Flodden Pictures

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Flodden Pictures

Post by Captain of Dragoons » Fri May 09, 2008 9:26 pm

Hello Barry. I have to say that the pictures you have in the Gallery of this battle are some of my favorites. I often use them as background on my PC at work and home.

Do you game this period very often? I'm a big fan of the Hundred Years War and Wars of the Roses era :!:

cheers
Edward
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Post by barr7430 » Sat May 10, 2008 9:02 pm

Edward, thanx :D

This particular battle is one which touches my 'Scottishness' nerve far more than Bannockburn,Culloden, and the rest of more likely national rallying points.
I visited the battlefield yet again last weekend on a trip home from England and it is still almost as it was 500 years ago when the 'Flower of Scotland' was literally ripped from the ground. Our greatest defeat but not for want of bravery and sheer guts, led by the King who went down fighting in hand to hand combat with four men, the lords spiritual and temporal together with thousands of our countrymen perished at the hands of a stalwart band of brave Englishmen. It is a very haunting place indeed.
I have long wanted to build on the Collection I have which is actually only about 100 figures. I will get round to it but until then, I'm afraid you will have to be content with my few pictures :(
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Post by Captain of Dragoons » Sun May 11, 2008 12:21 pm

Hello Barry

At Flodden Field did the Scots still use the schiltron formation :?: From the pictures it looks like they switched to the pike.

Interesting period later 1400's and early 1500's; Pikes, Hangunners, Archers, Knights, Bills, Canons :!: Another transition period.

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Edward
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Post by azeroth » Mon May 12, 2008 9:03 am

Going to walk and photograph the battle field this summer hopefully, went there a few years ago now with Paul McLauchlin from this forum, assuming the terrain hasn't changed much in the years one can clearly see the folly and stupidity in abandoning the high ground and how the Scots came to the sticky end they did. The little church is worth a visit as well, extended in Victorian times but some of the original church is still there from what i remeber.

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Post by thinredline » Mon May 12, 2008 7:17 pm

No expert on this, BUT
Did the Scots not abandon their hilltop defense because :-
1) They could not depress the elevation of their artillery (superior in firepower and numbers) to bear on the English below, and 2), The English artillery were making free targets of the Scots who could not answer unless by actually engaging in H to H combat. :evil:
3) I believe the Scots were using Pikes (Capt.of Dragoons), albeit, not in Schiltrom formation, the trouble was, The English had moved on technically, and using bills, they snared the head of the pikes and snapped them, rendering them useless. :evil:
4) The press of men behind, eager to join the affray from above and behind on a slippery slope left little scope for dis-engagement of the front ranks. :x

The rest is history, the best equipped, most homogeneous (Lowland and Highland, Lords and commoners alike) army to set forth under the most loved (James IV) King of Scots came to a very, very sad end at the foot of Branxton Hill. :cry:

Neil Oliver (Two men in a Trench (and Coast) did a very good historical documentary on this, and Killiecrankie, Bannockburn and Culloden amongst others. :shock: I obviously watch too much of the wrong kind of television when painting figures :!:

Not my period at all, (too sad) :cry: but my understanding of what happened. I am sure there are more qualified than I to comment, and would look forward to this if it is forthcoming. :?
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Post by azeroth » Tue May 13, 2008 8:28 am

Far from an expert myself as far as i recall:

1. The Scottish guns were siege pieces, whereas the English had light field guns in the army, giving them a faster rate of fire and quickly silencing the Scots guns, also the Scots master gunners were with the fleet. The Scots also could not depress the guns far enough to properly engage the english army.

2.The English guns were slicing through the pike blocks of the Scots, and the english army didn't seem in a great rush to attack uphill.

3. Two of the Scots pike divisions were stalled when they hit a small stream at the botom of the hill, this with the mass of following pikemen meant their advance was broken up and the marshy ground disordered them.

The rest as they say is history....

I wasn't lucky enough to work on the two men in a trench episode on Flodden but i did assist on the Culloden one.

