Saturday 10 September 2016

L'Art de la Guerre - A New North Sea Empire?

After a bit of an unintended hiatus, we got another game of L'Art de la Guerre in this weekend. I'm afraid the lighting in the room wasn't really designed for the sort of photography I was attempting with the terribly poor phone camera I was using. Sorry. 

Regardless, to summarise, I wanted to try out my Kalmar Union army (Medieval Scandinavians). Now, looking to insert a link I see that I never actually posted the army up in detail. I might get to that eventually, but until such time, it looks a bit like this (except now has a tent in the camp):

My arch-ADLG-nemesis, Brett, fielded his War of the Roses Lancastrians and played the part of the defender. I reasoned that, seeing such an ineffectual king in Henry VI, my Danes had decided to try and restore then North Sea empire of Cnut. And the game was afoot!

The table was relatively open, with a road running through a village in the centre, another leading to a church area behind my deployment zone, and a river system along my right flank with a small wood. I deployed a mounted division of Danes and Norwegians (two units each of MC, HC and Heavy Knights) on my open left flank, Danes and German mercenary infantry in the centre, with the Swedish command on the right flank between the village and the river. The picture above shows my camp adjoining the church, and my centre and right divisions.
Brett posted a division of Northern militia bill and bow on his right (opposite my mounted division), his armoured foot-knights and elite retinue bow in the centre opposite my mercenaries, and a small mounted division consisting two units each of knights and HC opposite my Swedes.

The game opened with my army advancing along the entire front. The Swedes maneuvered to plug the gap between village and river, which allowed two of the mixed crossbow/polearm units of Allmoge to start wheeling towards the centre to lend support against the English royal retinue.

The English like-wise advanced, attempting to widen their line, especially on my left/his right where the Northern English militia were clumped together. Unfortunately for Brett, the Northerners obviously disliked or misunderstood their orders, as that command always seemed short of command points. They were still trying to deploy into a proper line when the flower of my Danish and Norwegian nobility led an impetuous and furious charge straight into them. 

My mounted division had taken a few hits from the English archers going in, but once engaged, some good rallying rolls saw their cohesion restored. In the centre, I sent a screen of light infantry crossbowmen and handgunners in front of my Obudshaer to soak up some arrows and weaken the retunue foot knights before what I expected would be a hard fought battle in the centre. As the English foot knights were soooo slow, I managed a good few hits before they charged and my light infantry scattered to evade.

Meanwhile, Brett's cavalry division had split in two with the knights impetuously charging into my Swedish trap (played impetuously, whilst not, technically being impetuous units), while the heavy cavalry sat back as a reserve.

At about the time the English knights charged into my Swedes, two other things happened. On my right, my mounted division completely destroyed the northern militia. Completely. As I understand it, not a family in Northumbria didn't mourn a kinsman after this battle. The mediocrity of the levy took its toll time and time again as the cavalry ground forward.

In the centre, Brett realised too late that LMI longbowmen are not allowed to charge enemy heavy infantry, and so his intermixed bow and foot knight division found itself attacking piece meal. An approach that I don't thnk either of us would recommend. Obviously, it didn't end well for unsupported units of knights against my wall of heavy swordsmen.

The last Englishmen to fall before their army scattered into the fells and dales, was a unit of knights. Hard pressed my my Swedish knights and their levy, the English nobles were also destroyed.

Both armies started with a break point of 22. At the end of the game I had lost a unit of Norwegian knights and a unit of light infantry crossbowmen, while my Danish knights had lost a cohesion point. Total number of accumulated breakpoints = 5. 

Poor Brett. Poor dear Brett. His total, by the end of that last turn, was 26 break points. He still had three units of elite bowmen unscathed, and his heavy cavalry units were still in reserve, but everything else was either lost outright or had lost some of its unit cohesion. 

It was really more of a slaughter than a battle. My army was better deployed by all accounts (Brett'll not intermix his bill and bow/Knights and bow like that again), but the dice gods were firmly, and uncharacteristically in my favour that night. My shooters (and I have a lot of them) hit slightly more often than they did not, my rallying attempts were almost all successful, and in melee my Scandinavians fought like the souls of their pagan forebears depended on it. 

All-in-all, a successful first run for my Scandis. The only question now, is can they hold on to their newly conquered lands in England. Will they be able to push south towards London, and will Henry VI (perhaps England's most ineffectual monarch) find the backbone to drive me back into the North Sea?

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