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Comments or corrections?

Richard Johnstone06 Sep 2013 12:04 p.m. PST

Hey guys, I'm wanting to do a flodden project in 10mm scale using pendraken miniatures, but I can't find very accurate orders of battle. With 10mm I'm going for the mass effect so really I'm looking for a list of all the unit types, their commanders and the locations on the field.

Doe anyone now where I can find such a list, usually Wikipedia does the job but it's quitev vague…

MajorB06 Sep 2013 12:07 p.m. PST

You want the "Flodden Field Briefing Pack" available from here:
(look under Downloads)

Richard Johnstone06 Sep 2013 12:28 p.m. PST

Nice one, that's awesome!

MajorB06 Sep 2013 12:35 p.m. PST

Nice one, that's awesome!

Perhaps you could add a comment on Trebian's blog to say thank you!

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Sep 2013 1:54 p.m. PST

The briefing pack is based upon Neill Barr's book "Flodden 1513". It has the commanders in it and most of the banners.

Kightley's "Flodden" in the Almark series is good for commanders and banners, although the orbat has been discreditted slightly in recent works.

You have to remember that there is no good contemporary Scottish account as they pretty much all died….

Richard Johnstone06 Sep 2013 2:00 p.m. PST

Sorry, I assumed it was your blog major! Cheers trebian, very helpful indeed!

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Sep 2013 1:52 a.m. PST

Forgot to say, – the Osprey book on Henry VII is actually okay.

yarr6808 Sep 2013 9:03 a.m. PST

The best book for an OOB is the Osprey Flodden 1513, Campaign No 168, send me a pm with your email address and I'll send you my list copied from it. Also check out my blog, I've got a few Flodden flags that you may want to download.


cameronian08 Sep 2013 9:18 a.m. PST

This is my version using Pendraken 10mm:

Details on blog at:


Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Sep 2013 11:57 a.m. PST

yarr68, –

I don't have the Osprey book, so I can't comment on whether it has the best OOB or not. Does it go with the Scots having Bothwell in reserve (ie 5 battles) or with James (ie 4 battles).

There's a lot of issues with the Scottish numbers and the reviews I've read seem to go with the Osprey having the Scots as double the English. Modern interpretations tend not to give such a big difference.

Nice flags on the blog.

yarr6808 Sep 2013 12:18 p.m. PST

In the OOB Bothwell reserve is listed separate, but in the maps its directly behind the Kings command. Numbers are 42,000 for the Scots against 26,000 for the English.
Where did you get the info about the number being closer?

MajorB08 Sep 2013 2:09 p.m. PST

Where did you get the info about the number being closer?

Cassell's Battlefields of Britain & Ireland (Brooks, 2005) has both sides at Flodden at ~20,000 on the grounds that modern scholars suggest that of the 30-40,000 strong Scots army that crossed the Border about half deserted before the battle.

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Sep 2013 3:18 p.m. PST

The info on the numbers is taken from Niall Barr's book, – in my opinion it is the most recent work on the battle that can be regarded in anyway as being "academic". Brooks' view supports Barr, more or less.

Brooks is a wargamer, by the way, and has refought Flodden using his numbers and gets the right result. It is really hard getting an English win with the Scots double in size.

cameronian08 Sep 2013 3:25 p.m. PST

"Cassell's Battlefields of Britain & Ireland (Brooks, 2005) has both sides at Flodden at ~20,000 on the grounds that modern scholars suggest that of the 30-40,000 strong Scots army that crossed the Border about half deserted before the battle."

They are the lowest estimates I've seen; the Battlefield Trust, English Heritage and others put the English at 26,000 and the Scots at close on 40,000 (started at around 60,000 but lost men due to desertion and detachments). I'd be interested to know their sources, as that's quite a disparity. I could have painted half the figures!

yarr6808 Sep 2013 3:27 p.m. PST

"I could have painted half the figures!"

yeh, me too!!!!

