Tuesday, November 14, 2023

1066 Hastings (sort of)

A Headless Body Production

Venue: Upper Providence Meeting House
Event: Wednesday Night
Theme: 1066, Hastings
Players: Phil Gardocki, 
John Forscythe running Anglo Danish
              Bruce Potter,
Garth Parker running Norman
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 300 points per side.

The Forces:
The Anglo Danish.  Led by the King, Harold Godwinson, his brother Leofwine Godwinson, Ulf the Earl, and an unknown commander.  All were run as Competent
8 Huscarls, Heavy swordsmen, 2HW, Armored and Elite
17 Select Fyrd, Heavy Spearmen
3 Great Fyrd, Heavy Spearmen, Mediocre
8 LI, various, mostly bow
Led by William, Francois,
Gascon, all rated as Competent, and Guy, rated as Ordinary
12 Normans, Medium Knight, Impetuous, Elite
3 Breton Scouts, Light Cavalry Javelin
6 Bowmen
2 Levy
6 Bretons, Heavy Spearmen, Armor
2 Bretons, Heavy Spearmen
1 Light Infantry, Crossbow
From last week, I dropped the armor for the Fyrd, as I thought I was going to need the numbers, and Spear vs Knights is a good match up.  Or so I thought...

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "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.

Commanders are rated s for Strategist, b for Brilliant, c for Competent, o for Ordinary and u for Unreliable

Inappropriately CAPITALIZED words are used to highlight terms that are specific to the game. For example Brilliant, Competent and Ordinary have specific game values for the commanders.

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

The Board:
William the Competent (a step up from the Bastard, and not yet acquired the moniker of the Conqueror) wins the toss and elects to attack in the plains.

While the forces represent Anglo-Danes v Normans at Hastings, this is just a game, and not a historical simulation.


William, the bastard, takes the right with his mounted Normans on their chargers.  To his left is a large force of Bretons.

On the hill is a large bow contingent.

On the left, Francois has another large force of mounted lancers.

Harold, the king, takes the left.  The field should provide sufficient flank protection from the Norman cavalry.

Down the line, elite Huscarls bolster the line of mostly Fyrd.

Ending almost to the edge of the board.
Turn 1:

William fumbles his orders somewhat.

Allowing the slower Breton foot to extend their line and double march.

Bowman race forward, to just out of arrow range.

Francois's horse advances lively.

Harold's line advances and slides left. 

The rest of the line follows suit.  Anglo-Danish Skirmishers advance to within bow range.  Eager bowmen darken the skies to good effect.

Anonymous takes advantage of the 3UD rule, and advances to charge reach of the Norman horse.

The Anglo-Danes are not lined up perfectly, but are in a position to flank both sides of the Norman horse with spear and ax.  With the horse separated from the bowman by 3 units or more, it is not going to get better than this.
Turn 2:

Williams command is facing a dearth of opponents.  But that field is not going to allow him to turn the flank so easily.
The Normans are classed as knights.  Moving only 3 in the open, and 2 in the field.  That and they are impetuous, and so take two command points to turn, and lose two UD's of movement doing so.  

That, <spoilers> and the ambush in the field is real with two LI, Javelin.  Those knights are going to have problems getting engaged.

The Bretons quickstep forward.  But still out of range.
Both Bruce (Normans) and I (Anglo-Danes) adjusted our lists based on last weeks game.  He armored his Breton Heavy Spear, while I left the armor for the Fyrd behind.  His thoughts were he was going to need it in the scrum.  My thoughts was I needed the points to bolster my break point from 28 to 36.

The continental bowmen are shooting how.

It's 7:40 (game started at 7) and the first major charge.  Norman horse do very well, winning 3 of 5 contacts.

Harold advances to charge reach of the Bretons.  He has both flanks if they charge.

Ulf and Gyrth advance on the bowmen.  Who continue to shoot very well.

The Norman heavy horse begin to break through.  On the far right, a unit Fyrd turns and charges Norman Light Horse.  One flees off the board.  But the Fyrd rolls long on the charge.  The other Light Horse stands, and is destroyed.

Turn 3:

William begins a ponderous turn of his mass of cavalry.

The bowman have a choice.  Stand and loose, or retreat to the hill.  If their retreat, they lose turns shooting, and abandon their allies to being flanked.  If they stand, they risk being destroyed.  Guy decides to be brave and stand.

Francois disengages his horse and prepares for another charge.

Harold orders a charge.  And proceeds to roll poorly.  losing 5 out of 6 contacts.

Anglo-Danish lights emerge from ambush in the field and pin the Norman lights with a ZOC.  Protecting Harold's line from a flank attack.

Guy's decision to stand fast looks like a bad move.  Half his bowmen are destroyed, two of 3 remaining are disordered.
Basically, the dice turned around.  As they will some times.

Anonymous tries to reorganize his line in anticipation of Francois next charge.

The game is moving fast.  About 8:30 and the Normans are at 14 of 32 towards their break point.

The Anglo-Danish are at 13 of 36 towards their break point

Turn 4:
William's horse pushes towards the occupied field.  His Bretons are breaking through Harold's Lines. 

Guy's bowman are offered no quarter, and fight bravely on.

Francois's horse charge again.  One is defeated an run off.  But the hole in Anonymous's command widens to the point where it cannot be plugged.

The Normans add 6 to their demoralization level and are at 20 of 32 towards their break point.

The Anglo-Danish double their count, and are now at 27 of 36 towards their break point.

Harold has difficulty making decisions, and few troops to make decisions with.

Ulf and Gyrth have easy decisions to make.  But they need to think more on the big picture.

For their flanks are deteriorating fast.  And even a total victory in the center will leave them surrounded by Norman cavalry.

Turn 5:

The Normans are 8 away from their break point of 32

The Anglo-Danes are 9 away from their break point of 36.

William is desperate to shave points where he can.  So knights are sent into the field.  Yes, they lose impetuous and are -2.  But are elite and armored and supported on one side..  The fight breaks even.

Gascon has multiple flank charges on Harold's line of battle.

Guy retires to camp as his command is totally destroyed.  (no points for lost commander in this case)

Francois launches another charge, heavily disordering a Huscarl.

The Normans are at 28 of 32

The Anglo-Danish are at 32 of 36

Harold's command is mostly finished.  His last Huscarl is holding protecting the flank of Ulf's battle.

Ulf is victorious, but will take some time to reorganize against the Bretons.

Gyrth Godwinson defeats a Norman, but loses a Huscarl in exchange.

Both sides had successful rallies, pulling their armies back from the brink.  Harold's forces at 29 of 36.

Williams Normans are at 25.
At this point we called it for a winning draw for the Normans.

On the left, Harold's command was mostly destroyed.  It's remaining heavy sword was being hard pressed.  The LI fighting the Knights in the field will probably lose, eventually, or disengage.

The Norman/Breton command, center left, is largely intact and better organized and better armored than Ulf's center left command.  And will be turning onto it.  In another hour, they will engage, and probably prevail.

Center right and right will probably see the eventual overwhelming of Francois's knights.  Taking the Normans to 30 of 32.  But they may score a point or two before they go down.

Lessons learned.  If a character has a major part in the story, give him a name.  That Anonymous joke ran thin around turn 2.

editor note:  That joke was old before this missive was written....

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