Monday, January 27, 2020

A Thinning of Byzantines, Part 1

A Headless Body Production
Venue:   On Military Matters Bookstore.  Owner Operator: Dennis Shorthouse
Event:    Preparation for the USTT 2020

Players: Phil Gardocki running Burgundian Ordinance
                  Dennis Shorthouse running Later Byzantine
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.
Theme: None

The Forces:
Burgundian Ordonnance
Commanded by Lawrence, the Competent, his brother Darryl (Which turns out to be French in origin)  the Competent and his other brother Darryl , the Ordinary, and somewhat unreliable.
5 1/2 Heavy Spearman 1/2 Longbowmen       
2 Foot Knights      
3 Men-at-Arms, Heavy Knight, Impact, 1 Elite  
2 Light Cavalry, Crossbow
2 Demi-Lancers, Heavy Cavalry Impact
2 Handgunners, Elite          
2 Crossbow, Pavise
Breakpoint of 20

Later Byzantine
6 Medium Knights, dismounted as Heavy Swordsmen, Armor, some elite
4 Medium Cavalry, Bow, some elite
6 Light Cavalry, Bow
2 Bowmen
2 Javelinmen
2 Light Infantry, Bow
Breakpoint of 23

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.

 The Board:
The Byzantines win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains.

After considerable thought, the Byzantine General dismounts his knights, they are well screened by 3 Light Cavalry

The Byzantine left is 4 Kataphractoi, and 3 Light Horse

 The Byzantine 3rd command cannot be seen.
Lawrence deploys on the left with 4 half Spear/Longbow and 2 Foot Knights.

His brother Darryl is on the right with a half spear/longbow, pike, crossbow and hand gunners.

Their other brother Darryl cannot be seen.

Turn 1:
From ambush is revealed 6 units armed with javelins and bows.

 Yes, there was only 1 ambush marker and the limit was 4 units per ambush.  This was not handled correctly.

Weighed down by armor, the knights grumble as they are forced to do a facing move in addition to a triple march.
Dennis had great rolls for command points.
While the Kataphractoi quick marches across the board.

For this game, the lights that Lawrence's command normally has was assigned to Darryl on the right, with the sudden appearance of all that LMI, that decision is now proved questionable.  Lawrence advances a little and slides.
Darryl advances his heavy troops, leaving the crossbowmen behind to cover his flanks
Retreating the hand-gunners to the relative safety of the gully.
 Turn 2:
The Byzantines advance across the front.  Missiles fly, to which the Burgundians prove incompetent.

Out of position, out of range, not in cover, the Burgundians cause no discomfort to the Byzantines.

There is dust visible on the right.  Darryl's knights will arrive next bound!
Lawrence starts to redeploy his foot knights to face the LMI horde that will be traveling along the flank.
Nothing else changes down the line.
Both Lawrence and Darryl roll next to naught for command points and have limited actions.  But on the other hand, most of their shooters have targets.  They are just not good at it.
The Byzantines have 2 points towards their breakpoint of 23
The Burgundians have 3 points towards their breakpoint of 20

Turn 3:
This is rapidly going badly, and I was tempted to offer my resignation, and get another game in.

One unit of javelinmen race down the flank and head for the camp.  Psiloi archers mass to trade shots on the corner Burgundian longbow unit.

The dismounted knights take a breather and advance at half pace.

Lawrence rolls a one for command points, and spends it rallying, and failing, his corner units.
Darryl's Crossbow flank charges a Kataphract in the rear.  Where it is promptly ZOC'd and harassed by Burgundian Longbow.

Darryl is similarly pip-starved.  And also fails his rally attempt for his pikemen.  But on the other hand, Darryl's cavalry has arrived.
The Byzantines have 5 points towards their breakpoint of 23
The Burgundians have 6 points towards their breakpoint of 20

Turn 4:
The flank march was not a well thought out strategy for this fight.
Byzantine Javelinmen skip forward throwing spears into the Burgundian corner.  The knights advance to bow reach
Having found their range, the Burgundians loose arrows.  The one they needed most was against the ZOC'd Kataphract in the rear, but the horsemen manage to dressage away.
Darryl's pikemen pick up another disorder.  Kataphracts swarm one of his crossbowmen.
The Byzantine lights withdraw from the area in an attempt to regain their order.
Lawrence orders up his line, awaiting the clash of impact.
Darryl desperately is trying to hang onto the flank.

But his troops are badly battered and out of position, and desperately in need of rescue.
The Byzantines have 7 points towards their breakpoint of 23
The Burgundians have 8 points towards their breakpoint of 20

Turn 5:
The Burgundian camp falls.

But the knights hold back.  The Burgundian position is well and truly flanked, and they can afford to wait.
Darryl's command is also enjoying a breather, but none of his rally's are effective.
Darryl's knights advance, only to see the tails of the Kataphracts fleeing in the distance.
Lawrence leads his foot knights to conform on the Javelinmen, then totally muffed the die roll, only their superior armor saves them from a hit.

Down the line longbow strings twang, but nowhere do they score.
Darryl's Demilancers catch a Kataphract and grind it into the pike.
His Heavy Knights only see the tails of the remaining Kataphracts.
Lawrence's Foot Knights are now totally surrounded, but continue to fight.
Final picture.
The Byzantines have 9 points towards their breakpoint of 23
The Burgundians have 16 points towards their breakpoint of 20

We called the game on time here, in order to get another game in.  Dennis was declared the winner even if the Burgundians had not broken yet.

It was easy to see what went wrong here. 
On the left, with the main battle line, there was no troops that could deal with the terrain.  Normally that command has a LI, that would have delayed the crossing by several turns, and in this case I sent it to the right, where it was shot away in defense of the gully, that my opponent would have never entered anyway. 

Then the flank march.  It came on in a timely fashion, but was way too far away to be effective.  It's Light Cavalry shot a damaged LC to death, and the Demilancers caught a Kataphract.  For a total of 3 points towards victory.  That command is 76 points, and needs to win big, or this army fails.

The flank guard command did well enough.  Damaging and killing a Kataphract, but was giving way everywhere under superior pressure.

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