29 July 2014

WW1 28 July 1918 A Century on since the first shots fell

WW1: A World at war. The Great War, the War to end all wars. Have we learnt anything?

Concise history from Wiki:

World War I (WWI or WW1), the First World War, was a 'global' war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. From the time of its occurrence until the approach of World War II, it was called simply the World War or the Great War, and thereafter the First World War or World War I. In America, it was initially called the European War. More than 9 million combatants were killed, a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy had also been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.

Although a resurgence of imperialism was an underlying cause, the immediate trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.

On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia. As Russia mobilised, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915, Romania in 1916, and the United States in 1917.

The war approached a resolution after the Russian government collapsed in March 1917, and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. On 4 November 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.

By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost substantial territory, while the latter two were dismantled. The maps of Europe and Southwest Asia were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created.Colonies in Africa and the east were divided amongst the victors.The League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such an appalling conflict. This aim, however, failed with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the German feeling of humiliation contributing to the rise of fascism. All of these conditions eventually led to World War II.

Some food for thought (Albeit Anglo-centric)
"Much of what we think we know about the 1914-18 conflict is wrong": 
(BBC report, Historian Dan Snow)

No war in history attracts more controversy and myth than World War One.
For the soldiers who fought it was in some ways better than previous conflicts, and in some ways worse.

By setting it apart as uniquely awful we are blinding ourselves to the reality of not just WW1 but war in general. We are also in danger of belittling the experience of soldiers and civilians caught up in countless other appalling conflicts throughout history and the present day.

1. It was the bloodiest war in history to that point
Fifty years before WW1 broke out, southern China was torn apart by an even bloodier conflict. Conservative estimates of the dead in the 14-year Taiping rebellion start at between 20 million and 30 million. Around 17 million soldiers and civilians were killed during WW1.

Although more Britons died in WW1 than any other conflict, the bloodiest war in their history relative to population size is the Civil War, which raged in the mid-17th Century. A far higher proportion of the population of the British Isles were killed than the less than 2% who died in WW1. By contrast, around 4% of the population of England and Wales, and considerably more than that in Scotland and Ireland, are thought to have been killed in the Civil War.

2. Most soldiers died
In the UK around six million men were mobilised, and of those just over 700,000 were killed. That's around 11.5%. In fact, as a British soldier you were more likely to die during the Crimean War (1853-56) than in WW1.

3. Men lived in the trenches for years on end
Front-line trenches could be a terribly hostile place to live. Units, often wet, cold and exposed to the enemy, would quickly lose their morale if they spent too much time in the trenches.

As a result, the British army rotated men in and out continuously. Between battles, a unit spent perhaps 10 days a month in the trench system and, of those, rarely more than three days right up on the front line. It was not unusual to be out of the line for a month. During moments of crisis, such as big offensives, the British could occasionally spend up to seven days on the front line but were far more often rotated out after just a day or two.

4. The upper class got off lightly
Although the great majority of casualties in WW1 were from the working class, the social and political elite were hit disproportionately hard by WW1. Their sons provided the junior officers whose job it was to lead the way over the top and expose themselves to the greatest danger as an example to their men.

Some 12% of the British army's ordinary soldiers were killed during the war, compared with 17% of its officers. Eton alone lost more than 1,000 former pupils - 20% of those who served. UK wartime Prime Minister Herbert Asquith lost a son, while future Prime Minister Andrew Bonar Law lost two. Anthony Eden lost two brothers, another brother of his was terribly wounded, and an uncle was captured.

5. 'Lions led by donkeys'
This saying was supposed to have come from senior German commanders describing brave British soldiers led by incompetent old toffs from their chateaux. In fact the incident was made up by historian Alan Clark.

British commanders were thrust into a massive industrial struggle unlike anything the Army had ever seen
During the war more than 200 generals were killed, wounded or captured. Most visited the front lines every day. In battle they were considerably closer to the action than generals are today. Naturally, some generals were not up to the job, but others were brilliant, such as Arthur Currie, a middle-class Canadian failed insurance broker and property developer. Rarely in history have commanders had to adapt to a more radically different technological environment.

