Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Battle for St Johns Farm

This Battle was fought using my new Kriegspiel rules.

Following the debacle at Handsdown, the Southern Parliamentary Army under command of General Ferguson, withdrew from Eling and moved north.

As he rode at the head of his army General Ferguson was going over in his mind the mistakes he had learnt so far, significantly the main one was the most obvious; read maps properly and understand that when it has a river on it, it probably means there is in fact a river there, when they say marsh and ridges exist then its probably a good chance are all there. Prior to this enlightening discovery Ferguson had little interest in the details on maps, they were after all merely instruments in which he would look at to learn how to get to point A from point B.
He had looked at the map of Lyndhurst country and the shortest route to the capital was via Houndsdown ridge, so to him that was the obvious. He has since learnt that the shortest route was often militarily the hardest, and he only discovered this revelation after he had deployed on the Handsdown - Lyndhurst road to find he was constrained in movements on his flanks by rivers and marshes and before him dominating the terrain was Handsdown ridge itself. If he as the General of his army had bothered to study the map as a instrument of war, and not merely a tourist guide he would have seen those terrain features had been there all the time, they were a warning against the stupidity of amateur generals he supposed.
Secondly he learnt not to delegate everything, he just assumed that as commander of a army all he had to do was point and everyone went where he wanted them to go, and did all the mundane things that he obviously had over looked.

The General had mentally turned over all the reasons for his failure at Handsdown as his army slowly marched away from the Handsdown – Eling Area, they had moved north towards Little Testewood and then he would strike west making for the Cadman bridge. This time he was being far more cautious for he had ordered his two Cavalry regiments to ride ahead for the bridge and secure a good bridgehead.

While he rode, it must have seemed to his staff and commanders that their General was hatching a grand scheme, whereas in fact he was going over and over again the mistakes he had made and lessons learnt. It was as if by this self berating himself he could exorcise the demons that plagued him at Handsdown.
Handsdown had been a lesson well learnt, no doubt about that; he was lucky to get away with so many errors without being handed his backside by the Royalists. First deploying an army on a narrow front with all the advantages to the defender was absolutely bloody ridiculous and stupid, it happened because he was too inexperienced as an army commander, he underestimated the Royalists and he was too lazy to check on details. A drunken party the night before a battle and most likely the damned lady he bedded had been a bloody Royalist spy. These things he understood now and he could chide himself over them but he would bloody well murder anyone if they so much as whispered his faults publicly. He had taken all the lessons on board and he was determined he would learn more, as long he could avoid learning by making bloody stupid mistakes. One thing for sure, he would never confess his inexperience to anyone, in fact he had already written his report to Lord Bedford indicating he had foiled a Royalist drive on Eling, that he had held them of despite being out numbered and that now he was marching to out maneuver the Royalists.

General Ferguson looked to his left where his deputy Colonel Sorenson rode beside him, Sorenson was a professional soldier, and he looked every part the military professional man, something that angered the General a great deal. There was no doubt General Ferguson reasoned to himself, Sorenson was a good Chief of Staff and deputy, but there was also the fact that he hated the Colonel. Colonel Sorenson was Lord Bedford's man, he had been hoisted on him by his Lordship so he could hardly have refused, but the General was sure every move he made and every word he muttered was being reported back to his lordship and that included his mistakes. Somewhere along the way Colonel Sorenson would have to disappear, no doubt about that, but right now he needed the man and his abilities.

There was no doubt the Colonel knew his business, it had been the Colonels idea to deceive the Royalists that he had withdrawn from Eling by leaving three combat ineffective newly raised militia battalions there. The Militia men had kept dummy camp fires burning day and night, they were dressed in Uniforms of regular soldiers they appeared on patrols and moved around keeping the impression the Parliamentary army was still present and it appears the Colonel's deception had worked.

The Royalists had been reported still in position a day later, so he had at least gained a days march on bloody General Anders and his Royalists.

Now his own army had just finished crossing the Winders ridge and was a mile or so from Cadmans bridge, the Cavalry up ahead reported no sign of the enemy. It had to remain like that for just another 4-5 hours, enough time to get his army across Cadmans bridge, then he would strike south west straight for Lyndhurst town.

