Sunday, March 10, 2019

Klash of Knights

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Walt's Mancave

Event:        Cold Wars Prep
Players:    Phil Gardocki playing the Medieval Polish
                      Bill Hawkes and Walt Leach playing Medieval German

Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, about 200 points per side.

The Narrative:
Well, something new.  Actual historic opponents.  Except that the Wing Hussars as we think of them did not actually evolve until a later period, but the Lithuanians probably had the wings, but presumably not for actual combat, but to hell with it, they look good!

The Forces:
Medieval Polish
Larricki (Strategist), Darrylski (Brilliant) and Darrylski (unreliable, ordinary)
     4  Heavy Knights, Impetuous, Elite
     4 Horsemen, Medium Cavalry, Crossbow
     4  Lithuanians Light Cavalry, Javelin
     3  Tartars Light Cavalry, Bow, Elite
     1 Light Infantry, Handgun, Elite
     2 Heavy Spearmen, half Crossbow
     2 War Wagons
Breakpoint of 21

Medieval Germans
The German lists have been lost to history, but this is a reasonable guess:
Generals, one Brilliant, one Competent, one included, probably Competent
      8 Heavy Knights, Impact, most ordinary.
      8 Light Infantry, Crossbow
      6 Pikemen, Mediocre
      1 Heavy Cavalry, Bow
      Break point 23

Scenario: The Hanseatic League has hired a large mercenary company to help promote their products.  These Germans have made incursions across the Oder River into Duchy of  Szczecin, where they are met by the bouncers. 

The Board:
The Polish won the initiative and elected to defend in the Mountains.  They picked two wooded hills, and an impassible.  While the Germans picked an road, brush, and a marsh.  

A repurposed 4th grade project will act as the impassable.  In its shadow is the dark, forbidding swamp of eternal stench.

On the right are a few pieces of felt, unimaginatively representing steep wooded hills, and a brush.
The road could be the 104, connecting Schlutup to Szczecin.

The German right is filled with pike.  And I will add, they look really good.

Their left is full of knights, +1 cavalry.

The Polish is refusing their left, holding it with 4 units and a few barricades.

The Polish right is 4 Winged Hussars, well screened by lights, and supported by a number of ambushes.
Turn 1:

The Germans are faced by an extreme shortage of resistance.  Fortifications or not, the Pike outnumber Darrylski's command 2-1. 

The German Knights also outnumber the Winged Hussars by 2-1.  The Germans have a small, 2 Knight command which they hold back in reserve.
The Polish announce a flank march, and then roll a 6.  It will be arriving on turn 2, on the edge with the impassable.

Darrylski pulls back one war wagon, lining it up with the Heavy Spearmen.  We know where and when the flank march is coming, and so we only need a turn or two of delay to for a possible encirclement.
So to with Larricki's Knights.  There were plenty of command points, so he pulls back his line. 
Turn 2:
The German small command has plenty of command points and race down the autobahn to intercept the flank march.
The pike march forward undeterred.
So to, the knights advance.
The Polish plan so far is working perfectly. Then the screw up occurs.  Darrylski splits the arrival into 3 parts, two on one side of the impassable.
And one on the other.  The thought is to partially encircle the pike, while taunting the knights with mounted crossbow.  And get a Tartar to the camp.  Lofty goals, but even with a brilliant commander in charge, the troops are too spread out, fragmented, and under-powered for the task.
The other Darrylski is making other adjustments with his line.  War Wagons are unmaneuverable, and are a pain to adjust.
The Lithuanians advance forward to taunt the German Lights.  An ambush is revealed to be elite handgunners on the hill.

Shots fired, and the left most knight is disordered.
Turn 3:
I thought the Lithuanians were well covered to avoid being caught while evading, but Walt disabused me of that very quickly.

Two knights charged, and two Lithuanians were able to flee, but two others were caught and run down.

The pikes peel off their right flank to face the flank march.

The German flank guards advance, ZOCing the flankers.  Shots are fired, and both German Knights take a hit.
At this point I realized that lucky hits or not, this flank was doomed to destruction, or being run off, and quickly too.  So a charge was ordered under the best conditions I can arrange.  The dice roll and it's a tie!
Darrylski ignores the pike, and goes for an encirclement of the knights instead.
Larricki is two horse units down, and out of charge reach, but he advances his knights to offer battle.  The Knights Żółty i Zielony will be overlapped in the charge, but the Knights Punkt Włóczni will have an overlap in it's favor.

The view from the long edge.
The battle is looking bad for the Polish.  They have lost two units outright and are looking out numbered and out-armored everywhere on the board.  Only fortunate shooting and die rolls have the score about even.
The Polish have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 21
The Germans have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 23

Turn 4:
The German flank guards line up on the Polish Medium Cavalry.  One of the charged Cavalry units flees, and makes the edge of the board.  His remaining companion, unsupported on both sides,  rolls very well, and survives the battle undisordered.

Same view from above.
Darrylcki's remaining forces have turned the corner, but they are still too far away to affect a save.

But while I was over on the table edge, we have a great view of lineup about to occur.
The pikemen are still 2 turns out, time for plenty of shooting.

The German Knights, decide not to charge, but are going for position for next turns charge.
The Polish Cavalry disengages.
More shooting, but to no effect.
The Winged Hussars charge.  Larricki joins the battle on the right most flank.  From left to right, the Knights Żółty i Zielony win, Czerwoni i Zieleni and Czerwoni i Biali lose, and Punkt Włóczni roll a tie.
The Polish have 7 points towards their demoralization level of 21
The Germans have 6 points towards their demoralization level of 23

Turn 5:
On the flank, another charge, and two evades, 3 Polish units are now off board.
Almost ready for the clash of arms.
3 of 4 Winged Hussars have fallen, for the price of one knight.
There is no option here, as the Punkt Włóczni is impetuous.  He must conform, and will take a flank charge next turn.

Polish shooting only adds one point to the score, dispersing a Light Infantry.
This is looking very bad for the Polish.  75% of their knights are gone, and the remaining one is about to take a flank charge.
The Polish have 13 points towards their demoralization level of 21
The Germans have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 23

Turn 6:

A shining beacon erupts in the distance.

Victory assured, the German Commander pushes forward to the front, where he is shot out of his saddle by an random bullet, then trampled under hoof. 
The fight at the barricades is having mixed results.  A War Wagon is down, but so is a pike.

Punkt Włóczni continues to fight on.

Off in the distance, the remaining Lithuanian, makes a long roll to catch fleeing Light Infantry and kills one.  Closer to the front, a War-Wagon has been chasing down a Knight.
The twin disasters of losing the camp and a Brilliant General has proved too much for the Germans, shifting, adding 7 points to their demoralization level.  Combined with accumulative missile hits has taken their total to 23 for a Polish win. 

Why did I label the Light Infantry, Firearm the MVP?
     First, by being real, he kept a Heavy Cavalry unit from revealing the unknown of the last ambush.      Second, he kept that Heavy Cavalry pretty much out of the game.  So 5 points have rendered 11 points ineffective.
    Three, his opening volley disordered the left flank German Knight.  Directly leading to it's destruction.
    Four, It's support of the Rycerzy Punkt Włóczni (Knights Point of the Spear) lead to the slaying of a commander (3 points) destruction of a knight (2 points) and damaging another knight (1 point), the damaging of a Light Infantry unit through shooting, and then its subsequent destruction by a routing knight (2 points).  For a total contributing of 8 points to final victory.

The final score was 17-23.

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