Tuesday 24 June 2014

Battle of Bannockburn - Day 2

Under nightfall the English forces have crossed the  Bannock Burn and taken up  position on the plain beyond it.
The scottish army advances into Position. The Abbott of Inchaffray again passes among the Scots soldiery, blessing them.    The Abbott has brought relics of St Fillan and Abbott Bernard of Arbroath has brought the reliquary casket of St Columba to encourage the superstitious soldiery. 

Seeing Scots knelt in prayer , Edward asks  de Unfraville wether they are craving his forgiveness for opposing him.  De Unfraville answers that they are craving divine forgiveness. 

To the astonishment of the English, the Scots army then begins to advance towards them.    
Edward says to de UmfravilleWill these Scotsmen fight?”  de Umfraville replies “These men will gain all or die in the trying.”  Edward says “So be it” and signals for the trumpets to sound the charge.
As the english cavalry attack, the Welsh and english archers, (on the extreme right flank)  open fire, which causes a pause in the Scottish advance but  Keith’s force of light horsemen disperses them.
Again, Gloucester leads the cavalry charge but few follow and  when he reaches the Scottish lines he is quickly surrounded and killed.
The English knights hurl themselves onto the Scottish spear line with a terrible crash.  Along with Gloucester, many   English knights are killed in the impact: among them Sir Edmund de Mauley, Sir John Comyn, Sir Pain de Tiptoft, Sir Robert de Clifford.
Supporting the   schiltrons,  Scottish archers pour volleys of arrows into the struggling English cavalry line as it´s slowly ground down and pushed back.
The flight of the english army begins. The Scots spearmen press forward against the increasingly exhausted and hemmed in English army. The cry goes up “On them. On them. They fail. They fail.”
The final blow! The ‘Small Folk’ attack. The English army begins to fall back to the Bannockburn with ever increasing speed and confusion and foot soldiers and horsemen attempt to force their way across the stream.  High banks impede the crossing and many are drowned in the confusion.  Many escape across into an area of tidal bog where they fall prey to their exhaustion, heavy equipment and the knives of the Small Folk.
The Earl of Pembroke seizes King Edward’s bridle and leads him away from the battle field surrounded by the Royal retainers and accompanied by Sir Giles de Argentan.  Once the King is safe de Argentan returns to the battle and, throwing himself against the scottish spears,  is killed.
The defeat is complete. The english army is broken and retreats.
It leaves behind several hundred dead and captured Knights and men at arms. The numbers of the lowly foot soldiers killed numbers as many as 11,000.

Edward is taken to the gates of Stirling Castle.  Here de Mowbray urges the King not to take refuge in the castle as he would inevitably be taken prisoner when the castle is forced to surrender to the Scots.  Edward takes this advice and with his retinue skirts around the battlefield and rides for Linlithgow.  He then rides to Dunbar and takes a boat to Berwick.

A group of nobles, the Earl of Hereford, Robert de Umfraville Earl of Angus, Sir Ingram de Unfraville and others flee to Bothwell Castle where they are taken and handed to the Scots by the Castle Constable Sir Walter FitzGilbert.

The Earl of Pembroke leads his Welsh archers away from the battle field and after a tortuous and hazardous march brings them back to Wales.