General Leopold Anders was another General that fumed about errors, last night his men had finally captured 3 prisoners and they all confirmed that the Parliamentarians had gone, they had marched north but none of the prisoners were certain where the enemy army was marching too.
General Anders was angry at himself that he should have been more aware, he had convinced himself into believing Ferguson wouldn’t or couldn't maneuver his army; he would more likely use it as a bludgeon rather than a rapier. Now he had been proved wrong and while the Royalists sat waiting for an attack that never came general Ferguson and his army were likely swanning around in northern Lyndhurst.
However despite this setback General Anders intuitively knew where they were going, they were heading for Lyndhurst once again, however this time from the north and the only viable crossing was at Cadmans bridge. Because of their very cunning deception plan and his own arrogance the Parliamentarians had gained at least a days march on him, the only advantage he had, his route north was shorter than that taken by the Parliamentarians.

Then this morning another break of good luck as his army marched back through Lyndhurst township, he heard the first rumours that Parliamentarian Cavalry had been seen at Cadmans bridge.
That meant they were already likely over the river, and now he had to guess where the Parliamentarians army going, in truth that was not too difficult because logic said they would travel southwest to Lyndhurst, but could equally there was a remote possibility they could be making for Mineftead as that is where a new large arms factory had just been completed., so if Mineftead was the objective it was quicker via Stony cross on the northern road, if Lyndhurst was the target then the road that ran southwest from Cadmans bridge would be the obvious route.

The General instinctively knew that the Parliamentarians would try for Lyndhurst first, he based his opinion simply on the fact he knew Ferguson and Lyndhurst had become a fixation to the man. He would no doubt take the arms factory at Mineftead once he had defeated the Royalist army, so General Anders gambled on logic and set his army on the Lyndhurst – Cadman's Bridge road.

It was late in the afternoon when the reports began coming in from the 3rd Dragoons that the enemy army was approaching, so quickly looking at his present position both physically and on the map he decided to accept battle where he was, the terrain offered some interesting features and the Parliamentarians had to fight him to get to Lyndhurst, as he glanced down at the map in his hands he noted the map said the small Hamlet just ahead was Twynford.

Overnight the Parliamentary army arrived and began to deploy opposite the Royalists, both sides preparing for the first battle of the new civil war on the morrow.

The Battle.

Overnight General Anders had ensured his men were as prepared as they could be, on his right flank he had a large collection of farm buildings known as St Johns farm prepared as a defensive position. The farm itself was embedded in a woods and surrounded by a thick hedge an ideal defensive position.
Further out forward and to the right and a little isolated from the farm was St Johns woods, an area of open woods and thick hedges, here he placed the 104th Battalion, overnight the men of the 104th improved on the natural defences that already existed here.
Colonel Willis (average) was the regimental commander, he was not known as a military genius but he was a solid and reliable commander and General Anders was convinced Colonel Willis would not let him down, it was vital that the 104th must hold here, despite the likelihood they would be outnumbered.
Because the position was a little isolated and being forward and on the extreme right of his line he believed General Fergusan would see this as a weakness and thus it would undoubtedly attract a great deal of attention from the enemy. The more enemy required to defeat the forces within the wooded enclosure improved the chances of his forces elsewhere in the line.
General Anders then heavily reinforced St Johns farm itself , in front of the farm he placed the 2nd Artillery battery, behind and in the wooded area attached to the farm he deployed the 30th Battalion (Colonel Wells – Regimental commander – Average). The battery could also cover the approaches not only to the farm but to the woods a few hundred yards to its right front.
In the farm itself was the 28th (Colonel Wells), this Battalion was in a very strong position with the farm buildings and surrounding hedges to benefit from. To the rear of St Johns farm and in reserve was the 102nd Foot (Colonel Willis) but under direct orders of General Anders.

