Tag Archives: Hundred Years War

Photos from the playtest of Battle of Morlaix for Trial by Battle

Thought it would be fun to post some of the photos here from the playtest I did for the Battle of Morlaix for Trial by Battle. This scenario includes a number of special rules – including pits and ditches that get filled in once crossed – you can see that in the later photos the cardboard ditches have gone! Please note that the collection of miniatures used are not particularly correct for the period – mixture of a number of medieval figures – mostly later Wars of the Roses and some older Citadel figures. All worked fine for the playtest though and shows that a full scale battle can be played in just 3’x3′!

Enjoy!

Battle of Morlaix Deployment
The French begin crossing the stream. The English are deployed behind ditches at the other end of the table.
Battle of Morlaix - French knights have crossed the ditches and charged home on the English archers and men-at-arms
Battle of Morlaix Near the end of the battle – only two units of English archers are left. A second wave of French are about to cross the stream.

Trial by Battle Scenario: Battle of Morlaix

I am working on some additional content for Trial by Battle at the moment. Here’s a sample historical scenario. Hoping to have about half a dozen of these in the next book as well as some additional rules.

You can also download the scenario as a PDF: Morlaix 1342 Scenario

Battle of Morlaix, 1342 

The Battle of Morlaix was fought in Morlaix on 30 September 1342 between the Anglo-Breton and Franco-Breton forces in Brittany. The Anglo-Breton under English command besieged the town, but a Franco-Breton relief force arrived. The English constructed a strong defensive position. After repeated attacks, the French forced the English to retreat into the woods, and the French force then withdrew. 

The English were commanded by William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton. The French by Charles de Blois. The sources are rather sparse for the battle, but what seems to be clear is that the English were alerted to the approach of the French army coming from the east along the road from Lanmeur. The English had time before the French arrived to prepare a defensive position protected by ditches and hidden pits. Their rear was protected by a wood where they also had their camp.  

The French approached the next morning arrayed in three divisions one following the other towards the English. We will call them battles or waves in this scenario. Each of the French waves attacked one at a time and in theory each was large enough on its own to defeat the English. The first wave was probably thrown back before they reached the hidden pits – presumably by arrow fire. The French then held a council of war and decided to attack again. This time they reached the English lines, but the French cavalry was thrown into confusion by the pits and fled with great losses. The third French wave now approached, and the English who were running low on arrows decided to retreat to the woods before they were overwhelmed. The French tried to break into the English defences in the wood, but the position was too strong. The French withdrew and the English did as well under cover of night.  

To recreate the battle as a wargame some additional rules have been introduced, including limited ammunition for the English archers, the English field defences, and the possibility for the English to retreat to the wood.  

Objectives 

The French player’s objective is to defeat the English army in open battle and also to prevent them retreating to the wood.  

The English player wins by either defeating the whole French army (which is much bigger), or by being able to disengage from combat and retreat to the wood behind their position. They can only do this after the French third battle is released to fight.  

Forces 

English Army 

Seven 6” sections of pits 

4 Archer units 

1 Foot Knights unit 

French Army 

6 Mounted Knight units 

2 Archer units 

3 Infantry units 

Organised in Three Battles or Waves of attack. The French player determines before the battle which units are in which Wave. There must be between 3 and 4 units per Wave.  

Battlefield 

Trial by Battle Morlaix

Brook: 

Can be easily crossed but treat as difficult ground.  

Wood: 

Exception to normal rules, can be moved into by English units only once the French 3rd wave enters the battlefield.  

Road: 

No effect on movement 

Deployment 

The English are free to deploy anywhere within their deployment zone on the Battlefield. When deploying pits these must be within the deployment zone.  

The French player enters with each wave from the Eastern table edge from the direction of Lanmeur. Second and Third waves enter the eastern table edge as follows: 

Second Wave: when there is only 1 remaining unit from the first wave. 

Third Wave: When there is only 2 remaining units from the second or first wave.  

First Turn 

French   

Special Rules 

There are a number of special rules in this scenario. 

Ditches and Pits 

Use the new rules for Pits – see below. 

Treated as difficult ground for movement purposes, so half move for all Units. Can either be a linear static defence – such as stakes or an area static defence such as pits or ditches. Area static defences are 6” by 3”.  

Cavalry must also pass a Unit Courage Test to cross the static defences (must roll 7 or less on 2d6, 8 or less if General with them). If failed, they do not break but remain stationary for that Round. They may attempt to cross again next Round or move away. If moving away through area static defences they do not need to pass a test, but their movement is still halved.  

Ditches Filled 

After two waves of attacks some historians believe that the ditches became trampled down and filled with bodies, meaning that their effectiveness as a defence diminished. To represent this, once two French Units have entered and left a 6” section of ditches that terrain item is removed. The French unit can leave of its own accord or be removed through a Unit Courage Test.  

Limited Arrow Supply for English 

6 Turns of shooting allowed. Use a dice next to each Archer unit to track.  

English Retreat to the Woods 

The English may attempt to retreat to the Woods once the French third wave enters the battlefield. 

If they manage to get 3 units into the woods, then they win the battle.  