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2013 3:57 a.m. PST

The Battlefield Trust site needs updating. As I said earlier, best modern book is Niall Barr's, (where I go my numbers) and I heartily recommend it. Alas looking on Amazon it seems to be out of print. Maybe try the library?

Aubrey09 Sep 2013 7:04 a.m. PST

I really don't get the view that its hard getting the 'right' result if the Scots army is substantially more than the size of the English.
The majority Scots troop type (the Pike Block) is twice the depth of the majority English troop type (Bow / Bill) so if the Scots are double the size it would be equal frontage. The Scots Pike get seriously disrupted (and the battle is lost) due to the unfavourable terrain at the bottom of Branxton Edge. Now if the English are mad enough to attack up the hill – but that's not Flodden

In our refight for the 500th Anniversary we're basing it on the Osprey book interpretation but ignoring Bothwell's 5,000 reserve (the two armies we are using work out at an a equal width) but to spice things up the unfavourable terrain is random (on the basis the Scots were unaware of the problem when they started down the hill).

Anyway it will be interesting to see what happens tonight.


Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2013 12:19 p.m. PST


Re the relative sizes of the two armies. Moast rules have a standard adjustment for disorganisation/fighting in rough terrain. If that isn't big enough to take account of the realtive sizes of the armies the something needs further adjustment. Where the size of the forces isn't well known a good "model" (or set of rules) can be sed to validate the numbers/scenmaro. This is the thesis of Phil Sabin's "Lost Battles". Richard Brooks has done similar with his rules, "Middle Age Spread".

We used Advanced Armati for this refight with a few chnages but nothing fundamental to the combat system. Taking into account the fatigue rules although the English can win with an average of +1/+2 modifier to a d6 against their Scottish opponents as they get tired they simply can't break the sheer weight of numbers. To take account of this with double the numbers you have to move the modifiers even more until they start to looklike English = Superman, Scottish = Superwimp. This starts to look really off kilter.

I understand the width argument, but it is the depth of the opponents that can make a difference depending on routed into rules.

The modern thinking on Bothwell's "reserve" seeing as Bothwell actualy died on the site of James' battle is that his battle (which only appears in an Italian poem "La Rotta da Scocesi" – Rout of the Scots) is a poetic adjustment to enable a chivalric duel. The same "source" also names D'Aussi as a battle commander.


Aubrey10 Sep 2013 12:08 a.m. PST

Sorry Trebian,
But I wasn't asking how can a bigger army beat a smaller army. I was asking why must the Scots and the English be the same size when the Scots are twice the depth of the English, so for exactly the same frontage the Scots Pike have twice as many men as the English Bill / Bow.

As I said on an earlier post we used DBR pretty much as written with the Osprey Orbats (No super English / super wimp Scots required). I'm not sure why you mention Bothwell specifically though as we excluded him from the refight. Although he is there in the Osprey book with 5,000 men in the Osprey all they do is feed into the back of the Kings Division when its too late to make a difference.

I have Barr as well as the Osprey and preferred the Osprey for the refight. I'll put a post together here to explain why.

I'll also do a brief post to my other posting about last nights refight. Excellent game. I really felt it captured the feeling of Flodden as I understand it. (We went for exactly as it happened – anyway as Barr / the Osprey see it – so Echelon attack, lost Stanely, can Dacre reach Edmund Howard in time? with a few twists to rack up the tension). More detailed write up will follow at some point + photos (somewhere).

Really enjoyed your Flodden write up by the way. Its my favourite battle and its good to see it get some interest. It was a real thrill to refight it on its 500th anniversary.


Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Sep 2013 2:40 a.m. PST


It's not just depth/width, but number of units that is significant (depending on rules system. Not familiar with DBR, but if it doesn't have a fatigue mechanism then you are right that the numbers won't make that much difference as the English can keep hacking them down.

Our refight followed the historical battle pretty much as well. It is a very tense affair each time I've played it unless the English get very unlucky and are swept away.

As to Bothwell, I was backing your view of not including him as a separate division.

Flodden deserves much more interest than it gets, – it's the first battle in Britain with an artillery dual, it's the last great bill/bow battle and it's political ramifications are enormous as well.


