Sunday, January 21, 2018

Retaking Myannmar

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Huzzah Hobbies, Ashburn, VA.
Event:    L' Art de la Guerre Team Tournament.
Round:  1, Medieval Period.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Burmese

                  Chris Kadish, Samurai
Game System: L' Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points

Big praises for Huzzah Hobbies.  Their staff excellently handled our unreasonable demands with both panache and grace.   They provided a clean, large gaming area sufficient for out 48 players AND a large number of Magic, the Gathering players.  Well Done!

The Forces:
The Burmese, led by the Kings Narathihapate, King Pagan of Bassein and King Pagan of Thaton, all Competent.
      5 Elite Elephants
      4 Medium Spearmen
      5 Bowmen
      2 Elite Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
      4 Light Infantry, Bow
      1 Elite Light Infantry, Firearm

The Shogun reads heavily from Sun-Tsu's "The Art of War", and as such, hid much of his forces from the Burmese scouts.  About 10 Samurai on foot, (some elite, sword, 2hw, bow, who knows?) 4 Yari with spears, 6 Heavy Cavalry,


About the Kings.
Anyone that has read my Anglo-Irish battle reports knows of my running joke of naming my generals Larry, Darryl and Darryl.  So too, the Kings Pagan and Pagan.  But it is not entirely a joke. Using Wikipedia as a sole source.  Burma had a number of kingdoms, some were merely city-states, but the name Pagan was a common royalty name.  I can't say they took to the field together, but the possibility existed. 

The Scenario:
The long expedition is nearly over.  King Narathihapate and his men have seen much of the world this last season, they have met many people, most of which tried to kill them.  Off in the distance can be seen the Arakan Mountains.  Once traversed, the road leads to the Irrawaddy River, and then to home.  

But all is not well.  Reports from the peasantry and monks are reporting new masters have taken up residence in holy ရခိုင်ရိုးမ.  Men with keen eyes and sharp blades.  
He called to his scribe, "Summon Pagan and Pagan, it looks like we have work to do."

The Board:
The Samurai won the initiative and elected to defend in the mountains.  He choose 2 steep hills, a rice paddy (marsh), and two woods.  The Burmese chose a gully and a brush.  When the dice was rolled, 4 pieces were in the hextant on the Samurai left, with the gully not fitting and was discarded. 

The Samurai deployed with their infantry on the wings, and their cavalry in the center.  The Burmese played their strongest commands on the left and center, leaving their short command, totally in ambush, on their right.


  A large command of Samurai, with end caps of spear. 

A large command of Heavy Cavalry dominates the center.  Normally those horse bows would be looking at a good day, but today they are looking at something that can shoot back.

Behind the steep hill are 4 Samurai with bow and sword.  With Yari on the end caps.

On the Burmese left, King Narathihapate with his command stands ready to attack.  He doesn't have to worry about being flanked, but he is facing a larger force, so overlaps is a problem.

Because I don't eyeball these things very well, King Pagan's command is squeezed tightly into the woods. 

While King Pagan's command is totally hidden in ambush.  The Samurai may not like facing elephants, but his command is totally outnumbered here by about 3-1.
King Narathihapate orders a cautious advance with a slide to the left to yield more room to King Pagan.
King Pagan advances and extends.  The other King Pagan remains hidden.
The Samurai commander is cautious.

The large command of foot Samurai advances but a little.  I think this is because a single element is heavies, and the rest mediums.  So while the mediums are fine with the brush, the heavy is not.
The horse bow move at a trot.
The foot bow advance cautiously up the hill.  Staring intently from the crest, and see nothing.
Turn 2:
On the Burmese left, King Narathihapate continues to slide left.  A light foot is sent to the far right as there are no bowmen to shoot at the elephants.
King Pagan is ordered to send some of his foot to support King Narathihapate's eventual assault upon the Samurai right.
King Pagan's remaining forces posture against the Samurai horse.  They are reinforced by the other King Pagan's elephant, which emerged from the forest.
The Samurai on the left hold firm.

