Monday 2 December 2013

The Battle of Turners Farm - 7th June 1643

The Rejects gathered on Saturday for a game of By God or By Might We Will Prevail Posties very own English Civil War rule set. This is the first time I have played this game and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a very 'bloody' set of rules making Melee and close quarter shooting viciously effective. By the end of this game half a dozen units had ceased to exist and a similar number leaders had been captured or killed. 

Setting the Scene

Prince Rupert's Army has been trying to bring the Earl of Essex to battle, thus forcing Essex to retire from the Midlands and giving the Royalist forces in the area some breathing space to fortify and re-supply various garrisons cut off by the Parliamentarian forces. A win over the Parliamentarians would give Rupert more fame and glory if he were to beat Essex. Essex as you can imagine will want to hang onto his stranglehold of the Midlands and its Royalist Garrisons, which are near to collapse. Both sides have come to the conclusion that it is now inevitable that a pitched battle is going to take place and both sides have built up their forces, confident of victory. They have now arrived at Turners Farm near the village of Stow ready to do battle. 

Order of Battle
Royalists c/o Prince Rupert
  Prince Ruperts Lifeguard (Elite)
Foot c/o Sir Jacob Astley
    1st Brigade c/o Sir Gilbert Gerrard
      Sir Edward Strastling - Foot (Trained)
      Sir Charles Vavosour - Foot (Trained)
      Sir Lewis Dyke - Foot (Raw)
    2nd Brigade c/o John Belasyse
      Sir Allan Apsley - Foot (Trained)
      Sir Charles Gerrard - Foot (Veteran)
Horse c/o Lord Henry Wilmot
   1st Brigade c/o Sir JohnByron
     Prince Rupert - Horse (Veteran)
     Prince of Wales - Horse (Veteran)
     Queens - Horse (Veteran)
   2nd Brigade c/o Lord Digby
     Sir Arthur Aston - Horse (Veteran)
     Nicolas Crisp - Horse (Trained)
     Sir Thomas Tyldesley - Horse (Trained)
   3rd Brigade c/o Robert Dormer, Earl of Carnarvern
     Colonel Thomas Howard - Horse (Trained)
     Lord Brougham - Horse (Raw)

Parliamentarian c/o Earl of Essex
  Earl of Essex Lifeguard (Elite)
Foot c/o Sir John Merrick
  1st Brigade c/o James Holborne
     Lord Roboules - Foot (Trained)
     Lord Sayeand Sele - Foot (Trained)
     Sir William Sprongale - Foot (Raw)
  2nd Brigade c/o Harry Birclay LTB
    Southward Auxilliary London Trained Band - Foot (Trained)
    Blue Auxilliary London Trained Band - Foot (Trained)
    Red Auxilliary London Trained Band - Foot (Trained)
Horse c/o Sir Philip Stapleton
  1st Brigade c/o Sir James Ramsey
    Earl of Essex - Horse (Veteran)
    James Mavlerners - Horse (Trained)
    Sir William Constable - Horse (Trained)
  2nd Brigade c/o Sir Arthur Haselrigg
    Sir Arthur Haselrigge (Lobsters) - Horse (Veterans)
    Colonel Richard Norton - Horse (Raw)
    Sir John Maldrum - Horse (Trained)
  John Lilburne - Dragoons (Raw)

