Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Battle for Krong Battambang

A Headless Body Production

Venue:   Huzzah Hobbies, Ashburn, VA.
Event:    L' Art de la Guerre Team Tournament.
Round:  4, Medieval Period.
Players: Phil Gardocki (Team Jersey Boys) running Burmese

                  Jeff Robertson (Team Spoilers), Khmer
Game System: L' Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points

Big praises for Huzzah Hobbies.  Their staff excellently handled our unreasonable demands with both panache and grace.   They provided a clean, large gaming area sufficient for out 48 players AND a large number of Magic, the Gathering players.  Well Done!

The scouts approached the Great King Narathihapate, as per custom they went to their knees and bowed their heads until commanded to speak.

"Rise, and speak", commanded the great king.

"Oh mighty one, we have seen the enemy and can report their numbers!  They are a great host, and have many elephants."

"How many elephants", asked the Great King?

"Six troops, mighty one!"

King Narathihapate looked to his vizier, and asked, "How many troops of elephants do we have?"

"Five, my King."

"Are you sure?"

The vizier pointed to the massed stablemen with their over sized shovels.  "Yes, my king.  One thing is certain, and that is how many elephants one has."
The Forces:
The Burmese, led by the Kings Narathihapate, King Pagan of Bassein and King Pagan of Thaton, all Competent.
      5 Elite Elephants
      4 Medium Spearmen
      5 Bowmen
      2 Elite Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
      4 Light Infantry, Bow
      1 Elite Light Infantry, Firearm

The Khmer prefer a more formal style of war and have sent a complete list of their assets.
      6 Elephants, all Ordinary, 2 with Artillery
      6 Medium Spearmen, 2 elite guards, 2 ordinary, 2 mediocre conscripts
      2 Medium Swordsmen, 2HW
      2 Bowmen
      6 Light Infantry with a mix of bows, javelins, and crossbows
      2 Medium Cavalry, Mediocre
      1 Servant, Levy

"How did they get here?", murmured the King, "The forest is very dense."

 "Elephants can clear the forest like nothing else", came the reply.

"They have many men, how are they fed?", he asked.

"With many elephants, much food can be carried."

"And the great mountains between us, the deep valleys?"

"After clearing the forest, they have much timber to build sledges and bridges."
About the Kings.
Anyone that has read my Anglo-Irish battle reports knows of my running joke of naming my generals Larry, Darryl and Darryl.  So too, the Kings Pagan and Pagan.  But it is not entirely a joke. Using Wikipedia as a sole source.  Burma had a number of kingdoms, some were merely city-states, but the name Pagan was a common royalty name.  I can't say they took to the field together, but the possibility existed. 

The Board:
The Khmer won the initiative and elected to attack in the plains.  The Defense selected a gully, a field and a gentle hill.  The vile attackers selected two fields of their own.  When the dice had settled, all the terrain was on the defenders side of the board, save the gully.

The Khmer deployed from center to their left, with their weakest command on their right, and their main attack command on their left.

The Burmese deployed in a similar manner, with their weakest command in the center of the board, and the stronger commands to the right.  The left 2 foot of the board might as well have been cut off.

The smallest Khmer command deploys directly across from the smallest Burmese command.
The mid sized command, armed with elephant backed artillery, occupies the area just left of center.
While the main attack command, named Assault Flank, is compressed on the far left.
But he is not the only one with a cunning plan.  What is hiding behind the hill?
Four troops of elephants dominate the Burmese line.
Along with the obligatory ambush in the field. 

A shot of the whole army.
The command named "Defense Flank", reevaluates its mission and races across the board.  Could it be he doesn't see the ambush marker?  Or, are they covering the flank very closely.

