Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wars of the Roses: Earl of Oxford's Billmen and Martin Schwartz' German Crossbow Troops

Earl of Oxford's Billmen advancing
Latest Troops off the Table:  From Perry's plastic European Mercenaries, I painted these based on the livery of John De Vere,  Earl of Oxford, and ally of Henry Tudor.  Oxford rallied to the Tudor banner, having fought against both Edward and Richard previously during the Wars of the Roses. 

The movement tray is simply cardboard covered in sand and flocked.  I added
washers for weight and to give the magnets on the bases
 something on which to cling
At Bosworth, he held Henry's left flank against Norfolk, and was appointed Lord Admiral and Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard upon Henry's taking the crown.  (He also dabbled in privateering during his exile in the 1470's).  Oxford was probably one of Henry's most trusted lords, commanding the van at Stoke during the Lambert Simnal affair and again leading troops against the pretender Perkin Warbeck at Blackheath.

Several of the billmen wear the Oxford livery and star badge, also depicted on one of the two flags.  The smaller pennant is Devere's personal banner, with the blue boar and stars.  I painted both of these on linen for the flags.  Not as detailed as decals, but I like the fabric texture it gives to the banners.

I also include a movement tray of German Crossbow companies under an Imperial banner.  Over 1,500 Germans, 2,000 Swiss and 5,000 Irish Kerns fought under the German mercenary, Martin Schwartz at the battle of Stoke.  Schwartz was probably recruited by Margaret of Anjou (as she recognized Perkin Warbeck as the heir, Edward).  Schwartz joined John De La Poole, The Earl of Lincoln in the Warbeck conspiracy.  So I need to repaint my Burgundian handgunners as Swiss, must purchase some Irish Kerns and repaint my other Burgundian infantry in the livery of Stafford (who accompanied Oxford to crush Lincoln and Schwartz at Stoke.

The pavises are painted from actual German pavises I found online...but I am not sure of the actual units or cities, except the white/red and what appears to be a cedar (Augsburg).  I thought this was appropriate since Schwartz was born in in Augsburg, however what companies were actually at Stoke is up for debate.  I am not aware of any extant contracts or rolls that record that information.

The movement trays are just cardboard with magnet sheets covered with sand, pebbles, etc.  The pennant is an Imperial German pennant.  Again, conjecture, but Schwartz' last gig before the Warbeck Conspiracy was putting down rebellions in the former Burgundian holdings (as the long arm of the Holy Roman Empire), which is probably how he came to the attention of Margaret of Anjou.  It would make for a good story!
German Command:  The horn on the Herald is a paperclip with millput to make
the bell.  I used an arm from a Wargames Factory Saxon to hold it
(with a bit of pinning and a resculpt at the shoulder joint). 
The flags are glued linen and are typical of Imperial units...
not sure if they would have carried them to England..

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wars of the Roses: Tudor Bombard (Perry Bros, putty, matchsticks, and coffee stirrers)

On the wrong end of a Tudor siege.
 What do you do when you've run out of crossbows and pikes in a Perry European Mercenaries Set and don't desire any more handgunners?  Make a bigger gun.  I started with four Perry Plastics match sticks, coffee stirrers and a section of a paintbrush handle I was going to trash.  I added modeling putty to the paintbrush to make the barrel of the bombard.  The design for the barrier was taken from the Henry V and the Conquest of France from Osprey Books.  I also used putty to make the bombard stones, sponge and rammer.

On the Bench:  Figures to left, artillery tools center, and bombard
 position to right.  The cradle for the bombard was build from matchsticks
and the fence and curtain from birch coffee stirrers.  Later I would
add some linen thread as rope for my crew to raise and lower the curtain.
I have made a change of direction with my late 15th c army (formerly Burgundian) and decided to start painting in an early Tudor theme so Jasper, Henry, the Staffords, Oxford, etc could take on the Ricardians and the many pretender uprisings that sprouted after Bosworth (not to mention the French and Burgundian Navies).  Hence the green and white livery with red rose.  This was adopted as the Tudor Livery (different than Owen Tudor's white helms and chevron on a field of red) and worn by the Yeomen of the Guard.  I wonder if Jasper paid to have them outfitted thusly prior to Bosworth?  I don't know, but it looks nice to me. 

I also added the padded sleeves onto the lefthand crewman
 manipulating the mantle.  I only had plain sleeves remaining on the
 sprues and they looked odd with the padded jack. Similar jacks with padded
sleeves seemed to come into fashion in the last quarter of the 15th c.

This sort of gun position with a mantle, would have been utilized for a siege rather than in the field.  The bombard itself would have been transported on a carriage  and hoisted off into place on its cradle or sled by a block and tackle system.  Certainly not mobile and requiring a train of artificers to emplace and maintain.  Guns of this size (8000 lbs) would fire about a 20 lb stone.

From Lasuar’s account of the Siege of Dax (1450), “The watch ordered and set, our prince sent forth a force of pioneers and miners, who, all night long, he had make broad approaches and deep ditches and trenches ,set up his artillery, and put the protective mantles there; and he was so diligent that the prepared artillery was ready to fire at dawn.  And in the same way my lord the prince made huts by filling the wickerworks and faggots with earth, in the manner of a broad mound, to shelter the watch from the artillery in the town; and the trenches were so advanced the next day that one could go safely under cover from one quarter of the siege to another…a great part of the forward walls were thrown to the ground; and our said artillery made large and wide breaches there, over which watch was held; and we fired our large culverines at these so that, when the enemy wished to make shelters or otherwise repair them, our culverines often killed or wounded their men…”
This was fun piece to plan and build.  I decided to have a magnet underneath the gunner and Captain.  They are based on steel washers and this will allow me to switch them out with alternate figures in different livery (should the Tudors become invested).