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By smacdowall, Aug 23 2021 04:16PM

Five of us joined the Covid postponed Society of Ancients Battle Day on 15 August to fight out Bosworth on a 10’ x 5’ table using my Tree of Battles rules and 28mm collection of (mostly Perry) figures.


The new setting at Newbury was a great improvement over the previous Bletchley venue and there were a fabulous array of games on offer all re-fighting Bosworth with various rules in all scales from 6mm to 54mm.


Our game began with both Northumberland and Chandée initially off table. Northumberland and the Stanleys were designated as ‘potentially treacherous’ which meant that they might not cooperate if ordered to do anything other than hold their position.


King Richard had a superiority in both archers and guns. When both first lines advanced into bowshot the Yorkists had the better of the archery duel, inflicting severe casualties on the Tudors and decimating Sir John Savage’s contingent on the Tudor right.


It was beginning to look shaky for Henry Tudor as the battle lines began to close. After several failed attempts he managed to get the Stanleys to join in the fight. The timely arrival of William Stanley on the Tudor left shored up the line and Stanley’s archers delivered a devastating arrow storm against Sir Robert Brackenbury’s advancing billmen.


Meanwhile Thomas Stanley advanced on the far right of the Tudor line towards Richard’s camp.


The arrival of Chandée’s French and Scots threatened to turn the Yorkist right. Richard sent out a screen of Burgundian handgunners to slow their advance and he managed to persuade Northumberland to join the fight and move on the French.


When Oxford and Norfolk’s lines clashed in the centre, Norfolk’s men had the best of the engagement but the Tudor line held.


William Stanley’s intervention began to turn things around for the Tudors. Seeing off Brackenbury, Stanley’s men began to close in on Norfolk’s flank.


Then Chandée’s French and Scots closed with Northumberland’s northerners and made short work of them. It looked like a Tudor victory was imminent.


Seeing that the battle was at a critical point, King Richard led his Knights of the Body in a charge against Henry Tudor and his smaller bodyguard. Against the odds Henry’s countercharge succeeded in knocking back Richard’s knights.


Richard’s dismounted retainers moved in on Henry’s flank. A ferocious combat ensured in which Henry Tudor was wounded and captured. A swift battlefield execution snuffed out the Tudor dynasty before it had a chance to take hold. Richard III remains king of England!


As ever, the Society of Ancients Battle Day was a fantastic event. Next year Adrianople.



By smacdowall, Aug 14 2021 11:27AM

In preparation for the Society of Ancients Bosworth Battle Day I have been working on a 28mm scale windmill. Because of their dominant size, windmills tended to be adopted as command posts right through to early modern times. Edward III set up his command post by a windmill at Crécy. So did the French at Oudenarde, the allies at Malplaquet and the Prussians at Ligny. So a windmill is a great wargames battlefield addition. At Bosworth Richard III’s camp was set up near the Daddington windmill.


My model is an MDF cut kit from Warlord Games. The basic model is very well detailed but when assembled it looks like what it is — MDF.


I decided, therefore, that I needed to make it look more like weathered wood.


My first step was to spay paint the finished model with a mix of Humbrol matt spray paints — various shades of grey, tan and green. This took down the sheen of the MDF aa can be seen in the above with the contrast to the unsparyed windmill floor. But it still did not look very realistic as there was no real texture.


I therefore thinned down some acrylic wood filler with water and incompletely mixed in some dabs of Payne's grey, raw sienna and olive green.


Using a paint brush I applied the mix along the theoretical grain of the wood to give some texture. As I had deliberately not mixed the colours completely together I got colour variations along the wood ‘planks’ which gave a pleasingly irregular weathered look.





The final step was to give washes of thinned down raw umber and Payne’s grey.




To finish it off I textured and flocked the base and added a few flour sacks for interest.



The windmill is now ready to grace Bosworth Field, and many more battlefields after that.








