Thursday, 24 March 2016

November 1688 - A Pike and Shotte alternative history...Part 2

James blocks William's advance near Salisbury

I played this game back in February but have only just got round to writing it up.

After the battle fought a fews days earlier both sides licked their wounds and planned their next actions.

James was 1st to act, the desertions from his army had slowed following his victory but he was still losing some commanders, with 4 senior commanders slipping away after the battle. Although after James' earlier victory the rank and file troops were now unsure if William could now win and were reluctant to act.

James had received news of a revolt in Wales in support of William, but this had not filtered down to the troops yet. Which is why he decided to attack William, before the news from Wales could have any impact upon  his army.

I reflected the desertions of James' officers in the game by reducing the CV of their replacements by 1 from 8 down to 7. Losses to morale were reduced by 2 so some units were starting with hits on them. Units that had routed off the table started as shaken, in retrospect I think this was too harsh perhaps 2 hits would have been better..

James' army had 4 brigades of horse and 6 of foot and a slight advantage in number of cannon and William had 3 brigades of horse and 5 of foot. 

The initial troop deployments:

James' army is on the right side of the table. William secured his left flank by occupying a small manor with one foot brigade supported by cavalry, hoping to draw James into an attack on the manor which would negate his numerical disadvantage.

William moved first and advanced his infantry to line the hedges alongside the road, unfortunately the ground was a bit heavy going and the troops made slow progress through the fields. Confusion reigned on William's right flank with one brigade of horse misinterpreting their orders and heading back to the camp (a blunder on the very 1st command roll of the game).

James troops were slow in moving forward surrendering initiative to William. One of the central foot brigades of William were in a hurry to get to grips and advanced far further than they were ordered to (another blunder rolled). 

On the left flank the horse, still weakened from the previous battle moved to cover the gap to the left of the manor house as James' force advanced. James had committed 3 brigades to this attack which evened up the odds slightly on the rest of the field, as William had hoped.

James commits his right flank to the attack on William's horse.

James' horse are successful in pushing back William's troops, as James sends a second foot brigade supported by light guns to join the fight on his right flank, thus leaving an even match on the rest of the field.

William commits his foot in the centre as James launches his horse in attack on William's right flank

With William's horse on his left flank destroyed James' horse redeploy to take advantage of the situation.

William's right flank horse supported by an infantry brigade try to hold back James' horse.

The brigade of horse returning from their visit back to the camp just in time to shore up William's right flank (3 failed command rolls to get back on the table after the blunder).
James'  feeling confident the battle is going his way commits a foot brigade to the fray as well.

In the centre the infantry battle hots up with both sides committing more troops to the fray.

Despite destroying nearly an entire brigade of James' foot by their firepower William's foot brigade holding the manor is now badly shaken and all looks lost for them. They occupied 3 brigades of James troops for 6 turns giving the rest of William's army the opportunity for an even fight.

Disaster in the combat in the centre for William, the dice gods had deserted him. James' foot were successful in pushing back William's main thrust.

The end of the battle, William with his left flank and centre beaten orders a withdrawal. The victory belongs to KIng James. Is this the end or just the beginning of a new English Civil War?


William had only 4 foot and 1 horse units intact at the end of the battle, 3 foot and 1 horse units had taken light casualties and 2 foot and 3 horse units had taken moderate casualties. There were 8 foot and 1 horse units shaken and 3 foot and 6 horse units had routed off the table. William was only able to escape with his lighter artillery pieces, the rest were left on the battlefield.

James was left with 11 foot and 3 horse units intact, 4 foot and 4 horse units had taken light casualties and 4 foot and 5 horse units had taken moderate casualties. There were 3 foot and 3 horse units shaken and 2 foot and 1 horse units had routed off the table.


  1. A great looking game. This is just the kind of wargaming I want to play.

  2. Really am enjoying the way this is unfolding - great battle report.

  3. Ian, great looking game, I think James should go on the offensive as soon as possible,

    1. He will be trying to end the war as quickly as possible

    2. He will be trying to end the war as quickly as possible