Westbury Wars 2021
The first DBM competition for nearly eighteen months was held on 24/25 July, after several postponements. Nine players, with eight present on each day, fielded 25mm armies: four of the nine were Roman and two Macedonian, so there were three civil wars in the first round. I used an army I’d never played with before, Teutonic Orders led by the famous Hermann von Salza. Two commands with Superior Knights, including two of the double-based wedges, plenty of crossbowmen, a few spearmen, auxilia, psiloi, cavalry and light horse, plus a German ally with Ordinary Knights and more crossbowmen and spearmen.
The first game was against David Sheppard who’d borrowed my Suevi army – mostly Warband with a Superior front rank, and cavalry and psiloi. David hadn’t used the army before, and placed several woods which hampered his deployment: there were woods in front of his main warband forces so he had to use many PIPs to manoeuvre around them. He refused his right flank, anchoring it on a small wood held by psiloi with cavalry behind. I turned this flank, successfully shooting the psiloi and then attacking the cavalry with the allied knights. Meanwhile the main force of Teutonic Knights attacked the deploying warband, riding down several elements then killing a general to break a large command. After that it didn’t take long to break the Suevi army for a 10-0 win.
The next opponent was Derek Bruce with Polybian Romans. The area in front of my left wing was cluttered with terrain so I refused that flank and concentrated in the open centre and right. Derek hastily withdrew his cavalry and light horse who were facing Kn(S) and crossbows, but couldn’t get them all away and I caught enough to break a small command. The victorious knights were then able to roll up his centre for another 10-0 win.
A tougher opponent was an Alexandrian Imperial army commanded by Jeremy Morgan. I defended this time and had to place some terrain – marshes, to which Jeremy added rough going. My army had no counter to the pikes; I did my best and slew numerous cavalry and light horse, but the pikes eventually got at my knights and smashed them. Lost 0-10.
The final game was the best of the weekend. Duncan Thompson’s Early Imperial Romans had been doing well, and were able to get plenty of good defensive terrain which stopped me attacking on the left. My ally in the centre was unreliable for the first few turns. On the right I advanced to shoot at cavalry, who moved away as fast as they could but were eventually attacked by the Teutonic Knights led by the Grand Master in person. Two of the Kn(S) died against legionaries and I also lost some light horse and crossbowmen, but the other knights caused havoc and von Salza eventually slew three cavalry elements. He pursued into trouble, but survived and broke the Roman command. On the other flank the Romans attacked after a long delay and legionaries destroyed one of my knight wedges, while the other wedge had to pursue into rough going against auxilia. But the small force of Ordinary Spears on this flank performed prodigies against Ax(S) despite being heavily outnumbered, and my general destroyed some legionaries. Then the victorious knights on the right crashed into the Roman centre, assisted by the allied knights who had dismounted as Bd(S), and broke the army for a 10-0 win. An excellent, tense game which could have gone either way.
Jeremy won the competition by one point, and everyone enjoyed himself, several remarking what a treat it was to get the figures onto the table again.
The complete absence of competitions, and even casual games, so far in 2021 resulted in severe withdrawal symptoms. Russ King suggested that we play solo games and exchange pictures, and so far I’ve played about 20 games, all with 350 points 25mm armies. I’ve had some “mini-tournaments” – each has four contemporary armies which all play each other. Here are pictures from some of those games.
West Franks v Vikings
Milanese v Medieval German
Medieval German v Feudal French
Feudal English v Ayyubid Egyptian
Early Crusader v Syrian
Komnenan Byzantine v Sicilian
Ottoman v Later Hungarian
Middle Imperial Roman v Late Imperial Roman
The results of the “mini-tournaments” were as follows:
12th Century Tournament
Crusader 7 Syrian 3
Sicilian 7 Byzantine 3
Byzantine 7 Syrian 3
Crusader 10 Sicilian 0
Byzantine 9 Crusader 1
Sicilian 10 Syrian 0
1 Byzantine 19
2 Crusader 18
3 Sicilian 17
4 Syrian 6
13th Century Tournament
Germans 10 French 0
English 7 Germans 3
French 9 Ayyubids 1
English 10 Ayyubids 0
English 7 French 3
Germans 9 Ayyubids 1
1 English 24
2 Germans 22
3 French 12
4 Ayyubids 2
The Muslim armies didn’t do at all well – not much room to manoeuvre in 25mm games, where the knights tend to dominate.
An 11th century tournament, with all armies dated 1066 AD, is under way.
As an “extra” game I tried Seljuks v Early Crusaders, both dated 1122. The Crusaders had all the luck and won 10-0.