FOREST FORAY, 10/11 October 2009
This 25mm DBM singles tournament (350 AP armies on 6’ x 4’ tables, as usual) was held for the first time at Lydney Bowling Club which proved to be an excellent venue. Thanks to Nigel Poole for organising it, including laying on lunch on both days.
I took Medieval French – two commands each with 7 Kn(S) plus some bowmen and Hordes, and a foot command with Ax(X) Brigans, more bows (the Reg Bw(O) crossbowmen) and half a dozen psiloi. Break points were 6, 6, 7.5
In the first round I faced my regular doubles partner Russ King, who had a Romanian Frankish army very similar to mine. Not much terrain, and the most impressive action consisted of wild melees between masses of knights. I gained an advantage here largely by having a partial second line to plug gaps and overlap pursuing enemies. The most important fighting, though, was between my Brigans and the Greek Ax(O); the Brigans’ extra factor was decisive and the Ax(O) fell in heaps, breaking a Romanian command. A few more knight combats with turned flanks saw a second command go and I won 10-0.
My second opponent was Ian Pudney, an experienced and careful player with Late Romans. He fielded, from left to right, some Ax(S) and a few legionaries, with supporting psiloi, plus light horse; a Gothic ally with Wb(S) general and 19 Wb(O), a Roman sub-general with some more Wb(O), assorted mounted troops and a couple of bolt-shooters, and an Arab mini-ally of 2 LH(O) and 2 LH(I). I hid psiloi in ambush in a large wood on my right flank, with the knights in the centre and on the left; my extreme left was held by Bw(I).
Ian’s opening PIPs were 1, 1, 1, 6 – two unreliable allies meant that he couldn’t do much, but he shaped to get auxilia into my Inferior Bowmen. Then my opening PIPs were 1, 1, 1 and I couldn’t move the infantry command – in fact that command scored 1 in each of the first three turns, and as the Kn(S) general needed to be held back the infantry didn’t move at all. The lines of Kn(S) trundled forward, though. Ian’s Arab ally soon joined in and tried to outflank my right, but was deterred by spotting my psiloi in ambush.
The knights crashed into the Goths, making them reliable, and into the Romans’ own warbands. The Duke of Bourbon (a sub-general) rode down the Gothic general, who didn’t have full supporting ranks, and then two more elements; a few more successes for the loss of a couple of knight elements broke the Goths. Meanwhile the Roman Auxilia, only one deep, attacked my Bw(I) and were beaten off, killing only two elements. My infantry finally moved and the Brigans attacked Wb(O) in support of the knights – with great success. The warband tumbled, breaking a Roman command to give the French another 10-0 win.
This set up a top-table clash with the redoubtable Don McHugh’s Daylami. I invaded, which was bad news as Don was able to place lots of rough going to shelter his numerous Ax(S), while light horse moved to outflank my advancing lines of knights. There was also a strong wind handicapping my bowmen. Nothing daunted, the gens d’armes thundered forward and beat off the flanking light horse, destroying three elements without loss. The King and some of his knights rode across from the centre to my left flank to help the Count of Artois’s infantry command which was threatened by Fast Blade swordsmen. The swordsmen sprang a psiloi ambush in an area of rough going, and the psiloi fought well, killing several Blade elements; the King and Artois both charged in and got some more. Artois was then flanked and killed, but his command held and the Daylami command broke. However, the King’s knights in the centre were in trouble; two of them rode down Auxilia but pursued into an orchard where they were (eventually) destroyed, while others attacked cavalry and, fairly unluckily, were also beaten. The resultant shortage of knights in the centre emboldened some Ax(S) to leave their rough going and attack the King’s crossbowmen, killing two which broke my C-in-C’s command. Bad news, but on my right Bourbon again swept all before him and broke a small light horse command, though losing several knight elements in the process.
A great, thrill-packed game which timed out at this point, with Don’s army two elements from breaking. It ended 6-4 to him.