The Action
Initial Setup - Parliamentarians on the left with the Royalists on the right. Both wings consisted of large formations of cavalry with infantry and guns in the centre.
The view from the Parliamentarian side. 
The obligatory shot of Postie, our lord, master and in this instance author of the rules
Looking down the Parliamentarian lines. The windmill looked good but it didn't really play any part in the game other than to mark the edge of the battlefield. 
Raw troops and militia exit the town. However they were of such poor quality that they spent most of the game within the town or on the bridge. 
The opening move of the battle. Royalist and Roundhead cavalry square up and charge each other. 
Farmer Turner realises him and his sheep are standing between two belligerent armies. Turner wisely decides to get the flock out of there (sorry, had to be done)
With a mighty crash and thunder of hooves the first cavalry melee commences on the Royalist right wing.  Unfortunately for Prince Rupert's cavalry things go badly and soon the royalist cavalry are streaming back in disorder (one unit is destroyed, and another is Routed)
Meanwhile at the other end of the battlefield the opposing cavalry position themselves for their own clash.  
Parliamentarian cavalry capitalise on their earlier success and pursue the fleeing Royalists. However in so doing they are weakened and a later counter attack by the royalists stabilises the flank, but the cost to both sides is high. 
Parliamentarian Dragoons move slowly onto the battlefield. They finally got to fire in the very last turn of the game, scoring crucial casualties on Prince Rupert's Lifeguards.
The aforementioned lifeguards looked spectacular but never had a chance to play a crucial role in the battle. They moved to 'counter' the positioning of the parliamentarian Dragoons and then shifted to the flank to support my cavalry. 
The Royalist 2nd Brigade of Horse face off against the Royalist 1st brigade. The results were bloody for both sides. 
Royalist and Parliamentarian Cavalry clash and the carnage begins
The Earl of Essex looks on and provides crucial support...from the safety of a position with a clear line of escape!
Prince Rupert meanwhile remained with his Foot troops in the centre of the battlefield
Fran gloats after capturing one of my leaders. Most unsportsmanlike I thought! 
The Dragoons dismount and 'interfere' with Farmer turners sheep!
With both cavalry battles indecisive the infantry now push forward to do battle....although the parliamentarians move forward with more reluctance than the Royalists.
Royalist Artillery thunders away at the Parliamentarian forces. The artillery in this game had very little effect on the outturn of the game.
Royalist infantry advances with élan!
The Veterans of the Royalist 1st Brigade, held in reserve, now launch a charge against the damaged and weakened Parliamentarian cavalry. 
A view across the battlefield near the end of the game. The Foot had a couple of turns exchanging musketry fire.
Almost the last dice roll of the game. The Royalist Veteran Cavalry of Sir Arthur Aston crashing into two Roundhead units, sending one fleeing and destroying another. Up yours dice gods, I have my mojo back!

This was definitely one of the Bloodiest battles I have played with the Rejects. The casualty count of destroyed or removed units included seven regiments of Horse, and even amongst those that remained on the table casualty rates of 25-50% were not uncommon. I actually liked this feature of the rules because it actually feels like something is happening. With some rule sets we have played (like Fire and Fury) mauled units seem to go on and on and on. Cavalry vs Cavalry Melee was especially bloody with lots of dice and lots of casualties and no saving throws! 

The way the game played seemed to fit my basic understanding of how battles of this period went, with cavalry on the wings having all the 'fun' and the infantry not moving much. In the end both sides agreed to move their infantry forwards to give their players 'a bit of a game'. It has to be said that at that stage neither side had had a cavalry breakthrough so the infantry probably advanced at the right time to bring the battle to a conclusion. 

The big story of the game (for me at least) is that for a change I didn't roll to badly. I lost two Cavalry melee but only by the narrowest of margins and in the third melee I managed to hit on seven dice out of a hand of 14 (hitting on a 5 or six). My unit survived the melee - much to my surprise - and wiped out the opposing unit and its commander. This last flourish gained the Royalists the points needed to claim a draw and I think all sides were satisfied with that. It was a very hard fought battle, with highs and lows for both sides, and ultimately neither side could claim to have the upper hand. 

Full marks must go to Postie on running and excellent game with a great set of rules and as always some stunning miniatures. I look forward to playing this period and these rules again in the future.    


  1. A wonderful looking battle! The table is really awesome, and the pictures beautiful!!

  2. Beautiful layout, superb figures, and a most excellent retelling of the battle.

    Well done!

  3. Seriously impressive-looking game!

  4. Great to hear that you had a great game. It's always great to see a table full of English Civil War figures. Well done on getting your 'dice mojo' back!
    Best wishes,

  5. Super duper looking game with great figures and terrain

  6. Beautiful looking game. Liked the frantic shepherd! ;-)

  7. Nice AAR, the minis and table look superb!

  8. It was a good game but we were unlucky with the draw!

  9. Fab - loved this quote

    'The aforementioned lifeguards looked spectacular but never had a chance to play a crucial role in the battle'

  10. Excellent stuff wish There had been room for me as well.

  11. Great report and some excellent pics.
    Thanks, Lee !

  12. Glad the mojo has returned. Good looking game too.

  13. Lovely looking game and its nice to see that your luck did not fail you.

  14. Great AAR and photos (without Ray's nose which is a mercy) Did you have to dice to see whether the dragoons stopped to 'interfere' with Farmer Turner's sheep? Ah dragoons, I bet the trouble all started once they dismounted!


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