Friday 10 November 2023

Battle of Stratton. Cornwall, England, 16th May 1643.

 This is my interpretation of this battle. Any mistakes are my own.

After the indecisive battle at Edgehill, there were skirmishes up and down the country as both sides vied for control of villages, towns and cities. Very often, one side or the other would retire after a few shots were fired or after one side made a determined charge.

By April of 1643, many areas had had enough of the random violence  and locally agreed ceasefires were in place. There were even groups of “Clubmen”. People so armed who would gang up on any soldiers from either side who entered the area intent on plunder.

Both sides used these moments to recruit more men into their formations. One such Armistice was in force in the Counties of Devon and Cornwall. In early April a Dutch and French ship landed 1500 muskets and munitions for the Royalist troops in the area.

Halfway through April of 1643, this truce came to an end. A Parliamentary force of 1,500 Infantry and 200 Cavalry advanced from Okehampton over the Tamar. This river ran north-south between the two Counties of Devon and Cornwall.

As this force, led by James Chudleigh, advanced over the Poulson bridge heading for Launceston, it was spotted from  Beacon Hill, a local eminence. The action started as a skirmish amongst the hedgerow with the Royalists being pushed back.

However, as more Royalist reinforcements arrived, the attack stalled. The Parliamentary forces were forced to retreat back to Okehampton.

A few days later, the Royalist commander, Sir Ralph Hopton decided to launch a counter offensive. The Royalist army of 3,000 foot, 300 Cavalry and 300 Dragoons moved East over the Poulson Bridge toward Okehampton.

However, Chudleigh was a skillful Commander and, with just a hundred Troopers pulled off an effective ambush. It was the turn of the Royalists to retreat.

Having been forced back to Launceston Hopton was not happy. He was expecting Prince Maurice, ( Rupert’s brother and nephew of King Charles) to join him in another attack.

Before Hopton could get moving, he found out that Parliamentary General Stamford was already on his way to stop the Royalist muster. Stamford’s force of 5,400 Infantry, 200 Cavalry and 13 guns was mustered from all over Devon.

Stamford arrived in the area and deployed his force atop a hill, half a mile from Stratton where another Royalist General, Sir Bevil Grenville had his troops. Hoptons troops were outnumbered two to one, however after speaking with his Generals, Hopton decided to attack. Using their knowledge of the area the Royalists managed to get into position quite early in the day undetected by the Parliamentary troops.

Hopton arranged his troops into four columns and when all was ready, launched the attack……..


5,400 Foot = 5.4 pts x 8 = 43points;

6 stands of Pike @ 3 points =18 points.

12 stands of Muskets @ 2 pts = 24 pts.

1 General  ( Stamford )  @ 1 point.

200 Horse 0.200 pts x 8 = 1.6 or 2 pts r/u = 2 stands of Cavalry @ 1 point = 2 pts.

13 guns e.w 50 gunners = 650 gunners = 0.650 pts x 8 = 5 pts r/d =

3 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 pt = 3 points.

1 stand of Heavy Artillery     @  2 points.


2,400 Foot = 2.4 pts = 19 pts.

8 stands of Pikemen @ 1 pt = 8 pts.

8 stands of Muskets  @ 1 pt = 8 pts.

1 General ( Basset )  @  1 pt.

1 General ( Slanning )  @ 1 pt.

1 General  ( Grenville )  @ 1 pt.

500 Horse = 0.500 pts x 8 = 4 pts. =

2 stands of Cavalry  @ 1 pt = 2 pts.

1 General ( Hopton )  @ 2 pts.

8 Guns e.w 60 gunners = 480 = 0.480 pts x 8 =

3.840 or 4 pts r/u = 4 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 pt = 4 pts.


* The Royalists take the first Game-Turn.

* The Royalists retain the Initiative Point for the entire battle.

* The Royalsts win any ties.

* The hedgerow only impedes Cavalry and Artillery movement. Deduct one point when firing at a target behind hedgerow.

* Any Parliamentary stands not being able to” move- back” or ending up in the stream, are removed from play. The points of these stands are deducted from the morale total of the army.

* Stands cannot enter a square with a tree on it.


* The morale totals are;

Parliament: 50 points.

Royalists;  27 points.

* The respective totals are halved and then SWOPPED OVER.

Parliament. 14 pts r/u.

Royalists.  25 pts.

* As stands are removed, their individual points are removed from their respective morale totals.

* The game finishes at the end of the 8th Game-Turn OR, when one sides morale total reaches zero.


