Attack! ADLG in Devizes 2016
Condotta Italian vs Bactrian and Indo-Greek
Game 3, and the open competition really was starting to open up. The might of Florence now faced the might of Bactria and Indo-Greece the Great!
The lists for the Condotta Italian and Bactrian and Indo-Greek from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Devizes can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Classic Greek-type armies are much as one might expect - charging Companiion lancers, solid Pikemen, decent rough terrain troops and some exotics in each list. The Bactrians have Elephants, and a lot of fast-charging cavalry and light horse making them a flexible opponent to face, especially for a Medieval army traditionally scared of Elephants.
With the prospect of a load of pikemen on the opposing side, the Florentines were keen to give themselves as much space as possible to avoid getting trapped between terrain, and so a fairly open table ensured. The Bactrians had set themselves up tightly packed against the rough going, with two mounted wings and a central block of Pikes and Elephants - although faced by the Longbow/Halberdier combination of Hawksmoor, the Companions on the Bactrian left soon decided that redeployment to the other flank was a much better option.
The Italian gendarmes knew they were better than the opposing Companions, and hoped they were also better than the enemy Cataphracts...but the Elephants were an entirely different matter. With the stench of elephant poop wafting across the battlefield (either that, or someone had been to a very odd curry house last night) much seemingly rested on the Florentine longbowmen, who were tasked with knocking some un-rallyable hit points off the Elephants before they got too close to do real damage to the metal-shod Knights.
With the Companions absenting themselves from school, only LH were left to face off against the Free Company men. Would 2 bowmen be enough to chase off 3 LH, or was this just preparation for an embarassing debacle which would cost both sides ridiculous amounts of command and control but which would achieve naught?
The Bactrians raced forwards, spotting a lightly defended gap at the end of Hawksmoor's line. If they could batter their way past the skirmish screen of LF there would be Indian LH in the rear of the Italian army, and baggage headed back to Bactria in no time at all (assuming pips could be spared to command them to do so whilst redeploying the Companions to somewhere useful of course).
And somewhere useful was where they had already found themselves - on the other side of the Pike block to the Cataphracts, and steaming forwards towards a tempting hole in the Florentine line of the size and scale not seen on the battlefields of Europe since the Holy Roman Empire rebranded itself by dropping the "e" in 1226, that had magically opened up between two commands as they both drifted sideways in their advances.
Hawkswood and his men rolled well, and the line was able to break up into multiple units and close the door on the pesky LH, preventing their rush for the end-zone. Now the Longbowmen were in prime position to do some serious damage to the Bactrians, who were rather far from their General if they were going to need to rally at any point....
The two commands of Florentines slid gently together, forgetting their mutual loathing for each others choices of deodorant for once, and gently moving the Inferior pikemen into position to close down the Companions - and allowing the hitherto under-employed Crossbow/Pavise unit a chance to shoot some horsemen as well.
Suddenly the lights came on, and the surprised Florentines and Bactrians emerged blinking from the stygian darkness to find themselves almost in combat already! Archers pointed their bow-sights (eh?) at the Bactrian Elephants as everyone took full advantage of the opportunity to add a full 60mm base-width shift to each forward move, keen to get the right matchups whilst still retaining at least a semblance of a coherent line - each 4 bases was nearly a foot wide!
The Indian elephants were a sight to be seen, especially if you were an ungainly medieval nobleman on a fully barded horse in plate armour and entirely unused to such beasts of war as these.
At close range and in proper lighting the Makedonian remnant pikemen were also rather spectacular, rather embarrassing the basic paint job and a dash of ArmyPainter that passed for a paint job on the skirmishing handgunners of the Florentine army.
Bactrians in combat
And, rounding out the excellent quality of finish, the Scythian horse archers of the Bactrian army had somehow managed to fineagle a breakthrough past Hawksmoors lumbering infantry and even now were on their well-painted way towards the Italian baggage train as the halberdiers from many hundreds of years in the future looked on haplessly.