Aubrey10 Sep 2013 3:34 a.m. PST


I'll do my proper reply when I get a chance. I'm writing my PhD thesis at the moment and I'm supposed to be getting on with that. I'd much rather discuss Flodden with you.

Please don't take offence when I do but you are wrong about your dismissal of the Osprey. As I said I have both Barr and the Osprey, I favour the Osprey. They give the SAME SIZE ARMIES !! and where it matters break downs by command !! I'll explain some more when I get the chance. But I've a feeling you might not be able to wait so e.g. Scots Army Total see Barr Page 51 just before ref 61. If you had the Osprey I'd then refer you to his OOB on Page 28 and his caveat about his numbers.

Your last comment about Flodden is why its my favourite battle. It marks the transition in Britain from Medieval warfare to Renaissance warfare.


Aubrey11 Sep 2013 1:47 a.m. PST

Hello Richard Johnstone and Trebian,

As promised here are my thoughts on refighting Flodden. They are based on my reading of the excellent Osprey Campaign book and the interesting but deeply flawed Niall Barr book and using them to refight Flodden on the anniversary (which was an excellent game and I felt really captured Flodden, the commanders for both sides and a spectator who watched the whole game agreed it was what a wargame should be with the issue in doubt until the very last minute. Job done).

Firstly, Richard there has been lots of talk about the Osprey and the Barr. My strong advice is buy the Osprey the author really knows his stuff (for example there are lots of photos of reproductions of the various weapons from his personal collection) and the maps are excellent. Avoid the Barr book like the plague !

I was taken aback by Trebian's dismissal of the Osprey as not modern, not academic and wrong because of the 2:1 Scots to English ratio used. Yet he supports the Barr book.
Dealing with each in turn.
Barr was published in 2001, the Osprey in 2006.
As to academic, I'm doing a Phd at the moment. My understanding of academic writing is that it must meet the following conditions:-
1. It gathers the data (in this case the primary i.e. contemporary sources).
2. It checks any relevant writing on the subject (i.e. in this case the secondary sources. The Osprey quotes the Barr book).
3. It uses 1 and 2 to state the key facts.
4. It draws conclusions based on the key facts.
I would be interested to know from Trebian which of the 4 elements he thinks the Osprey falls down on (The author Sadler – quotes his primary sources and secondary sources, he clearly states his facts and his conclusions). Having access to both books I would argue that for 1,2 & 3 the Barr and Osprey are pretty much identical. It is 4. where they differ and I am convinced that the Osprey has managed to do this whilst the Barr book does not. This is why I say the Barr book is flawed (in other words his conclusions are not backed up by the facts he states). Its a real shame as he handles the first three elements really well and there are some excellent colour plates.
The curious aspect is the 2:1 dismissal. Barr and the Osprey (Sadler) both effectively state 40000 to 20000. The English 26,000 in Sadler's OOB (Page 28) is clearly marked as from the approach march. For the Battle (shown in the Battle maps) he switches to Barr's 22,500 (21,000 foot + 1,500 border horse). He then doubles the foot which is where he gets the 42,000. In the OOB on Page 28 he clearly caveats the numbers by saying they do not take into account desertion / sickness. Meanwhile Barr (page 51) clearly states a maximum of 40,000 for the Campaign but roughly 30,000 by the Battle. The 29,000 total people get excited about is I suspect Barr being a bit sneaky (the extra 1,000 belong in Home/Huntley's division – I know this because its clear how the two authors arrive at their numbers for the Scots commands – its all to do with ratios based on the primary sources).

Anyway, if you are still with me. To raise armies for Flodden. What you need to know is that the Scots army is an early Swiss Pike army and the English Army is a Wars of the Roses army.
Barr states primary sources which give a ratio of 4 Pike to 1 Bill & 1 Bow.
That's where the 2:1 ratio comes from – simple as that. (The English total is roughly right as they recorded how many were paid off at the end of the campaign and then an estimate of how many had been killed has been added).

