Monday, 29 November 2021

Festival of Osric’s Chapel - Piggy Longton 1471




It was on a long, dark November evening at Piggy Longton’s Tavern, that a travelling trader, much the worse for drink, began complaining how he had been mistreated by Lord Trebian’s soldiers the previous day at the market in neighbouring West Rottingham.


James Ackley the wily Landlord saw the potential in the conversation and kept the man’s glass topped up. As the hours passed, the trader’s eyes became more glazed and his tongue looser. It transpired that a large body of yorkist soldiery had assembled behind West Rottingham’s Market Square for inspection by Lord Trebian. The point of interest being that the armourer was with them, together with carts of provisions and one filled with bundled arrows.


Ackley was certain that Lord Darcy, owner of the Piggy Longton estates, would reward him handsomely for his diligence and loyalty in getting this information.


Please use the ‘read more’ tab for the continued tale of Yorkist shenanigans.




Lord Darcy of Lancastrian persuasion did indeed show his favour to the hostelry. He, as had the landlord had done, instantly recognised the hallmarks of preparation for a raid and suspected that the Festival of Osric’s Chapel the following Sunday was the moment that his adversarial neighbour would choose to strike.


It is a day of celebration and thanksgiving, with of course a copious supply of Smoggy Ale, so that by noon most of the men would be unfit for combat.


Lord Darcy would have to prepare a surprise reception committee, but the usual business of preparing for the festival would have to go ahead, to create a deception for Trebian’s spies that no doubt were loitering in Piggy Longton.


The rains had been particularly heavy during the past weeks, the Smoggy Brook was significantly swollen and the banks to both sides extensively boggy. Lord Trebian would almost certainly avoid his usual route of attack across the brook, instead taking the circuitous approaches from the south, via Beacan Farm seemed much more likely.


Lord Darcy would put a contingent at the bridge over the Smoggy as a precaution, but his main force would be drawn across Crown Hill, barring the way to Piggy Longton from the south. His right flank protected by boggy ground and his left by Phelan Wood. Lord Trebian would doubtless be forced into an embarrassing retreat or at worse, a disadvantaged frontal assault on a narrow front. 





Lord Darcy seemed rather pleased with himself. His men less so - denied their overfilled tankards of Smoggy Ale from the cancelled celebrations, but they were hopeful that victory would bring them some hard partying later at their Lordship’s pleasure!




By mid morning on the Sunday, the Lancastrian force had gathered at the hill and the Bishop of Dungborough (above photo), attended by Friar Evian, was inspiring the men by way of strong sermonising and blessing. We will remember the Bishop from the previous Chronicles account as being Stephen the Fearless. The men were now ready for anything.


They did not have much longer to wait as a determined line of enemy archers came into view and closed upon them. Trumpets sounded as arrow shafts left the lines of both sides. There was no turning back - there would be a battle today!




The armies were fairly evenly matched. Lord Darcy had more archers and had deployed handgunners and crossbowmen in Phelan Woods and put light cavalry to his right.


Lord Trebian had brought a larger body of heavy foot, as he had expected the fighting to start with an assault directly on the Piggy Longton hamlet.


Lord Darcy's view from Crown Hill


Though surprised to find his path barred, Trebian took the initiative and immediately brought billmen out from either side of his rear ranks and had them join his archers flanks, broadening his front.


This forced Darcy to dislocated his own billmen on the left, bringing Sir John Flory awkwardly off the hill to cover the gap with the woods. His Men-at-Arms also moved from the centre towards the left.


Flory crashed into the advancing Yorkist bill under Sir Robert Baynton and initially came off the worst.


To try and gain the initiative, Lord Darcy sent his light cavalry out on the Lancastrian right. They clashed with Yorkist handgunners, who were easily pushed aside, but the horsemen were then halted and roughly handled by a force of billmen.




Trebian was slow to get his own centre moving forwards, mainly due to the volume of archery from the Lancastrians on Crown Hill, but his two flanks were pressing forwards and taking ground.


