Victory Without Quarter
Battle of 1st Newbury
The Ratt Palace, Red Oak, TX
On Saturday, May 6, Steve Miller and I mustered our English Civil War (ECW) figures for a grand battle using Victory Without Quarter rules by Clarence Harrison. We were re-fighting the 1st Battle of Newbury, September 1643. We were joined by Greg, Frank, and another gentleman (I’m so frakkin’ bad with names) to help run our forces.
As you can see in the first picture, it was a battle ground worth fighting for (we nicknamed the battle the Battle of the Newcastle Brown ales for it all got consumed). That is the Earl of Essex’s carriage come to survey the battleground and placement of the Parliamentarian artillery before things got hot.
The mustered forces on both sides were some of the largest to date in the war. Parliament called out multiple regiments of the London Trained Bandes to bolster their forces. The King himself also came forward to view the battleground before their troops arrived in force.
The Royalist under Charles I were at their cream. All of their forces were either veterans or trained well. Prince Rupert of the Rhine was leading the Royalist horse on the left wing. Sir John Byron and Sir William Vasasour were handling the center and right respective wings.
Below is a map of the battlefield.
Parliament had its hands full. With all the trained bande units from London, they all would not obey anyone other than the Earl of Essex.
Special Scenario Rules.
To get the flavor of the battle, special rules were adapted for the engagement.
The Earl of Essex got both CinC and Brigadier order cards, as he controlled all the infantry in the battle. He could only issue orders based on the type of card. In addition, we used the optional rule that brigade commanders could issue order to the entire brigade if they all got the same order.
The Royalists were a bit more happily endowed with commanders, but were hamstrung in 2 ways. First, the CinC, King Charles I, once positioned on the field was not allowed to move. Any orders outside of his 12 inch command radius had to be delivered by courier.
Also, the Royalist were desperately short of gunpowder. So infantry units could only fire 3 times before they would be on permanent reload status (not getting the volley fire bonus for firing).
Secret special scenario rule (will explain at the end).
View from the Royalist left, Prince Rupert in the foreground, facing Stapleton’s trotters and the trained portion of the Parliamentarians.
At the opening, the Royalist were fired upon by the Stapleton’s trotters moving forward to fire in carcole. But these were quickly chased back by a charge from Caervon’s horse regiment.
Picture of the center showing the Parliamentarian artillery on Round Hill, facing the cream of the Royalist infantry. In the Parliamentarian’s in the rear on Brigg’s Hill were the huge number of Trained Bandes.
Stapleon’s other horse regiments under his command were on the far left wing of Parliament (shown below). These were on their own for this battle, as their commander was keeping a close eye on his own horse regiment on Parliament’s right facing Prince Rupert.
(Royalist foreground right wing, Parliament’s left)
On Parliament’s left wing, the trotters there came forward of their own accord to begin peppering the Royalist. The Royalist, moved forward slightly, and used the base of Round Hill to shield them from the initial cannonade fire. But the Parliamentarian gunners would not be denied long.
Closeup view from behind Royalist infantry, Col. Wentworth’s Regiment.
On Parliament’s right, one squadron of Stapleton’s own horse fled the field, while the other squadron held fast awaiting the turn of events which gave this unit the ability to have 2 orders given every time it’s card came up. This would prove telling.
Stapleton’s last squadron is in the top left of this picture, holding off Carevorn’s horse. Meanwhile Prince Rupert is attempting to dress the lines of Gerard’s horse regiment to pound the rebel infantry.
On the Parliament left wing, the fight was becoming a shooting match between the trotters and artillery versus the Royalist musketeers. Both were becoming shaken in the process, but the Royalist were starting to run dry of gunpowder.
It was a this point Parliament started using their good supply of gunpowder to effect. First Stapleton’s surviving squadron fired on Carevorn’s horse, shaking them. Then the Parliament infantry that had formed pike stand fired causing the unit to rout away, leaving Stapleton’s squadon in no immediate danger, and shoring up Parliament’s right wing.
Well … going to make a long story shorter, both sides fought like lions, but the veteran status of some of the Royalists were making their presence known. One unit of artillery on the hill was overrun by Sir John Byron’s own 1st regiment, but the other units held on.
And just as Parliament was breaking, the “secret” scenario rule came into effect. This rule was once ½ of all the Royalist units on the field had gotten to the “no longer able to reload” status due to how many times they fired, they ran out of powder. There were thus unable to pursue the routing Parliamentarians off the field.
On a sad note, only 1 of the 2 couriers sent by King Charles I made it to their appointed destination. The other was shot moments after leaving the King’s side. The King was heard to remark: “I guess that figures.”
Historically, Parliament faded away back to London, but the Royalists were unable to pursue them for many of the same reasons.
Great fun was had by all, and we enjoyed it immensely. HUGE thanks to Steve Milller for hosting the game at the Ratt Palace.
More eye candy below from the battle.