Gavin Pearson’s Picts (the Barbarian Conspiracy of 367 AD) were another tough opponent who loved rough going; they didn’t get much of it, but there was a large area in my centre which I defended with Brigans and crossbowmen while more bows, psiloi and Artois held the right and the knights charged on the left. A mass of Pictish infantry attacked in the centre and were initially beaten off with loss (concentrated shooting bagged three Ax(S) Attecotti elements), while Artois and his light troops killed a lot of outflanking light horse. My main attack, however, was disastrous. Bourbon’s knights failed badly, killing only a couple of Ax(X) spearmen and going down mainly to LH(O), and the King’s knights fared no better against Saxon warbands. Pictish losses in the centre brought their C-in-C’s command to within half an element of breaking, but too many knights had died and the destruction of the King’s crossbowmen again broke his command. A disappointing 0-10 defeat, but well played by Gavin who won the competition for the second year running.
ATTACK! 18/19 July 2009
Russ King and I took Patrician Romans to Devizes; we’ve never used this very popular army before and wanted to try it out with the new DBMM army list. Two Roman commands each had a mix of LH(S), Kn(F), Ax(S) and Ps, a third Roman command had Bd(O), Ax(S), Ps, a couple of LH(O) and two Art(O), and a Frankish ally had 20 Wb, front rank S and the rest O. Each command had 20 elements, and the Roman commands each broke at 6.5 losses.
In the first round we faced Jeremy Morgan (whose partner had been delayed) using Avars. Lots of Cv(S) supported by LH(S), a few Kn(F) and a mass of indifferent foot who skulked at the back and didn’t get involved in the mayhem. The Avars also fielded a fearsome siege battery of four Art(S). Jeremy concentrated against our right-flank Roman command, and was able to attack it with two of his commands because the Franks were unreliable. If our command broke, of course, the Franks would change sides and the game would be over. Our command did break, but just before that the Franks scored the vital 6 and joined in. We fought back hard, killing all the Bulgar Kn(F) and quite a few Cv and LH, and the Avar C-in-C’s command was half an element from breaking… but alas, accumulated losses reached half our army and we lost 0-10.
The next game was a complete contrast. The opponent was Ian Dyer with Italian Condotta, and we invaded on a misty morning. The mist remained almost until the end of the game. The Italian C-in-C’s command comprised a long line of knights with four double Bw(X/O) bases on the right of the line; a force mainly of LH(I) and various infantry held their right flank and Swiss allies their left. As luck would have it, our deployment plan placed the Franks right opposite the Bw(X). The crossbowmen found it hard to see the advancing warbands in the mist and didn’t even score a recoil before the barbarians charged them; the Bw(X) went down to a man, breaking the Italian C-in-C’s command. Just as well, as his knights were beating our Kn(F) and LH. That effectively decided the game – Ian tried various risky attacks to pull something out of the fire, didn’t get lucky and his army broke for a 10-0 win to us.
Our third opponents were Kevin Everard and John Vaughan with Han Chinese. This was a “vanilla” army with Cv(O), Kn(O) chariots, Sp(O), Bw(O) and lots of LH(F). Only three commands. We confidently attacked, brushed off attempts by LH to stop the warband and sent the Franks into a line of supported spearmen. A few warband died but so did most of the spearmen, breaking the central Chinese command. However, our right-flank command had terrible luck – we attacked the enemy mounted troops with ours and were soundly defeated. Over two combat rounds, involving about a dozen combats, we suffered six 6-1s against us; one of these merely recoiled a legionary element fighting overlapped LH, but the others all destroyed elements. Our suffering command broke. It was then a race to get the last few elements we needed before the Chinese picked off enough warband to break the Franks; Kn(O) chariots failed three times to destroy two-deep warband, and one of the chariots was itself destroyed. When time ran out we were half an element short of breaking the Chinese army and had to settle for a 7-3 win.
The final game was close to a carbon copy of the first. Old rivals (and 2005 Doubles League champions) Rich Perry and Jason Scott had Sha-to Turks – Chinese infantry with powerful Turkish cavalry in the form of Cv(S) and LH(S). As had the Avars, they concentrated two commands against our right-flank Roman command – and the Franks were unreliable again. We quickly took losses and a rapid defeat was threatened. On our left flank, the Chinese advanced with a force of Irr Bd(F) swordsmen, who were set on by legionaries and by Ax(S) who came out of ambush onto a rough hill. Our combat dice on that flank were excellent and we killed 6 of the 8 Bd(F) without loss – the others rapidly retreated, aided by the high PIPs the Turks had throughout the game. Just in time, the Franks came on line before our C-in-C’s command broke. Reinforcements in the form of LH from our other wing endeavoured to keep the Turks busy while the warband rushed in all directions getting themselves into tangles. In the last bound the Turks needed to kill 6 more warband to break our army; they got four, so we survived with a 3-7 defeat.