And, with an almighty crash, battle was joined. The Bactrian pikemen charged home in conjunction with their Companions, piling into a narrow frontage of Inferior Spearmen (half XB, half spear means they count as inferior in combat), no doubt hoping to expand later on in the melee sequence.... and to avoid charging a pike unit of the Florentines as well
The same was almost happening in the sunlight fields of the flank, with this time the Florentines deciding to go in early in order to at least start fighting the enemy horsemen before the Elephants could be added to the mix. The Elephant had at least picked up a marker from bowfire along the way, but it was still a major threat to the clunky horsemen of the late Middle Ages.
The other elephant was proving much more resistant to archery, and as the great beast pawed the ground impatiently ready to initiate a devastating charge against the loose-formation longbowmen they furiously tried to pour ever-more arrows into him in order to enrage the fearsome beast.
Pikemen with overlaps are considerably better than inferior spearmen, and the evidence is soon lying on the table for all to see - a three-hit red-rimmed cohesion marker makes its' first appearance of the weekend, and the Florentines are in immediate trouble.
Hawksmoor is fighting a tricky battle to keep the enemy LH in his sights and out of the army baggage. The Bactrians continue to shrug off handgun pellets and javelins and are still free of hit markers as the Free Company skirmishers bravely put themselves in the potential line of fire - or charge - in an attempt to pin the enemy LH.
L'Art de la Guerre (ADLG) hint - - skirmishers can only pin other skirmishers. Of Course.
The rest of the LH are being chased from the field by Hawksmoor's Longbowmen, and both are carrying hits that mean they are half-gone already. One more round of shooting and this could be 2 dead units...
The rest of the battlefield is witnessing a series of bitter struggles as the Bactrians try and force their way frontally through the Crossbow/Spearmen of the Florentine army before their flanks are overwhelmed by the advancing halberdiers of the Italian militia. In the distance both Elephants are readying themselves for charges against whatever they can hit.
And, with an unintended side effect of being better than Companions, the Florentine Gendarmes provide a very tempting target as they knock a hole in the Greek lines into which the Elephant confidently starts to plan inserting itself at the highest possible speed as longbowmen debate whether to stay in overlap or try and sneak forwards to ping off a quick shot at the pachyderm.
With Gendarmes to spare and a potentially tricky matchup against javelin-armed Bactrian LH the Italians quickly divert a nobleman to help out their own Crossbow skirmishers... only to see another Cavalry Lancer appear from behind them to certainly join in the fray.
The column of Companions suddenly realise the danger they are now facing from the encroaching wall of halberdiers on their flank, and neatly turn and move away out of danger, leaving one hapless Companion to his fate. The Condottieri have lost a Spear/Crossbow unit to Pikemen, and are now themselves in some trouble as the Pike advance past their flank and ready to turn onto it themselves.
Pikemen and Elephants flood forwards, and here the Italians have nothing of serious combat capability to put in their way - longbowmen facing off Pikemen is not a great matchup, and with 2 overlaps the outlook is even worse...
Every now and then a pip or two is expended by the Bactrians in order to keep their LH on the right alive. The challenge of having one general commanding three packets of troops with such varying positions and missions is a real challenge.
L'Art de la Guerre (ADLG) hint - Troops more than 4MU from an enemy can attempt to rally for zero pips once each turn, as long as they don't move. Deciding whether to use a turn and a pip to move your skirmishers away to then start "free" rally attempts, or to spend the pips trying to rally them where they stand is one of the frequent decisions points in the game.
The Bactrian Lancers had returned, emboldened by the victories of their Pikemen colleagues and attracted like moths to a flame by the vision of the flank of a line of halberdiers - who they promptly slammed into at high speed!
Soon the Makedonian remnants were polishing off the last block of spear/crossbowmen as the Companions sought to ride down the halberdiers who made up the meaty paste in the cheap sandwich of the Florentine army. Some of the Bactrian LH were even around to join in the party and add their assistance after outrunning the longbowmen of the Free Company.
L'Art de la Guerre (ADLG) hint - - LH can't hit any proper combat troops frontally, but they can contact a flank. They do not however cause a cohesion loss on proper combat troops, just counting as an overlap ... so being in frontal contact is no different to being in a normal side-to-side overlap for them.
