Monday, October 24, 2016

Romans vs Irish. Round 2 of Barrage's LADG Tournament

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Havre De Grace Community Center
Event:    Barrage's L'Art de la Guerre's Open Tournament, Round 2,
Players: Phil Gardocki, running Republican Roman
                   David Guinn, Feudal Irish.
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
The Forces:
   Roman: Commanders  Marius, 3rd founder of Rome (Brilliant), Darrylius and Darrylius (Both Competent)
      8 Legionnaires, Heavy Impact Swordsmen, Armor
      2 Triarii, Heavy Spearmen, Armor (elite)
      1 Roman Cavalry, Medium Cavalry (elite)
      3 Velites, Light Infantry, Javelin (2 elite)
      2 Illyrians, Light Cavalry, Javelin
      1 Elephant (Mediocre)
      2 Extraordinarii, Medium Swordsmen (Elite)
      1 Thureophoroi, Medium Spearmen


The Irish...
Dominant troop types were Galloglaich (Elite Heavy Infantry Swordsmen, 2 Handed), Ostmen, (Heavy Infantry Swordsmen), Irish Foot (a mix of Medium Infantry Javelinmen and 2 Handed Swordsmen).


The Board:
The Romans win the initiative and elect to defend in the plains.  The other choice was to attack into the forest.

The Irish army is familiar to me, with Feudal Irish preceding my Anglo-Irish army.  On the Irish left was all the Heavy Foot, a mixture of Nobles and Galloglaich.  All 2 Handed Cutting Weapons.  The center is a group of allied Ostmen, Heavy Infantry, but no 2 Handed Weapons, and on his left were the Irish.  All Medium Foot, some 2 Handed Weapons, some Javelins.

On the Roman left is the Triarii command, 2 Triarii, 2 Legionnaire , and 3 Skirmishers.  Their mission is to keep the flank secure for the center command.  They will engage only as needed.   The center is 6 Legionnaire units, supported by a single Medium Cavalry.  On the left, hidden in two ambushes, is the command of Medium Foot backed by an Elephant.

Here is the plan.  At this time the Irish does not know if there is a flank march or not.  This should lead to some indecisiveness on turn 1.  The Irish line is much wider, and a lot of it has 2 Handed Weapons, effectively negating the Roman Armor advantage.  But the Irish line has the 2 Handed Weapons on the flanks, while the Ostmen in the center, do not.  My plan is to press the center, and yield to the flanks for as long as possible.  This might be possible due to the slower movement rates of the Heavy Infantry.  We will see.

The Roman left is Legionaries to the end, then Triarii for some depth to hold a refused flank.

On the right, behind the hill and in the field is the command with the Extraordinarii and the Elephant.
Marius's view from the center.  The main command of Legionaries is directly across from the Ostmen.  The Legions are have a +2 advantage on contact (impact and armor) and +1 for followup (armor) but could be +2 as half or more of the Ostmen should have cohesion hits.

The Irish left is a mixture of Javelinmen and Medium Infantry 2 Handed Weapons.  They will be facing elite Extraordinarii supported by a Mediocre Elephant.
On the Roman right flank, the Irish see, ??? and ???.

The Irish left is mostly Nobles and Galloglaich.  Heavy Infantry 2 Handed Weapons.  The center is 5 units of Ostmen that are just Heavy Infantry. 
Turn 1:
The Irish right flank rolls 3 command points, but is split into 3 groups.  Each group advances normally.
The Irish center double-times it, and the left moves only a single march.  It is a problem I am all to familiar with running the Irish.  At best only average generals, and lots of groups to command.
The Roman line also double times it.  Skirmishers advance to slow down the Irish right. 
Ambushes are revealed.  An elephant on the hill.
Turn 2:
The ambushes were a surprise, but with mixed results.  The Irish center holds up for the right flank.  While the Irish Left flank stops to reevaluate the situation.
The Romans are relying on quality over quantity to win the day.  That guy Tactics are for less macho men.
The distance between the main lines is over 4 U.D. (160 mm), so there will be no action yet.  Worse, the Romans cannot get to charge reach at all.  So the Irish will get to chose the range.   The Marius decides to step to just within 4 U.D.  The Triarii refuse the left flank.
The Roman right flank is really the weaker, but faster command.  Darrylius will hold the command on the hill for now.
Turn 3:
The Irish charge one of the Illyrian Light Cavalry, which of course flees.
Only to have it return almost immediately.
The Irish lock step forward to within charge reach.
Marius orders a general charge of the center command.  Their mission is to win this fight.  The other commands are dedicated to holding the flanks till that happens.  The shock of impact is very favorable to the Romans, winning 4 out of 5 engagements. 
While not afraid of the Irish, Darrylius's command is fragile.  Every turn it is not in contact is a minor victory.
The Triarii command is well positioned.  The Irish have the advantage of numbers, but they will have to engage them piecemeal. 
Turn 4:
Seeing the Ostmen falter the Galloglaich charge into the Roman left command.  Not to be out done, the Ostmen recover from the early shock of battle and start fighting back.
The Irish pile in as well.  The combat is indecisive. 
Marius calls to his legions and they respond.  Like dry twigs, Ostmen units break.  Their embedded General is now surrounded by Pila and Scutum.

