Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Timurid Persians vs the Feudal Germans

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 Timurid Persian  
                   Allen Kaplan running Feudal Germans
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Open, no restrictions

The Forces:
   Timurid Persian circa 1400: Commanders  Timur the Lame (Strategist), Ulugh Beg (Brilliant) and Babur (Competent)
      8 Persian Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Bow (6 elite)
      4 Turkomans, Light Cavalry, Bow (elite)
      2 Light Infantry Bow
      4 Persian Archers, Bowmen (Mediocre)
      2  Hostages, Levy expendable, (Mediocre)
      2 Stampeding Herds
      1 Elephant

Feudal Germans.  3 anonymous commanders, 2 competent and one unreliable ordinary.

      5 Medium Knights (4 elite)
      2 Light Horse, Crossbow 
      2 Heavy Spearmen
      2 Light Infantry Bow
      2 Mercenaries, Heavy Swordsmen Armor 2HW
      2 Halberdiers, Heavy Swordsmen 2HW
      4 Crossbowmen
      3 Free Canton troops, Medium Spearmen
      1 Heerban, Levy


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.

Why Timurid Persian?  For a long time Islamic Persian was my tournament army when playing Warrior.  So I had figures for the era.  Next to Islamic Persian is Timurid Persian, which is a great gadget army.  In Warrior, the elephants had naptha bombs, the stampeding herds were Irregular 'A' which gives them a nice combat advantage, and they had good artillery.  

The problem with the army in Warrior is the Persian Cavalry was regular, which is fine, except that eventually they would be caught and overrun by impetuously charging irregular cavalry.  The Stampeding Herds are expensive at 65 points, when they act just like a Scythed Chariot which is only 24 points, a very expensive trade.   The elephant was 80 points because of the 4 crewmen with fire weapons, while a very excellent, but more conventionally armed elephant, is 48 points. The gadgets just cost too much making the army unplayable.

L' Art de la Guerre, has none of these disadvantages, and so I am delighted to put this army on the table.

The Board:
Timur the Lame wins the initiative and selects to attack in the plains. The Germans selects a field, a plantation and a hill.  The Persians selects a gully and a field.

 3 attempts were made to move the hill, with 2 1's and a 2.  You would think it was attached to the bedrock or something

On the German right are 5 Medium Knights and 2 Light Cavalry, Bow.
The middle is a variety of Heavy Infantry, with sword and spear, lead by Crossbowmen.  On the German left are Medium Spearmen and Levies.

On the Persian left, across from the knights, an elite force of Persian Cavalry

In the middle, a hodge-podge of forces.  Archers supported by elephants and cattle.  The stampeding herd is substituting N gauge cattle until my 25mm figures come in.

Babur is leading a similar force of 4 Persian Cavalry and Turkomans.
Turn 1:
The plan is clear.  On the left, the Persians are to not engage, just shoot.  The center is to hold with the terrain advantages, while the right is to overrun the small German command.   I have to be patient here.  Sweeping attacks take much longer than you think they should.
Ulugh Beg advances rapidly.  He is anxious to take the knights under bow fire.
Elephants and archers ascend the hill.
The herd and other archers also advance.  Off camera to the right, Babur double marches his Cavalry.
The knights advance without fear.
The massed crossbowmen score the first hit.
The weaker command of the Germans is holding back, they also see the cavalry horde coming at them from off panel right.
Turn 2:

And so it begins.  Persian archery is superb, hitting 3 of 5 knights.
Timur attempts to rally his archers but they will have none of it.  This is a recurring theme throughout the game.  

Here I made a mistake.  Actually the mistake was made on deployment.  I am trying to maneuver the elephant to take on the knights.  That seems like a good match up, right.  But what is happening here is I have now broken up a command and the primary mission of the elephant.  By assigning the elephant to the infantry command, it provides a significant bolster to what is otherwise a weak corps.  The idea of the elephant is to prevent a cavalry force from running over the mediocre Persian Archers.  Now there is not cavalry to fear here, but it still detracted 2 command points to turn the elephant.  Because of that, the stampeding herds were not advanced.

In the end, it was wasted command points, they may have caused the knights to hold back a little but at a cost of failing to keep up the pressure on the attack wing.

Babur's command is lining up his shots.

Pennants lowered, the knights charge down the line.  The Persian Cavalry dutifully evade.
The missile exchange continues.  One of the Persian Bowmen units is destroyed.  Introducing the new dead unit markers, created by Jolly Blackburn of "Knights of the Dinner Table" fame.
Turn 3:
The Persians turn and shoot again.  Some knights now have 2 hits on them.

