Saturday, November 11, 2017

An Odd Encounter on the Road to Nice

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Lancaster Host, Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Event:    HMGS's Fall-In
Players: Phil Gardocki running Burmese

                  Paul Georgian, running French Ordinance
                 
Game System: L' Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points


The Forces:
The Burmese, lead by the kings Narathihapate, Pagan and Pagan, all Competent.
      5 Elite Elephants, full fat.
      4 Medium Spearmen
      6 Bowmen
      2 Elite Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
      4 Light Infantry, Bow
       1 Elite Light Infantry, Firearm
Breakpoint...22


The French, lead by Henri, Duc de Boulliabase (Brilliant), Roger the Snake, Duc du Lille (Competent), and Ludwig the Greedy (Ordinary).
     4 Heavy Knights (3 elite)
     1 Medium Cavalry, Impact
     5 Longbowmen (elite)
     2 Light Horse, Crossbow
     5 Light Foot, various nationalities, weapons, and quality
     1 Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
     2 Swiss Pikemen (elite)
     1 Swiss Halberdier (elite)  
Breakpoint...21
    
Paul Georgian and I have known of each other for over 30 years.  When I first met him, he and is buddies were trying to translate a copy of Maurice's Strategikon from the original Greek, and succeeding.  We are both ancients players, but we have never sat across the table before today.  I guess we can scratch that off of the bucket list.


King Narathihapate, after defeating the locals near Marseille, decide to go continue his campaign against their mortal enemies, the Yuan and the Mongols.  Knowing that the အာတိတ် သမုဒ္ဒရာ* was south, he turns northeast.  After several days traveling on a very convenient road, their decampment is interrupted by the sounds of many horns.  And out of the mists of the morning, appears another army of steel headed foes.

The Board:
The Burmese win the initiative and elect to defend in the plains.  They select 2 fields, a fielded hill and a gully.  Henri selects a field and a road.

I would have to say the terrain is in the Burmese's favor.
Deployment
The French right is dominated by longbow, and anchored on a field.
Ludwig's Swiss take up the center.
While the cream of French nobility takes the point of honor on the left.
The French seem to be performing a "Holding Attack".  The right side with missiles and some terrain is well placed to avoid being flanked and crushed, the center, with the finest, if underpaid, infantry in the world, will act as an excellent hinge for the left flank to attack with. 
Hills are the only piece of terrain available in the plains you can hide an elephant in.  The only question for the French is how many elephants?
Here is two they can count.
And two more elephants here.  And perhaps something else holding their heads down in the gully.
The Burmese line is longer than the French, giving them some advantage.  The French only has one solid attack command, which really doesn't want to tackle elephants.  But the French right can be very decisive. The Longbow can do a lot of damage before contact.

Turn 1:
The Swiss contingent is an ally, and with a command roll of a 1, he just went unreliable.  FYI the odds of this happening at least once in a 3 game tournament is 42.1%. 
Gotta love allies.  When they are your enemy.  The Swiss size up the opposition, and ask for payment up front.
The Longbow come out to play.  Perhaps they don't believe the ambush and expect to have a numerical advantage.  The knights advance, then turn right, heading for the center.  Why is not written in the Burmese records.  Perhaps a show of force to intimidate the Swiss? 
The Burmese left and center command hold their ground.  Out of the gully streams more Burmese troops, followed closely by Pagan's elephants and runners.
Turn 2:
 The Duc de Boulliabase sends messengers to the Swiss to convince them to join the fight,  but the Swiss continue to hold their ground.
"Your message is well delivered", responds Ludwig, "Tell your master that we are ready to fight man and beast, but the demons from Hell will require more ducats then you possess."
In a marvelous display of dressage, the French knights turn again to face their foes.
Pagan and Narathihapate see an opportunity to defeat the French in detail.  The ambush is revealed, and another elephant crests the hill.
The lines are forming up.  On the right, the Burmese have the advantage of the bend.
Same scene, different angle.
Turn 3:
The longbows enter range and loose.  The Swiss continue to negotiate with the French.
The French knights retreat.  Their plan is clear.  Lure the Burmese to within 4 UD's of the Swiss, resolving the unreliability.
At the bottom of the turn, it's the Burmese archers that score the hits.