With the Elephants involvement it was now suddenly starting to get tricky for the Gendarmes and was getting better fast for the Companions and Cataphracts. Markers sprouted on the remaining Florentine nobles, some with dangerous-looking yellow "two-hits out of three" edges as well. Yoiks! Would the Pachyderms turn the tide?
Maybe... but, one Longbowmen was not for turning. Canute-like, the 6 archers fought heroically against the Makedonian remnant pikemen, taking an occasional hit but standing up long enough for attrition to start to hurt both the Pikemen and the Elephant. This was a truly legendary performance from a unit that by rights should be smeared across tabletop a long time ago.
Across the board the Florentines have units hanging on by their dice, and by their fingernails as the Bactrians batter them from all sides. Markers are commonplace, but the only serious hole to emerge is in the line of Companions who have foundered against the solidity of the halberdiers of Florence.
Even the Bactrian Indian Elephant has failed to do its worst against the Gendarmes, as the combination of shooting damage as it approached and a spot of poor luck sees it removed from play. Now the odds are evening again, as better armoured Gendarmes lock swords with better quality Companions in a deathmatch for supremacy on the left of the Florentine line.
Finally the Longbowmen and Crossbow/Spear formations crumble, leaving big gaps in the Florentine lines - but at the same time the second Elephant is felled, and the Bactrians look on in shock at their lack of beasts of war.
Both sides have suffered terrible attrition and are close now to defeat. With the nobility and prime troops of both armies exhausted the game comes down to two lowly skirmishers, a Free Company handgunner and a Skythian bowman. They exchange shots... the Skythian takes a telling hit ...and the game is over, in another narrow win for the Medieval forces....!!
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 Condotta Italian Commander
People of the Earth! Gather round, bring your families, bring your pets, bring your occasional furniture, bring your coat hangars and bring your and garden lawn maintainance implements - as without these animals and inanimate objects there is surely not enough of humanity on the surface of Gods' Great and Bountiful Creation to between them to truly articulate the level of admiration and amazement this third consecutive victory surely warrants!
Great beasts from Africa and India have been slain, warriors from the greatest empires known in all of history, men so noble they must surely be close to martial godhood have been struck down and trampled underfoot by the Condottieri fighting machine in such spectacular fashion that even I am starting, a little, to impress myself!
What bravery, what success, and against what well painted (probably professionally) fine figures of men and beasts as well. Even the baggage train managed to survive unscathed, which marks a new level of greatness that anyone who has had to labour through the previous reports on this website will surely recognise as a signal that the time of defeat has had a curtain drawn firmly across it by my own mail-clad fist in this new era of unmitigated success
One more game and I have a clean sweep - bring it on I say, as the sweet taste of victory is even now seeping from my pores on this warm summer evening to drip as droplets of success onto the grateful peasants who crowd around my horse, eager for a splash of their noble Lords bodily effluents to bless their otherwise insignificant lives and inspire them to unimaginable greatness, or possibly to sign up as Light Foot Javelinmen in my army for the next 25mm event.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Never before in the field of human history has so much bovine excrement been spouted by one so self-deluded as you. Here, you teetered on the very precipice of defeat for so long that far from being a Great Captain, I was more convinced that your future career options would be restricted to a life in the circus walking high above the lions and the clowns on the high wire.
Really, all I saw here was that your men were out deplyed, but the luck of your crossbowmen in combat bought sufficent time for the skill-free superiority of your Knights and Gendarmes to eventually grind out a small advantage over the brave, imaginatlve but ultimately less well armoured Companions of the opposing Greek-style army.
Add to this a relatively straightforward success for the mercenary longbowmen against enemy Light Horse who's sole mission was to delay and skirmish the Free Company out of the game until the Ekephant and Pike block did its worst to you and you again, somehow, squeaked over the line in a most undeserved fashion.
Surely luck cannot last out and inflict yet another unfortunate wretch with an undeserved defeat in the next game? Let us all gather together and pray not, as without the customary return to earth there is little prospect of your already dangerously over-inflated ego ever co-inciding with the base reality which the rest of us inhabit on a daily basis ever again.
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition