Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Battle of Bosworth 1485

Many moons ago, or 1985 if you prefer, the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth was re-enacted at the ‘official’ battle site (UK). They in fact do this every year, but obviously that year was a biggie, they pushed the boat out for it and splendid it was too.



Above - I have always been quite captivated by the battle and so following a return to the battlefield for the August 1994 re-enactment, I set about writing a small booklet on the battle, opening with a description of the battle and closing with some wargame rules and the Bosworth Scenario.

For most of us, this was bordering the pre home computer / internet age and so this booklet was put together using an electric typewriter. A friend at work, who was one of those rare creatures with a home computer and extra kit, scanned a couple of photographs that I had taken at the event to include in the publication, which was all then printed at a local printers and I suppose was a little reminiscent of those old wargame rule sets that we used to buy, which were likewise typed and presented in pastel coloured covers and then stapled (hello Wargames Research Group, Table Top Games and all such good and similar things!).



The exampled game in the booklet was pretty poor really and not particularly well presented. I had used a 4’ x 3’ insulating polystyrene sheet for the battlefield, which was badly painted and then ‘dressed’ with some very small 10mm armies to represent the action. Poor photography (I would not get my first digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 2100 until 2003) and scanning resulted in low resolution and with everything in black and white, the figures in the pictures were difficult to discern, though perhaps that saved me from closer scrutiny.

Anyway, it was a thing very much of its day in terms of quality, it would not pass muster at all, even just a few years later, but happily for me, the Bosworth Battlefield Centre agreed to sell the booklet.

If nothing else, it has its place as a reminder of the explosion in quality and accessibility that publishing was about to offer up to the ordinary man in the street, once home computers became common place, just a few years later, something we perhaps now take for granted, even just our blogging capability is an amazing step forward.

A recent clear-out at home unearthed the booklet and probably for no other reason than a nostalgic fancy to bringing the world of that booklet back to life, it has left me wanting to start a small and focused Wars of the Roses project, again fitting a 4’ x 3’ space and using everything from the booklet as a template to get the game onto the table.

I can use the text that describes the battle and the rules can be tweaked, though I would like them to remain true to the initial design intent and of course the photography can be a much more fun and prettier thing to work with these days, as can the models.

The scale will need to change or dare I say, even being dispensed with, so that it just looks right, as I was using 30mm wide bases with a ground scale of 1.5 metres to the millimetre, so some wizardry will be needed here.



Above - a few years ago, I had a dabble at doing a couple of Perry 28mm plastics bases, these are each based to 50mm frontages, though I think if doing this again, I would base to either 80mm frontages or 100mm.

Taken together, a ‘from scratch’ nostalgia project should at least provide some interesting posts here and be small enough in scope that others can have a go with existing armies or even be tempted to have a crack themselves at building up two small forces.

Since this joins the list of ‘projects and generally brilliant ideas’, nothing may even get beyond this post! Though just the reminiscing and contemplation of all of this feels like it will be enough to fuel at least ‘stage 1’, which will no doubt involve the Perry catalogue :-).

I did visit the battlefield again a few weeks ago. It was pouring down, one of those moments when the weather people decide to give a storm a name! so not much walking got done, but the visit, inspired by finding the booklet, has been an interesting bit of wargaming related distraction.

The below photo was taken at the Battle Centre Museum, a fine chap no doubt and I am hoping that between this sort of simple clothing and some soldiers wearing full armour, that parts of the army may allow a fast paint job to keep momentum going.



Resource Section.

COMMANDERS is my sister web space that offers more frequent snippet based updates than here on various projects and gaming activity. LINK

Bosworth Battlefield Centre. LINK

26 comments:

  1. Norm, this is a fine recollection of your past interest in Bosworth. The catalyst needed to fuel this project has been lit. I look forward to following your renewed project. Is Bosworth in 28mm a sure thing or are other scales under consideration?

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  2. Well ….. as I drag two 12mm General Fyrd (1066 project) 80mm bases from the paint table to the 'basing area', I am as always torn between the two things and then of course 12mm on 80mm bases screams out for hexes, which is what the 1066 stuff is intended for, but really, I think I would prefer an open table for the Bosworth game, so that might put me back to 28's, especially as the battlefield is not very terrain demanding.... now I'm all confused :-)

    I have though been quite taken by the rules and can see those generally being applied also to the 1066 thinking, rather than using my boardgame rules and it is also interesting to see that some of that Bosworth rule writing material feels very familiar to me and several of those rule traits still exist in my current rule thinking.

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  3. Interesting this should appear. I read a very interesting book a few months ago: Michael K. Jones, "Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle". Fascinating read. Among other things he relocates the battle, and some of the locations too of the various contingents. His reconstruction gives a plausible explanation for why and how Richard III, a capable leader of armies, should have been defeated so comprehensively.

