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  • Random Shots
    was held by contemporaries is demonstrated by the crossbowmen s higher pay the longbow must always have a great advantage in rapidity of discharge over the arbalest crossbow 1 This is usually held to be between 3 and 6 to one in the bow s favour So it might be assumed that more arrows than quarrels per man would be needed for a campaign Additionally longbow arrows at the time were 8 for a penny The same penny would only buy 3 crossbow bolts Despite this difference in cost and apparent difference in requirement at the outset of the 1277 campaign the same 100 rounds per man were actually ordered Nor was this arrangement changed as a result of experience in the field In subsequent campaigns this parity was always maintained It is unsafe to draw the conclusion from this that actual expenditure of ammunition during a campaign for the longbow and crossbow was the same For one thing our records for re supply of ammunition during the campaign are incomplete On the other hand the same provision seems to have been made year on year So at least the inference must be there that under campaign conditions ammunition expenditure for longbows and crossbows was similar This does not call into question the theoretical difference in rate of discharge between the two weapons However it does suggest that under campaign conditions this difference was not an overall factor The comparative costs of longbow and crossbow is also interesting In the 13 th century crossbows cost between 3s and 7s each dependent on size and complexity At the same time longbows cost between 1s and 1 6d dependent on quality of wood used It is usually claimed that the development of the longbow as the national weapon of the English was

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/CBs&Arrows.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • New Page 1
    Roman Army 307 425AD classified largely as Regular it is difficult to escape from the notion of an Army very much like our modern day regular armies with all the associated images of parade grounds discipline uniform command structures uniforms and equipment etc etc And herein lies the problem The reality of the Late Roman Army was probably as far removed from our modern day institution as may be imaginable Using the term Regular as a key for comparison to say well it had some similarities to our modern Army which may be useful starting points to understanding is all very well but allowing the impression to persist that the two were in substantive form the same but with different technologies is entirely misleading Late Roman Infantry from Old Glory There is no suggestion that Richard and Phil had this intention However it s the almost inevitable consequence of using the terms in drawing out the contrasts they wanted to illustrate Not only does it lead the uninformed or unwary reader player into making unwarranted assumptions but it has also led the authors themselves perhaps into following the implications of the terminology and ascribing behaviour to regulars or irregulars which is not always appropriate There are two points which follow from the above One is an examination of our assumptions about the nature of so called Regular troops in the pre modern world And my thoughts focus particularly here on the Dark Ages and especially the Late Roman Army itself perhaps a misleading term Secondly is there a useful alternative to the classification Regular or Irregular I hope that this beginning will stimulate discussion on both topics As for my views on the Late Roman Army I will limit comment for now to the observation that it was almost certainly

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/Regular.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Battle of Lewes, May 14, 1264
    man on guard This individual lay down under a gorse bush and was caught sound asleep by the first of De Montfort s men who climbed the slope Thus the earl was able to put his whole force in array on the ridge of the Downs before the Royalists had the least idea that he was within two miles of them Simon had spent the previous day and night in distributing his men into corps and assigning the position of each on the march and in battle line a task which as the chroniclers tell us no other man in his raw army was competent to discharge 6 Now he had full leisure to see that his exact intentions were carried out and to settle the smallest details of the marshalling Owing to the disasters at Northampton and Nottingham the barons army was much smaller than might have been raised by the full levy of the party for many of their most important leaders were prisoners in the king s hands 7 The estimate of forty thousand men given by several chroniclers as Simon s force is one of the hopeless and habitual exaggerations of the mediaeval scribe But small though the army was it was divided not into the usual three battles but into four There is no doubt that the fourth which was led by the earl himself was a reserve corps placed behind the others but none of the chroniclers expressly state this fact It can be inferred without any danger of doubt from the circumstance that the three first named battles of Simon s army each engaged with one of the three bodies which formed the king s left right and centre and that the earl s division came later into the fight than the other three As arrayed on the Downs before descending to battle the baronial army was drawn up as follows On the right or southernmost wing were Humphrey de Bohun the eldest son of the Earl of Hereford John de Burgh the grandson of the great Justiciar Hubert de Burgh and De Montfort s two sons Henry and Guy In the centre was Gilbert de Clare the young Earl of Gloucester with John Fitz John and William de Montchensy two of the most vigorous members of the baronial party The third or northern wing was composed of the numerous infantry of the Londoners and of a body of knights commanded by Nicholas de Segrave Henry de Hastings John Giffard and Hervey of Borham The earl s reserve corps lay behind the centre the horsemen in it consisted of his own personal retainers the foot were probably Londoners as they were commanded by Thomas of Pevelsdon an alderman of the city who had always been one of Simon s most sturdy adherents Deployed in this order and probably with the knights of each division in front and the infantry behind Simon s forces halted just as the bell tower of Lewes Priory came in sight to engage for a moment in prayer after a short address from their leaders Scattered over the slope of the Downs were small parties of the grooms of the Royalists grazing their lords horses for forage had failed in Lewes They caught sight of the baronial host as it came down the hill and fled back to the town to rouse their masters Simon s host followed close at their heels leaving on the upper ridge of the hill such small impedimenta as they had brought with them the chief of which was the earl s chariot 8 to which he had bound his great banner after the manner of the Milanese at Legnano or the Yorkshire men at our own Battle of the Standard Inside the carriage were three or four citizens of London whom Simon had arrested for opposing him and was determined to keep in safe custody The banner and baggage were left in charge of a guard of infantry under William le Blound one of the signatories of the agreement for arbitration which had ended so unhappily at Amiens 9 A plan of the battle from The Art of War in the Middle Ages by Sir C Oman The king and his followers had barely mounted and armed and issued from the town of Lewes when they saw the baronial army coming down upon them But they had just time to form up in three battles before the conflict began Knighton informs us that the king had originally organised his troops into four corps like Earl Simon but that the whole of the fourth division had been left behind to garrison Tunbridge so that the Royalists had no reserve 10 Perhaps Henry might have told off other troops to play that part had he been granted time to think But he was completely taken by surprise and considered himself lucky to be able to form any battle order at all His right division was led by his heir Prince Edward who was accompanied by his foreign half uncles William de Valence and Guy de Lusignan as also by the Earl of Warenne and Hugh Bigot the Justiciar The centre was under the command of Richard of Cornwall King of the Romans brother to King Henry with him was his son Edmund and three great Anglo Scottish barons Robert de Bruce John Baliol and John Comyn who had come to join the Royalists with a large body of light armed infantry from north of Tweed In this division also were John Fitz Alan and Henry de Percy The left or southern wing was commanded by the King of England himself under his dragon standard 11 in his company was the Earl of Hereford whose eldest son was serving in the very division of the baronial host which was about to bear down upon his father All accounts agree that the Royalists outnumbered the forces of Simon especially in their array of fully armed knights though

