John’s mates at the Friends of General Haig wargames club have played another fantastic Pike & Shotte game for us. Batten down the hatches, the reavers are coming!
Somewhere in the Lowlands of North England, circa the 1660s on the great road towards York, the English had wind of a Scottish Force heading towards their supply fields. The English, assembling what troops were available, finally caught up with the Scots by the great road as they emerged from the woods and onto a hill overlooking the great road. Can the English stop this blatant act of reaving? (Ed. a fancy name for stealing isn’t it?)
The Scots arrived down the road and immediately decide to pin the English with their lancers in the woods. Both Scottish and English have 4 regiments each composed of 1 company of pike and two companies of musketeers. Each Scots regiment has a frame gun and the Scots have one company of lancers. The English didn’t manage to scramble any cavalry (Ed. perhaps they were drinking or looting a baggage train elsewhere). Both sides have 1 commander or general and 1 sub commander each looking after two regiments making up a brigade, with the Scots lancers under control of their overall commander.
This means that when a brigade is broken it can no longer take part in the action, its only course is to retreat.
The English emerge from the woods, not understanding the concept of pinned and deliver a number of volleys that disorders the lancers just as they managed to move on. (Ed. that certainly doesn’t look hopeful for them. Perhaps they should have charged instead?)
Food glorious food – the Scots have nearly managed to get into the English supply depot (Ed. grand name for fields) and start reaving.There one minute, next they’re gone! The lancers wilt under the fire of the English and have headed off, probably home. (Ed. Have the English managed to cut the Scots in half?)
The English have decided to tighten the noose on the Scots down the road and prepare to move into musket range.
The Scottish frame guns bark into action. (Ed. bark being the operative word – they should have been sent back to their manufacturer for a refund as only one in the whole of the exchange over the next few turns managed to make a hit!)
With food gathered the Scots decide that the better route out is over the hedges rather than back down the road, as there is now a rather tempting target in view.
Over the last few moves, both sets of musketeers on the ridge and the road engage each other in a lead slinging match. Slowly the dice gods deem that the English are worthy of receiving more than they are giving and are whittled away, volley at a time, becoming disordered. (Ed. disordered is shown by the puffs of smoke or grey and black cotton-wool aka hamster fur!). This has the effect of stalling the gallant lads on the hill as they start to put their dastardly plan into action.
The English left flank now tries to march forward to engage and close down the Scots on the road.Slowly the English manage to make headway and keep a few steps away from the Scots descending on their rear, especially as the Scots on the road become disordered and can only continue their lead slinging, retreat not an option for their success with their firing had gone to their heads and had buoyed them up considerably.
The Scottish musket balls finally break the English on the hill, who start to retreat, but they smile as they see a company of Scottish musketeers on the other flank flee, leaving their frame gun to see if it can preserve their tarnished honour. (Ed. past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance but the odds (aka the dice gods), seem to say nope!)Unfortunately, the frame gun is swept away, (Ed. told you so) though it does manage to inflict a casualty at last, (Ed. hurrah) and the Scottish line on the road reforms to await the English left, who are being pounded in front and rear.
The gallantry of the English left flank is remarkable for they charge a company of Scottish musketeers, and lose. (Ed. the number of supports is essential, as the English won the initial melee but lost overall.) The other companies become broken and slowly retreat away from the Scots trying to reform to prepare for the coming onslaught. (Ed. much discussion was had to the direction the broken English on their left flank would take, it being decided that over the road, and perhaps far away, was the better option.)
And then the English win!
(Ed. how come?)
Despite the English having both their brigades broken, and the Scots having none, the task of the Scots was to get all the food that they were carrying off the table where they had started. Night had fallen, actually, one gamer’s wife Moira had declared a hard stop which had been enacted and this resulted in the Scots failing their task!
Take the Field!
Have the exploits of our Worcester-based compatriots inspired you to take up your pike and join the fight? The King & Country starter set has everything you need to take your first steps onto 17th Century battlefields!