Friday, 19 January 2018

Some bloody tin can opening in Normandy shortly after 900AD

The realm has long fallen apart and descended into chaos. Raiders are threatening from all sides, the Saracens, the Magyars and the Vikings, are plundering and penetrating deep into the heart of the once proud civilisation. France is long in the state of perpetual unrest and civil war. The Vikings have festered in the "Normandy", a piece of coast now called after them. Some of them were given titles and land that they swore an oath of allegiance to the King and Emperor (who ever that might turn out to be...). Other "dukes" though are envious of their likes' power and status and no one else is more prone to feuds than the Normans of said region themselves.

Henri the Red is holding a large swath of land and is deemed a favourite of the King. Who has asked him to sent his best men to aid to decide the fight for the title of the Emperor. But that left Henri‘s power base too lightly defended.

So Rolund, also a Norman noble, with old family ties in Danemark wants to seize the opportunity to enlarge his fiefdom with a little help of his cousin Rolf and his Viking mercenary war bands.  Henri is only able to raise the rest of his retinue and calls for the levies of his lands ...

So we dabble again with a little help of Hail Caesar into the 28mm Dark Age again, Bart playing Rolund, the Norman ursurper and his Danish helper, Rolf, while I‘m defending King and Emperor with my Normans and a bunch (140) peasants/levies. Roland and Rolf were two armies and Rolf would after loosing two units (of 4) either just defend or totally leave the field. basically we both fielded our complete collections ... nice feeling ...

Bart first stayed in perfect line while I tried a pincer movement with my two flanks, in my soft centre I had my bishop with 140 peasants ... some arrows and some shield clattering later my Commander unleashed the Cavalry and a Norman metal clash was developing over the tiny river on my right flank. At the same my levies advanced bravely in the centre. They did‘t have armour or shields, so no morale save, so each of Bart‘s hits were actually casualties, ouch.

Then on the left, my Norman Infantry met the Viking Berserker supported Hirdmen in a fabulous "Shield wall" clash!!!! We decided that "Shield wall" was another useful rule just for all Vikings or Heavy infantry Normans. Movement would be halved, attacks against it would suffer -1 melee and ranged weapons, and it would give an extra +1 to morale saves and act as an extra support in the battle resolve. Still we suffered immense losses, but both walls would hold.

In fact even the "very bloody" cavalry exchange on the right flank (just one units with 5 casualties standing at each side), just led to an overall draw. I defeated 1 unit more than Bart and even after a very nasty blunder one of his Normans are nearly off board, we still agreed on a draw – my soft centre of peasant was just that and slowly melting away... a good buffer and as permeable as a giant amoeba, but not with long lasting standing power.

Ah, and Bart nearly lost his Rolund, he got wounded after his Norman Knights were skewered and floating down the river ...

And nearly a novum, ten minutes before ten, Bart wanted to "withdraw" with his last cavalry unit!!! Unheard of! So I persuaded him to attack, he lost, hey thats life!

The left flank of my Norman knights on foot

and my right flank with the heavy horse

The complete set up at start 
Bart right flank with the vicious Vikings! 
and the archery centre
And his right flank with his knights
First two milites clash!
Even one directly in the river!

Casualties are mounting, knights are flying off the horses! 
meanwhile the fluffy centre advance

The battle in mid-swing

My heavy infantry‘s first ever shield wall action!

Bart‘s counter attack on my centre
it suffers but it holds (somehow) 
The shield walls are pushing

With the Lord clearly in our favour 

or not ... in the distance more Vikings gather ...

Barts last Norman cavalry disappeared ...

Friday, 12 January 2018

Rendezvous with the Menapii sharp at 57BC a stone precisely next to the Ardennes

It was Ancients (28mm,  To the Strongest) and Angus and Campbell were representing the Flamic and Wallonian ancestors of that rough little patch we today call Belgium. While me and Peter were the Roman intruders, the willing henchmen of that obnoxious little man at the end of the Republican era called Ceasar, famous for torturing thousands of students of the classics in upcoming centuries with his apologetic propaganda material just to cross one little river ...