To the left of the farm the Royalist commander ran a string of battalions, sadly most would be in open terrain. From the left of St Johns farm was the 99th Foot, 27th Foot, 26th Foot and the 1st artillery battery deployed in front of the 26h & 27th Battalions. Then to their left was the 25th foot and in a large open wooded area securing the left flank was the 1st Light Infantry, on their left covering a large open flank was the 4th dragoons.

The weakness of the line was its centre and left, the Right was strong in natural defences but the centre and left were a lot more open. By deploying the 104th so far forward on the right in St Johns wood General Anders denied the Parliamentarians the use of the woods to launch attacks on his right flank and he hoped that the 104th because of its apparent isolation would attract most of the enemies attention thus saving his left and centre.

General Ferguson studied the Royalist positions and decided he would attack in three regions, the 3 Militia Battalions (Colonel Franks – Average) supported by the 29th Foot would attack the Royalist Battalion in the woods on the right of the enemy line, the map said it was St Johns wood. By taking the woods he could then lever the Royalists out of the farm buildings of St John farm. He had deployed 4 Battalions against the single battalion defending, even though 3 of the battalions were militia he felt confident numbers with a stiffening of regulars would prevail.

Below - The battle for St johns wood

He would push the 3rd ( Colonel Breckenridge – Good) and the 114th (Colonel Young – Average) onto the farm buildings themselves, primarily to take the battery positions and then to apply pressure on the farm until the forces that took St Johns wood arrived and attacked the farm from the right and rear.

On the Royalist left the 1st (Colonel Meadows – Poor) and 90th (Colonel Young – Average) would attack the other artillery battery and apply as much pressure as possible to pin the royalist units here, they would have in support the 2nd Battalion (also Colonel Meadows).
Out on the far right of the Royalist line was the 103rd light, facing the Royalist light battalion.

Battle commences

The Battle started at 7:30 precisely as General Ferguson ordered his artillery to concentrate their fire on the Royalist centre, the 99th Battalion, whilst in return the Royalist artillery seemed to be concentrating on the Parliamentarian 90 foot.
The artillery fire was not particularly effective for the Royalists, however the parliamentarian gunners quickly found the range and within the 30 minutes of the artillery opening fire the Royalist 99th Battalion lost 44 dead, 54 wounded and 36 missing, while in return the Parliamentarian 90th Battalion only suffered 5 dead, 6 wounded and 4 missing.
General Anders was becoming quite concerned about the lack of success of his artillery and was already promising himself he would have to concentrate more effort on improving his artillery's efficiency.

After 30 minutes of the guns opening fire the Parliamentary army began moving forward, and with much relief to General Anders but probably more so to the relief of the 99th who were doing the dying; the enemy advance masked their guns and the 99th had a breather to regather its cohesion and morale.

The Parliamentary Army prepares to advance
As the enemy line advanced the royalist artillery still concentrated their effort on the enemy 90th and now as the ranges closed they had much greater success, the 90th losing 50 dead, 60 wounded and 32 men missing in the time they reached the Royalist musketry range. The 90th were clearly visibly shaken (Morale dropped from 7 to 4),despite the casualties and the wavering of its men the 90th continued to advance.
The parliamentary artillery were limbering up in preparation of following the infantry.

Events began to unfold right along the line on the Royalist right first, the Parliamentary 29th battalion along with the 2nd & 3rd Militia advanced onto the St John woods. The 104th opened fire on the advancing battalions but to little or no effect, the enemy continued to advance, holding their fire.

The three Battalions finally opened fire moments before they charged, the fire results were as follows
29th Foot inflicts = 12 dead, 14 wounded and 8 missing
2nd Militia inflicts = 23 dead, 28 wounded and 19 missing
3rd Militia inflicts = 23 dead, 28 wounded and 19 missing
Thus in 15 minutes of firing the 104th lost 58 dead, 70 wounded and 46 missing, while they in turn concentrating their fire on the closest battalion which was the 29th they inflicted 23, dead 28 wounded and 19 missing, the 29th were visibly shaken as their morale dropped from 7 down to 2.
The 104th was also shaken by the heavy losses their own morale plummeted from 7 down to 3.5, but they remained to continue the fight and would do so throughout the battle.

