Thursday, April 20, 2017

Alexander and the Gauls.

A Headless Body Production
I really need a better method of titling these things.   Aside from being repetitious, they sometimes sound like "Santa Clause verses the Martians", or "Abbot and Costello Meet the Wolf Man".

And it makes a difference.  A good title can attract double the normal viewers, a bad title half.   For example, my recent battle report AztecvsSwiss, all one word, got 300 hits on it's first day, and 800 in a month.  Great numbers for me.  Last year I had a series of titles with references to local food, like "Liebfraumilch and Swiss Cheese"  and "Spanish Salsa and Swiss Wine", neither of which have done half those hits even after 11 months.  

Any suggestions from the audience would be welcome.   Visit the Blog Archive bar to the right.   It should be just about --------------------------------------------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Offer some criticisms over the titles.   

Venue:   On Military Matters Bookstore.  Owner Operator Dennis Shorthouse
Event:    Team practice for the upcoming Cold Wars team tourney.
Players: Phil Gardocki running Gauls, 80 BC
                   Allen Kaplan, Dennis Shorthouse, Alexandrian Macedonian
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 300 points per side.
Theme: Open, team no restrictions

The Forces:
Gauls circa 200 BC: The Commanders are Larry the vain hell-hated scullian, (Competent), Darryl the yeasty dizzy-eyed whey-face (Competent), with Darryl the mewling pox-marked lewdster (Ordinary) and Darryl the clouted milk-livered codpiece (Ordinary).
      6  Gaestati, Medium Swordsmen, Impetuous (elite)

      19 Warriors, Medium Swordsmen, Impetuous

      3 Light Infantry, Javelin  

      2 Horsemen, Heavy Cavalry (elite)
      4 Horsemen, Medium Cavalry (elite)
      2 Scouts, Light Horse, Javelin
One Corps is organized around the Gaestati, which are all elite.   Two Corps is are of around 9 Warriors each, and the last corps is a strong Cavalry force.  Which is something I don't believe anyone expects.
Their break point is 37.

Alexandrian Macedonian, 
Lets see, Pike, Impact Cavalry, Thracians, and more Pike
Two corps are organized around very strong pike formations.  One is a louse order foot formation of Medium Foot, and suited for terrain fights, the last has most of their Impact Heavy Cavalry.
Their break point is about about 32.

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:
Practice session for the upcoming team event at Cold Wars.

The Board:
The Gauls have lost the roll and will defend in the plains.  The select a field, two plantations, a hill and a gully, while Alexander selects a road and a coastline.  But the Gauls have been at work and have 400mm fortified line raised.

Pretty much a wide open field.  The blue tape is the actual edge of the board.

Two plantations and a field. 
You may have noticed the Gauls were pre-deployed from board edge to board edge.  I had to point out to Dennis and Allen, that this was not the whole Gallic army. 
Turn 1
This game is already in progress.

The Macedonians have an unreliable commander for their loose order command mostly consisting of Thracians, and like the last game, Alexander the Great invades Germania, he went unresponsive.
But when your main body is 12 units of pike, who worries about flanks.  Besides, the Gauls are all just medium infantry.
Sorry for the bad picture.  The Gauls have 400mm of manned fortifications defending their flank.  Alexander had deployed his command of 6 Impact Cavalry here, but decided to rerun it behind the lines, sending 3 units of Light Horse to pin the oversized and unmaneuverable Gaul command.
The Gauls have 3 commands deployed.  And two ambushes in the left side plantation.  So the question is, is there 8 units in the plantation, or is there a flank march?
The Gauls, lacking in subtlety, did not keep the Macedonians waiting to find out.  The flank march will be arriving on turn 2.
The walls seemed to be there just for show.  Darryl's, the clouted milk-livered codpiece, not to be confused with Darryl, the mewling pox-marked lewdster, troops leap the barricades and push forward.
Darryl, aka the clouted milk-livered codpiece, will split up his wall defenders, 6 units to play with the lights, possibly run them off, and 3 more to support the rest of the army.
The other brother Darryl, the mewling pox-marked lewdster, rolls a one for command points, and so the elite Gastati advance, but only three UD's
Ambushes were revealed as well.
Turn 2:
So far, this is looking very good for the Gauls.  The Phalanx's right flank is exposed and unsupported by an unresponsive ally.  The flank march with 8 cavalry units will arrive.  And if the left side of the Phalanx is solid, it is still matched unit for unit.
Thessalonian light horse advance and loose, scoring a hit.
Pike advance, with two Companions covering their flank.
The rest of the Phalanx advances as well.  One Taxis is canted to prevent flank problems.
Javelins fly, a Greek Light Infantry is hit.
The Gauls screwed up last turn and got withing 4 UD's of the Thracians.  Resolving their unresponsive problems.  It was a bad mistake.  This gives the Thracians a turn to respond to the Flank March arriving next turn.
Alexander triple moves his 4 Companions to catch the flank march. 
And start to charge down the line.  The first 3 fights did not go well for the Gauls.