British commanders had been trained to fight small colonial wars; now they were thrust into a massive industrial struggle unlike anything the British army had ever seen. Despite this, within three years the British had effectively invented a method of warfare still recognisable today. By the summer of 1918 the British army was probably at its best ever and it inflicted crushing defeats on the Germans.

6. Gallipoli was fought by Australians and New Zealanders
Far more British soldiers fought on the Gallipoli peninsula than Australians and New Zealanders put together.

The UK lost four or five times as many men in the brutal campaign as its imperial Anzac contingents. The French also lost more men than the Australians. The Aussies and Kiwis commemorate Gallipoli ardently, and understandably so, as their casualties do represent terrible losses both as a proportion of their forces committed and of their small populations.

7. Tactics on the Western Front remained unchanged despite repeated failure
Never have tactics and technology changed so radically in four years of fighting. It was a time of extraordinary innovation. In 1914 generals on horseback galloped across battlefields as men in cloth caps charged the enemy without the necessary covering fire. Both sides were overwhelmingly armed with rifles. Four years later, steel-helmeted combat teams dashed forward protected by a curtain of artillery shells.

They were now armed with flame throwers, portable machine-guns and grenades fired from rifles. Above, planes, which in 1914 would have appeared unimaginably sophisticated, duelled in the skies, some carrying experimental wireless radio sets, reporting real-time reconnaissance.

Huge artillery pieces fired with pinpoint accuracy - using only aerial photos and maths they could score a hit on the first shot. Tanks had gone from the drawing board to the battlefield in just two years, also changing war for ever.

8. No-one won
Swathes of Europe lay wasted, millions were dead or wounded. Survivors lived on with severe mental trauma. The UK was broke. It is odd to talk about winning. However, in a narrow military sense, the UK and its allies convincingly won. Germany's battleships had been bottled up by the Royal Navy until their crews mutinied rather than make a suicidal attack against the British fleet. Germany's army collapsed as a series of mighty allied blows scythed through supposedly impregnable defences.

By late September 1918 the German emperor and his military mastermind Erich Ludendorff admitted that there was no hope and Germany must beg for peace. The 11 November Armistice was essentially a German surrender. Unlike Hitler in 1945, the German government did not insist on a hopeless, pointless struggle until the allies were in Berlin - a decision that saved countless lives, but was seized upon later to claim Germany never really lost.

9. The Treaty of Versailles was extremely harsh
The Treaty of Versailles confiscated 10% of Germany's territory but left it the largest, richest nation in central Europe. It was largely unoccupied and financial reparations were linked to its ability to pay, which mostly went unenforced anyway.

The treaty was notably less harsh than treaties that ended the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and World War Two. The German victors in the former annexed large chunks of two rich French provinces, part of France for between 200 and 300 years, and home to most of French iron ore production, as well as presenting France with a massive bill for immediate payment.

After WW2 Germany was occupied, split up, its factory machinery smashed or stolen and millions of prisoners forced to stay with their captors and work as slave labourers. Germany lost all the territory it had gained after WW1 and another giant slice on top of that.

Versailles was not as harsh as it was portrayed later by Hitler, who sought to create a tidal wave of anti-Versailles sentiment on which he could then ride into power.

10. Everyone hated it
Like any war, it all comes down to luck. You may witness unimaginable horrors that leave you mentally and physically incapacitated for life, or you might get away without a scrape. It could be the best of times, or the worst of times. Many soldiers enjoyed WW1. If they were lucky they would avoid a big offensive, and much of the time conditions might be better than at home.

For the British soldier  there was meat every day - a rare luxury back home - cigarettes, tea and rum, part of a daily diet of more than 4,000 calories. Remarkably, absentee rates due to sickness, an important barometer of a unit's morale, were hardly above those of peacetime. Many young men enjoyed the guaranteed pay, the intense comradeship, the responsibility and a much greater sexual freedom than in peacetime Britain.

20 July 2014

1st SAGA game: Conundrum, where do I post it ?

The First Saga, and the first conundrum

So Club night on Thursday, Paul Waechter from Red Dog of War comes over to demonstrate Saga. Great game, but where do I write it up? Settled in the end for Wargames Obsession rather than Trouble in the Border Provinces, as it is more historical than fantasy. Or is it? Historical fantasy? No magic, so it must be history. Skirmish based, with a twist.

