Friday, October 25, 2019

Saint Crispins day

On a cool misty autumn day 604 years ago a small English army knelt in prayer on Saint Crispin's day, awaiting the outcome of the heralds parley.
 For several weeks the English army had been on the move, harassed by the French, now it was time for a stand near the village of Azincourt. The French western army had finally caught up with them. 
Soon violent battle would begin and flower of French Nobility would be laying dead upon the plowed fields. One of the greatest victories of the 100 years war would be over, and a period of English dominance would begin. 

Words made famous by Shakespeare's play Henry V. 

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin's day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

I hope very soon to make a pilgrimage to the new museum at Azincourt. I was lucky enough to have visited London tower for the 600th anniversary and seen the grand Perry display, then attended Henry V at the Barbican. 

The image above I use on my blog header and sums up that early morning.


Battle of Neville's Cross 1346

This week we hosted two Australians at L'Hotel de Hercé, "Baron" Ricson and Doc Smith, we had quite a full tour schedule but did put aside a wargames day in the petite Salon.

The good Baron wanted to play a medieval game based on his Scottish heritage and Wednesday was the anniversary of the battle of Neville's Cross. I have quite a large collection of late 13th and early 14th century Scot and English armies, with a wide range of manufacturers miniatures in the collection, primarily Claymore miniatures, with a mix of Old glory, in the Scot army and Claymore, old glory, Crusader, Foundry, Mirliton, Anteluvian, and fireforge in the English army. We used Advanced Impetus rules, I find they work very well especially if you like a result in under three hours of game play, both players were relatively inexperienced playing the rules but quickly picked them up.

We set up historically, with the English closest to the castle and city, and the scots at the top of the valley on a small ridge line. The English won the opening roll and advanced, the opening round of archery from them was quite devesating, causing casualties along the Scot skirmish and archery line. The infantry line advanced twice, passing the woods on the left flank, the Scots then launched set ambushes of light javelin and highlanders. In the second round the English continued to advance and in this round the English longbow drove back the scots to their own lines, the return fire from the scots lights done more damage removing a whole base. Turn three the English won initiate again, moving the line forward and manoeuvring around the woods in the centre, and charging the Scot lights in the woods, who fell back. Turn four the scots won initiate, the archery doing very little damage, so decide to advance off the hill and attack the disordered English line, some success but not enough, the English the new elected to engage the scots, who now were disordered on thier right, so not in schiltron, and great murder was done, only the kings base did not recoil. Turn five seen the English left flank crumble under the scotish onslaught and things were looking up, but the resulting combat on the English right seen King David captured and the whole Scottish army leave the feild as a result.