Monday, 1 April 2013

Organising a Wars of the Roses Army for A Coat of Steel.

I have to confess that one of my favourite parts of wargaming is all the stuff that goes on in preparation for putting the troops on the table. I love the research and the organising of the forces, to try and achieve an army which balances playability with historical accuracy. One of the things about Perfect Captain's rule sets, is that they are designed with a very specific historical period in mind, so you don't really need to worry about creating an army which will gain you every possible advantage under the rules, and you don't need to worry about coming up against the dreaded 'rules lawyer', who knows every minute detail of the rule set, but nothing about what happened in real life, you just put something resembling the real thing together and you will have a force which has the potential to win battles... depending, of course, on the skill of the general commanding!

Below are my 'Trees of Battle' for a Wars of the Roses Lancastrian army from 1471.  Originally, I was going to attempt to reproduce the army that fought at Tewkesbury, but that meant leaving out Henry Holland, one of my favourite Lancastrian nobles. I came up with the idea of just choosing any of the nobility who fought for the Lancastrian cause during 1471, but that threw up a further problem; no matter where I searched, I just couldn't find the names of anybody who fought alongside Henry Holland at Barnet. This is not entirely surprising, as the Duke of Exeter has a reputation for being a violent, brainless psychopath, so you probably wouldn't voluntarily nail your colours to his mast. A touch of inspiration solved the problem, when I had the idea of including Exeter in the Ward commanded by the young Prince Edward, son of Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. Edward was 17 years old in 1471, and it is probable that not many experienced commanders would want to serve under him. Indeed, the most prominent noble to serve alongside the Prince was John, Lord Wenlock, who was only fighting on the Lancastrian side at Tewkwsbury because he was a long term adherent of the Earl of Warwick and, for some unexplained reason, he had failed to turn up for the Battle of Barnet some weeks earlier. So, there you have it, three 'Billy-No-Mates' put together to form a ward in my Lancastrian army.

As you can see, I have tried to have all my contingents commanded by a named person. In 'A Coat of Steel', a contingent can only be made up of either 3 or 4 'bands' and a company between 6 and 16 'bands', so it can be a bit of a struggle to find sufficient notaries to do the commanding! I have planned to include a fairly large number of Shire Levy archer 'bands', partly to increase the proportion of archers to billmen and partly because you only need two figures to a 'band' for Shire Levies, rather than the three for retinue archers!

I plan to give the young Prince Edward some mercenary pikemen for his contingent, because I reckoned that, as he was so young and had spent most of his life in exile, he probably wouldn't have a base from which to draw a retinue of any significance.

Please click on the images below to get a nice clear view of the 'trees of battle' for my planned Lancastrian army of 1471.

Blue/Red Dots = Billmen/Command Figures
Yellow Dots    = Archers
Green Dots      = Pikemen