Cheriton, March 1644

I won’t be arguing the toss on this one with my host and opponent (you can read his account of the Cheriton wargame … here …)  …  Suffice to say that the game ended somewhat artificially with the Royalist army becoming ‘majority disordered’ when a cavalry unit dropped a cohesion level mid charge as it passed over a hedge.  The charge was into the rear of a Parliamentarian cavalry unit that had been unable to rally from pursuit. (the field at Cheriton.  The elevations are slightly misleading due to the generic terrain pieces used: they represent a succession of ridges)

Cheriton was fought in Hampshire in 1644 between the armies of Sir William Waller and Lord Ralph Hopton.   There is some doubt about the finer details, and as ever, the wargame proved an excellent tool for exploring some of these points.

The battlefield is viewed from behind the Royalist (Hopton’s) lines.

There is a significant body of Parliamentarian troops established in Cheriton Wood on what will become the  Royalist left flank.

In the middle of the table is the Royalist advanced guard under Sir George Lisle.

(Hopton’s main force of Royalists approaching the battlefield)

There is a website for the Cheriton Project (Battle of Cheriton),  and the Battlefields Trust has a useful array of resources (OS maps, aerial photos etc) accessible from its Resources facility (UK Battlefields Resources: Cheriton)  They have a battlefield layout (here) which is slightly different to Graham’s but as you imagine the two lines coming together it all falls into place.

You can see from the contours how much of the battlefield is dead ground when viewed  from either side.

(Cheriton: Waller’s main force)

In our reconstruction, the attack on Cheriton Wood was delayed, but was ultimately successful, while the main cavalry fight took place more on the other flank (rather than between the positions) and also saw the Royalists victorious.

(Haselrig’s cavalry put to flight, the Royalist cavalry engulf Parliament’s main body)

Lisle’s command in the centre, however, was battered by artillery and driven back by a stiff infantry assault.

(Parliamentarian musketeers flee before a bluecoated Regiment of Foot)

As I have commented before, I distrust game mechanisms which end games mid-action because of a mathematical formula the writer put into the rules (any such blunt instrument should allow the completion of existing actions or the random testing of mettle).   The battle developed a good narrative then ended rather meaninglessly.

Nevertheless, a thoroughly worthwhile exploration of the battle of Cheriton, and another tick against Graham’s list of ECW battles (all of which will be reconstructed in the fullness of time)

Historically, the Royalists won the protracted fight for Cheriton Wood, but lost the cavalry melee and were eventually driven from the entire position, and there was some bitter fighting in Cheriton village.

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4 Comments on “Cheriton, March 1644”

  1. yesthatphil Says:

    Thanks, Steve … good posts. Very helpful.

    I have to confess to not being an expert on Cheriton. On his blog Trebian says nobody else agrees with Adair … (a simplification I’m sure …)..


    • Trebian Says:

      When I say nobody agrees with Adair I mean that more recent studies don’t agree with him. I think Wanklyn’s analysis is pretty thorough.

      The end of the game wasn’t that satisfactory, although i think we were actually a turn late in calling it. It’s like Armati in that when a certain proportion of your army is broken, it’s game over, although it isn’t as clear cut to keep track of.

      • yesthatphil Says:

        > It’s like Armati in that when a certain proportion of your army is broken, it’s game over,

        Indeed … although that is one of the things I have altered in the ECW variant here (and used for the Naseby reconstructions) … now, Army Break Level triggers a (die roll) test which gets progressively worse with each additional loss and each additional turn. Of course, that means you can fail at the first attempt – but it has an obvious game narrative (of a ‘sudden and immediate’ collapse)


  2. Not sure if this is of interest???

    …I went back again some time later..

    …like you I have no idea which ridges were the one’s they fought over but am tending towards the John Adair view… the position of the wood makes more sense with the Adair proposal – but hey, what do I know… :o)

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