Friday, January 8, 2010

Poitiers 1356, Part 1

Dave, Leo, Ryan and I gathered on December 30, 2009 to play a Medieval Warfare (Saga rules) game based loosely on the battle of Poitiers in 1356. It was Poitiers-ish, let's say.

Leo commanded the French left, consisting of Marshal Audrehem's cavalry wing on the far flank, and the Duke of Bourbon's infantry wing. Dave commanded the French right consisting of the Dauphin Charles' infantry wing and the Comte de Brienne's light infantry wing on the far right. King Jean II had a third main infantry wing in reserve.

On the English side, Ryan commanded the Duke of Warwick's wing on the right, the Black Prince's wing in the center, and yours truly commanded the Duke of Suffolk's wing on the left.

Battle report verbage will be brief, but the pictures are pretty nice...

Initial situation. French on the left, English on the right. In a few instances, small sections of hedge have been placed in front of English longbow units as stand ins for the bases of archer stakes I have not finished yet. The French hand of God is apparently pointing out "I shall smite the English with these". The nit-picker in me cringes to see that in some of the first few pictures in this sequence, the balsa wood sticks noting the boundaries between commands have been left on the table. Ugh.

The French center-left advances, with Marshal Audrehem's mounted men at arms in the distance. Note the Miniature Building Authority castle walls in the background. Why put them on the table? Because they're pretty...

French advancing across the field. Nothing subtle going on here. English bowfire has been fairly effective, but instances of going low on ammo have also been fairly common.

The French are poised. Charges are imminent. Audrehem has begun the assault on the far flank. Note also the wad of paper towel in the town in the distance. This is only of note because it was used to mop up a minor spill of a glass of 1985 Joseph Phelps Insignia. Not that we casually drink 25 year old world class wines with every game, but Leo is an oenophile like myself and was gracious enough to bring a spectacular bottle to the game. It was getting to the end of its storable life, and needed to be drunk. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it... No townspeople drowned, but some did get wet. Good to see those pesky balsa sticks are gone, too.

Audrehem's lead unit smashes into Warwick's flank unit. Tin cans versus bowmen. The longbows inflicted a few hits on the men at arms on the way in, but now it is going to get ugly for the English. Get the second line ready.

Contact! French units come crashing in across the front line. In the foreground, Brienne's light infantry get cocky and launch an attack on the English flank of longbowmen behind hedges and uphill.

Audrehem's charges, supported by the foot attacks of Bourbon's wing begin to take a toll on Warwick's men. Arrow supply is becoming an issue for the English as well as a key unit has run out completely. A large block of French pavisier spears and more mounted men at arms prepare to introduce themselves.

Bourbon and the Dauphin grinding away at the Black Prince's troops in the center.

Audrehem victorious. English and Spanish ally cavalry in the second line (out of camera view to the right) prepare to throw themselves into the breach. Maybe the French men at arms can be stopped. Or maybe not. A large block of Scottish spearmen look anxiously to their right as two units of French knights pass by.

Brienne's first attack on the right fails. Incredibly effective longbow fire decimates the light infantry attackers. One unit can be seen routing away from combat with the Cheshire longbows (green and white tunics - supposedly one of the earliest known instances of a "uniform" in the west), who have unwisely had to pursue out from behind their hedge (they were required to do so by their lack of orders). They are now facing down a unit of French dismounted men at arms. Oops. Another unit of French peasant archers can be seen retreating in disorder after seeing their friends rout and failing their subsequent morale check.

At this point it was almost 1am so we packed it in for the night, but the game is still set up and will remain so until we are able to finish.
To be continued...


  1. Nice write-up. Very fun night. Your description of the spilled wine made me smile - I can still hear John's gasp of horror.... :-)

  2. Dave, I edited that into the post after it had been out there a little while. I was looking at the pictures more closely, saw the paper towel, and thought it was worth noting for posterity... --E

  3. but one must note fairly... eric's mild reaction was not about further "weathering" of his gaming table, but rather "the horror" of possibly wasting such a rare treasure :-)