By smacdowall, Jun 17 2021 07:59PM

My first face-to-face game in ages was back to the Wars of the Roses in preparation for the Society of Ancients Bosworth Battle Day to be held 15 August in Newbury (God and pestilence willing!). It was also an opportunity to re-familiarise some of the players with the Tree of Battles rules which we will be using for the Bosworth re-fight.


Rather than doing Bosworth itself I decided on a fictional scenario which imagined King Richard III moving on the Earl of Oxford before he could link up with Henry Tudor.


Oxford, accompanied by Thomas and William Stanley, is outnumbered but all he has to do is hold his position.


He has more artillery than the King and is also reinforced by a unit of French pikemen and halberdiers.


The King, assisted by John Howard Duke of Norfolk and Henry Percy Earl of Northumberland, has to attack and defeat the enemy.


The game opened with a furious archery duel between Sir William Stanley’s men on Oxford's right and those of the Duke of Norfolk and his son, the Earl of Surrey on the Yorkist left.


William Stanley’s men got the better of the archery duel causing Surrey’s levy to fall into disarray. Seeing an opportunity, Stanley led his retinue in a mounted charge which routed Surrey’s levy. Unfortunately Stanley could not rein in his men and they continued their pursuit. King Richard (who was also mounted) led his retinue to intercept Stanley, killing him and destroying his men at arms.


Thomas Stanley and Henry Percy were both deemed to be ‘potentially treacherous’. This required a loyalty test to be taken if either were ordered to do anything other than hold their positions. Oxford was quite happy to keep Thomas Stanley holding a hill but the King wanted Percy to advance. It took the King’s personal intervention to make this happen. King Richard also sent a herald forward to entice Thomas Stanley to change his allegiance but Oxford’s personal intervention kept Stanley loyal.



With Richard busily engaged sorting things out elsewhere, the Yorkist centre was slow to advance. With the King back controlling them they moved in on Oxford’s men and engaged them in an archery duel which the Yorkists got the better of.


Meanwhile the Yorkist left was wavering under archery supported by artillery and skirmishers. Oxford sent his French mercenaries forward in an attempt to break Norfolk’s wing that was holding the Yorkist left.


The ever active King Richard III personally intervened to shore up Norfolk and to prevent a breakthrough.


In the centre, the Constable of the Tower of London closed in on Oxford’s retainers who were reeling under the arrows of the King’s men. Oxford held the line and the Constable’s isolated men fell into disarray.


With the pub beckoning we decided to call it a day. The Yorkists had failed to defeat Oxford’s army but they had killed William Stanley so the result was a draw with the tactical advantage to Oxford.


The Tree of Battles rules worked well, giving us a fast paced game which gave us the feel of a Wars of the Roses engagement. We will be using them, and the same miniatures, at the SoA Bosworth Battle Day 15 August. There is plenty of room for others to join us then. If you would like to secure a place let me know at [email protected] Or just turn up on the day.


Tree of Battles is available from this website both as a PDF or in hard copy here.







By smacdowall, Jun 7 2021 02:40PM

The latest troops to emerge from my painting table is this unit of 5th century Roman limitanei ready to defend the Gallic frontier (limes). Their shield pattern is based on the Honoriani Gallicani.


This unit could equally serve as Gallo-Romans or Romano-Britons. I suspect that at some time in the future they will find the occasion to be fielded together with my Visigoths against the Franks.



I have attempted to balance the uniform look of the shields, yellow-brown cloaks, and undyed linen or wool tunics, with a certain degree of individuality appropriate for the farmer-soldiers of the limitanei. This is helped by a mix of figures from Wargames Foundry, First Corps and Footsore with a variety of headgear yet in similar poses. Trousers and lower leg bindings are also different and I have varied the clavi (tunic decorations) both in colour and design.


And here they are alongside a similar unit (all Wargames Foundry) that I painted many years ago. I have always liked the look of that blue shield unit in resting poses. It is about time they were joined by others.



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