Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A KnickKnack of Knights

A Headless Body Production

Venue: An Undisclosed Basement
Event: Breaking in a newly painted army
Players: Phil Gardocki running Burgundian Ordinance
               Steve Turn running Teutonic Order
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre v4, 15mm, 200 points per side.

The Forces:
Teutonic Order
Commanded by Karl, Brilliant, his brother Karl, Competent , and his other brother, the predefenstrated Hans Gruber, Ordinary, Unreliable.
7 Men-at-Arms, Heavy Knight, Impact
2 Medium Cavalry, Crossbow
2 Light Infantry. Crossbowmen
3 Crossbowmen
4 Heavy Spearmen
2 Halberdier, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW
1 Pike, Mediocre
Breakpoint, 21

Burgundian Ordinance Commanded by Lawrence, the Competent, his brother Darryl, the Competent, and his other brother Darryl, also Competent but unreliable.
3 Men-at-Arms, Heavy Knight Impact, one Elite
2 Demilancers, Heavy Cavalry, Impact
1 Light Horse, Impact
1 Light Horse, Crossbow
2 Foot Knights
5 Heavy Spearmen, 1/2 longbow
1 Low Country Pike, Mediocre
1 Italian Mercenaries, Light Cavalry, Crossbow
2 Croswbowmen, Pavise
2 Light Infantry, Handguns
Breakpoint of 20

A note on annotations. When you see a word bubble "Ouch!", ("Ahia!", "Aie!", "Merde!") this implies a missile hit.

Letters in parenthesis represent some value change for the specific unit. For commanders it is 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" marks a unit killed in that location on that turn.
"????" is an ambush marker, and so it is unknown at this time.


The Teutonic right is maned by a pair of heavy knights and 4 units of heavy foot.

The hill with more spearmen, polearms and crossbow.

Their left is their heaviest weight.  5 heavy knights, supported by medium horse and crossbowmen.

Darryl holds the center left.  His flank secured by terrain, and longbow shooting spearmen.

While spearmen are -2 in the rough, and in this case mediocre as well, so most everything on the Teutonic side, so it comes out even.

The other brother Darryl holds the remainder of the board, with foot knights, Pike and crossbow. 

But where is Larry?  In the double ambush in the gully?  Or a flank march?

Turn 1:

The Teutonic right advances as quickly as possible.

Faced with the uncertainty of a flank march, the foot units on the hill stay put.

The Teutonic left advances cautiously. 

Darryl sends one Heavyspear/longbow to hold off the knights.

The Heavyspear/longbow may be -2 in hand to hand in the rough, but they shoot just fine.

His remaining foot advance in sync.  They are willing to challenge just 4 knights.

Other brother Darryl goes unresponsive.

Of course Larry was hiding in the Gully.  He is commanding 77 points of the army.  That is a lot to send on a flank march.

Turn 2:
With the missing command resolved, the Teutonics try to vector their forces towards the Burgundian army.

Their heavy knights take the lead in the attack.

The command to loose arrows is given, but only sporadic fire was observed.

The Teutonic commander charges the Burgundian lights, sending them back into the gully. 

The Burgundian fire arms-men is scattered by Teutonic Crossbow.  Taking the score to 2 to 2.

Bad fletchings?  Bent arrows?  Lack of rudimentary training?  Superior Teutonic plate armor?  What ever the reason, none of the Burgundian shooters seem to score.

On the Burgundian right, Larry commits is elites to battle. 

The elites are repulsed, but a Teutonic mounted crossbow is run down by the Demilancers.

Which puts the score at 4 to 3, in favor of the Burgundians.

Turn 3:

Teutonic knights sweep past the Burgundian spear, sliding on the slick ground where the fire arms-men stood. 

The Knights charge.  Two falter on contact, but the others run over the Burgundian foot knights.

The Teutonics bring in more crossbow to support their engaged commander.

Other Brother Darryl finally gets off the privy and advances his troops, ever so slightly

While Darryl orders one of his spear to retreat, to avoid being flank charged.

Larry orders multiple charges.  His elite knights receiving support, and begin to push back their Teutonic commander.

Turn 4:
The story at the Tree of Woe.

Remember that comment I made that the fight in the field all evens out at -2?  That doesn't hold true when outnumbered 5-1.

The Teutonic foot units arrive in theater.  Their numbers will prove decisive

The Teutonic commander is lost, along with a crossbowman.

Other Brother Darryl kicks it in high gear.  He can afford a loss or two with friendly troops operating in the enemy rear.

Larry parses off a knight to head for the Teutonic main line's flank.

Turn 5:
The race begins.  The Teutonic knights have begun to flank the Burgundian main line of battle.

