Saturday 17 December 2022

Remote Game - Battle of Auberoche, 1345

This week I was able to host a remote war game with Jon of Palouse Wargaming Journal. This was a great pick up for me, as the previous weekend I had caught Covid-19 and had spent this week recovering. Fortunately the scenario - the Battle or Auberoche, 1345 - had been planned and written up prior to becoming ill.


A French force of 7,000 is besieging the castle of Auberoche held by a small Anglo-Gascon garrison. The French encampment was divided in two, with the majority of the soldiers camped close to the river between the castle and village, while a smaller force was situated to prevent any relief attempts from the north.

Warned of the siege, the Earl of Derby gathered a force of 1,500 and waited near for reinforcements. As no reinforcements had arrived by October 20th Derby called a council of his officers. It was decided that rather than wait and lose the advantage of surprise, the army would attack immediately and attempt to overrun the main French camp.

Map from “Wargaming Ancient and Medieval Periods” by Donald Featherstone

The attack was launched just as the French were having their evening meal. Complete surprise was achieved. The longbowmen shot from the treeline into the tightly packed French camp. While the French were confused and distracted by this attack from the west, Derby made a cavalry charge with his 400 men-at-arms from the south. The French although superior in numbers were struggling to get into their armour and organise a defence.

The castle garrison realised the position of the French troops and sallied forth with all their mounted men and attacked. This unexpected attack on the French rear caused their defence to collapse and they routed.

The Game

The game is based upon scenario 22 “Ambush” from One-Hours Wargames by Neil Thomas, which is based upon the battle, is played on a 4 by 5 foot area. The tabletop area is dictated by the camera and the amount of tabletop it can cover.

This is the tabletop setup from an earlier game, and if you are now wondering why is he using photos from earlier games? Yes, I forgot to take photos again! Well I took one photo, and improvement on previous games.

Order of Battle…


French -  all units must be deployed within 6” of the two tents in a disordered state. 4 units must be positioned within 6” of the west tent.

Anglo-Gascon - One mounted men at arms units is positioned in the castle, while all other units are deployed having just moved out of the woods. The two mounted men at arms with a commander are positioned in the clearing to the south of the woods.

The scenario map showing deployment areas

Special Rules…

Castle - Cannot be attacked and the garrison cannot sally forth until the turn 6.

Surprise - No French unit can activate until turn 3.

Derby’s Charge - The mounted men at arms unit cannot move until turn 3.

Game Length…

15 Turns. The Anglo-Gascon army starts the turn.


The Anglo-Gascon force must defeat the French by reducing their army to less than 2 units. Failure to do this will constitute a French victory.

The Game Report…

Jon chose the French force and positioned his mounted men at arms furthest away from the woods. While most of the levy units (representing men unable to get their armour) were positioned nearest the woods and castle.

The Anglo-Gascon force having emerged from the woods spent their first 3 turns shooting at the French, quickly eliminating two levy units. Jon started to organise a defensive line of crossbow men and men at arms, while his mounted men at arms moved towards his southern flank.

The Anglo-Gascon bowmen pushed forward and the Earl of Derby’s mounted force charged forward into the hastily gathered French defensive line. The situation for the French was looking rather bleak.

The French position started to stabilise and Jon was able to get his mounted forces engaged in the battle. About the same time a mounted force sallied forth from the castle into the waiting levy. It was around this time the French mounted men at arms started to gain the upper hand and the Earl of Derby fell and was carried from the field of battle.

The castle’s mounted force had by now disposed of the levy, exposing the French rear to attack. The lack of Derby’s command meant the attacking Anglo-Gascon units began to lack motivation (it was harder to activate them after the loss of their commander) not that any French victory was assured. The French defensive line was rather thin and retiring in the face of the bowmen. All their hopes were pinned on their remaining mounted unit which was starting to charge into the bowmen with devastating effect.

The Anglo-Gascon force failed a number of activations and they missed opportunities to follow up on the weak French defensive line. The French seized their opportunity and their mounted unit, lead by their commander, routed the bowmen and the battle was over.


A thoroughly enjoyable game to participate in. One in which I thought I had victory in the bag early on, but Jon was able to muster and steady his troops into a defensive line, then use his mounted units very effectively to turn the game around. A well deserved victory to Jon.

It is an interesting ambush scenario (#22) from One-Hour Wargames. It is a scenario I have overlooked for a long time as I thought it would not be interesting, but having now played it a few times, all medieval mind you, it never ceases to give a good game.


  1. This was an excellent game, Peter. I thought my French were done for almost before the battle began. By turn three, as you were removing destroyed French levy units before the French had moved a muscle, the situation looked bleak. Fighting a delaying action on the French right while getting the French cavalry engaged on the left ultimately proved a successful strategy. The French left held out long enough to allow the cavalry to turn the English flank and win the battle. The outcome hung in the balance to the very end.

    Great game and great fun!

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Jon. It was a very exciting game as the balance of the game started to swing to the French and slip away from the Anglo-Gascon force.

  2. Good to see a Thomas game giving such a good outing. You have to love the Featherstone type maps …. Is that just a nostalgia thing? I played the ambush game as a WWII game and it fell short of the excitement that your medieval setting gave …. Will re-look at that scenario now :-)

    1. It would be interesting to try the scenario with a few more periods, so far I have just used the medieval period.

  3. Great looking game and table Peter. I can see you have your new castle and siege equipment on the battlefield. They look great!

    1. Thanks, it was a good opportunity to get the castle and siege equipment on to the tabletop.

  4. Aah ... the curse of having too much fun and forgetting to take photos. We've all been there! :-D

    Regards, Chris.

  5. Memory aids:
    1. Write something on the cards - perhaps something on the back like: 'Did you remember to take a photo of the last turn before leaving the table?'.
    2. Make it the responsibility of the free player i.e., the remote one with no game handling duties.
    3. Reinforce '2.' above with a penalty. If it's realized a photo opportunity was missed one unit of the host's choice takes a 'hit'.
    Perhaps the third is not quite in the right spirit but you deserve some help for hosting such fun games.

  6. I may have accidentally been anonymous.
    PS suggestion '2' assumed the cards go face down into a discard pile after use.

    1. I will have to make up some cards for the turns and reminders.

  7. Great report, Peter…and the link to Jon’s blog is appreciated. His report and the added pics added even more to what was already a very engaging post. Many thanks!

    1. Having photos certainly helps with writing game reports.

  8. A lovely game. I will be trying and blogging the D3 Jacobite rules this week, on a larger scale, on a smaller table... wish me luck!

    1. Thank you. Good luck with your game, I trust it all goes smoothly.