Sunday, 25 March 2018

Powder Your Pike

Had a go at The Pikemen's Lament and fought a little known local battle not far from where i live , the castle has a web site Powderham Castle and yes it had snowed at the time of the battle.
Unfortunately the game did not replicate much of what happened in the battle as the defenders generally rolled poor for their activations whilst parliament rolled a-lot better.
I also altered the stats slightly and made firing a little poorer fo both sides , here are my mods

Shooting  , 1 stand fires with 4 dice
Infantry have 3 stands , generally 2 shot and 1 pike
Dragoon’s 2 stands
Cavalry 2 stands
-1 if shooting outside of 6” for infantry except rifles which are -1 for 12”
Shooting only directly to front of unit to any point on the enemy unit and measured from the front centre of that unit
All units have to wheel to turn and no part of a unit can move more than its normal move
Units may have grenades , this gives a +1 in melee single use only

Infantry units are 3 stands , you get 4 dice per stand
Early pike units that have a sleeve of shot will only roll 4 dice per sleeve but may not combine rolls from different sleeves a single order roll is required to fire all sleeves
a pair of pistols  7+/3”
hand gun 9+/6”
arquebus hit on a 8+/8”
matchlock musket on 7+/12”
flintlock musket 6+/12”
rifled musket 6+/18 , -1 outside 12”

The defenders had 4 units of infantry and a regimental gun and parliament attacked with 2 veteran units , a dragoon unit on foot only and would have had a unit of cavalry but those failed to turn up.


The Royalist could start to activate after the first shot was fired

Royalist is now moving out to engage the Parliament forces

The royalist attack with great vigor

But the shooting from the Parliamentary forces was even deadlier

Unfortunately for the Royalist their morale broke and the great retreat back into the castle happened

But with great resolve the Parliamentary forces took the castle

I thought this game was great fun and actually only took just over an hour to play , the rules i found did a great job of representing the period and played excellently solo though i never got to try out a cavalry charge as those Parliamentary cavalry failed to show , maybe they got lost somewhere between Crediton and Powderham Castle

This is what actually happened

A Powderham skirmish
The western side of Exeter and the Exe estuary were still held by the Royalists, who had a large force in Powderham Castle. On 14th December 1645, a Parliamentary force under Captain Dean of 200 foot and dragoons crossed the river in rowing boats from Nutwell, but finding the castle more heavily defended than they expected, they fell back to Powderham Church, were they were resupplied from across the river. After the Powderham Castle garrison was reinforced by 500 Royalists from Exeter, they attacked Captain Dean's force which was barricaded in the church; for three hours a particularly nasty battle raged, with grenades thrown against the building, and lead balls streaking back and forth.
Only the advance of a Parliamentary force from Crediton, under Hardress Waller, into Exminster, relieved the pressure on the church, and forced the Royalist besiegers back into their castle stronghold, leaving the snow covered church yard splattered with blood. The next day the freezing temperatures in the unheated church proved too much for the small force and Captain Dean and his men rowed silently back across the river to Nutwell.

During the Civil War Powderham Castle was garrisoned by 300 Royalist soldiers under the command of Sir Hugh Meredith. In December 1645 a Parliamentarian detachment under the command of Sir Thomas Fairfax tried, without initial success, to capture it but it fell on 25 January 1646 to Col. Robert Hammond. The castle was badly damaged in the assault and remained, in places, open to the elements until the early 1700s when it was repaired by Sir William Courtenay, 2nd Baronet .

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