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Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:05 am
by Lovejoy
This thread will serve as a kind of info dump for research on my Wars of the Roses project.

The plan thus far is to put together a small skirmish army for Lion Rampant to game this period with Prim. The first Battle of St. Albans, or perhaps part of it, was mentioned as a decent starting point. It was a small battle which ended within 2 hours with a low number of casualties. I've bagged the Yorkists, since my mother's interest in Richard III is one of the reasons I ended up with my first name.

Some wikipedia info in First St. Albans here:- ... _St_Albans

Prior to painting the models, the colour aspects - how to paint them - seem to be the trickiest factor. Details aren't always known, but if there are flag details, supposedly the livery is likely to be in the same colours. But, er, maybe not.

For our plan to game the 1st St. Albans, I need to think in terms of these three Yorkist belligerents.
Livery is bracketed:-
--Duke of York (blue and white)
--Earl of Salisbury (red and black)
--Earl of Warwick (reds, white staff motif ) -

Nice image reference here for First St. Albans -

Here I think Warwick the Kingmaker is raising his visor, red clearly evident on his men. He's addressing the Duke of York, who has his blue liveried banner bearer is beside him. In the distance that seems to be Salisbury's banner.

My command need to look like these three below, the relevant minis from Perry Miniatures.

Broadly speaking these are the colours I need to be thinking about, although there are sub-commanders with their own banners and livery too.

This link has been very useful:- ... y-colours/

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:41 pm
by Primarch
With my own WotR project underway to build a Lancaster force to oppose those filthy Yorkists, I guess we need to discuss some Rules of Engagement.
Lion Rampant seems to be aimed at individually based minis, whereas Hail Caesar is better with multi-based figures. Both methods seem to have some appeal, but for the moment, I have single based my figures for LR. I got some movement trays from 4ground to allow the minis to be used for HC as well. As our forces expand, HC seems to become more of a priority as LR doesn't need many figures. As a largeish skirmish game, LR needs about 12 minis per unit, but again HC looks better the bigger you get. This of course leads to more painting and larger amounts of storage being required.

So, how do you want to proceed with regards to:
Number of minis for a standard sized unit?

My own thoughts were:
LR - 12 minis per unit as suggested, individually based, with movement trays to convert to HC.
HC - 20cm frontage with between 16-20 minis per unit, based to taste.

What do you think?

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:11 am
by Lovejoy
Yep. Sounds good to me on basing and unit size.

And now some unecessary exposition of the thought processes. I definitely have it in mind to go round bases initially for these minis. Geared towards LR for starters, with the idea of popping them into round base movement trays later for HC as you've mentioned (actually, the trays could even be useful for bigger LR games, as the Towton game I saw using LR rules seemed to be utilising war of the ring trays).

Looking at the 4ground bases, it seems they do trays with 4 x 2 round slots of the same general type...


..sorta thing.

Since they hold 25mm round bases, The frontage for each tray is a tiny bit over 10cm, which is fine by me if it is for you. 2 movement trays side by side will make a frontage of about 20cm as suggested, holding 2 x 8 minis total, 16 minis for each unit. Sounds doable. Is that flexible enough, or would smaller trays of 4x4 bases be better? Assuming they can be found..

As the project slowly expands, I may base some rank and file minis on their own dedicated, square HC bases (40mmx40mm) of the type victrix do. For a 20cm frontage that'll require 5 of that sort.

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:35 am
by Primarch
Two 4x2 trays side by side works for me. That gives us the flexibility to play both systems, plus individually based minis are easier to store/transport in cases.

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 6:07 am
by Primarch
Just got through reading a very long thread on the Lead Adventure Forum about WotR army composition. ... ic=59060.0
In summary, no one is really sure how armies were assembled, deployed and fought, but it is generally accepted that bowmen outnumbered everything else and that heavy cavalry were a rare sight.
It looks like the armies can be divided into Household/Retinue troops (Men at Arms, (dis)Mounted Archers, maybe armoured Billmen, all in Livery), Levy troops (Archers and Billmen, with some wearing Livery, either a Lord's or a City's) and Mercenaries (French for Lancs, Burgundy for Yorks, made up of Crossbows, Handguns and Pikes, maybe wearing Livery). Retinue troops were the best, Levy the worst and Mercs were a mixed bag.

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:49 am
by Lovejoy
It's going to be interesting to work it out, that's for sure. At this stage, I know only a little- I know about fighting forces being organised into three battles. And I've read conflicting reports about cavalry - some saying it wasn't used much in battle, mostly as a means of getting to it - and that dismounting and fighting on foot was the thing. But I am sure the Alison Weir book I've just started on the wars disagrees. I read a quotation elsewhere stating that "in foot soldiers is all the trust", so I'm going with that concept.

