Tuesday, 12 March 2019

ECW Campaign game 18

The Battle of Ponderbridge, July 1644, has a smaller Royalist force facing a larger Parliamentarian force. Being the smaller force the Royalists their commander chooses the tabletop edge to defend.

Parliamentarian units push across the bridge
Initial deployments
The Royalist plan was to move forward and attack Parliamentarian units as they crossed the bridge. Their cavalry was positioned on their right flank upon Wanderer's Hill, while their main infantry force was astride the main Ponderbridge Road.

Parliament mirrored these deployments, hoping the cavalry would neutralise their Royalist counterparts, and their larger infantry force would be able to force a crossing and defeat the main Royalist body before taking Ponderbridge hamlet.

Forces are deployed
The battle began early morning on a somewhat overcast July day, which from a wargaming perspective means the game will end after 12 turns.

Parliament's commander wasted no time and started to march is forces across the West and East bridges.
East bridge on the Ponderbridge Road
Royalist cavalry prepare to charge Parliamentarian cavalry as the cross the West bridge
During the course of the battle Parliament continued to push units across both bridges. Royalist cavalry mounted charge after charge to stymie Parliament's plans at the West bridge. While at the East bridge Parliament was having a better time of it, and it was looking like they would break through the containing Royalist defenders. However, the arrival of a cavalry unit was sufficient to swing momentum in favour of the defenders.

One of many charges by Royalist cavalry which held Parliament forces at bay
Parliament beginning to gain a good foothold across the river
A cavalry unit can be seen moving across to support forces containing the Eastern bridgehead.
As the day began to draw to a close both forces were engaged in a push of pike. Encouraged by the appearance of their cavalry Royalist infantry sprits lifted and they pushed back Parliament units which hastily retired.

Royalist infantry, supported by cavalry, begin a push of pike with those Parliamentarian infantry which have successfully crossed the East bridge.
A Royalist victory and most enjoyable game! And a somewhat unexpected victory when looking at the starting order of battle. Their battle plans came to fruition with the cavalry successfully holding off Parliament at the West bridge. While their infantry after initially crowding Parliament's infantry as they tried to cross the East bridge, finally pushed them back with push of pike.

Thoughts on the game...

1) Split forces limited the number of activations which is determined by the number of units a commander can see within 12 inches. This rule mechanism is aimed at limiting the level of coordinated attacks and hampered both sides throughout the game.

2) I modified the artillery shooting rule which no longer runs out of ammunition, but shoots now with D3-2 at ranges greater than half range and D3-1 at less than half range. If engaged in melee artillery are eliminated. I just need to update the rules and try out in future games.


  1. Like the split forces rule and the down and dirty troops eye view picture at the post start.
    Nice one.

    1. Thank you. The activation rule works well for me. During the game some thought is required where to position the commander and not let them get too isolated.

  2. Given the battle deployments, a Royalist victory is not so surprising. With the smaller, Royalist army holding both bridges, the Roundheads would have a tough time breaching the river line. I missed in the previous post that the river was unfordable. That makes a big difference in strategy. Good looking game!

    1. The unfordable river certainly did help the Royalist cause. I forgot to clarify that in the game setup.

  3. A good show for the forces of the King, which were able to use the bottle neck caused by the bridges to negate their disadvantage in numbers!

    1. Certainly was a good show. There was I thinking 1644 would be a difficult year for the Royalists, but they keep getting these victories.

  4. Always good when a game's end is not certain till it comes.