Monday, February 1, 2021

A Victorinox of Swiss

A Headless Body Production
Venue: An Undisclosed Basement
Event: Playing a game for the camera , Early December, 2020
Players: Phil Gardocki running Early Swiss
              Tom Worden running Burgundian Ordinance
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

The Forces:
Burgundian Ordinance (list 235)  
The Burgundians are commanded by two unnamed competent commanders and one included ordinary
6 1/2 Heavy Spearman 1/2 Longbowmen
7 Men-at-Arms, Heavy Knight, Impact, 1 Elite
2 Light Cavalry, Crossbow
2 Light Handgunners
1 Crossbow, Pavise, Mediocre
Breakpoint of 19

Swiss (list 220, Pre 1400AD)

The Swiss are commanded by Larry, the Brilliant, his brother Darrel, also Brilliant, and their other brother Darrel, the Ordinary and Unreliable, because mom made us bring him along...
15 Halberdiers, Medium Swordsmen, 2HW, Elite
2 Mounted Crossbowmen, Light Cavalry Crossbow
2 Lost Children, Light Infantry Javelin
4 Crossbowmen, Light Infantry, Crossbow
Breakpoint of 23


When you see a word bubble "Ouch!", this implies a disorder from missiles. Letters in parenthesis represent some value change for the specific unit. For commanders it is s for strategist, b for Brilliant, c for Competent and o for Ordinary, u for unreliable. For troops it is e for Elite, and m for Mediocre. Other abbreviations, Hvy Heavy, XB Crossbow, LB, Longbow, Jav Javelin, 2HW 2 Handed Weapons, B Bow, Kn Knight, HKn Heavy Knight, HC Heavy Cavalry, Md Medium, Sgt Sergeants, LC Light Cavalry, Chr Chariot, Cat Cataphract, Pa Pavise, LI, Light Infantry, HG Hand Gun, FKn Foot Knight, Hvy Spear, Heavy Spearmen.

"XX" implies a unit killed in that location on that turn.

The Board:
The Swiss win the initiative and elect to defend in the mountains.  They select s steep hill, an impassable, a coastal and a wood.  The Burgundians a steep hill and a road.

The Burgundians deployed with a strong right force with 5 mounted knights.

Their line of infantry consisted of 6 1/2 Spear/Longbow and 2 dismounted knights

On the left flank, on a steep hill, their hand gunners are bolstered by dismounted light horse.

Anchored to an impassable, the Swiss hastily construct 3 UD's of fortifications.

Larry stands with 7 Halberdiers

In the woods are two active ambushes. On the far right, Darrel deploys with 2 Light Horse.

The third command cannot be seen.

Turn 1:

The Burgundians correctly divine there is flank march running decide to try to overwhelm the onboard forces with their knights and foot command.

Two knights are ordered to deal with the flank march, if and when it arrives.

Their left advances.  They are pretty safe from cavalry on that hill.

A poor picture, but it gives you an idea of the strategic setup.

The Swiss lights decline to play with the Burgundian light horse.  Until the flank march comes on the Swiss demoralization level is only 13, and Larry has to be careful.

Larry is not going to subject his men to massed longbow volleys before he needs to.

Turn 2:

The Burgundian Light Horse declines to play with the Swiss lights behind the fortifications.

The knights are useless against the fortifications, and the clear area twixt the forts and woods is only about 6 elements wide.  The Burgundians change their plans.  Bring the longbowmen up to shoot, and crush the flank march with the knights.

5 Heavy Knights should be able to crush anything the Swiss show up with.

With a 3 - 2 edge in shooters, and a steep hill to retreat to, the Burgundian shooters advance and fire.

The Swiss formalize their defense of the fortifications.  Larry's main battle line waits patiently, singing Schweizerpsalm to another round of Schnapps.

One Swiss light withdraws for rest, the other goes for position.  It is joined by "Lost Children" that were hiding in the woods.
Turn 3:

The Juggernaut that is the Burgundian foot continue to advance.

It is one of those shots you live for in this game.  A foot knight takes a hit from a light crossbow unit.

The knights deploy from column to line.

Their lights also withdraw their wounded, but the remainder confront the Swiss on even odds.

Off in the distance, the second stanza of Schweizerpsalm can be heard, Darrel will arrive on turn 4!

The one Halberdier is enough to hold the forts, the Lights will be needed to screen the main line.

Two charges.  The Burgundians elect to hold vice flee off the board.  The dice went poorly for them.

This was very important, as the lights won't be there to interfere with the flank march.

Turn 4:

The longbow have been waiting all day to shoot.  The right hand units aim well, shooting right through the hastily constructed wood works.

One foot knight is kept behind, probably to deal with the flank march as well.  Their commander attempts to get their order back, but fails.

Larry's words are far more effective, his one Halberdier rallies!, his lights form a skirmish line and are immediately taken to task.

Darrel arrives.   His lights dog the remaining Handgunner. 

A couple of Halberdiers advance on the road facing the knights, but are still on the steep hill, and thus well protected.  The bulk of his force is on the Swiss side of the hill.

Two Halberdiers advance down the road, but still count as fighting on the steep hill.
Turn 5:

Larry's main line advances.  Volley after volley of yard long shafts perforate his ranks.

It's going to get real ugly here.

Darrel's line advances on the Burgundian flank.  All that stands between them is a single disordered Foot Knight. (it is a dismounted knight and so it only has 3 levels of cohesion vice 4)

The Swiss on the hill, looking bored, remain on the hill. 
Turn 6:

The tale at the Tree of Woe, the game is still close, 7-6.  But the break point of the Burgundians is 18, vice the Swiss 23.

The Longbowmen get their final volleys off.  Their spears stand ready to receive.

Another failed rally attempt by the Burgundian commander.

The knights do some maneuvering, but they are not going up that hill, -3 on the die, Armor, but no impact vice the Halberdiers with -1 on the die, but with higher ground, Elite and 2HW.

The grand charge!  7 units of Halberd men attack with great fury.More than half are disordered before contact. But also it is Elite vs Mediocre, and they win 5 of 6 fights.

An odds interlude.  What are the odds here?

Medium Swordsmen 2HW, Elite v Heavy Spearmen, Missile Support, Mediocre?

Straight up, the Halberdiers win 85/15 in 3.4 rounds.  Missile support is a factor in 6.2% of the fights, 2HW a factor in 23% of the individual melees.

Halberdiers with a cohesion hit, win 53/47 in 4 rounds, Missile support is a factor in 3.7% of the fights, 2HW a factor in 17% of the individual melees.

Halberdiers with flank support win 98/2 in 2.8 rounds, Missile support is a factor in 7.8% of the fights, 2HW a factor in 23% of the individual melees.

Foot Knight (ordinary) v Halbediers (elite) win 40% in 3.8 rounds.

Darrel's troops will be involved next turn.

The last Burgundian light is caught an slaughtered.

The Score is 12 to 8, in favor of the Swiss
Turn 7:

One Spear/Longbow flees the field, but two of the Spear/Longbowmen are victorious and advance.  The Foot knight on the right has a flank charge as well and slaughters another kiel of Halberdiers. 

One heavy knight breaks away from the holding force.

It charges the Swiss lights, and now threatens Darrel's rear.

The Swiss counter charge, two more heavy spear are flanked and destroyed.

The flanking forces for the main line are well in hand.  Darrel turns his rear guard to face the knights in his rear.

His lights take up harassment positions

The Burgundians are 2 away from demoralization.

Turn 8:
The unmotivated Burgundian spear make a pair of flank charges.  The one on the left failed their right face maneuver and becomes disordered on contact.  (rolling 1's will do that to you)

The knights charge where they can, right up the center.  Its +2 for both and the Halberdiers roll higher.

And with those 2 unfortunate dice off's take the Burgundians to their break point of 18.

So what went right?  The flank march was a huge success here, in both draining off 5 of the Burgundians best units and preventing the Burgundians from massing on the on table forces before arrival.  

But the terrain was decisive as well.  The on table forces were well covered to prevent overwhelming attacks as well.  And fortifications played a roll in that as well. Then when the flank march did come on, it was not in teeth of knights, but safely on the other side of terrain that the knights dare not go.  

Not mentioned in the report was also a couple of the knights were out of command control.  And could not react if they wanted to.  

Then the lights battle also went in favor of the Swiss as well, garnering 6 of the 18 points needed for victory.  

So this was a combination of factors.  Swiss machinations and mistakes made by the Burgundians.



1 comment:

  1. That's just the way it went at the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. The Swiss Confederacy defeated Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy ending the Burgundian Wars. The Swiss did have the help of René II, Duke of Lorraine. Charles the Bold didn't make out very well as his mutilated body was found three days later.