Category Archives: Battle Reports

For King or Covenant

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my Renaissance site, but that shouldn’t be confused with a lack of Renaissance gaming. Far from it in fact with armies being deployed almost every week. As always the games played with the locals are always excellent. Last Wednesday’s game was no exception.

Jim deployed his newly completed Scots Covenanters while I took the field with my English Civil War Royalists in a game set in 1644. Each army comprised 300 points. The situation found the Scots invading, on a fine Autumn day with the Royalists deployed behind a stream. To the Royalist left several enclosures bordered the stream and would play a part in the battle. To the Scots left rear a small wood hampered the Scots deployment but would otherwise not impact the battle.

The English deployed in traditional manner with foot, some 1600 in number, in the centre with some 800 horse split evenly on the wings. A few dragoons and a handful of guns supplemented the small English army. The larger Scots deployed their foot across the battlefield interspersed with guns of various weight. Their horse, outnumbering the English, were deployed to the rear due to their doubtful quality.

Both armies advanced in the centre where soon the foot of both armies were hotly engaged in a prolonged exchange of fire. As time past the Scots foot and gunners would suffer heavy casualties. On the English left the enclosures soon rattled with musket fire as English Dragoons and Scots dragoons and musketeers engaged each other.

However the wings where the scene of much action when English foot charged across and threatened both Scots flanks. On the English right the stream caused much disruption and delay. While a foothold was gained counterattacks eventually drove the English cavaliers back in rout. On the English left the cavaliers were more successful. While delayed but Scots dragoons eventually across and began to drive in the Scots horse. Meanwhile English foot prepared to press their hard won advantage in the centre.

Alas it was only the lateness of the day that was to save the Scots right from collapse. Well, at least according to the English pamphlets reporting the battle…

Japanese Excursions

Over recent weeks I’ve had the opportunity to play a couple of games covering the Sengoku or Warring States period as a result of another player building a Japanese army and providing my own army with an historical opponent. It’s a fascinating period with much historical interest and colourful armies that look great on the table so it’s pleasing to game this period rather than the normal ahistorical games I’ve previously used my Japanese in.

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In the first I tried using fixed obstacles to counter my opponents mounted Samurai, alas this was a complete disaster. Clearly, my concept of the enemy smashing themselves against these obstacles while my arquebus armed ashigaru pouring fire into them was flawed. Worse however was the martial abilities of my own mounted Samurai, who collapsed in a series of charge and counter charge. The fixed obstacles are made by Baueda who make some very useful resin items.

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The next engagement was more positive for my clan who after a very deadly battle finally secured a narrow victory. Again, both armies were based on the later period with a number of ashigaru armed with arquebus.

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Then today, as a way of creating some variety for my opponent, I fielded a English army for an invasion of the east. Obviously not an historical engagement, yet it still proved very enjoyable. At least the army was of the same period and by the 17th Century the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch all had armies in the area, such is the global landscape of the Renaissance.

A Solemn League and Covenant

Over recent months we have been playing a number of medium sized DBR games involving four players. In these games each player brings along a 300 point army resulting in 600 points per side.  Each of these 300 point armies is typically organised into two commands both of which a single player controls.

What follows are a few photos of one of these games. Colin and I had declared for the King while Brian declared for Parliament, and having signed a Solemn League and Covenant with the Scots, joined forces with a Scots army commanded by John.

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Above, a general view of the battlefield with the Royalists on the left and the Allies on the right. Below, a view from the Royalist right centre with the Roundheads in the distance.

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The Parliamentarian commander was reluctant to fight an open battle, but rather clung to the coast where he hoped to be supported by a small fleet. However, the Royalist, aware of the Roundhead fleet opted to bring a small selection of their own ships forward and challenge the Roundhead fleet, or at least attempt to prevent it bombarding the Royalist army.

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Above, the Roundhead fleet can be seen off the coast. Below, another view from near the coast where Royalists advance on the Roundhead line.

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While the two fleets faced each other, and refused to engage, the battle away from the coast was developing.

In the Scots sector the Royalist attack was in full swing. Royalist cavalry move from the flank towards the centre of the Scots line where too few Scots pike had been deployed to support the massed Scots musketeers.

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Above, the Royalist horse can be forming on a hill. Below, the Royalist foot press the Scots  and some Scots frame guns are about to be overrun. In the distance the Royalist horse charge home.

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Back towards the coast the Royalists moved to engage the Roundheads.

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Here to the Royalist cavalry was in the centre. However, unlike the Scots the Roundhead foot was well supported by pikemen and interlaced with light cannon. The result was heavy casualties among the Royalist horse.

IFAs the battle progressed casualties on the Scot contingent increased alarmingly until the Scots broke. Alas, for the king the Royalists facing the Roundheads also broke.