Once again I’ve used the Peter Dennis paper figures ( purchased from Helion ). The guns are scratchbuilt from buttons, cardboard and cocktail sticks. The village was also also made from foamboard and illustrations from the book. These were photocopied in A5 at a local Printers, cut out and stuck on.

The hedgerow was made from pan scrubbers, the roads and river from thin card.

The cloth is 3 feet ( 90 cm ) x 2 feet ( 60cm ) with 2 inch ( 50 mm ) squares drawn on it.


The details of this battle were obtained from The English Civil War, An Atlas and Concise History of the Wars of The Three Kingdoms 1639-51 by Nick Lipscombe.

Thursday 5 October 2023

The 5th century in Britannia part 10: Arthur’s 8th battle: Guinnion Fort: 489 AD:

 This article is my personal interpretation of events at this time. Any mistakes are my own.

At the Winter Solstice of 488AD, all the Kings are present once again at Caerleon for the Round Table Council:

Tutagaul: The usurped King of Alclud.

Einon: King of Gwynedd ( and Tutagauls host).

Cadell: King of Powys.

Geraint Llyngesic: King of Dumnonia and “ Navarch “ of the British Fleet.

Iddon Ap Ynyr: King of Gwent and close ally of Arthur.

This is a critical meeting. Arthur’s failure to pursue the Scots-Irish and Picts after the battle of the River Croquet is seen as a mistake. As the chorus of disapproval continues, Arthur’s temper starts to rise. At this  point Merlin, sensing the red mist enveloping Arthur, makes his presence felt. Although elderly and frail his mind is sharp and his eyes miss nothing. People fall silent at the sound of his voice;

“ The Saxons, Angles and Jutes ( collectively known to the Britons as Seaxons ) are now established in the East and as far West as Vectis ( the Isle of Wight ). Caw will attack Cambria ( the Roman name for Wales).. None of those present are strong enough to face the Dal and the Picts alone. None are prepared to work in alliance. The Commitatus led by the Pendragon is the only force that can face Caw”. The Dal and the Picts wish to restore their authority here. They will come in force”.

Arthur’s request that his army be expanded to 6000 men is reluctantly agreed to by the Council. King Iddon sends 2250 of his own men to Arthur.

In May of 489AD, Caw is Dunaverty, a Del Riatan settlement. It’s here that he meets Loarn Mac Eric, a High King of the Dal. He has bought 125 ships with 5000 warriors.. In agreement, Caw has also supplied another 5000 warriors with another 125 ships. Caw had nominated Briacat as war leader of his Pict army.

The three leaders are aware that the ships cannot make the trip down the West coast in one journey. Using the knowledge gained from warriors who have sailed the waters, a plan has been formed. 

In early June, the fleet sails from Dunaverty . The first landing is at Insulai Manavia ( the Isle of Man ). The warriors are told not to take slaves, only food and weapons. After the first trip of ninety miles, the next part of 54 miles is from Manavia to the Llyn Penninsular. Once there the fleet lands on the northern shore, just below the abandoned fort of Caer Gybi. Some warriors were once again sent ashore to gather what food they could find. On the next trip the fleet sails the 80 miles  to Aberaeron on the Gwent coastline,

As the warriors come ashore a camp is made. There is no opposition and no guards. On the third day, 8000 warriors start their advance South. The other 2000 are to guard the camp and raid the area.

At this time, Arthur is finally told of the enemy arrival. His suspicions have risen. Why had the Scouts not reported their presence?. On hearing the news Arthur orders the assembly. Light Cavalry were immediately sent out to find the enemy and report back. 1000 troops were assigned to defend Caerleon.

Within a few hours 5000 men of the Commitatus are ready to march. A few more hours and the Scouts come in to the fort. The word is, that the enemy are coming South toward Dolaucothi. Arthur orders the Army to  march to Brecon Gaer, a fort the Romans called Cicucium. This is where he will face the enemy. The fight for Cambria had begun.——————.

THE BRITON COMMITATUS: 5000 = 5pts x 8 = 40 points.

1 stand of Arthur’s Bucellari           @ 3 points.

4 stands of Veteran Infantry   @ 3pts = 12 points.

4 stands of Auxilliary Infantry  @ 2pts =  8 points.

4 stands of Light Archer Infantry  @ 1pt = 4 points.

3 stands of Auxilliary Cavalry  @ 2pts = 6 points.

Arthur  @ 3 points

Cadwy @ 2 points.

Owain  @ 2 points.

IDDON,S  MILITIA:  2250 = 2.250pts x8  = 18pts.

Rogatainus        @ 2pts.