As does the Samurai horse.
The only movement is on the Samurai left.  Just a bit of a wheel.  They are loath to give up their defensive terrain advantage.
Turn 3:
The Burmese is on the attack here.  My deployment wasn't quite ideal, but having the first move allowed me to fix it a little.  The second move also improved things.  The Samurai has a great terrain anchor of terrain on their left, and are unwilling to advance off of it.  Since my right is very weak, but also with the advantage of a steep hill, I am more than willing to let things stand.

The center forces are cavalry vs 3 elephants plus supporting troops.  The Samurai are not willing to engage, and I am willing to let that stand as well.

The Burmese left is where my main strike will be. 
King Narathihapate's forces advance to bow range and loose.  But they might as well be wind thrown hay, for the layered and lacquered armor which is proof against their own longbows resist all hits.
King Pagan makes an adjustment with his line.
While the Japanese still do not know what is behind the hill.

The Samurai respond to the Light Infantry on the flank by angling their line a bit.  The massed bowfire of Burmese bow score not once, but twice!
The Samurai player realizes the Burmese are not going to come across the board after him, and decide to push forward.
Turn 4:
King Narathihapate is biding his time.  He is not receiving any return fire, and the turns are moving quickly.  Another Samurai picks up a hit.

The Kings Pagan and Pagan await their foes.
The last ambush is revealed.  Elite swordsmen on a steep hill, supported by a bowmen.
Samurai hold and rally. One hit comes off, but two more come on.
A general advance on the center by Samurai horse. 
And the first exchange of arrows on the hill.  This is not an exchange I can win.

Turn 5:
So far, this has been all my game.  I have been successful at overloading my left flank.  But my weak right and center are about to pay the price.

So far, the the distance has been 4 UD's.  The Burmese at shooting range, while the Samurai could not charge.  But the forces of King's Pagan and Pagan are are now engaged and out numbered.  It is time to push the attack.  On the left, the King Narathihapate orders an advance to charge range.
King Pagan tightens up his line, recalling the lights.  They need to survive to keep the elephants covered.
King Pagan joins his archers for a rally.  That archer is the most important unit on this flank.
The Samurai commander also has rallying in mind.  But his dice are not kind as a flurry of 3's and under result.
The Samurai cavalry find their range and loose.  Hits on both sides.
While the Samurai bow and sword keep up the pressure.
Turn 6:

Turn 6 is a long time for the first hand to hand combat, but this game was actually running fast.
The horns sound the charge!  King Narathihapate leads the charge personally.  Elephants both strike disordered Samurai and scatter them to the win.  Victory followed victory for the Burmese, with only one Tan'i holding it's ground.

With the idea of forcing the Japanese to evade, King Pagan and Pagan's elephants charge.  And to their surprise, the heavy horse stand.  One horse is run over, the others manage to hold, albeit damaged.
On the hill, King Pagan rallies his  archers, only to receive another volley of arrows.

The sons of Nippon fight back.  Destroying an archer unit.
Their Cavalry command fights bravely, but against overwhelming odds.
The high point is on the Samurai left.  Here they can unlock the Burmese flank.  If there is enough time.
Turn 7:
The Burmese are7 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The Samurai are 16 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

This is where the Burmese have problems.  The ability to exploit their victories.  Low command ratings of their commanders, coupled with unmaneuverability of the elephants.  Still, they manage to destroy another Tan'i of foot Samurai.
And scatter another Cavalry Tan'i.
On the hill, it's rally verses bowfire.  King Pagan is holding on.
The Burmese are 6 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The Samurai are 21 points towards their demoralization level of 20.

And that was the game. 

Final shot on the left.

Final shot on the center.
And on the right.