I really liked the simplicity and speed of the game play, and how the game board helps (or hinders) the development of the play. A wee bit different from the "i-go with everything-you-go-with everything" that I'm used to in WHFB and FoW, and more akin to Phil Yates' Warhammer WW 2 in some aspects, in that you have to activate your units. Limited points, and have to decide if you are going to activate or use the points as buffs/debuffs. Fatigue plays a role. You also need to roll for the points, and they differ in value and usability
Anyhow, plenty out there about the game play, e.g. at  Meeples and Miniatures

Paul got to deploy and attack first. Obviously the Viking raiding force was spotted before it reached its intended victims.

Thanks for coming over Paul, and bringing your Saga forces. Welcome to the club (again)
A delightful game. I had a great time. So here goes:

Manus Franssohn stood in the fir forest, surrounded by his Hearth guard. Gnarled veterans of many a Viking raid, they stood impassively watching the Normans forces on the plain below them. They watched as a line of bowmen trotted out, and spread out, abreast, several units of cavalry lined up behind them. Manus himself was an inexperienced leader. He had been on several campaigns before, a hardened warrior, but he had never been in command of a full Viking Raiding party.

 Manus peered through the dark of the forest. He could just make the three units of warriors slowly sneaking up towards the Norman lines, using a low hill as cover. The closest unit moved out into the open. Manus was hoping that the Normans with their silly helmets and impractical long shields would attack this unit first, allowing the flank units, including the heart guard to encircle the Normans.

The element of surprise has obviously been lost, as it looks as the Normans were fully expecting the Vikings.

 "Ah well, either way we win! We'll either be eating off Normal silver tonight or dining with Odin at the tables of Valhalla! He'd made a sacrifice before they'd set out in their longboat to Odin, Freya and Loki, just in case. The gods will smile on us today anyhow..."

Next thing a unit of crossbowmen arrived in the forest clearing. Now that could mean trouble. 

" Send word to Svenson that they should attack those crossbowmen first!. Those crossbow bolts can punch right through your shield!" He added: " Leave the horsemen to us" He grinned at Olaf Bjornsson, who was sharpening his axe with a whetstone

Turn one saw the Normans move into position, getting their archers and crossbow men ready to rain destruction on the tightly packed Viking ranks. A horn blew from the Norman side, and the Vikings crouched down, shields at the ready and awaiting the hail of arrows and the thunder of hooves. They could hear the slap of leather and the clinking of chain mail. The Norman crossbowmen received orders, the unit activated! Manus saw them taking bead on his warriors out in the open. "Odin!" he bellowed. His trumpeter blew a long note on his horn.

The Norman crossbowmen archers lost their nerve, and milled about in confusion. Reforming, but not a single arrow was launched. They glanced about nervously. Where was the attack coming from, the forest? 

They'd never heard such a sound, and fear and superstition gripped them, and they lost their concentration, fumbling with their crossbows. 

Not even the light cavalry riding up behind them could bolster their courage. The moment was lost...

Svenson and his men lost no time in their turn, charging in full tilt! Calling on the Viking gods, they tore into the ranks of Crossbowmen. By the end of the turn only three were standing. They fled to the comparative safety of a nearby forest. A couple of warriors left for Valhalla.

Manus and his Hirdmen loped out their forest cover towards the approaching cavalry, keeping an eye on the warriors, in case they get into strife. They seem to be enjoying themselves, Olaf smirked, banging his axe against his shield." When's our time? "

The Norman cavalry charged in, shields and lances at the ready. " Now Olaf! Steady boys, go for the horses' legs. A legless horse can't run! The Viking Hirdmen broke into a trot, shields at the ready.


Faced with two targets the Norman cavalry commander chose to avoid the onrushing Hirdmen, deftly wheeling his light cavalry out of reach of the Hirdmen, and ploughing into the warriors. 

"Loki!" whispered Manus. "Send help ! "


" Help us, Loki!" A pack of wolves fell upon the terrified crossbowmen hiding in the forest, ripping them to shreds. "Never underestimate the power of the Viking Gods! He sent his son, Fenris! We all live for war! It is not time for Ragnarok yet! Fenris is on our side!"

