Last Stand of the Cornish Militia.

Last Stand of the Cornish Militia.
(A Desperate Defence During the ECW)
Richard Mc Clean

Introduction: Everyone has their favourite Wargame Unit and I am no exception. I have in my Royalist ECW Army a fictitious Infantry Unit, The Cornish Militia. The men of Cornwall provided Charles I with some of his best Units. My own Infantry Regiment has never been defeated in Battle yet. I haven’t enough figures for both sides to fight a normal sized Battle, so I thought I would set up a Scenario for two smaller than normal Forces. (You may need a few extra Parliamentarian Cavalry and Dragoons). In the end I finished up with a Scenario where the outcome should never be in doubt. The Parliamentarians will always win, well so far they have won at all three attempts to play this Scenario. Now I always play the Royalist Commander and even though my Command is always defeated I still enjoy the Game. The exciting aspect about this Scenario is to see how much damage you can do to the enemy before you are actually defeated.

Figures & Rules: As always, I used the George Gush published by WRG. I bought my copy from Freikorps 15 but these and the Army Lists are available from many other Wargame outlets and suppliers. Check the mainstream Wargame Magazines for these addresses. The vast majority of my figures are Front Rank with a few Redoubt for variation. This Battle was fought using 25mm figures but you can of course use any scale or Rules.

This Scenario like most of the others that I arrange, can be used in almost any other Period. With a little thought, this particular Battle can be played several times, each time with two completely different Armies. In the past I have set up my Table and left it untouched for several weeks as I use a Scenario for most of my many interests. Lately one Battlefield has been used for Fantasy, Napoleonic and W.W.II Games. It just means, as in the case of W.W.II, the exchanging of one or two buildings.


Setting the Scene: General Marshhead, the newly appointed Commander of the Cornwall Militia, had been persuaded by his men that it was time to go home. It was approaching the Winter and already the snow filled clouds were gathering in the distance. The Cornishmen had fought two battles and seven Skirmishes in the name of their King and had never been bested. Now they wished to spend some time with their families before they left home in the Spring, once again to make war upon their Sovereign’s enemies.

On a cold November evening, about two hours before the encroaching darkness was expected, the Cornish Militia approached a rain swollen river that immediately told them that they had reached their beloved Cornwall. They made ready to cross over by use of the old Devils Bridge when a rider came galloping up from the rear. He was one of the Dragoons that had been appointed as a Rearguard to warn of any approaching enemy. The news was not good.

A Force of Parliamentarians had been despatched to intercept them before they entered Cornwall. They were barely 30 minutes away.
General Marshhead was faced with a dilemma. He had over twenty wagons and carts laden with the wounded, women and children and the “Spoils of War”, but he would need time to get them far enough away so that they could not be intercepted. He had a difficult request to ask of his men. The good General asked for volunteers to defend the Devils Bridge long enough for the wagons to escape into the night. As he expected, every man, even the wounded offered to stay and fight. Half the Dragoons were to be sent as escort with the wagons along with the more seriously wounded. The rest of his Force were organised into various Units and positioned after been given their specific tasks. Every man there swore not to retreat nor to give or ask for Quarter. The oncoming enemy were in for a surprise.
The Parliamentarians: Colonel Bogey, apparently hand picked by Cromwell himself, was pushing his men harder than before. After suffering two defeats at the hands of these Cornish riffraff he was in no mood for compromise. His scouts came back with the news that he had been hoping for, the enemy were just up ahead. The scout also reported that the Royalist supply wagons were moving very slowly but would soon be across the bridge. Bogey decided to take a chance and ordered his Cavalry and Dragoons to move ahead of the main Force in an attempt to catch the Royalist unawares. In order to speed his Force up, he sent the cumbersome Artillery and his own Train, with an escort, back to his Head Quarters.

He put his Cavalry Commander, Captain Phlegm, in charge of the Advance Party with orders to attack at all costs and to prevent the enemy wagons from crossing the bridge; whilst he, Colonel Bogey, would bring up the rest of the Forces as soon as possible. In his opinion, this was going to be easy pickings, or his name wasn’t Colonel Ivor Bogey.

The Forces Involved:

The Royalist Army.

Commander in Chief: General Marshhead.
Subordinate Commander: Major Hedache.

MC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. There are 8 in this Unit.
Dragoons, MI, C Class, firelock, sword, horse, open order. There are 12 in this Unit.

Marshhead’s Regulars.
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, order. There are 16 Pike and 16 Shot in this Unit.

Cornwall Militia (Unbeatables).
Pike, MI, C Class, pike, sword, close order. Shot, LI, C Class, musket, sword, order. There are 24 Pike and 12 Shot in this Unit.

Cornwall Militia (Wounded but Able).
Pike, MI, A Class, pike, sword, close order. Shot, LI, A Class, Fanatic, musket, sword, order. There are 12 Pike and 24 Shot in this Unit.

