Monday, May 27, 2019

Bedlam 2, Round 2, Greeks vs. Huns

A Headless Body Production

Location:  Dave's House
Event:        Bedlam 2!  Classical Period, Indians need not apply!
Players:     Phil Gardocki, playing Hellenistic Greek
                         Jay Stone, playing Huns

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

Commentary:  I have received complaints that my last battle report was dry, sterile, and just not fun.  The few jokes were not funny, or even not noticeable.  In short, not an enjoyable read.  Since that complainer was me, I'll have to accept the commentary for what it was.  I clearly just "phoned that one in".  Part of the problem was I had to write it twice, because I managed to lose the first run copy to the gods of the internet.  But that is no excuse.  If the reports can not be entertaining, then there is no point to doing them.  So I went through this one and spiced it up.

Scenario: The theme was "Classical", which worked out fine for me, as I am running Hellenistic Greeks in the upcoming Mid Atlantic Team Tourney this year.  So I regard this as an opportunity for tuning up.  The condemnation of the Indian list is due to the upcoming tourney at Historicon this year, "Silk Road", where Elephants should be butting heads regularly. 

The Forces:The Achaean League, Commanders Larry(competent), Darryl (also competent) and Darryl (also competent).
     10 Pike, 4 Mediocre
       3 Hoplites, Heavy Infantry, Spear
       2 Light Infantry Bow
       4 Light Infantry Javelin
       2 Horsemen, Heavy Cavalry, impact
       4 Light Cavalry, Javelin
       Break point 25

Attila is quite adroit at screening his forces.  Suffice it to say it is lots of cavalry, and that my pike are in for a bad afternoon.
Breakpoint around 22.

Incredibly, the Greeks win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains. 

WTF???  What list am I playing against?  Huns?  Send a query to the organizer.  Ah, list 111, Hephthalite Huns. 
When the forces hit the table, I didn't even bat an eye.  It was only during the write up that I was startled by the appearance of 3 elite elephants.  What is a Hephthalite anyway?  I had a suspicion it was French for Elephant, and this was someone's attempt to insert in a killer army.  But it turns out, they really existed, but operated in western Asia, sometime after 380AD, against the Sassanid Persians and Indians.  So the Attila comment is way off also.

This is what I get when most of my ancient history is based on Phil Barker's lists :)

Here are the expected cavalry horde.

And the rest of the cavalry horde.  Not as many horse as expected.  So much the better.

Darryl has yielded his normal spot on the right with his pike to his brother Darryl and his cavalry command.  Bad timing there.

Larry and Darryl have their pike set up in one long line.
The gully in the center right of the board is going to be difficult for the Huns to deal with.  Along with the great unknown of the ambush.
Turn 1:
Darryl orders his light horse forward, but his heavy horse is turned and moving behind the lines.
Larry double expands his Hoplites, and has enough command points for a single advance.

Darryl keeps pace with Larry's pike, spinning off his Hoplite guard to cover the gully.
Off in the distance, there is the trumpeting of pachyderms as their mahouts prod them forward.  This is what you see.

This is what the Greek lights see.
Undeterred by the massed pike, the Huns surge forward.
*Because it has been way too long since the last Monty Python quote taken out of context.
While a couple try to sneak around the flank.
Turn 2:
Darryl recalls his lights.  Larry's phalanx takes their place.
Darryl's pike take the flank support role.
There is a lot of board to cover, and the cavalry maneuvers so much better.
But his brother Darryl is marching full speed to cover that area.
The elephants advance quickly.  They have the advantage of the overlap.  Missiles fly and the most important unit in the phalanx takes a hit.
Arrows fly all down the line.  Disordered Greeks following in their wake.

The Huns advance to turn around the gully, and a single Greek slinger rises from the chaff to stand in their way.
The White Huns have 0 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Greeks have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 25

Turn 3:
Darryl sends his light horse back in for one last attempt to distract the missile fire of the elephant command.  Larry holds back his disordered Hoplite, but charges with the rest.  Bad dice all round, and the phalanx picks up a couple of hits.
The rest of the phalanx advances.  We will see if we can run these guys off the board.
The Huns are undeterred by the pike and continue to pour on the fire.

Darryl's heavies arrive on the right flank to check the Hun's on board flank march.
Elephants charge, and the light horse evades. 

One elephant tramples a Hoplite into the mud.

The other files of the phalanx both have 3 hits.  This is looking like a stomp for the Huns.

Turn 4:
The White Huns have 1 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Greeks have 9 points towards their demoralization level of 25

Darryl's light horse decides to come back for another missile exchange, and to keep the Elephants from turning.
Another Hoplite falls, but an elephant is both disordered and has it's flank turned.
Both phalanx's opt to charge rather than take more missile fire.  The Huns scatter like leaves in storm.
Also, the Huns have been dispersed into 8 different groups, and only have 2 competent and one ordinary commander among them.
The Greek heavy cavalry are playing cat and mouse with the Huns.  So far, the MVP of the game is the Greek slingers in the field, which have damaged two Hun cavalry units.
The Greek left has largely collapsed.  Only two light horse face the trumpet of elephants arrayed against them.
The question is does Larry have enough command points to turn his pike?
Rallying the army is out of the question.
Even Darryl's heavy cavalry picks up a hit.
The White Huns have 4 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Greeks have 12 points towards their demoralization level of 25
Turn 5:

Hun bowmen charge to run off the Greek lights.

And are destroyed on contact.
Larry gets the command points he needs and charges.  A pachyderm panics and rampages off the board.
More pike charge, more Huns scatter.
Darryl decides to pull back and rally rather than face 4 Huns.  But the peltasts push forward to harass the Hun.
Pachyderms plow forward into the Greek lights, which evade away.  A unit of medium sword also charge a unit of light horse, which also stand and win the fight.
The Huns surround the micro phalanx. 
While the rest of the pike storm forward towards the camp.
Hunnic horse charge their tormentors, which flee across the gully.
The slingers have done all they can.  Holding off 6 times their points for 5 turns.
While Darryl tries to rally his horse for a counter attack.
One Greek light horse falls, but his partner charges an elephant's flank.

Giving the pike just enough edge to cause a rampage.  2 elephants down.
The pike do what they can to get behind the Hun cavalry.  Not quite making it though.
Darryl rallies one horse, while the other is approaching for a fight.
On the left, another pike falls. 
The Huns scatter again, save one that threads the gap between the pike.
And shooting up a Peltast.
Huns in the field are running down the slingers.
The White Huns have 11 points towards their demoralization level of 22
The Greeks have 20 points towards their demoralization level of 25

Turn 7 (?):
The Greeks are hoping for a lucky shot.

This is a well coordinated attack.  The light horse is from one command, the pike and peltast from another.

Someday, the pike will reach the camp.

But not this day.
The Greek slingers have been shot into the ground.

The battle has devolved down to missile fire.

Which is to the Huns advantage

The lines are totally fragmented.  And to the Huns advantage.

Darryl makes his one charge of the day, but with no contact.

The Greeks have 25 points towards their demoralization level of 25
The White Huns have 13 points towards their demoralization level of 22 for the win.

What went wrong?  Clearly, allowing the elephant command to lap the phalanx was the core of the problem.  But I tried to get a line up as quickly as possible.  I also stepped up to try to drive the cavalry away with consistent charges.  Doing that only made the first impact sooner, with the elephant command holding a 3 element overlap advantage, while opening the right flank of the phalanx to harassment.  This, however was mitigated by the gully.

Mediocre pike really played a role here, not a good one.  It is much easier to shoot up mediocre troops, which is what happened.  The whole block had multiple hits on it, and one pike was totally shot away.