Casualties to both sides were pretty equal, so they both hit the Army Morale test point at the same time (one third losses). Each unit has to test against their discipline and a fail will add one hit to the unit. Quite a few units failed, none left the battlefield, but some were now becoming increasingly brittle.


Baynton and Stanley for the Yorkists and Darcy's
Men-at-Arms and Flory clash on the Yorkist right.


In the growing melee scrum (above) that was developing on the Yorkist left, Darcy's Men-at-Arms suddenly broke and fled, he feared that his force would have to retreat to the hamlet.


However, on the right, his light cavalry managed to cut through and break into the Yorkist rear. This had become a battle that really could go either way. Both commanders simply had to hold their nerve.


Just as Trebian's Men-at-Arms and supporting Bill started to attack up the forward slopes on Crown Hill, his right (Baynton / Stanley) spectacularly collapsed. With enemy cavalry roaming to his rear, Trebian had no choice but to retire his shattered forces back to Beacan Farm and return to West Rottingham.


Lord Darcy had prevailed, though it was close and the cost heavy to both sides. His tired and weary men withdrew back towards the hamlet and the well stocked tavern!


Conclusion.

That really was tight and could have gone either way. The system generates a slow deterioration of force, so that by the time a unit or two starts to fall, others are not far away from the point of rout and things can quickly escalate to a result.


This creates both opportunity and disappointment once you get past that 1/3 losses check.


Important moments in the game were;


Trebian taking the initiative and pushing his bill forwards on the flanks while the archery duel was still in full swing.


Darcy having to respond by dislocating his billmen and men-at-Arms.


The delay in Trebian getting his Men-at-Arms moving and when he initially charged up the hill against Lancastrian archers .... they held!


The initial advantage in Lancastrian archer numbers and the subsequent losses suffered by the Yorkist archers.


The Lancastrians had some militia archers on their right and they fled fairly early on, leaving that flank more exposed to the risk of assault, which Trebian later took full advantage of.


The collapse in quick succession of yorkist Baynton and Stanley, both of whom had taken additional losses during the Army Morale Check.


Again, the Sword & Spear rules delivered a good game, with the drawing of dice to activate units being a useful tool for solo play and bringing a touch of chaos to proceedings.


Resource Section.

The history of Piggy Longton - LINK

http://battlefieldswarriors.blogspot.com/2020/10/a-battlefield-to-fight-over-often.html


My sister webspace COMMANDERS is being re-configured to showcase various figure and boardgame systems that I am enjoying and give a flavour of where current ongoing projects are up to. Link.


https://commanders.simdif.com

36 comments:

  1. A fascinating pocket sized game, and I do like the map you have set a number of your games on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Peter, the map is working well and does help with the background story.

      Delete
  2. Excellent battle account, Norm. Love the look of your battle lines. "Sword & Spear"? I may have a copy of those here, somewhere. I ought to pull it off the shelf and give it a read. I never thought of these rules as Medieval but Ancients. Hmm.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Jonathan, I am only familiar with S&S second edition, which I get the impression is like 1st edition, but with a lot of Q&A addressed. Wars of the Roses is just at the limits of the rules range, a bit like the old WRG 6th edition which was 3000 BC through to 1485 AD.

    ReplyDelete
  4. And this is why I sold my WOTR troops recently. There’s no way I could top the Dungborough Chronicles. Brilliant. Great looking units, terrain and back story.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks JB, I become increasingly nervous that either Trebian or Darcy will ‘cop it’ in battle one of these days :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. It is always a joy when a post from Piggy Longton comes along and this is no exception. I have been inspired to do a little side project for next year, though in a later civil war.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Phil, I like that the identity and familiarity increases with each game.

      Look forward to reading about your new project.

      Delete
  7. Another Great outing for the forces of Piggy Longton.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, it is certainly the game that keeps on giving and I’m sure it has more to give :-)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm invariably delighted with the appearance of your units! They look beautiful on the battlefield!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you Michal, a fine compliment as your brushwork is top notch.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Splendid looking battle with a nice period feel!
    Best Iain

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Iain, I didn’t use all the figures for this and it was only afterwards that I thought that in effect, this was a DBA sized game, but giving a much different feel.

