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"French take Sandwich!" Topic

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Gamineering28 May 2014 7:32 p.m. PST

Whilst searching for information on early WotR battles, I stumbled across this info on about a French raid on Sandwich in 1457.

"In 1457, the town was attacked by 4,000 Frenchmen (mainly from Honfleur) under Marshal Pierre de Breze or as English accounts call him, Peter Brassey. The parishes of St. Mary and St. Clement were destroyed (except St. Clement's tower). The citizens fought desperately all day until help arrived from the other Cinque Port towns and at about 5.30 pm the French withdrew.

The Mayor of Sandwich, John Drury, was killed along with many citizens. In memory of this event, the Mayor of Sandwich still wears a black robe.

The devastated town did not really recover until a hundred years had passed."

I am thinking of running a Sharpe Practice game based on this raid, but there does not seem to be much info available on troops etc. Would they have been the usual WotR billmen and longbowmen or only villagers with pitch forks, etc.? How about the French troops?

Any ideas on how to set up this game for Sharpe Practice (I am already aware of the excellent 'wargaming with a silver whistle' mods) would be appreciated.

It must have been a devastating raid if it took 100 years to recover!


MajorB29 May 2014 12:55 a.m. PST

Cheese and Tomato please!

Big Martin Back29 May 2014 3:03 a.m. PST

I should imagine that, initially, you'd be talking about poorly armed townspeople. However, given that all able bodied adult males were supposed to practice with arms, you'd start finding guys who'd gone home and got kitted up.
The relief, if you're going to include it, was probably better prepared.

Etranger29 May 2014 4:10 a.m. PST

Sandwich, later twinned with the French town of Baguette …..

Gamineering29 May 2014 5:57 a.m. PST

Nothing better than a fresh baguette with a tasty cheese…

Actually Sandwich is now twinned with Honfleur, so they appear to have let bygones be bygones.

Making the villagers and mayor the first wave of defenders would give the French a good chance to grab some loot before the better trained reinforcements arrive. I will have to dig through the lead mountain for some appropriate villager models.

French Wargame Holidays29 May 2014 12:34 p.m. PST

Sandwich was one of the important Cinque port towns during this period and was walled and had a castle that defended the docks, the garrison was small( trying to find numbers ) but the French would of been there to destroy or capture the ships and take what they could. Population was around 1000 people ( more research would firm this number) the port was well known as a port to launch piracy against the French, Spanish and Portuguese merchant ships.

A great link here
PDF link

As for figs, part or unarmed figs for the town militia, the garrison would of had possibly crossbows, but very few and even perhaps artillery on the castle keep or town walls.

A interesting scenario I think I will play out!


Sparker29 May 2014 2:07 p.m. PST

Well I was amazed when I heard about this invasion. I pride myself on being 'up' on English and British history but had never heard of this one. Damn French rascals! :-)

French Wargame Holidays29 May 2014 11:08 p.m. PST

they also raided a number of ports at the same time as this raid, as a counter raid to Warwick's raids in France.


Gamesman630 May 2014 11:41 a.m. PST

Coastal raids were pretty common, Winchelsea and Rye among others were raided on several occasions.

Regards the locals the Bridport muter gives an idea of the arms and armour that the citizens were able to muster with, in that port, though smaller, in Dorset. I am sure a bit of research could compare the sizes of the the two towns at the time and then use the number of Bridport to assume the size of Sandwich, though perhaps as a wealthier town one might increase the better armed types. it is also from 1457 and they could field a good force with a couple of citizens in full harness. Of course, if the raid came as a surprise the citizens would have limited amounts of time to get to their arms and armour.
The musters of the south coast towns and southern counties were pretty well armed and prepared because of the threat of raids, and they were excepted from being used in foreign expeditions and in the defence of the North from the Scots for just this reason, protecting from coastal raids.

To get an idea from the other side read the biography of Diaz de Gamez, "The Unconquered Knight" though from a bit earlier, there is an interesting account of a raid on Jersey, where the locals eventually see the raiders off. It is an interesting read fro the various seaborne raids he conducted in different places and other chivalric adventures

Gamineering31 May 2014 5:11 p.m. PST

Hi Matt and Gamesman6. Thanks for the info. It has been very helpful.

I managed to find a pdf of "the unconquered knight" and read the parts about the Jersey raids. Protecting the boats to aid their escape is something I will try to build into the game.

The Bridport muster was harder to find and I have only found a couple of snippets on line. These are useful nonetheless.

I also found a walking tour brochure for Sandwich from and this had given me a street map on which to base my table. I am thinking to base it on the section of the quay and town between the Bulwark (where the French apparently broke into the town) and the Barbican gate.

Gamesman602 Jun 2014 1:18 a.m. PST

An interesting note from both the Bridport muster and from TUK, is the prevalence of pavises in both raiding and from the side of the mustered troops.
Its more conventionally understandable from the TUK as they are using cross bows, however it interesting that in Bridport Pavises are a commonly listed item.

cpt shandy02 Jun 2014 6:35 a.m. PST

Hi Pioneer,

great project, I actually want to do one on the Earl of Warwick men's raid on Sandwich in 1460 (part of Warwicks naval operations while he was based at Calais). We are also using Sharp Practice for WotR, so I'd be interested in how you do it. Here's my version:
You'll also find a lot of AARs on my blog.
I'd be glad to hear more of your progress!


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