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Storming Selby: Urban Warfare in the ECW @ War Room

Updated: Feb 26

Below are some photos of Rob's entertaining refight of the Battle of Selby (11 April 1644) played earlier today. The Parliamentarians (Brian, Neil, Richard, Patrick) - albeit without artillery - were assaulting this town in north Yorkshire which was held by a smaller Royalist force (Alex, Philip and me).

The objective was to capture the town square at the back of the table and/or the Royalist point of retreat (rear left).

Three main roads through the town were blocked with barricades. The secondary aim of the game was thus to test out Rob's own ECW rules in an urban warfare setting.

The Royalists had to man each barricade, but otherwise we stationed detachments of infantry and cavalry (some of which were hidden) in various parts of the town.

The Parliamentary forces concentrated two of their three divisions against the Royalist left and centre (initially avoiding the middle barricade), with another division attacking the Royalist right (Alex), and much of their cavalry remaining off table.

On the right, Alex faced Parliamentary forces along two converging roads but held up Patrick and Richard for much of the game.

In the centre, Philip initially took up position at the barricade, positioning artillery further back behind a wall, and more infantry in the houses to the left of the barricade.

I elected to dismount one cavalry unit and garrison three buildings each with four pistol-armed men, besides holding buildings further to the right of the barricade with my infantry, with artillery behind the barricade and my final cavalry reserve securing the point of retreat.

Brian advanced with his infantry, which proved fairly slow owing to a terrain packed with hedges and walls. I spent much of the game exchanging fruitless fire with him at a distance.

Brian did capture one building - to the right of my barricade - which forced me to retire or risk taking flanking fire.

Near end of play my infantry which had fallen back failed a morale test, and Brian charged my isolated gun.

Only my reserve cavalry remained directly in his path.

Neil ultimately charged through the Royalists' central barricade, but was unlucky to lose a melee against Philip, which stymied his lunge at the town square.

Alex was forced back from his barricades and lost a cavalry melee late on, which put the right in peril. However Rob adjudicated that the Royalists had won the game as the Parliamentary forces failed to capture the town square.

Overall this was quite a spectacle set in an impressive townscape and a fun game, as well as something a bit different from the usual pitched battle. The rules seemed straightforward and suitable for the terrain, and the game itself was challenging for both sides.

Thanks to Rob for setting up, umpiring, and hospitality. Rob would like to put on more games involving assaults on towns, which seem to have been quite plentiful in the ECW, and offer another dimension to refighting this fascinating period with his very nice figure collection.


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