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/Library/ArticlesH/Lewes.html (2016-02-16)
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  • What on Earth is a Strawhead
    introduced to the work of Strawhead a folk group based in the North West of England I can only describe their work as brilliant and exactly what is required by the military enthusiast The use of electronic and traditional instruments allows a rich dramatic presentation of the songs and the voices of the singers reflect a real love of the music Most of their early recordings have now been discontinued but you may still be able to track down copies of these records They include Fortunes of War Marlborough Law Lies Bleeding English Civil War Gentlemen of Fortune Elizabethan Privateers and A New Vintage a compilation containing a superb version of the Burial of Sir John Moore Unfortunately the disease of political correctness blighted the martial career of our gallant band I was actually present at a folk club in Birmingham when the band was told that they would no longer be invited to appear at that venue as their nationalistic repertoire was offensive and unacceptable They had that evening sung a song about Flodden Field and another regretting the passing of Napoleon Hardly surprising then that the band turned their attention to less controversial subjects such as Victorian Broadside Ballads Drinking Songs and the History of Preston All good stuff and well worth the listening to but not really for wargamers Luckily though Strawhead s popularity remained as great as ever amongst the re enactors of the Sealed Knot and this connection led to the production of Songs of the Civil War This anthology available on tape cassette contains both old favourites and a number of new recordings The recordings are accompanied by a book that gives both background information on the songs as well as words and music Many of the songs are modern renditions of contemporary songs

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/Strawhead%20Web.html (2016-02-16)
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  • These were Henry's six Markgraviates and in this way he had militia captains ranked all round his borders, against the intrusive Sclavic element
    on the Marck strenuously doing watch and ward there the post of difficulty of peril and naturally of honour too W hat interested me apart from Carlyle s obvious admiration of Henry was the effect he had on the Military forces under his command weaponshows and drill are kept up and Everywhere the ninth man is to serve as soldier in his Town other eight in the country are to feed and support him This is a man who made things happen militarily He didn t invent the Military system or greatly change it but he made it effective And that s my main point here In the days before truly Regular Armies backed by state arsenals and an effective beaurocracy barracks and printed drill books and all the other things that define a Regular the impact of a Leader on the Army he commanded was all the greater B y the middle of his reign his Army was constantly in service and composed of veterans of a series of successful campaigns This continued into the reign of his son Otto the Great And yet traditionally in Wargaming these men are regarded universally as Irregulars My argument is simply that these Milites Knechte or whatever you wish to call them are likely to have evinced far more the air and behaviour of Regulars than many automatically regarded as Regular because they are part of an Army we have come to think of as being a Regular Army For instance similar contemporary mounted troops of the Byzantine Army Thematic Kavallerioi are generally thought of as Regular despite being described in DBM Army Lists as part time territorial A good general like John Tzimisces might weld them into a formidable and biddable fighting force However under less inspirational leadership the day to day situation they were simply a herd like militia mob Whereas Henry s Milites yes the Wargames despised Bavarians too were a well disciplined higfhly effective Army D rill books which had to be hand written were never universally available and certainly were not standard issue They don t make a Regular Army Nor do uniforms particularly if rarely issued by a State whose beaurocracy has failed like the Later Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire Rhomanioi In the pre printing era periods of efficiency for an Army coincide with the rigorous enforcement of Standards not tokens like the fact that someone wrote a theoretical drill book And these periods are those of the dominance of key individual a General or King Emperor Seven hundred years after Henry the Fowler and John Tzimisces with three hundred years of printing to work with the French Army of Louis XV couldn t agree on a standard drill book never mind carry out consistent drill so how can we expect a Byzantine frontier force say in Italy to opperate in the way prescribed by Leo s Tactica N o Leo the Wise might well have ensured that his Tactica was observed in those areas