So to do Flodden paint 4 pike for 1 Bill and 1 Bow until you've got the right amount for you.
However, the front rank pike is more heavily armoured than the rest (nobles with arrow proof pavises so 1/4 pike should be different from the back 3 ranks – its actually less than a 1/4 as Home's border pike front rank is the same as the back ranks).
If you keep to that ratio you can't go wrong.
Flodden is a Column (Pike) v Line (Bow/Bill) battle. If you don't have those ratios in your refight its not Flodden.

In terms of Commands (not units!) you need 4. (These were the ones identified by the English). The famous 5th (Bothwell reserve?) quoted by some sources didn't descend from the ridge so you don't need to include it if you cant face painting the extra pike required to provide a possible reserve – and prolong the Scots agony?).
The first 3 commands are for the main (Swiss style attack). Barr's / Sadler's / My ratios between each command (for my refight based on our figure collections) are.
Home (Border Pike) 6 / 6 / 8
Errol, Crawford, Montrose (front rank pavises) 6 / 7 / 8
James IV (front rank pavises) 9 / 15 / 16
Then you need to add your highlanders on both wings. These are in the ratio of 2 for every 4 pike depth for the left wing highlanders who were flank guards to Home's Border Pike and for them its is half the total bases of pike (so 1/6 highlanders, 2/3 pike, 1/6 highlanders).
The right-wing highlanders they didn't know what to do with (so they sat them on Pace Hill to guard the flank until they were crushed by Stanley). My ratio is 6 (based on Sadlers half the full total of the left wing). However, this is where they put the French officers who trained the Scots in the Swiss tactics) so a 1/3 (became 4 pike bases -1 French front rank and 3 highland pike bases – here you go hold this pike!). Its a nice touch which could have happened.

As to the English.
Again the division of 22,500 is clearly a ratio.
(Its a classic large centre and 2 smaller wings + Stanley the same size as a wing).
This gives Barrs / Sadlers 4.5 / 9 / 5 / 4 (3.5) from English right to left. However the right wing is 3 foot to 1.5 Border Horse (Dacres 1,500 which were moved to the centre for the battle but Sadlers OOB shows them in the right wing for the approach march) but you don't need quite that many as they act as a light cavalry screen. Our ratio was right to left:-
6 (+2 Cav) / 10 (Centre) / 7 / 5 (Stanley).
There has to be a bit of adjustment to allow for the line overlapping the columns but you can work that out (as the 3 pike blocks in the swiss style are an arrows shot apart we had half an arrow shot between ECM and James IV (as for various reasons it doesn't need to be as big).
There is the sense that Edmund Howards rightwing is a bit isolated so we left a gap of 1 base between him and the rest of the English line.
You have 4 English commanders who are better armoured than the standard bill (and fight in the front rank each replacing 1 standard Bill)
Then all you need is Big Scottish Guns and Small English ones. The Scottish are placed in the gap between HH and ECM (and are ineffective but add to the Flodden colour). We had 4. We had 4 light guns – 2 facing the Scots guns 1 on each of the wings.
+ that's Flodden.
Oh the Scots Commanders fought in the front rank pike blocks but the highland right wing has a highland chief.

Then all you need to do is attack in Echelon with the 3 scots pike against the thin English line (and see what happens – taking into account how disordered they are when they reach the English). Without Column Echelon against a thin line its not Flodden. This is why Barr is flawed he does all the hard work and then says its 4 individual fights.

Then decide if you follow plan (which gives a big James IV command) or factor in desertion. It actually doesn't matter as long as the last pike column is substantially bigger than the other 2.

Hope the above helps. If you have any questions let me know.

If Trebian has any comments about the above analysis I'd be happy to hear them but if he disagrees about Barr it would help if he quotes page numbers.

Richard – if you want to see our Army lists let me know.

Phew ! Have fun Flodden is fascinating. Scots Renaissance v English Medieval.