20 points saw us well down the table, but we had the consolation of winning the Doubles League Championship on the strength mainly of our strong performance at Usk.
VENTA SILURUM, 16/17 May 2009
Results of this weekend’s DBM doubles competition at Caerwent are on my web page at https://www.geocities.com/jandagrahamleigh/. We had a couple of late drop-outs, including Jer Morgan who intended to use Avars, but still mustered a respectable ten teams and had a good weekend. Thanks to Paul Apreda for organising the competition, and to his son Rhys for doing the catering.
Russ King and I took Komnenan Byzantines – four Regular generals, plenty of light horse, Regular knights, a few psiloi and bows, and the 8 Varangians (mounted Bd(O)) with their own general. We hoped that the LH would allow us to control space and screen nasty troops we didn’t want to fight, while our knights and Varangians looked for soft bits to attack.
First we faced the redoubtable Jez Evans, with Koguryo Koreans – lots of spears supported by cataphracts, light horse and bows. Everything went wrong in this game. First we defended against our Aggression 0 enemy, with a 1-6 dice split and a risk of rain, then Jez successfully diced for a waterway. We picked some woods to break up his spear blocks – but they landed in his deployment area providing a perfect refuge for the Auxilia in his Hsiung-Nu allied command. One Korean command was flank-marching.
We concentrated on the spear block on the waterway side of the wood – these were Sp(I), and we attacked with the Varangians plus Kn(O) with more knights and lots of light horse on support. Complete failure – several Varangians died in return for only 2 Sp(I), and the knights repeatedly bounced off even with double overlaps. The flank march arrived early, with cataphracts and bowmen; our C-in-C’s command received it with Kn(O) and LH(S) but the cataphracts proved irresistible and our command broke. Then the Varangian general went down and our army broke. 0-10 defeat.
After that chastening experience we confronted Nigel Poole’s Low Countries army – the maximum 84 Pk(I) supported by Kn(I), a few Bd(X), Bw(O) and Ps(O), plus an allied command of just a Kn(O) general. Once again the Aggression 0 enemy invaded with a risk of rain.
The important terrain pieces were a large wood and area of rough going on our left, and a small patch of rough going well forward on our right. We decided to skirmish with the LH of two commands while the Varangians flank-marched on our right and a mixed command did so on our left. The Flemings had two large pike blocks, with their C-in-C’s command behind and stretching the whole width of the table – psiloi, Bw and Bd on their right, Kn(I) in the centre and a block of 12 Pk(I) on their left. This command had severe PIP problems as some troops were always beyond command distance, especially once the psiloi entered the wood.
The pike blocks rumbled forward, and we delayed them with LH. Our 8 BW(O) and some psiloi bagged the rough going and shot up nearby pikes with devastating effect, despite periods of rain. The Varangians arrived and were soon able to chop up the Flemish C-in-C’s pikemen, who were broken up by shooting and immobilised by lack of PIPs. Our other flank march also arrived and attacked the Kn(I) – although we lost 3 Kn(F) we killed some rich burghers. The rain helped our Kn(O) and LH(S) to ride down Flemish crossbowmen and their C-in-C’s command broke. LH(F) from the flank march then looted the enemy baggage, bringing their losses to half the army for a 10-0 win.
Next, more pikes in the form of Paul Apreda’s and Nick Coles’ Seleucids. This army had beaten our Alexandrians in the last competition, so we were out for revenge. It proved to be a thrilling game; we went for the Parthian allied command facing our right wing; the Parthians killed 2 Kn(O) and a LH(F) while our LH(S) initially failed, but eventually quality told and we got enough of their horse-archers to break the command. On the other flank the Varangians and some Kn(F) and LH went after some LH(F) and a mass of psiloi, the knights killing some while the Varangians trapped a LH. In the centre the large pike block wheeled towards our left wing, emboldening our Bw(O) to advance from a wood; the Seleucid cataphracts spent a long time getting into position to threaten the bowmen but lack of PIPs stalled them. Meanwhile a lot of vicious LH fighting was going on to the right of the cataphracts, with losses on both sides.