On the Roman left, a Triarii is committed to the line.  He picks up a pair of hits, the Legion to his right begins to falter.  But the remaining Legion shatters his foe and advances.

Mixed results continue on the Roman right.  the Extraordinarii destroy their opponents but so too are the elephants and the Thureophori
Turn 5:
A third Ostmen unit falls.  The remaining Ostmen are both flanked and wounded.
Irish Nobles run off a Velite, the last Triarii now stands before them.
While the Irish position is good on this flank, they are taking heavy casualties.  The Illyrian Light Horse sees an opportunity to destroy a Light Foot, and thus an excellent position to harry the Irish rear.
The Warband leader of the Ostmen also is destroyed.  With him also falls an Irish Kern.
Another battle winding down, but not in the Roman's favor.
The Illyrians die to a man.  Reinforcing the idea that all Roman cavalry sucks.  The Triarii are outnumbered and flanked, but hold. Unmarked by a "people pizza" the first Triarii also is destroyed.  The Romans haven't lost too many units, but nearly all of them are damaged, their demoralization level is at 19, and they are dangerously close to their break point of 21.
An Extraordinarii is flanked and routed.  The Roman demoralization level is now 20 of 21.  It is a total loss on the right, but the center is a total win.
At this point, the Roman Army is right at the edge. With 20 out of 21 points towards their demoralization level. But so to the were the Irish, with their demoralization level at 22 of 23.  This could be a case of both armies hitting their break points simultaneously.  The Roman Generals throw their efforts into encouragement of the troops.  And they respond!  3 out of 4 units with 1 cohesion point recover to zero cohesion points, bringing the demoralization point back to 17.  Then the engagements of the round took their demoralization back to 19, while one legion flanks a Kern  for 1 more point, taking the Irish over the edge. 
At the end of the turn, the Irish have hit their break point.  23 points to Roman 19

It was not a great victory.  It was barely a victory at all.  But it was a fun game.  The Roman Gimmick command of 3 Medium Foot backed by an Elephant is a bust.  3 games of 4 that command was routed.  So that idea is out.  Roman Cavalry continues to prove it is better left at the camp.  It gives your opponent less points that way. 

Tactically, the Romans do not seem to have a lot of options.  Charge in and outlast your opponents.  Not real good.  Meanwhile their slow speed and does not allow them to react well to flankers, and there will be flankers.  Time to put them back in their box for while.  What to do next?  I am thinking Parthians.  Protection 2 cavalry.  Good against foot, supported by about 14 Light Horse.  And Camels, armored Camels...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Saturday at Dennis's, Round 3

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   On Military Matters Bookstore.  Owner Operator Dennis Shorthouse
Event:    The first of a monthly gaming event.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Irish
                  Don Mamser, Low Country
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions

The Forces:
   Anglo Irish circa 1400: Commanders  Larry, Darryl and Darryl, all barely competent.
      4 Galloglaich, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW (elite)
      2 Heavy Knights, Impact (elite)      6 Longbowmen,stakes
      2 Irish Nobles, Heavy Cavalry
      2 Light Cavalry, Javelin

      2 Kerns, Light Infantry, Javelin

      2 Irish Foot, Javelinmen, Javelin

   Lords Louis of Nassau, Jean de Montigny and Adolf of Nassau

     3 Burgher Men at Arms, Heavy Knight
     3 Mercenaries, Heavy Knight, Impact
     2 Pikemen
     5 Pikemen (mediocre)     2 Halberdiers, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
     2 Organ Guns
     2 Handgunners, Light Infantry (elite)

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 Board:
The Anglo Irish have lost the roll and must attack in the plains.  Louis of Nassau selects a gully, a hill in addition to the mandatory field.  Larry, who hasn't had to attack, possibly ever, takes a page from every opponent he has faced and selected only 2 pieces, a road and the plantation. 

The Low Countries left muster area is protected by a gully.

The Anglo-Irish  right flank had the lion's share of the terrain, with a field, a plantation, a hill and the road.  The gully, after much adjusting, was safely on the left flank of the Low Countries camp.  The hill and the plantation are on the Anglo Irish left side.  The road is largely decorative.  


Adolf of Nassau's Knights are separated from the rest of the Low Countries by a gully.  With an open field they are free to operate as they see fit.
The center is littered with Pike, Organ Guns, and 5 elements of fortifications.  The right are more Pike.  Nothing is there that Darryl's poorly placed Cavalry Command can deal with.
Darryl's Cavalry Command is showing only two Light Horse.
The main battle line has the Longbow interspersed with the Galloglaich.

Turn 1:

An ambush is revealed.  Plenty of command points to start moving and expanding.
Larry advances his command straight forward, but he doesn't have enough command points to double-time. 

Darryl is going to face off against the Knights.
A bit of flank support here as well.
The Burghers and the Mercenaries split their forces.
The Mercenaries decide they were not paid enough for this job.
Turn 2:
This looks like a good opportunity to kill a couple of skirmishing hand gunners.

Darryl can't force the Knights to come out and play, so he leads his men to the comfort of terrain and fortifications.

One handgunner down from shooting.
The other puts up a hell of a fight, and wins against the Irish Light Horse.
Having been reminded that they have not actually been paid yet, Mercenary Knights decide to advance.
Turn 3:
Larry tilts the main battle line. 

Darryl turns his right flank longbow to shoot at the Burghers.  A unit of Galloglaich is sent to bolster the force.

The Burgher Knights charge the Kerns defending the forts.  A pair of 1's and the Kerns hold!
The Mercenary Knights do another rethink and retreat.  The Anglo Irish line up a shot and tag an Organ Gun.

Jean de Montigny, seeing he is faced only by a horse command divided, march his Pike and Halberdiers forward.
Turn 3:
What has gone off camera so to speak was the redeployment behind the lines of most of the Irish Heavy Horse and Knights.  They have been double timing to the right side of the board to harass the Knights.
The Kerns assess their situation and bravely run away.
The Burgher Knights  run the Kerns off the edge of the board.  I regard this as a win!
Larry has few command points to fix the problem, but all his troops near the Pike are skirmishers.

The Mercenaries turn around again.
Pike charge, Lights evade.

Turn 4:
The shoot out at the line continues.  The Organ Guns rally, but the Anglo Longbow do not.

Forcing the issue.  The Mercenary Knights are out of command range.  Darryl is no longer worried about being flanked by the Burgher Knights and is going to challenge the Mercenaries.  They can charge or be shot down or flee.  I don't care.

Speaking of the Burgher Knights.  Two are looking for trouble, the other one is being hunted by a Galloglaich.  (off panel to the right)

The Lowland pike continue to charge skirmishers. 
The first real Hand to Hand.  The Knights lose by 2, and take a hit.  Off in the distance, a Burgher Knight takes a hit from the Longbow.
Not close enough to charge, but close enough to get in the face of the lights
The Anglo Longbow have been disbursed by the Organ Guns.  Clan Jordan is next.  The Lowland Halberdiers are lining up on the flank of the firing line.
The Mercenary Knights decide to go for it, and so out come the stakes.

Very bad die rolls, and a Burgher Knight falls.  In the background, a damaged Burgher has been charged by a supported Anglo Knight.
The Burghers lose by 3 and die to man.The
The Irish Foot are recalled and fill in the line. 

Tilting the whole line again.

The Halberdiers lose by 3 and take 2 hits.  The rest of the Pike leap the walls to engage the much smaller main battleline.

The Mercenary Knights  charge.  One is routed by a rain of arrows, another only takes 2 hits.  Clan O'Lyre, does not have the benefit of stakes, and relying on the strength of their thews, (an 2 handed axes) fail to stop the Knights.  The Anglo Knights falter in their charge, take a hit as well.
Turn 6:

In a confluence of good fortune, the Irish Light Horse scored 2 hits on the Low Countries Pike units.   So they are faced with the choice to halt and rally, or continue to push.

The Low Country Halberd holds their line, while their Pike take missile hits.  The Organ guns keep pumping out rounds, but Clan Jordan is ignoring them.

Half the Low Countries Knights have been routed.  The rest are either flanked or about to be.

The Pike charge, and catch both their targets.
Four more points for the Lords of the Low Country
The assault on the Anglo Irish's main battle line is also faltering.  Being Mediocre played a part in this.

The game was called on time here.  The score was 16-10 in favor of the Anglo Irish.  

So what went wrong?  I was uncomfortable in the role as the attacker.  My last 11 games as Anglo-Irish were all defense.  Don Mamser had the audacity to to run fortifications.  Not just "I'll space them all over the place and confuse you" fortifications , but real "I'll just line these up and man them with cannons" fortifications.   Then he refused to be ashamed by his choice.  

My first plan was a bad one.  To approach the fort line and shoot it out.  I have 6 Longbow vice 2 Organ Guns.  Those Mediocre Pike were not going to come out from behind them.  This was a bad plan because it ignored the Knights.  Once I pulled enough troops off to deal with the knights, I only had 3 shooters trading shots with 2 behind cover.  Bad Plan!

With my cavalry looking at engaging nothing but pike, even mediocre pike, also looked like a bad plan.  

So I decided to adapt.  Don seemed determined not leave his forts, and his Knights really had no targets they really wanted to fight, I seem to have the time and the command points to pull most of my cavalry command out and run them to the opposite flank.  By only engaging his fort at long range I was able to screen the horse and in two turns of double time, moved them 20 inches just in time to intercept his mercurial knights.  

Then seeing a weak left flank, his pike decided to engage, but faced mainly skirmishing lights.  Those that did connect did poorly in the dice offs, somewhat hampered by being mediocre, otherwise by lack of flank support.