Category: Battle Report

The Irish SAGA continues

Lest it be thought that I do not actually PLAY any games, I thought I should include something of a battle report. Not a terribly good one, I will add, but something to prove I do actually play a game every so often. Apologies for the quality of the photos, apparently focusing was hard that night.

We previously saw my SAGA Irish army (albeit a completely not dark ages one). In the interest of reminding ourselves how to play the game, I trotted it over to a friends house to have a game or two.

Irish hearth guard sneak around a wood

Irish hearth guard sneak around a wood

He came up with a Saxon horde; 3 or 4 units with 12 guys in them, a seeming sea of bad guys. I  looked at this with some trepidation; I could not see how to defeat them. All the interesting terrain (a wood and some rocky ground) fell in the middle of the board, and only a gentle hill on my left.

Oh gosh, we're stuffed, they are gonna slaughter us

Oh gosh, we’re stuffed, they are gonna slaughter us

I concentrated the fire of my guys on his unit behind the woods, even loosening the dogs on him (much too early in the game, they got clobbered) and working my hearth guard and the mounted Curaidh around the right side of the woods. Two other units made an attept to slow the sea of saxons coming over the gentle hill on my left. In this, they failed dismally, and it looked like they would have the floor wiped with them before my erosion of the right flank would show any profit.

Due to spectacularly bad die rolling on my opponents part, though, his attack did not come off, and the fall of the numer of units he had with more than 10 guys in them to a  small number stymied his activities on his battle

How the heck that happen, we won

How the heck that happen, we won


My lot made it around the right hand side, polishing off his leftmost unit and starting to lean in lean in on his others. It came to an Irish win on points.

We had a quick go at another game, ( I wanted to try out the welsh) but rapidly found that they require terrain that does not grant cover to be effective at all, and we had left the woods and rocky ground down, so they were helpless against my opponents scots.

Only thoughts :- I have not played that many SAGA games, but it does seem to me that most of the armies I have played against specialize in producing single  attacks with large numbers of dice. The Irish do not. They nibble away at their opposition, and there is a large group of activations on their battle board that lower their opponents dice, rather than raising their own capabilities. This means they shoot away at their opponents with javelins (a real problem for the Saxons, as they want units of over 10 guys, and the small incremental losses will mess them up) and that they are frustrating to fight as when you put together a “big attack” with your hearthgurd, you suddenly find that you do not have any dice. Also the single hearth guard figures that are self activating seem to cause irritation to ones opponents out of proportion to their usefulness. Not sure my reputation can withstand playing an army where the object is to annoy the other player… oh wait…..


Tussle at Grosser Stuhlgang

General der Cavalrie Ferencz looked glumly across the country at the village of Grosser Stuhlgang. It was teeming with Hanoverians, supported by cavalry and guns. The woods, orchards, plowed fields, and farm field walls near it just made it even more impractical to attack. Especially as while his cavalry arm was strong, his infantry was doubtful. Full of bohemians, he thought. There was no manner he could see to assault the place with cavalry, and he was instructed to take the place to secure the crossing over the Danube. The English had rested their right flank on the village. The plains contained the rest of the enemy; infantry with a smallish contingent of cavalry. He feared that the enemy infantry knew what it was about; it looked to be able to do things like march, and dress ranks. More than his crowd appeared to be capable of. Well then, it was to be won, it would have to be on his right. He would deploy his cavalry there, move forward, smash the enemy horse, and move on the flank of the infantry. His motley crew of foot would stay to the rear.

Ed and Mark had a game of Maurice last week; Ed ended up attacking with a cavalry force, using the “Maison De Roi” and “Great Captain” cards; Mark, with the English had the “Lethal Volleys” and “Steady Lads” cards. The English were deployed with one flank on a village and 3 cavalry minding the other side. The Austrians massed 5 units of cavalry and a hussar against the 3 English horse, and held their unimpressive infantry and guns in the middle.

The hussars leapt forward, crossing the field in best Hungarian fashion. In response to their appearance the English cavalry moved forward, prompting the Austrian regular cavalry to do the same.