Aubrey11 Sep 2013 3:55 a.m. PST

Oh Richard Johnstone,

One additional thought.
When I say Highlanders I mean warband not bowmen (as I've seen some people do it).
The highland warband on Homes border pike wing are either there as flank guards;
To act as Doppelnsolders (i.e. hack into the flanks before the pike block contacts);
Or to scare the living daylights out of the English by charging down hill at them (which achieves the same effect as the previous option).
The illustration in the Barr book shows the clansman with a shield and choppy thing.
I don't believe for a second any of them would want to trade volleys with the notorious English bowmen. If they did, you would have thought one of them might have thought to ask before the battle why the posh people in the middle are carrying doors!


Lewisgunner11 Sep 2013 4:58 a.m. PST

As I have said on the other thread on Flodden the Scots are not a Swiss pike army. They are a Scots army with pike that they only just got. I cannot conceive that James did not know that the bottom of Branxton hill is boggy. At the time the area was rough pasture (so the guide told us) even two days ago the spring line was still wet, though it is now a drainage ditch. The hillside would have been well drained and at the bottom would be a much greener area with reeds and marsh plants and it is only 100 yards from the top to the marsh. Princes in this period rode and hunted and would understand that all the bright green stuff and the marsh plants indicated boggy ground. James just chose to go for it because he outnumbered Surrey and could sense that victory was in his grasp and that , having assembled a force from all over Scotland, he would not look like the conquering Renaissance prince if he stole away.

Aubrey11 Sep 2013 5:38 a.m. PST

See my reply on the other thread. According to the sources I've quoted the Scots are a Swiss pike army(or at least try to be).
As I said I don't agree with your view – I've explained what mine is based on. Neither Barr or the Osprey suggest the Scots would have been aware of the unfavourable terrain. As to what James would or not have been aware of (and his likely mindset) this is based on the same sources and evidence.

Aubrey11 Sep 2013 5:46 a.m. PST

One last thing and then we'll have to agree to disagree about the Scots using Swiss pike methods the Barr book (p35) says "When Sir Thomas Howard, the Lord Admiral of England noted in the 'Articles of battile' written after Flodden, that the Scots came down the hill and met with them in good order after the Almayns manner' he had recognised through his professional knowledge of war that the Scots had been utilising Swiss methods at Flodden".

I'll stick with English Commanders view and the Osprey interpretation of events if you don't mind.


Aubrey11 Sep 2013 7:23 a.m. PST

One very last thing for Richard Johnstone (unless you have any questions).

To recap.
Flodden is a Scots "Swiss" Pike Army.
2 small columns (the first with highlanders on the flanks)
1 larger column.
This still works with Barr's numbers quoted in his book.
Why this and not 3 equal columns?
I can only surmise but I think Novarra must have had a huge impact.
The DBR list for a Swiss Pike army says that the last great victory "was over the French at Novarra in 1513 where they employed 1 large and 2 small columns".
Novarra was June 6 1513.
As I've said before the DBR rules work really well for a Flodden refight based on the Scots attempting Swiss Pike tactics (their front rank is Pike Superior like the Swiss but when they lose that, unlike the Swiss, their other 3 ranks are Pike Ordinary so they start to crumble).


Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Sep 2013 9:53 a.m. PST


Thanks for the detailed analysis you posted. I won't go over it point by point but I would like to make a few comments:

