Kingmaker Campaign – Battle of Shrewsbury

I must apologise in advance for a rather brief AAR and the quality of photos. This game was played with an opponent – my son Jack. We did not have time for pauses to take notes or ensure lighting was about right for photos. 
For this game I had a Yorkist force against Jack’s Lancastrians. As he was the defender he selected which side of the table he would deploy.
Table Size – 4’6″ x 3′
Figures – 6mm Baccus
Rules – Ancient & Medieval Wargaming by Neil Thomas (Medieval Module)

ORBATS

Continued –


Terrain consisted of a wide open valley with a fordable river winding its way between hills. Jack elected the position on the left in the photo defending a long ridge line and a hill bordered by the river.

My initial deployment
Jack’s initial deployment

Closer view of my troops looking across towards Jack.
Closeup of Jack’s centre.
My centre consisting of the CinC. Neville’s command.

My initial advance saw Neville moving out ahead of the more sluggish Clifford and Howard. Jack advanced off his defensive position, no doubt in the hope of catching my central command isolated from its flanks.

Clifford on the right made a rather laboured progress across the valley floor much to the annoyance of Neville.

Roos moved off the hill to defend the river line as Howard repeatedly stalled in his advance. Out of camera shot to the left, Scrope’s small force, having been ordered to make a flanking march, remained frustratingly static.

After a couple of volleys of arrows, Jack moved forward his billmen and men-at-arms ready to attack my centre.

Howard still made frustratingly slow progress although Scrope had now woken up and began his outflanking manoeuvre (just beyond the trees far right). 

A closer view of Jack’s advance in the centre. 

The Lancastrian (Jack’s) left flank.

My centre failed a command test preventing me from moving forward my own men-at-arms and billmen to counter Jack. I had to rely on my archers filling the sky with arrows to bring this threat to a halt, and although casualties were inflicted it was clear they would not be stopped.

On the right of the photo, my Welsh spearmen lined the woods edge and despite the cover, were taking casualties from Jack’s archers.

Clifford

Howard.

My centre and right flank are now embroiled in bloody melees. Let the slaughter begin! In these early exchange of blows neither side gains the obvious upper hand.

Jack’s patience runs out and Roos crosses the river to engage the sclerotic Howard. My Shire levy archers on the left fair badly in the early melees and for a while it looks as though Howard will be outflanked.

The rest of Howard’s command blunts the initial charge of Roos’ men. 

A breakthrough for me on the right flank as Clifford succeeds in outflanking Holland. A unit of mounted men-at-arms has wheeled onto Holland’s left flank destroying one of his units. 

Another gap opens in Jack’s line (middle of photo) which Howard exploits pushing his men through.
At the bottom right of the photo, Scrope adjusts his movement through the woods to threaten Roos’ right flank.

The situation deteriorates for Jack on his left flank as my mounted men-at-arms systematically roll up his flank.

In the middle right of the photo, I have launched my mounted bodyguard into a unit of Jack’s billment destroying them. 

Holland’s morale collapses and his surviving troops flee the field.  

Stafford hopes for divine intervention as his rapidly depleting forces desperately try to hang on. He is sandwiched on the right by Howard’s archers and billmen, and Neville’s forces on the left. 

Scrope has now engaged Roos’ right flank (bottom left) with the latter facing defeat. The red dice denote casualties for my troops and the blue Jack’s which gives you a clearer idea of the relative positions of our forces. 

The end arrives with the collapse in morale of Stafford’s command. Although Roos was still fighting he was also close to breaking point so we called it a day at this point. A resounding Yorkist victory!

As I celebrate with my troops, news arrives. Clifford was killed in action (a Kingmaker card drawn!). A serious loss I could have done without in the campaign.

In the subsequent wash-up with Jack we both agreed he would have been better off waiting on the higher ground for me to attack. It would have allowed him to bring his artillery into action and more opportunity to pepper my forces with arrows. Even so he was unlucky suffering from adverse command tests at critical times.

In hindsight I should have reduced the width of the board by 9″ (one of my terrain boards) as we were faced with several turns before our opposing forces got anywhere near enough for the archers.

This is my second outing with these rules and the jury is still out. When battle proper was joined it became something of a slogging match. What may improve the situation is to introduce push back and retreat rules – something I will tinker with prior to our next outing. To be fair to the rules, they are designed for around a dozen units each whereas this battle was far bigger. 

We will return to the Kingmaker board game to plot our moves in the next blog update.


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