Seeing his cavalry facing the horde of Austrian horse, Sir Bently ffolkes-Smith, the English commander, moved his infantry forward to engage the Austrian foot, and support his cavalry with the leftmost regiment (they were only Scots, it would not matter much if they were run over by the Austrian horse). Unfortunately the Hanoverian forces on his right did not get the memo about moving forward, so they stood and watched the others. ffolkes-Smith’s report on the action stated the message “went astray”. The memoirs of Graf Count von-und-zu Katzehaarekugel, however, state that the message was soaked into illegibility when the courier, Captain Rupert Fotheringay Upper-Class-Twit, on seeing some ducks in a farm pond in passing, promptly leaped from his horse and spent a quarter of an hour splashing around in the water, waving his elbows with his hands tucked in his armpits and saying “Quack, quack” at the top of voice. However it happened, the Hannoverians stayed put.


The Cavalry dukes it out

It now came down to seeing would the superior Austrian cavalry dispose of their opponents before the british infantry disposed of theirs. It certainly went the Austrian way. The English cavalry was swept away, even including an infantry regiment that had been sent in support. The only loss was the unfortunate cavalry regiment that found itself in front of the highlanders. On the flip side, the Austrian infantry, supported by their guns, proved surprisingly resilient, standing up under the lethal English volleys, and giving very much as good as they got. The Austrian horse rolled up the English flank, and their opponents went down to bitter defeat.


The Infantry firefight

The 2 main comments to be made here, is that we are getting better at this game, and that a spread out defensive deployment is counterproductive if your enemy does not oblige you by attacking a difficult objective; you really lose the use of the units.

On a side note to ffolkes-Smith: attacking when your job is to defend may result in unpredictable results….

Lions and Tigers and Shermans, oh my


Oh gosh, there is a lot of them

Despite appearances, I do actually play a game every so often. So when Mark decided he needed to try out his latest Late War Flames of War army, a horde of Russian Sherman 76mm tanks, I volunteered my services.
Then he told me I had to play something Axis, with panthers.
I do not own any Axis armies.
I do not usually play veteran troops (this may be why I do not usually win games). The only tank forces I am accustomed to playing are hordes of valiant communists who die in droves. I did not regard this as good practice for playing some form of Axis finesse army.
And, more or less, I was right.
Looking for something that fit his criteria, I came up with hungarian tanks from the same book he was taking his guys from. I ended up with :-

HQ- Hungarian hero guy (ain’t even trying to pronounce his name) in a Tiger
Plt 1 – 2 Tiger I
Plt 2 – 3 Panthers
Plt 3 – 2 Panthers
Plt 4 – 4 of some sort of hungarian recce tank, apparently armed with a ballon on a stick

It is possible that if I had actually owned the lead, I might have looked at the 12 vehicles (4 of them clown cars) and wondered if a better list might be constructed. On the other hand, I might not have noticed the possible issues. The problem was brought home to me when Mark showed up with my entire army in a tiny cardboard box and his requiring a tool box, and possibly a porter that he paid off at the front door.
Oh well.

Marks list was..

HQ – Sherman 76
Co 1 – About 275 Sherman 76s, led by some sort of proletarian superman
Co 2 – Only 150 Sherman 76s
Co 3 – 4 Su-100
Co 4 – 3 BA64

Honestly, I think the platoons were 8 and 6 Shermans respectively, but I am not terribly sure, There was certainly a lot of them.


HOW many tanks is that?

In the interest of playing something new, and noticing that “Dust up” was starting to show its face in tournaments, replacing “Encounter” and “Free for all” we decided to give it a go. And I must admit it was a pleasant change of pace.
It did mean that I started with 6 tanks on the board. Mark had 13.

I shall be honest. I did not have a clue what I was doing. I put my tigers where they could shoot; I relied on the hero guy making his stormtrooper roll.
Of course, he did not; having missed everything in my turn, the return fire killed my hero guy, and the enemy tanks closed in on my objective (and few tanks).
After the second turn, we called it, because I was going to lose. Completely due to my inability to run my army; always a reassuring feeling.


Urp. We're done here

Reinforcements had turned up, in the form of Dan, Allan, and Ed, so we went again. I decided to let Dan run my guys, as he runs german Panzers all the time, and we started a game of “Encounter”, something that at least I was comfortable with the dynamics of.
We started with the two panther platoons on this time, a better choice with all the AT12 guns facing us, the three vehicle one on our leftmost objective, and the two vehicle one on the rightmost objective.