General Ferguson glanced at his pocket watch, incidentally a watch one of his men had plundered in the raid on General Anders Estate, the time was 8:35am he watched as the 3 battalions plunged into the thick hedges surround the St John woods.
In the first five minutes of the melee over the hedge line the 29th lost a further 59 casualties, their morale collapsed (-1) and the men were becoming too exhausted and shaken to continue the fight much longer.
The 2nd and 3rd Militia battalions took lighter losses (they had been behind the 29th in the approach) and for now their morale was holding, together both battalions only had lost 17 dead, 21 wounded and 14 prisoners.
In the first 5 minutes of the fighting along the hedge line the 104th fighting off 3 battalions at once lost
164 casualties. The 104th Morale was low but they were holding.

The 29th battalion commander felt he had no choice but to pull his men out of the fighting over the hedges, their morale was close to total collapse. General Ferguson seeing the 29th falling back ordered the 1st Militia into the melee for the woods.

Meanwhile the advance on St Johns Farm itself was now developing into a rugged affair, this despite the orders that they were merely to pin the enemy until the forces taking the woods arrived on the enemy flanks and assisted in taking the farm.

The 3rd Parliamentary Battalion charged the guns of the Royalist 2nd Battery. Because the Royalist artillery had been so intent on inflicting as many casualties on the 90th and the fact the smoke from the guns helped mask the approach of the 3rd battalion went almost unnoticed by the 2nd Battery
Almost to late they swung their guns around to fire but not before the 3rd battalion fired on them causing 30 casualties, because of the rapidity of the 3rd battalions advance and the need to realign the 2nd Battery and being hit by musketry fire the battery's return fire was largely ineffective only causing 39 casualties on the 3rd.
The 3rd Parliamentary infantry battalion hit the guns causing 22 dead, 27 wounded and 18 taken prisoner while the battery crews and its supports fought back inflicting 13 dead, 16 wounded and 11 prisoners, it wasn’t the casualties that worried the battalion commander it was the rapid charge across the field had exhausted his men and the violence of the gun crews in defending their guns had shaken his men considerably. He would need help and soon, but according to his orders it wouldnt be arriving anytime soon.

General Anders decided to send the 102nd in to support he 2nd Battery, he also ordered the 30th to move north and assist the 104th in the St Johns wood , but they will take some 10 minutes to get there and 10 minutes in ferocious melee fighting was a long time.

Meanwhile back near St Johns farm the 114th parliamentary battalion charged the 28th Battalion which was defending the left outskirts of the farm enclosures, the hedges and trees offering good cover..
As the 114th charged towards they 28th they were hit by musketry fire causing 105 casualties. Once again the Parliamentary battalion halted and opened fire on the 28th causing 23 Dead, 28 wounded, 19 men missing. The 114th then charged into the defensive positions of the 28th Battalion in the ensuring melee the 114th lost a further 65 casualties, the melee spread along the entire northern edge of the hedge line men struggling to kill each other in absolute ferociousness, the 114th morale was holding as they battled into the woods, in the melee they inflicted on the 28th a further 29 casualties, their own morale was holding very well.

                                           The Royalist 114th fires on the 2nd Militia battalion

Further to the left of the St Johns melee the much weakened Parliamentary 90th Battalion unexpectedly halted and fired on the 27th causing 21 dead, 26 wounded, 16 men missing. The 27th returned fire inflicting 23 Dead, 28 wounded, 19 missing on the 90th. Remarkably considering the previous pounding of the artillery and now the musketry the 90th morale was holding up extremely well.
Once having fired their muskets the 90th then charged the 27th line, inflicting 12 dead, 14 wounded and 8 prisoners taken, the 27th fought back causing 21 dead, 26 wounded and 17 men taken prisoner. Following the initial charge and because of their exhaustion during the melee the 90th morale really plummeted but they continued to fight on.

