As soon as I saw the Carolingians I thought I might have been rash, he matched me in infantry and outnumbered me in cavalry, my archers were expensive as they could form up or skirmish as suited them best, but in most cases they are better as skirmishers, so real skirmishers would have been cheaper but there you go. We deployed one unit at a time in March Order, each unit is numbered and it goes down in sequence, we also prefer Pitched Battle rather than choosing an Objective, it suits us and our armies.
I laid from left to right, with my Saxons on the left hoping to run them forward as fast as I could, they had the Comitatus on their right to bolster their attack and then the Milites and Pedyts would hold the right while my cavalry would be a mounted reserve, they generally are at a disadvantage against Carolingian horse. Stewart deployed with a strong left and his best infantry in the centre, his far right was weakly held by his worst troops, albeit looked like the rest of his army would do the job before they were tested.
|The Geoguth about to go in on the left, and the Gedriht too close.|
Stewart advanced slowly, only his left moving as far as possible, I threw my Saxons forward, the plan was now to defeat his Liberi and swing the victors around before taking on his main line, his Household Milites being very tough characters, if they failed then the game was up. The speed of the Geoguth surprised Stewart as they are light troops and they covered the ground with alacrity and crashed into his Liberi, I was thankful there were no missile troops on that flank or my unarmoured Saxons would have suffered. They didn't suffer and smashed their enemy routing them from the field in one fell swoop. I now halted my Gedriht and Comitatus to await the return of their mates, I had miscalculated however and the Gedriht began to suffer a storm of javelins from the Household Milites, I then let them down by forgetting the Geoguth for a whole turn, I was forced to retreat them but it was never far enough and they took even more casualties. By the time I did turn the Geoguth they too were now taking hits from enemy missiles as they tried to catch up, sadly they never did.
|The battle favours the Carolingians.|
But wait, what's this, the Comitatus receiving a downhill charge from the Dismounted Milites held and beat them back, my foot Milites outdistanced pursuit and rallied, my cavalry decided they had run far enough and they too braced themselves, the Geoguth had now turned and were heading for the rear of Stewart's favoured Household, but still too far away. I had to make time and took a mad decision to throw my depleted Gedright uphill into the Household as a forlorn hope, if they could only hold for one turn. One turn be damned, the boys surged up and over the hill, trampling their foes into the dust and capturing the Carolingian leader, a cheer went up from the exhausted warriors.
|The pendulum swings.|
|The Gedriht triumphant.|
|It's all over.|
The battle had turned, my Milites, slammed in the flank by the Sergeants held fast, the Comitatus were about to rush down the hill on the flank of the Veteran Liberi and the Pedyts meanwhile had beaten off and ran down a Carolingian cavalry unit, I surreptitiously put the towel back under the table. Stewart was left with little of his army and in a bad position while Vortigern had troops to spare, an incredible change in fortunes.
The wargame, I had some bad die rolls for combat in the opening rounds but some incredible rolls to save wounds on at least two occasions, my Milites lost their first fight not being able to convert around nine hits to kills while the Veteran Liberi had only inflicted one, however morale failed me. Stewart's poorest troops need some skirmish protection or left in reserve as they are unlikely to stand up to such a ferocious assault as the Saxons can manage, luckily for me they were in the right place for such an attack. The turning point was the incredible charge by the Gedriht into an elite unit uphill of them and winning in the first round with about half the number of men, a result not expected by either one of us. Stewart's vaunted Household troops are beginning to show signs of combat fatigue while my Comitatus managed to win just as I grumbled about giving their standard to another unit, and I would have done. A cracker of a game and well worth the journey.