On the Burmese right, they dress their lines and continue to shoot as well.
The Burmese are 1 point towards their demoralization level of 22.
The French Ordinance are 4 points towards their demoralization level of 21.

Turn 4:
The Power of the longbow is shown.  Many hits down the line for the Burmese.
Their last stand unmarked, a mounted crossbow is dispersed by Burmese bow.

King Pagan orders a general charge.  He has many advantages.  Elephants, supporting flank units, elite guards with 2 handed weapons.  What he doesn't have was luck.  Burmese guards take a hit, a bowman is destroyed, and worse, King Narathihapate is bloodied and routs from the field.  The one victory on the end, bowman vs. longbowmen, which was damaged by earlier bow fire, fall before the knives and clubs that are the weapons of the common archer.
This charge activates the Swiss.  "Demons they may be, but there is no escaping them, so fight them we must."
The knights are poorly positioned to respond, so Pagan pushes forward.  Hoping to shoot away a medium cavalry. 
The Burmese are 6 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The French Ordinance are 8 points towards their demoralization level of 21.

Turn 5:
Up till now, Paul had a pretty defeatist attitude in the game.  But with the last turn it seems like he can at least make an effective go of it.

The Burmese guardsmen are destroyed.

The Swiss advance.
But the knights leave behind their lighter brothers and retreat behind the Swiss line.
Another longbow is routed.
And in a game winning mistake, King Pagan launches a general attack.  Was it images of glory?  Establishment of a dynasty?  An attempt to pit elephant on medium foot blade, which, if the foot routs, will disorder two knights, one of which will be fighting an elephant on the flank?  The dice said otherwise, as the foot win, disordering the elephant.
On the Burmese right, King Pagan is content to just shoot.  He cant catch the light cavalry, but he could catch the medium's next turn.
The Burmese are 8 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The French Ordinance are 11 points towards their demoralization level of 21.

Turn 6:
On the left, both flanks are crumbling.  King Pagan comes to the front to encourage the troops
The other King Pagan's troops are crumbling all round.
The French horse command decides to fight.  Knights turn and wheel, taking a bowman by surprise.  The medium cavalry are not so lucky and destroyed on contact.
On the left, the ugly scrum just continues.
But in the center, the Burmese line disintegrates, causing multiple routs on the second line. 
A bit of a chase scene here.
The Burmese are 16 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The French Ordinance are 15 points towards their demoralization level of 21.

Turn 7:
In a stunning reversal, the French Ordinance take the lead!

A French light is shot, another longbowmen falls.  And how long has that elephant on the right been in combat?  It still stands!
The Swiss see that they can indeed defeat demons from hell, and continue to charge into the second line.  Miraculously, the Burmese line holds. 
On the right, a knight is trampled by elephantry. 
This was a long overdue maneuver, the Guardsmen turn down the flank of the longbow line.
Ignoring the elephant on their flanks, the Swiss continue to charge forward.  Scattering their foes like chaff.
King Pagan sees an opportunity.  He personally charges a troop of elephants into the banner of "Roger the Snake"'s, trampling them into the mud.  He leaves an engaged bow unit behind, but they have support, with more support coming.


The Burmese are 21 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The French Ordinance are 20 points towards their demoralization level of 21.

Turn 8:
Last turn for sure.

Another elephant falls, but so to, another unit of longbow.
That's a lot of dead elephants on the board.  Another one falls to Swiss Pike.  But there are hits down the line for the French as well taking their total to 21.
The Burmese are 22 points towards their demoralization level of 22.
The French Ordinance are 21 points towards their demoralization level of 21.

At the top of the 8th the game was called on mutual destruction. Both sides exactly hitting their break points.  This is a first for me.  I think we both look upon the results with mutual satisfaction.  

So Paul, 2047, right here, same armies, OK?
*အာတိတ် သမုဒ္ဒရာ (Burmese for Indian Ocean)



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