Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2011-2024, Paul Scrivens-Smith

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Sunday 28 July 2019

Agincourt using To the Strongest!

On Friday I ran my Agincourt game at the local Danecon wargames event, a great opportunity to get out the collection that I have been painting these last nine months. The first figures were started on Agincourt day and that tentative first post is here.

So, nine months later I can put 36 units in the field along with other hangers on.

Working on the scenario for the battle I had to use some imagination and a flexible approach to unit size to achieve the look I was aiming for. So, for example the 900 English men at arms were represented by 4 units while the 3000 bowmen by 10 units. For the French the stretch was even more flexible, with 18000 men at arms represented by 18 units and the 2000 archers and crossbow represented by 3 units.

The English lines
Also the commanders given did not necessarily fight in those places during the battle, for example, Sir Thomas Erpingham may have given the order for the archers to commence shooting, but he fought with the men at arms.

The full lists I used are here if you have trouble downloading let me know and I'll try and share another way.

I wanted the battle to feel quite claustrophobic so we played down a table of only eight boxes wide with woods and the town of Agincourt to further constrain the French on each flank. This mean that even though the French massively outnumbered the English they would never be able to bring force to bear along the line and must get in their own way all the time.

The French lines
We were using the To the Strongest! rules but, I also wanted to represent some of the flavour of the day and adopted some additional special rules:

Henry V is a great leader. A great leader's exceptional qualities enable him to play two replacement activation cards or to-hit cards in a single turn, rather than the usual one. Great leaders are also exceptional warriors and when wounded, play two injury cards and pick the lowest.  

English archers may perform an arrow storm, drawing three chits for shooting rather than two as a difficult activation if they are shooting at an enemy within range 2, an extra ammunition token is expended. 

The battlefield is a ploughed field, any Men at Arms attempting to move or charge count as a difficult activation. 

To represent the problems caused when the French horse recoiled into their infantry, when mounted men at arms are broken they are subject to the Rampage rule (p.52)  

The French unit of Men at Arms carrying the Oriflamme can always redraw the chit if they fail to make a charge move. 

Drew and Bruce would play the French while Chad would play the English.

Bruce, Drew and Chad
It played our rather well, the French came on slowly, as could be expected from trying to push men at arms through the muddy field. They charged and charged again at the English lines only to be pushed back and then both sides pause to rally and gain their breath.

Rather than luck than by any planning the French men at arms bearing the Oriflamme were the first unit into the English lines and also the first unit to be lost. The Count de Fauquemberques led a mounted charge and one unit of English men at arms was destroyed although the count was killed by the supporting archers. On the English side, the Duke of York fell and as well as Fauquemberques mentioned above the French also lost the Marshall of France and many other nobles.

Chad is renowned for having terrible luck with dice and we had hoped that the use of chits may have alleviated that, it seems that any way of randomly generating numbers is not on Chads side.

Fauquemberques leading his charge against the English men at arms
The English started the game with 80 ammunition markers for firing their arrows and finished the game with six and with all supplied exhausted but no single French unit was destroyed by bowfire and the English men at arms had to do all the heavy lifting.

We eventually had to call time on the game with the English having lost 6 from 12 victory medals and the French 10 from 22. I think the English were in an advantageous position, but Chads terrible luck with the chits had meant that the English archers on the right flank with no meaningful French opposition before them were not able to turn the French flank. 

I think that if playing again, I would not make any of the French men at arms veteran, just leave the English as such. Making the first four French units have such a high save probably meant that they were a bit too good and hung around too long meaning the French casualties were not high enough.

Here are some images from the game.

Starting positions, English on the left.

View from English to French

View from French to English 

With the Oriflamme in the van the French surge onwards

Here they come

The ploughed field makes the French hard to coordinate

A kings ransom awaits our victory

Fight, rally and fight again for Harry & St. George
These archers should be rolling up the French flank by now, if only Chad could draw something bigger than a three!

The clash

Pour St. Denis!

English ammo chits are almost exhausted

Mounted knights against archers behind stakes who thought that would work?

The Duke of York is dead!

Thursday 25 July 2019

WWII Soviets reboot (5)

After three weeks getting stuff ready for my Agincourt game at Danecon this weekend it has been time to go back to the WWII project and crack on with the last few WWII Soviets in the lead pile.

These seven are all from the old Bolt Action Miniatures range sculpted by the very talented Paul Hicks, lovely figures with bags of character.

So, I'm now out of figures for both the Hundred Years War and WWII Soviets so the next few weeks of blog updates shall likely be a mish-mash of things until I can get a restock.

Looking at my "Battle against the lead mountain" counter this brings me up to a nice round 400 28mm foot figures painted so far this year, which compares vary favourably with the 250 that I painted in the entirety of 2018, maybe that lead mountain shall be conquered!

