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"Have you gamed Towton in 28mm?/ Table size?" Topic

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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2019 9:53 a.m. PST

Greetings medieval fans. Im looking forward to a future project of possibly trying to do the battle of Towton in 28mm.

I've been putting together a miniature project for my nephews each year for the past few years. These have almost entirely involved fantasy or sci-fi projects.

I'd like to move them into historicals and the War of the Roses was my first historical project back in my 20s.

If I do Towton I'll be painting both armies and doing the terrain. My scale I've more or less decided on would be 1:50 which would give me 1,200 man standard units for Hail Caesar. This would put me at about 1,100 minis for the project which really doesn't seem that bad overall.

My one difficulty is deciding on a "table" size for this game. I say it in quotes because it will likely actually be done on my livingroom floor.

I was wondering if there was anyone here who has played this scenario in 28mm or hosted a game for it and what table dimensions you used if you recall.

I welcome any other tips for trying to put this project together or for playing Wotr with Hail Caesar rules.


22ndFoot01 May 2019 10:31 a.m. PST

Not for a very long time, probably 30 years, and then in 15mm but the same considerations would apply. From what I remember:

The deployment of both armies, generally between the Saxton and London roads, was about 1,000 yards. The whole action, including the charge from Castle Hill Wood and Norfolk's troops on the Yorkist right, was probably only 2,500 yards east to west link The rout of the Lancastrians was north west towards Bloody Meadow rather than straight back north so you don't need a huge depth. I'm sure you could get away with 8' x 6' or 10' x 6" as long as the frontage of each army equated in your scale to approximately 1,000 yards. One benefit of Hail Caesar is you can tinker with your standard unit size to make it fit.

Also, as you also probably know, there are two good, relatively recent books on the battle: Fatal Colours by George Goodwin and Towton by John Sadler. The Lance & Longbow Society's little book on the battle can also be had for a princely £6.00 GBP

Good luck with the project looking forward to hearing about it.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2019 11:38 a.m. PST

Thank you so much 22nd! It's a totally unrealistic project but sometimes those are the best ones.

I'm working on a much smaller Mortimers Cross project first. I'm hoping to get my speed painting techniques down during that project before I ever lift a finger on Towton.

Flodden was a close 2nd behind Towton but I considered Towton to be more of an "even" battle for scenario purposes.

Thank you again for the measurements and the well wishes. Without knowing the battlefield measurements off the top of my head I had anticipated something like 12' in width and 8'in depth.

I look forward to any other tips.

coopman01 May 2019 2:52 p.m. PST

These guys did it in 6mm:

Green Tiger02 May 2019 12:11 a.m. PST

Yes I have (twice with different rules)- it is about the only period I do in 28mm. Table is 8' by 5' – the actual battlefield is not far from where I am sitting and it is quite narrow.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2019 7:56 a.m. PST

Green, thanks for the info. I noticed the same observation from looking at Google maps.

Can I ask, in your games did you align your Divisions from left to right (as usual for the time) or did you align them in a row from front to back?

I've seen some historians depict the battles from front to back on their maps but I never gave much weight to it. The narrowness of the battlefield may have dictated that deployment however.

I'm curious to hear what you think.

MajorB02 May 2019 12:57 p.m. PST

My scale I've more or less decided on would be 1:50 which would give me 1,200 man standard units for Hail Caesar. This would put me at about 1,100 minis for the project which really doesn't seem that bad overall.

According to the latest research and opinion (see "Edgcote 1469: Re-evaluating the evidence", Graham Evans, 2019) it is now reckoned that the armies at Towton numbered no more than ~7,000 on each side.
At your chosen scale of 1:50 that would give you ~140 figures in each army.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2019 1:16 p.m. PST

That is something I will definitely have to read Major. The 1:50 scale was based on a commonly expressed number of 50-56k in troops present.

If there was truly 14-15k present, I would change the scale to 1:20 or 1:15, which is currently the scale I'm using for Mortimers Cross.

MajorB02 May 2019 1:59 p.m. PST

Even Brooks in his "Cassell's Battlefields of Britain and Ireland" only has ~20,000 on each side. A lot less than your 50 – 56k.
Frankly the battlefield at Towton is just not big enough for such large numbers.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2019 2:18 p.m. PST

Lol, it's not my 50-56k Bro. I not a historian or an archeologist. I'm just a wargamer. I'm just parroting the numbers I've read in 1/2 a dozen books and a few Web sites and magazines.

If you have a disagreement with "my" numbers then it sounds like you should take it up with the numerous authors I'm quoting (or write your own book!).

Anyway, I appreciate your attempt(?) at helping, if that is what you're trying to do.

I've added the Edgecote book to my reading list, right after the Rhys ap Thomas book.


Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2019 2:33 p.m. PST

"Given that Towton follows only 6 weeks later, there is little opportunity for further recruiting to replace the deserters. Even so, a realistic estimate would put 30,000 Lancastrians in the field against 25,000 Yorkists at Towton. Of that 30,000, my guess is that half of them were the army that fought at St Albans and the other half were retinues of northern Lancastrian lords who had not ventured south with Margaret."

Looks like you have changed your thoughts on the issue over time B. Taken from my last go at Towton, which I later changed to Barnet in 15mm.

