Sunday, October 2, 2016

Saturday at Dennis's, Round 1

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 circa 1400
                  Cy Taylor, Byzantine
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions

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

      2 Irish Foot, Javelinmen, Javelin
The Byzantines, following the precepts as written in chapter 9 in the Strategikon by Mauice, have masked their actual fighting strength.

     Lots of Impact Horse Bow and Heavy Infantry Spear.

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 defend in the plains.  In addition to the mandatory field, they chose a gentle hill, a gully and a plantation.  The Byzantines select two fields.  For positioning, 3 of the pieces wound up in the #5 zone.  Yeech.

Maurice is a Strategist, and tries to move the offending terrain.  But no dice.

Larry doesn't have any better luck.
The Byzantines set up a strong infantry force as their center command, with two small cavalry commands to it's left and right.

The Byzantine center, composed of mostly Skutatoi, supported by Psloi bow.

A fairly strong Byzantine right flank of 5 Heavy Cavalry.
Ambush 1, on the left has Longbow and Galloglaich.  Ambush 3, on the right has two Javelinmen and a Longbow.
On the left is a the Anglo-Irish Cavalry command.  2 each Light Horse, Heavy Cavalry and Heavy Knights.
Turn 1:
Seeing that there is nothing to fight on their left, the Byzantines start to redeploy their left command to the center, and possibly beyond.
The Skutatoi double time, but the Heavy Cavalry lingers behind.
A small force of Byzantine Cavalry approach the hill.
Irish Light Horse and Anglo Heavy Knight ascend the hill.  Longbow pivot and let fly.  Both Byzantine Heavy Cavalry suffer hits.
One ambush is revealed.  Longbow supported by Galloglaich.
Another ambush revealed.  Irish Javelinmen the barricades.
Turn 2:

I really have to get a better feel for how fast infantry can double time across the board.  I keep thinking I can defeat a force in detail,and then suddenly there's more, and I am out of position. 

Irish Kerns run out to slow the advance of the Byzantine infantry, so we can get beyond this sucky terrain.

The Byzantines have a force beyond the flanks, but then turn in.  I guess he didn't want to deal with fields and plantations, but this means that Darryl doesn't need to adjust the positioning much. My thought is when you have Brilliants and Strategists, you don't consider the difficulties when you opponents are barely competent.
Psiloi shoot.  And they disorder a Kern, and his little dog too.
The boys from Strafford are beyond the terrain.  Soon they will have longbow behind fortifications supporting them.

Larry reforms the line.  Longbow reach out and strike both man and horse.
Darryl's cavalry command advances off the hill.  I think two Light Horse should be able to handle his Light Horse, while my Knights should be able to run off his Heavy Cavalry. 
Turn 3:

Byzantine Horse and Psiloi rain missiles upon the Kerns, but to no effect.

Maurice has words with his Skutatoi, but their disorder remains.
The Byzantines retreat their damaged Cavalry. 
The Anglo-Irish line is still forming up.  Both terrain, die rolls and a poor eye for spacial relations are conspiring against them.
Turn 4:
A couple of good shots, and the Irish Light Horse advantage is gone!
But shooting at the Skutatoi line has kept them at bay, buying time.

Larry and Darryl decide that, even though we are out numbered with shooters, 9 to 6, having Longbow and range puts a shooting game to our advantage. 
Two Kerns have pretty much stopped the entire Byzantine left flank.  Of course, looking at the expanding line of Longbow might have something to do with it.  The damaged Kern escapes to the relative safety of the Plantation.
Turn 5:

The Byzantines reform their firing line of Psiloi, but retreat their Light Horse to safety for a rally.
The Skutatoi line is stalled and still not successful with it's rally attempts.  The Psiloi go offensive and run off the Kerns bothering them.  And in a surprise move, the Byzantine right flank Cavalry command decide not to face the Knights and run away.
Not all of them though.

5 turns, and the Irish line is formed.  Advancing into a cloud of arrows, the Longbow take hit after hit.

A poor picture, sorry.  Now the Kerns are chucking Javelins at the Skutatoi, which still hasn't successfully rallied.
The Knights took a bow hit as well, but rallied immediately.
Turn 6 and 7:
Turn 6 was a bit of cat and mouse.  Not much going on, except:
Clan O'Lyre and friends catch a Psiloi Bowemen unit.
And crush it.
Turn 8:

Realizing they were going to be run off the board, and the clock running out, the Byzantine Kataphractoi engage the Anglo Irish Noblemen

And pull a decisive win.  The Anglo Knights charge but catch only air.
After 8 turns of raiding Farmer Maggot's fields for mushrooms, and with the Light Horse rallied, the Byzantine left feels brave enough to advance.

Here its Skutatoi vs Galloglaich. 
Turn 9:

The Byzantines charge.  Two Skutatoi's pay a horrible price.
But the Kataphraktoi, with their superior maneuverability, catch the Anglo Knights in the flank.

The Longbow are nearly useless in hand to hand, are just fine in the support role.

The flanked Knights only take one hit.  But a Kataphraktoi also suffer the same fate.
Larry is "all in" with Clan O'Lyre, but fails to "seal the deal"  The Skutatoi show their resilience as the Ulster boys and the men from Stafford take hits.
The Anglo Knights show their resilience as well.
On the Anglo Irish right flank, 3 Longbowmen make a stand, their flanks supported by 2 Javelinmen.  The Byzantines decide not to run the gauntlet and retire.

Turn 10:

The Byzantine Center has collapsed!

But so has the Anglo Irish left.

Nothing to see here.
The Byzantines continue to bleed in the center.
On the Anglo Irish left, despite the positional disadvantage, the Anglo Knights hold their ground.
Turn 11:
A lot of turns and the clock is running out.  It is a race for points as neither army is near their break points.  On the left, the Byzantines have destroyed 4 of 6 of the Anglo Irish Cavalry Command.  On the right there has been no engagement.  In the center, 4 of 6 Skutatoi 1 of 3 Psiloi have been routed to the cost of 1 Kern, and some disordered Galloglaich.  The Byzantines gather what strength they can in an attempt to crack a couple more units.

Skutatoi supported with missile support charge an Anglo Longbow.  The Anglo Irish have two supporting units, the Byzantines throw in a General for an even fight.  The dice are 4-6 in favor of the Irish, so the Skutatoi take a hit.  To their left, Clan Ramsey is having a hell of a fight.  Despite support from Clan O'Lyre, 2HW, and winning ties, they can't seem to hit their opponents.
But a 6-1 die roll fixes a lot of problems.
The Anglo Knights go down fighting.

Time was called, and the points added up.  In the end it was an 18-13 win for the Anglo-Irish.

This is going to be my last tourney with the Anglo Irish for a while.  I have lots of other 15mm gathering dust that I am going to air out. I decided to run the Anglo Irish more conventionally.  Concentrating the cavalry into one command, and running the other commands with pairs of of Longbow and Galloglaich.  I did a poor job of terrain placement and paid the price with it taking 4 turns to put the army to rights afterwards.  Fortunately for me the Byzantines gave me the time I needed.  

The Cavalry fight could have gone my way, but I didn't handle it well, and Cy did a better job with his forces.


  1. Another great report Phil. I know you want to try out other armies but you have a good handle on how to run the Irish. You should keep them warmed up and keep playing them in between other armies just to keep their moral up. Can't wait for your reports from Barrage

  2. Thank you Walt. I just finished writing up the one with me and Mark Cribb's Germans. I'll probably publish it next week.