Angus had set up the forces quite traditionally in parallel lines and the two cavalry contingents opposing each other. The plan is always simple - avant! So Campbell, l as he was outnumbered, he tried to avoid my "tougher" Gallic Cavalry and charged directly into my light Numidian horsemen ... ouch.

Peter and Angus were up for a sluggish infantry havoc match, each hacking units (points) apart for the most time of the battle. What shall I say ... the Non-Romans were giving a tough fight, but still melted away more or less. It was first a near draw that then ended in a slight Roman strategical victory, as me and Peter were having exceptionally bad luck with drawing the right cards.

Unimaginable terror would have befallen the Menapii, if we would have had the right cards and probably the crosses would have been lining up a bit earlier ... hach, civilisation ... what a conversational topic that is. (No, we will abstain from any comparison between any other known historical empires, ... you have to have a "Caesar" first, and then at least an cordial or mutual agreement with a local "Pontifex Maximus" ... but that is another conversation ...)

While the rules are fun and rather simple, so were the strategic/tactical/operational requirements to handle these forces on the field. Who would risk an open battle with a much more sophisticated military power? Only clueless barbarians for sure. While I'm still waiting for ancients rules not based cinematographic entertainment and pondering how a Germanic units of the black painted Harii would look like... ;)

The Roman line and their Castra 
My flanking Horse Officer

the dirty Legion

The colourful Belgians

Throw your Pilum before the enemy throw himself at you! 
The Numidian are getting caught in a charge ...

The lines are closing in

the battle

some light horse survived ..

but them my "heavier" Gauls were attack in the flank ...

with the help of the rest of the African Light Cavalry

while in  the centre the slaughtering continued ...

ebb and flow ....

the barbaric lines are beginning to thin out

The Belgian Cavalry (already off picture)... slaughtered by my Numidians

The Romans press for the end game

The "Belgians"request more Trappist beer

The Belgian cavalry  lord pondering where his horses went ...

Peters flank ... a hack and slay

slowly the lines getting broken  ....

the last ditch attempt of some war bands to get to the Roman campus

... but been drawn away from the fight by a Cavalry flight ...

so near and yet so far ...

last war band without significance standing ...

Monday, 8 January 2018

1813 Dresdowice

For the first game of the year we choose a Napoleonic bash, 28mm, "Over the Hills" the rules, and Bart and Bill played the late and not so great French army and me and Peter as Germans were "aggressively" defending the "valley of the ignorant", a small village at a river crossing, a scenario loosely based on the Battle of Dresden 1813.

The French were less crispy and a bit weakened from the cold (long walk from Moskow, I assume), but outnumbered us in guns and horses. The river was uncrossable (apart from three bridges, one in the middle of the settlement) and the French deployed (after us) in town occupying all BUAs and the complete east side of the river.

We (the Würtenbergers that posed as rebellious Saxons this time) had only the numbers in Infantry, which was rather un-thrilling and unsurprisingly, totally useless, as I was reassured that infantry attacks against BUAs or artillery would end in a bloodbath in these rules particularly. In short while the "aggressive" French were just sitting in their Dresdener Stollwerk (a particular sweet position), we, the Germans, were multiple times urged by the referee to attack more or less the said festive positions, Prost, Mahlzeit!

As the French still refused to move and the time were running out, we did and were comprehensively trashed and beaten. Peter managed to get a "Foot" into one BUA, while two of our regiments were torn apart from canister. A cavalry fight on the left flank left the Germans with an exchange of squadrons and some severely beaten French mules could cross the Elbe at that point. I guess a draw was declared.

Note for the future, I will definitively NOT move in any upcoming Napoleonic game whatsoever! I'd rather sit and wait for the evening until finally the Prussians hopefully will have arrived ...

No Bavarians were involved or injured in this game.

Scenario: Campbell, Figures and minis by Campbell and Bill, Terrain from SESWC.