TMP link

22ndFoot02 May 2019 3:01 p.m. PST

In Sadler's Towton (one of the books I mentioned yesterday) he estimates the Yorkists at 30,000 – Edward's 8,000 from Mortimer's Cross, Warwick's 4,000 survivors of 2nd St Albans, Norfolk's 4,000, Warwick's midland's muster of 5,000 and 5,000 from the southern and eastern counties plus various detachments. He then relies on chroniclers' accounts that the Lancastrians had more but doesn't give a figure. Goodwin dodges the question.

That said, as the good Major has pointed out, it would have been quite a squeeze but the nature of the rout does suggest they were packed in.

MajorB03 May 2019 11:20 a.m. PST

Looks like you have changed your thoughts on the issue over time B.

Yes, I have! Well after all, that was 8 years ago.

MajorB03 May 2019 11:24 a.m. PST

In Sadler's Towton

"The Battle of Palmsunday Field", John Sadler, Pen & Sword. First published in 2011. As I said, that was 8 years ago.

22ndFoot03 May 2019 12:12 p.m. PST

If neither army numbered more than 7,000, what is Evans's estimate of dead? Must we also give up on the notion the battle was the bloodiest in England?

MajorB03 May 2019 12:56 p.m. PST

Evans doesn't estimate the dead. His book is primarily about Edgcote, not Towton. The well known figure is of 28,000 dead at Towton but of course the presumably numerous grave pits have never been found …

IMHO it is possible that the figure is inflated by a factor of 10. 2,800 casualties would be much more believable and fit with a total number of 14,000 combatants.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2019 1:25 p.m. PST

" it would have been quite a squeeze "

That's what makes me wonder if both armies essentially attacked in columns of battles
instead of 3 abreast as was traditional.

I've seen at least two authors depict the battle in that fashion but I never gave it much weight.

Mithmee29 May 2019 6:19 p.m. PST

I would see were both sides could of had anywhere from 20,000-30,000 troops per side.

The Lancasters would have boosted their ranks with Scots and the Yorkists could have used that Mary was attempting to use these Scots to take over England and give it to the Scots. So gaining more troops as they marched up to York.

There were mass graves found at the battle site but only God and those who fought there know the real number.

Most battles back in that time usually did not have that amount of men fighting in them.

So I could see where a smaller figure per side would be truer to the period.

One thing that we do know that the battle was quite brutal.


Remember Edward and Warwick wanted payback since they both lost fathers and brothers in earlier battles.

So no quarter was given from either side.

Also since most of those fighting would have been archers and other men gathered up to fight they would not had been as well armored as the Lords and their Knights or Men-at-Arms.

Mithmee30 May 2019 5:24 p.m. PST

IMHO it is possible that the figure is inflated by a factor of 10. 2,800 casualties would be much more believable and fit with a total number of 14,000 combatants.

Actually, it is quite possible that both sides did have more than 25,000-30,000.

The Lancaster's had 15,000 – 18,000 at Wakefield in December 1460 and nearly the same amount at the 2nd Battle of St Albans.

Both battles that they won so gaining additional troops along with Scots forces could easily pushed them up to 30,000+ troops.

As for the Yorkist's; Warwick still had around 6,000 with him after the 2nd Battle of St Albans and could had picked up more after that battle.

This would have been due to the what the Lancaster's men did on their way there and afterwards when they went back up to the York area.

Now Edward had around 5,000 at the battle of Mortimer's Cross and probably still had many of them after the battle.

He more than likely picked up more on his way to London and more when he moved up North.

So given these facts it is very possible that both sides had over 25,000 troops.

Plus the Battle was said to be fought during the whole day. So around 8 hours with some stating 10 hours.

It was the arrival of "The Kingmaker", the Earl of Warrick that turn the tide for the Yorkist's since he came over the ridge and crashed right into the Lancaster's Left Flank.

This caused the worn out Lancaster's to break and rout and the real slaughter started.

So 28,000 dead on both sides:

20,000 Lancaster's
8,000 Yorkist's

Would be realistic.

We do know that there were several mass graves located there and since it was winter types conditions many families could have taken their dead away after the battle to be buried in family plots.

Mithmee30 May 2019 5:34 p.m. PST

Now what really interests me is that the battle was fought in blizzard conditions.

It was nearly April but this blizzard greatly impacted the battle since it gave the Yorkist's archers greater range and the Lancaster's shorter range.

Thus causing the Lancaster's to leave their better position and go on the attack.

I believe that the reason for these wintery conditions was due to a volcanic event that happen years earlier.


Another enigmatic climate event that has a little more potential to be matched with a volcano happened during the mid-1450s, a period that saw cold winters in China, dry fogs in Constantinople and stunted tree ring growth around the world. It also saw one of the biggest cases of sulfur loading in the atmosphere in the last few thousand years,


MajorB10 Jun 2019 11:35 a.m. PST

Now Edward had around 5,000 at the battle of Mortimer's Cross and probably still had many of them after the battle.

No, only about 2,000.

Mithmee10 Jun 2019 4:46 p.m. PST

Hard to say since records are petty poor from back then.

But he probably gained more recruits on his way to London and with the Lancaster's doing the normal; raping, pillaging and murdering as they move towards London they more than likely gain quite a few who wanted revenge.

Warrick & Edward probably use that to gain more recruits.

Plus remember the 100 Years War only ended just 8 years prior so there would have been many veterans who probably joined both sides.

Also it was probably a harsh winter (Towton was fought in a Blizzard) and the likelihood of Food and Shelter is better as part of an Army.

So while 25,000 to 35,000 per side would be considered to inflated it just might not have been.

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