A Kingdom Divided

Over Christmas my son and I managed a series of games between several historical opponents including several Wars of the Roses encounters. Regular readers will be familiar with my preference for games between historical opponents yet despite this preference I have infrequently used my Wars of the Roses miniatures against other English armies. Instead they have more often been forced to campaign in France and only occasionally face Henry Tudor. It was therefore with some pleasure that finally they would face English rebels in what would be some six battles.

Unfortunately I can not say the engagements were part of a pre-determined campaign, or indeed attempted to recreate specific historical battles. Instead they were fictional encounters and while unrelated soon started to take on a life of their own. The following is the briefest overview of these games. However, I shall group them into two “campaigns” as the games were played across two gaming sessions.

The first campaign involved two battles, those of Dunfield and later Rippen. In both the Duke of York fought mounted, bolstering his army with border staves and foreign hand-gunners. The Lancastrians fought entirely dismounted save a small mounted reserve. They were bolstered by Irish mercenaries with which the Lancastrian commander hoped to gain at least a fleeting advantage in areas of the battlefield which were broken.

Above, the Yorkist left is under pressure from the advancing Lancastrian right at Dunfield. Below, the Lancastrian left awaits the attack of the Yorkist right. The Lancastrian left is was refused.

Below, the second battle, that of Rippen, viewed from the Yorkist lines. The Yorkist centre is under pressure and would eventually collapse.

The Duke of York, for all his bravado, suffered two crushing defeats. His military reputation in tatters York was forced to escape to the relative safety of Calais until his alliances rebuilt and army reformed.

Four the next campaign the Lancastrians selected to fight what seemed to be, at least on the surface, a series of relatively unimaginative battles. Again they selected to fight dismounted stiffening their billmen with men-at-arms. But with the crown secured the use of foreign contingents was infrequent. Instead, the House of Lancaster would try and secure some advantage from careful selection of the field.

The Yorkists also shunned the use of a large number of mercenaries, instead appealing to disgruntled nobles to bolster their army. Yet throughout the campaign the Yorkists repeatedly selected to fight with a number of their men-at-arms mounted.

Above, in the Battle of Warlington the Lancastrians deployed their artillery on their right behind a small bog from where they “Did cause much mischef upon the Yorkist laft”.

Above and below, the second battle of the campaign, the Battle of Ludford. Above, the troops of the centre clash. Below, viewed from the Yorkist lines.

Below, the Battle of Turberry, the third battle of the campaign. The Lancastrians are shown in the foreground and have rested their left on a rocky slope. The Yorkists have selected to fight with their men-at-arms mounted which are visible in the centre. The Yorkist currours are on the Yorkist left, opposite the Lancastrian right.

Below, the final battle of the campaign, the Battle of Kingsworth. The Yorkists deployed with woods on both flanks. The Lancastrians pressed the Yorkist right forcing the Yorkist line to align somewhat. The Lancastrians then fell on the exposed centre securing victory.

After six bloody battles, the Lancastrians had secured victory in five. Though it must be said that all had been narrow victories. Without doubt the Duke of York will return. England is unfortunately far from secure…

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