My Osprey on Men-at-arms of the period seems to suggest that archers overwhelmingly comprised the majority of any forces at this time. Something like 9-10 archers for any other kind of fighting man wouldn't be that peculiar.
(Pg 17 of said Osprey has a 1471 lst of totals and categories of combatants for the English army of Edward IV bound for France, it mentions 192 commanders, 1,278 men at arms and 10,173 archers.. Which seems nuts. Ratios of archers to men at arms are also given throughout the army).

However, I seem to remember now that "archer" could sometimes describe other kinds of troops in these lists.
This is partly the top of my head though. Sounds basically like the opinions you've been reading however.

I'll write up some more concrete conclusions in this thread as I find them, especially when they pertain to St. Albans.

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:05 am
by Primarch
A couple of points brought up in the forum I linked above:
First of all, most of the records of troops recruited are for overseas campaigns, mainly in France, where the lords sponsoring the companies had time to pick and choose the best men with the best equipment. This led to a much higher ratio of bowmen to anything else as they made good scouts when mounted, could garrison castles, were cheaper than fully equipped men at arms and due to the strength required to string and draw a bow, were fairly tough guys to boot. During the WotR when both sides were hurridly recruiting from the same pool of recruits, the ratio of bows to the less desirable billmen may not be quite as high. Also, except for a very few exceptions, (Towton and the blizzard blowing towards the Lancs force, for example), archery duels were usually indecisive. After a short period, the bowmen had shot their bundles and the melee started.
The second point raised is that a game with 10 shooting units on either side and 1 melee unit may be a tad boring. While no exact ratio will ever apply due to a lack of historical records, suggestions thrown about include 7:4:1:1 - Bows, Bills, Cavalry (light), Men at Arms. Each Battle would contain a mix of Retinue, Levy and maybe Mercenary types, from one or more households. Since even the experts in the field can offer no more than a 'best guess,' I'd like to advocate a balanced approach for our forces.

As for 1st St. Albans, since neither side were actually expecting a real battle to occur, perhaps we should simply rate all/most of the forces as Retinue troops? In the long run, Levy and Mercenary units may become a priority, but I really don't see much of the former or any of the latter being present right from the start.

That's my two pence worth anyway. I'm mainly looking over wargaming blogs/forums to see what others have done, so if you feel that something I have said doesn't match up with what you have read for yourself, please feel free to say so. :D

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:32 am
by Lovejoy
Cheers for the information. Yep, there's a line to be drawn regarding accuracy and fun for gaming purposes. 90% archers wouldn't provide much in the way of the latter, so those ratios look better for an interesting game. I'll give the thread a proper look over.

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 1:31 pm
by Lovejoy
The thread is very interesting. I haven't made it all the way through quite yet, and it brings up as many questions as it answers. No one quite seems to agree, but its food for thought.

I considered the 7:4:1:1 ratio, I like this - and worked it out in percentage terms (rounding up or down slightly) for simplicity's sake and it results in something like:-
Archers 50%, Billmen 30%, (light) Cavalry 10%, Men at Arms 10%,
..of model count rather than points value, obviously.

For the Late English 24 point LR list in the book this sort of fits as is. There are 42 models in it.

Men-at-Arms (Foot Men at Arms)- 6 models, 6pts
Archers (Expert Archers) 12 models, 6pts
Archers (Expert Archers) 12 models, 6pts
Billmen (Expert Foot Serjeants) - 12 models,

And going by 42 models, the ratio percentages above would suggest that the list should have at least 21 archers, 12.6 billmen, 4.2 men at arms, 4.2 cavalry. It's very close to matching that bar the cavalry, and will do for me.

I think I'll be removing the mounted troops from my originally posted list idea of a Warwick force, and adding the foot men at arms as above.
This seems like a better plan, especially since Warwick will be the leader, and was known for his (foolhardy) penchant for leading his men on foot.
If our game concentrates only on the skirmishing in the streets/market square of St Albans do you think this might make better sense for the scale of our game? We can always expand to the larger spectacle later.
Warwick had the central battle. The other battles on the left and right were being kept busy by the Lancastrians, while some of his men under Robert Ogle (600 archers are mentioned) were able to slip through a dirt road and back gardens into the center of the town. Focusing on a part of the skirmish means I would only have to paint Warwick colours for now, and still remain historical :D Less terrain too...

Re: Lovejoy's Wars of the Roses Notes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:06 pm
by Primarch
That list is pretty much identical to what I had in mind. I have a handful of buildings for the period, so a smaller scale game works best for me too.