Wednesday 23 March 2016

The Battle of Ludford Bridge 1459

This was a War of the Roses Battle that actually never happened...until now. After the battle of Blore Heath, the Yorkist factions regrouped at Ludford bridge near the town of Ludlow. They soon encountered a much larger enemy army led by Henry VI. The two sides took up positions either side of the Teme river and prepared to do battle the following day. However over night there were significant Yorkist desertions - most notable of which was Andrew Trollope captain of the Calais troops who was offered the Kings Pardon if he switched sides - which prompted a full scale retreat the next morning. Following this 'defeat' Richard returned to Ireland and the earl of Salisbury fled to Calais.

Our game assumed that Trollope's defection was as yet undecided and that Richard had therefore elected to fight rather than flee. Ray has already posted his review of the game here and its worth checking out for a different perspective on the same action.

Order of Battle
     Richard Duke of York (Rich)
       1.Dismounted Men at Arms
       2.Retinue Billmen
       3.Retinue Billmen
       4.Shire Billmen
       5.Retinue Archers
       6.Light gun
   Richard Earl of Warwick (Me)
       7.Dismounted Men at Arms
       8.German Pikemen
       9.Shire Billmen
       10.Retinue Archers
       11.Light Gun
   Richard Earl of Salisbury (Ray)
      12.Mounted Men at Arms
      13.Retinue Billmen
      14.Shire Billmen
      15.Shire Archers
       16.German Handgunners
     17.Light Gun

   HenryVI (John)
      1.Dismounted Men at Arms
      2.Retinue Billmen
      3.Retinue Billmen
      4.Shire Billmen
      5.Retinue Archers
   Duke of Somerset (Ian)
      6.Dismounted Men at Arms
      7.Retinue Billmen
      8.Shire Billmen
      9.Retinue Archers
      10.Light Gun
   Earl of Wiltshire (Surjit)
      11.Mounted Men at Arms
      12.Retinue Billmen
      13.Shire Billmen
      14.Shire Archers
      15.French Crossbowmen
      16.Light Gun
   Sir Andrew Trollope - Turncoat (Postie/Surjit)
      A.Men at Arms
      B.Shire Billmen
      C.Retinue Archers

The Action
The Lancastrians are Surjit, John and Ian while the Yorkists are Ray, Richard and myself (postie is standing in my position)

A closer view of the Lancastrian army

...and across the river the Yorkists.

Meanwhile Trollopes Calais troops appear indecisive.

Richard Duke of York gives a rousing eave of battle speech.

Richard decides to get his dismounted men-at-arms ready to try and force the bridge

Both side surge forwards towards the river. The Yorkists left flank is protected by the bend of the river and by a marsh,.

Yorkist troops reach the river and prepare to fight their way across. It will take two turns to wade across. 

All around the bridge Yorkist troops push forwards eager to do battle with the Lancastrians

Meanwhile the Duke of Somersets troops (commanded by Ian) seem reluctant to join in. Eventually they do move forward but maybe this has given the Earl of Salisburys troops (under Ray) a chance to cross the river?

Several units clash in hand to hand fighting while waist deep in water but Lancastrian archery reduces some units to ragged bands.
  Dammit! Sir Andrew Trollope turns for the Lancastrian's and his archers unleash a hail of arrows on my Yorkist troops on the left flank. 

Luckily the bend of the river and the marsh means my flank is safe from direct assault but only if I stay my side of the river. Meanwhile the archers on the hill exact a heavy toll on my troops down below them. 

Richards Men-at-Arms fight hard to cross that bridge but without the direct support of their commander (by attaching him to the unit) they can't win the melee with a formed unit on the other side. The Yorkist unit is forced back. 

Despite a hail of arrows from two Lancastrian units my men-at-arms make it across the river. In a gamble I decide to attach my leader, the earl of Warwick in anticipation of melee the next round. 

Meanwhile at the other end of the battle Ray's cannon tries to open fire on the Lancastrians but instead blows up killing all the crew! Its not our day. 

Action all along the River Teme as the Yorkists try to force their way across.

With casualties mounting, some units utterly destroyer and now the left outflanked by the turncoat Trollope, our leader,  Richard Duke of York decides enough is enough and concedes victory to the Lancastrians. 

Well that was a disappointing game. Both sides were equally matched across the river so this was going to be a test of nerve and luck right up to the point when the Calais troops threw in their lot with the Lancastrians. Even if we had managed to force our way across the river my troops in particular would have been left badly outnumbered and outflanked. In short there was a good reason why this battle never took place historically and forcing us to play the scenario just showed that Richard made the right call back in 1459. With the loyalty of key units like those under Trollope in the balance this was just too risky a battle to undertake. 

My first loss of the year but I am consoling myself by saying this was an unwinnable scenario from the outset. Maybe I'll have better luck (and a better scenario) next time. 


  1. Not a victory but a spectacular game with awesome armies...great!

  2. Postie does pick 'em! We were never gonna win the game, but we gave it our best shot!

  3. Really nice looking game despite the result. cheers

  4. Congratulations on being featured in the latest issue of Miniature Wargames with BattleGames.

    Very well deserved.


    1. I'm tickled pink by the honour...and one of my pictures has been used in this years Salute Guide. Well chuffed!


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