Game 1 of the Southern League, 1635 - The French entry into the TYW (but in Milton Keynes, and in 2013)
Later Polish & Lithuanian vs TYW Spanish
The maps in this report are generated using an ipad app called Tactical Sand Table, that allows me to use a photo of the actual table as a backdrop. It comes with almost no instructions, and so on this first outing the quality of the maps is maybe not as good as it should be - as in I couldn't get it working in game 2 at all, and it was game 3 before I worked out how to resize the pictures. I had to add the arrows manually, and so I'm not sure its the future compared to Battle Chronicler, but I'll stick with it a bit llonger while I work ouot how to use it more effectively.
The Southern League had proved to be an entertaining diversion from the regular run of the mill competition circuit, and with only one round left I was already out of the running for a podium place - much to the delight of Mrs Madaxeman, who could rest easily secure in the knowledge that another reasonably unpleasant trophy would not be gathering dust for several years before being consigned to a cardboard box for a further decade. It also meant that the event made an ideal one-day opportunity to put on the field an army that I would not mind losing with three times in one day, but stretching it to 4 times over a whole weekend might become a drag.. The Mighty Poles!
The theme for the round was The French Entry into The Thirty Years War, so any army valid in 1635 coudl be used. This meant a lot of classic bread, butter and probably a bit of Mitteleuropean mud spattered TYW armies, all of whom would be nasty pikemen and pedestrians, or even worse, Cuirassiers. In fact, any army containing pretty much any troop type had the potential to be more than a match for the Poles, as FoGR was at the bottom end of a pendulum of ruleset development which oscillated wildly between "The Poles are Brilliant" and "The Poles were wildly overrated by history, and are in fact Pants, with wings" and with pre-set terrain it made the Poles an even worse choice. But they are pretty... and just to make life more fun, I'd also brought along a Field Commander as a sub general, as part of a plan to flank march in every game. Woot Woot!
The lists for the Later Polish & Lithuanian and TYW Spanish from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Milton Keynes can be seen here in the FoGR Wiki.
What's Going on Here Then?
The terrain is terrible for a mounted army such as the Poles, especially against the quality infantry of the Spanish. To counter this the Poles have deployed everything on one flank, apart from their two units of infantry which are first down on table, however these troop may end up being sacrificial lambs to face off against greater numbers of Spaniards. The Polish plsn is simple - a fast and overwhelming attack down the right flank, charging at whatever if facing them and hoping that the flank march arrives in a timely fashion on that flank too - Smacznego!
The first game saw two of the themes of Warfare continued unabated, as yet another Spanish army faced me across the table in a game which a bloke called Tim was almost certain to win - and what a table for Tim on Tim action it was too Przepraszam!. The Poles were now fighting the Spanish in the desert, with dunes and oases cluttering the playing surface, which was such an offensive shade of yellow that the white balance on my camera was all over the shop! This left an obvious place for my flank march to aim for, and therefore an obvious route down which to attack… although, somewhat unhelpfully my opponent finished his deployment with a line of medium and heavy gunnes which were dead smack bang in the middle of my planned advance.
The Poles could have chosen that moment to turn about, redeploy and get out of range… but with only 2 generals on table, and a flank march arriving anyway that wasn't really going to be feasible, even if it had been in their nature…instead the answer was an all-out CHARGE!
This general air of gung-ho aggression however didn't extend to the entire table, and elsewhere the Spanish infantry scratched their heads in puzzlement as a paltry three Polish Dragoons danced in front of them in an irritating and delaying fashion - wlasnie!
The dragoons would not hold up the Spanish infantry for long, so the Polish mounted wing would need to get the game over with quickly, one way or another.. as they charged down the enemy guns, they started to lose cohesion and take base losses… but the range between themselves and the gunnes was closing rapidly… it would be a close run thing at this rate!
