Return to Cropredy Bridge

The Monday Night Group refought Cropredy Bridge a few years ago, back in 2018, during my "refight all ECW battles" phase. It was a troublesome piece of action, as you will see from the report at the time, that presents a number of challenges. When Jon offered it up as a game I was very keen to see how he might handle it.

For this game, Chris, Phil & I were the forces of Parliament, Will and Ian were the Royalists. In these pictures the camera on the left is behind the Royalists, and that on the right behind the Parliamentarians. I was in the centre, with the cavalry positioned there, Chris had the cavalry on our right, under Waller, and Phil had the infantry and guns in the centre. I started by moving my cavalry across towards the Royalists as quickly as possible.

Ian responded by moving down off the hill top.

His charge broke my right hand unit. Cavalry is really brittle in this set of rules. I have some support, however, in the shape of our artillery in the centre, which is softening up some of the Royalist cavalry. On our right flank, Chris with Waller's cavalry starts forwards, to be confronted by Ian's rearguard.

Ian then followed up in the centre and hit my second line.

He immediately regretted that, as his unit was destroyed in short order by my counter charge.

And then I got done by the Royalist second wave. 

More Royalist cavalry poured down off the hill.

And were summarily destroyed in turn. Gee, it's a bloody mess down there.

My cavalry break through and end up on the crest line. They're pretty blown by now, and Will, I think, has defeated my other unit down in the valley.

Rather than face a full strength infantry unit, I about face and go back down the hill, veering away to stop Will charging me in the rear. Ian now charges into Waller's troops on our right, and breaks one of our cavalry units.

Luckily for me, Phil's artillery destroys the last Royalist cavalry unit in the centre of the table. Time for my chaps to draw breath and reform.

Meanwhile Waller's cavalry has gained the upper hand. Top left you can see the break point tracker. We have the Royalists down to one point. Where can we find another unit to break?

Chris storms the Royalist infantry on the ridge, supported by musketry from his dragoons. Much to my surprise he prevails, and drives Ian's foot back towards the table edge. Phil is now sending his infantry forwards in support of our attacks. Inexplicably, Will sends his dragoons forwards from the defences around the bridge, top left of the right hand picture.

Misunderstanding the rules slightly, I throw my recovering horse into the dragoons. 

It's very close, but my men are driven back. Chris' rampant infantry on the ridge charge into another Royalist regiment.

The Royalists are thrown back off the hill into the valley. They are in range of Phil's big guns, which inflict the coup de grace, and they flee. Parliamentarian victory.

Well, that was fast and furious. Lots of units, lots of players, lots going on, all handled by Jon with his customary skill and diplomacy.

Resolving the cavalry action quickly moves the game on at a real pace. and the game captured the sprawling and fragmentary nature of the real battle very well. The only suggestion I would make is that the central hill needs to be larger, as the hills with the dip between them are misleading, although I don't think this affected the game. For those of you interested, have a look at the "Terrain and action" map on the Battlefields Trust "Battlefields Hub"

Members of our group have discussed Cropredy on and off over the years, and visited the location. It is a large battlefield, and getting from one end to the other covers quite a bit of ground.  The area of the valley has evidence of ridge and furrow, which runs perpendicular to the action. This would have been an issue, and the slopes Waller attacks up are quite steep. All of these provide challenges to the scenario designer.

A good game, and an interesting evening.