll of 5 or 6

(Richard's cavalry at Bosworth: 54mm DBA Wars of the Roses)

The earl of Richmond might get some support from the Stanleys

(Henry Tudor and the Stanleys)

The infantry

(the Yorkists)
(the Tudors)
For the Tudors, I chose to represent the earl of Oxford's Anglo-Welsh vanward as a traditional mix of bows and blades

(Vanward ... 2 x Bw, 1 x Bd: Talbot, Oxford, Savage)

With the Welsh in the mainward a mix of Ax (Ap Thomas) and Bd (Tudor/Pembroke)

(Tudor ... 1 x Ax, 2 x Bd)

... and for best effect, the mercenaries (Pike), I chose to represent as 8Sp.  They can be played as Pk, of course (the difference is interesting but probably not a game changer) ...

(Henry's mercenaries under Philibert de Chandee and Bernard Stewart d'Aubigny)


Contempoaries  describe Norfolk's solid line as a rampart compared with Oxford's slender line.  I therefore took advantage of V3's 8Bw (Lb) troop classification to show this solid mix of archers and combat troops (it certainly looks right to me).  I take the Burgundian 8Lb in list IV/85 to be based on late 15th Cent English practice (so this interpretation isn't straying from DBA orthodoxy by that much, really) ...

(Somerset, livery, Norfolk and Catesby)

The figures in this army are a liberal mix of old plastic soldiers (Britains, Timpo), more modern 1/32 figures (Airfix, Italeri etc.) and metals by Irregular Miniatures.

The splendid fabric flags were researched and created by my lately departed friend, heraldry buff and wargame project collaborator Graham Fordham of Fluttering Flags.  Even though he was mainly a 28mm enthusiast of late, these scaled up versions really make the best of 54mm's visual impact.

Without anything much in the way of field artillery in this scale I adapted the pieces in Irregular's 40mm Renaissance range.  The designs basically work, and so a relatively big 40mm gun becomes a medium piece in 54mm.  The Ribauldequin is simply several such, crafted into one.

(some of Richard's seven score serpentines)

(54mm Bosorth DBA ... 1 x Art, 1 x (handgunners) Ps: Tudor)


Neither side's camp played any part in the battle so they don't really need to be depicted in the game.  Some say the finds associated with Whitemoors relate to Richard's camp, so it makes a fun albeit tactically insignificant addition to the set up.

(54mm DBA IV/83b: Ricardian camp scene)

The vignette includes an Irregular Miniatures cart in difficulties in the marshy conditions typical of the battlefield ... for completeness, it incorporates a Camp Follower element which shows the Stanley family's Lord Strange (a hostage in Richard's camp) accompanied by a mercenary headsman.  Needless to say, I wasn't actually there, so can't say how authentic this scene might be.

The camp area is completed by a fairly successful repaint of the old Timpo plastic medieval tent.  Lovers of detail might like that I have topped the tent pole with a crown finial ... it's actually an inexpensive bracelet ornament you can buy in the Heritage Centre Shop (it really is an authentic Bosworth souvenir.  Who would have guessed?)

(Bosworth 1485: Yorkist tent with Murrey and Blue details)

(Camp Follower element: Lord Strange)

I also made a thorn bush:

Friday, September 3, 2021

21st - 22nd August, Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, Leicestershire

(commemorating the battle anniversary at the Heritage centre)


Much affected by Covid uncertainties, the annual Medieval Festival at Bosworth went ahead in a reduced format this year ... a Living History and Commemoration, but without the big reenactment and Medieval Fair.

(my DBA version of the battle on the Battlefields Trust stand)
The Battlefields Trust were happy to support the event, and went along with my 54mm DBA version of the battle as part of the BT stand.
Indeed, Julian H had his 'Wars of the Roses in 10 minutes' in the lecture pavilion, using swoppets, and a team of locl wargamers were doing a big version of the battle using Never Mind the Billhooks opposte us - so, after my subtle introduction of the figures back in 2014, model soldiers and wargame approaches now seem to be bedded in at Bosworth! 

(this year, the Battlefields Trust stand was strategically placd on the commemorative procession route)
(Henry's mercenaries 'ready for battle at Bosworth Battlefield')

(scenes from Bosworth 2021 ... including the lecture pavilion, Richard in battle and Living History displays)

(miniature action at Bosworth: DBA )

(miniature action at Bosworth: Never Mind the Billhooks) 
So a lower key event than usual at Bosworth, this year, but more time to meet people, forge links and reflect on the tumultuous events of 1485.  A place-holder for the return of the big battle next year - and a rare opportunity for me to do both days ... usually the Sunday of Bosworth is Partizan in Newark (which, this year, again fell victim to the pestillence) ...

The good news, however, is that the Autumn version of the show The Other Partizan is confirmed for October - and things are looking good.  Ancients is back on the move, you might say.  Our odyssey continues.

(roses are laid at the Bosworth sundial)

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

15th August, Shaw House, Newbury

The delayed 2020 Society of Ancients BattleDay - 1485 Bosworth Field

So, by coincidence, the BattleDay eventually took place barely a week ahead of the anniversary.  The usual venue wasn't an option, so the organisers opted for the splendid Shaw House in Newbury, veteran of the 1644 Civil War battle, and well worth a visit in its own right.

(Shaw House, Newbury)

Overall, the event attracted 45 participants.  There were 11 tables featuring 10 rulesets (as the Peter Pig roadshow came with two Bloody Barons set ups).  I think this was a first time for Martin and friends so that was a bonus.

