Monday, 14 November 2016

5th War and Conquest Gaming Weekend P2

We had our usual meet at the bar on Saturday night and there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth, you would have thought nobody had won their games as we all vied for the sympathy vote, a long interesting conversation on all aspects of wargaming with WAC followed, along with many tall tales. I was first to rout as it had been a long day and I wanted to be fresh for the challenge the next day. In the morning I fuelled up on bubble n squeak and hash browns and set off into the miserable weather, I arrived first but soon the rest of the troops turned up and to our delight someone had been in the hall before us and put the heating on, or maybe it was just me glad to be out of the cold and damp.

Tea's were made, armies reorganised and tables claimed. I was fighting Jenny who was using Phil's Western Patrician Romans, as I said I don't have a good record with either of them, I was expecting some heavy cavalry but Phil's set up was vastly different from Andy Hawes' army at Peterborough, this one was all infantry. It was in two parts, very large Roman units along with a large wing of Germans in not so large units. The Roman troops carry everything except the kitchen sink, large shields, armour, thrusting spears and darts if I remember correctly and they looked fierce, I took some advice and aimed to put pressure on the Germans, so that's where my best troops went. Jenny was going to try and outflank my left, she had one more battle formation than me so I needed to kill the Germans quickly while trying to slow her down with skirmishers.

Jenny on the left, me on the right.
Germans ahead.
My right with the Saxons bounded forward, I held the Comitatus back for a couple of moves as my slingers were doing a lot of damage to the German nobles and I wanted to give the Comitatus as much help as possible before they went in. Sure enough Jenny brought her extra unit around the small wood, I chased her skirmish line off and began to pelt them with arrows and slingshot as they approached. I had had no choice but to send my line forward to hold the Romans in place, however my cavalry now had a flank to their front, a charge would probably not stop the infantry but it would delay them, maybe long enough for me to save my Milites holding the left. My cavalry refused three times to form up and I lost the opportunity, the Milites were now facing elite Roman troops to their front commanded by their general and another lot had charged their flank, to my amazement and everyone else around the table my boys held.

On the other flank just before this we had cleared out the Germans, albeit one had routed my Geoguth but they came back, for a time at least before running again, but my Gedriht having seen off their opponents and been hit in the flank also stood their ground around their general. My Comitatus had destroyed the German nobles to their front and were now about to join another group to double up on Jenny's centre. I won the last advantage and called it a day, I was supposed to again capture the enemy general but that was a long shot even with my brave lads standing firm. The baying crowd ooh'd and aah'd and sucked in their breath (in good humour I must add) but I stalwartly defended my troops and as I surveyed the battlefield it looked like a win for Vortigern, sure enough the points swung my way with 24 to 14. My troops enjoyed a sumptuous lunch, with scraps for the cavalry.

After the break it was a return match with Michael Curtis, I had let myself down badly in our last game and he had fought well and took advantage of my dubious deployment, I duly remembered to do better this time. My luck had changed and I again won the dice down for deployment so Michael again set out his army, this time I had to knock out his two most expensive units. Now at times you are never quite sure which troops these are in an enemy line up but as his army was Romano-British and I have Romano-British I knew it was the two Communipulares or Comitatus units, one on horses and the other on foot, Michael put both of these on his right. I decided to go for it this time, I put a horde of skirmishers on my left to shoot his cavalry and then put my Gedriht against a unit beside his foot bodyguard and lined my Comitatus up opposite his, the rest of the army would hold and stay out of the fight as long as possible, but near enough to be a constant threat.

Me on the left, Michael on the right.

Michael saw the trap and his cavalry moved behind the line to his left, I feinted with my cavalry but decided against it and pulled them back behind a shieldwall out of harms way, by now I didn't trust them but they did manage to form up. The two lines crashed together exactly where I wanted them and the enemy heavy cavalry now turned around seeing the danger and began to head back, my Gedriht smashed their opponents and routed them. Sadly, my Comitatus having won the first clash with everything on their side, general, two push backs and more men in the front rank, got beat (I threw 21 dice and killed no one!), they also could not run fast enough, were caught and dispersed. Bad as that was for me things got much worse for Michael, he began to throw dreadful scores for his morale and this set most of his units running for the table edge as the fear spread. It was now he charged downhill into the victorious Gedriht, I expected to get beat here but once again the mercenaries came through and the cavalry were first halted then destroyed. I was overjoyed of course, Michael less so.

With the demise of the cavalry that was one expensive unit gone, however the last one was way behind my lines on its own where I could not get at it for the last move and so I missed my objective but as this was the only viable enemy unit on the table I had won my battle and won it resoundingly. All was not over, Michael belatedly checked his objective and we found that he had inadvertently managed it as my Gedriht were a gnats hair on the wrong side of his deployment zone so instead of 32/12 it ended 34/32. For me my men had picked themselves up and delivered two good wins under my much improved generalship.

Michael's last unit surrounded.

On day one I had despaired of the Army of Vortigern, I had had my doubts before choosing it but wanted nonetheless to try something different, the first two battles seemed to confirm my prejudices. Now that the dust has settled and in the light of the second two battles overall the army held up well, despite my mistakes on day one. You have to do a bit of dancing with it and give your initial plan a bit more thought so that the mercenaries and the British core troops complement each other but it is definitely exciting to use.

Dave Howes won overall and Gary Stark again won the best painted army with his beautiful Pyrrhic force, there were a lot of lovely armies, Gary just happened to be the best of an excellent bunch and well deserved. Young Tom Poole picked up the Award for Outstanding Generalship, which of course is for the very opposite, he brought an overly large unit of archers to the field and shot an enemy general to death remembering at the last moment he had to capture the man not kill him. I finished in tenth place but for me it was two defeats and two wins and once again a great weekends wargaming, you can't beat it, next one is in May, I cannot recommend this event highly enough if you like good fun and fighting battles.

Saxons vs Normans.
Pyrrhic vs Selucid.
Western Patrician Romans vs Romano-British.
Gary's Pyrrhic army.
Saxons vs Saxons.