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By smacdowall, Sep 14 2020 05:42PM

My Hundred Years War project is nearing completion. I am still working on some French dismounted men-at-arms that could serve in the engagements after Crécy when the French learned to dismount when faced by massed archers.


In the meantime here are some photos of the mounted English knights I painted back in 1983, when my patience and ability to paint fine heraldic detail was better than it is today — even if my overall painting style may have improved a little. All the miniatures are Essex 25/28 mil


Here we have King Edward III’s knights. From right to left (their perspective): Sir Thomas Felton; Bartholomew Lord Burghersh (King’s Chamberlain); Sir John Erpingham (holding the royal banner); Michael Lord Poynings; Thomas Lord Berkley; and Sir Thomas Wingfield. Of these Burghersh and Poynigs were in the King’s battle at Crécy. Sir John Erpingham was the father of Sir Thomas who commanded the archers at Agincourt. Sir John certainly fought in France under Edward III but there is absolutely no evidence that he carried the royal banner at Crécy.


A rear view of the king’s knights.


The second unit contains knights from the mainward (R-L their perspective): Sir William de Hardreshalle; Richard Fitzalan, Earl of Arundel; Sir John Delves; William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton; Sir William Fitzwarin; and Sir John Chandos.


And here they are again from another perspective.


Last but certainly not least we have:



Edward of Woodstock, aka the Black Prince — his standard carried by Sir Richard Fitzsimon. The Prince is wearing rather old fashioned kit for a 16 year old in 1346 — perhaps hand-me-downs from Daddy!


And finally Edward III, King of England (and France?) with his herald and his hawk.


All of these fine gentlemen started me off on a 37 year long Crécy project. Although nearly 40 years old, none have yet seen combat on the wargames table for the simple reason that the English rarely fought mounted.


Maybe one day they will see action.


By smacdowall, Sep 5 2020 02:17PM

It was more than 20 years ago when I painted my first English knights and archers with the intention of one day seeing them in action against the French in a re-fight of Crécy (1346). It has taken me until now to amass enough miniatures to give it a go.


Crécy is a difficult battle to replicate on the wargames table as with historical hindsight no one would charge mounted knights uphill against massed longbowmen backed up by dismounted men at arms and spearmen.


Therefore, rather than a conventional game, I decided to have two players on the French side with the English being umpire controlled. The two French players, representing the Comte d’Alençon and the Johan von Luxembourg, would vie with each other for reputation and prestige. The victory points encouraged them to behave as chivalric 14th century knights rather than 21st century wargamers.



The game was played remotely via Zoom. I umpired and moved the miniatures while the two French players rolled the dice for their actions. They were awarded prestige points for chivalrous and heroic actions such as charging enemy men at arms or capturing valuable prisoners. Actions against archers or spearmen were considered beneath them and not worthy of note.


I deployed the troops historically with as close a recreation of the Crécy battlefield as I could on an 8’ x 6’ table (played lengthwise).



The English deployed in 3 battles — the Black Prince on the right, Northumberland on the left and King Edward in reserve at the rear.


The French would be attacking from line of march behind a screen of Genoese crossbowmen. Alençon was forward and angling right, Luxembourg slightly behind and angling left. King Philip Valois and the militia (both umpire controlled) took up the rear.


As mentioned in the previous post, I decided to adapt Andy Callan’s excellent Never Mind the Billhooks rules from the Wars of the Roses to the Hundred Years War, further adapting them to suite my element based armies. I made up suitable HYW cards and order tokens, used casualties as daunted markers, arrows on counters to keep track of archer shots, and small pebbles to recored 'casualties' on my element -based units.


The game played out much like the historical battle. Both Alençon and Luxembourg surged forward, anxious to gain glory in combat with enemy men of rank.


The English archers and cannon made short work of the Genoese crossbowmen and shot apart the lead units of French knights. When the French first managed to charge home across the hidden pits in front of the enemy positions, the English archers held their ground rather than falling back behind the supporting men at arms (determined by a die roll).


This deprived the French of honourable combat against worthy opponents. Instead they had to contend with exchanging blows with mere peasants and the Ignominy of then being forced to retire when the peasants held their ground.


The French charged again and again.


Finally Luxembourg managed to drive back the Black Prince’s archers and engage the Prince and his dismounted knights in honourable combat. Even though he was driven back, Luxembourg could claim greater glory than Alençon.


By this time most of the French knights were retiring and although King Philip had yet to engage there was little point in yet another charge. The game had come to a natural end with Luxembourg in ascendancy and Alençon licking his wounds.


Despite suffering enormous casualties (while very few English died) moral victory certainly went to the French. Not only did the English knights cower behind peasants but they also used smoky, filfy cannons which spoke of witchcraft!


Although there is still work to do in adapting Never Mind the Billhooks for my element based armies they worked well for the Hundred Years War, giving us a fun remote game that came to completion in 3 hours.







By smacdowall, Sep 2 2020 04:23PM

Having paused my Wars of the Roses painting for the Hundred Years War, along comes Wargames Illustrated issue 393.



Not only does it have a couple of Wars of the Roses articles by yours truly but, more importantly, a free set of rules by Andy Callan. I have always admired Andy's rules, borrowing from them shamelessly in my own.


Designed for small battles, Never Mind the Billhooks looks like a fun, playable set of rules which captures the flavour of the Wars of the Roses.


I cant wait to give them a go but my problem is that I am running a Hundred Years War game (Crécy) in a couple of days and I have already begun to set up the battlefield.


In his introduction to Never Mind the Billhooks, Andy says there is no reason they could not be modified for the Hundred Years War. So I have started to look at what modifications will be necessary and I will give it a go.








By smacdowall, Aug 17 2020 06:55PM

The latest troops to emerge from my painting table are the Paris Militia for my Crecy French. There were some 10,000 militia present at Crecy but they played no part in the battle. None-the-less I wanted some French foot, if not for Crecy itself, then for other games.



The miniatures are a mix of Perry (plastics and metal), Essex and Wargames Foundry. As with my other Crecy units there are a number of anachronisms. The Perry figures are more suitable for the early 1400s while one or two of the Essex miniatures are a bit old fashioned. Thanks to the flexibility of the Perry plastics I even used some arms and heads from their Wars of the Roses range. I think the overall look is just about right.


I painted many of the men in the blue and red livery of the Paris militia, keeping secondary colours to a minimum. In this way they have a unit feel while still retaining some individuality.



The shield here is painted with the Paris militia's insignia as displayed on their banner. It was not a tricky to paint as it looks. There are only 3 fleurs-de-lys — which in larger numbers can be a pain! The ship is actually quite a simple design to paint — first in white and then adding a few dark grey lines for definition.



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