The Greek skirmisher stay put between the closing lines, and manage to score a hit on what will be the most important point of the line of impact.  The Taxis that was refusing the the right is already engaged as well. (upper left)
The flank march arrives.  The line of Gauls goes on and on and on.
Turn 3:
The lines are within a U.D. of each other.  With some units already in contact.  Will the Phalanx continue it's broad advance, or will it hold and hope to blow holes in what is already engaged?

Ignoring the threats to their flanks, the Thracians charge! and disorder their foes.
And in a predictable set of die rolls, the massed pike roll over their opponents.
The remaining Thracians line up with the Companions.  
Gallic Cavalry is elite, but not impetuous.  The Flank March has been successfully countered by Alexander, so it is time to play smart.  Two charges are made against medium foot sword.  The other Greek troops are spear armed, and have a significant advantage against charging Medium Cavalry, but not so much if they charge the Medium Cavalry, so they can wait their turn until the swordsmen are gone.
And this why you run Gauls!  Charges all down the line.  Thracians and Pike both are destroyed, others are disordered.  Some Gallic foot are also damaged, but the dice were clearly in favor of the broadsword swinging Celts.
In the middle, the elite Gastati scream and charge.  Losing 2, and winning 3 of the encounters.  But their flank supports have been destroyed and their flanks have been turned.  Only the fact that pike are classed as unmaneuverable will keep this from rapidly falling apart.
Pike maneuverability and Darryl (the clouted milk-livered codpiece) parsing off a couple more war bands to keep things honest.

So now only 4 war bands are chasing 4 light horse. 
Turns 4 and 5:
Far afield, Alexander's Companions charge.  Destroying and disordering a Gallic horse unit.  But one of the Companions is also destroyed.  In the foreground, Thracian Swordsmen are destroyed, and Medium Spear have been turned.
Both pike and war bands fall like flies.  Most of the right side Phalanx has been butchered.
So too, however, the elite Gastati are dying in droves.
Darryl, however is keeping this side solid.
Turn 6:
To avoid being flanked, the Medium spear retreat while in the Zone of Control, taking a disorder for doing so.  Alexander's Companions have flanked some Gallic Cavalry, but the fight still goes on.
Larry, the vain hell-hated scullian, has a great surplus of war bands, but next to nought in command points.  Basically he cannot take advantage of his victory here.
The left side Phalanx, calmly obliterates all foes.  But they too cannot take advantage of their victory.
Really, do I need to cover this part? 
Disaster on the Macedonian right.  The Gallic elite cavalry, though surrounded and disordered, held it's ground.  One of the Companions is struck in the rear and destroyed.  And while it looks like nothing happened with the Greek Spearmen, the brightly flocked unit is actually a Gaul war band.  It was in range for a uncontrolled charge, and destroyed its foe.
For the want of a few command points, I could pick up this spare here.
The Phalanx has a similar problem.  Those units that could turn and assist, require 2 command points to do so.
Turn 7:
Macedonian spear charge, and Gallic cavalry evades.
Last pike standing on the Greek right destroys another warband.
Another Warband is culled from the herd.  The Gauls are 7 points away from their break point of 37.
The Macedonian medium sword is caught and killed, disordering a Companion.  Off in the distance, a Gallic Light Horse is racing for the camp.  The Macedonian demoralization level is now 28.
Larry gathers command points, hitting a Taxis in the flank.  A followup uncontrolled charge, disorders it.  The modifiers are +5 to -1 and the pike just disappears.  The Macedonian demoralization level is now 30.
On the Macedonian left, their foes in front are all destroyed, including Darryl, the mewling pox-marked lewdster.  The Gauls are now 5 points away from their break point of 37.  One Taxis is turned, and supported by a Heavy Spearmen.  The Spearmen is destroyed, while the pike holds fast. The Macedonian demoralization level is now 32.

Alexander looks at the chaos that is his right flank, and orders a general retreat.  On the Phalanx left, Seleucus and Ptolomy listen in disbelief at the calls of retreat from the horns.  Retreat?  Why?  There are no enemy left to contend with.  What is that young fool thinking?

The Pike commanders, by rank and file, turn in orderly precision, and begin to back away.

Larry(the vain hell-hated scullian), Darryl (the yeasty dizzy-eyed whey-face), and Darryl (the mewling pox-marked lewdster), could only stare at the orderly withdrawal in wonder.

Glossary for non L'Art de la Guerre players.
Corps:  A group of units.  Commanded by a general.  The word Command is interchangably used for the word Corps.

Disorder: A unit is disordered if it takes any hits at all.  This results in a -1 on any combat die roll.  There are no multiple levels of disorder.

UD:  Units of Distance.  The units of measurement of the game.  This will vary by scale.  For 15mm scale, each UD is 40mm.  For 25mm, it is 60mm.

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