An excellent game providing a great visual spectacle while providing a great oppurtunity to catch up with several friends on a Sunday afternoon…

Jesus and No Quarter – The VOC in Nova Zeelandia

By 1649, some seven years after the discovery of Nova Zeelandia by Tasman, the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) were well ensconced on the islands, due to the discovery of gold. During the initial contact with the Southlanders had been generally amiable. However, most recently the relations with the natives had deteriorated to a new low. As a result the militia was mustered and further bolstered by a an influx of regular troops.

I promise you today, a certain victory…Jesus and No Quarter

Following the most recent raid on VOC outposts by the the Southlanders, also known as Maori, the Captain General Piet Banckert marched his army out to instruct the Southlanders in the art of European warfare.

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Above, Maori drawn up blocking the path of the VOC with a deep swamp in the foreground. While below more Maori extending their line from an unfortified village.

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The VOC expedition comprised, soldiers, sailors, and militia and numbered 2400 shot and 1200 pikemen, one of the largest deployments of VOC troops in some years.

Banckert drew up his army on the 13th December opposite a vast assembly of Maori near one of their unfortified villages. Banckert deployed in three commands and commanded the centre himself, his left was commanded by Moses Henriques and the right by Henrick De With. Both his subordinates joined the pike of each wing while Banckert remained mounted with a small single troop of horse. As Banckert’s deployment was restricted by two deep swamps he massed his musketeers forward while holding his pike in reserve. A few light gunnes were placed on the right and three large gunnes were placed on the left. Below, a portion of the VOC centre with heavy gunnes of the left.

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Banckert’s plan was simple. He would open the battle with a bombardment from his large gunnes which would cause panic among the Maori. Then, having provoked them to attack, he would meet them with massed and concentrated musket fire before falling on them with clubbed musket and pike. Indeed Banckert told his commanders “I promise you today, a certain victory…Jesus and No Quarter”.

Alas, having completed his deployment the weather changed and the rain pelted European and native alike. The impact was most significant to the VOC whose musketeers now struggled to keep their powder and match dry. Perhaps the victory may be somewhat harder to achieve than first thought…

While the soldiers of the VOC struggled with the sudden downpour the Maori opposite moved quickly forward. As well as the massed warriors a number of scouts advanced in front taunting the Europeans and challenging them with mixtures of aggressive dancing and thrusting with weapons. Below, the Maori move forward.

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Soon the combatants came within musket range and the VOC musketeers spluttered smoke and lead along the line. The fire was most effective on the wings where the swamps slowed the Maori down and allowed a degree of concentrated fire. In the centre however, the Maori pressed forward seemingly undeterred by the musket fire. To counter what was clearly a major threat to his centre Banckert moved all his pike behind those musketeers in the centre.

Below, the VOC centre with massed pike seen manoeuvring in support. Light cannon can be seen in the foreground and larger cannon in the background. Swamps protecting the VOC left and right are clearly visible.

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Then almost as the first Maori fell on the centre of the VOC lines the rain ceased. The focus on keeping the match and powder dry looked likely to bring results and a final volley was given before the Maori hit the centre. Alas, the volley was ineffective and in the ensuing melee many European musketeers fell to the agile natives. With a break through immenent Banckert ordered forward the massed pike in an attempt to first block any breakthrough and then counterattack.

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It was not all desperate news however. The Maori attack against the VOC right had stalled, a result of the effective fire of the VOC musketeers combined with the impact of the swamps that slowed the Maori advance. Indeed, the Maori casualties were so high the natives here fell back. Meanwhile, on the Dutch left, the Maori opposite seemed less inclined to press on through another swamp at all.

However, it was in the centre that the battle would be decided. As the musketeers were cut-down the pike armed soldiers, many of them sailors, advanced in a deep massed formation while gunnes belched fire at the Maori in support.

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Initially some headway was gained by the VOC pike but alas, this attack was insufficient. As the Maori overlapped the pike, and broke in, disorder swept the previously ordered pikemen. Suddenly the VOC centre collapsed. With the loss of the centre, Banckert had no choice but to quit the field and the retreat was sounded.

The natives however, seemed unwilling to pursue and the soldiers of the VOC retired from the field in good order. Clearly, new tactics will be needed to defeat these warlike Southlanders but the lure of gold would surely galvanise the VOC to even greater endeavours.

While clearly this engagement was fictional the VOC exploration and discovery of New Zealand was part of their plans to find the great Southernland, or alternately another route to the Americas and Spanish gold. In addition the VOC had been searching for two treasure islands which remained elusive. One of these islands was, supposedly, rich in silver while the other was rich in gold.

Our game used the DBR rules and 15mm figures on a table measuring 1.2m by 0.9m. The Maori were commanded by Alastair while I commanded the ill-fated VOC. For this encounter the VOC ships, compulsory in the Dutch Colonial list,  were assumed to be away from the area of the battle. The sudden downpour of rain caused a significant deterioration of the VOC musket fire while the equally sudden improvement in the weather gave them a chance at halting the Maori onslaught, at least until the Maori hit in the centre. The weather rules in DBR, while actually simple, add much to the game.