Newbury revisited

MN Newbury 01B

I have the Newbury game played at Colours (Newbury Racecourse) on offer for COW this year so we took time on Tuesday to give it a refresher run.

I stumbled around to start with … trying to find unit stats, measuring sticks and the like, but with an indulgent group of players things fell into place.  Thanks.

The scenario starts around midday with Waller attack going in on Speen, Manchester‘s attack some way back from Shaw at the eastern end (although the layout assumes there is some off table action around Shaw House).

MN Newbury 00a(Northwest nearest us – Donnington Castle just off table)

The action, of course, is a (purportedly) simultaneous attack  on a prepared defence … from the west by Waller and from the East by Manchester.   The Southern flank of the position rests on the boggy watermeadows of the river Kennet, the North on the Lambourne and on the fortified positions of Shaw House and Donnington Castle.

See my main article on the 1644 battle of Newbury

The table is my usual polystyrene and paint within a pasting table, the figures mostly early Minifigs painted by Steve Ayers many years ago.  That said, I still like the way some of the panoramas come out …

MN Newbury 04(Manchester’s men press home on Astley’s position in Shaw Village)

MN Newbury 05b(Waller’s men falling back from Speen)

Initially, Waller’s attack made reasonable prgress and there were even signs that Balfour‘s cavalry might take some of the enclosures bordering the watermeadow …

MN Newbury 02(Waller closes on Maurice’s positions in Speen)

MN Newbury 03(Balfour probes the meadows beyond Speen Church)

But although many of the attempts to break in were close run, and although one of Maurice‘s brigades was destroyed in the village, Waller’s attack was unable to crack the position.

Manchester was initially in no hurry to get into action, and attacked in his own time and where he judged he had better chances of success.

MN Newbury 03a(General view of Manchester’s main attack … looking North towards Shaw House)

This too made good progress without actually taking the key positions, though Manchester did see some unlikely personal action leading Ludlow’s otherwise underemployed cavalry into an ultimately unsuccessful foray along the southern side of the London road.

MN Newbury 06(massed disordered cavalry melee around the London Road junction)

Goring had to throw in most of the remaining cavalry reserve to plug this gap … but was able to do so because Waller’s force had by now had enough and was pulling out of Speen – thereby relieving the pressure on the Royalist centre.  The Kings army came very close to being pinched in by these attack … but was never quite under decisive pressure.

MN Newbury 05a(Late afternoon: the Western force pulling out of Speen)

The battle worked pretty well in the end.  It features massed use of cavalry amongst roads, buildings and enclosures … which might not sound like an ideal sort of combat to model – however, provided you accept a certain leeway around unit and terrain edges (nothing will fit particularly neatly on ‘realistic’ terrain), Armati handles it rather well … treat it all as ‘woods’ and/or linear obstacles (thus allowing cavalry to hack it out with everyone else on ‘special’ factors … say against a forlorn hope of SI musketeers this would be FV 0 for the cavalry vs 1 … 2 if, say, defending the edge of an enclosure … for the musketeers) but the cavalry can take some hits, the SI are destroyed if they lose (Armati BP1, of course).  The balance worked reasonably well.

I will endeavour to tidy things up for COW … particularly to translate the Orbats better (watch this space).

Newbury Ludlow(Edmund Ludlow … stubborn Republican, and commander of Manchester’s horse)

I will also add a commander for Manchester’s cavalry.  Will (Manchester) did argue quite well for this during the battle, and Edmund Ludlow seems a good enough guy to give a role to … he stood up to the King, then stood up to Cromwell and seems to have stuck to his beliefs throughout these turbulent times …

So I have made a switch … giving Goring a figure toasting his troopers (a sop to the booze) and converting the armoured command figure to Ludlow (who originally joined Haselrig’s Regiment before Edghill)

Newbury Ludlow 01Game outcome: on the penultimate turn, Waller’s force had already hit it’s army BP and this time failed the roll to continue.   On the last turn, Manchester needed to beat 3 on the die to continue but failed.   Had Manchester’s cavalry won their last combat (they were ‘1 down’ on the die roll) the King’s army would have hit its BP and needed to roll also (though would only have needed to beat a 1*) – it was that close.

*note: Armati forces break when they hit a Break Point (a specific number of units lost) … to make this less predictable I have replaced this sudden death with a die roll: 1 is always a fail, and you add 1 more to the number for each additional unit the enemy breaks and for each extra turn you have played (so if your army BP was reached two turns ago, since when you have lost another key unit … 1+2+1 … you would need to roll a 5 or 6 to beat that 4 in order for the army to hold together for another turn).  6 is always a pass.

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3 Comments on “Newbury revisited”

  1. joe g Says:

    John Packer was my 8th Gen Grandfather…damn it I want my Castle back.

  2. yesthatphil Says:

    Thanks, Trebian

    Really I guess I’m thinking that if you treat the whole of the built up/enclosed areas as one big wood (ignoring the individual barriers and angles unless they are giving a defended obstacle bonus to the unit) it sort of works … whereas trying to define shapes of units relative to shapes of landscape features is very hard as real units will always adjust their footprint but based wargames units cannot.

    Also, in my adjustments, to get a full ‘flank value’ effect, you have to contact the rear corner with your front edge (and in Armati, anyway, you have to be in the open) … so for this battle it is hard to see it happening except in cases where it so obvious (like where a unit hard turned around) we’d all give it anyway …

  3. Trebian Says:

    A good take on a complicated battle. The Royalists have to exploit their interior lines as best they can, so I appreciated the greater flixibility given in respect of the about face rules and the moving through difficult terrain.The board is a tight fit, but that adds to the overall feel of a confused and hectic battle. Agree with the changes you have suggested.


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