Hello on 11.6.2017 I attended a refight of the 1st Battle of Newbury at Robs War room.
It was evident that Rob had put a lot of work into trying to get the terrain and dispositions of the opposing forces as accurate as possible.
It was a great set up and it would be a challenge for the Royalist Army to try and overturn the Historical outcome. Historians believe each army was about 14,000 strong (the size of the armies are not known for certain).
The Rules used were “ War Without an Enemy” by Noel O’Neill and Rob Wingrave
The Royalist army was commanded by Charles I (known as Noel to his friends) the Parliamentary Army was commanded by the Earl of Essex (maybe one of the Parliamentary players took on this role or maybe they formed a committee and discussed their options and had a vote –I simply don’t know).
I will try to set the scene from the Royalist side as I was a Royalist Commander.
The battlefield had three distinct sections.
On the Royalist left flank was open ground (Wash Common) where
3 brigades of Royalist Horse and a number of artillery guns faced off against a mixed force of Parliamentary Horse and Foot deployed on a low lying hill.
In the centre the Royalist Forlorn Hope and a Brigade of Foot (4 Regiments strong) supported by a couple of Medium guns and a Brigade of Royalist Horse were deployed on flat ground facing a large hill called Round Hill which Parliamentary forces occupied with 4 Foot Regiments and a fearsome array of guns a mix of Medium, Heavy and Siege artillery. In reserve behind Round Hill the Earl of Essex deployed the powerful 5 Trained Bands of the City Brigade. Just in front of the Round Hill was a hedged road which would impeded any Royalist attack on the Round Hill disordering the troops as they crossed the hedges.
On the Royalist right of centre stretching across the right flank were two Brigades of Royalist Foot (9 Regiments strong) facing a tangle of hedged fields which filled the ground in front of the Royalist Foot and on the far side of which rested the Parliamentary left flank force deployed behind hedges -a mix of Foot, Guns and Horse with a Brigade of Horse in some open ground on the far left of The Parliamentary lines.
The Royalist plan was to attack the Parliamentary right flank with 3 Brigades of Horse led by Prince Rupert (this was what happened historically) - the hope being they would crush the Parliamentary Horse and move to threaten the troops behind the Round Hill. In the centre the Royalists Forlorn Hope and 4 Regiments of Foot intended to advance and engage the Parliamentary forces on Round Hill in a firefight supported by 3 medium guns whilst the central Cavalry Brigade was to move from the centre to the far right flank of the Royalist line and engage the far left flank Parliamentary Horse. The right flank Royalist Infantry were to advance though the hedged fields to engage the Parliamentary left flank. A lot rested on the success of Prince Rupert and the Royalist Horse.
How the game went-
On the Royalist left flank Prince Rupert’s attack saw Horse Regiments of both sides charging each other engaging in a series of melees, winning and losing with victorious Regiments pursuing losing Regiments off table - neither side gained a clear advantage. The defining moment of this attack was when the Kings Life Guard under Prince Rupert’s direct command broke a Parliamentary Foot Regiment and two adjacent Foot Regiments had to test morale –a chance for glory unfortunately for the Royalist cause both tests were passed with flying colours when double six was rolled twice in succession. The attack of the Royalist Horse failed as it did historically to break the Parliamentary right flank - a difficult task with no infantry support.
In the centre the Royalist Foot took early casualties from the Heavy/Siege guns on the Round Hill as they advanced towards it and became disordered as they moved onto the Hedged lined road in front of the hill- they stopped here using a line of hedges as cover and engaged the Parliamentary Foot also behind a hedge line in a fire fight during which the Forlorn Hope fired off all its ammo and had a reload from a supply wagon (firing some 45 dice in total causing one or two casualties after saving throws maybe less-the Royalist player made some bad dice rolls). The Supporting Royalist medium guns were also largely infective until the last round of fire after a reload from a supply wagon. The Parliamentary Commander did reinforce the flanks of the Round Hill with two trained Bands from the City Brigade using one Regiment to fend off some dismounted Royalist Dragoons who tried to flank the Round Hill
On the Royalist right flank the Royalist Foot advanced through the tangle of Hedges to their front –the Royalist commander a stickler for straight lines halted his men after crossing each hedge to dress the ranks before moving on(It was slow progress moving though the hedges and crossing a hedge disorders the Regiment). This force eventually engaged in a firefight with the Parliamentary Left flank Infantry and guns who were lining a hedge whilst the Royalist Foot was in the open taking casualties. One Royalist Foot Regiment closed for Melee but after some initial success it was forced back.
On the Royalist far right the Royalist Centre Cavalry arrived after a number of moves and Charged the Left Flank Parliamentary Horse in an area of open ground – a series of melees ensued with both sides winning and losing as Regiments fled the field and pursuing cavalry went off with them –by the end of the battle neither side had gained an advantage but the Royalists had failed to sweep the flank clear of Parliamentary Horse to aid the Royalist right flank Infantry attack through the hedges.
Result- Parliamentary Win.
The Royalists failed to defeat the Parliamentary Forces and fired off a lot of ammo to little effect a similar result to the Historical battle where the Royalists did not have enough ammo left after the battle to resume the fight the following day.
It was an enjoyable game but a tough task for the Royalists. Historically the Earl of Essex made good use of the ground taking control of the dominating Round Hill which the Royalists had failed to occupy before the battle started.