Saturday 20 July 2019

Preparing for Agincourt

To get prepared for next weekends game I wanted to make sure that I had an idea of how it should all fit together on the battlefield so I laid out my table and put all the forces out.

My table at home is only 5ft x 6ft so my game at Danecon shall be a little more elongated with space behind each of the armies and with the English camp set further back.

This view is of the three French battles arrayed in waves, I wanted it to feel quite claustrophobic for the French so they are deployed narrow and deeply with the men at arms pointed at their opposite English numbers/

Here is the English line with a thin row of men at arms in the centre with bowmen deployed on each flank. I've also deployed some bowmen behind the men at arms, for a couple of reasons, if I made the battlefield wider I think it would lose some of the feel, and they can represent the bowmen who closely supported the men at arms in the melee.

This is the first French battle, two divisions of men at arms thirsting for victory and glory.

The second French battle of men at arms supported by crossbowmen and pavisers.

The third French battle, mounted men at arms with some spear armed levy bringing up the rear.

The English right, made up of bowmen deployed behind stakes.

A view along the English line, a thin line of men at arms in the centre with longbow deployed on each flank.

Henry V mounted on a small white horse enthuses the array with some rousing words on the theme of the St. Crispin and St. Crispian

View along the lead French battle with the Oriflamme in the van.

View along the second French battle with men at arms supported by crossbowmen.

The third French battle, mounted men at arms to thrash the English to bloody ruin.

This day is called the feast of Crispian: 
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, 
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, 
And rouse him at the name of Crispian. 
He that shall live this day, and see old age, 
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, 
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:' 
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars. 
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.' 
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, 
But he'll remember with advantages 
What feats he did that day: then shall our names. 
Familiar in his mouth as household words 
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter, 
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, 
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd. 
This story shall the good man teach his son; 
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, 
From this day to the ending of the world, 
But we in it shall be remember'd; 
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; 
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me 
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, 
This day shall gentle his condition: 
And gentlemen in England now a-bed 
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, 
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks 
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Friday 19 July 2019

Hundred Years War: French (19)

Hot on the heels of the English commanders and with a whole week to spare before Danecon the last few figures for the Agincourt game are completed.

With the exception of the extra disorder marker base all the figures are from the Perry Miniatures French High command at Agincourt on foot set and shall be leading the French against the English next weekend.

The first pair of nobles are the veteran Jean II Le Maingre, Boucicault who was the Marshall of France and Charles, Duke of Orléans, both survived the battle after being captured and ransomed.

The next pair are Charles d'Albret, Constable of France and his standard bearer, Charles was killed during the battle. I need to put an order in to get some standards so this was a hasty scratch job by myself that shall be replaced as soon as I get something better. I'm rubbish at free hand.

John I, Duke of Bourbon, and Guillaume de Martel bearer of the Oriflamme during the battle. John was captured during the battle and died in London as his ransom was not paid, Guillaume was killed during the battle and the Oriflamme was lost. Again, I had no commercial version of the Oriflamme, so this was a quick job by me that shall also get replaced as soon as I pick one up.

The final pair represent Charles of Artois, Count of Eu and David, Lord Rambures, Grand Master of Crossbowmen. David, along with three of his sons, died during the battle. Charles was captured during the battle and spent 23 years on ransom in England

I have a long weekend, and the weather is due to hit a 'feels like' of 40C so shall try to stay in the cool get some pictures of the armies arrayed over the weekend.

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Hundred Years War: English (15)

With Danecon rapidly approaching I needed to get some commanders painted so at the weekend made a start on the Perry Miniatures Henry V, mounted and command set and this gives me enough for the four commanders I need for the English plus some extra figures to use as unit filler.

First up is Henry V mounted on the small white horse as described in some chronicles. Riding before the English lines during the initial phase of the Battle of Agincourt before dismounting with the men at arms.

The Perrys make the painting of the heraldry on these very easy as it's all done in relief and only needs to be 'coloured in'.

The next pair are Thomas de Camoys, 1st Baron Camoys and a servant carrying Henry's shield.

Thomas de Camoys commanded on the English left at the Battle of Agincourt. The servant can denote Henry's position in a unit of men at arms.

The next pair are Edward of Norwich, the 2nd Duke of York and the veteran Sir Thomas Erpingham

Edward was in command of the English right at the Battle of Agincourt, Sir Thomas marshalled the English archers and gave the command to open fire by throwing his white baton into the air.

The last figure from the pack is a mounted herald, here to ensure that the heraldic rules are followed and that the events are recorded.

I'm now working on the French commanders and hope to have them in the next update.