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Battle Scenarios

Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471)

By Kyle Burley

Edward IV had returned to secure his throne from the wily "Kingmaker," Warwick. He had assembled a small force of loyal lords and mercenary troops, landed in England and marched on London. After he had seized London, his brother Clarence joined him with more troops. When he learned that Warwick was amassing a force against him he assembled his army and rode out to join battle with him. This action was critical to the campaign because it enabled the interception of Warwick before he could link up with Margaret and her army coming from France.

On the night preceding the battle a fog set in and armies deployed closer than they knew. Warwick attempted to disrupt the Yorkists with and artillery bombardment through the night, but the Yorkists had taken up positions under the range of the guns and waited until the morning. Because of the fog some believe that the armies formed at almost right angles to each other. This seems unlikely given the command structure of medieval armies. I believe the armies formed up their "battles," unwittingly overlapping each other, resulting in turning movements on both wings when the troops met.

Sources available to assist in determining army composition in this battle give a wide variety of troop numbers. Lancastrians are said to have had 20,000 troops, yet range from 10,000 to 30,000. Yorkists are said to have had 7,000 troops, but most historians agree that this is suspect, the numbers being lowered to enhance Edward's heroic image. It is likely that their troop strength ranged up to 12,000 at a high. What is known is that the Lancastrians did have a larger force that was somewhat short on lesser lords who had flocked to Edward IV. The Yorkists has a contingent of up to 1,500 Burgundian supplied Flemish mercenaries. Warkworth says that 300 of these were handgunners. It is likely that the rest were pike or heavy foot. To determine the Army proportions for this battle I decided to go with percentages instead of trying to be accurate to the hundredth man. Most sources are similar in giving the Yorkists approximately 70% of the Lancastrian strength so I believe a 4:3 ratio is appropriate so that the scenario remains balanced and playable. For those who are interested I came up with an average troop figure of 13,333 for the Lancastrians and 9,333 for the Yorkists based upon reasonable numbers available.

The Armies

For this scenario each player uses a Wars of the Roses English army (DBA 179) as a "battle" commander for either the Lancastrians or the Yorkists. The Lancastrian army, under Warwick the "Kingmaker," has four "battles." The commanders for the Lancastrians are Warwick, Montagu, Oxford, and Exeter. The Yorkist army, commanded by Edward IV, has three battles. The Yorkist battle commanders are Edward, Gloucester, and Hastings.

Each of the 12 element armies should be constituted from the DBA 1.1 lists while adhering to the following conventions:

  1. No army/battle may exceed the mandatory 4 Bd stipulated in the army list. The 2 remaining elements able to be chosen must be either Bw or Ax.

  2. The Lancastrian armies may only use Art from the 1x 2 Ps or Art choice, this represents the artillery train used and owned by Warwick.

  3. The Yorkist armies may only use Ps from the 1x 2 Ps or Art choice. This represents the 500 Flemish mercenary handgunners in the Yorkist army.

  4. Four Yorkist Bd elements are replaced by 4 Pk elements to account for the remaining 1,000 + Burgundian supplied Flemish mercenaries.

  5. Edward's element is given an additional +1 modifier to its combat value, replicating Edward's personal superior skill and energy in battle.

Deployment

The Battle of Barnet took place in an all-encompassing fog that caused mass confusion. It is fitting that scenario players try to emulate this command and control difficulty despite the total visibility that tabletop generals enjoy. A screen should be set up between the Lancastrian and Yorkist forces during deployment.

Players set up simultaneously. Each army/battle must have its front edge within four inches of the screen. Rear elements of each forward battle may not exceed 8" from the screen. The fourth Lancastrian battle must be echeloned behind a forward battle for its initial deployment. Commanders may set up historically, or may alter the deployment as they see fit.

Historical deployment had Oxford on the Lancatrian right, Montagu in the center, and Exeter on the left, with Warwick in the center behind his brother. The Yorkist army was arrayed with Hastings on the Left, Edward in the center with a small reserve (likely mounted), and Richard the Duke of Gloucester on the right.

The Battle

During the battle Edward again displayed his unsurpassed skills as a warrior, personally wading into the fight. Oxford broke Hastings battle and his troops seized upon the Yorkist trains but as he gathered his troops back his star was mistaken as Edward's sun creating confusion and cries of "Treason!" Warwick killed Montagu, his own brother on the field because it became apparent that the young marquis was to declare for Edward. Young Gloucester distinguished himself in his first battle against Exeter- another great warrior to fall that Easter Day. Warwick was cut down while trying to flee. Oxford was able to escape to Scotland and returned to fight for Henry Tudor against Gloucester, Richard III.

Victory Conditions

Each army/battle is broken per normal DBA. Each army/battle flees if its general is killed. The Yorkists win if two Lancastrian armies/battles are broken or if two generals are killed. The Lancastrians win if two Yorkist battles are broken or Edward's element is destroyed.

Special Rules

This scenario should be easily converted to the big battle rules that may come out in version 2.0.

Game Map (ASCII)

Table dimensions for this game should be 3" x 6" to provide battlespace.

======================= Lancastrian Baseline ==========================
. ^   . . . . . . . . . . . .R. . . . . R . . . M M M M M M M M M M M .
. N . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . R . . M M M M M M M M M M M . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .R. . . .R  . . .M M M M M M M M M M M  .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . R . . . . M M M M M M M M M M . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . .R. . . . . . . .M M M M M M M  . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .R. R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R r r r r r . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . r r r r r r r r r r . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r r r
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . f # # . . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . # f f f . . . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . f # . . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . . . . . . f f . . .
. . . . . # f . . . . . . . . R . . . . . . . . . # # # # # # # f f . .
. . . . . . . f . . . . . B R B . . . . . . . . # # # # # # # # # . . .
=========================== Yorkist Baseline =========================

SCALE: The space between each dot/letter is two inches.	

TERRAIN KEY:
Underline= screen set for deployment
.=Good Going (Good Going)
#=Rough/Broken Ground (Bad Going)
f=Light Wood (Bad Going)
R=Main road 
r=Secondary road
M=Marsh/Bog (Bad Going)
B=Built Up Area (Barnet)

The marsh in the north-east corner of the table was known as "Dead-Man's Bottom."

Background Resources

"Blind Man's Buff" by Richard Andrews, Miniature Wargames, August 1993.

The Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury, P.W. Hammond.

Chronicle excerpt, John Warkworth.

Gamer Feedback

Comments are welcome at burley6@hotmail.com.


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Last Update: Jan. 4, 2001

My thanks to Kyle Burley for this scenario. Gamer feedback is welcome. Send comments to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.