Monday 23 June 2014

Battle of Bannockburn - Day 1

Day break on Sunday 23rd June 1314.  Roberts army forms up to meet the English. Maurice the aged blind Abbott of Inchaffray celebrates mass for the army after which Robert de Bruce addresses his soldiers, informing them that anyone who does not have the stomach for a fight should leave.  A great cry re-assures him that they are ready.  The camp followers, known as the ‘Small Folk’, are sent off to wait at the rear of the field on  St Gillies’ Hill.  The Schiltrons are formed for battle fronting the fords over the Bannockburn that the English must cross.
The English advance continues and  moves out of the Torwood with the advance guard under the command of the Earls of Hereford and Gloucester,  riding to cross the Bannockburn and attack the Scots   beyond.
300 horsemen under Sir Robert Clifford and Henry de Beaumont ride towards  Stirling Castle  to re-enforce the garrison. Randolph rushes his foot soldiers down  the path to block the route of Clifford’s and de Beaumont’s force.  A savage fight take place with the English horsemen unable to penetrate the spear line of Randolph’s hastily formed schiltron.  The Scots are hard pressed and Douglas moves his men forward to give help but sees that the English are giving way.  The English cavalry breaks  in two with half riding for the castle and the remainder returning to the main army. 
Meanwhile, the main Body of the english army continues it´s  advance. With some suprise, as they expected them to just melt away in the face of such an army,  they see the Scottish army formed up and waiting.
Two divisions of the english cavalry, led by Hereford and Gloucester start the attack. Hereford’s nephew,  Sir Henry de Bohun gallops  ahead to challenge the Scots King to single combat. 
Robert de Bruce rides forward to meet de Bohun. .De Bohun rides at de Bruce with lance couched. De Bruce evades de Bohun’s lance point and as de Bohun thunders past him, he strikes  him a deadly blow on the head with his axe.  De Bohun falls dead.
Following their king’s triumph the Scots infantry rushes on the English army now struggling to clear the Bannockburn at a narrow crossing point which  has forced the mass of horsemen to pack into a narrow column. A terrible slaughter ensues, the English knights impeded by  shallow pits concealed with branches.  Among the extensive English casualties,  the Earl of Gloucester is wounded and unhorsed, only being rescued from death or capture by his retainers.
What part of the English army that has  come through the ford  now re-crosses the Bannockburn and the Scots infantry returns to their positions in the forests of the New Park.  The English army has been convincingly repelled.
In the English camp on the far side of the Bannockburn the infantry is more than discouraged.  Word now spreads  that the war is unrighteous and this had been the cause of the day’s defeat.  God was against the English army.  Order breaks down and the horde of foot soldiers ransacks the supply wagons and drinks through the night.  Heralds declare the victory as certain in the morning but few are convinced.
Sir Alexander Seton, fighting in the service of Edward II now deserts the English camp.
Meanwhile De Bruce  puts two proposals to his commanders.  Firstly, that the Scots army  withdraw from the field, leaving the English army to attempt a re-conquest of Scotland until a lack of supplies forces it to withdraw south of the border.  Or, secondly that they   renew the battle the next day.  Bruce’s commanders urge a resumption of the battle.
Sir Alexander Seton arrives from the English camp, and advises de Bruce that morale is low in the English army.  Seton says “Sir, if you wish to take all of Scotland, now is the time.  Edward’s army is grievously discouraged.  You may beat them on the morrow with little loss and great glory.”

The decision is made...battle will be given. So Ends day one.

Sunday 15 June 2014

Battle of Bannockburn - Prelude

Edward Bruce has had Stirling Castle cut off since the middle of febuary 1314*,  and Sir Philip Mowbray, defending the Castle  has made  a bargain: that he would surrender the castle, if it were not relieved by 24 June 1314.
King Edward sends out a call to arms. Villages and....
... towns across the land and from far flung lands ..
...send men and arms to join the greatest Feudal  army ever assembled on English soil.  On 17th June 1314, the army left Wark on Tweed on an 86 mile forced march to Relieve the siege.   
Priests encourage the troops along the way.......
...and the women  look on, wondering if they will see thier menfolk again.

* A rough estimate as to the exact date that Stirling Castle was besieged. All that I can find of any date is that the seige started is during the period of Lent, approximately six weeks before Easter Day and can fall as early as February 4 or as late as March 10, so the middle of Febuary it is.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Last of the Gillies -Bannockburn

The last and final stand of the wee folk is finished!!!! The Flag is that of the Clan Donnachaidh (later clan Robertson) There´s Claim and Counter Claim that they weren´t at bannockburn, but I like the flag and with no definate "they weren´t there" I´ll include them.
Getting hold of bods to fill the ranks using only strelets medieval bods was proving near impossible and some of their Type 1 Dacian Light Infantry had to be drafted in.
The entire force, 40 bods in total representing 2000 "wee Folk"

Saturday 7 June 2014

English infantry (Bannockburn)

The final push.....Another (and the last) base of English infantry for the Bannockburn Project.  The yellow / Black is a design picked at random with no reference to any Lord, earl or whatever.
The entire force, representing 2,400. Again, as with the archers, way below the numbers that took part in the battle but time´s getting short so it´ll have to do.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

More Longbows for Bannockburn

The Project slowly plods to a Close...and about time as well...with only weeks to go to the anniversary.
This lot are a bunch of generic english archers.
Sets used (including some bits from other sets/manufacturers for conversion purposes)
Army of Henry V
Norman Archers
Army of Joan d'Arc
The Scottish Army of Wallace
The comander, from the Army of Joan dÀrc set,  has had a head and weapon swop
The whole Bow and crossbow force. At a Ratio of 50 :1 it makes 1100 welsh and 500 english archers and 500 crossbows, small part of the entire force of bowmen at Bannockburn. Basically, I´ve run out of conversion ideas and without the Million to one Chance that Strelets brings out a set of generic archers in the next week or so, I will never get around to converting and painting another 50 or so.
Also, with a set of english infantry and a handfull of Gillies plus some scenery  to get finished alongside work it´ll have to do.