When last bound was called the enemy C-in-C’s command was half an element from breaking, so we hurled in everything we could. All combats failed until a Kn(F) general managed to ride down a psiloi for a 10-0 win, right on time.
We were now joint second with 20 points, and faced Gavin Pearson and Neil Hepworth who were on 26 points with Akkadians and thus needed only a 5-5 draw to win the competition. Massed pikes yet again. The Akkadians invaded, and placed a road and steep hills. The hills landed to form a perfect defensive position – a semicircle with both ends on the Akkadian baseline, the only gap manned by 7-deep Pk(I) and the hills held by 24 Auxilia and 30 psiloi. Just in case we had any thought of shooting the enemy, a strong wind was blowing up the table. No point in flank-marching, and no chance of a successful frontal attack. As they clearly didn’t intend to come out, we agreed a 5-5 draw.
In the annals of the City, of course, this campaign is remembered as a barbarian host marching into the Taurus, seeing the mighty Imperial army in the plains and prudently withdrawing – a great victory for the Empire.
25 points got us third place and a good time all round, despite the bloodless nature of the last game.
SHIELDWALL, 25/26 April 2009
Shieldwall, the senior DBM doubles competition dating from 1994, made a welcome return this weekend. There were 12 teams playing DBM and 12 more playing FoG, in an excellent country pub over two glorious spring days.
Russ King and I took Alexandrian Imperial – a 1970s retro army made up of Mike’s Models, “strip” Minifigs and even a few Peter Laing figures. They were dwarfed by their newer opponents. We had three commands each of 20 elements – two of mainly pikes and the C-in-C’s command which had light horse, Kn(F) Companions, four elephants and supporting light infantry. Plus an Indian ally with Cv(S) chariots, three more elephants and some odds and ends.
The first game was against Graham Philpot (his playing partner was unfortunately unable to attend) with Neo-Assyrian Later Sargonid. We knew from experience that Graham was addicted to flank-marching, usually with enormous commands. In this case the flank march was signalled on the first turn, and our Indian ally was unreliable, scuppering our plan to get stuck in with everything before we could be taken in the flank. However, an orchard we’d placed on the side edge proved to be crucial; with only 1 PIP Graham could bring on only the mounted flank-marchers, though as Kn(S) chariots and Cv(S) cavalry they looked formidable enough. We opposed them with Companions and light horse, plus light infantry in the orchard.
We got to grips with cavalry in the centre – mixed fortunes, with several Kn(F) and LH(O) elements exchanged for Assyrian cavalry. A Kn(F) sub-general took out two Cv(S) with a flank charge, but was then caught and killed by Sp(O). Nothing else lost from that command, though. Our pikes got into the Assyrian spears but failed to kill any, while losses mounted on both sides in the cavalry battle. All this time we were under the sword of Damocles – if a command broke, the Indians would change sides and that would be that.
Graham decided to allocate a 6 to the flank-marchers and bring on the rest of the command – 24 Hd(O). The orchard meant that not many could march on, so others had arrive impetuously in the orchard, and even after that there was insufficient room for 8 elements who straggled and counted as lost. Then – glory be! – the Indians finally rolled a 6. Each side had one command close to breaking but the game timed out at 5-5.
Next we played Paul Burton and Jonathan Gapp with Khwarizmians. A largish command of Cv(S) and LH, a Qara-Khitan ally with assorted mounted troops, a Turkoman ally with 13 LH and a sub-general with Cv and LH who flank-marched. The Turkomans were unreliable while this time our Indian ally decided to play (his initial PIP dice in the four games were 1, 2, 2, 2). We rushed at the enemy, initially slaying many with the Companions and elephants – but then Alexander’s command lost several elements leaving the man himself engaged in a precarious position. He fought heroically, assisted by a plague of low PIP dice preventing the Khwarizmians from turning his flank, and survived. The Qara-Khitans charged, their Kn(F) actually riding down a couple of pike elements before being destroyed. Then the elephants bagged some more light horse, breaking the Qara-Khitans, and suddenly the 13 Turkoman LH were on our side, just as the Khwarizmian flank march arrived. We needed 3 more elements to get half the Khwarizmian army, and with Turkoman assistance got them. 10-0 win.
