Late Medieval Warfare in the heart of Central London - ADLG Spring 2017
Medieval Scots vs Medieval German
After a jolly nice but clearly historically anachronistic curry buffet around lunchtime, the final game hove into view. The Guinness was flowing as the afternoon session started, and the Scots made yet another effort not to over-burden the table with too much terrain at deployment.
Medieval German - in DBM, a list-checkers nightmare but in ADLG thankfully somewhat simpler to cook up and list-check for. Still very much an army with a bit of everything in a Medieval style, and in its pre 1450 incarnation still with an option for some Elite and Impetuous Feudal knights. Post 1450 it becomes all a bit more cliche'ed with lots of ordinary quality troops doing a solidly competent job in pretty much all departments.
The lists for the Medieval Scots and Medieval German 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 table was much better this time ya bast'd, with most of the clutter was over on the Scots right flank leaving a nice broad open area on the left. A patch of rough going was crying out for the Scots Highlanders who I hadn't brought in this list, meaning the longbowmen would again be pressed into service as reluctant rough terrain troops while some of the Pikemen stood nervously at the edge of the field being, at a guess, shot up by German crossbowmen as the rest of the army of Jockland attempted to win on the left.
The Scots started the game by expanding their knights out to the edge of the board, and shuffling the Kiels across to but up against them, as the Germans had deployed their knights and mounted crossbows on that flank. This left a Franco-Scottish knights free, and with too many pips to waste he detached himself off and planned an insertion into the line of Pikemen, hoping to help them face off more successfully against the dismounted-at-deployment Germans foot knights they were waddling towards.
How did they do that?
Medium and Heavy Knights can always choose to dismount at the end of deployment if their army list allows them to be fielded as Foot Knights. This is a one-off occurrence, they can't remount during battle. Other mounted troops can also dismount if the enemy has deployed Elephants, Stakes, Wagons or Fortifications - again as a one-time, one-shot no-going-back option.
Hoots Mon! The two sets of half-hearted skirmishers were engaging each other as the heavier infantry started to close. The Longbowmen had an initially enthusiastic approach to the idea of being pseudo-terrain troops, greatly heartened by the lack of meaningful opposition directly in front of them, but they were also very mindful of the Germanic-looking Crossbow/Pavise infantry in the distance.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Pavise works by mitigating any losing score in shooting by 1. It's just an extra capability for the unit with it, and doesn't need to be deployed, and can't/doesn't need to be left behind. Keeps things nice and simple
With more Pikemen than open space, the Scots were able to quickly surround the Germans in the rough terrain - quite what they would do next was a mystery to both sets of opposed forces however, as going into the terrain would but the Pikes on a pretty severe -2 in combat. However, the Germans were not quite all in the rough going yet, and their own spearmen were worried about being squeezed into it by the tide of unwashed Scotsmen..
Medieval German bagpipe music
(Every bit as painful as you imagine it will be)
Yep, with nothing better to do the overly aggressive Scotsmen decided to tee themselves up for a flank charge against the frontally-pinned Crossbows. The factors would be low on both sides, but the chance of going in frontally and into the flank would hurt the Germans a lot more - and as LMI they could only take 3 hits to the Scots Pike's 4 in a sustained attritional combat.
The Pike and Knight combo had formed up - but with the Knights being Impetuous, they needed to get into combat quickly otherwise the possibility of an unprompted solo charge that would leave them haring off ahead of the slower Pike Kiel was very real. The Germans sharpened their 2HCW and got ready for the battle.
Wheres' Ma Troosers?! The German Knights really did not fancy taking on a suicidal charge into the forest of pike points i front of them and turned tail and retreated. Finally it seemed as if the Scots were starting to get the hang of how to deploy terrain, organise themselves and coordinate with their mounted wing as they pushed the enemy back methodically and close in on a combat-with-overlaps on the German foot Knights.
The German crossbowmen wheeled forward to face the Scotsmen hurling abuse at them from outside the terrain. This put the potentially flank-charging unit partially in front of the Crossbowmen, negating the possibility of the flank charge they had hoped to engineer. The Scots had learnt a lesson - never try and out-engineer the Germans!
While all of this was going on, the Scots pike, ably assisted by the lone Knight had been chewing up the German infantry. In the previous game this matchup had gone badly for the Scots, but here the presence of overlaps, the Knight and some good dice had meant this combat was resolving quickly in favour of the Hibernians.
Medieval German Street Fighting
(with seemingly obligatory mad death metal sundtrack)
Och Aye ! The rest of the Franco-Scottish Knights were also in action - as the Scots pike closed on the German mounted, the Knight command rolled low pips and needed to charge anything it could pretty quickly. With the back of the table now very close, and the threat of leaving Franco-Scottish Knights on the flanks of their own Nobles the German crossbowmen bravely decided to try and take it on the chin...