Duration of the Battle 

Until one or both armies fail an Army Courage Test or until English retreat to the Woods with at least 3 units.  

Victory Conditions 

An army wins when the opposing army fails an Army Courage Test and they do not. If both armies fail an Army Courage Test the battle is a draw. 

The English can also win if they retreat to the Woods with at least 3 units.  

You can also download the scenario as a PDF: Morlaix 1342 Scenario

Hundred Years War Fiction: Stand and Fight

A number of my stories take place during the Hundred Years War between England and France. I thought it might be cool to run a series of blog posts revisiting some of these. So here’s the first of that series of blog posts on Hundred Years War Fiction.

Stand and Fight: A Tale of Richard Stone

Stand and Fight

Montmal Castle, the Duchy of Aquitaine, 1374

A large French army is at the walls of Montmal castle. Bertrand, the Gascon commander of Montmal is ready to surrender despite his vow to defend castle in the name of Edward, Prince of Aquitaine and the eldest son of Edward III of England. Richard Stone, the sole representative of the English government of Aquitaine is horrified at Bertrand’s duplicity. But the French commander has a grudge against Bertrand and will under no terms accept his surrender. There is no choice for the garrison but to stand and fight.

“Stand and Fight” is a short story set during the Hundred Years War between England and France.

Some readers of my work might notice that the main character is Richard Stone, who also features in my Stonehearted series!

Stand and Fight is available at Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk other Amazon sites and Smashwords.

For a free preview of the story you can visit my product page for the book. 

Look out for more blog posts on Hundred Years War fiction soon!

Solo Wargaming: Battle Report Hundred Years War using Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games rules

This is a battle report of a small Hundred Years War skirmish I played with the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games rules. I also tried out one of the simplest of solo wargaming techniques to add a bit of AI to the game.

Solo Wargaming method: Random Deployment

In Donald Featherstone’s Solo Wargaming book he recommends a number of different techniques to create a more interesting challenge for the solo wargaming. I’m going to call this a solo wargaming AI method as shorthand in this and other articles (until I come up with something better!)

One of the simplest methods he recommends is to randomise deployment of each force. You roll a d6 for each unit and that determines where they deploy. The battlefield is split into 5 sections:

  1. Right flank
  2. Right Centre
  3. Centre
  4. Left Centre
  5. Left Flank

Each has a number (1-5). If you roll a 6 then that unit is in reserve. The theory with this method is that a lot of the tactics employed by an army will be determined by it’s deployment. For instance if a lot of units are on a flank or flanks then an envelopment will be a good strategy.

I tried this out with the game I played – and will describe how that worked below.

Middle Earth Strategy Battle Games for Historical Medieval games

I used the fan made Age of Trebuchet rules supplement to enable me to play an historical game using the Middle Earth SBG rules. I know the rules well and I think they are great for skirmish level games – nice and simple but with a lot of tactical decisions to make. I found the Age of Trebuchet supplement easy to use and it gave some flavour of a medieval battle.

Battle Report: Hundred Years War skirmish

I didn’t give the game any historical or fictional background. The forces were roughly equal, but I didn’t work out points. The aim was to use the figures I had available. So from the pictures you may notice that many of them are Wars of the Roses or Feudal era – I wasn’t so worried about that. And as it was a quick game to test out some rules and a solo wargame AI method I wasn’t too fussed about terrain – a simple green baize cloth, some trees, bushes and paper buildings sufficed. You will also notice that this is an oval kitchen table – 5 foot by 3 – but some of the flanks are minimal, but it works for a skirmish level game at 28mm.

Forces:

English

  • Sir Gilbert – hero on foot
  • 8 men-at-arms
  • 8 longbowmen
  • 4 billmen

French

  • Sir Guillaume – hero on horse
  • 3 mounted men-at-arms
  • 4 foot men-at-arms
  • 10 crossbowmen
  • 7 heavy infantry – mixed weapons

Deployment – how did the method work?

Random deployment worked out in an interesting and lopsided way in this skirmish game – there were only 4 units on one side and 3 on the other. The English men-at-arms deployed as a reserve and the other two units were widely spaced as you can see below.

In contrast the French deployed mostly on one flank – with the crossbows in the middle. As hoped this lead to influencing the subsequent strategy quite a bit. Without this random deployment I would have probably deployed most of the forces in the centre and the flanks might well have been ignored.

The French started off by sending their men-at-arms around the flank to see off the longbowmen. There was an exchange of fire – with one longbowman dying. The small unit of English billmen started their march towards the hamlet. The French infantry marched behind the crossbows towards the small wood behind the hamlet.

The French men-at-arms started getting closer to the longbows – who used their half move each turn to retreat and then fire. They only got one of the French cavalry though. The English men-at-arms could now enter the battle as there had been an exchange of fire.

Here you can see the English moving through the hamlet.

Moments before contact. The French men-at-arms are about to charge the longbows. The French infantry are on the other side of the wood from the English.

Sir Gilbert and his men-at-arms decide that the protection of the bushes and hedges might be a good idea when faced with sustained crossbow fire and the French knights!

