Wars of the Roses
Part 3 The Battle of Milford Haven
The Lancastrian forces, much depleted after a truly woeful performance at the Battle of Coventry hastened to Milford Haven with the intention of
King Henry and Margaret of Anjou leaving for exile in France.
King Edward's army, after forced marches and a victorious battle, was much exhausted and in dire need of rest. However, after affording his
men only a brief interlude, the King decided upon an aggressive pursuit of the hapless Lancastrians.
The march of the Lancastrians was slow but sure, possibly in the belief that the Yorkist army was in no position to follow at speed. They were
much surprised to learn when they arrived at Milford Haven that King Edward's forces had performed several forced marches in an effort to
catch King Henry and end the conflict for once and for all.
The ships captains assembled at the port of Milford took fright at the reports of such a large army amassing and sailed without their intended
persons and hence abandoned Henry and Margaret.
Reserved to fight on, the Lancastrian army turned like a vile and snarling beast to snap at its pursuers. The Lancastrian leadership were
encouraged however when desperate calls to arms to their cause were well received by the Welshmen who flocked in some number to their
banners. Still the Lancastrian army (242 pts) was barely half the size of that of the Yorkist host (393 pts), but nevertheless formed into battle
formation when the massed banners and trumpets announced the arrival of King Edward's army.
The Lancastrians protected their left flank with some small copses with two small rises to their front. The outnumbered Lancastrians deployed
their Retinue archers in a line with dismounted nobles and billmen to the rear.
Lord Grey (Cowardly) commanded the left with a larger command than in the two previous games. King Edward commanded the main body on
Though the previous games had been clear victories the Lancastrians had managed to extricate themselves before a general rout had ensued. I
was determined that this time they wouldn't get away. Previously I had opted for a longbow heavy force of around six to one ratio of bows to
bills. This time I went for 50:50 hoping to engage the enemy in close combat preventing him from drawing off. With this in mind I used the cover
provided by a low rise to advance Lord Grey's nobles and retinue billmen in a large unit, flanked by a similar sized large unit composed of Shire
billmen. These were flanked on the left by two units of bows with Currours in reserve, hoping to turn a flank.
In the centre/right King Edward's longbowmen to the fore, with billmen to the rear pushed forward to bowshot range, King Edward and his
mounted retinue in reserve.
The Lancastrians came on with some style, and the early exchanges of arrows indeed went well for them. However, they soon fell foul of the
Lancastian archers from the Earl of Northumberland's retinue reached the rise but the Yorkist nobles and bills were almost upon them.
After a short fight the Lancastrian archers were routed and Grey's billmen poured over the rise. Point blank fire from Lord Hungerford's
Lancastrian archers on opportunity fire caused fearful casualties on the Yorkist Shire archers but deployed in large units the impetus of the
advance was maintained.
The Lancastrian archers facing King Edward were now in dire straits. Once they were weakened I advanced the main Yorkist line, often double
moving to bring them to short range, and to get my billmen within striking distance.
Lord Grey pounced on the Duke of Exeter's retinue billmen and routed them whilst the Currours outlflanked the Lancastrian line and made a bee
line for the camp.
With the Shire levy billmen engaging Lord Hungerford's archers the Lancastrian nobles turned to engage Lord Grey.
Its was all too little too late as Lord Hungerford's archers were routed and King Edward himself launched a furious charge at the head of his
mounted retinue into the Lancastrian archers to his front easily routing them.
Breakpoint reached, the Lancastrian army routed from the field. The so-called King Henry was found wandering dishevelled amongst the camp
talking to an old shoe, and was placed under escort.
Three battles won, two with little loss, and the usurping king under 'protection'. A stunningly successful campaign.
The campaign has now been extended to include two more active players and in future all six of our gaming group will be taking part in the
on-table battles. We have had to tweak and extend the system, and have added a bit more chrome and period flavour to suit our tastes.
Be ready to join the all the fun and action as 'The Pretender' (Extended)
kicks off after the Easter break.