Initial deployment

The Soviet opposition placed 4 SU-100 on our right, and 8 or 9 Sherman 76 on our left.
The game developed slowly, with the Shermans moving into a central position, being ineffectually sniped at by the 3 tank Panther platoon which was shuffling back and forth behind the housed of the central village.
On our right I pushed the two panthers toward the SU-100s, who were minding an objective behind a wood. My thought was that maybe I could use the reduced visibility of the wood to isolate one SU, and force the others to move to return fire, making myself hard to hit.
This plan was carried out. I managed to bail a SU (Yeah, fearless, that was gonna work) and then the Russian hero thundered over, unaffected by Hen and Chicks (old version) and got a side shot on a platoon commander, as well as a frontal shot from the SUs. of course he died, followed promptly by the other tank in the platoon.


I guess not doing that would be a better plan

Due to my brainwave, we were now more or less stumped. the tiger platoon came on, taking up position around out right objective, dissuading the SU100s from anything dramatic. Marks second platoon of Shermans came on, on his right, but fire from the panthers in the village and bad bogging rolls reduced them to one tank, making it difficult for them to do anything. I pushed the recce tanks up the stream to Marks left objective, but there was a stay behind sherman which prevented us from achieving anything much.


Canoeing in tanks

With the game basically bogged down, as it looked as if whichever side moved from cover was going to be destroyed, and 2.5 hours elapsed, we called it as a 1-2 losing draw.
I must say the Russian Sherman 76 was impressive, just hard to deal with all those reasonably powerful tanks. I wonder how it will fare in the upcoming book?

We wander north of the Border to Madison

The rather scruffy collection of Chicago war gamers noticed that there would be a tournament in Madison, WI at The Last Square. Liking both the gamers up there, and the store, we decided we would come back from our break in FoW-ing by heading up and having a good time. 1500 points, midwar, what fun. And then, in my case, we forgot all about it.
I had not played FoW for 6 months. Not painted anything in that long, either. I had no idea what on earth I was going to do. I did manage to get a couple of games in before departure, but they were both 1750 points late war. Oh well, I suppose they would help me remember the rules.
As for a list, I dipped into my stuff and produced :

It does look marginally better in real life, than in my poor photo, and consisted of
HQ – T-34
Company – 10 x T-34 with Tankodesantniki
Company – 5 x T-60
Assault Gun Co – 4 x SU-122
Tank killer Co – 4 x SU-85
All Fearless Conscript
Local reaction to this was unmixed. While some were discreet enough to remain silent, the potential weakness of the t60 platoon was pointed out (“accident waiting for a place to happen”), the absence of recce, and the fact that the assault guns had no MGs all featured in the critiques I received.
Not that I didn’t believe them, but I had played 2 games in 6 months, had hardly set the world on fire before that and the chances of me painting something new in a couple of weeks was less than nil. So with it I was going. Besides, it was small and very little trouble to blow the dust off and pack. Here is the Battalion Co, doomed from the start.


It appeared that I was driving, so I scooped up Dan “Panzer Dan” and Simon “Hedgehog” at an ungodly hour on Saturday morning and headed north. Made all the more ungodly by me having to dump a child off for a school trip, requiring me to be up at 5. And then the dog wasn’t so terribly well during the night (I’ll spare you the details, but I hope the fertilizer quotient of dog droppings is fairly high, we can save on gardening stuff next year) so I was up at 4.
I drank a lot of coffee, but playing a tournament after 4 hours sleep when I was not entirely sure of the rules was not a prospect that filled me with the image of the glory I was going to gain. So I decided to sit back, relax, and get as many t34s blown up as humanly possible.
We actually arrived in good time, to find the store as nice as ever. If memory serves, there was 12 tables, 3 each of snow, City, Italy, and Desert. Joe “Keamma”, who was running the shindig, can correct me if I am wrong. Here is the place.

For my first sojourn I was drawn against a nice young bloke called Ben, who had German pioneers on a snow table in “Encounter”. The table was pretty broken up by belts of woods and a small village as well. The snow was slightly modified : everything was treated as having wide tracks, and if one did have wide tracks, one did not have to roll a test. Good news for the old t34s then, so off we went. Not so good for the pioneers who had brought their evil goliaths with them, as the entire board was bad going. I started the t34 platoon on, and the su122s, placing my objective against the back of the board. I cannot honestly remember where the rest of the objectives were, I decided to rumble across the board as fast as I could, before more of Ben’s stuff turned up. Ben took 2 pioneer platoons, and a couple of pak40s as his three platoons with endless goodies to appear later. And Stukas also, oh my. Here we are, trundling forward on turn two, I think

