Thursday, September 10, 2009

Battle of Burnt Commons

After a summer of indecisive raiding and skirmishing, a Royalist Army under the Marquise of Newcastle meet the Parliamentarian northern forces in battle near the village of Burnt. The Parliamentarians commanded by The Earl of Essex, are in pursuit of the Royalists under the Marquise of Newcastle. The afternoon of September 8th 1642, the vanguard of the pursuing Parliamentarians contact the Royalist rearguard and a sharp skirmish of horse ensues (this skirmish will be the subject of another table battle report). The Parliamentarians halt for the night and Newcastle presses his army on the next day, making a crossing at the upper bridge and halts outside the village of Swinton intending to reverse direction the next morning and fall on the rear of the Roundheads as they cross at the lower bridge. Thus on September 10th Newcastle moves his army south.

Meanwhile Essex, getting warning of the Royalist move from a sympathetic local, instead of continuing his line of pursuit instead decides to move up the left bank of the river and gain the high ground above the Royalist camp. Newcastle however moves quickly at first light and deploys on the high ground near the village of Burnt. Both side are roughly equal in strength with the Kings forces enjoying an advantage in horse. The order of battle:

The Earl of Essex- CinC
Sir William Waller - commanding the Horse

Col. John Haselrigg's Horse (cuirassiers)- 1 squadron
Lord Essex's Regiment of Horse- 1 squadron
Sir William Waller's Regiment of Horse- 1 squadron

Col. John Hutchinson's Regiment of Foot (grey coats)
Col. Ralph Weldon's Regiment of Foot (red coats)
Tower Hamlets Regiment of the London Trained Bands (red coats)
Yester's Scottish Foot (grey coats)
1 Regiment of unidentified local foot

Col. John Okey's Dragoons
1 gun

Marquise of Newcastle- CinC
Lord George Goring- commanding the Horse

Prince Rupert's Regiment of Horse- 2 squadrons (the Prince is absent in this battle)
Sir Horatio Cary's Regiment of Horse- 1 squadron
Newcastle's Northern Association Horse- 2 squadrons

Sir Allen Apsley's Regiment (red coats)
Prince Rupert's Foot (blue coats)
Newcastle's Foot (white coats)
Sir Marmaduke Rawdon's Regiment of Foot ( yellow coats)

Sir Edward Dunscomb's Greys- dragoons
1 gun

*note the first few pics are blurry but they get better as you go...

The battlefield...
the village of Burnt is just off the lower left. The Royalists are deployed on the left, the Roundheads on the right

Royalist starting positions

Parliamentarian starting positions

overview of Burnt Commons

Royalist horse

enjoying superior numbers in horse, Lord Goring throws the first blow...

a false sighting of horse on the Parliamentarian flank causes a moment of indecision....Waller orders Haselrigg to move to the left...the order is misinterpreted and the Lobsters fall back just at the moment the Royalist charge begins (you can just see the tails of the retreating Lobsters at the lower right of the pic.)
meanwhile Yester's Scottish foot already formed up to defend against cavalry, loose a volley...

Haselrigg quickly reacts and gets his horse about faced to counter Goring's charge. Here they fire pistols before coming into contact....

a fierce melee develops and eventually the heavily armed lobsters turn back the Royalsit charge....

Cannon posted near a farm on the Parliamentary right flank, screened by Col. Okeys dragoons

the foot move forward and a musketry battle ensues...

the Tower Hamlets regiment suffer heavily from well aimed volleys from Newcastle's whitecoats...
Yester's Scots move up to reinforce the hardpressed Parliamentarian line...

The Royalist battleline shrouded in thick clouds of musketry smoke..

the advance of Parliamentary foot becomes disorganized and each regiment is forced to fight its own battle....

Essex's horse make a spirited charge on the whitecoats...

...and pushback the foot despite heavy losses...

Meanwhile the Royalists recover from their initial failure and their horse returns to catch Yester's Scots disorganized and unable to form a defensive pikeblock...

as night begins to fall...the Parliamentarians are still holding on grimly...after six grueling scale hours (24 turns...3 hours actual playing time) the battle ends in a draw but the Royalists hold the field and are able to make their escape north unmolested...

next up:
the prior day's cavalry skirmish!


Fitz-Badger said...

Excellent and enjoyable report! I like the "hand-drawn" map and the other maps and pics. :)

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Nice figures and nice terrain...good job!!

PS. Have you considered a tripod??

littlejohn said...


Yes I've got one but sometimes it winds up on the other side of town on gaming day...My gaming space is in the back room of my wife's yarn shop...(an amusing situation to say the least)

These pics were shot with a cellphone camera (ouch...) so quality is pretty low. Next battle I promise good pics :)

Bluebear Jeff said...

Somehow I missed this when originally published. Your reference from your newest post pointed me in its direction.

Thank you for a very nice battle report and photos of your brave fellows. Please let us enjoy more such accounts.

-- Jeff

tidders said...

Nice battle report. A hard fought engagement. Darn those lobsters !

-- Allan

Keith Flint said...

Hi, I've been combing through your posts recently as you seem to have an excellent eye for a good scenario. As soon as I saw the map for this one I knew it would be good for any horse and musket period, so I want to try it out for a Black Powder SYW game.

Once again, can I have your permission to show the map on my blog, duly acknowledged?

Cheers, Keith.

littlejohn said...

Glad the scenarios are of interest. You can always assume that anything I put up on the blog can be freely used by others to further their games. I do appreciate the mention when you do since it brings more readers to the party...again Thanks!

Keith Flint said...