The Battle Fought – Trow Green

The header picture shows the two battalions of Barham’s Commonweath Regiment advancing up the Clearwell Road near Trow Green in Gloucestershire. As a reminder I use “Commonwealth” to cover the entire period of The Interregnum. -d_guy

To tie up some loose ends I wanted to present a few notes on the several battles I fought using the very simple Trow Green scenario. I mentioned in a previous post that I had had a major computer problem and ultimately lost half (maybe more) of my Trow Green pictures and all of my detailed notes.

I am getting fairly familiar with the For King and Parliament Rules (although not perfectly, mind!), so I’ll concentrate on reporting how the unit types fared and tactical lessons I apparently have to keep relearning!

Trow-the rebel line

In solo play I almost always had the Rebels in the same setup and played mainly the Commonwealth side. The rebel line of battle is in the distance with poorly armed rabble in the center and the Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire militias in strong positions on the flanks.

First, I got too complicated and decided to split my small force by sending half my cavalry against the rebel right (with the vague idea of turning them and falling on the Rebel rear).

TG-I-01

The Gloucestershire militia severely rebuffs the left flank squadron of Lambert’s horse placing them in considerable disarray. The Milita then move forward to more fully protect the Rebel right flank.

The great lesson here is that using horse to make frontal assaults on formed musket and pike foot is not usually the best tactical move. They ended up being severely mauled and were pulled back in the hopes of reorganizing them.

TG-II-01

The Commonwealth infantry finally gets stuck into the rabble who manage to stand their ground. The other squadron of Lambert’s horse to the right of the foot, crash into another unit of rabble. The Commonwealth left is, however, disastrously uncovered, a fact now being exploited by the Rebel militia (yellow flag)

In FK&P, the units have three levels of experience; Veteran, Seasoned, and Raw, but these can be fined tuned further by adding untried/disaffected markers. These can be used to “weaken” a unit to meet the needs of a scenario. Frequently they denote that not only is the unit raw, but it has had no time to train and is little better than a mob. But it can also be used to weaken a Seasoned or Veteran unit for any reason (historic or imagined). Prehaps they have been suddenly denied an expected perquisite, or their promised pay has failed to materialize (for the third time!)  or they just completed a thirty mile forced march. The reasons are endless.

Retrospectively, I should have made the Rebels weaker. Looking at their Order of Battle, you will note than NONE are designated as “untried”; my rationale was that they were highly motivated but going against battle hardened veterans they likely would have lost some of their zeal.

There is no reason in the rules to prevent a unit from receiving more than one “untried” marker. Andrew Brentnall mentioned to me that when they had done their demo game of Edgehill (the first major encounter of the civil war in England) some units received two “untried” markers. Probably I should have done the same with the rabble here and given a single untried marker to some or all of the militia.

Incidentally, I need to work harder at using correct rules nomenclature. I just noticed That I used “DS – Detached Shot”, that should be “AS – Attached Shot”! Right idea, wrong words.

TG-II-02

The veteran horse easily broke through the Rebel line (no pikes) and the foot, although recieving fire into their flank, managed to hold on. On the Commonwealth right the other battalion of foot has pinned the Rebel miltia and and have dispatched one of the milita battalions with rapid, close range fire.

Seasoned and Veteran troops can double fire at close range, a reflection of their experience, discipline and training. Veterans also carry a substantial load of ammunition (again, reflecting their fire discipline rather the ability to simply carry more ammo). In a normal game setting the Commonwealth foot would having been overwhelmingly superior to the militia in a stand up firefight. In the three different times I played the scenario this way, the militia did much better than chance and the veterans much worse. The Commonwealth prevailed in each case but took substantial losses.

TG-II-03

The Milita have now turned the Commonwealth left flank, sending off a battalion of Commonwealth infantry. The Commonwealth horse, however, shredded the rabble in the center and their entire brigade broke and ran, ending the game. This was the typical outcome.

In the last play through before going to a more probable historic scenario , I decided to keep the Commonwealth forces working in a tighter formation and forgetting complicated manuvers. A straight at’em cavalry charge ensued. This time I had the rabble set to double untried.

TG-III-01

To make up for the double untried being placed on the rabble, the Rebel right flank militia were allowed a forward deployment (with the idea that they might be able to catch the Commonwealth force in the rear). The Commonwealth horse are massed in the center and the foot is advancing on the rebel left.

This time the cards fell badly for the rebels and their center collapsed as the horse hit them a second time in their activation sequence. The second squadron of horse didn’t even need to go in.

TG-III-02

Lambert’s first squadron devastates the Rebel center, ending the game.

To get the full advantage of the excellent Commonwealth foot it is good idea to keep them in position to work together. FK&P allows group movement (as long as there is no engagement with the enemy) which can facilitate keeping relative positions intact.  One of the hardest decisions in Musket and Pike warfare is whether to rely on fire power or to come to “push of pike”. This is brought out in many ECW rules systems and FK&P is no exception. Sometimes every decision proves wrong and having mutually supporting units can mitigate the disasters a bit

The same need for mutual support can also be said of the horse. As a gamer, it sometimes takes more patience than I have to carefully advance mutually supporting units. It is also possible to be too careful and miss opportunities that might be present only for a moment. In this regard, at least, it seems a fair representation of tactical warfare.

As of this writing it looks as though FK&P is near ready to go for printing and should make the desired deadline of being introduced at Salute in London in mid-April. Hats off to Simon and Andrew!

I have way too many planned projects (and I do tend to flit about and introduce new ones!), but the next few should be:

1) I plan to do (actually redo) Tippermuir sometime in mid April to celebrate the release of FK&P and use the newest terrain and re-worked orders of battle.

2) I am slowly getting James II’s Sedgemoor army together (thanks to Toxic Pixie’s quite lovely painting). In the meantime I want to pit Monmouth’s army against a portion of Faversham’s with West Country miltia fighting on both sides. This will be an alternate history scenario (Monmouth has already decisively beaten Faversham and is moving on London) which will use scripted AI to introduce some “fog of war” into my solo gaming.

3) Elsewhere, feverish work continues on my Scots 1513 Flodden army.