John took the Lancastrian side and I lined up the Yorkists with imported mercenaries.
As a variation, and because we know how each other plays, it was decided to draw maps and deploy 'blind' on this occasion. The sides were roughly equal with 48 'elements' each.
The Lancastrians deployed with Archers and Crossbowmen screening Men at arms on their left, soon joined by the Lancastrian cavalry contingent.
Their right was anchored on the church of St Mark and it's handy walls. Again a heavy screen of archery covered a hard core of men at arms.
The Yorkists lined up with an archery heavy right wing with attendant men at arms, a lighter gun park in the centre with a formidable pike block and cavalry, and they decided to pack all their mercenaries on the left wing. this consisted of a lighter pike block, crossbowmen and hand gunners screened by a line of pavissiers.
First moves saw a cautious advance from the Yorkists, while the Lancastrians got into their stride and crunched upfield. On their left the Lancastrian cavalry were particularly eager, and the lighter sergeants poured forward toward the Yorkist archery, followed closely by the Lancastrian heavies.
The very ground began to shake and the Yorkist archers, veterans to a man on this wing, nocked arrows and waited for their orders....
As Lancastrians passed the pre-arranged range markers, the orders came. "Draw.......Loose!"
The arrow cloud rose and fell and the Sergeants never even came close to the Yorkist lines. Most fell in a welter of screaming horseflesh and men. those who survived were stunned and stationary and fell or fled as the Yorkist archers started to pick out individual targets.
The heavies still came on but were hampered getting past their fallen comrades and lost men as well to the relentless arrow storm.
In the centre, the Lancastrian guns were galling the Yorkist cavalry into precipitate action, and on the Lancastrian right, the infantry moved steadily forward whilst their mercenary opponents inexplicably hesitated.
On the Lancastrian left, the heavies finally got to grips with the Yorkist archers, but the cost had been high, and though they extracted some measure of revenge, eventually even the plate-clad flower of the Lancastrian army was all but destroyed, their sorry remnants leaving the field shocked and tattered.
Meanwhile on the other wing, the mercenaries finally got a move on and in a significant blow for technology, the hand gunners produced their first ever recorded success, blowing away an element of crossbowmen. Sadly this was their only contribution and as they valiantly tried to reload, the Lancastrian crossbowmen loosed a devastating volley which destroyed them utterly.
Alongside the hand gunners, the pavissiers advanced to contact.
The Yorkist centre, unable to withstand the attentions of the Lancastrian guns launched its entire cavalry force forward and the pike block rumbled forth in attendance.
The Lancastrian gunners faced a horrifying choice, stay, and get skewered...or run and get skewered!
Unsurprisingly they fell to their guns with a will.
The Yorkist, mercenary left was still lagging and seemed reluctant to engage, with the exception of the pavissiers who were giving a good account of themselves but buckling under the strain.
The Yorkist gunners were plying a lively trade, but with limited results.
In the centre, the Lancastrian gun park blew away the last of the Yorkist cavalry just as they reached the gun muzzles. The Yorkist pike had been delayed by the attentions of a unit of crossbowmen and arrived at the guns just as they were able to swivel and fire after despatching the horsemen.
The pike staggered, came on, staggered again and finally overran one gun crew before coming to a halt. Their ranks tattered and rent by the unexpectedly effective Lancastrian guns.
At this point the Yorkist mercenaries also started to falter, units failing and fleeing one after another.
Despite some heroic efforts on the other wing where the Yorkist men at arms had come to bill strokes with their Lancastrian opponents, it was clear that the house of Lancaster had won the day!
A great game played in the right spirit.....and yet again John ended in possession of the field!
Comments as ever welcome and appreciated.
Yes I am aware of the anachronisms. 'The Company of the Rose' ( My Guys) were originally put together as a 100 years War/Free Company, but hey I am shameless! I am also suitably ashamed at fielding unbased figures for a game. My only excuse is that it was the only way to make up the numbers.
All the best.