Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Naseby Battlefield Project at Milton Keynes

May 12, 2015

Campaign 2015 21

I took along the Naseby battlefield layout to help promote the upcoming Naseby 370 event.

This will be on display in the visitor area, along with the Battlefields Trust, The Pike & Shot Society, wargames from the Phoenix Group and lots of other family and enthusiast activities to support your day out.

Campaign 2015 07

I have had the soldier collection that did the round of shows some while back refurbished … fitted with Fluttering Flags and rebased … the flags are intentionally generic with a flavour of 1645 (and should allow other battles to be modelled of course ) … Worth a look, nevertheless, I hope …

Campaign 2015 08

Campaign 2015 09

Campaign 2015 10

We did not play through the battle as a wargame but moved the pieces during the course of each day as an instructional tableau adding hamster bedding to mark the firing (which – a pleasant surprise – immediately drew the attention of passing shoppers) …

Campaign 2015 15(the battle opens with Okey’s dragoons firing into the flank of the King’s cavalry)

Campaign 2015 16(the King’s army advances across Broadmoor to take on the New Model Army)

Campaign 2015 17(Parliament’s red-coated infantry await their baptism of fire)

Campaign 2015 28(Naseby: mid-afternoon)

Campaign 2015 29(the King’s reserve does not commit and Cromwell’s cavalry reserves are able to enclose the infantry fighting on Closter Hill)

Campaign 2015 20

Well, a great show and 2 splendid day’s out explaining Northamptonshire’s military heritage to the shoppers of Milton Keynes.

Thank you, everyone who stopped, for your interest in our project and I hope you enjoyed the exhibits.

Please come along to the big event in June: Naseby 370

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Newark’s Big Weekend …

May 5, 2015

NCWC event 01

May Bank Holiday saw a spectacular event in Newark: Fortress Newark saw the town invaded by hundreds (over a thousand I understand) Civil War soldiers, commemorating the sieges and welcoming into existence the new National Civil War Centre.

It was a huge event and I only have a little camera (but maybe I can give a flavour of the spectacle) …

NCWC event 02(living history at Newark Castle)

NCWC event 03(some of the besiegers at the castle)

NCWC event 04(youngsters watching how traditional smithing works)

There were drill demos and more stalls in the town square

NCWC event 05(Civil War soldiers demonstrate drills in Newark’s historic town square)

NCWC event 06(youngsters learn traditional soldiers games)

And on the fringes of the town, at the Queen’s Sconce, there was a full-on battle fought out …

NCWC event 07

NCWC event 10(Newark: the King’s army mustering behind the lines)

NCWC event 08

NCWC event 11(the King’s guns bear down on Newark)

NCWC event 09(the army of Parliament at the Queen’s Sconce)

The National Civil War Centre …

Although I had been up some time back for some advice from the Museum team in Newark (who have been very supportive of the work we are doing at Naseby), this was my first look inside the newly opened Civil War Gallery.

Reassuringly, it was very busy.

NCWC event 12

NCWC event 13(given it has to be full of interpretation and buttons to push, there were plenty of proper Museum exhibits)

NCWC event 15

NCWC event 14(there are some more flags to go up, I’m told)

Well, what a splendid day … so much to see – a really big show to establish Newark’s Civil War heritage!

Don’t forget to come to Naseby next month

Naseby 370 … 13th and 14th June 2015

April 28, 2015

2014-15 Yearbook 42

ECW History … Live!

July 24, 2014

History Live! 14 29(all smiles on the Battlefields Trust stand at History Live! 2014)

I was able to have 2 days assisting the Battlefields Trust at History Live again this year, and although mostly manning and explaining my Battle of  Northampton display*, added a few more pictures to my collection …

History Live! 14 25

History Live! 14 28

History Live! 14 27

History Live! 14 26

Give or take the violent electrical storms (which, mercifully, mostly struck overnight) it was a warm, at times, sweltering weekend and the public turned out in numbers, especially on the Sunday …

History Live! 14 31(History Live! 2014: a beautiful summer Sunday in Northamptonshire)

The event brings history to life, especially military history, and has plenty to get youngsters involved, from impromptu theatre …

History Live! 14 32

… to the very busy wargames tent (historical wargames to join in presented by the Phoenix club of Rushden)

History Live! 14 30

… History for all the family and a lively and compelling event from English Heritage

*for a more general report on the event, see Ancients on the Move/History Live!

