Monday, October 10, 2011

The Battle of Flodden, September 9, 1513

Our most recent miniatures game was to re-create the Battle of Flodden, which was a Battle fought between the Scots and the English on September 9, 1513. It was the largest battle in numbers that was fought between the two nations.
The war started when Scottish King James IV, an ally of France, declared war on England in order to divert English troops from France, where English King Henry V was already engaged in a war against the French. The battle was actually fought near the English town of Branxton in Northumberland.
The Scottish troops were generally armed with the pike and fought in deep columns similar to the Swiss. The Scots also had some large artillery pieces and Highland troops who fought in irregular formations. The main English infantry fought in less dense formations using a weapon called a bill, which was a shorter pole-arm that had a large heavy axe-head, similar to a halberd.  The English also had smaller but more maneuverable artillery that could fire more rapidly. They also still had what had been a staple of English armies for 500 years, the longbow men.
For our game, the rules we used are modified DBA rules. To reflect the effectiveness of English artillery, they were allowed to fire in their own and in their opponents turn, while the Scots could only fire once every other turn. Scottish highlanders could fight as war bands and as bowmen, since they behaved as both under the DBA rules. The Scots started the game deployed on a hill as in real life, while the English deployed opposite.
Above is the initial deployment of the armies, the Scots on the left, the English on the right. Playing the Scots were Ralph & Dave. Playing the English were Al, Uncle Duke, and Ken. Mr. Bob was the referee. Click on photos to enlarge.

 The Scots deployed on the hill in front of the English.

The English line preparing to advance

 Both armies on the move, the Scots staying near the edge of the low hill.

Scottish Highlanders on the right flank were facing the English longbows, but were outflanked by the light English cavalry and eventually destroyed.

The Scots on the left flank advanced and crushed the English to their front. Each side had defeated one flank and lost the other.

As the English left began to turn-in towards the Scottish right, English artillery made itself felt and the element containing King James (yellow Scottish flag in the photo on the left) was destroyed and James was killed. This ended the battle.
Below is a link to a series of videos called "Two Men in a Trench," some archeologists who investigate the Flodden battlefield:

Below is a short video "The Battle of Flodden Fields."

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