      Delete
  12. The creation of Piggy Longton and its environs was inspired when you first introduced us to the map Norm and, as predicted, this little corner of England's green and pleasant land has provided many entertaining scenarios already! I look forward to many more to come....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Keith, it has surprised me how versatile the back story and map have been.

      Delete
  13. Nothing short of brilliant Norm! This project just keeps on giving and like all the above comments I'm totally drawn into this imaginary corner of Olde England. I read through start to finish with a smile on my face so thank you for all the work that obviously goes into this, you have a wonderful imagination Norm.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank Lee, it does manage to bring together fun and ‘real’ wargaming - it’s becoming an interesting, if not a little dangerous place to live though :-) Good job they have Lord Darcy to look after them!

    I have had to start a file listing characters as new people get woven into the fabric of the place - today James Ackley (an old English name), landlord of the Piggy Longton Tavern gets added to the list.

    ReplyDelete
  15. A splendid combination of AAR and photos carrying the reader right down into the action, bravo Norm!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Thanks David, I do like getting these figures to the table.

      Delete
  16. Another great tale from the annals of Piggy Longton! I'd forgotten how nice and simple the map is but great to look at and how useful it is for generating these smaller actions. As always the figures look great and it reminds me to try and carry on with my Medieval figures!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Steve, the map is working hard :-) and seems to offer a balance of opportunity across several locations.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Another great outing with sword and spear! Nicely done. When I get my bases done I’m gonna have to give that game a go sometime next year. 😀

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Stew, I have Hail Caesar and Mantic’s Historical Kings of War, both I want to have a go with and both would serve your 1066 forces, but frankly Sword & Spear doesn’t fail me and I am increasingly familiar with the rules, so they get used, but I will explore the other sets, perhaps doing a play and compare post.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Splendid battle Norm and Soggy Longbottom is obviously giving much useful inspiration. Would be interested to see the difference between KoW and Sword and Spear 👍

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mat, it is your success with KoW that makes me want to try them, they seem a particularly good fit for your 1066.

      Delete
  21. Great figures, lovely map and the background you have created all adds so much to the game. The battle report, as always is first class. I have a copy of the first edition of Sword and Spear, it looks like I need to give them a run out .

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks Graham, I am sure of the differences between 1st and 2nd edition. I am guessing the core mechanics are the same, but 2nd edition seems to highlight a lot of Q&A for 1st edition, so i don’t know whether that will translate into any frustration with 1st.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Waiting for the next instalment of the Chronicles of Piggy Longton has become a regular anticipation of a pleasurable read, akin to the serials in the comics that I read as a child. Familiar figures reappear and new ones step on stage, whether to play minor roles like the inn-keeper or more significant ones like the Bishop. Lord Darcy and Lord Trebian fill the niche of heroes and villains perfectly, though which is the hero and which the villain may depend on which side of the Lancashire and Yorkshire border you live on!

    The Chronicles have breathed a great deal of individual life into this series of close fought and excellently detailed encounters. Keep them coming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mike, thanks, glad instalments are looked forward to. There is indeed another tale fermenting in the scenario building department - more soon I hope.

      Delete
  24. Norm...Whatver it is you TESTED a couple of hours ago...it didn't work! When I click on your new post, I arrive at the previous one...this. So if you are having Blogger issues like Dean at WAB Corner reported, I can't see your new post currently ....hope this feedback helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Keith thanks for saying. what happened was that I created a post called ‘test’ threw up a picture and then looked for the post on another machine with a different browser and it worked fine, I then immediately took down my testing post - all of that happened within a space of 5 minutes, so fingers crossed, it was okay. :-)

      Delete
    2. Oh, ok, all good then hopefully 😊

      Delete
  25. Well ….. no! It appears that even though I deleted the post, it is appearing in everyone’s reading list! Lesson learned not to that again.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Those are excellent looking figures very eyecatching

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks Gary, they are a joy to parade up and down :-)

    ReplyDelete

FOR THE TIME BEING THE COMMENT SECTION HAS BEEN TURNED OFF, BUT THANK YOU FOR VISITING.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.