Tuesday 20 February 2024

28mm Greek Army - Part 6 - All Complete

Well its been a long time coming but I can now finally reveal the full Ancient Greek Army in glorious 28mm. This has been very much a labour of love and I think the effort has all been worthwhile.

For the previous post head HERE

I do have one admission though - I thought I had painted up 32 units of Hoplites. It transpires that there are only 31. Which means there are only 992 rank and file Hoplites not the 1000 claimed. However there are at least 8 on the command stand bases so its not too wrong - STOP PRESS....I found the other unit in another box - it just didnt make the photo.

The frontage of the force presented is about 6ft - ranked in 6 ranks so I can easily accommodate this on the table.

There are 8 units of Spartans present -  256 in total - I will of course have to up this to 300 !!

By my reckoning there are 1300 figures on the table....

Most of the shields have come from the transfer sets in the Warlord games boxes however I have used some from other sources including old GW space marine transfers. I keep a big box of transfers for just such an occasion.

And there we have it - the Greek Army is ready to fight. At the moment it will be used in some small scale engagements from the Peloponesian Wars....

So what next - of course it has to be the Persians and the Macedonians. Several of my Greeks will be used as mercenaries on the other side....

Until next time

Sunday 18 February 2024

28mm Ancient Greek Army - part 5 - Skirmishers and light troops


Morning All

Following on from the cavalry I can now deliver the Greek light troops and the skirmish units (peltasts and bows). These are all Victrix plastic and metal Warlord figures. There are a few Foundry cretan bows mixed in.

If unaware Victrix sell reinforcement packs of bows and slingers.

For previous post in this series head HERE

I have yet to decide on the numbers in each unit but at the moment I can field - 34 bases of bows, 34 bases of slingers and 25 bases of light troops. The Bows and slingers are mounted two to a base whereas the light foot are three to a base. This helps to differentiate them from the heavy infantry.

The bows and slingers have all been given mixed colour tunics (browns, whites, blues and sandy colours)

The light troops however are all dressed in white with plain black shields.

In total there are about 200 figures here which represents a ratio of about 1:5 when compared to the 1000 hoplites. Not sure if this is right yet.

Up next the full army takes to the parade ground....which you can now see HERE

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Battle of Lewes - A 28mm Wargame

Good Morning All

One of the things we are particularly proud of in the Shed was our epic attempt to refight all the battles of the Wars of the Roses in chronological order (which we were successful). We have also fought all the major actions of 1066 (Hastings, Fulford Gate and Stamford Bridge) plus a large number of the battles in the English Civil War. This year I wanted to host a pair of games that featured in the second Barons War - namely the battles of Lewes and Evesham.

This post deals with the first of these battles.

Before I start with the background etc I wanted to offer my thanks to the 'Unlucky General' a fellow blogger whom without his help I would have not been able to bring this game to the table so quickly. Putting together orders of battle for any game is an onerous task and I am always mindful that what is written in history books doesn't always convey well to the tabletop.

Once I determined that we were going to refight Lewes I searched the internet for other likeminded wargamers who might well have played out this action. The Unlucky General has a blog dedicated to this battle and I was fortunate to discover he had already completed army lists for both protagonists using our favoured Hail Caesar Rules. Not only had he produced these lists in wonderful pdfs he had also taken the trouble to give units special traits that were in keeping with the battle on the day. 

His hard work delivered an excellent game that culminated in a a nail biting conclusion that had echoes of the Shed infamous refight of Towton.

The Unlucky General's blog can be found HERE 

Lewes Castle, the town and the priory

Looking from the town to Offham Hill, the Barons forces in the distance

Hopefully you can see the distant hill is elavated...


The Battle of Lewes was one of two pitched battles in the second Barons War and was fought at Lewes (Sussex) on May 14th 1264. The batlle was fought between King Henry III of England and the Baron rebel leader, Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leicester.

In essence several of the Barons of England were upset with King Henry's governance of England, notably his expenditure on wasteful wars and his favouritism on giving leading positions of power to foreign Lords. The Barons had been successful in bringing the King to the negotiating table and getting him to sign the Provisions of Oxford, a charter giving more power to the Lords. However once leaving Oxford Henry refused to accept the terms and even had the treaty annulled by the Pope.

This action incensed the Barons and lead by the dynamic Simon de Montfort raised forces against the crown. Throughout the spring of 1264 the two forces marched across the country raising troops before they finally met at Lewes.

The King based at the town of Lewes was roused from his morning slumber to discover that the Rebel army (albeit lesser in number) had massed of Offham hill outside the town.

The Kings Army rapidly marched out of Lewes to face the threat. Apparently Simon de Montford felt it unchivalric to attack whilst the enemy slept or deployed. Without waiting for his Father's forces to deploy Edward Longshanks, the Kings heir and one day to be Edward I charged the Royalist cavalry up the hill and smashed into Simon's left wing. With no quarter given the heavily armoured horse rode down the London militia and put them to rout. The cavalry pursued their hapless victims for the next three hours and for a distance of over 4 miles. They were to play little or no further part in the battle.

With the bulk of his horse chasing peasants over the Sussex downs the King was still left with a more infantry numerical force and gave the call to advance. As his men wearily climbed Offham hill Simon gave the order to attack. After a brutal melee the downward slope had given Simon the advantage and soon the Kings forces were being pushed back into the confines of Lewes. The King was quickly captured by the Rebels barons whilst their men eager for loot poured into the town. The Royalists were pushed back over the bridge, many of whom fell to their deaths in the high water.

By the time Longshanks had returned to the field he had found his Father and Uncle captives of de Montford. With no choice but to heed his Fathers safety and the crown of England Edward turned himself over to the Baronial command.

