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Agincourt in 11

Page history last edited by Rob Brennan 10 years, 11 months ago

Agincourt a scenario for DBMM 1.1

 

The following write up covers a solitaire "Reenactment" of the Battle of Agincourt done as a playtest of DBMM 1.1.  The Reenactment used the following scenario:

 

Agincourt in 25mm

 

Ground Scale:                    80 paces = roughly 50 yards

Element Scale:                  200 men per element (four rows of fifty men - tighter packed Spear elements may represent more men)

 

The Battlefield:

 

                The Reenactment was conducted on a 4X8 table.  Along each flank were placed thick woods with Agincourt castle occupying part of the right side.  The two woods were about a yard apart where the English deployed increasing to about four feet apart toward the end of the table.

 

The armies:

 

                The armies were drawn from my large collection of 25mm figures and loosely based on the proposed DBMM Book 4 lists.  Due to their size, especially the French, maximum troop limits often had to be exceeded.

 

The French Army

 

                "[O]n the feast of Sts Crispin and Crispinian,...the French arrayed themselves in battle-lines....and took up position in fornt of us in that field, called the field of Agincourt... And they placed squadrons of cavalry, many hundreds strong , on each flank of the vanguard, to break the formation and resistance of our archers.  And their vanguard was composed of dismounted men drawn from all their nobles and the pick of their forces ... Their rearguard ..., however, were all mounted as if more ready to flee than tarry..."

                              

                                                                       

                                                                                                The English Cleric (1417)

 

Van Command

                18           Ireg Blade(S) 1/w CIC (rated as Inert)

                9              Ireg Sp(O)

                4              Ireg Kn(S)

 

                ME (55 + 2 for abstract "baggage" = 57) Dishearten 15/Break 19/Shatter 29

                Rear World:  31 elements or about 6000 men

 

                This command represents the French nobility and their retainers who notoriously pushed into the front battle.  The Kn(S) represent the wings of knights with barded horses.  The small number allowed stems from several sources suggesting that though the French had planned for 800-1000 men per wing many were not in position when the charge was launched and may have drifted into the rear battle. 

 

                This command deploys directly opposite the English line exactly 240 paces (Bow range).  The foot deploy in three ranks of 9 elements.  Two ranks of Bl(S) and a rear rank of Sp(O), representing retainers and lesser men at arms presumably pushed to the rear by their betters.  The Knights deploy with 2 elements on each wing.

 

Main Command

                1 Ireg Bl(S) w/Sub

                13 Reg Sp(I)

                8 Reg Bw(O)

 

                ME 25 + 2 baggage = 27/Dishearten 7/Break 10/Shatter 14

                Rear World:  22 elements or about 5000 men

 

                This command represents the contribution of the towns and communes.  In the battle it was neither aggressive or effective so I rated it mostly Reg(I).  Several sources state that the French commanders sent some cross bowmen home just before the battle, these were presumably the less effective Ireg companies.  It could have been the other way around.

 

                This battle deploys 240 paces behind the Van in two ranks of foot with wings of 4 crossbow elements (Bw(O)).

 

Rear Command

                1 Ireg Kn(S) w/Sub

                5 Ireg Kn(O)

                6 Ireg Cav(O)

 

                ME 20 + 2 baggage = 22/Dishearten 6/Break 8/Shatter 12

                Real World:  12 elements or about 2500 men

 

                This command represents the large but totally dormant French Rear battle.  Several sources state the French mounted pages and valets on their dismounted master´s warhorses to increase numbers.  This suggests French numbers could not have been as overwhelming as given in many accounts.  The pages/lesser men at arms are generously rated Cav(O) as per the DBMM lists.

 

                This battle deploys 240 paces behind the Main Battle in two ranks with the Knights in front and the Cav to the rear.  As it was designated as the pursuit force it can spend PIPS only to hold until at least one English battle breaks. 

 

The Camp Raiders

 

                In the real battle a group of (possibly local) knights and peasants raided the English camp.  This may have been by plan or merely opportunistic locals.  The mandatory French Ribald´s are with this force.  In the Reenactment version the raid is handled abstractly by just assuming the English camp is taken on Turn 5.