Light Gun, C Class Crew. There are 2 Light Guns that are Sub Units of two of the Infantry Units.

Cavalry & Dragoons: The Cavalry have not been asked to sacrifice themselves so they will obey any commands as a result of a Morale Test. Both the C in C and the 2i/c are armed and equipped as the MC.

Marshhead’s Regulars & The Unbeatables: Have a better Class than they are normally allowed. This is to show that they are desperate men fighting for the lives of their families in the wagons. The Regulars can + or – 2 to any Morale Tests and the Unbeatables can + or -1 to any Morale Test. This is to ensure that they would have to be either very unlucky or badly beaten to be forced to retreat.

Wounded but Able: Marshhead decided to group the slightly wounded together to form one Unit. All the spare muskets from the wagons were handed to those who were trained to use them. These men know that because of their injuries they could not possibly hope to escape by retreating over a difficult and arduous countryside. These men were not going anywhere. They are classed as Fanatics.

Artillery: Attach one Gun to each of the “Normal” Units (Regular & Unbeatables).
The New Model Army.

Commander in Chief: Colonel Bogey.
Subordinate General: Captain Phlegm.

HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. There are 8 in this Unit.
HCC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. There are 8 in this Unit.
HCC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. There are 8 in this Unit.
Dragoons, MI, B Class, flintlock, sword, horse, open order. There are 10 in this Unit.
Dragoons, MI, B Class, flintlock, sword, horse, open order. There are 10 in this Unit.

Bogey’s Green Coats:
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. There are 12 pike and 24 shot in this Unit.

Sir Justin Thymes Regiment of Foot:
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. There are 12 pike and 24 shot in this Unit.

Colonel Percy Vere’s Regiment of Foot:
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. There are 12 pike and 24 shot in this Unit.

Light Gun, B Class crew. There is only one Gun and this is a Sub Unit attached to Bogey’s Green Coats.
The Parliamentarian Force is made up of Standard Units from the WRG Army Lists.


The Cornish Militia: The Militia can deploy their Troops anywhere on the Battlefield with the exception that no Militia can be within 6” of either side of the main road and no Militia, except for the wagons, can be on the main road this side of the river. The escort Dragoons are there for show only, they will move off the table with the wagons.

The Militia Commander must decide where he can best defend the crossing. The wagons must get away. If any are caught then his men will have died in vain. The wagons may be represented by markers as they should not be involved in the Game. They are only shown to gee up the Parliamentarian attack and to make the Royalists defend that little bit harder. Both sides deploy as per the Rules, draw deployment onto Maps if need be and then put down their respective Forces. If your Rules has Alternative Movement, the Parliamentarians will Move first. In this case (and only in this case) there are no Charges or Advance to Contacts in the Parliamentarians first Move. The Royalists may do so in their First Move.

The Parliamentarians: The Cavalry/Dragoons must enter the Table via the road. Once Maps have been drawn and Unit locations have been noted, then troops are placed onto the Table. The Cavalry must start the First Turn on the road. It may be placed up to 6” from the Eastern Table Edge. It may move off the road immediately. The order in which the Cavalry/Dragoons are in must be on the Map. All Cavalry/Dragoon Units coming unto the Table must enter via the road.

Colonel Bogey will bring on his own Force at the start of Turn Three. He must put down on his Map in which Order they will appear. Again all his forces will come on via the road. They can move off the road immediately.

Winner or Loser: The Royalists should lose this game, it would take a miracle or an incompetent Colonel Bogey, for him to actually win it. But it is satisfying to see the Parliamentarian Units get smaller and smaller as the Game goes on.

Umpires Notes:

Victory Conditions: The wagons should be placed far enough away from the Eastern Table Edge to ensure that they make it off the Table. Col. Bogey should be encouraged to go after them all the same. This Game becomes interesting as it is frustrating to see the Militia still standing even after suffering heavy loses. Col. Bogey should be encouraged to take his revenge on the Militia by destroying as many of the enemy Units as he can.

Terrain: All the terrain pieces are standard items. The woods are close/dense, so no Artillery can move through them, there may be other restrictions; check your Rules. The river can only be crossed by all Troops at the bridge, however there is a Ford. Only inform the Militia Commander about this and hopefully it will not be known to Col. Bogey. The Ford should be obviously depicted on the Table by using a River/Ford section or by placing some stones on a section of your river. Once any Parliamentarians reach the Ford, inform them immediately what it is. All Troops can cross via the Ford. The river is fast flowing due to the recent heavy rain, it may be crossed by MC/ Dragoons and Medium/Light Infantry (no Artillery). No other Troop types can wade across the river.

Well hopefully this will have given you a few ideas of your own. Send in any Battle reports of this or any other game that you think our reader(s) may be interested in.