|The Pretender (Extended)
Part 2 - The Battle of Lichfield
MAX - The Earl of Warwick (Expert) 330 points + Lord Grey (Cowardly) 56 points
CLIVE - The Duke of Buckingham (Fair) 430 points & Ably assisted by Paul (Lord Taylor).
Max's army were classed as 'Exhausted' after having forced marched in an attempt to put distance between his forces and
those of the Lancastrians. All Max's units therefore had their VB reduced by one.
As I was recovering from knee surgery and wasn't able to attend nor take any pics I shall leave post game analysis to the
main protagonists, Clive and Max....
The Duke of Buckingham (Clive)
"Lord Taylor surveyed the field before him. What a godforsaken hole the West Midlands are he though, full of bloody Brummies with their
incomprehensible accent (No East Midlands bias here). The trees before him appeared to be crawling with the cowardly Lord Grey's archers.
The earthworks extend to the right, but no banners of Warwick, where the hell is he? No matter, to work. A wave of the hand, a horn sounds.
The front rank of archers advance through the marshy ground. To the left of his line the oxen strain on their braces to pull the 'Mighty Mallard'
within killing range. To the right his billmen advance in column to engage the enemy bowmen and begin their murderous trade.
The marsh was making the progress slow, but the miserable specimens of Lord Grey that lurked ahead could not hit a barn door. The sound of
pounding hooves heralds the arrival of the Duke of Buckingham. He spies the motley crew that calls itself the enemy, and their open flank that
presents itself. He decides not to waste his knights on such scum and sends his small band of archers ahead of him to do the killing for him. If
this is all the Lord Warwick has to stand in his way this will be over by lunchtime. Plenty of time to enjoy the fleshpots of Lichfield before duffing
up the false King.
Lord Taylor receives a tug on his sleeve. A young squire anxiously points to the left. From behind the wood the banners of Warwick appear. More
horse flesh on the side of the Yorkists has never been seen before. Calmly Lord Taylor swings the Mighty Mallard towards the new threat along
with the archers who were still trudging heavily through the marshy ground. (When I say calmly, that is what the history books will say written by
the victors, the truth was closer to blind panic).
A smile stretched over the face of Warwick. He had them by god. Committed to the front, the enemy mired in the marsh, he would hit them in the
flank and the rebellion would be over. Nothing could go wrong.
The Mighty Mallard finally was brought to bear. At extreme range the bombard belched fire and with shock to everyone, a hit! A swathe is cut
through the leading group of Warwick's knights. The ensuing disorder slows up the advance, giving time to Buckingham to bring round his
mounted nobles and Lord Taylor to swing his line to face the threat. This was the only time the bombard played any role in the battle, but talk
about battle winning moments ...
Buckingham had left his archers behind with Taylor's billmen to keep Grey's archers busy. Neither side really prepared to commit with the
attention of their respective lords elsewhere.
Now as Warwicks Nobles closed with the enemy a hailstorm of arrows met them and another group of Yorkist knights were lost. Lord Taylor sent
his dismounted nobles into the fray. A couple of lucky dice rolls and more of Warwick's men fall to their doom. This allows Buckingham to make
his move and he charges headlong towards the flag of Warwick. In the first encounter Buckingham rolls a 6 to save (oops). But the Lancastrian
priests have obviously been up all night on their knees. A 5 on two dice to save the life of Buckingham and one casualty against 2 for Warwick
allows Buckingham to keep the upper hand.
Now both sides commit all their nobles and in the ensuing confusion a cry goes up Warwick is dead Warwick is dead. Max's turn to roll a saving
6, but this time the loss of a commander calculation does not go his way. In a brief cinematic freeze time moment we see a Lancastrian warrior,
for artistic purposes let's say Buckingham himself, hold aloft the head of Warwick ripped from the torso. The rest of the Yorkist nobles and
billmen fleeing for their lives. Grey and his archers melting back into the trees as if they were never there. Lord Taylor and Buckingham grasp
each other amongst the carnage. A brief survey of the battlefield reveals no significant losses to the true cause.
And now their gaze moves South, it is the turn of the false King to suffer the same fate.
Fade to image of King Kev receiving the news of Warwick's demise and his look of horror and confusion."
The (Late) Earl of Warwick (Max)
"My Lord King, a page arrives at haste from our noble friend Warwick's army. Will you see him?"
The man almost fell from his horse, his trews flecked white with the horses sweat. He looked as though he had shed his armour at the run, odd
pieces of soaked plate and mail hung loosely from his doublet.
Gulping the flagon of ale, coughing in spasm as he tried to get the words out, he recanted his tale.
Lord Warwick had drawn his foe into the woods around Lichfield, drawing the larger force into close territory. Lord Grey was ensconced behind
fortifications along the thick woodland, designed to make the force look stronger. In fact he had dragged the local shire men, their bows barely
strung, into the trees.
Warwick was hidden behind the wood, his retinue bill and bow remaining mounted offering the opportunity to flee or fight as needed.
The Lancastrian vanguard gathered afront Grey's host, to the left of the field. A strong, mounted flanking force awaited their advance, further to
the town of Lichfield. To reach Gray, the force would need to force itself through the marsh, disrupting their advance. And, hoped Warwick,
miring them for long enough to act.
Once the Lancastrian horse was committed on the flank and the forces of Lord Taylor amidst the marsh, Warwick sensed an opportunity to inflict
a serious reverse on the foe.
Advancing in two columns, leaving his household bow behind (completely by accident) he drove hard towards the now exposed flank of the
Lancastrians, their men stuck deep in the marsh.
All went well until the dastardly Dutchmen turned their great cannon and hit the leading knights as they eased through the close terrain by the
wood. This delay was enough to allow the dastardly Lancastrian horse to wheel around the back of the army to face Warwick.
It remained close and Warwick felt the advantage was his but continual failures to restore discipline and then the attack by the weaker nobles
under Lord Taylor, proved successful. Taylors's bow picked at the stalled force and soon the attack mired in a vicious fight.
In this, Warwick fell, cleaved by battleaxe from a Lancastrian noble.
The survivors of Warwicks force were: 1 knight (mounted), 2 Retinue Bill and 4 Retinue Bow, all of which were mounted.
Gray buggered off asap with 8 remaining shire bow and his own retinue bill.
Sadly my aggression and a gamble led to Warwick's untimely demise."
With the Earl of Warwick now dead, Lord Grey managed to salvage 113 pts from the debacle and retreated the mandatory two
areas away, choosing to move to CHESTER.
The map below shows the strategic situation immediately after the battle.