1) I did not dismiss the Osprey book as being unacademic or not modern or wrong. What I said that I considered other accounts to be academic and modern. That is a very different thing. As I said I do not have the Osprey book and did not comment on its contents.
2) Barr's book, in my view, does support his conclusions with evidence. It is extensively foot-noted and where I can check the footnotes (eg I have access to Hall's chronicle) they are correct.
3) I'm not getting excited about the 29,000 number for the Scots at the battle. I think it is probably right, given desertion and so on. 1,000 either way isn't a big deal. A ratio of 3:2 works for me. 40,00 is probably too much, however.
4) I don't get where Barr says the ration is 4pike to 1 bill to 1 bow. I recall he mentions the Swiss supporting their pikes with missile weapons and halberds in that ratio, but that isn't relevant here as that's within the Swiss army and not to do with the two opposing sides. Part of the Scottish problem in this battle is that they pretty much only have pikes and not shot or "close quarter" weapons.
I think the advice to "avoid the Barr book like the plague" is a bit extreme.
My final comment is a general one on Ospreys and not at all about the Flodden book which I still haven't read. I have a shelf full of Ospreys and love them very much. However they are of massively variable quality (there is a TMP thread called "Great mistakes in Osprey books" or something similar). The one on Kadesh is just plain wrong and has some made up bits in it, but it isn't clear what these are unless you know the period. Although some of them list sources none of the books I have got are footnoted. Osprey do not operate any form of series editor process, so you have to be aware of that whenever you buy them or use them. With a few exceptions they are written by enthusiasts and not historians. Having said that I will continue to buy them and use them. However, although I never did a PhD, if I had submitted an undergraduate essay to any of my tutors which adopted the same standards as appear in some of the books I wouldn't have ended up with a degree.

Of course that was 30 years ago. Things may be different now.


Lewisgunner11 Sep 2013 11:05 a.m. PST

As i said on the other Flodden thread i don't think a month at the most of training and a low ratio of trainers to soldiers and the lack of pike veterans in the ranks really qualifies the Scots as a Swiss Pike army..I would also reiterate that Swiss pie or Landsknechts operate with missile units, halberdiers and knights in cooperation with them. James does not have these, he has 5000 highlanders but they are in one mass. and operating n their own. At least Earlier Scots armies have Ettrick archers and lochaber axemen in with the spears. So, if these are Swiss tactics then they are very wooden and reduced Swiss tactics and the English army is rather more flexible, deploying billmen, archers, and cavalry in roles that. seek to aximise the effect of each.

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Sep 2013 11:32 a.m. PST

"So, if these are Swiss tactics then they are very wooden and reduced Swiss tactics and the English army is rather more flexible, deploying billmen, archers, and cavalry in roles that. seek to aximise the effect of each."

Agree on all your points. It's the closest they could get in the time available to them, using the materials and experience they had.

Richard Johnstone11 Sep 2013 12:00 p.m. PST


That's the can of worms I've evidently opened! Thanks you both Aubrey and Trebian for your fascinating insights in this project, you've both provided me with a vast amount of information, and plenty of things to consider! I'm not going to pick sides as both of you seem to have valid points, however I'm inclined to go with the more recent data (osprey) as the basis for this project, at the end of the day I want to have fun recreating a moment in history that my father thinks he can change in Scotland's favour!

Trebian Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Sep 2013 12:07 p.m. PST

Osprey isn't the most recent data. Just the most recent book.

Anyhow, you can always fight with "my" numbers if you paint for Osprey!

There. I've said my last comment.

Stuart MM11 Sep 2013 12:53 p.m. PST

Just do the siege of Therouanne instead – a lot of 'what if' scenarios plus you get a lot more variety of troops.

The only thing holding me back from Flodden is a lack of decent figure availability but I live in hope.

On another point be careful with the interpretation of 'Almayn' as it typically refers to Landsknechts in the Tudor mindset.

Here's the reference regarding Flodden;

'Howard caused the van to stale in a little valley till the rear joined one of the wings of his battle; then both advanced in line against the Scots, who came down the hill, and met them "in good order, after the Almayns manner, without speaking a word."

From: 'Henry VIII: September 1513, 1-10', Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 1: 1509-1514 (1920), pp. 997-1012. URL: link Date accessed: 11 September 2013.'

It's a tiny point but I think an interesting one. It may be that the English at that time had no real experience of dealing with the Swiss and just lumped their adopted / assumed tactics in with what they had seen and actually hired Landsknechts to do in their own army.

A 1492 description of a side drum in England is that of a large 'Sweche' drum – why not say Almayn? so there was a distinction.

It could be something or nothing at all but etymology can be key sometimes and it's often almost an unconscious thing to read material with a prejudice or assumption – something which as gamers and painters we just have to take a best judgement on.

Anyway – i thought it an interesting point – conclude from it what you will.

Best wishes


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