Encouraged by the intervention of Loki the Hirdmen fell on the Cavalry, hacking away at horses' hocks and riders alike, killing half of them outright. Two hirdmen paid the price. The cavalry fell back in disarray, horses snorting and neighing.

Another unit of ghostly pale Normans thundered up on the remains of the Viking warriors too tired to pursue the retreating cavalry. The hirdmen pursued, shouting threats and insults.

 "Terrified! Stamping!" Their commander cried. "They're tired, we're not." Soon there was only broken shields and weapons clutched in dead Viking hands. Svenson's unit was annihilated!

"We will avenge them!" Manus cried, as the light cavalry limped out of reach behind the forest, and eventually rejoining their compatriots. " Let them taste Viking steel! He said, as all of the Norman cavalry now bored down on them, with their Warlord with heavy cavalry in the lead. 

Steel clashed against steel, Wood against leather. One Norman rode in brandishing a burning branch. 
"Fancy them thinking we're afraid of fire!" Alas the weight of a full cavalry attack was too much for the Hirdmen. Soon Manus was the last man standing. 

"Come on then! Tonight I'll be drinking mead in the Halls of Valhalla!" 

He raised his shield and sword! " Come on then! A hero's death !" The Norman Knight and his adjudant thundered down on the fatigued but defiant Manus.

They traded blows, but fate would have it that the Normans would conquer on this day. 

Manus fell to the ground, dead, gone ahead to his reserved table in Valhalla

The Norman knight reared up on his horse. Well done chaps! The country is safe. We saw the Vikings off!

The surviving Vikings waited on the hill and in the valley beyond. They waited until the Normans had returned to their fortified village. They walked down to the forest clearing, found the body of Manus Fransson, and bore him on their shields back to their longboat. 

"Old Frans Manusson would have been proud of his boy. He acquitted himself well, dying a hero's death. What more can he ask for ? We'll send him off to Valhalla in his longboat to join his father at the table!" 

On reflection this battle report could have done as well on my fantasy blog too. The role of gods and magic do seem to play a role in the lives of the Vikings after all! A most enjoyable game from many points of view. I particularly like the balance. No-one can choose a world-beating force just because of a points system that advantages their army. I think it is a well thought out set of rules with a lot of promise for gaming.

Thanks again Paul for a most enjoyable game!


17 July 2014

Separatist Cossacks blamed for shooting down Malaysian Airliner

Evidence that the Air Malaysia jet was shot down by a missile points to Donyetsk Cossack Rebels

It appears a SA-11 or SA-17 (BUK) Surface to air missile was used by Ukranian separatist rebels to down the ill-fated Malaysian airliner earlier today.

Internet sleuths quickly pointed the finger to Donyetsk rebels. Intercepted mobile phone conversations suggest that a Cossack Unit operating a SA-11 or SA-17 missile launching vehicle may have been responsible for shooting down the airliner and killing almost 300 innocent civilians. It is suspected that this is the same crew that downed a military transport earlier in the week.

Sources in the area claim to have taken a video of the crew departing with the launcher, which was reportedly captured in the preceding weeks, and the news celebrated in the Russian press.

Click on the link to the Aircraft Nut blog for the whole story and more images

15 July 2014

Anniversaries of Major Battles

Battle Anniversaries: Bannockburne

This year and next year sees the anniversary of many significant historical battles.
In the last year we've marked a few major armed clashes:

Kursk, D-Day, with many other favourites of wargamers to come (Eastern and Western Front, Ardennes offensive, and the Battle for Berlin, and Waterloo to come too!

 (Oops, we somehow missed Anzio's 70th and Bannockburne's 700th anniversary ?!)

As usual distilled from the Internet: No copyright infringement intended, happy to credit and/or remove images


I opened my latest copy of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy, (BTW a great Dutch publication (in English); one of the few that also include 40K!); to find a fantastic write-up on the battle, and also it's playability with various rule sets! It turns out it was almost 2 battles rolled in one, and that the Scots employed tactics quite of character for the time, catching the over-confident English off-side!