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Post by Atheling » Tue May 13, 2008 1:45 pm

azeroth wrote:Far from an expert myself as far as i recall:

1. The Scottish guns were siege pieces, whereas the English had light field guns in the army, giving them a faster rate of fire and quickly silencing the Scots guns, also the Scots master gunners were with the fleet. The Scots also could not depress the guns far enough to properly engage the english army.
Again no expert but I concur.
2.The English guns were slicing through the pike blocks of the Scots, and the english army didn't seem in a great rush to attack uphill.
Yep. It must have been a terrible shock after all that preperation.
3. Two of the Scots pike divisions were stalled when they hit a small stream at the botom of the hill, this with the mass of following pikemen meant their advance was broken up and the marshy ground disordered them.
This is the intesting bit. The Scots were actually way ahead of the English in terms of weaponry and tactics. Indeed, the English were still clinging on to what really amounted to Late Medieval tactics which were already a long time outdated. James IV had employed a few continental Landschnect captains to train the Scots army. This was largely unachieved by the time that tactical manouvreing and marching had begun. However, at the end of the day, so's to speak the Scots still had a very solid positon on the hill. Textbook stuff really for the day.

The schiltorns or rather pike blocks were meant to act very much in the continental manner. That is to say they were meant to steamroller the English, thus forcing a rout. The marshy ground encountered by the Scots and the lack of training were the real culprits in the disordering of the pike blocks which ironically was to result in the English Bills becoming the weapon that won the day (to an extent).

If it wasn't for the sodden ground and a few weeks more of drill the outcome may have been very different.

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Post by barr7430 » Tue May 13, 2008 2:38 pm

My twa' penneth....

I understand that French military advisors to James IV had encouraged the King to make his 'spearmen' operate in the Swiss style which had been so invincible on the continent. That however took years of practice to perfect and high levels of discipline to execute... two qualities the Scots lacked but they did not lack resolution.
A relatively poorly trained but reasonably well equipped army led by brave, competent if not inspired leaders.
The English were themselves brave and well led. It is a very interesting battle.

I have never subscribed to the 'who are the best fighters' argument - Scots or English. The 'British' tribes have always been particularly bellicose and none has lacked courage and I of course include the fighting Welsh and Irish in that remark :wink:

For the root causes of these victories or defeats I think we must look beyond the limited facts we are sometimes left with hundreds of years later. Political climate, relationship between commanders, their subordinates and their men. Position, weather, all manner of things.

I have read a little of the theories of Frederick Lanchester who has an accepted mathematical formula for proving how battles are won(yes you heard that right!). It is now used as a standard business theory on how to win commercial wars!!... witness companies such as Canon, Xerox etc. It was also used by the US Military to win the island hopping campaigns in the Pacific during WWII.

If anyone is remotely interested it involves concentration of effort and a formula of numbers x weapons x training etc...

yes folks... that's what I do with my day job :oops:
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Post by Rank Bajin » Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:10 pm

Chaps,

just back from the old country and managed to sneak in a visit to flooden

if someone can tell me how to get the photos on here I'll upload them :oops:

What struck me is actually how steep the terrain is - it never comes across in the photos.

where the slope is gentle - on the scottish left - the pikes did the business - lack of training or not.

where the slope is more precipitous (and also where the biggest mass of men where) the press into the marsy bottom is probably what caused the failure of the pikes - once the inertia was lost it would be easy to chop the heads off or get under them, meanwhile the guys at the back would have been continually piling in not knowing what the reason for the hold up was.

the english showed better tactical flexibility once they brought reserves up and when they had one set combats whilst the scots either piled into the ruck or in the case of the left flank retired from the fray.

the cannon issue is to some extent a case of lighter v's heavier, but this contributed not just in weight of shot but also rate of fire and manouverability. I don't particulary go with the english gunners being better more that they had the right tools for the job.

As for the affect - I doubt any late medieval army would have played a reverse slope situation so they would always be exposed. Additionally once you start taking casulties the idea of setting about your enemy gets more encouraging!!

I don't think any army was any worse, the english made a great tactical move outflanking the flooden position and the command and control was better at the unit level. The scots were hampered by unknown terrain (if the valley floor had been dried the inertia would have kept) and perhaps James desire to win a battle to prove he was a greatr prince, whereas if he had just buggered off he would have achieved all his strategic goals.

Ultimately it was a right royal disaster. The most awesome thing that in the space of two football pitches, in the space of three hours over 10,000 people lost their lives - more than actually died on the first day of the Somme!!

I'm for one glad we only reenact this sort of behaviour on the sports field nowadays!!

Roy[/img]
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