Tuesday 30 April 2013

Cravant game - close up

Just before the Salute show becomes a dim and distant memory for us all, here are some bonus photos that I hadn't initially planned for. A visitor to Salute show - Alan Daniels - took these great pictures on the day and kindly sent on to me last week. Alan had a macro lens and snapped some fantastic close ups of figures and is happy for me to post some here.

Some of them have created a great atmosphere I think, which you don't normally get with pictures of games at shows - my favourite is the last one of the Scottish spearmen, which seems to create a sense of movement in it. Thankfully the figure painting just about holds up to intimate inspection!

Friday 26 April 2013

Cravant - the Salute refight

The English contingents advance towards the river in the first moves.

The initial set-up reflected the assumed pre-battle positions of the two armies,  following the three hour stand-off that occurred on 31 July 1423. The English and Burgundians were located nearest to the river bank, with the French having arrayed from their palisaded encampment. It’s most likely that Buchan would have posted a force to defend the river crossing, however to speed up the game I conveniently ignored this and the bridge was undefended. The English forces deployed with Lord Willoughby in the van opposite the bridge, Antonie de Toulongeon the Marshal of Burgundy in the main ‘battle’ and the earl of Salisbury on the left wing with the rearward contingent (who as the overall commander had the largest force). The French were slightly off-set, to be further from the bridge, with the earl of Buchan in the van (with the larger contingent) and two smaller French contingents in the main and rear battles (who in the actual engagement included Italian and Aragonese mercenaries).

The English were given the initiative for the first move and Lord Willoughby duly advanced on the bridge, in the hope that a swift crossing could potentially out-flank the French left wing. Salisbury and de Toulongeon brought up their respective longbows and crossbows to the river’s edge to fire at long-range. This fire prompted the Scots archers and French crossbowmen to move forward and engage in a duel, which resulted in both sides taking some casualties.

Lord Willoughby's contingent cross the bridge, with longbowmen wading over in support.

Lord Willoughby’s contingent followed their historical predecessors and crossed the Yonne – men at arms using the bridge with covering fire from their longbowmwen. However at this point their progress slowed, I think as the French won most of the initiatives for the following turns of play. The French advanced to counter the English attack and a melee ensured, which blocked all aspirations that Willoughby had of creating a flank attack. A protracted series of hand to hand fighting continued between the bridge and the walls of Cravant.

The French advance in response to Willoughby's attack.

The English attack and ensuing melee.

In response the French and Scots units advanced towards the river,, manoeuvring to align themselves with the English and Burgundian ‘battles’. This was despite fear of an attack in the flank or rear from Lord Chastallus, foraying out of the besieged town, as occurred in 1423. Although we gave Chastallus a modest force, this event was diced for once the French moved forwards, but on the day they were a ‘no show’ and remained cowering within the safety of the town walls.

The view from the Franco-Scots side.

The other allied contingents then crossed the river to attack – Salisbury and the Marshall of Burgundy’s crossbow units crossing the river – which was deemed to be fordable at all points as it was high summer and only waist deep waters – within a turn of each other, despite crossbow and handgun fire from the Scots and French. Initial fighting ensued between Salisbury and Buchan – including a rumour that Salisbury himself had been killed. The game was therefore interestingly poised when we ran out of both time and collective energy. The melee between Salisbury and Buchan would probably have been the key to deciding the outcome.

 The Burgundians cross the river.

Overall I think that the game played out well – we certainly managed to play more turns than we had for the Verneuil game of 2011. The layout seemed to look Ok and included all the known elements of the battle. The Impetus rules were also fit for purpose – although losing melees from a flank attack does prove fatal for the losing unit. In all, the English probably didn’t win enough of the initiative dice throws at the start of each turn, in order to cross the river swiftly enough and benefit from a speedy attack – as they had in 1423.

Salisbury prepares to attack.

 The positions towards the end of play.

My thanks once again to David Lanchester and the Lance and Longbow Society for the opportunity to put on the game and to all of the players on the day.

Some extra pics of the game taken by Joe Dever.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Cravant game at Salute (I)

Here's some promised pictures of the Cravant game at last weekend's Salute. This is largely a posting of pictures of the initial set up of terrain and troops. I will then post another re how the game progressed; some pictures are already making their way on the web as people post their pics of the day. I also believe that there maybe a forthcoming article in Hobilar, the Lance and Longbow Society publication, re the refight.