But can their front hold long enough against the Burgundians on the other side?

What can you say.  He tied up 4 units in death.

Another Teutonic Knight is flanked and destroyed.

Larry is trying to get his troops vectored to where they are useful.

At the Tree of Woe, the Teutonics are at 17 out of 21.

The Burgundians are at 10.

Turn 6:

That didn't last long.

With a bit of dressage, the Teutonics are now double wide attacking the Burgundian flank.

The last Teutonic Knight on their left is still fighting.

At the Tree of Woe, the Teutonics close the gap a bit.

Near the hill, a unit of Demilancers begin a long chase.  The others head for the Teutonic camp

Miraculously, the heavy spear with 3 hits (white beret's) survives.  Equally miraculously, so does the surrounded Teutonic knight. Pike +2, Disordered -1, Darryl +1, 3 simple supports, +3 for a total of +5 (mediocre) to zero (armor) for the Teutonic Knight.

The Teutonics continue to close the gap.  Giving up 1 point to 19, but costing the Burgundians 4 more, including Other Brother Darryl.

German reinforcements are almost in theater.

Their Teutonic right most knight has been rescued.

The Burgundian Demilancers win through to the camp!

Teutonic heavy spear charge Larry's knight.

Darryl's dying words has enough command points to turn the crossbow to face, while the 1/2 spear/longbow conform on the heavily damaged Teutonic knight for free.

With their camp in flames, the Teutonics order a withdrawal  But it was a narrow win, with the Burgundians at 19 of 20, to the Teutonics 21 of 21.


 *Post defenestrated Hans Gruber would have to be represented by a flat stand.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

A Furter of Franks

A Headless Body Production
Venue: On Military Matters Book Store, Hopewell, NJ
Event: Preparation for Historicon*
Players: Phil Gardocki running Anglo Saxon
               Al Kaplan running Merovingian Franks
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

The Forces:
Merovingian Frankish
The names of the commanders is lost to history
12 Tribal Warriors, Heavy Sword, Impetuous, one elite
8 Gallo-Roman Spearmen, Heavy Spear, mediocre
4 Lights, 2 each Javelin and Bow
1 Scouts, Light Cavalry, Bow
2 Cavalry of uncertain type.
Breakpoint around 29

18 Select Fyrd, Heavy Sword, Impetuous
4 Lights, Bow
2 Lights, Javelin
3 Great Fyrd, Heavy Spear, Mediocre
1 Levy
Breakpoint of 28

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Ouch!", "Oi!" or "Ahi!", 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 Merovingian Franks win the initiative and elects to attack.

The weather is good.

Dennis Shorthouse is the proprietor of On Military Matters book service. A delightful book store in Hopewell New Jersey that specializes in military books.


It is two weeks after my last visit to OMM, and again I am facing Al with his Merovingian Franks. I was ready for him this time. For one, I looked up how to spell "Merovingian". And I brought an in-period army to face his ravening horde. Anglo Saxon! Any relationship between them and Gauls nee' Germans of 2 weeks previous is strictly coincidental. 
It is late in the year, the grass dying back into the dirt, sun baked after a long drought.
Screw the flavor text. The last battle on the mat was with camels, and we didn't bother to exchange it with a green one.
Yadda, yadda, long line of heavy foot.
The Anglo-Saxon's plan is simple. LI in the gully holding the flanks, and wait till the Franks get closer, then charge.
3 commands, each 6 wide. 18 impetuous foot, just like the Gauls nee' Germans of two weeks ago, but that is just a coincidence ;)

Turn 1:
The Frankish commander is short on command points, and doesn't have enough to advance his light horse.

His left command has a lot of command points, but is having difficulty with the combination of  maneuverability, terrain and extending the line.
The Anglo-Saxons roll a 5 then a 6 for command points, but it doesn't matter. They hold still.
But there seems to be a Frankish flank march running. The Great Fyrd is ordered to intercept it.

Turn 2:

The Frankish unseen command rolls a 5 and will arrive on turn 3.

Now flush with command points, the Frankish right advances rapidly.
The disorganized advance of the Frankish left continues. The flank march is arrive too soon to help.
How long have I been playing this game? I moved the Great Fyrd to within the 4UD "Flee the Flank March Zone" Now I have to spend an extra command point I can ill afford to get it out.

Worse, two of the Select Fyrd units are also in the "Flee disordered" zone.

