Friday, April 8, 2016

The Irish Italian War

 A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:       Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:    Phil Gardocki and Garth Parker, playing the Anglo Irish
                  Steve Turn and Bruce Potter playing Italian Condottieri (Milan)
                  Jack Seydow providing color and commentary.
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.

Rambling Preamble:
The wily Irish were in at it again, but with England proving to be too difficult a nut to crack, they decided to go for easier pickings.  So they commissioned the QE0 to take them to France, but the captain got lost, or there was a hurricane, or maybe sun spots, but they eventually landed in sunny Savona.  Just in time, for the whiskey had just run out.

The Doge of Genoa, Raffaele Adorno, took offense as the unwashed barbarians pulled ashore.  After all, he had his own unwashed peasants to feed without adding more.  Recalling Machiavelli's "The Prince",  he sent an insulting letter to Filippo Maria Visconti, the Duke of Milan, challenging his honorable name, his looks, and his manhood.

The results were predictable.  The Duke summoned his Cavaliere to do battle with the trash talking Doge, only to find Genoa's doors closed and walls surrounded by the Anglo Irish forces.  Who themselves had found ample full wine casks at the local vinyards, and saw no need to enter the city proper.  The shortest path is a straight line, so the Duke's Cavaliere lowered their lances and charged.

The Forces  
Commanders  Luigi, Papal Nuncio and Giuseppe.
     12 Heavy Knights Impact
       1 Light Infantry  Crossbow 
       2 Light Infantry  Firearm (elite)
       3 Light Cavalry Crossbow

Anglo Irish:
Commanders  Larry, Darryl, and Darryl.
       6 Longbow men (two elite)
       3 Light Infantry  Javelin
       4 Galloglaich, Heavy Infantry 2H Sword (elite)
       1 Light Cavalry Javelin
       4 Irish Foot, Javelin men
       2 Medium Knights, Impact
       2 Heavy Cavalry, Impact
The Milanese won the initiative roll and elected to attack.  The Irish, selected the terrain, and picked mountainous.  (Note, as pointed out by Kevin Swanson, this was incorrectly done.  The Milanese, as winners of the initiative pick both the attack/defend option, AND pick the overall terrain type, but from the list of the defenders choices.  They would never have picked Mountainous when Plains were available.The terrain rolls fell totally in the Irish favor with Steep, wooded hills, a lake, and a wood all falling on their side of the board.  All attempts to move any of those pieces failed.
The Milanese center and left flank, 8 Heavy Knights.

I have to improve my generic camps.  Off screen to the left, 4 more Heavy Knights, and 3 Light Foot.

Between a wood, and forested hill, are the other two Irish Battles.  This is all the cavalry the Irish can muster.  Not a match for even a single Milanese command, but they do have Longbow, standing by.

The first Irish Battle is deployed on the far left.  Squeezed in between wooded hills and a lake. 

The deployment long view.  The Irish have 3 ambushes out.  Missing are 6 units, all the Javelinmen and the Light Infantry.
It looks like the highly paid mercenary Galloglaich's are guarding a pass from just a couple of Light Infantry.
Turn 1:
For turn 1, the Milanese rolled very poorly for command points, rolling all 1's and 2's.

So they didn't get very far.
On the flip side the Irish rolled straight 6's.  Plenty of pips to double time the overpaid Galloglaich to someplace useful.
The middle battle, consisting of 4 units of Knights and Cavalry and one Light Horse gets 4 command point and the commanders free point.  Just to run off the Milanese LH.
Turn 2:
Turn 1 went pretty fast.  With the Milanese getting next-to-naught for command points, and the Anglo-Irish not going anywhere.
Turn 2 is looking like turn 1, with not enough points to double time the Light Horse.

Still, it looks like the Knights are all going to charge en masse.

The Milanese handgunners don't have enough pips to probe the gap.

The Longbow step forward and loose!  2 hits scored on the Knights.

The Galloglaich of the first command continue to double time against the Knights advance.  It looks like they will close the gap before the thunder falls.
Turn 3:
At Cold Wars, I was on the receiving end of a longbow army.  I really like what they can do in this L'Art de la Guerre. 

The Milanese right flank decided to hang back and rally.  They lifted one cohesion marker but not the other on their Heavy Knights.  They also threw a Light Horse in front of some of the Longbow to suck up some arrows.  The Irish sent in the boyos of Kern O'Lyre to discuss things with the Light Horse.  Winning the debate with their canny wit and easy grace. 
What a lousy picture.  But it was important.  The Milanese exposed the right flank ambush site, and the woods were filled with Irish.  Caused the Knights to avoid the woods like a plague ridden peasant on a dung heap.  Giving the Longbow many shots.
The Irish jigging of the line is complete.  All Longbow are in range, The 2 handed Swordsmen are in the line.  Knights are ready to counter charge, and reserves are available everywhere.
Turn 4:
The Milanese planned one massive charge using their obvious quality advantages to sweep away the Irish.  But between very poor command point rolls, 4 hits at range from the Longbow and an unexpectedly huge ambush in the wood, their wing commands falter and the massive charge falls upon just 4 Heavy Knights in the center of the line.

I am going to borrow some graphic techniques from MadAxeMan here.
The Milanese center charges the Anglo Irish Center.  The pairings are not favorable anywhere for the Irish.  Knight vs Heavy Foot 2 handed sword  (+2 furious charge to +1).  Heavy Knight vs Medium Knight, and Heavy Knight vs Heavy Cavalry (+3 to +2).  The commanders Count Papal Nunzio and Darryl are "All In".
On the right, the Milanese can only send in one Knight against the Longbow.  He is coming in with a hit so it is a +2 MF, + 1 Impact, -1 Disordered Furious charge (with armor) against +2 (0, +1 bow vs mounted +1 support)
Just another day on the Italian Riviera.
Commanders Guiseppe and Darryl are "All In" as well.
So with the thunderous charge of 7 Knights and the meeting of 4 Generals, this turns results can only be momentous.
To add to the base tension of the moment, let us move to a side bar event of this story.  Where three units of Irish Javelinmen trade shots with two Light Horse Crossbow.  The numbers for the LH shooting are -2 (-1 native, -1 cover) to +1  protection.  The Javelinmen are not much better shooting with a -1 (0 native, -1 shooting from cover) to +1 protection as well, though one of the shots has support.  While this was a distraction on the battlefield and a time sync on for resolution, it also kept the attention of 3 Heavy Knights.  One of which was still receiving fire from the right most blue Longbow unit.

Another poor shot, sorry.  The Milanese charge started well scoring a 3 point advantage over the Galloglaich from the Isle of Man, and with furious charge for 3 hits.  To their right, the Galloglaich have a tie, and to their right the Irish Knights score a win, which was absorbed by the armor of the Milanese.

The Blue Longbow unit scores 6 to the Knights 2, scoring 2 hits, destroying the Knights on contact, and killing General Guiseppe!
Turn 5:

On the Irish left, the Milanese launch another massive charge, swamping the Longbowmen.  Destroying one and damaging another.  And despite rally attempts by Larry, the Galloglaich from the Isle of Man are destroyed as well.  With two penetrations of the line things are getting desperate for the Irish.

On the Milanese turn, the dice did not roll well.  Knights both in contact and at range are picking up hits.

The Irish respond.  The reserves are called in.  Clan O'Lyre plugs one hole, and the last Heavy Cavalry plugs another.  The Elite Longbow destroy their Knights, but see their brother Longbow destroyed as well.
On the right, the Milanese have their internal lines flanked, and second Knight is destroyed.  A third Knight is shot to death by Longbow fire.  The Javelinmen, feeling the victory, step out of the protective wood and issue a challenge to the Knights.  The only high point for the Milanese is the Commander Darryl falls in a one on one duel against the Count Papal Nuncio.
Turn 6:
Both sides have a high body count by now.  Who will cry uncle first?

The private body guard of the Duke of Milan, the red banner, having spent most of the game rallying off early Longbow cohesion hits, charge with a vengeance, destroying the elite English Longbow in their path.  The Irish Left flank, now held only by the damaged Clan O'Lyre, has all but collapsed.
On the Milanese left, a Knight takes up the Irish challenge, and blithely runs over the Javelinmen in one round.
The Irish Commander, reciting that line of about "He who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother", and it works!  Clan O'Lyre rallies off a cohesion hit, and holds the line.  On the right, another Knight is flanked, destroyed, taking Luigi, the last Milanese Commander with him. 
At this point the score is 19 dead for the Milanese to 16 for the Anglo Irish.  Their demoralization points are 19 and 22.  So the game was called here.

Lessons learned:
The large ambush of 4 units of Javelinmen in the wood had far reaching effects in this game.  It screwed up the approach of 4 units of Knights that were going to have a rough time anyway facing a line of Longbow.  

So a lesson is to use your scouts as intended.  Identify the ambush size and content before committing your main troops to combat.  In this case the problem came up due to lousy command point rolls on turn 1.  1 point per command.  So the decision was made to keep a unified front and let the skirmishers catch up.  On the other hand, the Irish weren't going anywhere. Push the skirmishers forward and leave the line behind.  

There were a several technical mistakes made.  The first was not counting the additional +1 factor for bow shooting mounted.  The Knights were hammered already, this would have made things worse.
On the other hand the Irish were counting the armor protection, when not entitled, as they were facing Heavy Armor all the time.  This saved at least a few hits on their Medium Knights and Heavy Cavalry units and assuming no destruction's, 3 points for the Milanese.  We didn't count a Light Horse +1 vs Light Infantry in the open.  And we forgot that the Javelinmen could evade charges.  Possibly saving 3 points for the Irish.  

General risk.  4 Commanders died on the front lines this game.  This crippled the Condottieri command structure.  Which was problematic all along.  Many of their command point rolls were in the 1's and 2's as it was, so in the end it doesn't seem worth the risk. 


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