Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Battle (of Cley Fields)

The 1st Company of  Foote, under the command of Sir Stephen Gilbert (currently led by Lieutanant Wesley Winthorpe) rushed to set up defensive positions along the dry stone walls near Cley`s South Field Farm. The excited anticipation for the fast approaching battle caused the men to chatter and spark as adrenalin and nervous energy coursed through the veins of each man present.

Soon, the chorus of voices fell silent, as each prayed to his God for victory and personal safety throughout the coming endeavours.

The sergeants licked their lips and prepared their rnen as best they could....  for the enemy they faced was not an undisciplined rabble. This would not be like quelling unruley street rabble or policing the streets of Norwich at times of civil unrest; they were facing battle hardened Orc and Hobgoblin warriors - fat from the spoils of their recent raiding antics... who knew far more about the art of war than any of the assembled soldiers could possibly comprehend at this stage in their training. This would be a hard testing time for the 1st Company of Sir Stephen`s 1st Regiment of Foote.

The Cannon has a commanding view of the open ground between the village and the woodlands beyond.... good! The Orcs and Hobs had delayed their attack long enough for the soldiers to set up an adequate line of defense along the walls.

With a howl of embittered hatred, the enemy began their long charge towards the soldiers.

The cannon roars loudly, and the battle is underway. Muskets take aim... and fire a few well aimed volleys into the fast approaching enemy.

A few hobgoblins fall screaming to the ground, but they rush forward unperturbed... a small unit of Hobs on the far let flank let fly a few volleys of arrows in return, and a couple of soldiers fall gurgling to the ground... clutching wicked barbed shafts which protrude from their bodies with deadly fatality.

With  a snarl of haterd, the Hobgoblins reach the wall, and close combat ensues. Behind this first wave - a second line of Orcs waits impatiently to get to grips with their loathed enemy.

The fight is firece and terrible - neither side gaining a clear advantage over the other. The dry stone wall proves difficult for the Hobs to cross, and cold steel and raw courage from the soldiers proves a stiff challenge even for this veteran horde to overcome.

The small reserve line of soldiers is thrown into the fight to stiffen their resolve.

Eventually, the casualty toll begins to tell on the Hobs, and (after failing a morale check to see whether they can sustain the attack) eventually they are forced to retire some paces from the wall , but still in fairly good order.

The dead litter the ground; and the wounded on both side of the wall lay prone and bleeding, many are groaning upon the blood soaked grass.

The Orcs grip their weapons firmly and with a huge battle roar - they charge the soldiers still valiantly defending the walls.

(In a decisive morale check, the soldiers roll a Perfect success.. their courage and resolve stiffened by their leaders... while the Orcs roll a Fail and find themselves retiring from the wall  just as the Hobs had done only minutes earlier).

A ragged cheer goes up from the soldiers defending the wall.

The cannon is rolled up to the wall, and prepares to fire at the enemy - at short range.

The result of the ensuing cannon fire has a devistating affect on the Hobs....

.. and they turn and rout back to the woods.

The Orcs reluctantly retire, hard on the heels of their lesser hearted cousins.

From the edge of the trees, a large, very nasty looking Hobgoblin cheiftain roars a defiant curse upon the heads of the soldiers still defending the village... and then he vanishes into the undergrowth like a ghost.

The evening fades and turns to night.... victory falls to the 1st Company of 1st Regiment of the Foote.

Pre Battle

Lieutenant Wesley Winthorpe leads an untried company of the 1st Foote through the small village of Cley, situated on the flat salt marsh coastland of East Anglia. His men are badly strung out; a sure sign of the Lieutenant`s inexperience.

Winthorpe stands casually loading his pipe and watches him men file past. A drummer keeps staccato beat on his drum, and in perfect time with the steady stomp of many unison marching feet.

A peaceful, sleepy little village.

Ominously awakened by the intrusion of so many armed and armoured soldiers

The rattle of wheels as the cannon rolls past... wakes a baby where she lies sleeping in her cot, and the dimpsy early evening calm is broken by a flock of startled birds taking sudden flight.

An ambush now would catch Lieutenant Winthorpe`s fresh Company totally unprepared to put up any semblance of a prepared fight.

(I make a few pre-game dice checks to see whether these raw troops will be caught strung out by their enemy; waiting in the woodlands ahead)

Neither sides... for now... seems aware of the imminent presence of the other.

Romance blooms between the smartly uniformed drummer and Ma Boyle, as they chance upon one another on the road. Ma fiddles with her her bucket carrying rod...blushing slightly at this hansome man`s confident advances.

Yet now, the marauding Hobgoblins and fierce Dwimlin gathering among the trees, are made aware an armed and dangerous enemy is very close by. They are startled, barely awake from their daylight slumber... and they prepare to fight.

Suddenly! The Soldiers marching through the village are made aware of their immediate danger when a veteran sergeant at arms sounds the alarm. All at once, the villlage is a hive of activity as men prepare a hurried defence at the far side of the village.

The pack mules are gathered into a field and calmed. The cannon is quickly set up in an adjacent field.

Ma Boyle, her son and daughter (Thomas and Flo) take up positions along the hedge line of their cottage - prepared to defend their home if needs be.

A reserve of muskets is placed to the rear of the infantry line, close to the hedge where the Boyle family take up their own defensive line.

The Lieutenant barks orders to his men.

The Hobgoblins form up at the edge of the woods.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Roads, Trees & Hedges.

Moving on now to the road sections.... I`ve just brushed a single colour of deep green onto the road edges, and will highlight them from here at a later stage. The roads themselves I will flesh out with tones of... well mud basically. No Macadam back in those days, so we wont be seeing any grey tarmac in my games.

The hedges, similarly, will be highlighted at a later date. As for the trees; I think these have to be the best I`ve ever seen in this scale... in fact they rival anything I`ve seen to date on a wargames table in ANY scale. Absolutely amazing stuff.