The Campaigns of Frederick Barbarossa 1152–1190 AD at Campaign 2017
Sicilian Norman vs Feudal German
Game 4 and the gradual realisation that almost all of my opponents had identical armies and that I really needed almost no terrain had finally sunk in.
Good dice and the mere fact of having a Plan had conspired to create a near-bald battlefield on which a textbook German force of spears flanked by two wings of Knights now faced the Norman army of Sicily. The hill on the Norman left blocked out part of the deployment area, and with a gaping space on the right the Normans had skewed their setup to take advantage and move the game to the open flank wherever possible.
Deciding that concentrating forces was probably A Good Thing the Sicilian commander ordered literally every one of his Knights over to reinforce the position on the right, sending shock waves through the Germans facing them as they were forced to remove both gloves and shoes to count the Norman nobles bearing down on them…
The other flank saw the Arabs and Crossbows left to their own devices - the unfortunate mercenaries and auxiliaries had already realised that their role in this game would basically involve dying more slowly than the nobles on the other wing could manage to win.
The Germans were doing their very best to assemble a coherent line against the onrushing wall of Norman Milites, but caught rather on the hop by the speed of the Sicilian assault some rather flakey loose formation foot were being pressed into supporting roles on the extremities of their formation - easy pickings for the Sicilans and their fearsome charge. Che peccato!
The Mercenary Crossbowmen risked a peek over the brow of the hill - Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! - they didn't much like what they saw at all…
Keen to engage before the Germans could assemble their line the Normans charged home, grabbing what overlaps they could before the federal spearmen could intervene. This did leave a number of the Norman horsemen tasked with pinning the advancing spears but the tradeoff should be worthwhile if their comrades could secure a quick victory against the more isolated Knights as a result
The unwise crossbowmen were regretting their spying mission as Teutonically-inspired Knights waded into them - the +1 Uphill factor would need to do much work today were they to survive even for a moment or two. A Capiche?
They sleep with the fishes now. … well, maybe next time eh?
The Normans in Sicily
With their Commander off leading his two Knights to glory, the Arabs were at risk of being becalmed - but the Germans had moved a couple of LH a little too close, allowing the Arab lancers to initiate a "free" charge, driving the LH away and seeing them career off downhill into a couple of squadrons of mercenary crossbows - would the Arab lancers be able to duplicate the impressive effect that the German knights had already achieved on the Sicilians own mercenary contingent?
But this was in all honestly a sideshow to the main event, which was now playing out over on the opposite flank. Two lines of fully-committed Knights were fencing at close quarters, and despite the advantages of greater numbers the Sicilians were so far coming out of it the worse with a smattering of small but perfectly formed markers littering the table behind the Norman squadrons.
Impetuosity had also seen the rest of the Norman Milites charge home potentially unwisely against the German spearmen who had moved up smartly to support their nobles and try unsuccessfully to form a solid line. The battle was tight, and the first proper breakthrough would almost certainly prove decisive…
Pictures of troops from the Latin Kingdoms from my Ancients Photo Directory
What you lookin' at? Suddenly the resolve of the German knights collapsed, and two of their three squadrons were overrun and routing, leaving the rather battered but jubilant Normans the masters of the field! The soft underbelly of the German army was now dangerously exposed to the flocks of Milites who were already plotting how they would wheel round and start to roll up the end of the German line.
The sole surviving German squadron made one last brave attempt to salvage something from the situation by breaking it's opponent and turning onto a flank - but even as that happened the Normans were running down the loose formation German peasant infantry and creating even bigger gaps to push through in a chilling foretaste of the blitzkrieg !
Bereft of leadership the Arabs were making extremely heavy going of trying to run over some seemingly not hapless crossbows, and now the Germans own Knights were coming back into play. The Mercenary crossbowmen on the Sicilian side of the divide considered their pay packets carefully - What's a wiseguy supposed to do huh? I ask you, how much mazoolah would you need to sacrifice your own live in order to potentially allow the Arabs to finish a fight which they should have put to bed long ago and then break through into the German rear?
This was desperate stuff as the Arabs continued to struggle
The Arabs had been held up by the German crossbows for far too long, and the German knights took full advantage with a crunching flank attack. Seeing the writing on the wall half of the Arabs hightailed it out of danger, leaving their brothers to their unfortunate fate.
No surprise there as the Arabs evaporated at impact.
The main Sicilian strike force had by now mopped up the last of the Brother Knights and were reorganising for a concerted assault on the somewhat hastily reassembled German flank. Encouraged by the increasing numbers of loose formation infantry who the Germans were hastily throwing into front-line positions the Milites girded their loins and prepared to continue their assault. A Capiche?
How do you know if an (insert your own culturally approriate stereotype for person of limited intelligence based on nationality or region of birth) is at a cockfight?
He's the one with a duck.
How do you know if an (insert a different culturally approriate stereotype for person of limited intelligence based on nationality or region of birth) is there?
He bets on the duck.
How do you know if the Mafia is there?
The duck wins.
The Normans were deadly in theory, but their numbers had been badly eroded by the battle against the German noblemen and so the sheer drudgery of executing such a sustained attack on a wall of resolute infantry was starting to wear them down. Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing! Markers sprouted everywhere and some of the Knights ducked their responsibilities and sought to gang up on the seemingly weaker parts of the German formation rather than committing themselves wholeheartedly to breaking the real bastions of resistance.
An almost context-free picture, featuring troops and a General who have not been seen since the initial frames of this report. But taking a wild stab in the dark, these two Knights have just ganged up on some poor unfortunate pedestrian and run them over with the help of two overlaps. They sleep with the fishes now. I suspect this pushes the Germans closer to defeat?
The soft underbelly and the resolute wall of spearmen both chose the same moment to implode, leaving the Milties the undisputed masters of the battlefield and a victory being recorded in the lemon-soaked annals of Sicilian Normandy!
The Result is at last a victory!!
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
At last! All of the previous 3 games are revealed for what they should in retrospect be seen as - practice games for this first proper outing of this Sicilian army in its rightful place as masters of all of Souther Italy apart from the bits other people control.
The terrain fell well for me here, and the use of the two minimum sized fields was also gratifying given that I made them myself out of 2mm hardboard, old carpet tiles and wood filler. In ADLG fields, plantations and villages are supposed to be square, and these certainly achieved that in spades.
The application of overwhelming force to a weak spot in the enemy line through the use of high speed aggressive movement of troops and material seems to be a pretty effective formula having succesfully applied it just the once this weekend, and so I am now quietly confident that the other 2 (wow, 2 more!) games will end in stunning victories this weekend.
Bring it on!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Confidence may well be the preference of the habitual voyeur of what is known as Park Life, but even I must admit that here you managed to create the ideal playing surface for your machinations and then shift your men around quickly enough that even the dirty pigeons could not help the Germans achieve any Vorsprung Durch Technik. And you sort of avoided fighting too many spearmen too, which is a much simpler way of saying what just happened.
But boasting of this, and talking openly of the future in which you expect success is not the Family way. Tell nothing. Earn Respect from everyone by deeds, not Words. That is our way and our code is clear - do the time, don't snitch and when you get out the other side the Family will be waiting for you and will provide.
We look after our own, and I think this is a lesson you need to learn well. There are men among your forces who have been hung out to dry in this game, and they will remember this - if your grandma cooks them her special meatballs in her kitchen, perhaps they will forget for a while, but the memory of your betrayal will continue to simmer below the surface like a good ragu. One day that pan of anger will boil over and they will pay you back by letting you, and the rest of your men, down.
Honour amomg gangesters is a finite quality. Lets hope the quantity does not run dry in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition