Friday, February 28, 2020

A Magnificence of Mongols

A Headless Body Production
Venue: On Military Matters Bookstore. Owner Operator: Dennis Shorthouse
Event: Prep for Cold Wars 300 point Team Tournament
Players: Phil Gardocki running Samurai
               Dennis Shorthouse running Mongols
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15 mm, 300 points per side.
Theme: None

The Forces:
Aishi and Dishi, both Brilliant, Bishi and Cishi, both Competent
10 Mounted Samurai, Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Elite
6 Samurai, Medium Swordsmen, Bow, Elite
6 Yari, Medium Spearmen, Mediocre
6 Archers, Bowmen, Pavise, Mediocre
4 Enishi, Light Cavalry, Bow
Breakpoint around 30

This is mostly guesswork
10 Medium and Heavy Cavalry, Bow, Elite and some Impact
12 Light Cavalry, Bow, 1/2 Elite
6 Levy Expendable

Breakpoint of 38

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 Mongols win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains.
The Mongol right hand command is 3 units of lights, and 3 mediums.
The Mongol center right has 4 units of lights, and 3 Heavy Cavalry, Impact, Bow

As part of the same command, are 6 units of Levy
On the left are their heaviest forces.  6 cavalry, and 10 lights.

Cishi takes the left with 8 units, 4 bow, 4 spear, all of questionable families and talents.
The center has all the foot samurai, supported by Yari.
On the right are two commands of Samurai cavalry, all heavies, elites and with bows.  Commanded by the Brilliant commanders Aishi and Dishi
 The unflocked units are from my soon to be finished Korean army.

 Turn 1:
Taking full advantage of mobility, and of a faulty deployment on the Japanese side, the Mongols decide to cut a couple of units from the herd and earmark them for destruction.
 The hill is covered in a field as well, I should have just put all 8 units on it instead.

The Mongol heavies head for the weaker Yari units.  They levy has been assigned to combat the Samurai foot forces.

But on the Mongol left there is a problem, as they are outnumbered in both quantity and quality, and matched in mobility and command.
But for the moment, Mongol arrows fly true, disordering the Japanese lights, and exposing the flank.
Cishi has two command points.  One orders the turning of a Yari to prevent envelopment, the other directs bow fire.
Samurai advance and loose arrows.

The mounted Samurai likewise. 
Considering the volume of elite shooters, this was not a promising beginning.
The other lights have bee withdrawn, but it took a lot of doing to get the heavies in the way to prevent pursuit.
Turn 2:
The Mongols race through the arrow storm and set up a two prong attack on a Yari.
With the attention of the Samurai diverted to the Levi, 3 Mongol lancers are bearing down on the flank protecting Yari
The missile exchange against the Mounted Samurai is running in the favor of the Mongols.

The Mongols keep up the pressure on the far flank.
Yari charge off the light horse, with archers blowing them a kiss as they run.
The Yari in the middle are holding their ground, with support coming up on their right.  The foot Samurai have had enough of this shooting at worthless troops and give them the sword instead.
By some miracle, some of the levy still stands.
On the left, Mongol Medium Cavalry is trapped, then charged.  Their general decides not to ride off and support his compatriot.  Aishi then decides to charge their supporting light horse as well  figuring that their either flee, and that will be OK, or stay, and he will have elite heavies against lights, and that's OK as well.
Mid-battle summertime
where a tempered, frothed horse charge
whilst waving the sword

The remaining Samurai line continues shooting, and has 5 successful rallies as well.
Glorious mid-day
How a many, curved bows throbbed
Arrows loft fluttered

The Samurai have 2 points towards their breakpoint of 30
The Mongols have 7 points towards their breakpoint of 29

Turn 3:
A Yari is swarmed and overwhelmed.
So too, the Samurai flank guards.
In the center, the Levi is scattered, along with a Mongol Cavalry unit.  But a careless placement has put Aishi in the path of a flank charge.  But fortune favors fools, and he avoids a death roll, and wins the fight.
One unit of Mongol cavalry advances to block ZOC for the flank charge, the rest stand and shoot.
Cishi focuses his bow fire to no avail
Mongol lancers finish job 1, but now are facing a new threat.
Samurai foot advance on new targets.
There is nothing like the feeling of destroying 5 enemy levy, and have the breakpoint counter advance by zero.
Well played Dennis.
It seems like the Samurai have the cavalry battle well in hand.  Red arrows show possible future paths.

The Samurai have 9 points towards their breakpoint of 30
The Mongols have 9 points towards their breakpoint of 29

Turn 4:
A Mongol general rallies the last Levy unit.  He is trying to avoid having his best cavalry from being surrounded.  Red arrows show unit facing.  Rules note, it was discovered later that expendable Levys cannot rally.
The Mongols have their right flank fight well in hand.  But it will take time to clean up the remaining blocking forces.

The Mongol Heavies can either charge the Yari/Bowmen, which are Mediocre but organized, or the Samurai, which is Elite, but poorly positioned.  They go for the Samurai.
The Mongol horse could only have gotten two units engaged of the Yari/Bowmen group, but that group has an ordinary commander, and is currently out of command range.

With half their leaders dead, the Mongols decide to hold their ground.

Their options limited to covering one flank and a failed rally.
Cishi flees his flank guard to bolster his more orderly command.

He orders his bowmen forward.  He chose this because there was Mongol Light Cavalry unit in range to charge their rear. 
In retrospect he should have accepted that charge and pushed his spearmen instead.
Total chaos here.  Battles won that should be lost and visa-versa.  The Mongols call retreat where they are at risk. 
This is all the more confusing with my dark flocking making it difficult to tell which way the units are facing.

All the Mongol Heavies are now trapped, but their win isn't on this flank.
The Samurai have 16 points towards their breakpoint of 30
The Mongols have 15 points towards their breakpoint of 29

Turn 5:

Half of Cishi's command is in ruins.  But the Mongols are in disarray as well.
A bad decision comes back to bite.  Aishi's bowmen are eviscerated, while his Yari are in no position to help.
Bishi's foot Samuri advance to the area but can provide little support
On their left flank, the Mongol heavies are still engaged, but refuse to die.
Time has been called, so the bottom of the turn is all that is left.

Samurai line up on a single heavy
The cleanup on far right continues.
There is no point in pursuing the lights, so  rallies are in order.
The final score
The Samurai have 23 points towards their breakpoint of 30
The Mongols have 13 points towards their breakpoint of 29

The battle ran with both sides winning on their right flanks.  But on the Samurai left, the Mongols were able to take advantage of the situation better as their mobility allowed them to keep destroying units.

While on the Samurai right, the last of the Mongol heavies still stood his ground, and all the lights were able to escape.

The middle of the field was where the battle was lost.  The foot Samurai's only targets for several turns was the Levy units.  Tying up a very expensive asset for zero gain for several turns.  If those elite, and +1 vs mounted, bows were allowed real targets, this game would have had a different ending.

Violent sundown
A total, bloody loss failed
at the perfect bows


  1. Phil, one rule mistake: expendable units cant be rallied. Another thing, I believe they dony count towards the break point even when disordered.
    Otherwise, great matchup.
    Kind regards,

  2. Thanks Tommy for pointing that out, We goofed. I updated the blog with this information. And you are correct, the expendables don't count towards the break point, even if disordered. That part we did do correctly. So the 3 turns tieing up the Samurai cost the Mongols nothing, and allowed them to maneuver around that block of troops.