The Campaigns of Frederick Barbarossa 1152–1190 AD at Campaign 2017
Sicilian Norman vs Feudal German
Game 2 and I'd worked out that having lots of terrain was a stupid idea given my army had no heavy foot at all, and it's only realistic tactic was a double envelopment having ideally smashed in both enemy flanks in the process. This table then fully reflected that philosophy - almost nothing of note protected the line of German spearmen, Pikemen and mounted Brother Knights
The Sicilian deployment was stacked on the right, seeking to perhaps take advantage of the strategically placed hill to gain even more combat bonuses from the Knightly charge. The Arab/Knight command had likewise been flipped over to the opposite side in this battle, seeking to draw the sting of the Germans right flank and keep them busy, but out of the game while the hammer blows fell on their left wing.
With only a handful of enemy Knights facing them on the right, the Sicilians plan appeared to simply need rigorous and committed execution in order to be a resounding success, and that was exactly what the first pip dice rolls provided. Both battles of Norman Knights screamed forward across the plain and up the hill, frightening the life out of some German and Hungarian mounted skirmishers who had unwisely gotten a little close to the action in seeking to delay the pell-mell advance.
The Don Corleone
The other end of the German line was being put under a different type of pressure, as unaccustomed to deploying on quite such an open plain the Teutonic formation seemed to just peter (or possibly 'Hans-Peter') out - a situation which the Sicilians, and more accurately their Arab auxiliaries were quick to take full advantage of by racing past the enemy flank.
The double envelopment was seemingly on, and even if this skeleton force lacked the firepower to secure victory on its own, it would soak up attention like a lemon-infused sponge and distract the Germans from dealing with the real threat on the opposite flank.
Hey, wiseguy! Protected by a screen of Light Foot both sides geared themselves up for an almost immediate and potentially decisive clash - delaying combat is not an easy game to play in ADLG, and the heavy-metal Germans has underestimated the enthusiasm with which the Normans intended to pursue their simple plan, and deployed well forward.
The windows of the nearby Build-a-Bear shop rattled alarmingly as the two lines of furiously charging Knights careened into one another
Build a Bear - Medieval Warfare Version
With long range exchanges of archery seemingly too tedious to contemplate for more than a few turns, the 2 Knights on the opposite wing also hurled themselves in an "oh dear we must be Impetuous" sort of way into the enemy horsemen protecting the hanging end of the German infantry line. The Arabs meanwhile were already torn between hairing off to the baggage and rejoicing the unfolding combat as rear and flank attackers. Both options were good, so a difficult choice had to be made…
The tidal wave of Norman knights on the right was washing over the much less numerous defences of the Germans, blasting holes in their sea-wall but also taking hits in the process. With a second wave waiting in the wings the Sicilians were far more optimistic of weathering this particular overly-metaphor-laden storm.
The attempt to overlap the Germans right flank was also having mixed results - the Sicilians attempt to make the Germans an offer they can't refuse had resulted in one Knight evaporating, but the rest of the Sicilian formation was now well placed to turn and overwhelm the surviving Teutons.
Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! Arab cavalry piled into the rear of the poor quality German pikemen as knights and more Arabs assaulted the flank of the hapless German Feudal knights. This would surely be a hammer blow worthy of a Mafioso Thor striking at the very heart of the good Burghers ability to survive until lunchtime…
The Normans in Sicily
The outcome on the opposite flank was not proving so decisive, as the two lines of chainmail-clad warriors fenced at close quarters with swords, spears and maces. The Feudal Germans knew that the integrity of their entire position depended on surviving this assault long enough for their Spearmen to face the Sicilian threat whilst the Normans also saw the same possibility, but from the standpoint of securing a quick victory by Herculean early session efforts.
But the Germans were to prove no pushover - hit in the rear and flank, and overlapped at every turn the Pikemen and Knights fought back heroically, holding off the Normans and Arabs with some spectacular bravery and even more spectacular dice.
What's a wiseguy supposed to do when the German army has been split in two, as the slow-moving spearmen are pulled in opposite directions as they seek to help their Knights in holding back the enveloping Sicilians on both flanks?
Pictures of Unbarded Early Feudal Knights and the like from my Ancients Photo Directory
Neither envelopment is going particularly well, with the massive right hook seemingly bogged down in additional warfare and the more nimble attack on the left failing to break down the German resistance even after getting into a great initial position.
The Normans suddenly realise that they have almost totally run out of men and horses on their right flank - a seemingly unstoppable attack has been halted by the stonewall bravery of the Germanic Knights, and now the Sicilians themselves are having to work hard to avoid seeing their own LH sucked into the vortex of despair that is emerging as more and more German units destroy their opponents and become freed up to join in what is fast turning into a pursuit of the shattered Normans.
The left flank is faring no better, as the Arabs and Normans, unable to break through, find themselves now enveloped by Hungarian LH returning from being scattered across the field and now charging into the rear of the fully-engaged Sicilian forces. This now has gone long beyond looking not good, and is getting into 'looks bad' territory …
How many men do you need for a mafia funeral?
Just one. To slam the car trunk shut.
Everywhere the Germans are overwhelming the scattered and isolated Normans, who have no answer to the swarms of seemingly unkillable enemy Knights assailing them from all sides.
The final fitting blow is dealt by the German Pikemen and Knight on the German right - having survived and repulsed a seemingly perfectly tee'ed up attack they have recovered so well that they are now perfectly poised to end the game in a morale-sapping defeat clutched from the jaws of strategic supremacy by the Sicilian Norman army. You gotta problem with that pal?
The Result is a crushing defeat for the Sicilians as both flanks are overrun
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Sicilian Norman Commander
That could easily have gone better I think. I however struggle to see why it happened, as I seemed to be in a great position with plenty of advantages on both flanks, yet somehow the game then slipped away from me.
The turning point seems to have been the moment when my mercenary Arabs and Norman knights failed to overwhelm a totally surrounded Poor pikeman unit on the German right wing. Quite how such a seemingly already-beaten unit could conjure up such heroics baffles me even now when I look back at it, as without that I would have of course also lost on the other wing where my many Knights lost to seemingly fewer enemy ones, so I might have scraped a draw.
At least working the terrain placement was better this time, with no river and, sadly as I like the model, no village either leading to a much wider battlefield over which my mounted army wheeled and floated spectacularly.
Perhaps I will just mark this one down to bad luck and try and move on and gain vengeance for this defeat in the next game
Don Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You talk about vengeance. Is vengeance going to bring your son back to you? Or my boy to me? What kind of man are you to blame fortune and the turn of a card for your own failings? We live and die by the respect we earn from our membership of the Familiy, and here you have disgraced us all with the lack of respect you show here, in my own home.
The choice of lists in this competition was obvious, and the Feudal German was always going to be the favourite dog on this particular track. What seems clear now is that not only did you give little if any thought to how to use your own army, you also thought nothing of how your opponents may fight.
A solid infantry centre full of resilient units who can absorb 4 hits was always going to be the opponent you needed to work out how to beat. Hitting a man over the head with a shovel and then taking him in the trunk of your car to bury him in the woods will work most times, but if your shovel if but a 3-hit kids toy and he is wearing a 4-hit armoured helmet that becomes much more difficult. And never mind the lack of cars in this XII Century world as well.
If you are to overwhelm a flank and roll up the enemy you need to not only throw Milites at it in equal numbers to the enemy, you need to go to the very edges of the tablne and create genuine overlaps - and in so doing draw the enemy mounted away from their spearmen so the tough little bastards cannot add their own 4-hit bolognese to the enemy knights s-hit spaghetti. Perhaps in the next game we may see some of these lessons learned?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition