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By smacdowall, Jan 9 2020 04:09PM

One of the problems in building armies for the Battle of Bosworth is that once you have fought the battle that’s it. Many of your units cannot see action again as King Richard III is dead and Henry Tudor is King Henry VII. Of course some of the troops can be used in earlier actions in the Wars of the Roses but not all. Important nobles had the unfortunate habit of getting themselves executed when the found themselves on the losing side, so distinctive flags and liveries are sometimes short-lived.

A good solution is to set up plausible what-if scenarios before or after the actual historical encounter. This is what I did before Christmas.

I set up a fictional scenario based on an actual skirmish between the advance guards of Henry Tudor and King Richard III, 2 days before Bosworth. It assumes that this skirmish, at Atherstone, developed into a more significant engagement.

It allows players to use armies raised for the Battle of Bosworth in a plausible setting other than a re-fight of the famous battle. It also places Percy and the Stanleys in the forefront, giving a chance to use troops that were relatively inactive at Bosworth.

The full scenario can be downloaded from my website in the Medieval Scenarios section.

The Royalists had a significant archery superiority. The Royalist player advanced Percy’s archers within range of Stanley’s men and began to inflict significant casualties on them. This forced Stanley off the hill he was occupying to engage Percy in hand to hand combat.

I was playing the Tudors and it seemed like all was lost before the battle had truly begun, Stanley’s levied troops had been decimated and charged forward without orders.

The arrival of Howard’s mounted men at arms presented me with a further problem when they charged Sir William Stanley’s contingent. By dismounting William Stanley’s men at arms I was able to see off Howard’s attack but could not bring up William’s contingent to support Lord Stanley’s men.

While the archery duel had favoured the Royalists the hand to hand combat turned in my favour when Lord Stanley’s men at arms cut their way through Percy’s archers. When Percy himself joined in the fray he was killed in the combat. This caused his men to waver and then fall back.

More troops arrived on the field. Tudor’s French and Scots mercenaries bearing down on the Royalists only to be countered by the Duke of Norfolk’s retainers.

When King Richard himself arrived on the field, Percy’s men were in full retreat while the other contingents were in stalemate. Tudor’s men had won the day but it was not enough to make him king.

There is still another battle to be fought.

The rules used were Tree of Battles which can also be downloaded for free here.

I will be using these rules for the Society of Ancients Bosworth Battle Day on 4 April.

By smacdowall, Dec 19 2019 07:19PM

With Malplaquet behind me I have been turning my attention to Bosworth (1485) — one of England’s most decisive battles. Bosworth will be the subject of the Society of Ancient’s Battle Day on 4 April 2020 so I have 3 months left to paint up the rest of the contingents I still need to field.

The most recent contingents off my paining table are the following:

King Richard III with his Knights of the Body leading the charge that would cost his life.

Henry Tudor on foot. I still need to do a mounted version.

Rys Ap Thomas’ Welsh for Henry Tudor’s army

Henry Tudor’s French and Scottish pikemen.

Henry Percy’s Northumberland men for King Richard's third line.

Lord Thomas Stanley’s contingent, for Henry's army, although they may have hedged their bets.

By smacdowall, Nov 6 2019 09:03PM

Last weekend I had the pleasure of once again attending the Society of Ancients annual conference. It was, as ever, a most enjoyable weekend with good company, good games and some excellent talks.

There was a bit of a Wars of the Roses theme this year which suited me perfectly. Mike Ingram gave a fascinating account of Bosworth based on the new battlefield archeology and a detailed look at primary sources which overturn most of what we previously thought we knew about the battle. I highly recommend his book recently published by Helion.

I reprised my toy soldier game, very loosely based on Bosworth. The simple rules can be found in the rules section (medieval) on my website: This Weak Piping Time of Peace.

This time it was Henry Tudor who met his end in hand to hand combat with King Richard. So now the score is one-all.

Following an excellent talk on the little known Battle of Edgcote I took on the role of Robin of Redesdale.

Despite high moral purpose, bravery and determination, we were driven from the field thanks to the untimely intervention of the Earl of Devon.

We did have the satisfaction of killing off the young Henry Tudor who was observing the battle. So Henry died twice over the course of the weekend.

The Gangs of Rome game looked most interesting although I did not manage to take part.

Author and Classicist Harry Sidebottom entertained us with tales of the Third Century Roman crisis before a most congenial dinner.

And I did my part with a talk on the Vandals.

There were many other games which I did not participate in ranging from chariot warfare through to classiacl Rome, the Dark Ages and the high Middle Ages. In my view this is an event well worth attending.

By smacdowall, Oct 31 2019 04:20PM

Bosworth is the subject of the Society of Ancients Battle Day game next spring. It has therefore become my next wargaming project.

I already have a reasonable WoR collection thanks to the excellent 28mm Perry plastics which tempted me at Salute several years ago. They have since been augmented by Perry and Front Rank metals. I am now in the process of painting up the appropriate command groups for Bosworth — more on that later.

My interest in the Wars of the Roses goes back much further. I was inspired as a mere 8 year old by the excellent Britains WoR Swoppets and fought many a boyhood battle between the red and white roses on my bedroom floor.

My original Swoppets Knights collection is still in fairly good condition. Taking a break from painting some 28mm French pikemen for Henry Tudor, I wondered if the Swoppets could see action again. I quickly wrote up some simple rules and called up a friend for a Toy Soldier game very loosely based on Bosworth.

I divided the men up into eight contingents: Henry Tudor, Oxford, Chandée and Stanley for the Red Roses; Richard III, Norfolk, Brackenbury and Northumberland for the White Roses. For this first game Stanley and Northumberland would not have any historical restrictions preventing the players from using them as they wished.

First blood went to Richard III’s more numerous archers as they shot up the advancing Red Roses.

A fierce hand to hand combat developed in the centre with initial advantage going to the whites.

This turned around in subsequent turns with the White Roses being forced to retire.

Richard III led his mounted knights on the right flank to attack Tudor and Stanley who were advancing towards him.

A ferocious mounted combat ensued which swayed back and forth as more men joined the fray and Richard’s archers supported the Yorkist attack from a distance.

Then disaster struck. Richard was killed in hand to hand combat with Henry. The Tudor dynasty had begun!

The game was great fun and hugely satisfying. It was fantastic to see the old Britains knights on the battlefield again. The rules worked well — providing a simple and fast moving game.

I will reprise the game at the Society of Ancients conference this weekend. The rules: This Weak Piping Time of Peace are available as a free download from my website here.

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