Naseby at Naseby

The 9th-10th of June weekend saw the local launch of the Naseby Battlefield Project Appeal.

This is a very important landmark.   Permission has been given, plan are approved, starter funds donated and a Lottery Bid is being put together for the project.   Between them, the public, the Lottery, rich donors and clever financial devices need to come up with the money to build a state of Visitor Centre and ECW military Museum and study facility.

3D impression of the planned Visitor Centre

(click on the images to see a larger version)

This can be the best in the country if we all find a way to support it.   See more: (artist’s impression) ..

As part of the Benefactors Day (Sunday) festivities, I joined Project activist Charles Singleton and Warlord Games Head of Sales Steve Morgan in a refight of the battle using Warlord’s Pike and Shotte (which Steve co-wrote with Rick Priestley).

Elsewhere, due to the awful weather in Northamptonshire over the previous few days, a good deal of reorganisation had taken place: and a big thankyou is due to Project members and their hardy supporters from Battlefields Trust, the Sealed Knot and related Heritage societies that the event was not cancelled (as other local events had been – even Northampton Carnival and Burton Latimer’s annual Duck Race*) …

(the parading of flags)

Consequently, the whole event was moved from the exposed site on Mill Hill to the fields around the sheltered Village Hall – a great example of English improvisation: keep calm and carry on!

(some highly polished armour from the century before Naseby)

(Dark Age weapons skills being demonstrated)

In fact, Sunday turned out nice, and a reasonable number of local people made the effort to enjoy the battle displays, buy their ice creams and raffle tickets … and come over to have wargaming explained.  Or just to watch the game and admire the figures …

(an audience with a good deal of specialised knowledge follows the Naseby wargame)

Pike and Shotte is a treatment of Rick Priestley’s highly praised horse and musket period wargame, Black Powder.    I’m familiar with and enjoy BP, so it was fascinating to play through the events of Broadmoor with the author of the version for the earlier period.

The skeleton is very much the same, and is adapted to bring out the ‘battaglia’ tactics of the period.    Pike and Shot components are grouped in separate units, but are brigaded together in mutual support, and, with a fair wind (average dice outcomes) the shot can cluster to the pike for protection when the going gets tough.

New Model Regiments and Royalist Tertiae

(the attack on Closter ridge, viewed from the North East – Okey’s dragoons behind the far off Sulby hedge)

Cavalry are very effective, but are also brittle.   Artillery, likewise, can inflict some pain at a distance by rolling those elusive sixes.

Henry Ireton’s cavalry wing

Overall the game was very entertaining and did its job of allowing us to talk to visitors about the battle, the troops, and how wargames can reconstruct real events – but I remain unconvinced by wargame systems that departmentalise the regiments into groups of pikes and groups of shot as explicitly as this system does (I like the more abstract whole unit treatment where the unit fights and shoots as a unit, not in little bits) …

In the wargame, despite my reservations, the New Model regiments, having done a fair bit of musket damage, came off the ridge and charged home, hoping to catch the Royalists on the back foot, as it were**…

It got very tight as the assaults proved very costly on the previously solid Parliamentarian lines.   Ultimately, however, the initial edge carried through to the Royalist brigades breaking whilst the Parliamentarians merely tottered.

On the wings, Maurice’s cavalry eventually broke itself in sweeping pursuits and peremptory departures, while on the other side of the battlefield a somewhat reluctant and cautious Cromwell was still wearing down Langdale’s surprisingly tough troopers.

Endgame: battered Royalist formations break and head for Market Harborough

Meanwhile, things were concluding in the displays arena and final bows and presentations were made.  A special guidon was presented to the Wilson Foundation for outstanding generosity.

Find out more about the Project and its work (Naseby Battlefield Project)

Rupert’s Bluecoats take a curtain call

An enjoyable day – perhaps it can become an annual event?

Follow the various links in the post if you are able to help or donate.

*yes – the weather was too wet for ducks!  I’m afraid that isn’t entirely a joke: the good folk of Burton Latimer do, indeed, hold a Duck Race and it was cancelled because of the weather … (read more)

**this was in part as a result of Closter ridge being largely flattened out: there was more firing than seems to have been possible on the day of battle and no benefit in holding the position, as was ordered, historically.   These things can be fixed quite easily, of course …

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One Comment on “Naseby at Naseby”

  1. grant Says:

    OMG! Steve Morgan!

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