A double march of the Khmer center command.  Ballista's loaded and ready.
The Assault Command spends it's command points extending their line.
King Pagan of Bassein reveals his ambush.  He feels good about this matchup.  Its elites vs ordinary and mediocre's.  And a bowman on a hill vs. mediocre cavalry.
In what has to be considered the bonehead move of the day, King Narathihapate advances to bowfire (and ballista) range.
King Pagan of Thaton advances more cautiously.
Bound 2:

The commander of the Khmer left now sees his error.  He recalls his cavalry, and angles his line defensibly. 

Khmer Bowmen are not numerous, but are spot on with their aim.  2 Burmese lights are dispersed by arrow-fire.

The Khmer left flank has caught up with the right.  It looks like this is going to be a command on command fight, with nearly identical forces.
King Pagan orders a general advance, leaves the defensive ground of the hill.

King Narathihapate holds firm.  He as an brief opportunity here.  His main line is currently out of range of the Khmer bow, so only the Khmer lights are in range.  The Khmer elephant in front is the general of the command, rallying his lights.

In a sign of solidarity, King Pagan lines his command up perfectly to King Narathihapate's  
Turn 3:
The Khmer right continues to hold.
It is now the Burmese turn to fill the sky with arrows.  Khmer bowmen take hits.
The Khmer "Assault Flank" command approaches and sets up its attack. 
King Pagan starts the grand melee.  Unfortunately, one of his guards was out of range.  The results are mixed.  One Khmer unit is destroyed, but the Burmese elephants take a hit.
Fortune has favored the Burmese elephants so far.  3 rounds of artillery fire have missed them so far.

On the other flank, King Pagan also charges.  He scores some minor wins and some major losses.
Note to the above.  This was not done correctly.  The Burmese bowmen could not have made the charge upon the Khmer elephant. 

Turn 4:
On the Khmer right, the fight continues.  The Cavalry is recalled back to the line to prevent the elephant from being flanked.

The Khmer center command, named "Base of Fire", continues in its role of shooting rather than engaging.  Scoring more hits down the Burmese line.

On the Khmer left, the slaughter has started.
At the bottom of the turn, a fortuitous die roll has led to the rampage of a Khmer elephant.  King Pagan leads his Guardsmen in their assault. The rest of their command has taken hits as well.
The center command of the Burmese charges as well.  (and another incorrectly done charge of bowmen)  The results here are mixed.  One kill on each side.
On the right flank, King Pagan has lost both his troops of elephants.
Turn 5:

The battle of the flank is desperate.  The Khmer to prevent their center from turning, the Burmese desperate to get help to their beleaguered center.
One Burmese elephant has two hits, the other has turned the flanks, but has to fight a light foot instead of its intended target of another elephant.
On the right, the Burmese have nought but the dead, and the soon to be dead.
And on their left, the same could be said for the Khmer.

Its a race for the center.  A race the Burmese is losing.

And the game ends with a bang.  Both sides are demoralized. 

Our laughter of the last turn was infectious.  We both lost early on the turn, but continued fighting, just to see how high we could pile up the dead.  The adjacent table commented sheer volume of unoccupied space.  When the points were counted, the score was Burmese losing 25 of 22, while the Khmer lost 29 of 25.

On upon writing this though, I see twice where I erred and charge with bowmen against elephants. The rule (p 52) reads that bowmen can charge if "The target is a foot unit that is providing support to a friend in melee."  My selective memory ignored "foot" in that rule.  And for that I apologize.  The immediate difference is easy to see, in one case a Burmese elephant would have lost by one from lack of support, and another case a Khmer elephant took a hit that it would not have.   With that I think Jeff would have won the game at the top of Turn 5.


  1. Another great read Phil, it`s a pity those sorts of events never take off in this country filled with Malifaux and 40k

  2. I cannot fault the 40k players. The figures are over the top cool. The rules, well, less said the better. I had to look at Mailifaux, and what I saw strikes my fancy as well. You seem to be from England, and I know there is a strong LADG presence there. I read Tim's "MadAxeman" blog regularly.

    1. Unfortunatly, I,m fro, that, to dixit someone famous over in the States, "that Hellhole called Belgium" ;-)