So, what went right?  My best command was placed against my opponents best command, but with initiative, I was able to bolster it with forces from the neighboring command.  My second best command was facing a cavalry command which did not wish to commit against the elephants.  My right command was totally in ambush, creating a great unknown against a force, that was frankly superior in every way.  That ambiguity led to late contact, and the eventual survival of my command.  Which was it's mission.

My opponent was officially on defense, and played it that way until he realized I was not going to charge straight across the board into his bows.  But it was turn 4 and 5 before he was ready to put his advantages to good use, and that was just too late to affect the outcome.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Great Crusade

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   On Military Matters Bookstore.  Owner Operator Dennis Shorthouse
Event:    Team practice for the upcoming  USA Team Tournament team tourney.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Burmese
                  Allen Kaplan running Later Crusader
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Prep for January's team event

The Forces:
The Burmese, lead by the Kings Narathihapate, Pagan and Pagan, all Competent.
      5 Elite Elephants, full fat.
      4 Medium Spearmen
      5 Bowmen
      2 Elite Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
      4 Light Infantry, Bow
       1 Elite Light Infantry, Firearm

Later Crusader, 2 Brilliants and one unreliable ordinary.
This list is from a previous list, and cannot be considered reliable.  But close...
      1 Heavy Cavalry, Impact
     4 Medium Knights, some impetuous.   
    12 or so heavy foot, some mixed spear and crossbow.
     2 Light Horse
Break point 21

Dennis has a wonderful bookstore in Hopewell New Jersey, that he has been running for many decades.  Imagine going through a library that is nothing but military history.  If you don't think you knew him, he is a long time supporter of Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, and held the coveted #1 spot in the dealers area for over 20 years.  So if you have been to any of HMGS's events at the Lancaster Host, you probably have met Dennis at some time.

The Scenario:
Only with a time portal would any scenario make sense.

The Board:
The Burmese, with their initiative of 1, lose the the dice off and will defend in the plains.  They select two fields, a fielded hill, and a gully.  The Crusaders selected a plantation and a road.  After the dice had fallen, only one terrain piece is on the side of the defending Burmese.
Richard I, King of England, arrives in field with 4 Knights and some light horse.
With him is large group of foot, and more hired horse.
Most of the terrain fell on the Crusader's side of the board.  But that probably would restrict the Crusader deployment as well.  Which is what seemed to happen.
King Pagan's smaller command is set in the center.  This is to allow for a full 4 units to be placed in ambush in the other King Pagan's command.
With his supporting infantry in ambush, King Pagan has a brace of elephants visible.
On defense, you hope to have more than one piece of terrain on your side of the board.  But alas, I'll have to make do with one.
To start off the game, the Crusaders unreliable command goes unresponsive.
King Richard is undaunted, and double moves his knights.
The Crusader infantry also advances fearlessly.  Why not?  They have some missiles, are heavies vs mediums, and outnumber their center counterpart 6-4 (ish)
But maybe, the Crusader Allies have a point.  They don't like the terrain, and know there are troops in the Gully, and what is not in the gully is pretty fearsome.

King Narathihapate advances just enough to get into missile range.

King Pagan does not advance at all, but his brother King does.
Turn 2:
Richard I, Count of Anjou and Maine, Duke of Aquitaine and Normandy, King of England, orders his knights to retreat.  Leaving is hired horse archers to worry the flanks of the enemy.
You guys in England can correct me if the Richards titles are not correctly stated.

The Crusader foot halts their advance.
Richard spent to two command points to prompt their unresponsive command, but to no avail.
King Narathihapate only has one command point to spend, so he splices off one of his mediums to close the gap against the Crusader lights.
Kings Pagan and Pagan, move not at all.

