Late Medieval Warfare in the heart of Central London - ADLG Spring 2017
Medieval Scots vs Condotta Italian (Venetian)
This was the reverse fixture of the game I had lost in Belgium - but this time I had the Scots and so surely a victory was in my grasp!
I had been confident in Belgium, but my halberdiers had been outnumbered by the sheer weight of the Scots allowing their Knights to run around my flanks, and so there was even a template to the plan that I could recycle. The lists for the Medieval Scots and Condotta Italian (Venetian) from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Central London ADLG can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Condotta army is a flexible and competent force in ADLG - unlike many other rulesets the "ordinary" Knights of the Condotta are not quite so underpowered compared to the 'superior' Knights that appear to be the default in other armies, and the combination of halberdier, spearmen and the odd unit of Pike in their infantry is also affective, especially in period. A small Swiss ally can also add some bite to this varied and competent force.
It was that time when every brave Scotsman needed to grab his sporran and take once again to the high road. The battle was to be foight on a table with slightly less terrain than last time, on which the Italians had managed to deploy between terrain pieces which had largely fallen on their side of the table - but even so their quality units were too pricey to fill the gap completely. A steep mountain on their right and a large gulley on their left defined their starting position. Again the Scots sheer numbers were an intimidating sight.
The Italians had a small force of sub-par Knights and supporting LH who had deployed away from their main Battle. Their first move was to try to force a path past the Gully and Forest, a move which the Scots chose to oppose with 2 Superior Knights whilst throwing the rest of their army forwards at full tilt to get to grips with the main body of Venetian foot.
Hoots Mon! The expectation was that the Elite Knights could at the very least hold up the Italian mounted wing, or possibly even beat it back and buy time for the main combat to resolve in the favour of the Scots. As part of this plan the remaining Scots Knights were racing to overlap and outflank the Italian infantry.
Here's one I should have watched earlier..
These Italians were less tooled up on the shooting front than the English had been, giving heart to the advancing wall of by-now quite sweaty Jocks.
The static deployment of the Italians also allowed the Scottish bowmen the luxury of owning the rough terrain on the flanks - if the Pikemen could pin down the waiting Swiss, the Longbowmen might even be able to sneak in some flank charges of their own!
L'Art de la Guerre hint - bowmen cant charge proper battle troops frontally (unless they are charging into someone fighting as an overlap), but they can always hit a flank.
The Elite Scots-French Knights were off to a good start - smashing one of the Italians at contact as they sliced through the enemy as iif their armour was made of nowt but a flattened out Irn Bru can, butstill taking one hit themselves. The Italians were starting to stack up dangerously behind their front line as well - risking extra hits if the front rank was overrun.
Flodden the Musical.
The line of Pikemen was almost into action as the smell of gently stewing neeps and tatties wafted across the battlefield and the Venetian halberdiers stepped forward through their own bowmen and crossbowmen to confront the wall of McScots.
The Scots nobleman left behind in the baggage camp struggled to mount his own horse as the sneaky Italians slid a lone Light Horseman past the melee near the Gully and set him on his way towards the Scottish camp. The smell of gently frying Mars bars wafted across the plains, luring his forward with its siren smell...
The waves of Italian Knights were starting to wear down the Franco-Scottish noblemen, as half of their number fell victim to the Venetian lancers. But with the main body of Scots now engaged against the Venetian infantry centre, this part of the battle risked becoming a sideshow that would play out after the main event...
The other Franco-Scottish nobles were fast closing in on the flanks of the Venetian line as the Pikemen girded themselves for combat. In a narrow frontage there were plenty of reserves waiting to fill any gaps that might arise in the Scots attack, but the Venetians were one unit deep in combat troops.
Kilts swung in the breeze as the battle raged with a deep mass of infantry on both sides starting the brutal push and shove of close quarters medieval combat with blade and Pike.
The Venetians and their Swiss allies were being enveloped by the vast numbers of Scots moss-covered troopers, who had started to bury them in a sea of Pike with waves of Longbowmen lapping on their flanks like waves on a loch shoreline.
The Italians bowmen fell back, conscious of the risks they faced as the front lines on both sides started to bend and bow under the pressure of relentless combat!
A McGap! The Scots, better in numbers but weaker in quality, were the first to suffer a debilitating loss of a unit - unfortunately pretty much in the only spot in their entire front line in which a second-wave reserve unit would be unable to slide across 40mm and advance to replace their fallen comrades. Doh!
The better quality of the Venetian and Swiss infantry was starting to tell as red 3-hit markers appeared along the Scots lines, a foretaste and warning of a potentially catastrophic evaporation of the front line of the Hibernian army in future turns...
The Italians too though were also now taking casualties in some numbers as the relentless Scots ploughed forward. Both sets of Generals were rushing back and forth amongst their men, urging them to regain heart and adding +1 to rally tests by their presence.
Time to take the High Road, as another turn saw another collapse for the brittle Scots - coming up against Elite Swiss Pike and halberdiers they had found themselves to be no match for proper battle hardened and well trained opponents with similar weaponry.
Hey there Donald! The Italians were now stepping forward into the gaps in the Scottish line, and swinging round into the exposed and vulnerable flanks of the Scots Kiels. Things were unravelling for the men from the Highlands.
The more manoeuvrable Italian infantry moved up and swinging their heavy swords like scythes, they cut the Scotsmen into ribbons, forcing them to turn their seemingly inexorable advance into a desperate rearguard action as the front line of Scotsmens advance fell as flat as a bottle of Irn Bru left open for a whole rainy fortnight in Aberdeen.
The Scots baggage was captured.... the Venetian mounted crossbowmen sneaking into the camp and liberating their extensive haggis collection ad making off like bandits with it back to Venice. The Scottish army, battered on the front line and having lost its baggage train slumped to defeat.
The Result is another, but this time a bagpike-sqeezingly decisive proper, McDefeat.
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 Wee Jimmy Hannibal McHannibal
Post Match Summary from the Medieval Scots Commander
Well, I suppose if one is looking for an upside to this defeat, at least we managed to get to the point in the game where we actually lost this time instead of coming up a little short.
With a new army there are always challenges to bend the will of the troopers to your will as a general, and here at least the Scotsmen and their long sticks were starting to get the hang of this whole advance as fast as you can business that I always try and push home.
Quite why the Italians were so cowardly and defensive in the face of our vastly greater numbers of high-combat-factor troops remains a bit of a mystery to me though, as in their situation I imagine I would have rushed forward to attack like a hero. And, in the game I played in Belgium, that is what I did. Oh...
The next game should see me fully in command of the army and making them dance to my tune. And with one clear defeat and one losing draw, I will be fighting someone pretty close to the foot of the table as well. Which may help.
Wee Jimmy Hannibal McHannibal's Post Match Analysis
Och man, yer bum’s oot the windae if ye think ye shall be improvin; things from this debacle. I saw no improvement, and no advantage of your experience in this game o'er the first one so nothing clearly has been learned
By now I would have thought that you would have worked out that your 20-unit-wide army was essentially it's own terrain, and with no battle troops allowed to deply in the outer 4-base-widths at either edge of the 30-base-width-wide playing surface, a 20 unit wide army needs almost no terrain at all in order to do it's worst.
But yet again you allowed your opponent, and their higher quality, and oft better-armoured troops to be securely anchored on both flanks before you launched youself in a futile attack against the impregnable bastion you created for them, in which their quality easily outmatched your numbers.
Perhaps the next game will see this near billiard table - or perhaps just a river - that this army of your's needs? Let us see how the land lies in the final game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition