Saturday, 26 October 2019

ECW Campaign - Battle of Yaxley

The campaign battle for October 1645 has a Royalist army holding the village of Yaxley. Their advance into the East Midland region has been blocked by a larger Parliamentarian army.

Royalist Horse Units
Royalist forces had positioned their foot and dragoons in and around the village of Yaxley, a strong defensive centre position. The Parliamentarian commander knew the Royalists had a strong contingent of Horse which were yet to be deployed, and decided to position all his Horse (including some Lobsters) on his left flank. A third of his Foot units were positioned on his right flank to block any surprise cavalry attacks coming around the wood. The remaining Foot units and artillery were positioned in the centre opposite Yaxley village.

The deployment approach used for these games has the smaller defending force deploy half their units first. The larger attacking force deploys all their units in one go. Then the defending force deploys all their remaining units. This approach caused the Parliamentarian commander to consider his flank deployments carefully with such a large cavalry contingent unaccounted for.

Map of deployment
View of the tabletop with armies deployed
Royalist cavalry arrived mid-morning and the Royalist commander opened the battle by pushing forward his dragoons to harass Parliament's artillery. This quickly provoked is opponent to respond and move his line forward, and have the right flank advance along the woods to push back the dragoons. That was about all for the opening moves, other than Parliament's artillery bombarding Yaxley and its defenders with limited results.

Parliament's force advances
Artillery bombardment of Yaxley and forcing back Royalist dragoons in the early stages of the game.
As noon approached Parliament pushed forward their dragoons on the left flank and prepared for an attack on Yaxley. As they advanced in the centre and engaged in musketry, their cavalry also moved forward to protect their flanks. The large Royalist cavalry quickly counterattacked and a large cavalry melee ensued between Yaxley village and the fields.

Dragoons move into the fields 
The battle quickly escalates with the attack on Yaxley village and cavalry melee
Both sides prepare to move in their reserves. While dragoons n the fields become a nuisance for Royalist cavalry.
The battle was taking its toll and by mid-afternoon both sides had committed all reserves. There was little either commander can do but hope their opposition breaks first. The Royalist cavalry looked like they may make a breakthrough, but for a dashing officer in Parliament's cavalry who successfully rallied their units. By late afternoon Royalist resolve failed and Parliament gained the slimmest of victories.
All reserves are committed
Parliament's cavalry hold and the Royalist's chance of achieving victory dissipates.
The campaign cards drawn for this battle did have an influence. The Royalist commander would rightly be frustrated having given up a unit to help quell a clubman raising. Then being denied a cavalry breakthrough, and likely victory, by a dashing officer card played by their opponent which halved the hits of a cavalry unit.

Battle movements
This was an important win game for Parliament who exit 1645 with the loss of one region. Without a victory here they would have lost two regions. The campaign now moves into 1646.


  1. Phew! That was close! A nice use of a card to add character to the game and overcome a poor run of luck. Time for Parliament to go on eth offensive now and strike while the iron is hot.

    1. It certainly was a close run thing. Parliament now have the opportunity to regroup over winter and prepare for 1646.

  2. Fortune was not a Royalist on this day. All seemed to conspire against a victory for the King. Great battle report.

    1. I went into the game expecting a Parliamentarian win, but the Royalists had a good defensive position and fought well.

  3. well balanced, the sort of game that makes for a good replay.

  4. I've really enjoyed following your ECW campaign. Do you have the campaign rules printed?

    1. Thank you. Alas, I have not pulled the rules together in a document. They are put up as posts. The opening campaign rules were posted in September 2018 covering 1642, then the rules for 1643 and onwards with the marching armies were posted December 2018.

  5. Hurrah for Parliament! A timely victory with more to follow (I hope!)
    Another great looking game Peter.

    1. Thank you. Parliament will hope this will turn more success in 1646.