The Elephants skirmish line has been shot away.
The Stampeding Herd and the Persian Cavalry on the right are now in place.
The Knights charge again.
The Elephant is now taking crossbow hits.
The German leftmost Corps obliques its line to avoid being flanked. 
Turn 4:
Ouch Time!
Persian Cavalry approach to cause more hits on the Knights. Now they are too close to the edge and run the risk of running off the edge of the board if charged again.
In charges the Persian Cavalry.  But this did not go as expected.  Two ties and a loss.
The elephant was sent in as well.  Not a good match-up but better than just being shot to death.
Turn 5:
The Knights charged in. Between the initial impact and the followup, two Knights have been run down.  But so to is one of the Turkoman Light Horse.
The Elephant is routed, as are both Stampeding Herds.
On the Persian right, one of the Heavy Cavalry units is routed, but so are two of the Medium Spearmen.  Persian Archers start to poor on arrows onto the flank of the Heavy Infantry.
4 Knights are down.  The Germans are at 19 of their break point of 24.  The Persians are at 10 of 19.
Chaos rules as the German Infantry breaks up into many parts.
The Persians pause and just shoot.  This is because they want to finish the last German  Medium Spear in their rear, but also because they have rolled 3 1's in row for command points, and so haven't been able to exploit their maneuverability.

Germans are looking for an advantage of their own.  The only thing between the Germans and the Persian camp is an expendable levy.
Turn 6:
A German Light Horse is surrounded and crushed.
The fifth Knight falls.  The Germans are at 23 of their break point of 24.  The Persians are now at 14 of 19.

On the right flank, another 1 is rolled for command points.  And a 6-1 die roll gives the The last Medium Spearmen another turn of life.
On the far left, the last German Light Horse flees to the Persian edge of the board.  Out of charge reach of the Persian Heavies chasing it.
The Persian Archers on the hill pick up a second hit.  Rallying the troops is just a word in this game, as our success rate, both Germans and Persians is about 2 successes and about 8 failures.
The German Medium Spearmen, surrounded and outnumbered, pull a win, destroying a Persian Heavy Cavalry.  With a successful German Rally, the score is now 22-14.

The Germans begin to pick up steam in the center.  Two Hostage units pick up hits, and a Knight runs down a Persian Heavy Cavalry.  The score is now 22-17.
Halberdiers climb the hill, and scatter the Persian Archers. The score is now 22-18.

And there is the last point.  Light Horse Crossbow manage to shoot down the last Turkoman Light Horse for a German win!
Lessons to be learned.  First and foremost, never give up.  Allen certainly didn't.  He kept pushing where he had an advantage, and minimized risks where he could.  The result was he managed to pull back one point from his break-point, while dealing 6 points to mine.  Well done.

The Persian mistakes were legion.  The first was relying on a sweep attack.  Which, while a good idea in theory, it takes more time then you have to resolve. The whole battle still resolves down to a corps on corps fight.

Second, was mixing up the mission of the infantry corps.  By having 4 archer units, it's mission is to stand off and shoot.  Nothing more.  The Elephant in the group is to provide a deterrence against a cavalry charge.  The Stampeding Herds, as part of the group, is a distraction to the corps mission.  They have to get into combat quickly, or die, as they only take one hit.  So even with a Strategist assigned to the corps, he could not generate all the command points necessary to keep all the parts moving.    The Levy troops did ok, as they were really just assigned to watch the camp, then pulled up to replace the killed bowmen.  Perhaps next time they will be in the line with the bowmen, just to suck up some missile fire.

On the Persian left, all went well.  The Cavalry shot up all the Knights before engaging, but it still was tough going.  Even damaged the Knights are +2 to the Persian +2.   If these were Heavy Knights, it would not have gone well for the Persians.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

DBA Game Knight at the Regency at Providence

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Regency at Providence Community Center, Phoenixville, Pa
Event:        Providence Gamer's Game Knight
Players:     Phil Gardocki playing Burmese
                      Garth Parker playing Classical Indian
                      Bruce Potter playing Viking

Preamble:   The players of Regency have a growing number of Ancients Armies and have a need to put them on the table.  So it was decided to do a 3 round robin event of DBA.

Game System: DBA

The Forces:
Burmese with:

     1 X Elephant (Gen)

     2 X Elephant

     1 X 3 Cavalry stand

     5 X 3 Auxilia stands

     3 X 3 Crossbow stands

Vikings with:

     I don't have the list, but I think it is:
     11 Blades
      1 Bowmen

Classical Indians:

     1 Elephant (General)
     2 Elephants
     2 Heavy Chariots
     2 Cavalry
     1 4 Blade
     4 Longbow
First Round:  The Burmese win the aggression roll-off and will be invading Norway.

The Burmese are awaiting debarking from their fleet in the fjords of Norway.
The Vikings form up in 2 groups near Oslo.
Landing unopposed, the Burmese also deploy in 2 groups.
At the end of bound 1, the Burmese advance a small amount with their main group.    A note on the Burmese figures.  I did not remount the army from "Warrior" and the 2 figure per elements are "Bow" and not "Psiloi".