 

French Army Totals

 

                ME         106; Real World:               about 13,500 men

 

                The real world total reflects the in depth research of Anne Curry into the French archives in an attempt to get a realistic number for the French army.  Other accounts such, as Juliet Baker´s Agincourt, more than double the number of the French.  For both practical and historical reasons I have followed Curry´s beliefs regarding French numbers.

 

The English

            "Meanwhile our king...in view of his want of numbers, he drew up only a single line of battle, placing his vanguard commanded by the Duke of York as a wing on the right, and the rearguard, commanded by Lord Camoys, as a wing on the left; and he positioned bodies of his archers in between each battle, and had them drive in their stakes in front of them."

 

                                                                                    The English Cleric (1417)

 

Lord Camoys Command - the English left (Highest Command die)

                2              Reg Blade(S) 1/w Sub

                8              Reg Bw(S)

 

                ME (14 + 2 for abstract "baggage" = 16) Dishearten 5/Break 6/Shatter 9

                Rear World:  10 elements or about 2000 men

 

                This command deploys on the English left starting at the tree line.  Bowmen are deployed two ranks deep with the outer four Bowmen angled in toward the French.  All Bowmen have deployed stakes.  The Blades are deployed to the right of the Bow, but in one rank.

 

Henry V´s Command - the English center (lowest Command Die)

                2              Reg Blade(S) 1/w CIC (rated as Brilliant)

                8              Reg Bw(S)

 

                ME (14 + 2 for abstract "baggage" = 16) Dishearten 5/Break 6/Shatter 9

                Rear World:  10 elements or about 2000 men

 

                This command deploys in the center just to the right of Camoys Blades.  Bowmen are deployed two ranks deep with four Bowmen on each side of Henry´s Blades.  All Bowmen have deployed stakes.  The Blades are deployed between the Bowmen but in one rank.  For the Reenactment version Henry is assumed to have spent a Brilliant stroke which allowed him to move the entire army forward and replant stakes before the French could react.

 

Duke of York´s Command - English left (Middle Command Die)

                2              Reg Blade(S) 1/w Sub

                8              Reg Bw(S)

 

                ME (14 + 2 for abstract "baggage" = 16) Dishearten 5/Break 6/Shatter 9

                Rear World:  10 elements or about 2000 men

 

                This command deploys on the English right and reaches the tree line.  Bowmen are deployed two ranks deep with the outer four Bowmen angled in toward the French.  All Bowmen have deployed stakes..  The Blades are deployed to the left of the Bow, in one rank and in contact with Henry´s Bowmen.

 

The Plans

 

            "When it came to putting the [French] army into battle formation... each of the leaders claimed for himself the honor of leading the vanguard.  This led to considerable debate and so that there could be some agreement, they came to the rather unfortunate conclusion that they should all place themselves in the front line.  ...Accepting the least wise advice, they formed two other bodies of men who were to follow their lead ..."

 

                                                                        The Religieux of Saint-Denis (1422)

 

 

                The French "plan" was to recreate their original movements and deployments as much as possible.  Hence they formed in a column of battles and waddled forward.  The trick was to do this with M2 mechanics as much as possible.  Giving the large French Van a single Inert commander accomplished this with little need for any special rules.

 

                Whether Henry intended to stand firm in the center and then envelop the French flanks is pure conjecture but I assumed he had read up on Canne and therefore gave his flank commands the high PIP die.  As I wanted the Duke of York to at least potential perish, I gave him only the middle die (alternatively it could be argued that the Duke got stuck in further than any other English battle and this was the cause of his demise - hence he could be given the highest PIP die).  In any case this allocation of PIP die seemed most likely to recreate the events of October 25, 1415.

 

The Reenactment

 

                In order to insure we got Agincourt, Henry was given a scenario special rule "Brilliant Stroke" which allowed him to set up his entire army within 240 paces of the French line and behind stakes.  The outer four archers (two deep) over lapped the deeper but shorter French line.  The outer archers were bent forward to allow flank shooting, but with their flank still mostly covered by the flanking woods.   This made it very difficult for the French to simply run over these archers with men-at-arms. 

