Thursday, 10 July 2008

Tewkesbury Battle Report

The day dawned with both armies arrayed for battle. The day was warm and soon to get much hotter.

The Yorkist’s opened the engagement. They advanced, en echelon with their right flank refused, with Richard of Gloucester’s men leading the attack. Once within bowshot they engaged in an archery duel, which they got much the better of, then resolutely advanced again. Somerset, realizing that his planned flank attack was in jeopardy of coming too late, ordered his men to slowly withdraw so as to trade space for time. They were too slow.

Before they knew it the soldiers of Somerset’s line found themselves heavily engaged with the Duke of Gloucester’s men. They were, having suffered under the barrage of Yorkist arrows, in imminent danger of collapse. Somerset’s men looked around for their leader but he was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly he appeared, from the direction of Coln Brook and directly on the flank of Gloucester’s line.

This part of the game was nip and tuck. The player in charge of Gloucester’s ‘battle’ had been unable to view the scenario; he had no idea what was coming and his fellow Yorkist player 9who had read the scenario) thought it would be fun not to tell him (that’s doctors for you). The initiative had been with the Yorkist's up to now, and the Lancastrians were very worried that what was left of Somerset’s line would break before the flank attack could come to grips.

Somerset’s men charged in from the flank before the Yorkist’s could turn to face. Richard of Gloucester’s men must surely run. The fight was harder than expected. Richard’s men encouraged by the activity of their stern and steadfast leader battled hard but eventually they collapsed and routed towards the rear with half of Somerset’s men in pursuit. Still Richard would not give in. In a last ditch effort to hold up the flank of the Royal army he rallied some of his men, and gallantly threw himself against his oncoming pursuers. Here he fell with the last of his troops; brave to the end.

Now it was Edward’s time. With the demise of his brother and the total rout of his brother’s ‘battle’, Edward’s battle line was now exposed to attack from the flank. Personally leading his reserve, his men-at-arms crashed into his brother’s pursuers. Thoroughly disorganized and tired by their pursuit they were no match for Edward’s fresh troops. At almost the same moment Somerset heard cries of derision and panic coming from his rear. Splashing across Coln Brook Edward’s cavalry had arrived. It charged into the rearmost band of Somerset’s men. They were ridden down to a man. The Yorkist position was stabilizing.

To be continued......................

No comments: