Last week I finished the foot troops for Oxford's command and this week I am moving on to some of the more ‘exotic’ units on the table along with the first of the infamous Stanley.
I have been wanting to get started on some artillery and handgunners for this battle but decided to hold off until I had got a large body of infantry under my belt. For my Lancastrian/Tudor army, I have two Companies of Artillery and two large skirmish units of Handgunners. Archaeological evidence from recent digs and surveys of Bosworth has uncovered the largest collection of canon balls from any Medieval battlefield. Their discovery, along with a host of other artifacts including Badges, tackle, and bits of armor, has helped redefine the location of the battlefield. If you get a chance to visit the Bosworth Battlefield Museum it is packed with finds that you would be hard-pressed to see anywhere else.
I have represented these Handgunners as large skirmish units consisting of two bases but with fewer men than a regular infantry unit. Given their relative lack of accuracy and their alarming propensity to explode, I’m sure this dispersed formation was a very good idea! There are some excellent examples of early Handguns on display in the Royal Armouries in Leeds (another recommendation btw!). Looking at these crude firearms I didn’t expect them to be anything more than an annoyance on the battlefield. However, I have since read that experiments with a mid-15th century replica handgun, using period-accurate mixes of gunpowder, were able to fire a lead ball 630 meters with a recorded maximum velocity of 142 meters per second. More than enough to penetrate armor!
With the gunpowder weapons of Henry’s army completed I want to move on to the infamous Stanley’s. This powerful family always seems to have managed to stay in favor without committing themselves to any one side until the outcome was already clear. At Bosworth both Thomas and William Stanley stood back in the early stages of the Battle, waiting to see which side had the upper hand. So this week I am starting with Sir Thomas Stanley on his own base, accompanied by a company of Mounted Household under his command.
Lastly, and also part of Thomas Stanley’s army, we have Sir Everard Digbie. He brings a company of retinue/billmen and a company of Archers onto the field.