    Whether or not Jones's thesis is right, one thing that impressed me about his narrative was that all of the characters in the drama, up to and including Richard III and Henry Tudor, appear to act reasonably and within reason. Whatever might be said against Henry VII, apparently, ingratitude was not one of them.

    Fascinating read.

    I'll be looking out for a continuation of this project!

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    1. There have been a few 'relocations' of the battlefield. I always enjoyed The Field of Redemore: The Battle of Bosworth 1485 by Peter J. Foss, one of my earlier 'detective' reads on the where-abouts of the battle. I hope this project with throw up things that will continue to interest you.

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  4. You'll probably have to redo the scenario to take account of the actual battlefield site (and different orientation) now that thay have found it.

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    1. It fascinates me that the 'real' location of our two big battles (Hastings and Bosworth), provides so much controversy, each having elements of doubt, proposed theories and in truth a lack of 'significant' archaeology plus an 'official' site, which of itself creates something of a rearguard action against 'new discovery'.

      The new proposed site in part relies upon the discovery of shotte from cannon, which of itself is fascinating as it gives direct evidence of the Royal artillery tactical deployment on the day … perhaps! :-)

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  5. Go for it Norm! Looking forward to seeing this! There are some pretty decent 10mm figs at Hexon if I recall.



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    1. Thanks, If I go small, it would be with the Kallistra 12mm range.

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  6. Very cool. Thanks for sharing the personal history.

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  7. Thanks Cade, it was nice to reflect and to visit the Battle Centre again.

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  8. At local shows it is nice to stumble across old pamphlets/rules such as your own. There is something about that that takes me back to being a kid and the simplicity of the games and rules on offer then. I look forward to seeing this 'project' progress to Stage II ;)

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    1. Thanks Steve, yes, it is exactly that. With the latest flavour of battlefield now on offer :-) I am drawing on material to do a replacement map to the one in the booklet. I just love all this research stuff that falls out of projects.

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    2. Researching a project is a very enjoyable activity.

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  9. An excellent way into a new (or old) project. As part of my pondering over the last few weeks I have been considering a significant purchase of the excellent Perry medieval figures but the decision has been taken ๐Ÿค”

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  10. Matt, I am now intrigued to know what you decided upon for the new project - look forward to that post.

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  11. Oh sounds like fun and even better in the right scale,I do like the Perry plastics late mediaeval range they're all great, I've also read the book archduke piccolo mentioned, the Anne Curry book looks great but I can't really justify the cost, everything I've read of her's is excellent and I did the online course on Agincourt she put together which was great fun,I look forward to how this goes, it's on my list of battles to do (it's quite a long list!)
    Best Iain

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  12. Thanks Iain, I looked at the Foard / Curry book on Kindle and at £18, I thought that was a bit steep for what is essentially an ordinary e-book. Checking my shelves, I have Bosworth 1485 by Mike Ingram from the Battle Story series, which was written post discovery of the new site, so I hope his info and maps etc gives a concise summary of what the new evidence means from the point of view of building up a simple battlefield, though I think if I end up wanting to revise my text as an into to the game, I might have to go down the Foard / Curry route.

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    1. Just checked, the hard copy of Foard / Curry is £35, making the e-book seem attractively priced !!!!!

      I did have Peter Foss' book, but moved it on when I moved to a smaller place and it went the way of most of my books :-( … I could kick myself now, because in its day, I really valued that.

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    2. I wouldn't of got the ebook and at £35 ,that was why I couldn't justify it!
      Best Iain

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  13. I was once tempted by War of the Roses and this battle is certainly worth recreating. I also find it sad that the actual sites of pivotal history aren’t really well known.
    That’s a nifty little pamphlet you made there. No wonder you’re so good at rules and scenarios now, you’ve been doing it forever.

    I was ultimately defeated by the thought of painting WoTR heraldry and trying to keep all the names straight. ๐Ÿ˜€ But it was a fun idea for awhile.

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  14. Thanks Stew, There are figure painters who can do wonderful heraldry, but I think for most of us, a two colour coat of arms must suffice and hope that flags do the rest :-)


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  15. Norm, it might interest you that Bosworth is the Society of Ancients battle day choice for 2020.

    I would love to do some WotR armies. In fact, I should have got WotR instead of Hundred Years War figures a few years ago! One of my favourite historical novels is Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman, and before that Sun of York, by Ronald Welch.

    Hope you get some momentum going on this project!

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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  16. Thanks Aaron, no I didn't know that. It should generate a good deal of interest. I wonder whether Phil Steele, who demo's for them at the wargame shows will be hawking around a Bosworth game that year.

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  17. Sorry for the late comment, Norm; don't know how I missed it earlier, but Bosworth was one of the reasons I got into WotR gaming. I need to re-visit this game again - last time I used a version of Hail Caesar, but would use Lion Rampant now.

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  18. Hi Dean, all good. I have been looking at the new proposed battlefield and at some point will put a post up to include a new map for anyone who wants to represent the new site ... which from a wargames point of view still remains some rolling hillsides and a marsh!

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