Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Siege of Southchester


On Monday night we tried something very ambitious in the Shed - I decided we would try and play a siege game using the latest supplement for Pike & Shotte. I say ambitious because the Parliamentarians not only had to scale a huge city wall but also fend off a Royalist relief force.

I had anticipated six players and according set out the sides with three commands on each. Sadly one player dropped out at the last minute so yours truly ended up commanding both an assault force and the Parliamentarians intent on holding up the relief force. I was knackered by the end of the evening.


But what to call this battle, well sometime ago we fought a Very British Civil Wargame in the ficticious city of Southchester and it seemed apt to revisit this place for a battle nearly 400 years ago in the first British Civil War - of course I am talking about the English Civil War

If you interested in our VBCW game fought almost three years ago it can be found here...




The small walled city of Southchester lies on the Essex side of the River Thames. Its about 40 miles from London.


Prior to the War this estuary town was famous for its local eel fishing, a rather beautiful 14th century church and the near perfect Norman Keep.



The defenders begin to plan their strategy






The City only recently declared itself for the Crown. Parliament has quite rightly decided that this 'irritant' must be removed from their dominance of London and home counties. Raising troops loyal to the Parliamentary cause Sir William Guthrie has marched swiftly to the town and has decided an all out assault would be wiser than starving the locals out. 

His local sappers have advised him that the masonry of the walls has fallen into disrepair and that his sizeable artillery train should have no worries battering down the towns defences.

Guthrie knows that he has to move quickly to suppress this insurrection against government rule as forces loyal to the king are approaching rapidly.




View from the table - the Royalist relief force comes on from the bottom of the picture

Our game starts on a damp friday morning - the Parliamentary forces are assembled for the assault. The large siege guns have been battering the walls for the past two days and a breach is expected soon. Scaling ladders have been distributed across the assault troops   

The defenders are on the ramparts are waiting...


I haven't posted up orders of battle but suffice to say the attackers outnumbered the defenders about two to one. The defenders could only call on light artillery (postioned in all the towers bar one whilst the Rebel forces had in the region of nine medium and heavy pieces. 



We also introduced a new command unit to both side - Rabble Rousers


These religeous zealots can be used as command stands to rally troops in much the same way as an officer. They have a command rating of 7+ and can move 12" (18" if mounted). They cannot be targetted (no point in having god against you)




The Siege guns begin to belch their deadly load...one of three large batteries. The Attackers strategy was simple create some breaches and charge....




Its all very quiet on the right flank


The Attackers wait until the guns have done their deadly job....




We didn't have to wait long as the first curtain wall gave way....




The attackers pour forwards dragging their scaling ladders just in case



By now the first of the Royalist relief force had arrived under Brigadier Rolfe....



Soon followed by cavalry and supporting dragoons - the river posing now trouble to his trotters



It was time for the Parliamentarian cavalry to deploy to prevent the Royalist force from reaching the castle walls



A second breach soon followed the first - cry havoc and all that !



Under heavy fire the middle battalia of attackers forced their way up onto the breach



A lone unit of musketeers from the defenders sallied forth to try and prevent the gap from being overrun



The attackers continued to advance along the city walls



The chaos was pretty impressive - the game was living up to expectations



With the attackers so far advanced John had to use a stool to reach his advancing troops




The assault on the right flank begins - scaling ladders pushed up against the wall and a furious melee begins



More troops advance to support the right wing assault



The centre attack is losing steam and the battalia finally breaks under weight of fire



By now the left wing assault has begun - rather than force the walls I used the musketeers with their firepower to sweep the walls of its defenders




The left wing pike advance towards the now destroyed gate



Over on the right wing the Parliamentarian vavalry is coming off worse ion a firefight with the Royalist relief column  - but they are doing their job and stalling the advance. Can the city fall berfore this wing crumbles



More volleys from the attacking musketeers are reaping terrible wounds on the defenders despite the shelter of the stone walls



With the centre battalia now hiding in the fields its up to the right and left wings of the attack to press home


The gun batteries are now focussing their attention on the defenders tower mounted light guns


The breech on the left is plugged with a defending pike unit...


Reinforcements are rushed to wall expecting an imminent attack



The gates become a focus for defence



The Right Rebel wing is now over the wall and the troops are now running amok in the city



All that stands in front of them is large unit of clubmen - this is swiflty routed






Over on the Rebel Left I throw in a Pike Unit through the gate - routing the defending unit.His supports have a different view....



A frantic melee continue outside the castle walls - the relief column just cant get through



The Attacking pike gets crunched - big time and forced back from where he came





The Rebels continue to mop up along the Wall...its looking desparate for the Royalist supporters




A final volley from the left wing musketeers clears the ramparts of defenders allowing them to throw up their ladders and reach the parapets in safety...



Parliamentarian Pikes march towards the last gate intent on haring the loot and glory that awaits inside the city



The rebels now pour en masse into the city forcing the commander to surrender




A victory for the Parliament  but at what cost - casualties were horrendous. Virtually every unit had succumbed in some fashion.

A cracking game that lasted about 3 hours -

We'll visit the siege games again at some point in the future - thanks to all those that took part

12 comments:

  1. Wow, spectacular walls, figures and photos...superb!

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  2. Enjoyed thanks - I picked up my book yesterday, there are a few nice small battles amongst the scenarios and the campaign game looks interesting.

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  3. Cracking stuff! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Cool, what rules did you use for the fortificacions?
    I use normal building rules for XVIII forts

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  5. Quite the epic battle, worthy of the Shed!

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  6. @Francesc We used the siege rules in the new ECW BP supplement from Warlord games . I have to say that that the game was just epic and aesthetically luxurious in every way .....

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  7. Great game very hard to get a siege battle to work on this scale so welll done😀

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  8. Great looking game and figures, the rules covering sieges were picked up at salute and we have some walls so we'll have to have a go, it won't be as epic as this though!
    Best Iain

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  9. Is this an extended board. It looks bigger than usual?

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