The Pak40s engaged the mass of tanks, killing one, I think. the su122s counter fired and killed them. The stukas caused much execution (3 tanks and an assault gun, maybe) on the approach march, making the route taken be littered by burnt out tanks and dead tankos. Ben had advanced both pioneer platoons into woods covering the objectives. Assaulting dug in pioneers with conscript t34s in woods, I could see this was going to go well. Then the marxist dialectic showed up big time (it could not be dumb luck, that would be a capitalist interpretation) , and not one, but both pioneer platoons looked blankly at their shovels, wondering what they were for as they failed to dig in. My tanks were close enough, so they rolled in, 5 of them with the battalion co. 39 machine gun/smg shots was enough to suppress the pioneers (they rather made up for the abject failure to dig in by their abject failure to fail many saves), and we rolled into the woods, also failing to bog any tanks. The pioneers were not hit very much, but immediately failed their tank terror and fell back into the snowy wastes on the other side of the wood near the objective. T34s rumbled to the edge of the wood, failing once more to bog anything (I guess I will take not bogging over not hitting anyone in melee). Next turn the pioneers fail to unpin and are left to burrow into the snow. The other pioneer platoon leaves its position,, but it is much too far away to get anywhere that matters. I am thinking, ok, I have a bunch of shots here, I can at least pin them, and fight without bogging rolls. I have 37 shots. Needing 6s. Marx smiles, and I hit 14 times. Bens “good save” mojo deserts him, the platoons fails a morale test, and My “shooting too successful” takes me onto the objective. Now all that matters is Bens re-enforcement roll, is something going to show up for him? Nope, he gets some, but they are over in the far corner. Game over, 6-1.
We were done fairly fast, so I had some to think about it while waiting for the next round. “Nothing special here”, I though “i had the advantage in Encounter, and had good luck, he had terrible luck” and came to the conclusion that I was still doomed. Dan

pictured here had managed to win his first game and avoid any sort of wardrobe malfunctions of the sort that has dogged him (or possibly the people looking at him) in previous events. Not sure right now how Simon did, but I am sure pretty well. The result of this was I ended up getting my second draw as fighting “Panzer Dan” with all his Afrika Korps tanks and some form of facist ubermensch guy in “No retreat” on a city table. With conscript tanks, and no recce. I could see that this was going to go well.
First roll was who was attacking, as we were both Tank companies. Fortunately, I won, because I would have been completely destroyed attacking. Ok, now I had to pick which 2 platoons to put on. The huge t34 platoon with the su85s in ambush seemed like a good choice. Or at least the best one available to me. I covered the front objective with the the t34 platoon, filling the buildings and ruins with smg-armed proletarians, and hiding the tanks as best I could behind the structures. I figured that to let him get shots without exposing a bunch of guys would just result in more burning hulks. This left me a bit off centre, and in fact the back objective was uncovered, but I figured that I would drop the su85s down there if (or when) it all went pear shaped. Dans panzers came on in a tight bunch on the other side of the boards, and his recce armored cars began to race ahead, followed by a clutch of sand colored panzers. And indeed, as he moved down, he sniped a couple of t34s he came into sight of, and then storm trooped out of sight again, driving happily through buildings. It appears that the german ubermensch hero allowed storm trooping on a die roll of -2. And his armored cars were rapidly making it so there was no place on my side of the board (or so it seemed) I could place my assault guns. It looked depressingly like I was going to have to plonk them down now, without any decent shots. Oh well.
Then Dans armored cars failed their stormtrooper roll, leaving one perched in the middle of the main Kiev – Smolensk toll road, and the other only half behind a building. I had 2 t34s that could shoot, one at long range in the open, and one at short. OK, I would stay hunkered down and hope I hit him and he failed his re-org roll or something. Or decided to disengage from my firing.
So I shot. He did not disengage, of course, having a better grasp of basic probability than I. However, he had not been indoctrinated properly in the Marxist dialectic, and the tanker that needed a 5 to hit generated 2 hits and the one that needed a 6 one.
Armored cars hit by 76mm shells do not generally fare well, no matter how many wheels they have, so we were treated to the Hollywood meme of the burning wheel rolling across the landscape in both cases.
So things were looking up. As opposed to the rear objective being in immediate danger, now I just had to contend to with 4 MkIVs and 7 or 8 MkIIIs that were shooting holes in the t34 platoon. I had lost at least 4 by the end of Dans next turn, and things were not looking good for the rest as the panzers storm trooped to reduce my shots on them. On the plus side he did not push any more toward the rear objective.
I decided I needed to drop the su85s out on the table, managing to get 3 where they could get decent shots at panzers, with the company commander stuck in cover minding the objective. And then I managed to roll a 5, and the su122s rolled on the back of the board, with a few more shots. The shooting was appallingly successful, with 4 MkIVs getting destroyed (including the facist ubermensch, after some consultation of the rules) and at couple (I think) of MkIIIs. here are the results of hot dice rolling.

