Early Renaissance in Derby 2016
Kalmar Union vs Italian States - Milanese
Back to the Renaissance it is, in one of England's mot Charleroi-esque town's, Derby and it's fabled ring road. But, the days of the legendary Assembly Rooms are now long past us and Derby actually takes place in a cattle shed in Castle Donnington, next to a regional airport - again drawing remarkable parallels with Charleroi.
Team Central London Mediocre had snuck in a sneaky win in the previous year and so unfortunately we were committed to returning the impressive trophy and taking part yet again in the Renaissance event. Having struggled to score any wins in the 25mm period last time, this year our triumvirate dumped me unceremoniously in the ultra-early period, a whirling maelstrom of Super-duper Heavy gendarmes, apple-bearing Swiss and hefty great Kiels.
Looking for something more original that a suite of armies which had been previously successful for me in similar themes in the past, a flick through the book came up with the rather obscure and possibly never used before Kalmar Union - Scandinavia just before they sorted out which country was which. The lists for the Kalmar Union and Italian States - Milanese from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Derby can be seen here in the FoG:R Wiki.
Kalmar Union - its sort of a watered down Early Danish army, with large numbers of mixed XBw/Halberd infantry, some Kiels and some Super-Heavy Gendarmes. So, Early Danish, but not as good as the Kiels don't have wings. My list also included some Mob, which I mistakenly had calculated would provide rear support. They don't.
The first game was against a Milanese army almost all composed of horseriding Gendarmes with a hanful of skirmishing LH units to faff around and make trouble in the margins. This would be a game of almost no terrain - especially as I initially tried to use the ADLG rules to set up my terrain. But, with an almost bald table much to my disgust, I strung my men out along the start line and braced for impact.
This was wargaming in the olden days, and with the lighting in the cowshed not really agreeing that well with my camera's white balance function some of the subsequent photos may look a bit off. On a similar vein, the MF Scots Highlanders in my army felt somewhat queasy as there was no terrain of any note for them to hide in - not good on a table of Gendarmes.
With the only Keil in my army steaming down the centre the Milaese were throwing enormous numbers of Knights at both wings, homing in on the mixed Xbow and Halberdier formations which were theoretically designed to take on exactly such opponents, ideally after shooting some bases and cohesion levels off them on the way in. Would the theory work...?
Here the lack of terrain and it's unfortunate effect on my ability to deploy in a sold line is painfully apparent as the wall of phenomenal numbers of mostly Average but 6-packed-out Gendarmes come haring in. Each unit will be standing and winning or dying on its' own.
The left flank was slightly better, with the only proper terrain piece giving me a secure flank. This caused the Milanese pause for thought - but that though was still almost certain to be "charge" wasn't it...?
First into contact was the left flank, where my 2 Gendarme units, thinking themselves clever for being both Superior and one being Extra heavy found themselves facing 2 equally Superior, but both extra-heavy opponents. Not a good matchup.
Full Contact Jousting
Crossbow shooting was proving rather ineffective under the sodium lights of the cowshed roof and the Milaese were lining up for a charge wherever they fancied it.
With the two sets of gendarmes already locked in attritional combat on the table edge, the rest of the line was getting ready for proper combat too - apart from my best anti-mounted unit, the Kiel, which on an open plain had no way to force the Milanese to take it on
The Gendarmes went in against the Halberdier Levy! Surviving the first round of impact with some spectacular cohesion tests the first phase of the plan was looking like it might actually work...
On the other flank the Milanese had been tempted into some rather ad-hoc charges, breaking up their coherent formation and allowing the Dalarna Levy to start to claim some +2 POA overlaps with their swords and halberds. Would it be enough to grind down the 4-base enemy units?
As the Gendarmes expanded out, the Levy were still able to outpace their lateral developments and kept the overlapping bases in play.
So far the line was standing firm - but very few if any of the Milanese were suffering casualties, and the rather surprising 6-pack Average Milanese formations had a lot more resilience - and a lot more width when expanded out - than had been in the plan when the Levy had started the day with potentially misplaced confidence, and so the benefit of the +2 overlapping files was rather less than intended.
The Milanese were simply refusing to die anywhere along the line, and this was being most keenly felt on the wings where the less well armoured Scandinavian Gendarmes were having no luck at all in overturning the odds - markers were appearing and bases were coming off the team that marched to the tunes of Abba.
The Milanese were looking well set to start breaking through as the Scandianvians took off bases every turn...
The front line of levy collapsed, and suddenly illegally supporting Hordes were in the front line of combat as victorious Gendarmes smashed through the retreating levy and hammered into the Scandinavian artillery park and it's cast of supporting poor quality peasants!
The Levee Breaks
Finally the Keil was able to get into the action - the lengthy combat against the Levy and lack of other frontal opposition had given them time to turn and now they piled into the flank of the Gendarmes just as they in turn smashed into the Horde, Would this stem the tide??
On the other flank the Milanese had been bouncing off the solid line of Levy, and suffering some attrition in the process. The Levy, and supporting carbine armed horse stepped forward to pile further pressure on the somewhat rocking Milanese forces, conscious that Aveage 4-packs break on 2 losses.
The Kiel was now engaged in a grinding match against the flank of the Milnese Gendarmes, who were still, even fighting in 2 directions, much better than the now-Fragmented Horde. Who would break first?
The Milanese saw the writing on the wall on the right and turned tail and retreated.
With the Kiel by now distracted, a huge gap had opened in the middle of the Scandinavian army and enemy LH were keen to exploit it and get a now-traditional taste of baggage. With nothing left of note, LF crossbowmen were pressed into emergency service to try and plug the gap... they may not have much chance of stopping LH, but they had more chance than the baggage alone.
OK, not much more...
With the whole line now crumbling under repeated hammer blows from fully armoured gendarmes another Levy unit collapsed, consigning the forces of Scandinavia to defeat!
The Result is a massive defeat!
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 Kalmar Union Commander
This has been a most un-jolly jape, as our brave Scandinavian men and boys failed majorly to live up to the hastily made plans I had prepared for them to work under. I also am somewhat dissappointed to discover that Castle Donnington is not really that much of a castle, and that the proximity to an international airport has not creates a thriving social scene featuring the bright young things of Europe's nobility partying long into the night. Even the price of a cut of tea is a bit steep at the thick end of £2, and with a paper cup to boot!
In future I thivj I will need to be less unlucky on the terrain roll, and remember that my army can fight equally competently all along it's frontage and so it is not that important to advance swiftly - keeping a solid line would have benefitted me more here.
Realising at the end of the game that the Levy unit are unable to support anyone was also a tad embarassing - at least they lost, and didn't cause any real casulaties to the enemy in the process. Quite what Il will have them do in future games is a bit of a mystery though.
Onwards and upwards jolly travellers, onwards and upwards!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
What a hopeless shower of shambles, I fear that even a plate of 2-week-old pickled herring would have put up a better fight here than your useless army and pathetic leadership.
Forgetting the terrain rules is one thing, but how on earth did you end up with so little? Surely there were more picks to be had and placed on table? And with a deployment so incompetent thtat the mere act of lining your troops up base to base and not actually moving them would have been more successful - what idiocy is it when a hammer and 2 nails with which to fix your hands to playing surface are implements which would improve your performance?
I have a strong inking that your army is not good enough to stand up in this theme and that you have badly underestimated the number of Fully Armored Gendarmes out there - and this, among many other failings, will be your undoing on many occasions this weekend.
Let's see if - or more likely, "that" - I'm correct in the next game shall we?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition