ECW: The Battle for Amesbury Manor. (1642)

The Battle for Amesbury Manor. (1642)
(An English Civil War Scenario.)
by
Richard Mc Clean.

Introduction: This is a Battle that could have taken place at any time during the English Civil War. I will give a brief description of both Armies. Regular readers will realise that these are the two Armies that I described in Issue 1 of M.I.D. (For a more complete description of both Armies, please see Issue 1 of M.I.D. Back Issues are available from the Editor). See also the 1st Article on the ECW on this Website.
We used the Renaissance Rules by George Gush, published by WRG; but any set of ECW/Renaissance Rules will do. The table was our usual 8` x 4`, but again use whatever size is available. Most of our figures are from the Front Rank and Redoubt 25mm ECW and 30 Years War Ranges.

Setting the Scene: General James Boothby, the Honourable Member for Letchem, had at last been given his first Field Command. For months now he has criticised the Parliamentarian Army from the safety of the House of Commons. The Army High Command decided that enough was enough. Boothby was “invited” to take command of a small force that was going to extract provisions from the lands of Sir Gordon Bentley, a rich Landowner who so far had managed to stay out of the War. Boothby saw this as his chance to make his “name”. After delivering a stirring farewell speech to The House, he made great speed as he travelled to Salisbury to link up with his Command.

Sir Gordon Bentley had spent the past few months writing to Parliament telling them that he had no wish to join either side in what he described as a “Useless and wasteful” war. However that old saying, “If you are not with us, you must be against us” was uttered on more than one occasion. Finally towards the end of May, a friend wrote to him that a small force was on its way to strip his lands of food and fodder and to prevent his House being used as a Royalist rallying point. This was a subtle way of saying that his Manor House would be pulled down.

Sir Gordon at last realised that he could no longer remain neutral. He sent a messenger to the King at Oxford stating that he was declaring himself for the King and asked for help to resist the invader. The King realising the importance of Amesbury Manor, dispatched Prince Rupert along with several units with all haste. With the few troops that he raised, Sir Gordon hoped that he would have enough forces to give the Puritans a bloody nose.

 

IF YOU INTEND TO PLAY THIS SCENARIO AS A PLAYER, THEN READ NO FURTHER.

Amesbury

Amesbury Manor and Surrounding Area.

Umpires Notes:

The Terrain: Amesbury Manor dominates the immediate countryside. It comprises of a large Tudor Mansion at the Northern end and three thick outer walls that form a courtyard. There are living quarters for several servants in the Mansion but most of the workers live in Amsebury Village which is nearby.

Amesbury Village is home to about six local families. It consists of five rustic dwellings with a couple of pig-pens. The River Avon, which runs from one sorner of the battlefild to the other, is only fordable at three places. One is the stone Amesbury Bridge, second is a wooden bridge and the third place is a Ford. All are well known and are on all Maps.

Larkhill Farm is a farmhouse with a small barn and a pig-pen. The local farmer has been planting hedges over the past few years and so far he has been the only local landowner who has “hedged” his fields.

There are two hills of concern to us, one is in the SE and the other, Avebury Mound, is slightly North of the Ford. The only wooded area is Winterborne Wood. This is to be found on both sides of the River Avon.

Armies to be Used:

The Armies are virtually the same as those described in the opening Articles on Wargaming the ECW. Below is a summary of what we used. Please note that the NMA has an extra Unit of Dragoons.

The Royalist Army.

 

Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Commander in Chief 100 1 100
Subordinate General. 50 1 50
HCC, A Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 16 8 128 10
HCC, A Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 16 8 128 10
HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 17 8 136 10
MC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 13 10 130 10
Dragoons, MI, C Class, firelock,sword, horse, open order. 10 12 120 10

 

 


Kings’ Lifeguard.

 

Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 20 140 10 (Sub)
Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, Swedish Feather, salvo, order. 10 16 160 10 (Sub)

 

 

Royal Irish.

 

Type Pts Figures Total Command Points

Pike, HI, C Class, pike, sword, close order.

6 16 96 10

Shot, MI, C Class, musket, sword, order.

7 16 112 10 (Sub)

 

 

Newcastles White Coats.

