Monday, 20 June 2016

Battle of Bosworth - Rules and Terrain

"Old" and "New" locations for the Battle of Bosworth
The War of the Roses has been an increasing fascination for me. I visited the "old" Bosworth site about 11 years ago, and the BBC's White Queen series and the odd Shakespeare play have served to stoke the fires. So having finished my second batch of 6mm WOTR Baccus figures it's time to have a crack at wargaming the battle. The hope is to then do other WOTR and 100 Year War battles, and campaigns for both periods.

The Rules

The first thing to sort are the rules. Having played DBA, Impetus and Sword & Spear last year I'd decided the latter was the best of the bunch, although not without problems. I therefore decided to have another look at what was available in the "big battle" category (at about 500 men per unit), and saw mention of Hordes and Heroes (the Hexon/Kallistra house set). Seeing as I was going to be playing this on either my 40mm hexes of Hexon 100mm hexes (and with a preference for the latter seeing as it is a lot easier to create a layout that matches the real topography) then it would be great if they worked out. I had a quick read through (and in fact found I'd downloaded them a year ago) and all seemed OK, so I've decided to give them a try.

Ground Scale

The reason for sorting rules first was needing to know the ground scale. Hordes and Heroes (H&H) gives no explicit ground scale. However bow range is 2 hexes, and artillery range is 7 hex, so 1 hex = 100m seems about right.  If a unit occupies 1 hex that means a frontage of 100m, so 100 files. Medieval units had about 3-6 ranks (and not the ordered ranks of Napoleonics), so that gives a unit strength of 300-600, just about what I want.

Terrain Layout

The Battle of Bosworth Terrain
 With a ground scale sorted it was time to layout the battle. Even though there appears to be good agreement based on the archaeological evidence (see Foard and Curry's Bosworth 1485: Battlefield Revisited) of the general location of the new battlefield, there do appear to be conflicting views as to deployments and orientation. For this wargame I've gone with that in Mike Ingram's Battle Story:Bosworth 1485 - which from a wargaming perspective actually gives a better description of the battle than the Foard and Curry book (as well as having been written in that weird liminal period between moving the battle and the discovery of Richard III's body).

The hex table is about 18 hex x 12 hex, i.e. 1.8km by 1.2km in the 100m=1hex ground scale. Slightly tight, but not too bad.

Henry Tudor will be defending from the S, whilst Richard attacks from the N.

Key terrain features are:
  • Fenn Lane, running WSW to ENE
  • Fenn Hole marsh, which anchors Henry's right flank
  • Fenn Lane Farm in the centre of the lane, no real obstacle or defensive point
  • The ridge running across the SE corner, which in reality extends further NE off the table before swinging round to the NW and becoming the Ambion Hill of the "old" battle site
  • The villages of Stoke Golding and Dadlington on the ridge
  • The hillock known as Crown Hill, where supposedly Henry was crowned after the battle

Next posting, the Order of Battle and Deployment.

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