Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Thursday, 27 February 2020

Nantwich - Lord Molyneux's Purple Day

The arranged Nantwich game took place yesterday. Since the field layout for this battle doesn't really work well with the conventional Commands & Colors Left/Centre/Right activation system, we used a Ramekin-based mod for the C&C game, with dice-based activation.

Near the end of the day, Parliament's right flank consisted of Rigby's Regt of Foot and an artillery battery. They saw off some earlier attention from Royalist Horse, and were still holding their ground when we finished.
The game started with the Parliamentary army coming onto the field from the north. Because one of the chief bridges over the River Weaver was wrecked, Lord Byron had most of his Royalist troops on the wrong side of the river, so they arrived, very short of breath, after a detour through Shrewbridge, shortly after Fairfax's boys appeared on the Chester road opposite.

The Royalists already had a regiment of Foot and some medium sakers in place at Acton Church, and a body of musketeers from Fulk Huncke's regiment in the grounds of Dorfold Hall. The Parliament troops had a garrison of 800 muskets in the Nantwich suburb of Welsh Row, which had been strengthened with earthworks. The Nantwich garrison were classed as "raw".

On paper, the Royalists looked stronger - they had a lot of "veteran" units, and their Horse were generally superior tactically to their opponents.

In our game, Byron (that was Stryker and me) set about getting troops up to Acton Church, but realised fairly quickly that Fairfax (Goya and the Archduke) had swerved left and was heading towards Nantwich. Most of the subsequent action took place in the fields around Henhull Farm.

Byron rushes on to the field from the right of the picture, he may be late but he'll be up-to-date when he can shimmy like his sister Kate. He has troops already in the middle of the table, under Richard Gibson. Acton Church is smack in the middle of the photo, Dorfold Hall on the right edge of the table, with Nantwich beyond it, in the corner. Henhull Farm, where most of the fighting took place, is near the top edge of the photo, about one-third from the right.
It becomes obvious fairly quickly that Fairfax plans to avoid the church and head left over towards Nantwich. Sneaky.
With the Parliament troops making for Henhull (right of centre at the top of the picture), Byron attempts to react to this by moving forward with his own right flank.
Near the enclosure just to the west of Henhull, Earnley's Regt of Foot (in the foreground) are attacked by Parliament Horse. Earnley's was one of the numerous veteran units on the King's side this day (see the "V" on the bases), and they had a light gun with them. With confidence appropriate to their veteran status, they declined the opportunity to form a hedgehog - and were promptly ridden down! After a slow start, the Victory Points score was suddenly 3-1 to Fairfax's forces (7 for the win). 
Now there was violent conflict in the open ground around Henhull. Although we had expected this would be a quiet day for horse (assuming that the fighting would take place, historically, around Acton Church), there was some spectacular cavalry action - predictably bloody. At this stage the VP score had reached 4-3 for Parliament.
In a desperate attempt to get a few more VPs, the Royalists attacked on their left. This is Tyldesley's RoH attacking - they were forced to withdraw.
After the Horse, Tyldesley's and Robert Byron's Regts of Foot commenced an attack. It was now 5-4 for Parliament, and Stryker and I were not feeling too confident...
...when suddenly, on the other flank, Lord Richard Molyneux's Horse routed a Parliament unit of Horse, then broke through and destroyed John Booth's RoF, killing Sir Wm Brereton in the process. That's 3 VPs in a single turn, folks, and we'd snatched it 7-5. The picture shows Molyneux's boys getting their breath back, on Welshman's Lane, after their greatest day ever. Lancashire lads, you see?
I'm the first to admit that our victory was more than a little streaky, but I shall enjoy it anyway. At the end of the day, Gibson's RoF and the sakers are just where they started, by the Church of St Mary Acton, having had a relatively quiet time.
 As ever, my compliments and thanks to my colleagues, for their company and excellent humour. Thanks in particular to the Archduke, for his brave circumnavigation of Edinburgh. I'm sure we'll be back to Napoleonics for our next meeting, but the change of period was refreshing!



21 comments:

  1. Great looking game and one which appears to be nip and tuck all the way. Although I enjoyed seeing the Royalists got their moment.
    Glad you enjoyed the game

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    1. It's almost become a cliché that C&C-type games give a lot of ebb and flow, but they do. The end was a surprise. It isn't a problem, but personally I was rather disappointed that the victory hinged on the detail of the C&C "bonus melee" rule, by which successful cavalry in a melee may take the ground, and then may opt to move one more hex to carry out a follow-up attack (on the same unit or another). This is one of R Borg's more fiddly efforts, and it always rather dulls the sparkle a bit when the winning move has to be explained in terms of the rules!

      Good fun anyway - despite slight overtones of VAR at the end! I don't think I've ever fought on the Royalist side before (except solo, of course), and I had a bit of a struggle getting my head around which army I was with at the start. The medication sorted it out.

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  2. Looks like you had a smashing time. Congrats on the win. The board looks terrific by the way.

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    1. Enjoyed the day - we agreed that the victory was only a technicality; after his "points victory", Byron had even less chance of taking Nantwich than he did before!

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  3. Great looking game and of course the Royalists should always win!

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    1. Oh yes - that's right. Isn't that what they cut people's heads off for?

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  4. That’s the way to do it! Sounds like a good time was had by all. Interesting plot twists all the way.

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    1. By half way through I was convinced we'd had it, and was thinking in terms of damage limitation, but throwing the cavalry away did the trick (dangerous precedent).

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    1. Thank you, sir! I get some bad press for the hexes, but it works for me!

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  6. It was a glorious day that renewed my faith in the Divine Right of Kings! Slightly concerning though that my co-general kept on thinking that it was our troops in Nantwich but I'm sure the tablets are working now...

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    1. I told you - I was distracted by the statue of Wellington outside the window...

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  7. A splendid looking game Tony...
    And a victory... I get so few of those that I would be more than happy to will on a technicality;-)

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Thank you Aly - when the Telegraph agrees to publish my memoirs, I may admit that we cheated, but until then we enjoy the parades and the envy of the Court.

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  8. Outstanding, Sir! I enjoyed this battle account very much! Nundanket recently fought battle too after being inspired by your outing. I may explore this battle in more depth.

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    1. Thanks Jon - I hadn't spotted nundanket's game (been a lumpy few days here) so thanks for the pointer. I enjoyed that account very much, and am impressed that his field layout looks a lot more authentic than mine! One of my favourite sources for this battle is John Barratt's little booklet in the Stuart's Press series, which I think is still available from the originators.

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  9. I received a couple of emails, asking about the rules used. I am inspired to produce a new version - the main thrust of this will be to take out most of the Really Clever bits I inserted last year - the combat will be closer to vanilla C&C. The Really Clever bits (RCB?) have mostly added complexity and things to remember, without improving the game. I'll also include a section on the use of Ramekin in place of the Command Cards. Because this is a rather major revision, I propose that this will be version 3.01 - don't hold your breath, since I'm also trying to hand-polish my working draft of my WSS rules, but I've started the pencil scribbles on the ECW rules - quite a bit of this says "NO - remove"...

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