Sunday, May 15, 2011

1st St Albans

The GVS members who have Medieval armies decided to get together to refight the opening stoush of the War of the Roses, the first St Albans. I spent the last week or so doing some research and refurbishing my WOTR troops (still not finished!).

I wanted to capture the main features for our refight of St Albans, so I embarked upon some research of the battle. The main features are the cathedral, the market square with the clock tower and the Great Cross, Hollywell Hill and the church of St Peter. I hunted through my terrain collection and came up with a 20mm Cathedral I use for my Arnhem collection, and I decided to build a tower out of foam card, the rest of the buildings come from my and Greg’s collection. The other main pieces we needed on the table were the three main lanes, Sopwell Lane (London Road), Shropshire (or Butts) Lane (as it lead to the archery butts in Tonman ditch)and New lane all leading off Halliwell street and of course Tonman ditch which was represented by a line of hedges.

I made up the army lists making sure I included the main characters of the battle for the Lancastrians The King HenryVI, The Duke of Somerset, the Earl of Northumberland, and Lord Clifford, and for the Yorkist’s The Duke of York, and Earls of Warwick and Salisbury.
After the set up of the tables and the troops which took some time (two hours of chatting) we then went to lunch before a dice was rolled!
Greg commanded the Lancastrians and Bruce and myself the Yorkist’s, basically Greg’s troops defended each of the lanes with a unit of men at arms or billmen behind hasty barriers (needing sixes to hit them)and his Archers defending Tonman ditch hedges(also requiring sixes to hit). The opening three turns began with the massed archery of the Yorkist’s, cutting down large numbers of Lancastrian archers, then the Yorkist billmen advanced, finally contact was made, the Yorkist bill block on Sopwell lane had a hard fight with the Lancastrian Men at arms for three turns and finally fell back after failing a morale test, the Yorkist billmen attacked up Shropshire lane fighting for three turns also before fleeing whilst being chased by Lancastrian Men at Arms, this cause four other units around it also to flee! The Yorkist billmen attacking along New lane should of had the better of the shire bill but fled also but were all cut down buy the Lancastrians.

At this stage I thought that the Yorkist cause was lost so I threw the Duke of Yorks Men at Arms with himself leading along with the Earl of Warwick and the Army standard bearer against the Lancastrian Men at Arms holding Sopwell lane. They forced their way through and chasing the Lancastrians up the hill. The Lancastrian Men at Arms on Shropshire lane decided to charge the Yorkist archers who flee leaving the men at arms at close range to another unit of Yorkist archers who promptly cause 5 casualties in one turn!

Last turn, the Lancastrian Men at arms charge the archers again losing another three in the charge leaving only three men and Lord Clifford for the ensuing combat, no archers are killed and the archers manage to kill another Man at arms, Lord Clifford promptly surrenders surrounded by 30 archers! In the streets the Lancastrian Men at Arms rally and charge the Yorkist’s plodding up Halliwell hill, Somerset challenges the Duke of York to single combat both fail to do each other damage, the Yorkist Men at arms do murder though and the Lancastrians again flee, and are all cut down including Somerset, only The King HenryVI, and the Earl of Northumberland remain both surrender.

The game was great fun, we didn’t change the historical outcome but it was a near run thing, this game with a bit of tweaking and some more buildings it would make a great demo game I think. I think it has been at least two years since we had a WOTR game so it was time! I do think plate armour in WAB should be at least a three plus save, the archers done great damage on these heavily armed men who only had a five plus save.



  1. What a great looking game!! A few comments if I may:
    Good to see the Clock Tower represented on the table. Of course in 1455 it did not have a clock in it (it was actually a curfew bell tower) and the bell (which is still there!) was sounded to announce the Torkist attack.
    The tower is sited a bit too far north on your table and the Eleanor Cross (I assume that's what you mean by Gret Cross) was between it and the road just north of the Abbey.
    St Peter's Church is roughly where you have placed what I think is a walled orchard?
    It is Holywell Hill and Holywell Street (there was a "holy well" at the foot of the hill).
    The Tonman Ditch (as you quite rightly say was used for archery practice) is actually some distance from St Peter's Street (about 250m).
    Did you think about having Warwick break through the buildings on St Peter's Street as he did in the actual battle?

    All these are of course minor points and I'm sure you had a great time playing it - well done! Also good to see that the Yorkists won in your game. Did you have an inn (the Castle Inn) near where he was killed?

  2. Wow!!! Very impressive!! Both terrain and figures are beautiful!

  3. Very nice looking set up and figures.


  4. Wonderfull set up!

    It's always great to see a game set up with such beautifully put together scenery etc.


  5. Great looking game, awesome figures and terrain, looks like a lot of fun.

  6. Wow - that is indeed one good looking game. Excellent pics and report, Matt - much enjoyed.


  7. Very impressive scenery and models mate! Good to see all that research and prep pay off.

  8. Great photos and report Matt. Looks like you had a great time withh fantastic looking figures,table and terrain.

  9. Hey Matt ,
    Great looking game shame I was not there. Victor has a nice little collection of these boys as maybe we could have a game up here.