Friday, 28 July 2017

The Saxons Bounce Back

Instead of shopping on my afternoon off as usual or continuing with a map project I managed yesterday to fit in a War and Conquest game, Kevin had braved the elements and turned up at me Casa to try his hand as he is in the throws of completing several forces suitable for War and Conquest, forces which will enable the Twelfth to earn their denarii in future conflicts.

Yesterday’s battle was Romano-British against Saxons, I took only one elite unit and the rest were average troops, I did add my Pict warband as they had never made it to a game before and it was time they did. Kevin took two Comitatus units one on foot the other mounted with heavy armour, he also paid for some Saxon mercenaries while the rest of his troops were bog standard although one Milites command had light armour. It turned out I had one more battle formation than him but only my elites were armoured so I was outclassed in quality, but I hoped I could make up for this with experience.

I set up first, nothing fancy, I put my cavalry on my far right in skirmish formation as I knew formed up they would not stand against the mounted Comitatus, I put the Picts with them as back up, three units held my centre and two more were on the left. The Romano-British formed up opposite but only had their cavalry on the left, I immediately thought I could shower them with javelins and arrows then send in the Picts, but there was some broken ground to the front of the Picts and this really played on my mind far more than it should have.

The battle opened with the flanks of both armies advancing while the centres glowered at each other. The mounted Comitatus saw the danger of advancing too far and withdrew, this allowed me to throw my cavalry into a charge against some British skirmishers, against the odds Kevin decided to stand and fight and to my chagrin the archers turned into the men of the match. My cavalry could not budge them and in return they were losing men steadily but surely, I did not put the Picts into the fight as I was sure the archers would be fleeing at any moment, meanwhile the Comitatus lined up and came in right at the end and that was it for my horsemen.

Romano-British on the left, Saxons on the right.
No one dares move in the centre.
My left flank had now joined battle with their opponents and while my Ceorls only just held, the young Geoguth ran for the hills only just outdistancing their pursuers as I gave a sigh of relief, we traded charges in the centre and things did not go well for me, both my units were routed. As I looked at the mayhem around me I could only see my Gedriht and the King standing faced by the foot Comitatus and the British Dux, I began to look around for a white flag. But wait! Within a move my Ceorls had dispatched their foes and against the odds the Geoguth had returned and dispersed their tormentors, the left was safe, over on the right the mounted Comitatus had crashed into the Picts but the dour Northerners had held, and then numbers began to tell against the cavalry, my flanks were both now safe.

My cavalry gets a nasty surprise.
My centre about to go.
The tables are turning.
Hold, hold....
 Although two units and some skirmishers had gone in my centre the pendulum of war had swung in my favour, Kevin now asked his elites to cut through mine and salvage some honour, despite them attacking downhill my Gedriht held them off and inflicted horrendous casualties, the British last gasp had failed and the Dux was dragged from the field to fight another day.
A good afternoons gaming and a complete turnaround for the Saxons, I really was in a pickle at the midpoint, I had lost my Atheling and a Thegn as well as two central units and the cavalry while all the rest seemed to be on the back foot. What saved me was when Kevin won the combats his pursuit moves were dire so my men were allowed to escape and in the case of the Geoguth come back and haunt him. We are playtesting a cavalry disengage move and this would have been perfect for the Comitatus but my internet went down the night before and I couldn’t get a copy, so maybe next time.


  1. A very fair appraisal. Several times I felt on the cusp of a great victory only for my troops to refuse to pursue a fleeing enemy. The Gods of the dice were having a hoot with both of us. On several crucial occasions I rolled brilliantly for hits only to fail to convert a single one into a kill. I had placed my elite heavy cavalry on the left and they basically did nothing. They were shamed by a contingent of skirmish archers who, had they survived, would have merited a MOTM award. An enjoyable game and I am eager to try some new tactics. I think I was too cautious in the centre and my Comitatus started to get whittled by javelins and were finally undone by the pathetic collapse of my right wing. I think next time I would look to have missile armed troops in closer support and also look to get in quicker. Cavalry remain enigmatic: they look beautiful but achieved very little. My strategy was clearly wrong. A final warning: George is a great bloke, a generous opponent and a fine host. But if he offers to let you use his red dice say "No"!

  2. A fine looking set too and a grand report.