(as you can see at the bottom of the picture, they gave us cookies)
The next turn Dan kept at it, baling most of the remaining t34s with his MkIIIs and killing off an su122. He then storm trooped out of sight, making me move to get shots.
In my turn, the t60s came on, took a brief look, and left. I moved the assault guns, remounted my tanks, and kept shooting. Though Dan kept eroding the t34 platoon, after a couple of turns I managed to force a check on his 4 tank MkIII platoon, which he failed, and I won because his company CO was dead.
This surprised the heck out of me, because now had 12 points, and I had really confidently expected to have 2 or maybe 3 by this stage.
In the last game I was going to be playing Simon and his pioneers (more bloody pioneers) complete with a Tiger AND a KV1e AND some marders. The scenario was either going to be “Fighting Withdrawal” or “Free-for-all” depending on a die roll. I was not enthused about attacking Tigers and flame throwing pioneers in “Fighting withdrawal”, so I was pleased when the NKVD had a quiet word with Joe (keamma) the tournament organizer (who did a wonderful job, great time was had by all, the check is in the mail) and it turned out to be “Free-for-all” on an italian table, woods, vineyards, a big village in the middle, and lots of contour lines.
I was tired by this stage, and my deployment and planning was.. limited. I decided to deploy the t34s and the su85s in the middle, so the ’85s could go either way to engage Tigers or KV1s, put the t60s in a wood near the right objective, and leave the su122s in the middle, with nothing near the left objective.

In so far as there was a plan, it was to push the t34s into the village in the middle, and hope that Simon (hedgehog) would not dig the pioneers in on his right, and rush them, and maybe some tanks, to the objective on the left. That would leave them in the open, where maybe I could clobber them, or get behind them to sit on his rightmost objective with the t34s.
And indeed, his left platoon, and the marders headed forward. But the marders headed back, and the t34s were getting shot up by the tiger, and the marauders doing the shuffle. On my right, the KV began to head toward the t60s, while the tigers was not obliging me by allowing the su85s to shoot it. I messed up here. I stopped the t34s and should have kept moving and tried to catch the pioneers in the open. Instead I got myself involved in a shootout with the marders and the tiger, and though I managed to kill 2 of the marders and they had to make a couple of tests nothing came of it. Except a mostly dead t34 company.
Now I had a bunch of burning hulks in the middle of the board, the su85s had to go to the right objective to help the cowering t60s against the oncoming KV, and at my left objective I had some assault guns without machine guns facing a platoon of pioneers with flame throwers.
This WAS working out well.
The KV finally rolled into the woods took a shot at the t60s, and missed. The german pioneers on my right hopped out their tenches (apparently these ones could find their shovels) on their side of the board and moved forward, flame throwers and all. The su85s were approaching shooting range of the KV, though, and the t60s managed to exit the wood without bogging anyone so all was not quite lost there. And the KV bogged itself, relieving the pressure somewhat. As opposed to the middle, where 2 marders, a smoke template, and a RoF 3 tiger were finishing off the t34 platoon. Or my left, where a su122 platoon had stuck one unfortunate of their number within 4 inches of the objective, and were waiting for the pioneer flame thrower assault. Which of course came, and, interestingly, mostly missed, or I saved the hits. In return, I missed. (love those conscripts). Simon blew up an su122 in the next round of assault. But I actually managed to kill a guy, and the pioneers failed tank terror and fell back.
The su85s, now completely intermingled with the t60s to dissuade the oncoming pioneers, conclusively failed to hit the bogged KV. For at least 2 turns, though I think we forgot it was trained. My battalion CO sprinted across the back of the board, passing the one remaining baled out t34, which lived merely because no german could see it currently. He managed to reach (just) the su122 platoon. Just in time, in the axis turn, for another assault. this time they flamed as they came in, and destroyed the su122 they baled, before failing tank terror again and falling back. This whole time, despite more or less constant shooting, I’m pretty sure they had not taken terrible casualties. The TO was now telling us to finish off, and we were looking a 1-1 draw in the face. So I took my last turn. Marxist-Leninist gun laying finally reached the su85 platoon, replacing the previous Trotskyist version, and they managed to perforate the KV-1, killing it. I assaulted the pioneers, managing to miss once more, but they failed tank terror and one died due to inability to get away from the tanks. They then took a morale roll (Simon pointed out later on that they shouldn’t have, he counted his flamer as dead when he should have been “absent” but oh well) and they went home too. Simon made a gallant attempt to kill off the t34 platoon, blowing up the last tank and then driving his tiger into a building to assault the last remaining tanko, but he missed and the tanko scurried off to safety, passing his morale roll.
And the game ended for time.
I had managed to lose 19 of 20 elements in one platoon, my plan had completely failed, I had assault guns playing games of chicken with flamethrower pioneers, but had made a 3-1 draw. There is something extremely Soviet about this….
It ended up that I had top score with Seans beautiful Alpini (winners by streets of the best painted prize). We decided to split the prize, but for some reason i was too tired to understand we still had to roll for honors, so I ended up as “Best General” (quietly snorts in derision before anyone else can do it).
So yes, there you go. A MW FoW tournament topped by conscript soviet tanks and Alpini from East Front. I’m sure Sean deserved the honor….