At that point the Spanish gunners aim started to waver, and the Poles closed the last few hundred yards with barely another scratch. The entire Spanish artillery park was now captured and in Polish hands.. although as they were mounted the gunnes became uncontrolled rather than actually captured.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Polish charge has succeeded in charging down the enemy artillery park, racking up 6 APs and immediately sending the Spaniards half way to an army break. The Spanish horse behind the gun line are in a quandry - with the flank march arriving they need to deal with it, which prevents them attempting to re-take the gunnes. The Poles meanwhile have discovered that their capture of the gunnes is almost as much a problem as an advantage - they are struggling to work out what to do next to get past the impassable obstacle they have created. Meanwhile, much to the Poles satisfaction, the Spanish infantry are still a long way out of the game
As the artillery park changed hands, the Polish flank march turned up as well… would it be a massive crushing manoeuvre as the astonished Spanish horse were caught between two Polish charges? Well, actually no, as due to a glitch in the rules which was fixed only days after this event took place, the Polish cavalry were unable to interpenetrate the gunnes they had just gained control of, and the artillery park became an impassable obstacle, leaving the flank march to its own devices..
FoGR hint - this has now been changed, and if the game took place now the Polish horse could have ridden through the newly captured gunnes and on to the enemy horse behind them. Much more sensible reallly
This is a gratuitous shot of my upgraded baggage, complete with Garden Shed and Wheelie Bin, making its first outing in this competition.
Hussar Equipment - Part I
Kukuryku! As the Polish Pancerni sought to squeeze themselves past the impassable artillery park, Spanish dragoons moved up utilizing the cover of the oasis and started sniping at the unit which had already lost a base and some cohesion in the dash to the artillery line.. things were looking bad for the Pancerni
The dragoons shot again, breaking the Pancerni and in the process also DISR'ing the adjacent Hussars - who looked sheepishly around them at the captured gunnes who, despite being now classed as Poor, had managed to survive the loss of the Pancerni unconcerned
But at least the flank march was in fine fettle! The Hussars could not have a better opportunity than this, as led by a General they sailed majestically into an isolated unit of Spanish Cuirassiers. They were up at impact, effectively Elite in combat, and already had 2 bases in overlap for the resulting melee - the perfect scenario for Hussars to do their thing.
Well, the Hussars were certainly doing the Hussar thing perfectly They did a sort of wing-based ritual rather different from those familiar to patrons of Hooters and then conspired to lose in the Impact phase, drop a level of cohesion and also lose a base… things could not have been worse, as now they would be down 2 factors in melee against the more heavily armoured and pistol armed Steady Cuirassiers - Przejebane!
FoGR hint - if the Hussars had DISR the Cuirassiers they would have been on evens in melee, as their sword would have then counted and the Cuirassiers Pistols would not. This would have given them a rather better 6 dice vs 3 at Evens odds
Struggling to reconcile the losses they were suffering with their rather cool banners and cavalier demeanour the Hussars then added insult to injury by losing their general - they now had no choice but to break off, figuring that staying in a combat where they were - down was not as good as trying another round of impact where they would be + up.
The Cuirassiers charged home, easily yet again won the impact phase and simply blew the Hussars away… leading the Superior Pancerni to also lose heart and drop immediately to FRAGGED as well! This was starting to look like the least successful flank march in history…
But at least some of the Polish Horse and Cavalry were starting to get back into action… they left the captured gunnes behind and galloped across to threaten the flank of the advancing Spanish forces who were creeping forwards against the smattering of Dragoons and they delaying tactics. The Spaniards, confident in the way this matchup was panning out, sent forward a unit of Cuirassiers to take on the Polish Pancerni and German demi-Cuirassiers..
Chuj ci na ryj ! The Cuirassiers went in, only to find a Polish intercept charge forcing them to take on both units at the same time - this was an intriguing matchup with the better armoured Spaniards against the more numerous Poles and Germans
What's Going on Here Then?
The flank march is coming up badly short against Cuirassiers, and is being badly beaten. This means the Poles attempt to redeploy from the captured gunnes probably needs to be rethought, as soon the Spanish horse will be able to attempt to re-take them. As the Poles try to threaten the Spanish infantry with mounted troops in an attempt to reduce their shooting effectiveness two of their units are now engaged against yet more Spanish
The Pancerni wavered, but the Germans stood firm.. and the Spanish lost a base, chipping away at their ability to out-roll the more numerous Polish forces engaged in the combat
It was soon to be goodnight Vienna for the beleaguered flank march.