The Battle of Bannockburn  (24 June 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the First War of Scottish Independence, and a landmark in Scottish history.

Stirling Castle, a Scots royal fortress, occupied by the English, was under siege by the Scottish army. Edward II of England assembled a formidable force to relieve it. This attempt failed, and his army was defeated in a pitched battle by a smaller army commanded by Robert I of Scotland.

The Wars of Scottish Independence between England and Scotland began in 1296 and initially the English were successful, having won victories at the  Dunbar (1296) and at Berwick (1296).

The removal of John Balliol from the Scottish throne also contributed to the English success. The Scots had been victorious in defeating the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, however this was countered by Edward I of England's victory at the Battle of Falkirk (1298).By 1304 Scotland had been conquered, but in 1306 Robert the Bruce seized the Scottish throne and hostilities resumed.

Robert the Bruce

Edward II of England came to the throne in 1307 but was incapable of providing the determined leadership that had been shown by his father, Edward I. Stirling Castle was held by the English, commanding the route north into the Scottish Highlands. It was besieged in 1314 by Robert the Bruce's brother, Edward Bruce, with a threat that if the castle was not relieved by mid-summer then it would be surrendered to the Scots.

Drawing of Edward the Second

Edward II

The English could not ignore this challenge and preparations were made for a substantial campaign in which the English army probably numbered 2,000 cavalry and 15,000 infantry, many of them the feared longbowmen. The Scottish army probably numbered between 7,000 and 10,000 men, of whom no more than 500 would have been mounted. Unlike the heavily armoured English cavalry, the Scottish cavalry would have been light horsemen who were good for skirmishing and reconnaissance but were not suitable for charging the enemy lines.The Scottish infantry would have had axes, swords and pikes, with few bowmen among them, not in separate units.

Scottish Cavalry, comparatively light and maneuvrable

The precise size of the English force relative to the Scottish forces is unclear but estimates range from as much as at least two or three times the size of the army Bruce had been able to gather, to as little as only 50% larger.

Edward II and his advisors were aware of the places that the Scots were likely to challenge them and sent out orders for their troops to prepare for an enemy established in boggy ground near to the River Forth, near Stirling. The English advanced in four divisions whereas the Scots were in three divisions, known as 'schiltrons' which were strong defensive circles of men bristling with pikes. Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray, commanded the Scottish vanguard, which was stationed about a mile to the south of Stirling, near the church of St. Ninian, while the king commanded the rearguard at the entrance to the New Park. His brother Edward led the third division.

According to Barbour, there was a fourth division nominally under the youthful Walter the Steward, but actually under the command of Sir James Douglas. The Scottish archers used yew-stave longbows and though these were not weaker or inferior to English longbows, there were fewer Scottish archers than English archers, possibly numbering only 500. These archers played little part in the battle, as it turned out. There is first hand evidence from the captured Carmelite friar, Robert Baston in his poem, written just after the battle, that one or both sides employed slingers and crossbowmen.

The Battle
Site: There is some confusion over the exact site of the Battle of Bannockburn, although most modern historians agree that the traditional site, where a visitor centre and statue have been erected, is not the correct one. Although a large number of possible alternatives have been proposed, most can be dismissed leaving two serious contenders:
1. An area of peaty ground known as the Dryfield outside the village of Balquhiderock, about three-quarters of a mile to the east of the traditional site, and
2. the Carse of Balquhiderock, about a mile and a half north-east of the traditional site, accepted by the National Trust as the most likely candidate.

Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn

First day of battle:

Most medieval battles were short-lived, lasting only a few hours, therefore the Battle of Bannockburn is unusual in that it lasted for two days. On 23 June 1314 two of the English cavalry formations advanced, the first commanded by the Earl of Gloucester and the Earl of Hereford. They encountered a body of Scots, among them Robert the Bruce himself. A celebrated single combat then took place between Bruce and Henry de Bohun who was the nephew of the Earl of Hereford. Bohun charged at Bruce, hoping to make a name for himself and when the two passed side by side, Bruce split Bohun's head with his axe. De Bohun went down in history for a reason quite unlike he had planned!