Russian assault gun Battle report #3

So, a bunch of us took some time off from Flames of war, indeed, from gaming altogether. However, the lure of the lead (or resin) has taken us back over, and now we jump once more into the murky (to me, anyway) waters of FoW.
Mark drifted over to my slobby basement to try out his Guards Armoured regiment from Hells Highway. his list looked something like :

HQ 2 Shermans
Troop 2 Shermans, 2 Fireflies
Troop 2 Shermans, 2 Fireflies
Troop 2 Shermans, 2 Fireflies
Recce 3 carriers
Artillery 2 25 pdr, Observer tank
infantry tiny pioneer platoon
Michael Caine … er Joe Vandeleur.

I had

Platoon V.I. Rat, 5 ISU122, 5 Tankos
Platoon 4 ISU122, 4 Tankos
Recce 9 Rifle/MG
A/T 2 Zis-3, with halftracks

I set up a fairly busy table; and we ended up playing breakthrough, with me attacking. This left poor Mark with just one troop of Shermans on the table, his artillery, and the pioneers. Rather him than me, I suppose. I massed all the assault guns together, and planned to drive to the objectives and sit on them. I sent the AT guns as the flank march. Marks deployment had allowed me full use of my quarter of the board. Mark placed his tanks and guns in the upper left quarter.
Then, it was my go, and I immediately forgot how to play this game. Instead of keeping my stuff together, in a bunch, I separated the two platoons to go around the central village. This was, of course, stupid. I need all my stuff together, separate them and they will get destroyed piecemeal.
Mark got a troop of tanks in on the first turn, and showed that he was equally out of practice by shoving them over the other side of the board from the guys he had on the table. Here is a photo of the confrontation. I took a number of photos, but they were all dismal failures, this is the only one that came out.


The 4 Sherman could not really take on 5 assault guns frontally, and ended up falling back. I, of course, to prove stupidity is forever, chased them, leaving my other, smaller platoon fighting the rest of Marks army over the objectives.

This more or less came out as one might expect. The assault guns in the small platoon were smoked and destroyed slowly, as was the company CO., before the larger platoon could help. The AT guns came on as reinforcements, and surprising lasted a turn or two, killing a Firefly, before they died.

I bogged a bunch of the assault guns in the large platoon, making the relief even later, and of course they arrived separately in ones and twos, and were picked off that way.

Though we had a good time, I’m going to use this game as a clear example of what I should not do….

Chinese on the road again

Sorry about the long delay, but life rather got the better of me

So after a decent showing at Historicon (5-1, I should write it up at some stage) the Qin chinese medium foot of doom had an outing at a local house last night.
War of the Roses list looked something like
TC x 2
4 Heavy Foot Armored Average heavy weapon x 2
4 Heavy Foot Heavily Armored Superior Heavy weapon x 1
6 Medium Foot Longbow Protected Average Swordsmen x 3
8 Medium Foot Longbow Protected Average Swordsmen x 1
6 Medium Foot Crossbow Protected Average x 1
4 Medium Foot Crossbow Protected Average x 1
6 Light Foot Javelin Unprotected Average Light Spear x 1
2 Knights Heavily Armored Superior Lance Swordsmen x 1

I’m not convinced this list is entirely correct, but it is probably close.