Cropredy Bridge 1644 (2)

July 14, 2014

CoW 2014 03a(Not Quite an Abbey Road: WD’s Friday Specials cross the vicious 361 at Hay’s Bridge)

Fresh from genning up a couple of weeks back with the Battlefields Trust, I was back at Cropredy with WD, supplying the interpretation while JB directed the tour.

The walking tour had missed Hay’s Bridge due to the traffic (and low effort reward ratio, as much of the view is overgrown and the viewpoints negligible) … but WDers are made of stern stuff and grittily performed all necessary manoeuvres to park, stop ‘U’-turn etc. at this key point.

CoW 2014 02

It gives me the chance to add a few pictures of Hay’s Bridge today.

Waller’s plan included taking the  bridge in order to cut the King’s army in two – then destroy the tail left on the Wardington side of the bridge in detail.

Hazzlerigg’s troopers made it to the bridge but encountered stiff resistance and were sent reeling back towards Cropredy and were counter-attacked by a detachment of Lifeguards from beyond the river (precisely what was meant to be prevented by taking the bridge!)

CoW 2014 Cropredy visit(looking back from the bridge at Wardington fields dropping down towards us at the river – full of powder smoke in 1644 from the action at the crossing)

CoW 2014 Cropredy visit 02(looking back towards Cropredy Bridge from Wardington field: photo)

The soldiers amongst us were fascinated by this bungled attempt to cut off and encircle a marching force and are already thinking of innovative ways to devise the wargame … I think we were all disappointed by the dearth of archaeological work done at this battlefield and it will certainly be useful to look at some reconstructed field patterns.

CoW 2014 04(the Cherwell today at Hay’s Bridge)

We had met up at the Brasenose Arms for lunch, and to reduce our convoy to the minimum number of cars necessary.

After viewing the main area of the battlefield by car from both bridges, the Wardington Ash, and from walking towards the middle,  we returned to the pub to debrief and make our way to Knuston.    A briefer visit than the walking tours, but valuable and worthwhile nonetheless.

(a general report on CoW2014)

Cropredy Bridge 1644 (1)

July 1, 2014

BFT Cropredy 01

Cropredy Bridge – the Battlefields Trust visit … June 29th

This was a well attended and extensive day out on the anniversary of the battle.   A walk on the Southern part of the field in the morning, a wreath laying with the Tower Hamlets Trained Bands reenactors after lunch, and a walk on the Northern and central areas in the afternoon.

BFT Cropredy 02(walkers assembled on the bridge for an introduction and some weapons demos)

This gave those who stayed for the whole day a chance to explore the main areas of action and walk the field.

The battle was essentially a failed Parliamentary opportunistic attack (Waller) on  a marching Royalist column (the King) …

The two armies were shadowing each other either side of the Cherwell, with the King marching on Daventry.    With the Royalist column strung out along the ridge opposite him, Waller saw the opportunity to wait until all bar the rear guard had crossed the river (at Hays Bridge) before launching attacks via Cropredy Bridge, Cropredy Mill and Slat Mill to chop the tail off the column and defeat it in the fields of Wardington and Williamscote.

BFT Cropredy 03(some views of the ground superimposed on the Trust’s context and action map)

In the morning we walked from the meet at Cropredy Bridge along the tow path to Cropredy Mill (the central of the three red advances on the map) and examined the movements of forces before continuing South to the Slat Mill crossing.

BFT Cropredy 04(Cropredy Mill: a portable demo board shows the action developing as Waller attacks)

Across the Cherwell at Slat Mill, the walk followed the strenuous ascent of Waller’s uphill attack on the Royalist rear.   The medieval ridge and furrow is still very evident here and reminds us of how the landscape would have been in the largely unenclosed 17th Century.

BFT Cropredy 06(looking back towards Slat Mill across the rising ground leading up to Williamscote)

Waller’s attacks here gained little traction.   Following his line of advance returned us to the main part of the battlefield.