(De BoHun's Livery is incorrect in this image, correct below)

Models with more accurate colours: His son Humphrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford, captured 
Coat of Arms: Azure a bend argent coticed between six lions rampant or Source: The Falkirk Roll 

The Scots then rushed upon the English under Gloucester and Hereford who struggled back over the Bannockburn. The second English cavalry force was commanded by Robert Clifford. They advanced on the flank of the Scots, towrds St Ninians, coming up against the schiltrom that was commanded by Thomas Randolph, 1st Earl of Moray. The English were unable to break the barrier of spears and pikes, and the English withdrew in confusion, unable to break the Scottish formation.

Modern re-enactment

Second day of battle

Under nightfall the English forces crossed the stream that is known as the Bannock Burn, establishing their position on the plain beyond it. A Scottish knight, Alexander Seton, who was fighting in the service of Edward II of England, deserted the English camp and told Bruce of the low English morale, encouraging Bruce to attack them. In the morning the Scots then advanced from New Park. The English archers should have been able to counter this advance but they were neutralized by a Scottish cavalry charge led by Sir Robert Keith.

 The English responded to the Scots advance with a charge of their own, led by the Earl of Gloucester. Gloucester had argued with the Earl of Hereford over who should lead the vanguard into battle, and argued with the king that the battle should be postponed. This led the king to accuse him of cowardice, which perhaps goaded Gloucester into the charge.  Few accompanied Gloucester in his charge and when he reached the Scottish lines he was quickly surrounded and killed.

 Gradually the English were pushed back and ground down by the Scots' schiltrons. An attempt to employ the English and Welsh longbowmen to shoot at the advancing Scots from their flank failed when they were dispersed by the Scottish 500-horse light cavalry under the Marischal Sir Robert Keith

 The English cavalry was hemmed in making it difficult for them to maneuver. As a result the English were unable to hold their formations and broke ranks. It soon became clear that the English had lost and Edward II needed to be led to safety. However one of Edward's knights, Giles de Argentine, declared that he was not accustomed to flee and made one final charge on the Scots, only to die on their spears.

Edward fled with his personal bodyguard, ending the remaining order in the army; panic spread and defeat turned into a rout. He arrived eventually at Dunbar Castle, from which he took ship to England.

From the carnage of Bannockburn, the rest of the army tried to escape to the safety of the English border, ninety miles to the south. Many were killed by the pursuing Scottish army or by the inhabitants of the countryside that they passed through.

Historian Peter Reese says that, "only one sizeable group of men—all foot soldiers—made good their escape to England." These were a force of Welsh spearmen who were kept together by their commander, Sir Maurice de Berkeley, and the majority of them reached Carlisle. Weighing up the available evidence, Reese concludes that "it seems doubtful if even a third of the foot soldiers returned to England." Out of 16,000 infantrymen, this would give a total of about 11,000 killed. The English chronicler Thomas Walsingham gave the number of English men-at-arms who were killed as 700, while 500 more men-at-arms were spared for ransom. The Scottish losses appear to have been comparatively light, with only two knights among those killed.

The defeat of the English opened up the north of England to Scottish raids and allowed the Scottish invasion in Ireland. These finally led, after the failure of the Declaration of Arbroath to reach this end by diplomatic means, to the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton. It was not until 1332 that the Second War of Scottish Independence began with the Battle of Dupplin Moor, followed by the Battle of Halidon Hill (1333) which were won by the English.

Notable casualties
Gilbert de Clare, 8th Earl of Gloucester:

Sir Giles d'Argentan:

John Lovel, 2nd Baron Lovel

John Comyn, the Red Lord of Badenoch

Robert de Clifford, 1st Baron de Clifford

Sir Henry de Bohun

William le Marshal, Marshal of Ireland
Edmund de Mauley, King's Steward
Sir Robert de Felton of Litcham, 1st Lord

Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford
John Segrave, 2nd Baron Segrave
Maurice de Berkeley, 2nd Baron Berkeley
Thomas de Berkeley
Sir Marmaduke Tweng
Ralph de Monthermer, 1st Baron Monthermer
Robert de Umfraville, Earl of Angus
Sir Anthony de Luci
Sir Ingram de Umfraville