I was not at all sanguine about this match up, thinking it likely that the longbow was going to make the use of my cavalry and light horse impractical, and those have been customarily troops I have relied heavily upon.  I also thought that the longbow was going to shoot the heck of my medium foot mixed units. It really did not look good.

WotR won the toss, and chose Agricultural. There were quite a lot of open fields in the middle of the table, but the really relevant terrain pieces were a plantation some way ahead of my deployment area on my left, a village about half way along WotRs base  line, and a vineyard  that was also on his baseline. this rather constrained WotRs deployment area considerably. Indeed he ended up deploying his guys in the area between the vineyard and the village, save for the Irish light foot, thus running more or less from the center of the table to the left of my army.

I had decided to place 4 units of mixed foot on my right, along with he cavalry and the two light horse units. These were to make a rush for WotRs base line, hoping to penetrate through the village and take the camp, and forcing him to redeploy this smaller number of units to stop me flanking him or getting behind him.  I placed the Offensive spearmen and the chariots in the open in the middle, and the last two units of mixed foot to hold the plantation, thus defending the camp. One unit of foot skirmishers were on the left, and one more or less in the center.

It started well enough, with my mounted dashing forward, chasing off his light foot, and zooming on toward the built up area to shoot at the 4 crossbowmen that were holding it. The mixed foot pushed forward also, while the rest of the army stayed more or less still save for pushing forward into the plantation.

WotR more or less came forward in an arc, resting one flank on the village, while pushing out toward the plantation. I managed to shoot up the guys in the village, and spread the fire of the longbow-men enough that no one unit took too many dice. However the mixed foot units on my right almost left me down completely.. one stubbornly refused to roll a CMT to line up with the others to charge WotRs guys, despite the +2 for an IC. Another unit charged the 3 remaining crossbowmen in the village, and managed to lose the impact (it was ++, I hit on a 3, he on a 5) and then compounding the issue by falling to to fragmented. If did start to win the melee though, saving itself from a meeting with he headsman later. On top of this a unit of WotRs bill-men was taking advantage of my inability to roll a 6 or better on 2d6 to push though in the center, taking advantage of the gap between my right and center. I had to move the chariots and offensive spearmen up to close the gap, into range of the much feared longbow-men to set up an intercept charge. WotR drove some bill-men at the offensive spearmen, and the chariots really needed to charge the guys in front of them also.

The whole time a more or less pointless bunch of shooting had been taking place around the plantation. but now, it seemed, one of the two units there was going to have to go forward in support of the spear, which was really spread too thin. Meanwhile absolutely nothing was happening on my right (where the fight was supposed to take place, according to the PLAN) except the crossbowmen in the village were beat by the fragmented guys, and WotRs decided to play the winners with his light foot. Despite me being fragmented, this did not work out very well for him, and the Kerns got pounded.

So, I was fighting in entirely the place where I had not planned to. Great. Except that the charging Mixed foot unit, coming out of the plantation, managed to step forward into the 8 man longbow unit, which fragmented on impact.

At this stage WotR had lost 2 units, and 3 more were fragmented – the billmen fighting the heavy chariots were down to 50%, and fragmented, and the billmen fighting the offensive spearmen and mixed unit both were fragmented and horribly outnumbered. the lone frontage of chinese mixed unit fighting the 8 man longbow unit was holding on, and when the chinese got freed up was going to lose as well.  So we decided to call it.

So what happened? Well my plan sort of worked, I stretched him out and put him in a concave line, which allowed much less of his guys to focus his fire. Having said that, WotR had terrible dice, getting much fewer hits than he should shooting, and the one unit he had room to concentrate on was the Armored Offensive Spear, and they were in combat, so he needed a 5.

I’m thinking with better dice the result gets reversed, myself, but I’ll take it.,…

Once more with the chinese Fast Food delivery guys

Again we FoG’ed last night, and I brought the slightly-more-painted (I promise to put pictures up here to prove they are not figments of my imagination) Warring States guys once more to fight Mark’s redoubtable Late Republican Romans.

