Sunday, February 26, 2006

Game Report: War of the Roses Campaign, Game 3

The opening phase of the game: Percy's retinue have crashed into Herbert's forces and are locked in a battle to the death (1). Meanwhile, Percy's remaining billmen advance to join the attack (2), but come under fire from Edward's cannon (3) and suffer heavy attrition, delaying them. Edward's cannon later swings round to pummel the Lancastrian forces advancing in the centre (dashed line), while Warwick's knights (4) get ready to smash into the Lancastrian right flank.

(more pictures can be seen here)

We all knew that the final battle of each year would be no holds barred and all stops pulled, since the troops are levied anew the next campaign year. Battle 3 lived up to expectations in a suitably bloody manner.

The forces arrayed with York as the defender, (from left to right) Richard Earl of Warwick, Edward IV, and Herbert Earl of Pembroke: Lancaster as attacker, (from their left to right) Percy Earl of Northumberland, Queen Margeret, and Henry Duke of Somerset.

Percy launched a bold attack on the Lancastrian left, leading with his retinue of knights (see 1, in the picture above). The knights charged into Herbert's forces, much depleted from the previous two battles, and in a series of combats destroyed several of Herbert's weakened units before a climactic clash with the remnants of Herbert's own retinue (the famous victors of Herbert's Hill). By this time, Edward's own retinue had also moved to join the combat: the depleted mounted retinue died early on, but the archers fared better in the rolling scrum. In a fittingly martial end, both Herbert and Percy's retinues killed each other to the last man.

Meanwhile, an aggressive advance by Warwick on the Yorkist left clashed with a similar advance by Somerset. Somerset, his forces depleted from previous battles, was gradually rolled up by the advancing Yorkist forces, but fought on to the last man in a touching display of loyalty to his sister. Somerset's sacrifice sheltered Margeret's right flank for a few crucial turns, and held back the main line of Warwick's forces, but eventually Warwick's victorious knights maneuvered themselves into a position flanking Margeret's exposed line (see 4 above).

In the centre, Edward's forces first blasted away to the right at Percy's troops, pushing back and delaying the advance of two of Percy's billmen units moving to support the engaged retinue (see 2 above), leaving the knights to fend for themselves as described above. Eventually, cannon fire, handgunners and archers destroyed one unit entirely (3), and the other was pushed back by Edward's last reserve of intact billmen. The line of archers and artillery then swung left to first blast at Margeret's advancing forces in the centre (3), and then further left at the forces turning to face Warwick's flank attack.

At the endgame, with Warwick's forces bearing down on the Lancastrian right, and Percy's last fighting unit on the left surrounded by Edward's fresh reserve of billmen, the Lancastrians weathered one breakpoint by barely surviving Warwick's attack, but succumbed when the last of Percy's men fell in battle in the melee with Edward's last reserve. The battle was truly hard fought to the bitter end: Somerset was left with no soldiers, and Percy and Herbert left with single element units.


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