On Sunday morning we faced Paul Apreda and Nick Coles with Seleucids – a large pike phalanx, a mainly mounted command with cataphracts, cavalry and light horse, and a Parthian ally who flank-marched. They refused their right, where 10 Hordes cowered on a gentle hill at the back. We attacked all out; our elephants, Companions and light horse clashed with the enemy mounted with mixed results, while our pikes attacked theirs and the Indian elephants went for the Hordes while the chariots turned the phalanx’s flank. The Parthians arrived but were still unreliable.
I have never before suffered such rotten combat dice. We lost 3 elephants against pikemen, mostly at 3-3, and while we killed 4 Pk(S) whose recoil was blocked by Indian chariots we lost 8 Pk(O) in frontal combats against other pikes. This broke one of our pike commands and brought in the Parthians. Alexander’s command, which had suffered a trickle of losses, also broke and we lost 0-10.
Our final game was against Kevin Everard and John Vaughan with Late Imperial Romans. Three commands: a legion with 16 supported Bd(O), a couple of artillery and a few light horse, and two commands of supported Ax(S) and assorted mounted troops. We refused our right, screening one command with a few LH, while the pikes and Indians went for the legion and the Companions and elephants attacked some knights and cavalry in the centre.
The fight in the centre was dramatic – we killed some enemy but lost some Companions and once again Alexander had to commit to the fray. Again he was left isolated, and this time was not so fortunate. He went down and his command broke. However, just before his sad demise an elephant got the last Kn(F) we needed to break an enemy command, and the remnants of his command kept the other Roman mounted troops away from the important action.
On our left the Indians caught 3 Lh(F) who ran out of PIPs at a crucial moment and despatched them, then came in behind the legion while our phalanx hit it frontally. Much shoving back and forth and we lost a couple of pike elements, but eventually the legion broke for an 8-2 win to us.
A respectable 23 points overall was not too bad, but we bow before the mighty Apreda and Coles who won the competition, on a tie-break, with 28 points.
Thanks to Keith McGlynn for reviving the competition. Long may it continue.
WESTBURY WARS, 14/15 March 2009
This weekend’s 25mm DBM competition went really well – five boards fitted quite comfortably in my house, though the players were incredulous that my wife permitted her weekend to be disrupted to that extent.
Richard Jeffrey-Cook won the competition with Tupi, on a tie-break from Gavin Pearson’s Aztecs – so American armies led the field.
I used Pyrrhic – 36 Pk(O) spread among the 3 commands, 3 Cv(O), 2 elephants, 3 LH(O) and 20 assorted psiloi. First I played Later Carthaginians, who had a big block of Wb(F), a command with mainly Spears and a few Auxilia plus 3 elephants, a small command of just light horse and a Greek ally with Sp(O). I concentrated on getting into the spears and my pikemen broke the Greeks after a hard struggle, while I screened the warband with light troops. The Numidian light horse came round my refused flank to get at my baggage, which was parked behind a wood, and destroyed one baggage element – but that LH was caught and killed by my LH and the rest of the Numidians hung back. Then more pikes killed enough Libyan spearmen to break a second Carthaginian command for a 10-0 win.
Next I faced Seleucids, who also had 36 pikes plus the usual elephants, Kn(F) etc. They invaded in summer, and on a 6-1 dice split were threatened with thirst. I placed a small village as a water source and prepared to defend, but was caught napping by a large flanks march which arrived almost immediately. On the other flank my largest pike command faced almost no opposition so raced to get at the weak enemy centre, while the other two commands attacked frontally and prepared to fend off the flank-marchers. I caught a couple of Kn(F) and killed them, and held my own in the main pike v pike clash, but the flank marchers pressed my troops into an uncomfortably confined space and picked off several elements. Two pike elements got to my baggage in the village, destroyed one element but were destroyed themselves by the next one. Then my smallest command was outflanked, lost several pike elements and broke; this exposed the flank of the C-in-C’s pikemen who were also beaten despite the Seleucids’ thirst disadvantage. My army collapsed for a 0-10 defeat.
The third game was against the infamous Tupi. They had four commands (two allied), and the terrain almost all landed in one corner on their side of the table. With a strong wind and risk of rain, they set up two commands in the woods and scrub, one more in the open and the fourth flank-marching. The most noteworthy thing about this game was the PIP contrast: the Tupi started the rain four times with magnificent dierolls, and I stopped it three times with rotten ones.
