Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Battle of Hopton Heath - 1643 - STARTEX

View NE from above Royalist lines

With a still limited playing area the next game up was the Battle of Hopton Heath which took place in 1643 just outside of Stafford. I've been close to the site several times on trips to the Uni but never actually walked the site - must do so next time.

It's the first in my 1643 series of games for this year (last year was 1642), and as a large skirmish (~1200 men a side) ideal for the reduced tabletop. Since I was doing it in 20mm I decided to give Warlord's Pike & Shotte a go, although unlike with Rommel I'm not expecting much form them - but be interesting to see how they play.

The Parliamentarians had about 500 Inf, 400 Cav and 300 Dragoons, with 200 extra inf to arrive later. They established  defensive position along  a low rise, between two sets of enclosures and with the front of the infantry partly protected by a rabbit warren (!). The Royalists had 800 cav and 300 dragoons. They also had the Roaring Meg siege mortar to put terror into their opponents, with bot side also having lighter pieces.

Since the 500 inf were going to equate to what I normally think of as one unit, that equated to 3 P&S units (as they treat the shot sleeves as separate from the pike block). So that gave about 150 - 200 men per P&S unit, about 1:20, so the order of battle was as follows:

Parliament: 2 x shot, 1 x pike, 2 x Dragoons, 2 x Cav, 1 x small Inf reinforcement
Royalists: 4 x cav, 2 x Dragoons

Slightly more dragoons than in reality but needed to be split on both flanks and didn't want to mess around with small units.

The game has about 9 turns, assuming a standard 20min per turn elapsed time, 3pm start and dusk at 6pm. If that's tight I might play to 7pm.

On turn 1 Hastings (commanding the Royalists) failed his order roll for both Dragoon units, so nothing happened. On Turn 2 he succeeded on his R flank and the dragoons went forward. Roaring Meg roared, and caused zero damage, as did the lighter guns on both sides. The defending dragoons let rip at the advancing Royalists and caused 1 hit, but the Royalists failed to return the favour.

Parliamentary gunners keep their cool as the Royalist dragoons advance

Then the first surprise. Despite being 18" (1 hex = 3" for this) away the shot could take on the waiting cavalry. Given frontages I'm estimating each hex at 50m, so that's a 300m engagement! (The rules do say that ranges are set to be "playable" not accurate). Two of the Royalist cavalry units took a hit.

Turn 2 over. On to Turn 3.....

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