The Campaigns of Frederick Barbarossa 1152–1190 AD at Campaign 2017
Sicilian Norman vs Feudal German
The third game of the day, and I'm still alive - this is when the benefits of the 2.5 hour format really start to come home to roost! Other gamers are staggering around the shopping centre looking folorn and injecting ocffee into their eyeballs to try and stay awake through another 3-hour dice-fest whilst the young, sexy ADLG crowd are practically dancing in the aisles of John Lewis' Soft Furnishings and Garden Equipment sections as the delight of shorter game time continues to lose nothing in the retelling...
Yet again my unusual choice of Sicilian Norman in this very tightly themed event faces a near-identikit standard German opponent with terrain falling mostly on the outer extremities of the table. The opponents this time have been imaginative and deployed a Knightly command in the centre of their lines, rather flummoxing my assumption of stoving in both flanks which are now rather unfortunately covered in spearmen and crossbows
With the Sicilian deployment decidedly sub-optimal the enemy race forward to try and punch a hole through a place where a hole pretty much already exists. Norman knights wheel inwards and slide sideways in an attempt to bring their far greater numbers to bear on an enemy who's strike force is well protected on both flanks by resolute infantry spear carriers. Che peccato!
The Germans finally do the math, and realise that their Knights are outnumbered almost 3:1 by the Normans. In an act of calculated cowardice they turn as a group and start to fall back behind their spearmen - who suddenly start to look exposed as a small island of stoic yeoman republicanism in a swirling sea of exuberant mounted chivalry.
Richard Prior on the Mafia
But by now the Normans are committed - well, as if they weren't from the start of deployment, or even from the moment of selecting a list - and with tricky pip dice and a gung ho attitude they decide just to continue to charge forward and pile the pressure on the rather confused enemy. Lancers into Spears is not good, but Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! and then a couple of overlaps tip the balance significantly and here overlap opportunities abound unless the Teutons bring their Knights back into the fray
The Germans however have spotted this too, and gamely rush back to the front line. Almost immediately the battle is joined as two lines of knights slam together like an ipod-wearing jogger meeting a mobile-phone-toting teenager on a blind street corner - too fast, too distracted and no-one saying sorry.
The Germans have much the better of the initial exchanges, smashing great holes in the by-now rather exhausted Sicilian horsemen's lines and scattering 2-hit markers in other places. The Sicilians sleep with the fishes now. This is not a great start, and the Sicilians have committed so much to the front line that they have almost naught left in the way of reserves. Could the battle be decided already in this first-phase clash?
Face to Face... .
The German foot also now moved up to join in the solid line of melee as the whole of both armies seemingly were now fully committed to decisive combat. Phil Barker nodds on approvingly in some far off Welsh castle at the two lines of troops meeting in near-geometric precision, whilst at the same time MeG players everywhere scratch their heads in wonderment as to why what looks to them like two single units of troops engage whilst both appear to have not enough bases in them.
With such brutal violence on both sides the battle was going to be short - and so it proved, as soon the two battles of Knights broke down into a disorganised melee of individual squadrons breaking through and wheeling around on the deadly ground over which they had first met. With more breakthroughs the Sicilians were sure they had the upper hand, and even the German spearmen at the far end of the line were starting to come undone at the relentless pressure that overlapping Knights were placing them under. Was the battle tipping in favour of the Sicilians who controlled Europe's greatest source of the key ingredient of lemon drizzle cake?
Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe
They were through! The rather low-tech solution to indicating which base has an embedded general in it marks the point at which the most potent unit on the Sicilian side has overrun an overlapped Teutonic spear phalanx
What you lookin' at? The Sicilians start to turn outwards and chew into the now-exposed flanks of the more static elements of the German line - the last few Knights are soon surely to be overwhelmed too, leaving a vast swathe of the field of play under the sole command of the men and horses from the toe of Italy!
The almost-forgotten Arabs, having been tasked with occupying the right flank of the enemy Feudal German and not getting themselves into trouble while the real work was done by the Norman Knights, now found themselves absolutely in trouble as enemy crossbowmen advanced remorselessly on them. What's a wiseguy supposed to do huh?
Pictures of Teutonic Knights from my Ancients Photo Directory
The Norman General had tried to persuade them to rally off their hits earlier in the game, but the never-ending hail of crossbow bolts had put paid to that plan, and with almost no table left and a desire to help deliver the coup-de-grace to the enemy Feudal German the Arab Lancers charged home - striking a mighty blow in the process against the LMI crossbows and tipping them close to destruction. A Capiche?
The Norman knights wanted to make the Crossbows an offer they couldn't refuse. But the dastardly crossbowmen refused to stick to the script - they fought back gamely, holding off the General-led Arab lancers long enough for a Germano-Hungarian crossbow unit to sneak in and attack their flank - with two overlaps now in play the Arabs needed a breakthrough and they needed it quick!
L'Art de la Guerre hint When a unit with an attached General is eliminated, the General jumps to the nearest friendly unit. If there is none inside 6MU, he is instead lost…
The battle was now getting towards the dog-end of the day, with both armies shattered and scattered across the tabletop, struggling to exercise command and control in a way which would permit them to actually achieve much of note. And with that it ended, in a defeat for the Sicilians as time and bodies ran out before the Germans they faced ran out of men.
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
This is unfortunately starting to become something of a pattern, in which my Knights find a decent looking target, engage it in combat and then fail to achieve a decisive breakthrough - and in each instance the tough little nasty spearmen seem to be playing a role in the battle which their social standing suggests is not theirs to rightfully claim?
For much of the game I thought this one may well be in the bag, but it slipped away. My efforts to leave the table bare of terrain also failed, which left the line of battle narrower than I might have liked and that put paid to the go-wide option I hoped to execute.
I suppose the one saving grace which yet again seems to be true is that my actual bona-fide Norman Knights do still look much more legitimately XII-XII Century than some of the more classically barded opponents I face each battle, but if they continue to lose my level of net satisfaction will begin to wane.
Surely there cannot be another Feudal German army waiting in the next game?
Don Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
My son, I have known you since you were a small child, playing here in this very house, and in all of that time you have shown love for your mamma, and love for the Family. But you have shown no aptitude for mathematics at any time, and now this chicken is coming home to roost.
A wise man once said that an army should have somewhere north of 70 break points at 200AP to be viable in ADLG, and I think that your force here is barely scratching 60. If you think you can win a war of attrition against very similar opponents when starting from as much as 20% down in hit points you do not deserve respect from me, as you give no respect to the enemies of this family.
This passion for fighting is admirable, but to be successful in the familiy business you need to learn to be a man who follows his head and not his heart.The heart is just a bloody motor.The head is meant to drive, and even if I am using another historically inappropriate motor-vehicle based metaphor I am sure even you can understand the sense of what I am saying, Capiche?
You started with the disadvantage of no 4-hit foot in this list, you compounded it with having no practice and then exacerbated even that by taking 3 games to get the hang of the right terrain on which to fight. For that you deserve no luck at all, but perhaps the tide will turn in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition