dimanche 11 novembre 2012

Blood in the south - A Wars of the Roses feud

   As John stepped off the boat, he did not feel like he was home. With a sword at his belt and a bow on his shoulder he doubted he old allies would like his presence. He thought when he returned he would be happy to be in his land of birth, with the people he knew and the smells from his childhood. Instead a great dread, a burden on his heart, sat in his chest; he would never be home.

   Other men passed him, all carrying weapons and armour, and some spoke foreign languages. Some were from Flanders, many were from Germany, and in the mist of the mercenaries John felt like he was invading his homeland, not reclaiming it. Finally Adam stepped from one of the rowing boats like a prince and looked around him like he had left his castle in the morning and was watching the sunrise.

   “God has granted us fair weather!” He called. “He supports our cause!” He seemed happy, and John walked up the beach to where his comrades assembled. Robin, one of Adam’s officers, was organising the men and keeping them together, and once everyone was together they began the march, leaving many of the Queen’s and the Prince’s army behind.

   For although they had landed with the Queen and Prince Edward, Adam had other plans. Instead of following the army, he had a score to settle with Sir Hammond, the man responsible, in Adam’s eyes, for his exile. Sir Hammond was once a Lancastrian, but had abandoned his old allegiance and joined Edward, and in doing so attacked Adam and forced him to flee his estates. Now, with vengeance burning in his heart, Adam had returned to kill Hammond and loot his estates. He did not want land, only blood, and he had hired a band of violent Germans and promised them all the loot they wanted. They were rough but experienced, armed with spears, pikes and halberds, but the only uniform they wore was either an old coat or hose in white and blue. Some wore a badge that also flew on their banner, and John marched behind them with the few English who had stayed with Adam, either through bond or being forced to; John was part of Adam’s household when he fled, and he had the choice to stay and be killed or run. Ever since he had fought with pole arm and sword, becoming a reluctant soldier because God had decided he could not be peaceful for ever. He would have loved to return to his wife and his house, but he doubted either still remained. Even just the thought pained him.

   That night he slept little, worried and scared by the coming fight. It was sure Hammond would come out and attack Adam, to protect his estates and finish the grudge, and when they met no quarter would he given or asked for. The Germans seemed ready for anything; John sat in prayer, and hoped he would make it through alive.

The forces broke camp at dawn, and discovered that they were closer than first thought. The call went out to form ranks and ready weapons...
Sir Hammond (pointing in full plate) gathers his men at arms and bill men around him to flank the enemy. Some retinue archers under Martin the Mad are ready to support him.

Jack stands with the militia archers and wait for the Lancastrians...

The Yorkists arrive, led by the mercenaries.

On the right, Arthur leads the mounted men at arms and some English archers.

The battle commences with an eager rush by the mercenaries. They aim for the militia on the slope, who have closed ranks.

The militia let loose a Volley!, and in their next turn the Germans close ranks, but fail to reach contact. Peter, the German captain, watches his men and gives them courage.

Arthur moves after a slight pause, and the missile troops advance to pour fire on the Yorkist retinue archers.

The Germans reach the militia line, who have been reinforced by some men at arms, and a bitter melee breaks out. The militia fight hard, killing a veteran mercenary.

The pictures bigger because it kept stretching. Odd computers
Encouraged by Hammond himself, the militia archers force back the mercenaries.

Knowing his men are shocked, Peter ^pulls back his men to regroup, and Sir Adam rides over to steady the line. Four Germans do flee however, and the militia keep up some fire.

However, while this is going on, Arthur leads an armoured charge that shatters the bill men (12 shock and 1 kill!) and causes the retinue archers to flee. 
The bill men are cut down without mercy. A couple and Martin manage to escpae and hide in a hedge and ditch, forcing the cavalry to look elsewhere.

Hammond orders the archers to turn, and their arrows down a knight.

However, by this time the Germans have regrouped, and although they are weakened they march back with drim determination, passing their dead and wounded comrades as they go.
"Come and 'ave a go if you think you're hard enough!"

Arthur rides closer to the archers; who have turned back to the Germans, but in doing so are charged by Hammond and his men-at-arms. The fight is hard...

and two Lancastrians are pulled from their saddles and cut down on the floor. One Yorkist is killed, but Hammond's men keep going, killing another man and force the rest to run.

The militia's fire is slakening as their arrows are running low, but together with the skirmishers they kill some lightly armoured soldiers.

The fleeing cavalry. The German handgunners, seeing them run, began to edge away themselves, and the archers were reluctant to close with the enemy.

Germans fall, and the last soldier runs, leaving only the veterans with Adam.

A view of the Yorkist's left at this point.
As before, the Germans close ranks and charge, this time with Peter in the front rank.

After a brutal combat, the militia decide to pull back, leaving the slope to the Germans.

The Yorkist harassing troops manage to kill a German, but they stand their ground

The archers are encouraged by the Germans' success, and loose a volley at the militia. Thge tired militia continue to retreat under the arrows as their commander, Jack, tries to keep them together.

In a gamble to take back the slope, hammond charges with his men-at-arms up the slope. The Germans are in closed ranks, however, and throw back the men-at-arms and route them. Seeing their lord run, the militia decide to follow them, causing the force to collapse.

View of the field at the end of the battle.

The German losses on the slope.

After the cavalry charge.

The Germans, bloodied and tired, hold the slope. The battle is over.

   A victorious cry left the Lancastrian’s lips as the rest of Hammond’s men turned and fled. The men would have pursued them, calling up their horses from the rear and hunt them down through villages and forest, but they were too tired, and Hammond kept his men together to avoid them becoming separated and cut down. Adam called out to his enemy to come and fight him, one on one to the death, but Hammond was already gone and Adam reined in his horse angrily.
   John fell to his knees and thanked God he was alive. He was near a well-built house, the owners gone when they saw the approaching forces. Adam would order it looted and burned, but for now the Germans began looting the corpses of the archers that had held the small slope for so long before they collapsed and fled. On the approach to the slope several men lay with arrows sticking from their bodies, and in front of John lay a row of bodies where the Yorkist bill men had fled before the Lancastrian knights, and several of the men-at-arms now also lay dead went Hammond and his men-at-arms had charged them and dragged some from their saddles. The smell of rotten eggs hung over the battle field, and fetid smoke floated above them like a ghost. John rose from his knees; even though they had won, John did not feel happy. They would have to fight again, this time with the Queen and the Prince, and John wished he was free of Adam and could run, but he knew he would be killed if found. He gathered some stray arrows, took some vegetables from the house’s
garden the Germans had left, and watched as the house burned bright.
*   *   *
A hard fought battle that could have gone either way. I thought when the Germans pulled back they would be unable to come back in, but they did and pulled off a win. The Yorkists should have kept up the pressure, but with only 1 melee unit, holding the slope was the best tactic. If they were soldiers, the Germans would have been pursued and possibly broken.
The thing i liked about this game was the 'realism'; the Yorkists lost 12 men, the Lancastrians 13, while about a dozen fled all together from both sides (some archers, bill men, cavalry and Germans, mostly survivors of damaged units) but they all fled by friendly edges so did not test for being lost.
I hope to start a campaign soon, but i'm back at lycée tomorrow. Best finish off my school work :D
I have some plans for another mercenary band, this one more rag-tag, and i'm thinking of doing another English retinue so i can have a true English on English Wars of the Roses battle.Anyway, until next time, happy gaming!

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