The Battle of Lewes was fought with a surprising victory for the Rebels....

For more info on the background of this period and the battles I can recommend the Osprey book...

Its a good read...

The Shed Re-enactment

Typically I would publish the orders of battle but given these are not my work nor do I have permission to do so I would urge you to visit the Unlucky General's blog as listed above for these. I will however post a synopsis of the troops available.

Rebel Forces

These were formed into four wards (left, Centre, right, and reserve). Simon de Montford commanded the Reserve Ward. Each ward typically fielded 2 Infantry units, a smaller cavalry unit and a skirmish unit of bows/xbows.

The Rebel Forces drawn up on the hill

The Rebel right wing looking down into Lewes

Royalist Forces

These were formed into three wards. The Left ward commanded by Longshanks held three units of mounted Knight and Squires. the Centre had three Infantry units (including a scots unit lead by a certain Bruce), skirmish troops a small cavalry force. Finally the King was on the Left with three Infantry units, his personal guard of knights plus the royal archers and crossbows.

The Kings Left wing march onto the field

As mentioned above each of these units had certain stats to create the flavour of the period. Of particular note was the ward lead by Longshanks. These mounted troops were impetuous and had to charge each turn if they could. 

My Hospitallers pressed into service as Longshanks Cavalry

The Figures

All the figures are 28mm and I have utilised my Crusaders for the bulk of the troops. Where I ran out of infantry I pressed into service some Normans and Saxons.

Birds Eye view of deployment

The Rules

We used Hail Caesar 2 rules for the game. Excluding set up we fought this to its conclusion in three hours. Tony and I would lead De Montford's rebels whilst Mark and Vince would command the Royalists. Given the relatively small number of units on the field I would recommend that this is no more than a four player game.

The Table

The table was configured like a squat T shape with Lewes, its castle and the priory sited on the lower part of the T. The slopes of the Offham hill were built up using form boards and dominated the main playing area. Terrain on the field was for aesthetic purposes only


We agreed that if we ran out of time (ie three hours) we would objectively decide a winner...

- otherwise the Barons would win if they captured the King, the King could only win if he routed the Rebel forces. A marginal victory could be claimed if the Kings forces killed Simon but failed to destroy their army.

Let Battle Commence !!

Lead by Longshanks the Royalist Cavalry first to deploy on the field

As expected Longshanks Cavalry leapt forward up the hill not quite reaching the massed ranks of the London militia, meanwhile the remainder of the Kings forces slowly marched forward onto the battlefield confronting the hill in front of them.


The Charge begins

 As Longshanks raced forward the Baron left wing commander charged his smaller unit of knights forward to stem the Kings son's advance. It was to no avail as the Kings horse trounced their opponents and routed from the field.

Longshanks drew up to take breath and charged the waiting infantry. Their Long spears confusing the horse as they raced in. A brutal fight with the Infantry just holding their ground. The horse retired only to charge again when their ranks were organised.

A second units of the Kings horse peeled off to try and advance on the Barons centre companies. Simon raced his personal guard into the gap to hold the line. Both units shattered but not defeated.

By now the Barons left wing were marching down the hill to confront the King. The centre now bolstered by Simon's reserve.

Across the Kings line his troops were slowly making their way up the hill, Longshanks horse still hadn't broken the Londoners

Battle lines werte forming and it was evident how outnumbered the Barons forces were.

Again Longshanks charged and again the spears held.....this was not in the script. It was supposed that Longshanks would pursue the spears off the table and disappear for few turns. Instead they were giving him a bloody nose !!

As we approached the two hour mark the Kings forces were ready to push forward across the front...

They charged forward....

The Kings personal guartd crashed into the Rebels right wing...severely mauling the opposing infantry. Tony was having a nightmare with the dice, failing to hit and failing to save.

As the Rebel right wing was in serious danger of collapsing - the centre maul began. Again the numbers favouted the Kings force. Simon de Montford felt that it might all be over

The centre scrum started badly for the Rebels, outnumbered they fought bravely taking advantage of the downhill slope and slowly they started to beat back the attackers....

In the distance Longshanks Cavalry completed their task of defeating the spears only to wipe themselves out in the process. Edward Longshanks almost dying in the combat but he will live to tell the tale... 

As the melee unfolded the hits racked up with the pendulum now starting to swing the Rebels way....

But the battle over on the Rebel right wing was not a happy place for the Baronial cause....The Kings forces marched forward smashing into the remains of Simon's brother ward....

The Royalist centre was collapsing, first the Scots and second a large unit of heavy infantry....

With the chance to destroy the second of de Montford's wings and take the battle the Royal Household guard accompanied by the King surged forward (far distance picture below). A second Baronial infantry collapsed....was it all over?

Earlier in the battle Simons own personal bodyguard had been shaken but not defeated. throughout the battle he had been steadily rallying his guard. Now was the time...joining his mounted troops they crashed into the Kings guard. Simons brother managed to rally a second horse unit to offer support, and with the guile of a rebel the centre ward commander (de Vere Earl of Oxford) - using a follow me order raced a body of troops behind the Kings force cutting off any escape.

It was all down to the throw of a last few dice...both Simon de Montford and the King in the thick of the action.

The result...The Rebels won by a single hit, the break test delivering the coup de grace. The Kings force obliged to retire but with no where to go they had to capitulate. But what of the commanders, The King was captured (ie a slain result) but of de Montford - sadly he fell whilst leading his men to victory !!

It should be added that the Kings army was a spent force, whereas much of the Rebel Centre still held the field.


A cracking game. Thanks to Tony, Mark and Vince for the spirit in which it was played, and thank you to the Unlucky General for his army lists.

Next week - well we are refighting this again !!