4 stands of Archers  @ 1 pt = 4 pts.

6 stands of warriors @ 2pts = 12 pts.

THE SCOTS-IRISH ( DAL-RIATA ): 4000 = 4 pts x 8 = 32 points.

Learn Mac Eric    @ 2pts

4 stands of Archers/Slingers  @ 1pt = 4 pts.

12 stands of Warrior Infantry  @ 2 pts = 24 pts.

1 stand of Warriors on captured ponies.  @ 2 pts.

THE PICTS: 4000 = 4 pts x 8 = 32 pts ( inc 1000 Saxons ).

Briacat  @ 2 pts.

9 stands of Pict Warriors @ 2pts = 18 pts.

4 stands of Saxon Infantry  @ 2pts = 8pts.

4 stands of Light Archers @ 1 pt = 4 pts.


Nennius wrote that Arthur’s 8th battle took place at Guinnion Fort. At first, I thought it might refer to Gobannium ( Abergavenny ). However archaeologists say that this was a wooden fort that fell apart after the Romans left the area sometime in the 3rd Century AD.

Brecon Gaer ( Roman Cicucium ) was the main fort in the area. It was a substantial structure and was inhabited well into the 5th century. At the height of the Roman occupation, this fort was one of the strongest Auxiliary forts in Wales, the stone wall dressed in white plaster ( the White Fort ? ). Arthur made a stand here but must have suffered a reversal because the next battle is at Caerleon, Arthur’s headquarters.

I have stated that the Scots-Irish, ( the Dal Riata ), and Picts were Arthur’s adversaries in this battle. Caw was an historical figure. He became war leader of the Picts and he did usurp Tutagaul and take Alclud ( Dumbarton Castle).

The Seaxons had suffered defeats from both Arthur and his late Uncle Ambrosius. Therefore they were in no state to mount another major attack. There was a continuous stream of Jutes, Angles and Saxons heading for Eastern Britain. The Briton “navy” such as it was spent most of its time guarding the Western coastline.  The ships could cope with one or two raiders but not with a whole fleet.

The Seaxons were preoccupied with settlement rather than attacking Cambria..Even then Arthur could not ignore that threat to concentrate on the situation in the North.

Arthur’s lack of striking power would have been noted by his enemies. The Picts and Scots could not advance on land as they would run the risk of being cut off from their homeland and starving to death.

Better to attack by sea, where they had a superior numbers and could strike where they wanted. I haven’t ruled out treachery either, with some of the Kings and Nobility jealous of Arthur’s success. What would be the future for their personal power and prestige ?. All this, and Medreut in the shadows————-.


Those historians that have studied Arthur’s battles are split on wether this battle was on Hadrians Wall or within Wales. As far as I understand the situation, Hadrians Wall had, by this time, ceased to be of any military value. The forts along the wall had either fallen into disrepair or were occupied by small groups of locals.

I have gone with the latter conclusion, with Arthur’s headquarters being at Caerleon. King Iddon,s personal fortress being Carwent. Arthur must have lost this battle because Nennius puts Arthur’s next battle actually at Caerleon, therefore;

* The Scots-Irish and Picts retain the Initiative Point for the entire battle.

* The battle is played for 8 Game-Turns.

* The Scots and the Picts move first on the first Game-Turn.

* From Game Turns 2 to 8, both sides roll their die to determine who moves and fires first, who determines combat and wins any ties.

* I have represented the fort with a normal wall, my thinking being that although strong some decay would have set in. The wall itself counts as “ trench” for firing and close combat. The huts within the fort block movement and line-of-site..There may well have been the remains of a double ditch around the wall impeding movement.

* The winner, after 8 Game-Turns is the side that has lost the least number of stands.


The Saxons, Scots-Irish and the majority of the Britons are Hat Industries figures. The Picts are from Redbox. Arthur, his Bucellari and his Veteran infantry and archers are from Newline Designs 20mm figures. The Boats are scratch built and the crew are Emhar Viking Ships crew.

The Picts and Scots standards were hand painted. Arthur’s standard and shield decals were from Little Big Man Studios.

The base cloth was from Deep Cut Studios. Some of the scenery tiles were made by Brian of Essex Miniatures supplemented by homemade ones consisting of two layers of cork tile. The trees were from various manufacturers one being Guagemaster.

The roads and rivers were of thin card. The stands were cut from picture framing card 40 x 40 mm square. The command stands are 40mm mdf and supplied by Minibits. The large mountains are made from blocks of roughed up packaging.

The buildings are from Peter Pig. The stone wall is from Alternative Armies.