Saturday 27 September 2014

ECW Cavalry Skirmish at Scratchy Knob

Today I played out the third battle in our ongoing long-distance ECW campaign using Victory Without Quarter. You can download the scenario for Scratchy Knob here. This one was an all cavalry encounter between two roughly balanced forces. Parliament were outnumbered by one squadron but had one more trained squadron to compensate. If either commander could drive his opponent from the field by night they would be the victor.

The Parliamentary commander (Adam) instructed his horse to hold a line between the heavily wooded Srcatchy Knob and the copse across the road. He determined to let the Royalists come on in their usual fashion and counter charge when the opportunity presented itself. The Royalist commander (yours truly) elected for a frontal charge with 2/3 of his force and a small flanking manoeuvre with two squadrons.

Initial dispositions, Royalists on the left, Parliament on the right

Due to the vagaries of the card activation system the Royalist charge was fragmentary and less effective than it might have been. The low quality nature of troops on both sides however meant that counter-charges were few and far between.

Royalists advance

Royalists begin to charge home while Parliament do nothing?

My initial expectation that Raw horse would favour poorly vs. Trained horse was only somewhat correct. Being caught at the halt is a far greater crime. The greatest crime of all however is failing to save hits in combat!

In the thick of it!

As both Adam and I predicted this quickly descended into a slogging match. Initial early gains by the Royalists were overturned by some lucky dice rolling by Parliament. Even the arrival of the Royalist flanking force did little to effect the balance.

Flank charges galore but to little effect

A long, slow grind until night falls

The combat see-sawed back and forth with neither side able to establish a winning majority on any one part of the field. Eventually Parliament lost 3 of their 6 squadrons (all raw) and the Royalists 2 (all trained) but the quality of respective losses kept things even.

As darkness fell the Royalists clearly had the upper hand as you can see in the last photo, but the Parliament commander was able to scurry away with his tail between his legs as night closed in.
A draw then, but who would be the more happy to report the outcome to headquarters?

Once again Victory Without Quarter proved to be a robust, fast system with plenty of period flavour.
I think I will add a negative for being flank charged to make combat a little more direct. I was surprised there wasn't one in the rules to begin with to be honest. Only a minor quibble and I love the rules overall.

Stay tuned for the next instalment...



  1. Enjoy seeing your ECW figures on the table. Interesting battle and quite difficult to hold ground with all cavalry forces.

  2. Looks like the Royalists will have to wait a bit longer for their comeuppance (spoiler alert - it doesn't end well for Charles I)!

    If Adam had only fielded a troop of Haselrig's Lobsters, they're good for a laugh if nothing else...

  3. Nice looking cavalry battle, beautiful minis!

  4. Good to see you've got your mojo back Millsy, even if it took a Scratchy Knob to do it.

  5. Excellent stuff Millsy! Funny that the rules did not have a mod for flanking but they sound like a good 'tool box' set of rules where you can tweak and add spice as desired. Charles' haircut will have to wait...

  6. I like the looks of this game, Michael. The unit sizes and movement intrigue me - although not for ECW (as I've no figures for this period), but maybe Renaissance (using my Empire guys :)! ) Best, Dean

    1. Dean,

      I used the "Victory Without Quarter" rules for a campaign between two Renaissance Imagi-Nations and they worked splendidly. If you are interested in checking it out I kept a blog on the campaign that lasted three battles here:

      As usual with blogs you will probably want to start at the beginning and work your way forward.

      -- Jeff

  7. Not an ECW fan (bad early experience I guess) but I just thought I would join anyway despite that. Maybe you will convert me to the period! All the best Clint.


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