C U Jimmy! As the Scottish Kiels pushed past and through the remains of the dismounted German Knights, this exposed their flank to the German crossbowmen occupying the terrain. The Scots were not that happy about being flank-charged by Crossbowmen, but with weigh of numbers on their side, and lacking the 2-pips needed to actually turn a Kiel as well, they reluctantly decided to just stand and take it...
The Franco-Scots Knights were doing a fabulous job of battering their opponents. Not so surprising for the ones facing the mounted Crossbow perhaps, but the overlapped Knight who had charged in front of his own Pikemen was also winning soundly, despite the disadvantage of an overlap. This might even tempt the Scots Pikemen to charge home...?
L'Art de la Guerre hint - if the German Knights were to charge the Kiels, the factors would be a rather nice +1 for the Knights (base factor only - their usual Impact factor is cancelled when charging heavy Foot with Spears or Pikes) and +3 for the Pikemen (+2 base factor, and +1 for Impact when being charged at the halt by enemy mounted).
If the Pikemen charge this changes to +2 for the Pikes (base factor, no Impact as they are charging not receiving a charge) and +2 for the Knights (base factor of +1, and an extra +1 for Impact against non-stationary Pikemen).
With the Knights having a mitigating factor of +1 for better Armour, and being Elite to the Scots Mediocre, a 2-2 combat is probably going to go badly for the Scots, but a 3-1 advantage should see them win out.
Well tie me up and slap me with a Haggis! The rough terrain was turning out to be a right mess of shooting and dangerous low-factors combats. It seems likely that the Scots Longbowmen have been shot away by the massed German Crossbows behind their pavises, leaving the Pikemen exposed and reluctant to get into the terrain to close the gap.
Och! As the Scots get drawn into an increasingly lopsided combat in the terrain, the Germans start to swarm all over them, finding flanks themselves. The Scots know they will suffer attrition here, but with the rest of the table very much swinging in their favour even a few hits and unit losses on the Germans in this part of the field may be enough to tip the whole German army to defeat. The Scots meanwhile have sporran-wearing bodies to spare all across the table.
Mad Russian Medieval Fighting
(there is a disturbingly large amount of this stuff on YouTube!)
The Franco-Scottish Knights meanwhile end up taking the final plaudits as they overrun their German opponents and carve a huge enemy-less gap in the left flank of the battlefield. With this the German army slips to defeat and the Scots record their first famous victory!
The Result is a decisive and haggis-fryingly good win for the Bonny Scots.
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
Och, finally we achieved the success which we had been grasping for all day, in this battle in which many things appeared to go right and all of them were as a direct result of my personal intervention and excellent decisionmaking skills
In a world where the whisky is always peaty, and the haggis is allowed to run free o'er the hillsides and moors there is now great optimism that this rushed yet extensive painting job on all of these Museum Miniatures Pikemen will not in fact be a one-shot appearance by this force, and that they do have a future in combat, not just in a drawer.
Admittedly, lining up a vast wall of troops and trundling them forward may not be the most imaginative thing in the world, and many might say that if you want to do this you could just play Tactica and be done with it, but as an experiment in testing the viability of this type of army composition in ADLG I believe that this day's results do provide a clear indication of both the strengths and the weaknesses of such a one-dimensional approach to try and prove that quantity is better than quality
The jury I fear will remain out on that decision for quite some time, which I regard as a ringing endorsement of the viabiilty of these rules as being able to demonstrate balance between these two very divergent strategic choices is a challenge that often fails to be met.
Wee Jimmy Hannibal McHannibal's Post Match Analysis
Awa' an bile yer heid ye great hairy wassock! If this was a proof of concept, the concept it has proved is that you are a half-witted excuse for a general, at best suited to cleaning the latrines in that oft-captured camp of yours but in no way any more fit to test military strategems and theories by your actions than a one-legged blind beggar is fit to test the colour and fit of a pair of high priced new shoes..
The only thing I can see as a positive from this is that you did not entirely manage to make the same, entirely obvious mistakes in three consecutive games - a small victory proving merely that you are simply a dullard, and not quite a brain-frozen dolt.
The lack of terrain compared to the previous games was an improvement, but yet again your list composition let you down badly. Looking back at all three games, in each of them you had Pikemen to spare, stacked deep or looking - as in this game - for targets they had no real hoe of taking on, and in each game you also had unassailable rough terrain you were unable to clear.
Add to this your ridiculous vulnerability to shooting and it is hard not to suggest a few less Pikemen, a command of Highlanders for the terrain and picking up the full 4 LF with bows. Whether this will make you a better general I doubt, but at least when your enemies have cut you down the poor sap who succeeds you at the helm of the army will start with a sharper set of tools.
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