Sunday, 22 October 2017

The last battle of the Kalmar Union

We got in another game of L'Art de la Guerre this week - War of the Roses (Yorkists), against Medieval Scandinavians (Kalmar Union). All figures are from the 6mm Baccus late Medieval range, with a couple of simple conversions on the Scandi side. Andrew was leading his Yorkists, Jim was commanding the two Danish commands of the Kalmar forces, while I took the allied Swedish division. This was to be my last game with the Scandinavians as Jim has just taken them over - a palace coup!

On our right, Jim ran a heavy foot command of German mercenaries supported by skirmishing crossbowmen and hand gunners. The C-in-C (+2 commander) was in control over here.

Our centre consisted of Jim's mounted command - led by an unexceptional sub-commander. Two elite knights, two mounted crossbowmen, and two medium cavalry valets. They also had the light artillery field piece.

My left wing command was the allied Swedish force consisting of a unit of knights, some skirmishing crossbowmen and the Swedish mixed crossbow/pole-arm militia.

Each of Andrew's Yorkist commands were a real mix of foot knights, longbow, and bill. The two wings each had a mounted unit of knights in support as well. The command in the picture above was on the Yorkist right flank, opposite my Swedes.

In the centre, the mixed foot were supported by both light and heavy artillery. You can see here Andrew's rookie mistake of breaking up his foot with the big guns. This meant that trying to advance this division with minimal CPs proved tricky.

The Yorkist left flank of mixed foot units and a lance of mounted knights, opposite Jim's German foot.

The end of the opening turn. Jim and I both sent forward our skirmishers, although the rest of my Swedes remained pretty static. Happily, my commander had agreed to support the Kalmar Union this time around and was reliable. His opposite number commanding the Yorkist right flank rolled a 1 for CPs in the first turn and became unreliable. It seemed that this flank was going to be Andrew's undoing.

Danish hand-gunners and crossbowmen creep out of the plantation to start peppering the end of the Yorkist line.

As the Andrew's Yorkist right flank (bottom left of the photo) remained uncommitted, my Swedish militia cautiously advanced, screening the redeployment of my Swedish knights and crossbow skirmishers towards the centre of the table. You can also see our Scandi mounted command advancing swiftly in the centre. The Yorkist left flank occupied a low hill and waited for the slow and steady German foot.

The Yorkist heavy artillery pays its way, destroying a unit of Danish valets.  
The clash of lines. The Scandi C-in-C leads forward the heavy foot against the Yorkists on the hill. He is supported by the mounted division which likewise hits the Yorkists on the plain. Taking advantage of the gap caused by the immobile heavy artillery, the two units of mounted crossbowmen (heavy cavalry) embrace a unit of foot knights. My Swedish knights are on their way!

Unfortunately, the Yorkist foot knights cleave straight through the mounted crossbowmen to their front, kill the Danish divisional commander, and turn to face the flank attack. Before my Swedes can quite make contact with the exposed knightly rears, they are in turn hit in the flank by more foot knights. That was not well planned apparently.
The long view of the battle. The Yorkist right had finally decided to commit and have just engaged in a shoot out with the Swedish militia. In the centre, the Scandi cavalry are holding their own, while up on the hill, the German infantry have managed to turn the Yorkist flank and have started to roll there way down. York's flag over the north of England is starting to look shaky at this point, and the the Scandinavians start planning where to set up their flat-pack trading emporia...

Arrows and bolts fly down by the river side.

The Yorkist foot knights rout the mounted crossbowmen and plow on into the flank of the remaining unit of valets. My gallant Swedish knights turn the tables on their foes (the Yorkist foot knights) and the Swedish skirmishers start laying into the advancing English mounted knights.
At this point in the game, both sides had suffered some pretty bad losses (including the entire mounted division of the Kalmar Union army!). Break points were thus - Kalmar Union: 16/22; Yorkists 17/19. My Swedish knights charged headlong into the unprotected Yorkist light artillery.  All we had to do was ride down the gunners, or just disorder them, and one other unit in one of the many combats of the turn. Victory was assured!

... Except that's not how the game works. Seemingly, you need to roll dice and stuff. And sometimes the dice don't want to play nice. My Swedes did manage to disorder the light artillery, bringing the Yorkists to within one point of breaking. But the other melees all went one way and the Yorkies held firm. In that one turn we lost six break points and the game went to Andre and his Yorkists. Just.

It was a great game, and looked really well. Andrew was on the back foot from the start, with an uncommitted, unreliable commander, and poorly deployed artillery. However, English shooting was rather effective, and the battle on the hill supremely hard fought. One particular unit of household longbowmen stood their ground throughout against the German foot, not even suffering a single loss of cohesion.

It is a little sad to see the Medieval Scandinavians go to their new home, but I know they will be well loved, and it widens the pool of potential opponents. In this period, I am left with my Anglo-Irish army which morphs seamlessly into War of the Roses Yorkists (more of them!), and late Hundred Years War English. I sort of needed the storage space occupied by those Scandis too - for my Minoans. :)

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