On the left of this melee the parliamentary 1st battalion charged the 1st battery, again (just as with the 2nd battery) had been intent on firing on the 90th they responded too slowly to the advance of the 1st Battalion which may have also been masked by smoke. The 1st Battalion opened fire on the 1st battery just as the artillery crews were beginning to swivel their guns, the volley inflicted 35 casualties. The return fire from the battery was pathetic mainly because the musketry fire from the 1st battalion had been directed on the closest guns and as a result of the guns being temporarily unmanned they were not fired, the 1st battalion lost a mere 5 dead, 3 wounded, 2 went missing.
The melee over the guns resulted in 1st Artillery battery losing another they inflicted a further 69 casualties, the Parliamentarians lost 9 killed, 11 wounded and 9 prisoners.

General Ferguson was pleased with the way his army had advanced, the artillery was a problem in that as his army advanced they masked the enemy, but it had the advantage that now he could move his artillery up and be ready for any emergencies.
He was a little concerned with the attack on the St John woods out on his extreme left, the 4 battalion attack should have rolled over the defenders, instead one of his battalions (29th) had been repulsed and was now falling back in some disorder. The 2nd and 3rd Militia Battalions seem to be holding their own at the moment, so he had sent a dispatch rider to the 1st militia to advance and replace the 29th.

He was also a little worried about the 90th Battalion out on his right, they had taken a fearsome pounding from the Royalist artillery and despite the losses they were continuing their advance, but for how much longer. He was more than a little annoyed that their commander had closed on the enemy position before the issue in the woods had been settled.

Yes the battle was progressing well, but as he looked through the smoke to his left, he saw the 1st Militia had not yet moved, despite the dispatch rider already having returned from delivering his order. Even more worrying now was he saw the Royalists were moving to reinforce the woods.
He turned to Colonel Sorenson,
“Colonel get over to the 1st Militia and get them moving, and if their commander cant do it, relieve him and led them yourself.”

The Colonel saluted and rode of to join the first, when he got there he found the Battalion commander was missing, he had simply fled when ordered to advance.
He turned to the Battalion adjutant who was extremely worried, possibly more about how his commanders desertion would reflect on him than about his battalion.
Colonel Sorenson rode up to him,
“Major you will move your battalion as ordered or place yourself under arrest.”
The Major, visibly shaken nodded and then gave the bugler instructions to advance, Colonel Sorenson rode along side him for part of the way, ensuring the man didn’t have a sudden change of heart.

The Battle continues.
As the 1st militia battalion advanced on the woods the melee in and around its objective was taking on a level of ferociousness that many would never forget for the remainder of their lives.
Despite the fact that the attack on the woods was meant to be delivered by 4 battalions at the moment it was being made with just two militia battalions. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions were struggling to gain any ground without the support of the regulars in the 29th, attacking a defended ground such as St Johns wood was beginning to look rather daunting.
Their hearts were raised a little when word was passed that the 1st Militia had finally begun to advance and join them.

Out to the Royalist right the commander of the 3rd dragoons had seen the Parliamentary 15th Light horse move up, and then form for the charge, the 3rd dragoons were at the same instant ordered to advance and counter attack them. Whether either Regiment really intended to charge will never be made, however the threa from one or the other resulted in the fist cavalry clash of the war, it was a melee that would last almost half an hour.
The two cavalry regiments clashed together with a resounding clamour, the 3rd dragoons crashed into the 15th with a greater force and almost seemed to overwhelm the front ranks of the parliamentary cavalry regiment, in the first 5 minutes of the melee the 15th had already lost 105 men, the 3rd dragoons only suffered 35 in the same period of time.

Meanwhile way over on the Royalist left the struggle for the guns of the 1st battery was becoming a desperate affair, the 1st Parliamentary Battalion was now not only fighting the gun crews and supports but the 26th battalion which had arrived to support the battery.
The 1st lost 25 dead, 30 wounded and 20 men taken prisoner within 5 minutes of the 26th ploughing into the ranks,1st Artillery lost a further 9 men killed, 15 wounded and 4 men missing in the same 5 minutes. The 26th being fresh only lost 9 dead, 11 wounded and 8 missing in their first taste of the melee.
The 1st Parliamentary battalion was down to 493 men, it was severely shaken and exhausted for the moment it was beyond advancing, it was all it could do to stay and fight.
The Royalist gun crews were equally suffering having now only 152 men left and they were abandoning their guns and drifting to the rear, their morale well and truly shaken .

