Simon and Lewis look at an early version of the newest in Paradox's great mounted hack-and-slash series
The Calais garrison of over 1,000 men was England's only standing army. The town was a vital Yorkist base in the winter of 1459-60, and Calais troops formed the core of the Yorkist army which invaded in June 1460. However, Andrew Trollope, a Calais commander and renowned soldier, refused to fight Henry VI (October 1459) and became a leading Lancastrian captain until his death at Towton. The government also paid the wardens of the northern marches (usually from the rival Neville and Percy families) to retain a few hundred soldiers, but their private forces were more important. French and Burgundian rulers supplied mercenaries to back invasion in 1470-71 and 1485-87. Their importance grew as noble participation in the wars declined after 1461. The major source of soldiers was noblemen's retainers and tenants. The Percys and Nevilles could field up to 10,000 men each for short periods, many of whom were experienced in border warfare. The Yorkist lord Hastings raised 3,000 men in 1471, and the Stanleys fielded large contingents between 1485 and 1487. The reluctance of tenants to serve far from home, and the nobles' ability to pay them were the main limitations.
At Towton (1461), seventy-five per cent of lords and much of the gentry fought on the Lancastrian side. The Yorkists had fewer lords, but they were the wealthier. Armies became smaller in later wars. At Bosworth, twenty-eight of thirty-five lords failed to turn out for Richard III. Experience taught them it was safer to wait and accept the victor, who could then summon soldiers from towns and counties: in 1455, Coventry equipped 100 archers for Henry VI, and sent the same number with Warwick to Towton. However, by 1470-71, their daily wages had to be raised by fifty per cent to attract recruits.
The largest armies fought at Towton, over 20,000 men on each side; Edward may have had 9,000 at Barnet (1471), Warwick more; at Bosworth, Richard heavily outnumbered Henry Tudor's 5,000 men, although Sir William Stanley's army redressed the balance, and not all of Richard's army was engaged. Archers predominated, outnumbering "men-at-arms by seven or more to one. English archers were highly rated in Europe. In the civil war battles both sides had them and they were less influential than in the Hundred Years' War, their main function being to cover the men-at-arms and to break up defensive formations. However, their absence compromised the Yorkists at Edgecote. Other footmen were armed with bills (poleaxes). The elite men-at-arms, all landowners, were encased in expensive armour. Nearly all battles of the civil wars became slogging matches in which the men-at-arms on foot played the dominant role, though cavalry were also used, as at Towton, Tewkesbury, and Bosworth. Most armies had field artillery, although this was used only at the start of battles because its rate of fire was relatively slow; mounting it in field defences went out of fashion after 1460. There were few sieges in the civil wars, although Edward IV possessed an impressive siege train. The English made little use of handguns, and the mercenary gunners from the Continent made little impact in the wars.
The main goal in the civil wars was political power rather than control of territory, so the campaigns of the Wars of the Roses were brief and ended in battles. This was not due to lack of military skill; many of the nobles who commanded in the 1450s had experience in the French wars, and younger captains like Somerset, Warwick, and Edward IV, who learned from experience, were capable soldiers. It was desirable to limit campaigns to avoid causing damage by foraging, and to reach a conclusion before the levies dispersed. Analysis of the campaigns of 147071, for which there is detailed evidence, shows that both sides manoeuvred skilfully. York (in 1459) and Warwick (in 1461) paid dearly for failure to reconnoitre. Edward IV's handling of his men before Barnet and at Tewkesbury also shows some tactical skill and, in contrast to the English experience in the French wars, it was often the attackers who won battles.
Sources rarely refer to the crucial role of logistics. To invade Scotland in 1481, 500 carts were requisitioned to carry supplies, and more would ferry provisions from Newcastle. In civil wars such preparations were impossible, and the mobility of armies suggests that there were no large wagon trains. Armies carried a few days' provisions and equipment in wagons. In 1459, the Yorkists used wagons for protection at Blore Heath and Ludford Bridge. In 1460, London furnished Yorkist transport. Supplies were purchased or seized from towns, depending on their lord (Stamford, Wakefield, and Ludlow were York's towns) and the state of discipline. The best sources were the largest towns like London (1461), York (1470), and Bristol (1471). Requisitioning and looting were often indistinguishable, but living off the country meant dangerous dispersal (as the Yorkists found in December 1460), while plundering alienated the population. Margaret kept her northerners, who had a bad reputation, out of London in February 1461 in deference to fears of pillaging, thus leaving the city open to Edward.
An army on the march was preceded by light horse called 'scourers', harbingers, or aforeriders whose tasks included arranging billets and victuals, and scouting. Accurate reconnaissance gave Edward a crucial advantage in 1470 and 1471, whereas the failure of York's and Warwick's scouts (December 1460 and February 1461) resulted in defeat. Contact between opposing harbingers provided knowledge of the enemy's location, and thus sending aforeriders in one direction, and the main body in another was used to deceive the enemy by Warwick in March 1470, and by Margaret in April 1471.
War of the Roses is a new IP that transports
players back in time to the battle-ravaged, dynastic civil war era
of 15th century England where ownership of the throne of England
was brutally fought over between supporters of two rival branches
of the Royal House of Plantagenet - the house of Lancaster (the
reds) and the house of York (the whites).
A team-based multiplayer melee combat experience, War of The
Roses sees players and their band of knights going toe-to-toe with
their opponents using authentic and visceral weapons of the time
period including broad swords, long bows and battle-axes.
Built on a stunning graphics engine which vividly portrays the fighting from an up-close-and-personal third-person perspective, War of the Roses features both online multiplayer and a single-player campaign. Players will get the chance to lead their warrior through a rich progression system, gaining upgrades and unlocking new content on their path from filthy peasant to unstoppable armored killing machine.
The years of 1455-1485 in England is an extraordinary and
underused setting filled with conflict, treachery and bloodshed. In
the wake of the “death of chivalry” at Agincourt in 1415 and the
introduction of gunpowder, warfare changed; the gloves came off, so
to speak. The old and the new clashed on the battlefield while
personal vendettas persistently motivated the desire for war.
War of the Roses – ambitions and goals In War of the Roses, Fatshark take what was learned from Lead and Gold and apply it in a medieval setting, using the Bitsquid tech-engine for high quality visuals and performance.
The driving focus of the game is creating a multiplayer game with the same accessibility as the best competitive shooters currently out there, but in a medieval setting with a primary emphasis on melee combat.
The focus of the core gameplay is on the Multiplayer experience, but we will have an engaging and immersive story driven single player campaign designed to prepare and train players for the multiplayer experience. The single player campaign will give the players direct rewards to use in the multiplayer battles.
Medieval society thoroughly encouraged young males of social standing to seek glory in war. They were provided with role models both in fiction—as in the Arthurian legends or the French “chansons de geste”—and in tales of the feats of contemporary real-life heroes such as England’s Black Prince or Bertrand du Guesclin, the constable of France. The Church sanctified the practice of war, at least if directed against “infidels” or in some other just cause, and the code of chivalry established principles of conduct that a knight should follow.
Chivalry incorporated many of the usual principles of warrior morality, such as loyalty to your leader or to your brothers-in-arms, together with Christian-derived values such as respect for the poor and needy. But the chivalric code was also a practical arrangement between knights to limit the risks of warfare. Being of the same rank and often related by blood or marriage, opposing knights had an interest in avoiding a fight to the death. If they were facing defeat, they could usually surrender in the confident expectation of being treated well as prisoners and eventually ransomed—although there were exceptions to this rule, as when the English King Henry V ordered the killing of French prisoners at Agincourt in 1415.
Ransoms could be considerable sums of money, so there was obviously a profit motive at work in the preservation of prisoners’ lives. However much knights might be inspired by the prospect of honor and glory, they usually also had material goals in sight. Many knights were far from wealthy. They might hold fiefs that were small plots of land similar to those worked by peasant families, or they could be younger sons with no expectation of an inheritance. Skill in the use of arms gave a man a chance to better himself. He could forge a distinguished military career, as Bertrand du Guesclin did from unpromising provincial origins, or win lands through participating in conquest, as happened during the Crusades.
Kings increasingly assumed the exclusive right to confer knighthoods and used this as a means of raising revenue, charging a hefty fee for the privilege. By the 14th century, many qualified by birth to be knights tried to avoid the expense and onerous duties it involved. As well as the cost of the accolade, there was a substantial outlay for equipment and mounts. A knight needed at least two horses when on campaign—a palfrey, or saddle horse, for ordinary travel and a splendid destrier, or warhorse, for combat. Full plate armor, which gradually replaced the mix of chainmail and plate, was very expensive, shaped to offer protection against missiles and sword blows, yet light and well balanced enough to be comfortable when fighting on foot. The knight would also need a lance, a sword, a shield, and probably a mace, war-hammer, or poleax.
Many young men with military ambitions were prepared to pay for the horses and gear but baulked at the cost of a knighthood, or lacked the requisite birth qualification. They remained squires or sergeants, fighting alongside the knights and largely indistinguishable from them on the battlefield. A squire or sergeant might hope to receive an accolade on the battlefield in recognition of some spectacular feat of arms, though such on-the-spot knightings were not common. Knights, squires, and sergeants were collectively known as “men-at-arms”.
Knights broadly fitted into the system of personal loyalty and mutual obligation that shaped medieval society. They might, for example, owe military service as vassals or liegemen to a lord or king in return for a grant of land held as a fief—the classic pattern of the “feudal” system. But in the later Middle Ages monetary arrangements progressively came to the fore. Whether knights lived on their own land or as retainers in a noble household, by the 14th century they would expect to be paid for their services, even though the service was recognized as a feudal obligation. By the same token, they could often pay money in lieu of service—shield tax or “scutage.”
Knights were not always so lofty in their pretensions. Others became outright mercenaries, leading “free companies” that were in effect private professional armies, selling their services to cities and states, none of which could afford to maintain permanent standing armies. Thus the force that a medieval king led off to war would be far from homogenous. It might include his own household knights, his barons or lords and their feudal followers, contingents provided by the military orders, and mercenaries led by their own chiefs. At worst, during times of disorder and social breakdown, knights might degenerate into brigands, using their skills to carve out a dishonest living through robbery, plunder, and pillage.
Well-made armor offered excellent protection and gave a knight full mobility to wield his lance, sword, or ax, in the saddle or out of it. The shock of close-quarters combat was, of course, intense and put a premium upon physical strength and endurance, especially if hot weather made the weight of the armor hard to bear. But fortified by their code of personal honor and duty, knights rarely flinched once combat was joined. Their chief weakness lay in the intemperate aggression and quarrelsomeness of hot-headed individuals bent upon glory. Chronicles of medieval warfare tell time and again of groups of knights unwisely breaking ranks to charge a superior enemy in a self-conscious show of competitive bravery, often in defiance of a battle plan agreed in advance. The knights’ discipline rarely matched their valor.
Even in the 14th century, the battlefield dominance of knights was challenged by lightly armored foot soldiers at Courtrai and Bannockburn and by archers at Crécy. From the second half of the 15th century, gunpowder weapons were increasingly effective, as were disciplined infantry armed with pikes. But armored cavalry was not driven from the battlefield by arrows, cannon or arquebuses. In something close to its medieval form it remained an important element in battles into the late 16th century. By then, however, the social and cultural basis of knighthood had declined with an increase in central state power and the inexorable rise of professional soldiering.
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