Turn 3:

Having got some distance, Richard decides to redeploy behind his lines.  The Crusader foot advances as a screen.
While the unresponsive cavalry command get the point.  They are going to move, be it at the point of a lance, or on their own volition.
King Narathihapate, again with a single command point, decides to take advantage of the Crusader disarray and advances.  His bow is within range of the knights, but is out of range to charge the Crusader infantry line.
King Pagan was also caught napping and rolls a single command point, but also advances, but not fast enough.
And why should the other King Pagan fair better?  With one command point, he reveals his ambush, two bow and two spear.  They retreat out of the gully and form up on the up hill side of it.
Turn 4:

Again, King Richard the Lionheart, orders a retreat of his knights.  Two of them had picked up missile hits from Burmese bow.  But first blood to the Crusaders as the hired light horse managed to destroy an elephant's runners.
Crusader crossbow prove accurate as well.
On the right flank, another Burmese elephant runner is hit.  The Crusaders, for having so little missile fire, scored well this turn.
King Narathihapate orders his spear to distract the light horse, and his line to advance upon the Crusader foot.
King Pagan rallies his skirmishers, but picks up another missile hit on his bowmen.
While King Pagan also rallies his skirmisher.  He also redeploys his bow for a supported shot on the Crusader light horse.
Turn 5:
Richard rallies one of his knights, but the other is still disordered.
Crossbows continue to twang, but with little effect.
The Crusader Cavalry decides to go for the flank.  And picks up a missile hit for their trouble.

King Narathihapate orders many charges.  Crusader lights flee towards their camp.  An elephant totally routs their foes.  A Burmese spear-man is on the end of the line is fights well against unfavorable lines, but holds his ground.
On the right flank, King Pagan's elephants charge as well.  The Crusader cavalry will have none of it, and evade.  Leaving the Crusader foot to face a furious elephant charge.
A unit of Burmese Bowman line up on their light foot.  This reduces their range of bow fire to 1 for firing from, or to, a gully, but provides support if the Crusader light horse decide to charge.  The Crusader heavy horse stop to rally their missile hit, but pick up another one instead.

The Burmese have 5 points towards their break point of 22.
The Crusaders have 7 points towards their break point of 21.

Turn 6:
King Richard sends his disordered knight off till they feel better.  And another knight to deal with the elephant penetration of his infantry line.
His center commander attempts to rally the troops to no avail.  Another Crusader foot unit falls, and more elephants are about to hit the line.

The Crusader Cavalry command realizes it is not going to succeed in flanking the Burmese, and instead moves out of bow arc to support the crumbling center.
King Narathihapate charges the Crusader knights, converting man, beast, and armor into so much slurry.  (It's good to be the king)
King Pagan also joins the slaughter.  Pitting 2 elite 2HW swordsmen against mediocre spears, and routing another heavy spear with his elephants.

In a moment of exuberance King Pagan orders a charge on the light horse with their bow units.  The light horse is unable to evade due to enemy units behind them and hold their ground, and win.

The Burmese have 6 points towards their break point of 22.
The Crusaders have 14 points towards their break point of 21.

Turn 7:
Richard has ignored the taunts long enough, and decides to pick up points where he can.  A disordered medium spear looks like a good target for his knights.
The line of Crusader Foot is all but destroyed, but with skillful horsemanship, they manage to cut off a Burmese elephant, killing King Pagan as well.
Crusader Light horse win the day in the gully as well, destroying a Burmese bowmen.
The last uncommitted elephant charges.  Another knight falls.
The last Crusader heavy foot falls.
With no command points left, the Burmese right stands and shoots.
The Burmese have 12 points towards their break point of 22.
The Crusaders have 18 points towards their break point of 21.

Turn 8:

Showing amazing persistence, the hired light horse race around the Burmese spear, and up the rear of an elephant.  Scoring a missile hit.

It is chaos in the center now.  The Burmese victors are scattered, creating opportunities for the Crusaders.  Crusader heavy horse, charge elite swordsmen and score a hit.
The remaining Crusader horse retreat to avoid bowfire and attempt to rally.
Disordered or not, an elephant runs down another knight.
Chaos works both ways.  King Pagan has enough command points to turn an elephant and strike.
Final shot.
The final score was 21-14 in favor of the Burmese.