To the right of the duel over the 1st battery guns was another large brawl taking place, this time by the much battered 90th battalion and the 27th royalist battalion. The 90th had lost another 88 men in the rest period of the melee. In total the Battalion had lost 520 men since the beginning of the battle and all of a sudden and not surprisingly its morale finally broke and the 1st routed of the field of battle. The Royalist 27th Battalion that it had been fighting was itself exhausted, in the last stages of the melee it had suffered 27 further casualties, for the moment the battalion needed time to reorganise and gather breath. It was still quite strong having 584 men still in its ranks.

To the right and on the left side of St Johns farm the struggle between the Parliamentary 114th battalion and the Royalist 28th continued. The 114th was quite shaken and its low morale obvious but despite that it continued to fight over and through the hedges on the left of the farm.
In the recent rounds of melee it lost 18 dead, 22 wounded and 15 men taken prisoner, it inflicted on the 28th 15 dead, 19 wounded 10 men missing.
The biggest issue was that the 114th seemed close to breaking as well, but there was no way for them to disengage so the struggle continued for them.

Interestingly the orders General Anders gave to his gunners of the 2nd battery was that when it became imminent they were going to be overrun, the gunners were to seek refuge in St Johns farm which was defended by the 30th, but instead of fleeing the gunners stayed and fought, they had done so well that General Anders brought the 102nd up to support them and moved the 30th out to the woods on the right. But the struggle for the guns of the 2nd battery continued with great intensity.
The 3rd parliamentary battalion suffered a further 45 casualties in the recent struggles, the battery lost 19 men and the newly arrived Royalist 102nd lost 16 men, again the signs were evident the parliamentary forces were showing signs of weakening, and yet again despite the losses and exhaustion they continued to fight. Not a little of the this improved resolve of the 3rd was because General Ferguson rode up to the melee and was encouraging and exhorting his men to greater effort, urging them to stay and fight on, the 3rd responded to General Ferguson’s urgings with renewed vigour, but sadly the general was struck in the head by a musket ball and fell unconscious from his horse, though badly wounded he would live and his staff and a few men from the militia struggled back to the rear with him draped over his horse.
Command of the battle now fell on Colonel Sorenson, and he was not a happy man. He had always wanted the command of the army, but he was now being given command at just the time it seemed his new command may be on the verge of breaking, and if it did it he knew the General would blame him for the loss. He even pondered to himself that the General was the luckier of the two of them, a bad wound to the head or the disgrace from losing the first real battle of the war, which was to be the worst.

However for now the Colonel was concerned about the struggle for St Johns wood, that entire attack was doomed to fail even before it began. He had pleaded with the General to use regular battalions, but the General demanded the be included in the attack, these militiamen were from his own county and they would not fail him, what was it he called them, “The Romney Lions”. Well to the Colonel they looked more like the Romney whales they way they were floundering around the hedges and woods.

The struggle for St Johns wood showed no signs of lessening, the Parliament forces were reinforced by the arrival of the 1st Militia Battalion The men of the Royalist 104th defending the woods were heartened to hear the 30th was on their way to join them but it would be another 10 minutes before they arrived, so for those 10 minutes the 104th was once more battling 3 battalions. The only bright signs for the 104th was they were fighting militia and the fight didn’t have the same intensity as it would have had if they were fighting regulars. However as captain Clem Harrington said to his men during the battle
“Don’t under estimate those boys over there, a militia bayonet will do just as much harm as one thrust by a regular”.
For those 10 long minutes the battle for St Johns wood continued, the 104th lost a further 131 men by the time the 30th arrived the 104th had a total 162 men left out of 700 and they were exhausted.
They had in their last efforts before the arrival of the 30th inflicted a further 87 casualties on the 3 militia battalions and both the 2nd and 3rd battalions were almost as exhausted as the 104th itself.
The Militia regimental commander had fought alongside his men throughout the entire struggle he was yelling and demanding more from his men, they were totally devoted to him and rallied their morale and tried to battle on.