Turn 3:

Frankish light horse peek into the gully, and javelins begin to fly. 4 Gallo-Roman spear prepare to invest the gully with overwhelming numbers.
The remaining Frankish spear hold back, waiting for the Tribal warriors to catch up.
The Frankish horse arrives. It is a small force, but it puts terror into the Select Fyrd's right flank. Unmaneauverable troops, fleeing, and become disordered. Throwing the Anglo-Saxon right flank into disarray

A total FUBAR on deployment. I thought the right flank was beyond 4UD, but measurement on the turn of arrival said it was at 4UD. There is a price to be paid for carelessness.

But the Frankish main line of battle is also in disarray. The Select Fyrd is ordered to advance.
The Gallo-Roman Spearmen are a good match up for the Select Fyrd. While the Frankish Tribal Warriors are still trying to line up.
But the fools on the hill are scrambling to deal with their own disorder.

Turn 4:

A fake charge by the spearmen send a unit of Saxon lights fleeing.
And the rest of the Frankish line form up for battle.
For all that initial disarray, they arrive with just a tiny notch between left and center. Nothing compared to the fools on the hill.
There are only 12 of the 18 Select Fyrd available to charge. But the situation is not going to improve by holding. Even if command points allowed to hold them back.
With a great ululation, the Anglo-Saxons charge forth.
Winning 7, and losing 4, out of 12 contacts.
While the Anglo-Saxon right flank line of battle looks helplessly on.

Turn 5:

The Gallo-Roman Spearmen enter the gully, the remainder of their line of battle is rapidly disintegrating.
The Frankish Tribal Warriors are made of tougher stuff, but their line is wearing thin as well.
Their far left line has a charge opportunity, and they take it. Flanking and destroying a Fyrd on contact.

The indecisive battle for the gully continues. Maybe the Gallo-Romans are going there to find refuge? The last couple spearmen outside the gully are flanked or disordered.

Of course, indecisive in this case, is what the Anglo Saxon's want.

The Frankish Tribal warriors are flanked, but they have one last reserve to throw in.
The Fyrd on the hill finally get their chance to charge.


A count of the mayhem. The Franks are at 24 of 29.
The Anglo-Saxons are at 16 of 28.

Turn 6:

The Frankish light horse has so far managed to avoid all attempts to shoot it away. And realizing that the Franks are only 5 away from demoralization, it takes up a spot behind the Anglo-Saxon light infantry.

But from the Gully, the Gallo-Roman Spearmen charge! Hitting the "Great Fyrd" in the flank. The odds were not that bad for the Great Fyrd. Zero for being flank charged, to zero (+1 weapon, +1 flank, -2 for being in the Gully) Both mediocre. So an even up battle, and the Great Fyrd stand!

But, by being attacked, the Great Fyrd no longer has a ZOC, allowing another Gallo-Roman Spearmen to flank charge a Select Fyrd flank.

In the center, the arrival of the fresh, and elite Franks interfere with the rolling up of their flank by the Anglo-Saxons.  On the other side of the line, it is the Franks rolling up the Anglo-Saxon flank.  
Tactically, the Frankish horse has turned the flank on the hill. But on the hill itself, the Franks are losing.
A charge by a Select Fyrd on the only elite on the board goes poorly, taking 2 hits.
Fyrd charge off the hill, flank charging a Tribal warband, and taking away all hopes of destroying the Anglo-Saxon center line of battle.
For a large barbarian army to win, it has to be willing to accept losses to gain more wins. 5 points is still a lot to get. So the Anglo-Saxon Lights commit to battle.

And a lucky 6-1 roll which offed another Gallo-Roman spear.

Taking the final score of 29 for the Merovingian Frankish to 16 for the Anglo-Saxon.

What went wrong?  Always measure your units close to the 4 UD edge.  In my case, the error occurred next to the gully.  The unit there wasn't flush with the gully, about 4mm off, and then down the line of 17 foot units, put the right side over the 4UD line.  While not a legal deployment, but by turn 3, not fixable either, so I paid a penalty of 2 units fleeing disordered. 

The command structure of 6 Select (heavy sword, impetuous) and 1 Great (heavy spear, mediocre) works well.  The Great Fyrd on both the left and the right were able to hold the flankers at bay for a while, giving the Select Fyrd time to do their work.  The Great Fyrd in the center was less useful.  It needed to plug a hole, but was never go to the position to do so.  

And the levy, which didn't get it's wake up call and was never deployed, protected the camp with panache'.

*Theme, Western Europe and their Enemies**: All armies must be between the years 500-999 AD
list 109, 124-133, 141-165. Legal allies may be outside those list #s, but must fall within year range. Options indicating Europe, North Africa are permitted. No others.
**(No Elephants, No Knights, Maximum 2 Cataphracts in army) 

For more information go to the American ADLG Forum.