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King Edward Prevails

The semi-fictitious Wars of the Roses engagement at Newark (1471) makes for a really good two player game. A visit by Harry Sidebottom provided the excuse to dust off my Wars of the Roses figures to replay this scenario (available as a free download from my website here).

I took the Lancastrians forming a defensive position in two battles under the Earl of Oxford (right) and Duke of Exeter (left). Both battles contained a relatively equal number of bill and bowmen with Exeter’s battle bolstered by a gun.

Harry deployed his Yorkists with King Edward IV commanding the right battle with a preponderance of men at arms and billmen supported by some archers levied from the Midlands. Richard Duke of Gloucester’s left hand battle contained mostly archers with only a few billmen. Clearly he intended to attack with his right whilst pinning my right with Gloucester’s archers.

The Yorkists moved forward rapidly into bow range then the archers on both sides engaged. Early results were reasonably good for the Lancastrians. King Edward took a light wound as he advanced through the arrow storm and his levied archers were most disconcerted by receiving cannon fire as well as archery.

Unperturbed, the King led his men forward, leaving the shot-up levy archers behind — their supporting billmen pushing through them and into contact with Exeter’s battle.

On the other wing the Earl of Oxford withdrew his archers making ready to advance on the Yorkist left. The threat to the Lancastrian left had to be dealt with first. Exeter on that wing had far fewer men at arms and billmen than his opponents so Oxford led his men-at-arms forward to engage the left flank of King Edward’s battle.

William Beaumont’s retainers (white banner) on the far left of the Lancastrian line held their own. Exeter, however, was utterly overwhelmed by the men-at-arms led in person by King Edward. Exeter's men fell back in disarray.

Oxford’s charge into the left of King Edward’s line succeeded in pushing back some of the King’s billmen but it was not enough. The King had broken Exeter’s line and there was no hope of recovery. Oxford had no choice but to retire from the field.

It was an exciting game (even though I lost) and it felt as if it had played out as a Wars of the Roses engagement might well have done. The Yorkist victory was no doubt down to the fact that they successfully pinned down Oxford’s battle whilst stacking the King’s battle with lots of good hand to hand combat troops who pushed forward as fast as possible to minimise casualties from the Lancastrian arrow storm and cannon fire.

We used my Tree of Battles rules for late medieval warfare. They are available from my website here.

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