Further out to the right the cavalry battle between the Parliamentary 15th Light horse and the 3rd dragoons continued. The 15th overcome their initial shock and heavy losses and in the recent struggles they had evened the score a little by inflicting 60 casualties on the 3rd dragoons while the 3rd only inflicted 33 back on the Light Horse.

It was now 9:15 am the battle had been going on for almost two hours and it was obvious to all the intensity of the fighting was lessening, both sides were becoming exhausted and demoralised. Sooner or later one of these armies would break.

The next rout occurred a few minutes after Colonel Sorenson had taken command, it was over on the Royalist left, where the 1st Parliamentary battalion was fighting with the newly arrived Royalist 26th Battalion. In the period of not more than 5 minutes the 1st battalion went from the joy of seeing the gun crews falling back from the guns to losing 66 casualties as the 26th counter attacked, they struggled briefly with the 26th inflicting 25 casualties on the battalion, but the additional losses on top of all those it had suffered caused their morale to break and they too routed from the battle.

                                          1st Parliamentary battalion advances on the Royalist 26th                   

With first the routing of the 90th and now the 1st breaking the entire parliamentary attack on their right had collapsed. But the suffering continued for both armies.

Where the 90th had broken about 10 minutes ago, its opponents the Royalist 27th were too exhausted to pursue so their commander began to reorganise them, but with the disappearance of the 90th masking the guns the 1st Parliamentary Battery once again had a clear target and opened fire on the 27th inflicting 30 casualties on the battalion, the Battalion now under artillery fire was showing signs of wavering and it took itself back from the front line, badly shaken but still in order.

The Parliamentary 114th battalion was on the verge of breaking as well, its battalion commander had tried to disengage from the enemy but the Royalist 28th Battalion simply wouldn’t let them go and even advanced out off the hedges and woods of St John farm to keep the melee going. In this new round the 114th lost a further 50 casualties whilst causing 23 on the 28th battalion. However these 50 extra casualties were the cause of the next rout in the parliamentary army, the 114th simply had enough when it routed, it had 358 men left in its ranks having suffered almost 50% losses.

Without an enemy near them the men of the Royalist 2nd battery tried to reorganise their battery, but they came under fire from the 2nd Parliamentary battery suffering 30 casualties, the crews simply decided they were to weak, to effectively man the guns, there were only 105 men out of the 300 they started the battle with, they finally abandoned their guns and sought the shelter of the farm, something they should have done an hour and half earlier.

The battle for St Johns wood was over, the Regimental commander of the 3 militia battalions had seen the routs of the regulars and he could see his own men were close to breaking, they were still quite strong in numbers, but their morale was extremely close to breaking point and to continue the struggle would be futile. The men needed rest and a chance to reorganise.
Out on the extreme Royalist right the struggle between the two cavalry regiments continued, the 3rd dragoons had suffered 194 casualties and the 15th Light horse 156.

In the next round of fighting the 15th LH inflicted a further 27 casualties on the 3rd dragoons while the 15th lost 76 men. The further losses were for the 15th the point where their commander decided he had to break off or risk losing his regiment in a rout, so it was not too difficult to break away from the 3rd dragoons who themselves were exhausted after 20 minutes of heavy fighting.

At this stage a starnge calm came of a scene that had been for two hours a place of mayhem, neither side had the stamina to continue the battle.
The Parliamentarians had 3 Battalions that had routed and it would be a week before they reformed, several more of the units within the army were shattered and extremely weak. The cohesion of the army was at the moment at the point of breaking, but time would heal that and within a few days the army would be reorganised, but to what level of efficiency would only be seen in later struggles.

The Royalists though not having any units routed were extremely lucky not to have done so, several of their units were so shattered they had simply walked back away from the fight, others were so weak that another 30 minutes of fighting would have seen them break.