Many thanks to fellow gamers from the society on the day, including George who guided us through Impetus ruleset. Also it was great to meet blog followers, both those known and previously unknown to me and for the complimentary comments you made.

Anyway, here are some photos...

 View from behind the Anglo-Burgundian lines, looking towards Cravant town walls

View along the Yonne river, with Cravant on the left bank.

The Yonne river from the other end of the table, with the bridge.

View of the French siege camp on the hill outside Cravant.

The earl of Salisbury's contingent form up.

Lord Willoughby on the English right-hand side, opposite the bridge and road to Cravant.

Two bombards inside the French palisaded encampment.

Inside the walls of Cravant.

The industrious miller continues at work, despite the imminent onslaught.

The large Scots contingent of Buchan, constable of France.

Traditional entertainment continues in the French camp.

The Scots assemble outside the siege camp.

The bridge over the Yonne, with the English forces arrayed for battle in the distance.

The French burying casualties from the siege, perhaps resulting from dysentery rather than combat.

More Hundred Years War hot fighting action shots to come soon....

Thursday 18 April 2013

Crossing the Yonne

My last planned posting before the Cravant game at Salute. The critical tactical decision of the battle in 1423 was the English attack across the river Yonne, which separated the armies. The English waded through waist high waters, under fire from French crossbows and Scots archers, across a distance of about 50 metres (based on today's river at the likely location of the battle) to the other bank. To represent this I’ve created some river crossing figures – although they may only be on the table for one phase of movement!  

They are mostly cut-down spare Perry figures from the Hundred Years War range, plus some Plastic Perry Wars of the Roses figures for the archers – the latter are slightly anachronistic but much easier the convert; I think I’ve blunted an Xacto saw blade slicing through all the metals. There are a few casualty/drowning figures too.

All are mounted on round clear plastic bases, purchased from Oshiro Model Terrain, using a large blob of epoxy glue to try and recreate the broken river surface around their bodies when it dries. Most have been painted in haste to meet the deadline for the game. These are a sample of those done – I’ll post more close-ups after the game. I’m not sure if they’ll get out onto a wargames table again, unless it’s another refight of Cravant, as I’m unaware of another HYW engagement when troops crossed a river to engage the enemy?

Here's a couple of the cut-down figures as works of progress, pre painting.

Now time to pack everything up. Cravant demo game and the Lance and Longbow stand is on tables GG 14 / GH 14 – please come along if you can on Saturday. For those not attending I plan to put up some pictures here next week.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Bridge on the Yonne

This is the final terrain piece needed for the Cravant game - and to use with my new river sections at other times. The bridge which Lord Willoughby led the Anglo-Burgundian attack over the Yonne river.

There's no specific reference to whether the bridge in 1423 was stone or wood; contemporary medieval illustrations of the fifteenth century show a mix of both types in countryside vistas. I thought a wooden one would be more visually appealing and add another type of material to the terrain boards. Whatever the medieval one was made of, it was replaced by stone in the early 18th century - drawings of the replacement are shown below.

 It's been created by James at Oshiro Model Terrain, using balsa and based on images I found. As no actual wooden medieval bridges still survive, the main reference I used is the contemporary Froissart Chronicle illustration shown below, with a simplified number of supporting pillars and less arched construction. I asked James to add the 'V' shaped passing-points at the middle of the bridge, which copy those seen in English packhorse bridges that are still intact today. Thankfully my measurements were OK for the model to fit the river sections I'd made - a minor 'heart-in-mouth' moment earlier this weekend following the arrival of the parcel! The width of the bridge will accommodate my 60mm wide bases for my other medieval collection. A great nice bit of modelling by James; I'd recommend a look over at his commissioned work and resin castings too.

A tad more pre-Salute stuff to come....

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Mill on the Yonne.

I’ve now finished the watermill feature (see previous posts for info on the construction etc). 

The wheel, boardwalk and pillar have been painted and drybrushed a few times to pull out the details. The wheel has some varnish and ripple maker added to try to represent the wheel turning in the river with wet blades. Some ripple maker was brushed onto a plastic tray and when dry peeled off and glued to the wheel to try and denote dripping water (not sure this is convincing, but will do for now). 

‘Monsieur Miller’ has made an appearance and is sorting out his next delivery of flour, clearly ambivalent to the forthcoming battle along the river!