Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fog of War at 15th c Calais: A 28mm Battle Report

French soldiers attempt to repel a Burgundian landing on the Flemish coast.
Would you believe that the one thing my son wanted to do today was play out a wargame scenario?  The angels of odd shaped dice are singing.

Flemish and English mercenaries in the service of the Duke of Burgundy sail
towards Calais.
 The scenario was a Burgundian landing at a farm near Calais.  For the terrain, I had my new French Farmhouse, some fields and cut out felt to have four separate waterways.  Victory for the Flemings and English called for holding on to the farmhouse for ten turns, until additional troops can land to bring Calais under the influence of the duchy of Charles the Bold.  For the French, they must hold the farm for five turns until reinforcements arrive by sea.  A roll on a d8 would determine from where in the estuary the French cog would sail.  Then the French would have to capture the Burgundian caravel for victory. 

Flemish gunners wade onto the beach.
      The caravel pulled in sail as the fog on the coast of Calais parted to reveal a beach and a French farm.  Visibility war poor only a ten or twenty yards at most.  As my Flemings landed, they took their first shots at French malice advancing through the fields.  Sadly I rolled poor troop quality.  True to form, my son's rolls determined that his French were battle-hardened veterans.

French malice rush to occupy the farm house and barn.
       The heavy infantry moved quickly, supported by a few archers.  As I had to climb a hill, they were able to seize the houses first.

Unfortunately, the trees mask the French from the English bowmen.
 My English archers and Burgundian infantry remained aboard in support.  The trees masked the fire of the archers, however, and I would be forced to send reenforcements to my beleaguered gunners.  Rule #1:  Never send light infantry against heavy infantry.

Flemish gunners take the high ground...
My gunners did manage to take high ground that allowed them to support what would become and abortive attack on the barn.  They were assaulted by heavy infantry and archers.  Since I had a low troop quality roll (Green troops) there was no chance they could hold the hill against veteran heavy infantry.

The Flemings are charged before they can reload...

While my Flemings managed to drop a few men-at-arms, their guns do take time to reload...and that's why I should have disembarked pikemen and halberdiers.

...and the hill is carried by the heavier French infantry.
Things were not going well on the other side of the barn either.  The French had decent armor and were able to push through the Flemish fire.  A lucky French arrow felled my musician and captain, causing the gunners to fail a morale role and fall back to the caravel.  I disembarked part of my Burgundian halberdiers under a Sergeant.  Rule #2:  Never reinforce failure.

The lightly armed Flemish gunners cannot stand against the French
Heavy Infantry.
 The French infantry cheer madly, but not because the gunners are falling back to the protection of halberds.  The fog has parted and it is turn 5. Which means...

The Fog parts to reveal a French Cog on the caravel's port bow.
To late to make sail, the English must repel boarders.
A French cog is visible through the mist.  Of course my son rolled a 6 on d8.  That was the closest channel from which to sail towards my caravel!  Why wouldn't he roll that?  My English sailors won't even have time to sets the sails, let alone cut the anchor cable.

The caravel is forced up onto the beach.
 The cog runs right alongside the caravel, ramming and pushing it up on the beach.  There will be no escape unless the English and Burgundians can take the French cog...but no, my son has the high roll for initiative and boards me rather than being boarded himself.

Pinned by the French cog, the English archers must fight to the seaward.
 The archers turn to focus on the cog, at least the militia are far enough away that it will take two tuns for them to get to the beached caravel.  With some lucky rolls, my archers downed several crossbowmen on the fo'csle, but none of the French knights.

French knights and sergeants take the forepeak of the caravel
 and work back along the waist.
 Nevertheless the French Knights grapple and successfully board.  They make quick work of the lightly armed archers and wade into to the halberdiers over decks awash with blood.

The advance across the caravel's deck is supported by Italian crossbowmen
and French archers.

 My remaining halberdiers and gunners scramble up the chains and onto the caravel's decks, but they are no match for the French knights.  My remaining Burgundian knight is overwhelmed and hacked to pieces at the ladder to the poop deck.  With no leadership or promise of pay, the remaining English and Flemish mercenaries beg for mercy from the French knights.  As they are not nobles and won't command a hefty ransom, so they are not likely to receive it (mercy, that is).

The English and Flemings beg for mercy.
 Calais, though surrounded by Burgundian lands, remains in the hands of the Valois-through some mighty lucky dice rolls-I might add. Charles the Bold has learned that you can't take Calais on the cheap and demonstrates to his son some time-proven maxims.


  1. Cool looking game, love the look of the ships, where did you get them from?

    1. Thanks, the ships are resin from Old Glory. My son won the larger one at Historicon in '13. I bought the smaller caravel there as well. They come plain (i.e. no rigging, hardware, sails, etc). That we added from scraps (linen, coffee stirrers, putty, and hemp cord). I used a pin vise for the trunnel holes on the hull. I will definitely be acquiring more since they would work up through the late 1500's (Spanish Armada) as well!

  2. What a great pleasure to look at such a beutiful report, love the ships too...very nice work!

    1. Thank you! I hadn't done any late medieval since I was a kid, but when my son won his Cog at Historicon and inherited my brother's figs I had no choice but to expand into another era! I usually sell off my armies when I get bored or want to paint something else. Sold my 15mm ACW about ten years ago and now with the great new plastics that Perry is putting out I'm feeling the ACW itch again.

  3. Amazing game and models! Truly impressive! Dean

    1. Thanks, Dean. Now I just need to order a box of the Perry plastics Foot Knights. My handgunners and halberdiers keep getting filleted by my sons Knights and Men-At-Arms...and French ones at that!