 

                The French Van set up opposite, three ranks deep, with the rest of the French battles behind the van.  One important (but often overlooked) feature of the battle, were the French crossbowmen who emerged from the second French battle and went round the flank of the French van to engage (briefly and unsuccessfully) the flanking English archers.  The crossbowmen were deployed on the wings of the second battle such that they could come round the flanks of the van to engage the English.  The final mounted French battle was kept stuck in the rear by scenario special rule.

 

Turn 1

 

            "When the English saw that the French were not advancing on them they moved forward in good order and again made another great cry...Then the archers who were in the meadow also raised a great shout and fired with great vigor on the French."

 

                                                                                    Montrelet (1422)

 

                The battle begins with the English Distant Combat Phase in which the flanking French Knights were recoiled,( in contrast only one French Blade Recoiled).  On their bound the French had only enough PIPs to begin their foot advance and hold one Knight, the rest impetuously stormed forward.  The second French battle began swinging its crossbowmen forward and around the flank of the van to replace the charging Knights.  English shooting killed one Knight and recoiled two more.  English shooting against the Blades causes one to recoil but another to press forward roughly canceling out- a pattern that would be repeated through out the battle.

 

Turn 2

 

 "[T]he archers simultaneously shot arrows against the advancing  knights so that the leading horses were scatted in that great storm of hail...the horses were pieced by iron; the riders turning round by means of their bridles, rushing away, fell to the ground amongst their army."

 

                                                                                    Thomas Walsingham (1418)

 

"Their horses had been so troubled by the arrow shot of the English archers that they could not hold or control them.  As a result the vanguard fell into disorder and countless numbers of men at arms began to fall.  Those on horseback were so afraid of death that they put themselves into flight away from the enemy."

 

                                                                                    Monstrelet (1422)

 

                In their own bound English shooting causes only a couple of recoils (one to foot) but in the French bound an impetuous knight reaches the English stakes and is promptly dispatched, meanwhile English shooting kills another Knight - leaving only one who managed to recoil far enough back to be overtaken by advancing crossbowmen.  Shooting against foot is largely canceled by equal numbers of Press Forwards.

 

Turn 3

 

"[The French nobility] hurled themselves against our men in such a fierce charge as to force them to fall back almost a spear´s length."

 

                                                                                                   The English Cleric (1417)

 

                Desperate English shooting is not enough to keep the French from closing.  Helped by a 6 PIP roll the French close all along the line.  Meanwhile French crossbowmen have now replaced the fallen Knights and begin to engage the English archers.  True to form though the crossbowmen are no match for the English arrow storms and two quickly fall.  But English archers begin to fall to French Blades, leaving Henry´s center Blades as a rock of resistance and the Duke of York´s left flank exposed.

 

Turn 4

 

"[T]he enemy crossbows which were at the back of the men-at-arms and on the flanks, after a first but over-hasty volley by which they did injury to very few, withdrew for fear of our bows."

 

                                                                                                         The English Cleric (1417)

 

                In all the confusion, the lone French Knight now worms back into the battle, striking the Duke of York´s element, both he and a companion Bow succumb, Disheartening his small command (and at least in the Duke´s demise - recreating history).  Henry engages the French CIC in desperate hand to hand combat to hold back the French tide.  Camoy´s archers on the English left badly out shoot the French crossbowmen, killing and recoiling the whole mass - fatally exposing the French right flank. 

 

Turn 5

 

"[M]any of the French left the field in flight.  And soon afterwards, the English archers, seeing the breaking up of the French vanguard, came out from behind their stakes all together and threw down their bows and arrows, taking up their swords, axes and other arms." 

 

                                                                                                                    Monstrelet (1444)

 

                Fueled by high PIPs Camoy´s archers storm across their stakes into the exposed French flank.  Leaderless and Disheartened the Duke of York´s archers can only lumber forward, though they continue to out shoot the crossbows and now begin to pelt the Inferior Spear in the second French battle.  With only 2 PIPs and their CIC stuck in, the French van becomes essentially immobile.  It cannot counter the flanking archers or take advantage of the many holes developing in the English center.

