Cropredy Bridge After Action Report   1 comment

The Outcome of the Battle, 1644 AD

From Mercurius Aulicus

Ye True Account of the Travails of Our King’s Army against Ye Rebels of Parliament.

Led by the honourable Sir Jacob Astley  the rearpart of the King’s Oxford Army lured the Traitor Waller across the Cherwell at Cropredy Bridge.

Little did Waller realise as his men rushed upon the field in confusion this was all part of Astley’s plan.  The Earl of Northampton’s Dragoons retired in feigned retreat from the Bridge as the Rebels crossed in haste.  The King’s forces rapidly turned to order in readiness to face the foe.

Obviously Parliamentarian records disagree with this assessment!  They record how Waller attacked over Cropredy Bridge surprising the King’s Rearguard as they attempted to cross the Cherwell and battle ensued.

Andy played as Royalist and Mike as Parliament.  On the Royalist right flank the Royalist Cavaliers swept all before them.  They destroyed the opposing horse regiments and attacked and killed the artillery gunners in a sweeping advance before being forced to retire in the face of heavy fire from the Dragoons and remaining guns.  This broke the Parliamentarian left flank battalion and was very similar to the historical outcome.

In the centre the Royalists occupied the village and drove off a spirited attack from Essex’s Commanded Shot who attempted to storm the buildings but were shaken by defensive closing fire.

On the Royalist left Flank the Parliamentarian pistoliers disordered Northampton’s Regiments of horse as they attempted to close.  They then brought up the Cuirassiers who smashed into the hapless Cavaliers and drove them back towards their own lines much reduced, with one Regiment fleeing the field.  This however gave the Foot time to order themselves and advance.  Northampton’s own supported by Rupert’s Bluecoats blocked any further advance by the Parliamentarian horse.

Realising their plan had failed and with the Royalist infantry now advancing towards them in counterattack Waller’s Army retired from the field.  This time however (as compared to the historical outcome) they were able to retain half of their guns and the losses on the Royalist side were much greater.

The refight (in 6mm)

Two weeks later we refought a similar battle in 6mm.  This time Phil took the Royalist side and there was no large central village to break up the Parliamentarian advance (Mike again taking charge).  On this occasion the baggage train had failed to reach the bridge in time and Phil was tasked with defending the train against the attacking Parliamentarians.  Unfortunately the Baggage were extremely slow and could only crawl along the road in the confusion and panic of the day!

The Royalist horse on the right flank blundered and retreated in surprise upon seeing the Parliamentarians!  The Royalist infantry advanced in the centre.  On the left flank the Royalist horse very slowly advanced through the marshy and rough ground of the fields near the village.

The Royalists devised a hasty plan of attack against the Parliamentarian foot who duly formed a redoubtable hedgehog in the centre.  The Royalist plan of a concerted attack was frustrated by blunders and failed orders in the confusion of battle.  This meant that the King’s Lifeguard attacked alone whilst Aspley’s foot gathered in confusion.  The Lifeguard were driven off and only then did Aspley’s men close themselves in a bloody fight.  Eventually the hedgehog broke but only to reveal more advancing Parliamentarians and the guns who began to force the Royalist infantry to retire under heavy fire.

On the Royalist left flank the Parliamentarian horse drove off the Royalist horse but were forced to retire in the face of flanking fire from the powerful Dragoons.

On the Royalist right flank the Parliamentarian horse drove off the Cavaliers who were frankly hopeless and impossible to order.  Even when the Royalists successfully drove off one unit of horse another soon arrived, supported by Dragoons and threatened the road to the bridge.  Smashing the panicked Cavaliers withering under heavy fire they broke through and blocked the road before the King’s re-inforcements could arrive.  In a way this too mirrored the historical outcome as it was only when the King’s Lifeguard of horse crossed the bridge to enter the fray that the original Parliamentarian advance was turned.  Sadly on this occasion no such reinforcements were forthcoming!  Probably held up by the very slow baggage train blocking the road to the main force of the King’s Army.


Posted April 28, 2012 by wargamesdiary

One response to “Cropredy Bridge After Action Report

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  1. Great write up – great pix. I even get my shirt in one of them………..

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