David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday 18 September 2017

The Battle of Coven Heath

Monday saw Phil and I dusting off my ECW collections for our regular game here in GHQ. As ever our rules of choice were my own  'A Crowning Mercy' (available exclusively from Caliver Books). The figures forming the collection are mostly from Foundry and Perry Miniatures, supported by Warlord Games and some Bicorne guns. As usually is the case Phil took command of the Royalists in his persona as Sir Marmaduke Robinson and I commanded the Parliamentary cause as the dour Obadiah Bykleigh. The battle, which you won't find recorded for posterity in the great histories of the War, took place on the nearby Coven Heath, bisected by the road from Wolverhampton to the nest of Royalist vipers in Stafford. The Royalists are advancing southward to teach their opponents a lesson in loyalty, or so they think...
The army of Parliament marches onto the table, the Horse concentrated on
the right flank. Its all Medium Horse, so will be at a disadvantage in combat.

The Royalist army has concentrated its horse on its left flank. Its mostly
Heavy Horse, with some Cuirassiers and one formation of Medium Horse.
It has deployed all its infantry in the centre astride the road.

The Parliamentary Horse knows t is outclassed so throws everything into the
attack. The tactic proved costly in losses but slowed the Royalist advance to a

The Royalists were unusually cautious in the early moves, allowing the
enemy t get around their right flank with a Folorn Hope, supported in due
course by a regiment of Foote.

The Horse swirled back and forth on the flank, but superior Royalist Horse
were beginning to tell and the Parliamentary Horse was being slowly pushed

The Royalist cente was a logjam of formations all struggling to get into
action,while on the right the Oxford Foote try to drive off the Folorn Hope.

The gallant exploits of the outclassed Parliamentary Horse allows Obadiah
Bykleigh to advance his centre and deny the enemy room to manoeuvre and

The Oxford Foote is shattered and flees to the rear opening up the right
flank of the Royalists to being turned. Sensing a possible opportunity
Obadiah Bykleigh leads his Lifeguard of Horse forward.

The Parliamentary army goes onto the offensive all along its front. The
Royalist Hose is too badly mauled to be an effective threat thanks to the
exploits of the gallant but defeated Parliamentary Horse troops.

The Royalists begin to give way protected by the remnants of their Horse.

Both armies are exhausted! Parliament holds the field but cannot pursue
the Royalists as they fall back on Stafford. In the end a strategic win for the
forces of right, truth and justice, but in game terms a draw!

We played seventeen turns in just over two and a half hours! Good going by any measure we thought.
The sacrifice of the Horse by the Parliamentary army meant that when needed later in the game the Royalist horse was too badly mauled to affect the outcome with its infantry were under growing pressure. We called it a draw in the end as the Royalists quit the field but the Paliamentary army was too badly mauled itself to follow up for victory.
Next up in GHQ  will be a VBCW game, the Battle of Bridgnorth Road, which sees the reactionaries of Tettenhall and their allies attacked by the Socialists of Wolverhampton in an attempt to drive a wedge between armies to the south and east which could threaten the safety of the Peoples' Republic of Wolverhampton!


  1. A titanic tuffle it were to Fqiure Bickleigh, moft enjoyable, defpite being unable to effect a victory over the rebelliouf rabble.

  2. Seventeen turns epic battle. Lovely looking battle and your collection (like your many others is impressive) I am holding off ECW till I retire !

    1. Plunge in now while still in the first flush of youth!

  3. Wolverhampton's Wabble? The held the field didn't they?

  4. 17 turns! Time for a random drugs test me thinks. A splendid looking bash Mr.B.

    1. It was the burgers what won it! You may recall from happier times...

  5. Replies
    1. Indeed they are very colourful, the main appeal when painting the hordes I found...

  6. Lovely looking armies and scenery and sounds like you had fun in your war without an enemy!
    Best Iain

    1. Thank you Iain, it was indeed a great game.

  7. Hi David
    For all your wonderful games how big is your table is it a consistent size, I ask because I have finished my garage conversion and whilst I would love a mega table I would like room for shelves etc. I use your rules and Black Powder, so a comparison would be helpful, kind regards Gary

    1. Glad to help Gary. The table is 6' wide and 6'6" in depth, the biggest I could squeeze into GHQ2 and still be comfortable. The terrain boards are 2' x 2' mostly with three 2' x 3' and others 2' x 1' or 2' x 6". The mountain board is 2' x 4' though. Hope that helps you.

  8. 17 turns is pretty fast and suggests a tumultuous battle. God Save the King!

  9. What a lovely looking game David!


    1. Thanks Christopher, the ECW is a very colourful period I find.

  10. Smashing stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Lovely table and a great AAR. Thanks for sharing.