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/Library/Articles/Fowler.html (2016-02-16)
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    Wargames Illustrated and sponsor a best wargames display prize We are delighted that Jon has included our shows in this very generous offer and we thank him publicly for that so come on all you World War Two Wargamers we are waiting to hear from you Stage your own product based wargame We are sure that most show organisers would like us make suitable arrangements to place both trader stand and game in close proximity 3 Wargames Clubs Be prepared to stage wargames at shows you are likely to have a great day out However there is much more to just setting up the table and playing the game clubs have a key role in selling the hobby We realise that not every club can have superb quality terrain and figures to stage a game and that fact might put them off appearing in public But clubs should remember that a newcomer seeing just the very best games might well be put off before they even take up the hobby I could never stage a game like that so why bother to start Our view is that there is a place for the less lavish wargame what is more important is the attitude of the players to the crowd of onlookers No matter how good the terrain is made or the figures are painted the game is only a 10 second wonder if the players ignore the onlookers Players should be prepared to answer questions or merely interact with the crowd and above all convey the message that wargaming is not as complex as it first looks and really is fun Wargamers need to remember that to a newcomer the continual need to refer to a rule book is quite off putting as it looks complicated similar to the situation lots of people encounter when faced with the manual of a new gadget they need to be encouraged that this need to refer to rules is not too bad and will diminish as rule familiarity increases So come on wargames clubs stage games at shows the more games staged the more there is for the newcomer to see and the greater the chance that the newcomer will be hooked It has been suggested that one of the best ways of hooking new members is to provide a beginners corner at shows where newcomers can learn the basics of the hobby and get questions answered This is a fine idea but has problems a it is very labour intensive and some show organisers like us might not have the physical resources to handle it and b questions tend to come from things seen live why did you move fire that way rather than thought up in passing As stated earlier our preferred option is for newcomers to learn through seeing games and the more games the better Thus we hope that other traders will follow Jon Sword s lead and give an inducement to clubs to stage games Thanks to local

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/Shows.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Random Shots
    debate the place of fantasy in our hobby Personally I have been wargaming since I was 10 and I remember quite vividly turning up at my local wargames club with my lovingly converted Airfix figures representing armies featured in The Lord of the Rings trilogy of novels As a junior member of the club I was used to the patronising attitude of some of the adult members However I was not prepared for the open hostility my armies stirred up I was told in no uncertain terms that I was a member of a historical club and that there was no place for fairies and dwarves on their hallowed tables So the axemen of Forlong the Fat and the riders of Rohan were packed away in a shirt box to be opened only in the privacy of my own bedroom and then more surreptitiously than a copy of Playboy At the same time however grown ups were playing Napoleonic games in which regiments yes plural of Scots Greys faced whole armies of Old Guard Grenadiers Or New Kingdom Egyptians slugged it out toe to toe with Saxon fyrdmen Surely these games are as much fantasy as anything produced by Games Workshop or my own teenage efforts And how I ask myself could any wargamer read the novels of Robert E Howard and not be inspired to fight grand battles and campaigns based on the tales of Conan and his adversaries Strangely I found that the supposed fuddy duddies of the British Model Soldier Society BMSS Manchester Branch were a lot more open minded and that they gave me encouragement and advice in converting and painting models of wizards and barbarian heroes Perhaps as many of them were collectors of Britain s lead toy soldiers that they were a lot less sensitive about comments concerning playing with toy soldiers than were some of my gaming compatriots As I have grown older I have moved through various stages in my wargaming career I used to be a dedicated competition gamer arguing over every coma in a sentence And I enjoyed that at the time Later I was a total historical gamer refighting famous and obscure actions and trying to convince people that this gave me some great new historical insight on events of the past And I enjoyed that at the time Now I fight the occasional game while sipping at a variety of good wines or fine ales My opponents are friends and the arguments are few and far between but crackers when they do arise And I enjoy this too What I have now come to accept is that I am playing a game like chess or Subbuteo or for that matter Twister Even the accusation of playing with toy soldiers can now be laughed off without reverting back to the defence of models not toys if you please Through all these stages for me the game is the thing I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of pitting myself against another

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/BroadChurch.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • The Battle of Albuera 16th May 1811
    The action was one of utter butchery only the steadfast conduct of the British infantry saving the day for the Allies P J Hawthornthwaite The Napoleonic Source Book British Order of Battle French Order of Battle Spanish Order of Battle Download Army files for Hard Pounding The Battle of Albuera from History of the War in the Peninsular by W E P Napier Pub Original 1835 Constable 1992 Hard Pounding

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/Library/Obats/HardP/Albuera/AlbueraBat.html (2016-02-16)
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