The Polish general was committed to his Germans, when in fact he was now needed to bolster the Pancerni… oops!
Jebalem twoja matka! Despite his presence the Germans too fell down the cohesion ladder. What looked like a good plan and a good start was coming undone against the all round competence of the Spanish Cuirassiers
Over here, taking our jobs...
The high quality Spanish infantry had now gotten into range, and quickly shredded one of the two Polish foote units on the table - but before they broke they did manage to dish out some punishment to the oncoming Spaniards too…
Things were still going badly on parts of the table where Spanish Cuirassiers could be found though
The Spanish infantry had one Polish unit stood between themselves and the Polish artillery park. They dressed their lines and prepared to advance
The Spanish foote were advancing in good order, but starting to run out of bases as they suffered sniping from the Polish dragoons that added to the heavy firepower of the Polish foote and gunnes.. Would they be able to close to close quarters, or would they be blown away in the approach?
Odpierdol Sie! Meanwhile, both forces had finally managed to overcome the conundrum of poorly written rules that constituted the Polish-Iberian not-quite-artillery park, and the Hussars made another attempt to redeem themselves and charged yet more Cuirassiers, this time giving themselves an even steeper challenge by doing so through the oasis
This time the Hussaria were on song! They blasted a massive hole in the morale of the Cuirassiers at impact, and now this would be an inevitable proper Hussar outcome!
The Cuirassiers routed off table past the baggage, and the Hussars eyed it covetously… added to the artillery park the Spanish were now racking up the losses and suddenly the game looked again within the Poles grasp
What's Going on Here Then?
The Spanish Cuirassiers have been resolute in their meetings with Polish horse, however statistics has finally caught them out and one of the units has been run down by Polish lancers and is now routing towards the back of the table. The Spanish troops who have dealt so well with the flank march are faring worse against sniping dragoons, and are on the brink of losing another unit - which with the gunnes will tip the army to defeat.
Anyway, almost typically, the least likely place delivered the final piece in the Polish jigsaw, as three sniping dragoons got lucky in successive bounds against an average Horse unit in the Spanish rear echelons. Having routed the Hussars and Pancerni flank march, they fell prey to long rage musketry out of a sand dune, losing 3 bases to break and take with them the whole Spanish army! The Result is a large win!
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 Later Polish & Lithuanian Commander
He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed, and the Spanish will be counuting their digits most carefully this evening in the Tapas bars of Madrid, Barcelona and probably (given the terrain in this battle) that small place in Morocco they still hang onto even though it sort of undermines their whole point on Gibraltar too.
Overall my men's performance was very solid, and I am most proud that we not only won, but we did so in a fundamentally Polish way - a number of lance-point charges for death or glory decided this game, and given that we achieved a success rate of 2 out of three that is not at all bad really
I made the right decisions, I set everything on the right course, the reforms are going in the right direction and I remain confident that this much maligned army of Hussars and Pancerni can come good again and end up in the upper reaches of the table by the end of the one-day competition.
On the other hand, if we do go onto lose the other 2 games, at least we've already now won one, which is better than could have happened.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Thou art a gleeking ill-composed gull-catcher too see aught but fortune and luck as driving your victory in this game!
The tactic of charging down a wall of gunnes clearly surprised the opponent you were facing here, and quite rightly so as in most hands the rash charge you instigated would have been suicide - and if there had been but one unit of enemy foote deployed behind the Gunnes, we would have been looking at a much different outcome for ye, ye pribbling fen-sucked malignancy!
And what can one say of a flank march which is a key part of the plan, but arrives with only 2 units when it is possible to bring three? If you are committing to something, commit fully or not at all - you perhaps took this lesson too seriously with the charge on the gunnes, but for the misled flank march your beards deserve not so honourable a grave as to stuff a botcher's cushion or to be entombed in as ass's pack saddle
Forsooth, I cans't not believe how ineffectual most of your forces proved in this game. Without the three units of gunnes you would be a defeat-sucking puny pottle-deep flap-dragon - and I am sure that you will be revealed as such in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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