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Sunday, 26 February 2017

Towton 1461

Not far from where I live is the site of what was probably the bloodiest battle in British history. Fought in a blizzard on Palm Sunday in 1461 the battle of Towton saw House of York and the beginning of the reign of Edward IV. As I mentioned previously I have fought a number of the battles of the Wars of the Roses across my table and having visited the battlefield on a number of occasions with my friend Nick I thought I would give Towton a go.

By this point I had fallen out with Warhammer Historical, largely because of the large amount of dice rolling - it does give a quite 'heroic' feel to the fighting but after a long game I almost felt like I had actually been fighting.I have also found that I don't like moving large numbers of figures individually any more so I experimented with some rules ideas. First off I tried adapting the old Charge! rules, using large movement trays to hold the units but it was basically a bloodbath and didn't really give smaller units much of a chance so I tried again. This time I made up my own rules using element basing - it was much more manageable but it is quite a while since the experiment and I didn't make any notes so I am afraid I can't remember if the rules were any good!

The battle was fought with quite a lot of figures and used historical deployments (as far as they are known) with the order of battle being based on the Poleaxed source book. Norfolk's contingent arrived late on the battlefield and were diced for each turn.

There were no notes but there are some pictures:

The Lancastrians form their 'battles'.

If I was clever I would have cropped these so they fitted together to give a continuous view of the table - but I'm not -still you get the idea...

At last ! some Yorkists - Edward IV, De la Pole (Suffolk) & Howard (Surrey) - Figures are old Citadel, Irregular Miniatures and some Grenadier and Front Rank at the back.

Fauconberg and other Neville adherents.

Battle is joined - Earl Percy leads the Northern Earls against the Yorkist left where they are met by contingent of mercenary pikemen.

The Northern Levies (assorted peasant figures; mostly Essex with a mate from Standard Games) are fed into the melee.

While in the centre more northern retinues (possibly more Percys) clash with Yorkist nobles.
But there are no more photographs. I recall that Mowbray struggled onto the field to turn the tide in an imitation of history but you will just have to imagine that!
Next post might be a review of something...


  1. A rule set turned a play test of the battle of Towton into a bloodbath
    So fairly realistic then