Friday, 15 July 2016

ECW Battle of Densham Common

Monday night saw the return of the ECW Black Powder period to the Shed. Amidst the chaos of the my Shed extension build Mark and I managed to play out a very interesting encounter between the Royalists (Mark) and the early war Parliamentarians.

I am sure that I have mentioned this in previous posts that I have agreed not to use the stats for the Parliamentarian New Model Army until next year.

Once again we used the card deck to determine the composition of the sides. Each side drew 21 units and could use a general and a upto four officers.

The Royalists under the command of Hopton fielded

3 Pikes
6 Musketeers
1 Commanded Shotte
1 Dragoon
1 Harquebusiers
1 Currassiers
4 Regular Cavalry
4 Artillery Pieces

Facing them were the Parliamentarians commanded by Waller who had at his disposal

6 Pike
3 Musketeers
1 Commanded Shotte
2 Dragoons
1 Currassier
2 Regular Cavalry
2 Harquebusiers
4 Artillery Pieces

Before I kick off the battle report I should state that the title of this battle is entirely fictitious. The fact that each of us drew Waller and Hopton as our Generals was entirely by luck . (If ECE is not your bag and you are reading this these two Generals were adversaries in the South & West of England.

Both Mark and I were fairly conventional in the disposition of our forces – cavalry on the wings and infantry in the centre.

The two wooded areas  and the village of Densham (top right in picture) were treated as completely impassable to all. The Farm buildings in the centre of the common would count as hard cover as per rules and our house rules on hedges requires a few short points.

1.       Only infantry can benefit from light cover in the hedges
2.       Only Infantry manning the hedge (ie in base to base contact get this benefit
3.       Hedges subtract six inches from a standard move (both infantry and cavalry)
4.       Units may charge against defenders on hedges provided they have sufficient move (ie 6 inches)
5.       Attackers lose the charge bonus when they attack over the hedge

Densham Common - the village is top right, farm to left centre

Royalist Centre

The game kicked off with Mark (Royalists) seizing initiative. His first order was to launch his left wing cavalry against my right centre (the gap between the woods and the farm). This area albeit covered by a hedgerow were to have two light guns and some musketeers in defence. However given my forces had only just marched onto the table they had not taken up defensive positions on the hedge.

Mark rolled a 4 (thus his forces could make three moves) and his cavalry traversed the table and stood waiting on the hedge line. In one stunning move my position was threatened.

He subsequently went onto mover his other cavalry wing and dragoons up on his right hand side.


Parliament Centre with Cavalry Screen

Not a lot happened in the centre

Rebel forces await the horses....

My priority was to defend this small key defensive area – failing to halt his cavalry on the hedge line would threaten my tightly packed pike infested centre. I rolled my orders – failed. The troops just stood there and gawked. Indeed the whole of my army just stood motionless as every order failed to materialise. I was looking at disaster in turn two.

With the initiative passing over to the Kings Forces Mark moved up one brigade in the centre to threaten the farm and the road. Lining his infantry against the hedgerow to defend against any of my cavalry that might move across his left flank. Chance would be a fine thing – they hadn’t moved. He then turned his attention to the cavalry attack. He rolled the dice – a 12 – a blunder. His cavalry were forced to move to the left. They had to shuffle round the woods. I could not believe my luck !

My turn. Thankfully my troops that I expected to get routed moved !. Rather bravely they marched up to the hedge line and poured fire into the blundered cavalry. Fortune favoured these brave rebels as one after the other the Royalist mounted troops took casualties and disorder. This ensured they wouldn’t charge next turn.

The brave rebel gun in the lane

Mean whilst my right-wing cavalry and dragoons also moved from their starting position. Manoeuvring towards the cavalry now shuffling away from the defending infantry. As for my centre and left wing cavalry they still refused to budge. On a final note Waller, my general, managed to persuade a light gun to advance up the farmyard road and pour fire into the white jacketed infantry up the lane. A hail of shot and balls severely damaged the unit.

Incensed by this single gun Marks forces marched up the road to assault the gun. Their orders taking them within three inches and no further. By now the Cavalry who had blundered the previous turn could engage with my Parliamentarian right wing. A strong Royalist Cuirassier unit charged into the waiting Rebel horse. Severe damage was inflicted on both sides with both units shaken but neither side broke in the ensuing draw. The combat dice were favouring Parliament. The rest of the Royalist force formed a defensive line across the centre waiting for the Parliament infantry to advance.

Which they did…a full six inches. Battle in the centre was yet to come in to play. Our Artillery danced with each other to little or no affect. Elsewhere my light gun opened up on the infantry in the lane and with three sixes they decimated the advancing musketeers causing the white coats to run from the field.

My infantry in the hedgerows continued to fire into the cavalry. Again the short range proved telling with more cavalier casualties and disorders a plenty. Finally my right wing cavalry charged into the shaken Cuirassiers – the fight again being close but supporting Dragoons tipped the balance into the favour of Parliament. The Royalist Cavalry Brigade on the left wing were shattered and had to retreat.

The shattered Royalist cavalry 

Cursing his poor fortune Mark threw more troops into the lane – his pikes advancing on the gun that had wrought so much damage on their supporting musketeers. As the pikes closed with gun they drew closing fire of canister and before they even hit the gun they had lost three more casualties and were in a state of disorder. Their charge was ineffective and the gun had at least one more round of pounding fire into the pike block. He was however to get one unit of musketeers through the farm and into the defended Rebels causing such a heavy toll on his horse. These managed to take out one artillery piece before drawing the ire of its friends. This unit to soon disappeared.

Royalist forces attack the rebels

As the Royalist were reeling the next turn finally saw my six Pike Battalions advance in the centre with the left wing horse. My cavalry drew fire from the rightwing of the Royalists and saw little or no action for the rest of the game. However they remained intact and posed a real threat to the diminishing Royalist forces. A
The Parliament Pikes advance

s the Pikes in the centre collided early wins were scored by Hoptons stubborn troops, but it was all too late. The evening was closing in (as were the Parliamentarian forces) and we decided that the outcome was an inevitable Parliamentarian victory

Parliamentarian Cavalry swing across the right wing

A great game and the tide is turning for Parliament...

Until next time


  1. An inauspicious beginning for Parliament, but what a victory for them in the end! That little gun deserves a lot of credit. Great stuff, sir, thanks for sharing.

  2. What a great looking game, a period I haven't played yet, but maybe that should be remedied

  3. A great AAR with super photos as always and a glorious result too! Death to Tyrants, even in 28mm!

  4. Great stuff! Wish I had been there!

  5. Stunning looking game. My 6mm Royalists lament the defeat of their larger cousins!

  6. Great looking minis for a great looking game...Gorgeous!

  7. Lovely pics and a good read, thanks.

  8. Lovely pics and a good read, thanks.