This year the intro talk was my quick summary of the background (along the lines published here a few days ago) and some points to ponder (about orientation and about artillery)

We then got onto the games which included my trusty 54mm DBA which we played 3 times altogether (2 wins to the earl of Richmond, 1 to Richard) ... I also played in Nick's HoTT variant (the Magic of Bosworth) which I think was also a Tudor win)

The Games


I was able to sit in on the Armati game which seemed to flow very well and featured a mass of veteran 20mm figures from Roy's collection.

Eye Candy


As you can see it looked splendid, and everyone seemed to have a great day.  Other than the games I commented on above, I await a future Slingshot to see how well they all went.
Next BattleDay will be Adrianople.  Get out your Goths!

Farewell to one of our Brothers in Arms

It has been a tough few years on the funeral front, and last month we lost one of the Society's longest standing and remarkable activist enthusiasts, Graham Fordham ... two term Committee man and former Treasurer ... stalwart of the Shows Team for over 20 years ... and, along with Chris A and Paul S-to-Z, one of my 3 regular doubles partners in that Golden Age of tournaments and events through the Nineties and Noughties.

(Graham on the Societies stand at WMMS 2020 - the last show before lockdown) 

(Graham at the wargame table variously with me, Mark G and Will W)
Although we grew up barely 6 miles apart, I didn’t meet Graham til the Society of Ancients AGM in 1986. Through Andy Gittins and The Slough Barbarians, we rapidly became (you might say) ‘Brothers in Arms’ …

The Barbarians were the SoA Shows Team, the Society drew us in as volunteers, and the Slough venue became my local club, my weekly wargame.

I didn’t have a car back in those days, and I would usually blag a lift over to Graham’s parents’ house in Leavesden, then he would drive us over to Hedgerley and later back to mine.  In his trusty Renault 11.

(absent friends:Graham playing Gladiolus with the late Ian Greenwood after Andy Gittins' funeral)

It was a time of change, and in 1988, after a couple of years, Graham came off the SoA Committee – and, ironically, I went on.  A Committee I would notch up just under 20 years on … a Committee Graham came back onto in 1996 as Treasurer.  

As well as my car share for club nights, Graham and I would do a dozen or so shows and events a year for the best part of 3 decades, easily covering 12 countries on 3 continents.  We played in South Africa, Rome, New Orleans and with that logic that defies analysis, played each other in the third round of the World Championships in Melbourne ... literally 10,000 miles from home (where we lived 2 miles apart and had travelled out together ... ) well, it made sense to sombody and I remember the game very well.

(The good companions: the Northamptonshire crew at the Spanish steps in Rome) 

When we were in Oz, Graham entered us as a Society of Ancients team in a category for scratch teams.  With Chris and former editor Steve Neate.  You know what?  We won it!  It was one of a whole cabinet full of trophies that ranged from painting competitions in the 1970s to Bolt Action  wins pairing up with his daughter just a few months ago.

In 1999, he won the Murphy Mania DBM in Delft, and in 2009, the DBA Northern Cup in Sheffield.   Graham won a couple of notable sportsmanship awards, one at Michael Grant’s much missed Anderida event in Pevensey – and, notoriously, at Brticon, where he got so drunk on the Saturday (it was, in truth, one of those great Saturday nights) that he could barely speak on the Sunday morning (but picked up masses of sympathy points as he stoically sat in on his side of the table and gave his opponents a good game).  Not the only time that organiser, JD McNeil, would have altercations in the early hours, only to be presenting the sportsmanship award (the Society of Ancients Persian Helmet, no less) to the, now, everybody’s Mr Nice Guy, on the Sunday afternoon!  

But I’ll finish this by mentioning Graham’s most recent award … just a few weeks before the end.  Presented on a live link. As Market Harborough Rugby Club’s top volunteer - for the girl’s Rugby teams.  Tamara’s team.  Being involved, helping out, going the extra mile. That was Graham.

(Fluttering Flags by Graham on my Bosworth 54mm game)

Latterly, Graham solved a problem I had posed over the years – how to print flags on fabric.  He was good at it, and set up Fluttering Flags (becoming something of a heraldry buff into the mix – flagging up the figures for the heritage award winning Northamptonshire Battlefields Society’s battle of Edgcote model, my Bosworth collection and helping on the Northampton posters project) … 

 (and in 28mm for Edgcote)

 (and 15mm for Northampton 1460 - nothing was too much trouble)

(me Graham and Chris with our vouchers as the winning scratch team in Melbourne)
Graham's first career was with the Royal Navy where, training as a chef, he was volunteered for the Display Team representing the Senior Service at prestigious events in the gymnastic and Field Gun displays and the fearsome mast drops!
(Graham and Alison's wedding was attended my a large gathering of wargamers in medieval costume)

I hope it isn't inappropriate to note this here.  While we were fully engaged with Graham last weeks, we had the sad news that our friend Duncan had passed away.  In truth, it seems I had know Duncan longer than anyone in wargaming.

I recall sitting down with him in the Museum Hotel in Delft (Murphy Mania) reminscing and Duncan pointing out to me that it wasn't via Partizan that we first met but ar a Society of Ancients AGM in the 1970s at Caxton Hall (anyone remember those days?) ... I was a precocious teenage member buying my first Hinchliffe figures - and Duncan was helping Peter Gilder on the stand ... and we got chatting (not for the last time of course).

My reminiscence that night in Delft was how, having drifted away from regular wargaming whilst at University, I was browsing in WH Smiths at Euston station when I randomly saw and picked up the first ever issue of Miniature Wargames. It was a gem and completely reminded me what my leisure time was destined for - it was my route back in.  I've not looked back.

I have a lot to thank him for.

Duncan leaves a huge gap in our community but also an enviable legacy - few will ever make as big a difference.

Rest in peace my friends.