I rushed forward to get at the exposed command, which was an unreliable ally, and just as they got there the Tupi PIPs started the rain, made the ally reliable and signalled the flank march. Despite this, my pikemen massacred the Tupi archers and then got a couple of warband to break that command. My losses at this point amounted to one psiloi and I started getting the enemy baggage, but the main Tupi masses now rumbled forward to co-operate with the flank-marchers, who were delayed by my psiloi and a cavalry general.
Pyrrhus (a Kn(F)), riding to the centre to intervene, rode down a couple of warband and then attacked a single one – failed. He was then flanked and, although still a factor up, died. His command held and my PIP dice for the next two turns were markedly better – my opponent commented that Pyrrhus had clearly been just a drag on his troops. The main action now was pikes v warband, the Tupi generally having overlaps. The pikes got Wb(F) and had plenty of chances for the 4 more needed to break the Tupi army, but failed. Then the warband got their bits of luck and cut down enough pikes to break two of my commands. 1-9 defeat, but an excellent, close game.
My final opponents were Siamese – mainly Wb(F) and elephants, with some Cv(I), Bw(I), Ax(O) and Hd(I). The weather favoured me again, with risk of rain, but that didn’t matter much as the Siamese archers got very few shots. The terrain was also good, with a few woods but no rough going (a large RGo piece landed in the same sector as the compulsory wood, and wouldn’t fit).
I attacked on the right and centre with all the pikes together, screening another large Wb/elephant command with psiloi and mounted troops. On the right the pikes made short work of the Hd(I), also killing some Cv(I) who were stuck behind the hordes for lack of PIPs. On the left I attacked a row of elephants with two waves of psiloi – I failed disastrously, losing several psiloi, and then warband and elephants killed some of Pyrrhus’s pikemen. A Siamese Cv(I) killed one of my Cv(O), leaving a gap in my line which Pyrrhus had to plug – he drove back the Cv(I) several times but couldn’t kill it and was then double overlapped by Bw(I) – ouch!
The massed pikes on my right were attacked by warband and an elephant general. I’d put a psiloi in my front line opposite the general – one 6-1 later the Siamese C-in-C was dead, and the overlapped warband on each side of him went down in heaps. The C-in-C’s command broke, and my pikes and elephants started on the small allied command in the centre. They broke that command just in time to save Pyrrhus for a 10-0 win.
21 points overall, and some excellent games.
GODENDAG, 24/25 January 2009
Russ King and I were attracted by a change to the Huns in the new (DBMM) army lists: in Attila’s army (only) the Hun generals can be Regular, allowing more control over the various subject troops. The other significant changes are that Gepid allies are not compulsory with Ostrogoths etc, and that fewer of the warband can be Superior. So we took Attila along to Usk, where there were 14 teams playing DBM and 33 in the two Field of Glory sections.
Our Huns had a large (25 element) C-in-C’s command entirely of light horse, a smaller LH command, a third Hun general commanding 24 warband, and an Ostrogoth ally with Kn(F) lancers and Bw(I) archers.
In the first round we faced Duncan Thompson’s Late Imperial Romans, who had Alan allies. We invaded and deployed our warband facing the legionaries in the centre, the Ostrogoths to their right facing cavalry and light horse, with our two light horse commands on the flanks. The Ostrogoths were first into action, their lancers supported by some Huns to ride down Roman LH. Their archers failed miserably against Cv(O), though, destroying only one element through shooting and then being ridden down in sufficient numbers to break the Ostrogoth command. However, demoralised Kn(F) then destroyed two more LH elements to break the smallest Roman command.
Our warband then got into the legionaries and, despite some loss, destroyed them in a couple of bounds. The Roman army broke for a 9-1 win to us.
Our next opponent was Pat Fennell with Patrician Romans – a nice historical matchup. The Romans, like us, had a command with 24 warband and a LH general, but all their warband were Superior. Our warband faced these in the centre. A powerful mounted command of Kn(F), Cv(O) and LH confronted the Ostrogoths on our left, while the command on our right had supported Auxilia, a few LH and 4 Kn(X) cataphracts – very nasty for our light horse.
