This War of The Roses club game pitted two armies of very different composition against each other – the Yorkist army had 4 units of mounted men-at-arms and 4 commanders, and the Tudor army 6 units of mounted and 2 units of dismounted men-at-arms but only 3 commanders. Both armies had similar numbers of longbow units, but to achieve the same points cost of 230, the Yorkist had 2 units of heavy cannon and a few extra units of retinue billmen.
These two armies had met the previous week and the charge of the 6 units of Tudor heavy horse had proved too tough for the more numerous but less mobile Yorkist army, even with its extra commander. However, this time the terrain layout, (chosen by Andre who wasn’t involved in the game), was less open with an area of broken ground, woodland and a central 8 hex hill, which would restrict the movement of heavy horse and give the Yorkist infantry a better chance to have an impact on the game.
Tony and Dave had the Tudor army and Leo, a young occasional visitor to the club, and myself took control of the Yorkist force. We won the Di roll for choice of table side, which worked well for us but had to deploy first. As a result we placed most of our units centrally in a deep formation and placed our two units of heavy cannon ready to fire along the road which stretched across the table towards the Tudors. The Tudor army deployed their infantry against our right wing and cavalry centrally and to our left.
Opening moves saw the Tudor infantry advance towards Leo’s infantry on our right where we quickly occupied a 4 hex wood for protection from longbow shooting. We needed to keep control of this small area woodland as a bastion against flank attacks against our right wing. In a couple of moves it became obvious that the Tudor infantry were determined to take it from us. Leo’s Longbow units were eventually forced back through the wood but did put up a hell of a fight.
Meanwhile in the centre I tried to make preparations for the expected charge of the Tudor mounted me-at-arms, trying to work out when and where the impact would fall. Tony with plenty of cavalry at his disposal is a very dangerous combination and if we were caught off guard it would soon be game over! Thankfully, the broken ground to our left in which we placed bill and bow units, the heavy guns pointing down the road and a line of longbow units ready to shoot at anything coming over the 8 hex hill would and did provide stubborn resistance.
Leo’s infantry were in danger of losing possession of the wood and so we shifted one of our 4 units of heavy horse and a couple of units of Billmen across in support. This gave the Tudor cavalry a 2 to 1 advantage in the centre and the big charge went in. A combination of cannon fire and longbow shooting broke the momentum of the charge and although our longbow units took a real hammering the line held. We committed all but 1 of our commanders into hand-to-hand combat which was risky but stabilized the situation long enough for Leo and I to reorganise our line. We had lost 1 commander but the Tudor horse, now stopped, were now fighting at a standstill without any impact bonuses. This created the opportunity for us to charge our 3 remaining mounted men-at-arms into the fray.
A couple of game turns later it was time for Leo to leave – he had school next day! However, by this point his stubborn defence of our right wing had enabled us to gain the advantage in the centre where the Tudors were being steadily forced back. A couple more game turns would see the whole Tudor army start to crumble and Dave and Tony acknowledged defeat. It was a case of youth and experience overcoming experience and experience! Well done Leo! The young lion has roared!
The Yorkist victory, reversing their defeat by the same Tudor army the previous week, was very much down to good tactical use of the terrain features to restrict the Tudor cavalry’s line of attack and a willingness to commit, and risk, commanders in hand-to-hand combat. These factors blunted the attack of the Tudor cavalry and the combined shooting of the heavy cannon and Yorkist longbow also played their part.