Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Commiserating with the Communal Italians

A Headless Body Production

Venue: An Undisclosed Community Center, in the land of the HAWKS.
Event: "Cold" Barrage! Round 1, "Early Period"
Players: Tom Zimmerman running Communal Italian, list 189
               Phil Gardocki running Scots Isles and Highlanders, list 187
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 15mm, 200 points per side.

When Cold Wars 2024 was canceled, the Harford Area Weekly Kriegspielers, aka, the HAWKS group, stepped up and organized their own gaming event. 

We owe them a great deal of thanks.

Also an acknowledgement to the City of Harve de Grace's Community Center (ok, I guess it was disclosed) for their recent renovations.  The Men's room was totally renewed with fresh tiles, and lighting that you could work on your tan with.

The Forces:
The Scots, in the year 1182
Commanded by MacLeft, the Competent, MacCenter, the Competent, and MacRight, the Ordinary.
14 Islemen, Heavy Swordsmen, 2HW. Clan Ramsay, Clan Jordan, Clan MacLyre and the Boys from Aberdeen are Elite*.  2 are young isle-men and are Mediocre
2 Scouts, Light Infantry, Bow
2 Various townsmen serving as camp laborers as Levy
4 Hielandrs, Medium Sword, Bow
2 Irish Mercenaries, Medium Sword, 2HW
Breakpoint of 24

Communal Italians
Competently commanded but unnamed.
9 Knights, Impact
4 1/2 Heavy Spear, 1/2 Crossbow
4 Heavy Spear
2 Light Infantry, Bow
2 Light Cavalry, Crossbow
Breakpoint of 21

Display Conventions: When you see a word bubble like "Ouch!" or "tha sin a' goirteachadh!" or "Ahia!", 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.

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.

Any inaccuracies and vagueness as to specific units is to be regarded as fog of war and should be considered as part of the fun.

The Board:

The Italians win the initiative and elect for the Scots to attack in the plains.

The Scots only have Mountains as a choice for home territory.  Many armies would rather fight in the plains, and then would have to accept being on the defensive to do so.

Other games at Cold Barrage:

Some 35 games, 32 vendors showed up.

The next Barrage is Sept 27 and 28.  Game master registration is in July, attendees in August.

Dawn, on the second day of March

The battle for Oz is about to start.

One side of Oz has acquired gunpowder.

Another side has strange creatures.

The Wacky Races are about to start.

Dick Dastardly has the poll position

Followed by Pat Pending, The Red Max, Penelope Pitstop, Sergeant Blast, The Ant Hill Mob, Luke and Blubber Bear and Peter Perfect.

Back in the Ancients room, a newly painted army is presented.
Ooooo, Ahhhh, Oooo!!!

On to deployment. 

The God's eye view.

It looks like the Italians plan is to hold on their right.

Attack in the center

While keeping pressure on with their left.

The Scots plan was to run up the left with MacRights command.

While attacking or holding the center

And on the right as well. 

Turn 1:

With almost every unit having 2HW, the overall goal is to engage everywhere, and let the heavy weapons do their magic.

The Italian force on the hill is staying on the hill.  MacRight's command, with 4 Highland archers and 2 Irish mercenaries can take the hill, but that would tie down 6 units.  He will try instead to engage with just the archers, while flanking the knights with the Irish.  For the rest of the field, it is 9 knights supported by 4 Heavy Spear against 14 Heavy Sword, 2HW.  The knights have the advantage overall, but not the numbers.

We will have to see how that works out.

Turn 2:

The Heilan archers advance and loose arrows at the Italian scouts, which adroitly avoid the arrow storm, while delivering well aimed shots in return.

Mac center advances just a step.  He wants to draw the knights in for the Irish to flank them.

On the right, the Scots advance fully.  They would love to mix it up with the Italian spear.

The Italian scouts with draw from the immediate field.  This commands mission seems to be to just delay, and is doing a good job of it.

The knights in the center make adjustments for their charge.  They plan to exploit the gap between MacCenter and MacLeft's commands.

The Italian left advances to keep the Scots command in place.

Turn 3:
MacRight's command advances.  Raking the hill with arrows, and splitting off the Irish for flank support of MacCenters command.

