Club night was Bolt Action, a game which I had promised Jimi but had not got around to, he has completed his British Para platoon so was keen to use them, I offered some support weapons from my own troops and he opted for a 6 pdr anti-tank gun. I decided as they were Paras I would use a Waffen-SS platoon to get two LMG's per squad being as they would be panzergrenadiers from the 9th or 10th divisions at Arnhem, tenuous link but hey. I also gave them some heavy support with an infantry gun, two medium machine guns and a PzII Luchs, for a change I also splashed out on a sniper. I kept the game simple as this was only Jimi's second game as far as I know so we went head to head in a meeting engagement.
I only had a Plan A and that was to use my superior firepower to cut down the Paras before they could get close and simply rack up the points as they hit the dust, even with my luck recently I should have enough dice to offset the gremlins. It became very apparent however that Lady Luck was back with me or at least had decided to dump Jimi. I got off lightly from the preparatory bombardment but Jimi suffered under the shellfire and a direct hit took out his HQ before an enemy had been seen, he also got most of his dice out first therefore I knew exactly where most of his army were and set up accordingly when German dice eventually turned up.
Sure enough the amount of firepower started to cut down the British units as they seemed to flounder forwards, some even refused to move, the British mortar missed with its first shot on my infantry gun only to have the spotter shot by my sniper rendering it basically worthless. As the game continued Jimi's luck worsened, he failed nearly every order test apart from two and he had to take a fair few. I had a few hiccups but nothing out of the ordinary. As we reached the conclusion of the game the horrendous casualties the British suffered offered no hope for Jimi and we called a halt to the slaughter as the Germans now moved forward to mop up.
So, Plan A had worked after all, I had managed to get the drop on the Paras and they never managed to counter the sheer weight of firepower coming their way or the bad luck which dogged them during the game, we all have games like that but this was particularly bad. I tried at the end to give some advice but my own Para platoon has only fought with Chain of Command so I may have been short on that, I did concur that a more rounded British Army platoon with perhaps Para back up and a lot more support choices might work better.
Fast forward to yesterday and a War and Conquest game against Charlie and his Normans, now I have no love for Normans but they are a tough army to meet with these rules. Charlie likes his cavalry and brought seven units mostly hard hitting Milites supported by some good foot, archers, skirmishers and a couple of not so good infantry. I had some household troops (Gedriht), some mounted and foot Duguth, some young warriors and Ceorls supported by skirmish archers, I also brought, yes, the Franks.
|Saxons on the left, Normans on the right.|
The battlefield was fairly open with two villages on each of the flanks, I decided therefore to refuse my left and lead with the right while the centre would wait and see, I also thought my light cavalry would easily take out the enemy light cavalry as there were more of mine. The Normans put most of their cavalry on their left and some on the extreme right, between the two was marshaled the infantry. I thought the shock cavalry could be a problem while the host opposite my left could be a real threat to my weak flank.
|The Normas advance.|
|The cavalry charge.|
|The Saxons beat off the initial charges.|
The battle started and the Norman cavalry all advanced very quickly, I also threw my own cavalry against the flanks while my infantry edged slowly forward on the right, I was getting ready for some charges when they wheeled towards my flank, I took advantage of this and closed to close range with the Duguth and Franks, javelins flew. I managed to get the drop on Charlie and threw in several charges, my right flank light cavalry destroyed their opposition while the left flank horsemen made a hash of things. My Duguth routed their opponents while the Franks made a meal of their melee, however although it turned into a slogging match the numbers favoured the mercenaries, but they took their time.
|The Saxons get the upper hand.|
Charlie now withdrew his cavalry and I followed up with the Gedriht hoping to catch some Liberi and send them packing, I did not manage this as I had to watch my flank and wait for the victorious Duguth to come up and protect the companions. I lost my left flank cavalry but the Normans did not push behind my lines, perhaps it was the waiting archers which put them off, so instead they joined the mass of troops heading for my Geoguth and Ceorls.
As the pressure mounted the Norman cavalry swept forward in several charges, none of which were successful, and they were beaten off, the Norman infantry were now charged in return while the Ceorls went into shieldwall and put themselves in harms way of the last Norman horsemen still unengaged or routing. As the enemy infantry were pushed back all along the line the Saxon light cavalry now appeared behind the Norman line sealing their fate. Charlie offered his sword.
|The last of the Norman cavalry in trouble.|
A good game and at the beginning I was a bit worried about my left as there were a lot of Normans opposite it, however I had a good feeling that my large infantry units could fend off the mounted shock charges although I would not bet the house on it. The wheel the enemy made was a mistake and allowed me to take the initiative and the cavalry never recovered despite putting up a tremendous fight. Cavalry armies in real life did well, however in wargames they seem to struggle, we played some amendments to try and make them more dangerous and it works to an extent but you can never count on Lady Luck.
Next week at Chez Anderson it is Seven Years War against Rob and I am looking forward to getting these guys back on the table. I have decided to go to FIASCO in Leeds on Sunday as I have some Last Valley tree's to pick up and perhaps have a look at some nice games. I don't really need anything and will just be looking for something interesting, maybe terrain or scatter wise.