VWQ AAR: 1st Newbury, 1643

Flags2

Victory Without Quarter
Battle of 1
st 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.

Newcastle

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.

CharlesI

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.

Newbury_game_map

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).

The Battle

View from the Royalist left, Prince Rupert in the foreground, facing Stapleton’s trotters and the trained portion of the Parliamentarians.

Turn1-a

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.

Turn1-c

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.

Turn1-d

(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.

Turn3-a

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.

Turn2-a

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.

Turn2-b

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.

Turn3-D

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.

Turn4b

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.

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VWQ Beacon Hill After Action Report 8/20/2016

On Saturday, August 20, Steve Miller and I hauled in our troops to The Game Closet in Waco, TX to run a Victory Without Quarter (VWQ) demo using the scenario of the Battle of Beacon Hill, April 23, 1643.

Steve Miller commanded the Royalist, and I took the Parliamentarians. Vince Oradesky from the Austin group drove up to join us, and played on the Royalist side for the 1st of two games played. We did have many others dropping by to watch the action and get a look at the “deck pull” system that is the heart of VWQ.

GM1a_Royalist_Deploy
Royalist CinC Steve Miller prays for his Royalist reinforcements to hurry.

The scenario has the Royalist deploying quickly on Beacon Hill, to prevent the advancing Parliamentarians from marching into Cornwall, depriving King Charles II of the muster of Cornwall.

Unfortunately for the Royalist, their forces are scattered, so the initial forces of just 2 regiments and an oncoming Lord Mohun’s regiment of foote must hold the ground of Beacon Hill until the more numerous royalist forces can gather.

But the situation is dire.

GM1b_Royalist_Deploy
Royalist view from Beacon Hill to the approaching Parliamentarians.

The Parliamentarians, lead by the ‘notorious’ firebrand, Sgt-Maj. General James Chudleigh, are in battle formation and approaching quickly. Their objective is to take Beacon Hill, and if possible, exit a unit of foote off the road to Lauceston (where royalist forces are trying to get to the battle). If they do, it is a decisive victory for them.

GM1d_Parliament_Deploy
Parliamentarian initial deployment.
GM1h1_View_FM_Arty
View from Parliament’s artillery battery

The Royalist, under command of Sir Ralph Hopton, do have the benefit of some hedges, which is slowing the Roundhead (Parliament) advance. With a forlorn hope of detached musketeers in the hedges below Beacon Hill, they must fight for time until help arrives.

GM1a1_Royalist_Deploy_Godolphin
Steve’s Godolphin Regiment huddling against the hedges on Beacon Hill

Back to the game mechanics of VWQ, the rules and card draw system is specifically designed to imitate actions that actually happened during the English Civil War (ECW). These were amateur armies, lead by amateur generals at the beginning. ALL sorts of crazy things happened on the battlefield: Generals running off for no reason, troops changing sides, artillery exploding (oh yeah, that happened) by stupid gunners, weather!

The card draw system is a deck of cards (created by the players) with a card for every unit, every commander, with 2 reload cards, 2 artillery cards (they can fire or move), an event card, and an end of turn card. Additional cards can be added/subtracted based on the scenario you want to fight. Turns go until the End of Turn card is drawn.

Yes – I hear the screaming – YOU MEAN I MIGHT NOT MOVE MY TROOPS!

That is correct. As VERY often happened, generals had to deal with their troops just not moving or engaging the enemy, even when in a perfect position to do so! Or – they may charge out of their well fortified positions to engage troops in the open! There are times you can actually move/fight multiple times a turn with the same unit!

Your job in this game is to manage the chaos your troops, and the enemy, create for you while still getting the job done.

Another mechanic I do like is that combat is simultaneous. None of this “panzerbush” stuff where you move, fight and make the other guy suffer without retaliation. Here if you are shoot at, you get to shoot back at them (if your antagonist is in arc). If engaged in melee, you both fight and can inflict damage – again if in frontal combat.

OK – to back to the battle….

The Parliamentarians stepped out smartly, with all their units being able to advance. Unfortunately, the artillery was JUST out of range. And for some reason, the Parliamentarian officers, seemed to just stand around watching their troops move out without them! Fortunately the trotters moved right up in support.

GM1c1_Parliament_Deploy
My Parliamentarian trotters moving up, and past Sgt-Maj. Gen. Chudleigh (carrying the Commonwealth Republic Flag)

As Parliament pushed forward, a well aimed volley from Col. Wear’s veterans (center below) shook Goldolphin’s forlorn hope and sent them reeling back toward the rest of their regiment on Beacon Hill.

GM1g_Parliament_Pushing
Parliament regiments Rosewell, Wear, and Bamfield (top to bottom left) advance on Royalist Grenvile, Godolphin, and Mohun’s (top to bottom right) regiments. Sir Ralph Hopton looks on from Beacon Hill

But the area this happened, must have been haunted. Every single unit that fought on that small rise were shaken or routed. We started calling it, the Well of Souls.

The Parliamentarian push was on in earnest, with Col. Rosewell’s Parliamentarians routing Sir Greenvile’s regiment and dispersing them. The Royalist were all pushed backed onto to Beacon Hill.  Godolphin’s regiment was shaken and trying in vain rally. Victory was in their grasp!

But then …

GM1i1_Royalist_Horse_Arriving
Royalist gallopers arrived en-mass from Launceston to stabilize the Royalist position

Disaster for the Parliamentarians! Hordes of Royalist horse all show up at the first opportunity!

The Parliamentarians were in shock as their assault faltered. Perhaps if they only had some time so recover and reform ….

GM1i_Highwatermark_Royalist_Reinforce
High water mark of the Parliamentarian advance.

MORE DISHEARTENING NEWS FOR PARLIAMENT! Royalist foote also arrives en-mass on the Parliamentarian left. With all this going on,  Col. Wear’s veterans get shaken by the fire from Goldolphin’s rallied regiment and retreat back over the rise. They try to rally, but fail and rout.

GM1k_Well_of_Souls
Well of Souls appears in the center of the picture, as Royalist horse decimate Parliamentarians (bottom) overrunning the artillery as well.

At this point the bloody evil Well of Souls makes it’s appearance from the the cleared brush at the base of Beacon hill.

It was a true rout of Parliament. Royalists swept the field, routing all 3 initial foote regiments, 1 squadron of trotters, and capturing a light artillery piece that was moved up to support the assault.

Kudos to Steve Miller, who brought all the terrain with him. Thanks to the many who stopped by for a few, even pushed some lead for a bit. And BIG thanks to Rich, owner of The Game Closet, who was VERY accommodating!

Look for us again September 10th at The Game Closet.

Here are also some pictures of the cards made for this:

OOB_Beacon_Hill_1

A complete carousel of all the pictures we took is here:
GM1e_Parliament_Advances GM1d_Parliament_Deploy GM1c_Parliament_Deploy GM1c1_Parliament_Deploy GM1b_Royalist_Deploy GM1a1_Royalist_Deploy_Godolphin GM1a_Royalist_Deploy GM1m_Royalist_Debate GM1l_Royalist_Right_Flank GM1k_Well_of_Souls GM1j_Royalists pour_it_on GM1i1_Royalist_Horse_Arriving GM1i_Highwatermark_Royalist_Reinforce GM1h_View_fm_Parliament_arty GM1h1_View_FM_Arty GM1g_Parliament_Pushing GM1g1_Parliament_Sees_Horse GM1f_Parliament_Pushing