 

                (The planned baggage raid for this turn would have had disastrous effects on the English so is canceled - I did not want the game determined by the "baggage war" rules.  I just assumed Henry used another Brilliant stroke to stiffen his men´s morale against the savage curs who raided a camp guarded but by boys.)

 

Turn 6

                "[The archers] advanced whilst firing at the enemy wounding so many horses on which the French were mounted and men also, killing a good number, so that even before they came to hand to hand fighting, the French turned round and were suffocated in the crush.  ....It was a pitiful sight to see how, once their ranks had been broken, confusion spread amongst the French army , and how many of them tried to save their skins by fleeing."

 

                                                                                                Thomas Basin (1471)

 

                The French Van is effectively frozen by a combination of low PIPs (another 2), a stuck in Inert CIC and the penetrating TZ rules.  The English still have two fully functioning commands including high PIP Camoy who personally leads an attack on the French right now pinned by flanking archers.  Masses of French begin to fall, at last Disheartening the giant French Van!  The Duke of York´s archers manage to both fend off and then riddled the last French Knight with cloth yard shafts to avenge the fallen Duke.

 

    Henry though, desperate to avoid more losses, has his archers fall back when ever possible, but still losses one more to Dishearten his command.  (This was also partially to cut down on overlap shooting which was causing the French to Press Forward into advantages overlaps or contacts.)

 

Turn 7

 

"[T]hen we who were assigned to clerical warfare, upon beholding it, fell upon our faces in veneration before the throne of God, crying out in bitterness of spirit for God still to remember us and the crown of England...to deliver us from this iron furnace and dire death which we had hitherto escaped."

 

                                                                                    The English Cleric (1417)

 

                Now all hangs in the balance, with one last supreme effort the exhausted French Van lurches straight forward in an all out effort to at last break Henry´s battle.  Beset on all sides Henry´s last remaining household knights concentrate around him to ward off impending defeat.  Even as this desperate but ultimately indecisive struggle rages, the war hoops of Camoy´s men at arms and yeoman restore English hope.  Attacking from the flank, Camoy´s men tear off another hunk of the French right - breaking the French Van!

 

                With the second French battle already Disheartened, the combined losses break the French and those who can now quit the field, leaving Henry´s happy few masters of the field.

 

Some Notes:

 

                Overall the scenario preformed as intended and allowed the use of basic DBMM 1.1 mechanics to produce a recreation of Agincourt.  While it´s highly unlikely that any French player would deploy in the manner imposed upon the French for the game, it is very close to the correct historical setup which was just as much a reason for the French defeat as the English arrows.  Certainly in the replay the bad French deployment had a much greater effect than the English shooting.

 

                The scenario makes a decent solitaire game for those with few opponents that would like to plunge into the DBMM 1.1 rules.  One huge auto pilot French command squares off against three small but lively English commands.  My wife, son and two daughters all took turns pushing the French forward, as I demonstrated how to conduct a deft defense with the band of brothers.

 

Some 1.1 notes:

 

                1.1 has made significant changes to the Gradings.  While Phil still has this part of the revision under his hat, I´ll at least mention that currently (S) foot get a +2 when winning from shooting or during own bound (I believe this has leaked out already).  This greatly aided the English archers against the French crossbowmen (the French lost 7 of 8 crossbows and manage to kill only 1 archer).  It also helped against the Kn(S) which got stormed by masses of archers.  Eventually 3 of 4 were lost to shooting and another killed on the stakes (for the loss of 1 English Blade - though it was the Duke of York!)

 

                The +2 had less effect against the French Bl(S) as the Blades also got the +2 and with higher CF tended to win more.  The combination of the shooting from overlap and pressing forward rule made this effect particularly dangerous to the English Bw.  The overlap shooting often allowed a French Blade to press forward into an English archer, turning a -1 overlap into a bad close combat.  I´m not sure the "Agincourt" formation which I used to win National Championships (25mm) in DBM will work in M2.

 

                Next project is to dust off my old Poitiers scenario.  I´ve run a couple of rough draft versions as blind playtests for M2 with my historical group and hope to mount a full version soon.

 

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