Tally Ho!

Sunday 31 December 2023

Christmas Game - battle of Worcester 1651

For this year's Christmas game we refought the final major action of the ECW, Worcester 1651, where Cromwell (Roy) squared-up to Charles II (Chris) and his Scottish allies. We had planned to have Powick Bridge on a separate table but switched that when the number of attendees was reduced. We had seven players fighting on a 12" x 5" table.

Field viewed from Worcester 

The Royalists had most of the English plus some cavalry reserves located around Worcester, ready to attack the Parliamentary guns on Red Hill. Further south Keith (played by Keith in a great bit of nominative determinism) were emplaced guarding two bridges and a Parliamentary pontoon.   



Highlanders close up

Parliament had Dean and Fleetwood's troops opposite the bridges, while Cromwell was opposite the pontoon with his cavalry. A brigade of New Model Army supported the militia and guns on Red Hill.    

Dean and Fleetwood


Roundheads overlooking Worcester

The NMA brigade

The game began with both sides making important moves. The Royalists, with Charles II at the head, attacked towards the waiting Roundhead forces, pushing back the Parliamentary horse as the infantry advanced under cannon fire. Cromwell also dispatched the bulk of his horse towards Red Hill in the hopes of slowing down the attack there. 

Charles attacks

Cromwell makes his move

In the south the Scots advanced towards the bridge and were successful in bottling-up the Roundhead attacks as they had to move in single file across the bridge. Initial honours were with the Scots as they could bring more shots to bear and so steadily ground-down the attackers.    

Confusion at the bridges

Around Red Hill it was mixed fortunes for the Royalists. They managed to rout the NMA contingent but were unable to push-back the militia. Cromwell's cavalry also arrived to tip the balance. Several waves of attack went in from the Kings Guards with Charles nearly dying as one unit broke. He bravely attacked with a second unit but fell mortally wounded as they too routed.       

Cromwell's troops swing the balance

In the south the Parliamentary forces finally got sufficient troops across the river to start hurting the Scots but it was too late the affect the overall result.

Red Hill is held 

So the final score was 3-2 in favour of the Royalist as they held both Worcester entrances and the hill overlooking Powick Bridge. It was a slightly pyrrhic victory as Charles II lay dead and the guns on Red Hill were still able to bombard Worcester.  

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