After a couple of rounds of combat the longbows were seen off by the French knights. Sir Gilbert and some of his men went to attack the French foot men-at-arms and the others went to support the billmen who had engaged the French infantry in the woods. The loss of most of the longbows and some of the billmen meant that the English were now broken (needing to make courage tests as over half had died). Unfortunately Sir Gilbert and many of his men decided to flee the field, leaving only four brave men of St George left to face the massed French. At this point I decided the battle was over! Here’s the ending positions – even the crossbows decided to up sticks and move to get a better position to fire from.

Conclusion

I thought that the Middle Earth rules worked well for a medieval skirmish game – probably with some more miniatures on the field it could have been a better game perhaps. I also felt that I had let down the longbowmen by leaving them exposed to the French knights – they should have found the cover of the hedges next to the hamlet.

Random deployment worked well as a simple method of creating solo wargame AI – I would definitely use it again. It would be interesting to use it for a game with more units.

I will try to look at a different solo wargame AI methods next time!

For a Heart Made of Stone – now available for Pre-Order

If you have read the three previous volumes of Stonehearted you are sure to want to pick up the concluding part! And it’s only 99c or 99p!

For a Heart Made of Stone Cover“Rich characters and an engaging story”

When the cut from the blade runs deep – You need a heart of Stone

The quest across France comes to a thrilling end for both Richard Stone and Eolande d’Aubray. Will Eolande find her father? Will Richard and his companion Wulf find the resolution they seek? And what Marie, the secret heiress of St. Pol? What scheme is she plotting? All will be revealed in this final concluding volume of Stonehearted.

Set in 1370 during the Hundred Years War with France, For a Heart Made of Stone is the fourth and final volume of the Stonehearted serialised novel.
Readers who like action and adventure in the Middle Ages will enjoy this book.

You can Pre-Order as an eBook at the following sites:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk – also available at other Amazon sites

Smashwords | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

For a Heart Made of Stone Cover Image Reveal

I am really looking forward to publishing the fourth and final volume of the Stonehearted series – always great to finish something off and will be nice to have a complete series of books to promote as well. For those of you who have been following the story, I hope that you like the ending.

I will be posting a few bits and pieces about volume 4, For a Heart Made of Stone, over the next few weeks. But for now here’s the cover image I am planning to use. A different character from the story this time – can you guess who it is?

Time’s Arrow – Now Published!

Sorry for the delay in getting this out – there was a bit of a delay with some of the distribution channels, but Time’s Arrow is now available as an eBook globally!

In the far future Time Travel is a reality. A researcher uses it to go back in time to the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. William Chan finds much that he would expect—English archers raining arrows on the heads of heavily armed French knights, mood and blood. But there is an unexpected turn of events that have far-reaching consequences.

Time’s Arrow is a time-travelling short story with a historical fantasy theme.

Available to Purchase at:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Other Amazon Stores
Smashwords | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Stonehearted Update

A little bit of news about my current writing project – the Stonehearted series of novellas set in the Hundred Years War.

I’ve now about to finish the first draft of volume 4, which will be titles For a Heart Made of Stone. This will be now the final volume of the series! I have enjoyed writing the books, which are a face-paced action-adventure historical fiction set in the Middle Ages, but I am also looking forward too to moving onto other things!

Once For a Heart Made of Stone has been edited, I will announce some more information about publication dates.

 

For a Life Forgotten – Stonehearted Volume 3 Published!

I am pleased to announce that For a Life Forgotten has now been published and is available in eBook and Print Book formats!

The concluding volume 4 is nearing completion and should be out in the summer.

For a Life Forgotten by Mark Lord

When the cut from the blade runs deep – You need a heart of Stone

The English army commanded by Robert Knolles has reached Paris – the capital and the honour of the French kingdom is under threat. But against the backdrop of war another drama plays out – will Eolande find her father, who was captured by the French? Will Richard seek the redemption he seeks after the terrible killing of his brother, and what will be the fate of the amoral Minsterworth, a captain in the English army, but only interested in his own gain?

Meanwhile secrets about the fate of Eolande’s father will be revealed.

For a Life Forgotten is the third part of the Stonehearted series, a fast-paced medieval adventure story set during the epic Hundred Year War between England and France.

Available from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

For a Life Forgotten – Volume 3 of Stonehearted – Now Available for Pre-Order!

Volume 3 of Stonehearted, my action adventure series set in the Hundred Years War, is now available to pre-order in eBook format!

As a reminder the previous volumes are:

By the Sword’s Edge (Vol 1)

By Fire and Sword (Vol 2)

For a Life Forgotten by Mark Lord

When the cut from the blade runs deep – You need a heart of Stone

The English army commanded by Robert Knolles has reached Paris – the capital and the honour of the French kingdom is under threat. But against the backdrop of war another drama plays out – will Eolande find her father, who was captured by the French? Will Richard seek the redemption he seeks after the terrible killing of his brother, and what will be the fate of the amoral Minsterworth, a captain in the English army, but only interested in his own gain?

Meanwhile secrets about the fate of Eolande’s father will be revealed.

For a Life Forgotten is the third part of the Stonehearted series, a fast-paced medieval adventure story set during the epic Hundred Year War between England and France.

Available to Pre-Order from:

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo