Sunday, September 23, 2012

Wargaming the Spanish Armada - Flight of the La Rata

Having been painting items for this project for several months, I thought it was high time they got an outing. This scenario represents an incident following the break up of the Spanish Armada and the return journey to Spain.

Following another raging storm off the Irish coast the merchant carrack  La Rata Santa Maria Encoronada (419 men, 35 guns), which had run for the Irish coast in desperate need of repair, along with four other ships of the Levant squadron and four galleons finds itself beached in Blacksod Bay.

The Rata carried a large number of noblemen from some of Spain's most ancient families among them Don Alonso Martinez de Leyva. The Spanish made land fall on the 7th September, seizing two nearby castles and fortifying them with munitions and stores from the beached ships.

The scenario represents the efforts of the local earl to capture these noblemen for ranson to the English Crown before they could reach the first castle.

The view from the Northern edge showing the bridge into the village, the barricade that was to prove crucial can be seen in the fore ground.

The Spanish advance party disembark on the northern river bank, cavilers and muskets at the ready. Don Alonso Martinez de Leyva can be seen at the centre of the party.

The main Spanish force advance on table led by a Spanish noble man, the Spanish force was made up of 3 sections of Caliver and Bucklermen, together with standard bearers and musicians.

Yet more Spanish pour on to the table and secure the northern side of the bridge, the accompanying noblemen usher the troops to defensive positions unsure of where the Irish will strike.


The Irish begin to appear in penny packets and rush to block the Spanish advance, a large Irish force musters behind the hill to the East of the bridge.

The trap is sprung and Irish gallowglas rush from the dawn mist attacking the Spanish mass, their axes taking out several of the Spaniards who lacked armour as they were armed with black powder weapons, it was only when the bucklermen and noble men joined the fight were they able to defeat the attackers. 

On the northern edge of town the Irish Kern have amassed enough warriors to break cover and charge the bridge defences, hoping that numbers will win the day.

On the southern side of the bridge having dispatched the Irish ambush party the Spanish engage musket armed Kern and slingers, with neither side being able to secure victory in this long distance fire fight.

The Irish attempt to sneak up on the Spanish at the bridge using the rear of the blacksmiths as covered but are spotted and blocked by a Spanish nobleman and his force of buckler men.

Meanwhile at the barricade the Irish make slow progress, losing several troops on the walls of the log defences, without being able to dislodge the Spanish defenders.

On the southern flank Irish Cavalry charge into the Spanish flank defences, but are pushed back with by a combination of musket fire and sword work.
With mounting casualties the Irish retire from the table leaving the bridge and the village in the hands of the Spanish.

I used the LOTR rules as the core rule set with a number of modifications to introduce fire arms.
The Spanish are mainly Foundry with the Irish a mixture of Gripping Beast, Sgt Major Miniatures and Crusader.


  1. Great looking figures and a great report as well.

  2. I started building up two small forces for this era myself recently, although I was planning on using Beyond the Pale. How do your modified LOTR rules compare (assuming you have played both that is)

    1. My plan is to use Beyond the Pale as the core back bone to the rules but LOTR to generate figure stats, I have also brought conflict at worlds end.
      With a plan to use their random cards to spice up each encounter.


    2. Interesting, I've been meaning to take a look at the irregular wars rules.

      I've just received a shipment of the old vendel minis today when I got home from work. The miniatures are not what I was hoping for at all, I can see me spending all weekend with a file and scalpel to get them into any sort of paintable state.
      Seems a shame that so few manufacturers make any models for the period in 28mm, it has a wonderful mix of troop types and weaponry.

  3. Agreed I just took a chance on the Pendragon 28mm Range, I hope to post pics up over the weekend as their are none on the web, not a scratch on the Foundry range, but they will fit with the Vendel mini's .... I hope they paint up OK.

    1. That would be great, I didn't realise they made figs for the period.

      I'm actually hoping to get a pair of gallowglas figures from eBob. I don't know if you have ever seen the greens, but they are absolutely beautiful, based on the gallowglas illustrations by angus mcbride in the 'Celtic Warriors 400BC - 1600AD' book by the looks of them. I've no idea why they never made it into full scale production mind you.

      I keep hearing rumours of the perry twins adding HYW era gallowglas and kerns to their range, but nothing seems to surface anywhere.

      I'm actually working on a set of saga battle boards for the era, it will help to lure a friend in who has never gamed before but picked up and more importantly really enjoyed Saga one friday night over a few beers.