The battle only lasting 2 hours perhaps was nothing more than a skirmish in the annuls of military history, the casualties were however quite severe, out of a force of 9,000 men the parliamentarians suffered 580 killed, 706 wounded and 471 prisoners or missing. Of the wounded 528 will return to the colours over the next 3 weeks

The Royalists suffered slightly more heavier, out of a force of 8,300 men, they had 539 killed, 657 wounded and 437 prisoners or missing. Of the Royalist wounded 492 will rejoin the army in the next 3 weeks.

Post battle
Colonel Sorenson pulled the army back behind the guns, he ordered his staff to ensure the battalions quickly re-organised as he was keen to renew the battle as soon as his army had gathered some cohesion, but when he was reminded that he was already minus the 3 Battalions that had routed he soon decided it was fruitless to attack and unless General Anders would oblige by launching an attack there was little to do but pull back.

So he started sending his worse units back to the Cadmans bridge area, he was confident he could stop the royalists there at least until he had new orders or was reinforced. Meanwhile the rear guard waited for a royalist response.

General Anders was shocked at how badly his artillery came out of the battle, he didn’t even have enough crews to man fully man 1 battery. Though no units routed some were so weakened by the battle it was possible they would have to be amalgamated with others, for example the 104th Foot only had 162 men remaining with the colours, 162 out of 700.
A pursuit was out of order at the moment, the best he could manage would be a follow up, but given a 25 hour period of grace his army would be ready for battle once again, though it lacked any effective artillery.

By late afternoon the Parliamentary army had abandoned the battlefield of Tywnford, bu next morning they were holding a bridgehead at Cadmans bridge.


  1. this is quite long, I think I shall read this in parts... read up to the part about the 104th battalion, so far so good, I'll report back when I get further.

  2. Yes sadly I got carried away working through the combat system and relating the story at the same time, game reports will be much shorter from now on but thanks for persevering. However hopefully future games will be a mix of table top and Kriegspiel will depend on availability of players and figures.
    I have found the kriegspiel battle system works very well for solo play, I want to try out the Kriegspiel system for PBEM next, for that I will need players and most likely Northern England.
    So much to do and so little time. LOL

    1. well I have read the whole thing now. it was a hard battle, certainly the parliamentarian militia should be congratulated for their bravery and endurance. still the commanders showed little tactical genius. certainly a full thrust at the centre by the parliamentarians, in conjunction with a flanking move on the royalist right and the artillery pinning the defenders in the farm, would have worked better, but still a victory for the parliamentarians here would have been less interesting than this defeat... so can the parliamentarians hold the bridge? I wonder if they'd keep fighting if they knew Margaret Thatcher would later become Prime Minister??? I bet the concept would shock them just as much as if they heard about what she was like. But I imagine that as will all leaders some would love her some not. hmm that was a bit off topic.

    2. hahaha

      Well if anyone involved in the battle knew the calibre of the politicians to come many years later,they would I am sure probably stayed home and watched the paint dry. Perhaps the same could be said of the Royalists in regard to the monarchy, but at least at that time they probably had a closer experience of wayward Kings and Queens.

    3. haha good point. great work on crafting these stories

  3. That sounds like one tough and prolonged struggle - no real finesse, just get tore in and indulge in some gratuitous blood letting. Quite what you'd expect from inexperienced commanders.

    I guess the question now is, for how long can Col Sorenson maintain his forces about Cadman's bridge, which, I infer, is in Lyndhurst territory. For sure he could live off the country, but with a population already hostile...

  4. Yep Ion, it was a straight out slog, and it could have gone on longer if the Parliamentarians could have pulled back and recovered, but once the 3 Bns routed that was virtually a third of the force and all hope of a 2nd round went out the window.
    The one thing this battle taught me more so than in battles on a table, reserves are imperative; but then one does have to have the troops available to create a reserve.
    Cadmans bridge will likely be a short stop over, diplomatically as well as militarily things are happening elsewhere which will divert attention from the south for a short while.

    I was very pleased with the way the battle rules went (lack of tactics aside) I wanted to test the rules in all aspects,ie charges, melees, musketry and artillery and to me they went very well.