Next up in my vaguely sequential run of English Civil War battles is the 2nd Battle of Newbury. I did the First Battle of Newbury back in Aug 2019 in 6mm, but decided to run this one in 20mm.
It's a tough ask for the Royalists. The Parliamentarians spent the night and morning before sending about half their force on a right flanking march so that they could attack the Royalists form the rear. Charles and Maurice got wise and managed to deploy some of their forces to Speen village and even rig some defences - but it meant that the Royalists were fighting off Manchester on the E and Waller/Cromwell on their W. The only saving graces were a late start after all that manoeuvre - so only they only had to hold the Parliamentarians off for a few hours fighting before darkness came, and Manchester missed his cue and started fighting late (and in fact wasted some troops even before that).
Here's the opening positions, looking E from behind Waller's position, with Speen village in the centre, Shaw House beyond that, the castle at Donnington on the L, and the the Lambourne snaking though, with Donnington Mill just L of centre. Manchester is around the far hill (Clay Hill), Charles facing E (so up picture) based around Shaw House and Maurice facing W (so down picture) based around Speen.
I'm playing the scenario through twice. Once with my own rules (currently called “We Die By These Things”, and derived from my Napoleonic rules), and once with "The Kingdom Is Ours" - the new set from Bicorne Miniatures. Figure ratio was about 1:100, and ground scale about 10cm = 200m.
Wallers first assault on Speen was swiftly repulsed. Manchester rolled to get engaged at the earliest possible moment and started to approach Shaw House, with his first battalia again being pushed back. Cromwell's cavalry came forward from the W on both flanks, getting the better of the Royalist horse, but pursuing into the depth of the Royalist position where it was picked off by horse, the Donnington guns and the dragoons in the Mill before it could recover back. A second assault on Speen was more successful, driving off the first Royalist line, and then a brief melee in the village and Speen was taken.
|The fight for Speen|
By the end of Turn 4 things were looking pretty bad for the Royalists, as many of their units had taken a battering, they'd lost Speen so the back of the pincer was closing and they only had 2 horse left.
In turn 5 the dice gods were with the King. Attacks from Manchester were beaten off, the Donnington guns and the dragoons saw off Parliament's dragoons and damaged Waller's advancing foot. Maurice's cavalry took out another Roundhead unit of Horse, but unwisely chased them off the field.
|Maurice pursuing off table|
But all the combat was taking its toll, and the King was really left with just a thin line of 3 Foot and one battered Horse units, and there were still 4 turns til nightfall. Manchester's foot fell on the flank of one Royalist unit which had unwisely swung out to try and take another of Manchester's battalia in the flank. The commanded muskets had left Shaw House and lined up along the hedges, but were themselves then taken in the flank by Manchester's Horse. With only a few units left, and the escape route N now blocked ENDEX was called, and a convincing Parliamentary victory.
|Manchester's troops about to deliver the final blow|
I think that played pretty well. About 3-4 hrs playing time solo. The rules were a bit aggressive in places, but at least that meant that units weren't hanging around after combats. Cavalry seemed a bit too disinclined to go chasing off after routers, so need to fix that.
Still not 100% happy though. The root cause is not really being able to find out (despite asking various authors/reenactors) what actually happened when two foot units came into contact, and in particular:
- What did the Shot do whilst the Pike was at push-of-pike
- How long push-of-pike lasted until it became a general melee
- Were there ever situations where the two sides separated in good order and backed off
- If one side was "beaten" did it ever fight again in the battle or was it totally spent, possibly as a result of dropping its pikes since I for one don't think I'd run from a melee lugging a 16' pike along!
Need to read more first hand accounts I think (although if anything like Napoleonic ones they always tend to skirt over the key details) and go to more re-enactment events to ask around.
Anybody with any good sources to answer these questions please let me know in the comments.