BFT Cropredy 05(back at the bridge, some of the Trained Band of Tower Hamlets slope their pikes in respect to the fallen of 1644)

While Waller attacked the rear of the King’s column, Middleton made a determined cavalry attack across Wardington fields driving off the Dragoons that were guarding Cropredy Bridge and attempting to seize Hay’s Bridge to the North (thereby cutting off the tail of the column)

BFT Cropredy 08(looking down from the Royalist lines towards Cropredy and Waller’s emerging attacks) 

In fact, Middleton’s cavalry were thrown back from Hay’s Bridge and attacked (more or less in the flank) by Cleveland’s brigade from the ridge.

BFT Cropredy 07(the old stone barn midway up the slopes above Cropredy: it is contemporary with the battle and was used as a shelter on the night of the battle) 

BFT Cropredy 09(looking back up towards Cleveland’s up-slope position from the old barn)

A confused fight ensues in the fields, Cleveland’s cavalry supported by men from Bernard Astley’s foot, Middleton by the Tower Hamlets regiment at the bridge.

A detachment of Life Guards add punch, counter attacking across Hay’s Bridge, and the Parliamentarians are driven back across the Cherwell.

A bad day is saved from getting any worse by the stubborn defence of the bridge by the Tower Hamlets regiment, holding up the Royalists into the night.

BFT Cropredy 10(Cropredy Bridge: children enjoying getting in touch with their history)

Refreshments were laid on at the Church, who also showed us some of their antiquities, some of which may date to the Civil War – even the friendly staff in the pub came up with some plausible-looking shot found in an adjacent back garden …

BFT Cropredy 11

As usual, a very informative visit.

BFT Cropredy 12(Cropredy Bridge – 29th June 1644)

Wargaming the Pike & Shot period/updates

May 3, 2014

Bringing projects up to date … We have previously looked at my standard wargame, Advanced Armati, together with Graham’s VWS (good), Neil Thomas (needs fixing), as well as less convincing solutions such as Pike and Shotte and 1644.

I’m relatively happy with FoG-R … it shares the confusion of separating regimental soldiers out by weapon (generally where Warhammer style rules fall apart when faced with the undifferentiated combat of the Civil War) … but does its best to make the troops fight in plausible formation blocks.

FoG-R 01

FoG-R covers a relatively long period of warfare … pretty much from bombards to bayonets … so a complex mechanic tuned by army lists and period specific formations is the order of the day.

Giving FoG-R some table time, I set up a generic game for people to try out using Trebian’s 25mm collection from yesteryear.

FoG-R 02

Not ECW, then, but I’m sure you will enjoy some shots of the game.

FoG-R 03

Henry IV‘s French lined up to attack some Spanish opposition so we presume this is the 1590s …

FoG-R 04

FoG doesn’t exactly rattle along at the pace we are used to (it is a complex alternate move game with lots of nuances to understand)  … and I confess I wasn’t able to push it along as knowledgeably as I would had it been Armati, or even the ancients version of FoG.

Nevertheless we got around 80% of a conclusion in a three hours or so from an approximately 850 point game.

FoG-R 05

There are a number of problems with the assumptions the game makes and it is very dice happy – but it doesn’t malfunction regularly and maintains a more or loss good look with some plausible narratives.

FoG-R 06

This followed an initial look at Langport a few weeks back using Treb’s layout and figures combined with a version of Advanced Armati similar to what we have used previously for Naseby and Newbury.

Here are some shots from the game …

Langport trial 01

While his train begins its withdrawal, Goring slows Fairfax by covering the road with artillery and forlorn hopes …

Langport trial 02

Musketeers are driving Royalist shot out of the fields and marsh around Langport ford …

Langport trial 03

(figures are Peter Pig 15mm on 30×30 bases from Treb’s collection)

Langport trial 03a

Audaciously, Fairfax throws the best of his cavalry in columns up the lane …

Langport trial 04

And manages to force a way out onto the slopes of the ridge, driving Goring back …

Langport trial 06

Parliament pushes on to victory …

Provided Goring doesn’t try anything too proactive, this battle runs reasonably well to the historical script.   Determination is more important than disorder.