This time the Ostrogothic archers did much better, shooting dead several warband and then destroying some cavalry in close combat. Their nobility clashed with their Kn(F) equivalents, with overlaps given by archers and Huns, and got the better of them – until three Ostrogoth Kn(F) died leaving their general exposed. Roman foederati surrounded the general and killed him, but in the same combat round another federate Kn(F) died and that Roman command broke. The Ostrogoths failed the morale test for loss of their general and broke too.
The federate warband, weakened by shooting losses and the need to face some Hun LH, clashed with our warband; heavy losses on both sides but our subjects killed more than they lost. Meanwhile the cataphracts clashed with Hun LH(S), and after several rounds with no kills first some LH and then 3 of the 4 cataphracts died. This brought the Roman losses to half their army so we won 9-1.
The third game was against John Nicolson and Chris McNeil with Ottomans. We didn’t relish this matchup as the Bw(S) Janissaries, Cv(S) Spahis and Kn(S) Serbs all looked very dangerous enemies for our troops. The Ottomans defended and placed rough going, one piece on our right ideally placed for our Ostrogothic archers, and another on their right which similarly sheltered their Serbian archers. They held their left flank with a cloud of LH(F) facing our Ostrogoths and outflanked by our small Hun command, their centre was mainly archers (Bw(S) Janissaries and Bw(I) levies) backed by cavalry, and the Serbs were on their right. Our warband was in the centre, eager to get at the enemy bowmen, and the C-in-C faced the Serbs.
Initially both the Serbs and the Ostrogoths were unreliable. We worked around the enemy left with LH(S) while the warband rushed forward as fast as possible. After three bounds the Serbs came on line and charged against two long lines of LH(S); over several combat rounds we lost 6 LH but killed 5 of the 6 Kn(S) – the Serbian general was safely out of the fray. On the other flank our LH(S) caught and butchered numerous LH(F), then the Ostrogoths joined in and charged, losing two elements to the Janissaries but riding down some more LH(F). The warband lost a couple of elements to shooting but then got into the bowmen, slaughtering many and breaking that command. The Ottoman light horse command also broke, and the Serbian losses made it half the army. 10-0 to us.
Going into the last round we had 28 points and our opponents had 26. They were Steve Littlefield and Geoff Hanney, long-standing rivals of ours, with Classical Indians – Guptas contemporary with our Huns. Three commands, all with lots of double-based Bw(X/O) archers and Horde levies, and two of them with lots of elephants – a total of 9 El(S). They also had quite a few cavalry, some of them Superior. We invaded, of course, and the Indians placed a large wood which landed on our right flank, a marsh on our left flank, and several areas of rough going on both flanks.
Our warband could chew up their archers but were very vulnerable to the elephants, while the Huns couldn’t expect to beat any of the front-line troops and the Ostrogoths were just a liability. So we deployed the two Hun commands between the marsh and the wood, with the warband in ambush inside the wood (12 elements facing forward and 12 towards our centre), while the Ostrogoths flank-marched on our right. We hoped that Indian archers would advance incautiously past the wood to be slaughtered by warband.
The Ostrogoths were unreliable again, and Chandragupta Littlefield advanced his command very carefullly, keeping the archers well away from the wood and supporting them with elephants. After a few bounds we were running out of retreating room with the light horse (the unopposed Indian right-flank command had brilliant PIPs to get quickly through the marsh), so we brought 12 warband out of the wood to attack enemy archers. Two elephants were pinned by warband who remained safely inside the wood and out of charge reach. One warband element was lost to shooting and two more were ridden down by Chandragupta’s chariot, but the others got into archers, destroyed them and then got into the supporting Hordes.
While this was going on, the Ostrogoths arrived and a couple of bounds later became reliable, but they were delayed by a couple of LH and some Cv(O) chariots and didn’t achieve anything. In the centre we were in a parlous position; some light horse fleeing from shooting went off the table, and others had to fight a row of 5 elephants with disastrous results. The cruellest blow came when Attila himself was swept from the field by fleeing horsemen and his command broke. However, the warband continued to chomp through the Indian C-in-C’s infantry and, assisted by some Huns who rode down an isolated Bw(X) pair, broke Chandragupta’s command.
Time now ran out and the game ended 6-4 to us. Had it continued for a few more bounds, the Indian Cv(S) and elephants would probably have driven off our LH and looted our baggage before the Ostrogoths got to the Indian camp. As it was, our win gave us 34 points and we won the competition by a 4-point margin.
An excellent start to the wargaming year.