The Scots center advances close, ZOCing the Knights.  When the Knights charge, they will have an overlap on their left, but give up an overlap on their right.

The Scots right advances a bit, expecting to suck off a knight or two from the Italian center.

The Italians on the hill advance.  Bollixing the Scots plan.  

The flower of Italian chivalry charge.  The results pretty much break even.  Two ties, and 1 win for each.

On the Scots right, a disaster.  Two knights charge, and one's charge was bloodily repulsed.  But the other knight ran over their Isle-men opponents.

Turn 4:
The Highlanders advance and loose arrows.  One finds a niche in the line and pushes behind the Italian flanks.  The Irish line up to assault the 1/2 Heavy Spear, 1/2 Crossbow.

The Isle-men charge the last unengaged knight, disordering it.  Down the line, the knights accrue more damage.  A number of hits were directly attributed to 2HW negating the armor advantage of the knights. But on their right, an Isle-man is routed.

A knight is routed.  But the Scot's right is turned by the other knight.

With 12 points, the Scots are half way to their demoralization level of 24

But the Italians are at 14, with a demoralization level of 21

It looks like I missed taking pictures of Italian part of turn 4.  Their right spearmen engaged the Highlander bows, while pulling their light horse into the threatened gap in their lines.

Knights turned the flanks of the Isle-men in two spots, racking up flank charges.

Turn 5:

MacRight joins his Highlander archers in combat. 

The Irish Mercinaries receive some support and engage the Italian 1/2 Spear/Crossbow

Knight after knight are routed before Scots Claymores.

While the last knight on the Italian left routs another Isle-man.

Bringing the Scots score to 14

To the Italians 17

Highlanders rout an Italian Spear.  The rest of the Italians hold their ground.

Italian knights rout another Isle-man

And another, and another...

Turn 6:
At the top of the sixth, the Scots are at 17 of 24

While the Italians are at 18 of 21

Both sides are looking for opportunities.  The Italians have more as their remaining knights are behind the Scot's lines, and have longer reach.

But the Highlanders pull through.  Destroying the last Italian spear and dispersing the Italian scouts with arrows.  While their Irish allies rout another Italian unit for the 3 points needed to demoralize the Italians.

Clan MacLyre flanks a knight and routs it.

MacLeft's command is mostly destroyed.  His orders are mainly to save what he can.

And it was enough.  The Italians are now at 22 of 21, to the Scots 18.

The end game on another table.  Indians vs Wee Chinese.  Keven likes representing his commanders with elephants, so it looks like he has more than he really does.  But Dan, running the Wee, is undaunted, and went on to win the tournament.

Walking through the main game room.  I don't know the game, but the setup is awesome. 

The battle for Oz is wrapping up.  It looks like the Wizards troops have triumphed. 

The Wacky Races have a cameo by the Batmobile.

Dick Dastardly is in the lead with a blown engine.

Offshore Ironclad action.

So what went wrong?

The lessons learned are for the Scots.  Tom's Italians had their own lessons to learn, and learn they did, as Tom ended in second place for the day.

The battle on my left, even though successful, did not go as planned.  In the end, it out shot it's opponents, which with 4 bow to 2, it should.  And forced them to come off the hill.  But the Irish never went down the knights flank, but instead derived support from the center command to deal with the Italian's mixed spear/XB units.

In the center, the plan worked better than expected.  4 engagements on charge, winning one, losing one and tieing 2.  That is better luck than expected.  And that set the stage for obliterating the Italian knight command.

But the right flank was a total FUBAR.  One warband wound up chasing a Light horse the whole game.  A knight just plowed through the end warband, then wound up killing 2 more units by games end.  What could have been 4 battles of Islemen vs Spear never happened until the Islemen were disordered by missiles and flanked.  With predictable results.  The only saving grace here was the knights victory was so far on the flank, that they couldn't get to the center to turn things around there.

But the core problem was the coordination of the commands was poor.  The left command was to sweep right, while the center command to provide a anvil for it's hammer.  But the center command advanced too far and the left flank couldn't keep up.

Then the separation of the center and right allowed for gaps that the Italians could exploit.

* Why Clan Ramsay and Clan Jordan?  My last name of Gardocki which is, of course, Polish.  But from my mothers side, I can claim ancestry of these clans.  

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