 Bound 2:
 Not a lot happens till Bound 9, if you want to skip down a bit.
The thought here is to keep the Vikings divided.  To send 5 elements on the right to engage 2 elements of Vikings in the woods.  If the Burmese can win that, they will have 2 of the 4 elements needed for victory, and turn the main line of the Vikings.  But this will take time.
 Bound 3:
The Vikings see the trap, and re-position to deal with it.
 Bound 4

Since the Vikings are not coming across the board, the Burmese take the time to re-position their general.  This was so he could be within 6 inches of the woods, and avoid paying extra command costs to move units in there.
The Burmese on their right are holding up pending the re-positioning.
The Vikings have waited long enough and are not going to wait for the Burmese to dominate the woods.
Bound 5:
The Burmese realize their redeployment is not going to be leisurely at all and have to make decisions on priority.  If they can get in the woods, the Viking line will have to delay to deal with it. 
But it looks like an elephant and a bowman unit will be orphaned off.
 Bound 6
The Burmese finish reforming their main line, and force the Vikings to spin off a couple of elements to deal with the woods.
 Bound 7:
A bit of shuffling around.
 Bound 8:
And more shuffling. 
 Bound 9:
I don't know if this is typical of DBA.  10 minutes left, and no engagements. 
Bound 10:
I think the word for this engagement is "Sub-Optimal" for both sides. 

Burmese bowmen fall before the Viking General.  (plus 6 against a plus 2 will do that).  But the Vikings lose two Blades to the Burmese Hammer and Anvil attack with elephants.  Down the rest of the line is split 2-2 as far as push backs go.

The Vikings reform their lines and destroy the Burmese cavalry.  The Viking General, leading his body guard with their Raven standard, confronts the Burmese General in a dicey maneuver.  The Vikings are pushed back, but not into anything, and live to fight another bound.
 Bound 11:

Two minutes left on the clock, and the Burmese roll 1 command point.  The only attack that makes sense is another General vs General action, which the Burmese win!  The Viking General cannot recoil and so is destroyed, giving the Burmese the 3 + the General to 2 win.

End game.  The Burmese win 3-2 by virtue of killing the enemy general.
A couple of notes here for the DBA players out there.   We had made numerous mistakes here.  

One was we thought Blades could support Blades against mounted if one is behind the other. This was not discovered till later that this was not so. This explains why the Vikings bunched up like they did.

Another was elephants take 2 command points to move, also discovered much later.   And this explains how the elephants moved around as much as they did.  Though, the Burmese commander did roll a lot of 5's and 6's for command points and often did not use them all.

Another was on deployment, the Burmese could deploy 6 inches from the water, not the board edge like they did.

Round 2:  Burmese vs Indians.
The Burmese win the aggression roll and are attacking the Indians.

<Mumbai, 400 BC, Wednesday>
Returning with their loot from Oslo the Burmese run into the toll collectors from Mumbai.  As these things tend to go, diplomacy breaks down, and aggressive negotiations result.  Its a tight fit, and the Burmese adopt an ill-advised formation.
The Hindi's also have a tight fit, but their bowmen are much better deployed than the Burmese.
 Bound 1:

The Burmese have to get clear of the woods so they can spread out their elephantry.  The Indians spend 4 command points advancing their bowmen through their woods. 
 Bound 2:
Both sides have a lot of command points.  The Burmese angle their line.  This is because they are trying to get an overlap on the Indian Bowmen when their Auxila make contact.  Also this angle will allow the elephants to expand to the waiting support of their crossbowmen in the woods.  The Indians used their points to clear their bowmen of the woods and set up the firing line.
 Bound 3:
Both sides adjust their lines.  The Burmese had a shortage of points here.  The Indians look well formed.  But their chariots are facing archers in the woods, so the chariots will stay out of range of them.  DBA's note.  The Burmese crossbowmen in the woods are Bowmen, not Psiloi.
 Bound 4:
Burmese Auxila charge!  The board is too tight for their desired overlap, so one Auxila is left behind.  But the dice were kind and on the far left, and an Indian Bowman falls.  The other rolls are two ties, and a loss for the Burmese Auxila.
The rest of the board is more of just a lineup for future action.
It is a tight charge, but the Indian cavalry managed to avoid the Zone of control effects of the Crossbowmen and strike the Burmese Elephants in the flank.

Its elephant on elephant action frontally, while Indian Cavalry provide flank charge support.   Both elephant fights were ties.
 Bound 5:

A disaster for the Indians.  Burmese Bowmen came out of the woods, destroying the flanking Indian Cavalry.  Burmese Auxila destroy another Indian Bowmen.  The score is now 3-0.  One Burmese elephant is bounced, but the Burmese General wins, forcing an Indian elephant to recoil into their general, and both are destroyed.  The final score was 5 (plus the General) to 0 win for the Burmese.

We only had 5 players so I sat out the next round.  I took this shot because you are not likely to see this combo again.
 It's elephants verses War Wagons in this Classical Indians verses Hussites game.