 

Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Pike, HI, C Class, pike, sword, close order. 6 16 96 10
Shot, LI, C Class, musket, sword, order. 6 16 96 10 (Sub)

 

 

Cornwall Militia.

 

Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Pike, MI, D Class, pike, sword, close order. 4 24 96 10
Shot, LI, D Class, musket, sword, order. 5 14 70 10 (Sub)

 

 

Artillery.

 

Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Heavy Gun, C Class crew. 1 70 70 20
Medium Gun, C Class crew. 2 54 108 20
Light Gun, C Class Crew. 2 43 86 10 (Sub)

 

Total # of pts: 2002.


The New Model Army.

 

Type Pt Figures Total Command Points
Commander in Chief 100 1 100
Subordinate General. 50 1 50
HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 17 8 136 10
HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 17 8 136 10
HCC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 15 8 120 10
Dragoons, MI, B Class, flintlock, sword, horse, open order. 11 16 176 10
Dragoons, MI, B Class, flintlock, sword, horse, open order. 11 16 176 10
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 12 84 10
Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. 9 24 216 10 (Sub)
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 12 84 10
Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. 9 24 216 10 (Sub)
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 11 77 10
Shot, LI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. 8 22 176 10 (Sub)
Heavy Gun, B Class crew. 75 1 75 20
Medium Gun, B Class crew. 58 2 116 20
Light Gun, B Class crew. 46 1 46 5 (Sub)

 

Total # of pts: 2139.

 

Victory Conditions:

This is a hard Game to judge the Victor. The NMA will win if it controls the Western side of the River Avon. That is, it must have all three river crossings, the Woods and the Avebury Mound. If it has the river crossings but not the other two, then it is a marginal victory. For the Royalists to win, they must control all three crossings on the Eastern side as well as the Woods. If they have the crossings but not the Woods, then it is a marginal victory.

What has happened in the two Games that we have played is that the Royalists have kept the NMA from crossing the River Avon. They controlled the Western side of all three crossings. These Games were declared a Draw. Killing more of the enemy does not mean that you have won the Game.
This Scenario can still be played even if both Players have read the Scenario. Because of the restricted area by which the NMA is allowed to come unto the table, it is of no real advantage knowing where the Royalist Dragoons and Horse are. As Umpire you may let the Royalist Commander place his Dragoons and Horse wherever he likes.

You may increase the size of the Armies, but I would caution against it. If the Armies are made any larger, the Royalist Army will easily prevent the NMA from crossing the River Avon.
As it stands, the Scenario makes it almost impossible for the Royalists to defend all three crossing points successfully. The NMA can force it’s way across if it can concentrate it’s forces.

I think this Scenario resembles a game of Chess, where both sides will be happy with a draw. But an ambitious General/Wargamer will settle for nothing less than outright Victory.

The M.I.D. would be happy to publish any Battle Report concerning this Scenario or any other hard fought Battle that you may have played recently.

Alternative Scenarios:

This Battlefield can be used as part of a Mini-Campaign. Give the NMA the following extra units:
1 Unit of HCC, B Class.
2 Units of Infantry, similar to Unit 1 in the NMA Army List.

This should ensure that the NMA will win the opening Battle.
Battle #2 will see the Royalist Infantry that survived the first Battle, holed up inside Amesbury Manor along with any Artillery that managed to escape capture. The surviving Royalist Cavalry will have fled towards the Army of The King as it marches from Oxford. This Army is the exact same Royalist Army from Battle #1 plus all the surviving Cavalry from that Battle.
The King’s Army will enter the Table along the A-B Line. It had managed to out-manoeuvre the main NMA at Salisbury and had gained a days march on them.
The King must defeat General Boothby by nightfall, as his (The King’s) troops must rest before the main NMA realises what has happened and rushes to join them in Battle.
This is a test of the NMA Commanders ability to fight on two fronts. He must ensure that in the first Battle he destroys as much of the Royalist Army as possible.

PS. Before anyone corrects me, I know that in 1642 there was no New Model Army. It’s just that I am used to calling my Parliamentarians by their abbreviated title “NMA”. For those who are “Anoraks” and consider it heresy not to be absolutely correct in all details, I suggest you Tippex out the date of this Battle and write in the correct year with a thick black crayon. Do this on the printout of this Article and not on your Computer!!