I’m figuring my luck has run out at this stage, Mark is all ready for me. And indeed he shows up with a slightly different list something like

4 X TC ( Armenian Ally)
6 X 6 Legionaries superior, Skilled Swordsmen, Armoured, Impact Foot
1 X 6  slingers Average, LF
1 x 4 Cavalry, Superior LS, Swordsmen, Armoured
1 x 4 Cataphracts (Armenians) Heavily armoured, Superior, Lance
1 x 4  Horse Bowmen LC, Average Bow
1 x 4 Light Horse, Javelin LS

This differed from last time in that there were less scary legionary types, less light troops, and more and better cavalry. I think its probably a better list for Mark, but not really against me, because its the legionary guys I’m terrified of.

My list was the same as the last outing, and can be found here.

The Romans won initiative, and chose ‘hilly” terrain. They attempted to place both an impassible quarry and a road, limiting my areas of brush that enable my guys to hide from his horrid legionaries but superior chinese generalship changed the battlefield (i.e. I rolled hot and removed both pieces).

Even with that, the terrain was not good. A small steep hill was in my side toward the back. There was a patch of brush, toward the middle of the table on my left. a very large patch of uneven on my enemies base line, in the middle.

At this stage what little clue I had took flight. I decided that racing forward to the small batch of brush on my left with 5 units of medium mixed foot would be a good plan. The 6th unit would hold the steep hill in the middle. the heavy chariots and the Offensive spearmen would hold the open ground between the 2 features. Meanwhile the Cavalry, 2 units of light horse, and 2 units of foot skirmish crossbowmen would try and make something happen on my right.

Thats it. Thats my plan. Plans like this are the reason my 10 year old son looks at me and says doubtfully “Dad, you sure thats going to work?”.

Of course it did not. Mark bunched all his romans together, and rushed them straight at the chariots and spearmen. Yes, I had him just where I wanted him, fighting 6 superior units with 2! This would work well, I’m sure.

The mixed units proved completely unable to do anything constructive to the roman slingers on the right. I held 2 of them back in a vain effort to flank the onrushing roman legionaries which were plunging toward the chariots. I sent another forward to back the inadequate one struggling with the slingers. The last doubled back to offer rear support to the offensive spearmen who were watching the onrushing tide of Foundry romans with understandable trepidation.

The only glimmer of hope was on my right, were weight of numbers had seen off the roman horse archers and the foot skirmishers had done the same for the light horse javelin-men. The both became disrupted, and without a general nearby had to fall back from my guys.

This allowed me to more or less surround the left flank guard legionary unit, also allowing me to bring up my scary average cavalry.  We shot it to disrupted in the first turn.

Unfortunately, at about this time, the legionaries plowed into the 2 “flank guard” mixed units. One legionary unit routed one in a turn, and then settled down to munch up the other one. It surprisingly held up for a couple of tunrs, before perishing to accumulated casualties.  The rest of them headed for the spear and the chariots, backed by the cataphracts.

2 units of legionaries attacked the spearmen, with one dragging the chariots into the mess.

It was about now Mark made a minor error that saved china, allowing all of us to revel in egg-foo-yung to our hearts content. He had his gallic cavalry supporting his left most cohort. The moved the cav up beside the legionaries, on the side away from me, to drive off the foot skirmishers. This allowed me to charge the legionaries in the flank with the average boring cavalry. The legionaries broke, fleeing through the Gallic cavalry, which dropped a cohesion level in horror and then a further one when burst through. My cavalry followed into the gauls, who failed their Charged while fragmented test” and broke also.

At the same time my spearmen had lost, and become disrupted. It was not going very well at all there, though the chariots were doing fine. The legionaries in front of the chariots had held off charging, recognizing that the medium foot on the steep hill would be on their flank if they impacted the chariots.  Lucky shots from the mediums on the hill had caused those legionaries to drop to disrupted, and now the chinese cavalry, rallied from pursuit, was right behind them.

I was fortunate in that the Spearmen passed their test for losing that round of combat, and was able to intercept charge the rightmost (from my point of view) legion and destroy it in one turn, it having no place to flee.

This enabled that same one average cavalry unit to charge the legionaries engaged with the spear and the chariots in the rear, breaking it, though one of the roman light cavalry units had been broken by bowfire earlier that turn, ending the game. i managed to roll up on the spearmen combat dice, so they did not actually lose the combat that turn, which would have given the romans another point. So I had lost 2 mixed foot units in winning. And the chinese cavalry were the heroes of the day, breaking 2 superior legionary units and a superior cavalry unit by flank charges.

If I learned anything it was that flank charges can be completely devastating. We knew that, of course, but this was as graphic a demonstration as one could have asked for…